Monday, April 03, 2006

City 0 Boro 1 - Pearce hits out.

An 'uninspiring draw' was what I predicted as a likely outcome in The Observer prior to yesterdays game.

We couldn't manage the draw but uninspiring would seemingly be fitting descriptions of the performance - and our fourth successive defeat which has certainly sent our season into tailspin and led to Stuart Pearce calling out the team in his post match comments:

"We showed no moral courage whatsoever. If I was a supporter I would be disgusted. We were so spineless it was frightening. We were an absolute disgrace. I've told them to go home, look their wives and children in the eye and ask them: 'How did daddy do today?' If we get that kind of performance again, there will be people leaving this club.
Make no mistake about that. I am disgusted as a manager. The buck stops
with me. I'm the first one who takes the flak for it and I'm happy to do so.
"But behind me there are 10 players. I'll excuse the goalkeeper because I don't think there was much he could do out there. None of the others stepped up to the plate.
None showed any leadership or earned their wages. Next time these players come into training and walk past me in the corridor, they've got to look me in the eye and know how I feel about them."If you play like that, you haven't got a cat in hell's chance of getting into Europe, and if you did get into Europe, you'd embarrass
yourself playing like that.
I feel bitterly disappointed for the fans - this was the worst experience I've had as a

It was certainly a deserved rebuke for the squad, but a little surprising considering the fact that Pearce is usually very supportive of the squad and has publicly backed them at times in the past when he could easily have criticised them.

I don't think Pearce himself though can be immune from criticism and I personally don't understand why he started with the central midfield partnership of Sibierski and Ireland. Also, yet again his substitutions were open to criticism and the wrong players were replaced. Events over the past two weeks are now threatening to turn what looked to be a promising finish to the season into one which which will likely to be looked back on with a high degree of disappointment.

I think with that in mind, it probably prompted Pearce to be as harsh with his comments as he was and was certainly done to invoke a 'shock factor' amongst the squad to arrest the slide that they are currently on.

Pearce was certainly correct to be critical of the players, he knows this, the board know this, the fans certainly know this and the players should definitely know this.

But as Ben mentioned in his comments on a previous post - was Pearce correct to 'wash his dirty linen in public'? It was certainly a bold move but one which I feel was needed. For all we know Pearce may have chided the squad 'in house' already but with the season in tail spin he felt a more drastic approach was needed.

It was an abject performance that has in truth been coming. Far from challenging for a UEFA place (which I previously stated would mean a disappointing season if we failed in that respect) perhaps we are now nestled in the mid table position that is more reflective of the squads ability.
For me, the interesting thing now though is what the reaction will be. Europe has now long gone and relegation is not an issue but we don't have the easiest of run ins.

What is most likely is that rather than the points total over the next six games, Pearce will be primarily looking at the qualities he is most known for from the team - passion, commitment and desire.

vote it up!


Blue, Wigan said...

Don't like slagging anybody who wears the shirt for things that go on on the field (SP is entitled to...)

All I can say is that Sibs must play like Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Pele all rolled into one on the training pitch for him to be the third player substituted.

Simon said...

Definition of insanity, keep doing the same things and expect different results. Whilost Pearce's midfield pairing seemed not to be ideal from our point of view there may be injury issues that are being hidden from view to try to wrongfoot our opponents. Stuart is renowned for playing his cards close to his chest, or rather, only letting out the information he wants letting out. So we must deduce that the diatribe on Sunday was calculated. Obviously he must have a go at the players on occasion especially after some of the "performances" we've seen this season. Clearly he doesn't believe he's making necessary impact. Has he lost the dressing room? Unlikely or he wouldn't call their bluff like this? Has he lost the supporters? Possibly - some people are turning, possibly those very same ones who castigate him for washing linen in public or for his tactical decisions so he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

Or is there another reason he is going public like this? Firstly given our recent results it's unlikely that Pearce will be approached for the England manager's role (or any other role for that matter) in the foreseeable future. Therefore his future lies with Manchester City for better or worse. Since this is the case he has a problem on his hands. The chairman has decided he no longer wants to invest in the club, we're mortaged for 250 years against future gate receipts thanks to Bernstein's ambitious financing - money which Keegan then wasted because in essence he was of a mind to be profligate. Pearce has been canny in the transfer market thus far and to be honest hasn't had a choice. With his first (and second) choice players injured, suspended or under-performing he can either try to make-do and mend or turn around to the chairman and say "if you want a premiership club there needs to be investment - I have the fans onside as they're clearly uncomfortable about our performances and this is what I want and how I'm going to do it."

Look at how Pearce has announced today that he's in talks with Wardle about transfer kitty? He's played Wardle with a straight bat - if I sell my best player will I have money for transfers? Yes then no. OK - look where we are now, look where we could have been, if you want us to go there, to take City into Europe, he will be saying to Wardle, then I need backing. Otherwise we can just sit here and consolidate but we will lose some of the support.

The ball is now firmly in Wardle's court and that, I believe, is exactly as Pearce wants it and exactly what he was trying to do on Sunday. The additional kick to the players to get their fingers out is merely a welcome bonus.

The Voice of Doom said...

I said at the beginning of the season when everyone else was talking about European football that our squad was way too thin.
We (well SP & JW) need to think long and hard about how to improve this squad before next year.
I think that, one or two players apart, it's the mixture of mediocre, injury prone and young (talented but inexperienced) players that leads to a relegation fight.
Sorry to be the voice of doom, but..........