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It's Character Forming

Learning from experience

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Last week at Man U our tactics were effective in the first half until near the break when a dive earned them a penalty meaning Adams decided to open it up in the second half. Unfortunately the 2nd half had barely started when our midfield backed off Rooney on the edge of the box and we were 2 behind.

For the rest of the half we really went for it and created numerous chances but such is the parlous state of our strike force that we couldn''t even take one. At the other end Man U revelled in the time and space that we left them and converted a couple of their chances. Cue much hand wringing and knocking the team/manager on here.

Yesterday we were unlucky not toget a blatant penalty in the first half. In the second, Chelsea brought on Hazard who was awesome and for the first 20 minutes we were on the ropes but held out. Then we came into the game and NA made an inspired sub in Redmond upfront who gave theChelsea CBs a real headache whereas I''m pretty sure they''d have comfortably dealt with any from RVW, Hooper or Becchio. An inspired move which gave us several scoring chances.

The manager is now getting knocked for not going for it. Well, first that didn''t work so well last week or when we played Chelsea at home and conceded two late goals going for it. It''s revealing that Mourinho was frustrated by our tactics. He know perfectly well it would have improved his chances of winning if we''d played into their hand by opening up the game and going for it.

It''s a bit bizarre and depressing to find people saying Jose wishes we had gone for it. Well, duh, that doesn''t mean it was the right thing to do.

What happened was that we kept it tight and counter attacked effectively. Unfortunately we didn''t take any chances but I think we probably had a better chance of winning with the approach we took yesterday than we''d have had opening up the game against players like hazard and Willian. There''s also the question of should he have brought on fresh legs without changing the formation but that''s not exactly rocket science for any manager - I''m sure if he''d had someone else on the bench who he felt could have added something like Redmond, he''d have brought him on,but tome there''s no one obvious.

So actually I''m more impressed with Adams after yesterday. It''s a tough call for the board given how few games he''s had but at the moment I''d favour him over Malky.

The upshot is that the gamble yesterday didn''t pay off abc in football people will always criticise when you don''t get the result, ignoring how narrow the margins are between winning and not. Its always a tough call what to do to try to get the win and I think NA called it right yesterday.

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I have a cautious optimism with Adams, he has shown flashes of inspiration while learning on the job, at the hardest level, with a vertical learning curve.

I''m not yet convinced he''s the correct appointment, but I don''t see an army of over qualified individuals for the role either.

It''s an extremely tough board decision but I don''t think Adams is a tinpot or safe choice, far from it, but he would be a massive gamble.

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There will likely be opportunities next season to play some of the youngsters on a more regular basis - players who are used to winning and who have not been scarred by Premiership failure.

Adams has nurtured these youngsters and is better equipped than anyone to know how often, and when and where to play them. If Norwich''s policy next season is to go more with youth, then Adams has to be given the opportunity.

If it is deemed too risky or early to play these youngsters, then the board should look elsewhere.

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I think the board like the idea of the academy bearing fruit. The academy is an expensive outlay afterall, but paradoxically, the fruit it bears will be considered free players, so someone we dont have to buy, or could sell for a profit. A club like Norwich could genuinely offer gifted youngsters first team experience, rather than rotting as 6th choice. That could be an attractive lure for the nations best, but we would have to demonstrate that youth gets a chance in the first team. Adams is definitely the man best qualified to turn his youth team players into first team players

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ICF, I totally agree with your assessment of how Norwich set up against Chelsea for the whole match was the best chance we had of coming out of that game with something rather than nothing. The folks who argue that we should have put other forwards on the pitch for the last 10 minutes or so are, in my opinion, quite naïve.

 

This season it has taken Norwich an average of 115 minutes to score a single goal, the worst in the division. Chelsea, on the other hand has the stingiest defensive record in the division, only conceding a single goal every 128 minutes. Yet, some would have us believe that by inserting more blank shooting Norwich forwards all season long into the equation we would have at least given ourselves a chance in 10 minutes for the win. Wrong. We would have opened ourselves up defensively for Chelsea to carve through like a very hot knife into butter. That was exactly what Mourinho was waiting for and then his smile would have broadened and he would have complimented Norwich on their gallant effort to put up such a fight, despite being relegated, predicting we will be formidable in the Championship. As it was, you could see the Chelsea frustration growing and their whole team started to press forward and, as we all saw, that move almost resulted in defeat for them. If it were possible for the bookies to offer odds of who was most likely to score and win the game in the last 10 minutes or so if Norwich inserted another forward or two, I believe the odds would have been heavily skewed ( HEAVILY ) in favor of a Chelsea victory.

 

Speaking of naivety, if anyone cares to point out that Crystal Palace also had a weak goal scoring record this season right after Norwich and yet managed to score three goals today then surely the naïve award of the season goes to Liverpool who thought all they had to do was have their whole team focus on how many goals they could score in the match. To a man their players heads would have been on the pillows tonight with eyes wide open looking at the ceiling wondering how they could have been so stupid. Their dream essentially ended today. Ours is still alive, even if by the barest of margins. Lest we forget, despite current form, Sunderland has lost 10 of their 17 home games this season.

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The whole point is that they have not learned from experience over two seasons.

They have not learned to close opponents down, they have not learned to tackle effectively and they have not blocked consistently I would have to exempt Olsson from this, and also admit that others from time to time have been effective. The problem is that they do not defend consistently. We may be relegated for a second poor GD, and while the attack have been toothless the defence has conceded so many soft goals.

All too often we have seen defenders who lack pace remain uncommitted, somehow hoping that if they can vaguely shadow an opponent he will pass to another area and become someone else''s responsibility, and instead of throwing themselves bodily to block they merely wave a limp leg or foot as the ball goes past.

Whatever happens next and wherever we play next season, we need to find fullbacks with some pace and bravery, and centre backs who can move.

As for Stamford Bridge in particular, Mourinho has no ground for complaint. He parked his bus to stop other teams when it suited him. He would have loved us to have thrown care to the winds and attacked. We were unlikely to score many and his team would have cut apart our ponderous back four. I think that Adams''s tactics were spot on, and if it hadn''t been for a blind referee, we might have gone home with a fantastic result. I''m glad that Chelsea blew it!

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