The newspapers are quite adamant. Manchester United can’t afford to lose another game. Arsenal have a different lineup but are exactly the same as last year. Swansea are looking like contenders and Crystal Palace have to get a new manager or they are doomed. After one or two games!
I heard a Manchester United supporter on the radio haranguing the Board. He’d been to see pre-season matches and thought it all looked good but something has gone terribly wrong since then.
It’s almost as if we collectively forget what has happened every single season to date.
1. Preseason games mean nothing. There isn’t the pressure of a competitive game. The tackles aren’t flying in like they do when the season starts. Young players are getting a one off chance to impress and so they always look better than they really are. The opposition may be in an even earlier stage of preparation than you are!
2. New players take time to bed in. Remember your first days and weeks in a new job. You know technically how to do the job you applied for or you wouldn’t have got the job but it takes time to learn what your new boss wants and how to work with your new colleagues. You have anxiety which disappears after a few weeks.
3. Players can be tired at the start of the season. Journalists are so keen to criticise any mention of tiredness as an excuse. Tiredness is just like any other injury – it has degrees. Managers don’t mean that a player can’t take another step, they just mean they have a percentage lower energy than they normally would have. They can play but they won’t be as effective as if they had a rest. Its just common sense. If players aren’t tired after a game or a tournament they haven’t done their job correctly.
4. Managers need luck and time. A new manager can be incompetent. They have been untested and therefore, no matter how good a player they were, there is a gamble. Managers who have demonstrated over long periods of time and at different clubs that they can manage successfully don’t become bad managers overnight. It is reasonable to assume the problem lies in the players and the club infrastructure. If I was at Manchester United I would have taken a far harder look at Ryan Giggs and the ex-players turned coaches than at David Moyes.
5. Position in the table is always a function of who you play. Liverpool last season were in a far stronger position than first appeared because they got the big teams away early. They were always going to get stronger as they played the weaker teams. Arsenal, on the other hand, led the table without facing many top teams. Worry about how the season is panning out after 15 games not two.
Best of all, do nothing. Just wait. Don’t change a manager who has a track record of success or boo good players who are struggling. It will come good in time and you can waste a huge amount of money on compensation, transfer fees, and legal fees to get precisely nothing in return.