Author Topic: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?  (Read 11874 times)

Offline Lfsea

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #120 on: May 12, 2008, 02:25:26 PM »
Question is - if we'd continued attacking in games at 1-0 up, (ie - the tactics that got us in front) would we have been

a. in defensive positions to make those mistakes
b. more than 1-0 up anyway, and not leaving ourselves in a position where losing one goal costs 2 points...

I'd say yes for both.

I agree with you but it's important to add compensation for the opposing team's change in tactics following the concession of a goal.

Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #121 on: May 12, 2008, 02:28:51 PM »
Question is - if we'd continued attacking in games at 1-0 up, (ie - the tactics that got us in front) would we have been

a. in defensive positions to make those mistakes
b. more than 1-0 up anyway, and not leaving ourselves in a position where losing one goal costs 2 points...

I'd say yes for both.
I think the majority of those games we did carry on attacking.....not gung-ho, perhaps, but we always created more than enough chances to win.....but then stupid mistakes at the back, collectively and individually, let the opposition back into the game.  Our inability to convert a high number of chances has been here for a while, but this season we had a spell or two where the defence was uncharacteristically iffy.
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Offline hesbighesred

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #122 on: May 12, 2008, 02:50:27 PM »
You simply can't ignore the off field problems.

The sh1t really hit the fan just before the Man Utd game, and just after a massive blow against reading, where we were robbed by no less than 3 penalty claims going against us (that simply would not happen to Man U or Chelsea, just look at how many penalties torres has won this season...0. No way he wouldn't have one some in a chelsea or man u shirt).

At 3-1, Rafa was then forced to compound that blow by taking off our best players, because he knew he WOULD be sacked without CL progression.

It's easy to say it doesn't affect players, but also ludicrous. Look at Birmingham, Man City, Spurs...where they affected at all? In that context Rafa did an awesome job to get 76 points, CL semis, and with title winning form from Feb onwards, without a doubt.

It can't be rotation either, simply because that run of draws ending with the West Ham defeat (another game of bad decisions) was actually Rafa keeping a pretty steady team. The only rotations were in defence, where we had exceptional injuries at that time.

With stability off the field, and the likelihood of Carra never having to play next to a slow or inexperienced defender next season, and with Hyppia and Skrtel able to give him a rest, as well as Benayoun for Gerrard in some games, we could be laughing.

76 points is a fantastic total in ANY league, but we've got to have patience with Rafa, as he's expected to BEAT the best two teams in the World, on a lower budget, with a much lower wage ceiling. Since Feb, we have rotated as much as we did in our worst month, yet because we are once again building on a high defensive line, only with better options in attack, we have been lethal.

Keep that form up for a whole season, and we could get damn close even without any new signings.
 

Offline Lfsea

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #123 on: May 12, 2008, 02:57:00 PM »
You simply can't ignore the off field problems.

Playing devil's advocate for a second, to what extent should the players  - who are highly paid professional sportsmen - be allowed to use the off-field problems as an excuse for consistent under-par performances?

For me they shouldn't. Everyone is getting paid, we're not going to go broke. Yes Hicks is a c*nt, but should the players be able to hide behind it as a way of avoiding personal criticism, and for how long should we let them?

Offline lurganboy

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #124 on: May 12, 2008, 03:11:51 PM »
Playing devil's advocate for a second, to what extent should the players  - who are highly paid professional sportsmen - be allowed to use the off-field problems as an excuse for consistent under-par performances?

For me they shouldn't. Everyone is getting paid, we're not going to go broke. Yes Hicks is a c*nt, but should the players be able to hide behind it as a way of avoiding personal criticism, and for how long should we let them?

People are human, no matter how much they are paid. All professional sportspeople talk of trying to get in the optimum mental state to compete. And breaks in your concentration do affect you.
Linford Christie wouldn't even shake anyone's hand before a race, so that competitors wouldn't drain his mental energy. He would just focus on the finish line.

The point is I would find it very surprising if the boardroom mess hadn't affected the players to some degree.

Offline markmywords

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #125 on: May 12, 2008, 03:43:41 PM »
You simply can't ignore the off field problems.

The sh1t really hit the fan just before the Man Utd game, and just after a massive blow against reading, where we were robbed by no less than 3 penalty claims going against us (that simply would not happen to Man U or Chelsea, just look at how many penalties torres has won this season...0. No way he wouldn't have one some in a chelsea or man u shirt).

At 3-1, Rafa was then forced to compound that blow by taking off our best players, because he knew he WOULD be sacked without CL progression.

It's easy to say it doesn't affect players, but also ludicrous. Look at Birmingham, Man City, Spurs...where they affected at all? In that context Rafa did an awesome job to get 76 points, CL semis, and with title winning form from Feb onwards, without a doubt.


 

We are close to Everton as we are to Man U

This is not awesome, Chelsea had similiar boardroom problems in 2004 and 2007 and still did better than us then and compared to now, they may have spent more money than us, but this 'boardroom chaos' shouldn't affect players on £90,000 a wk, more than players on £97,000 a wk 

Quote
76 points is a fantastic total in ANY league, but we've got to have patience with Rafa, as he's expected to BEAT the best two teams in the World, on a lower budget, with a much lower wage ceiling



Since Instanbul we have outspent ManU, yet we are nowhere near them in the league, this is awful, not awesome.

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #126 on: May 12, 2008, 04:25:47 PM »


The point is I would find it very surprising if the boardroom mess hadn't affected the players to some degree.
There is some truth on what you say but the three seasons prior to the last one
have just gone virtualy the same way
The common link for me is the rotation or more it's heavy use early on in the season
that leaves us playing catch up at the latter stages and with the strength of the
others it's just to much to catch up

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Offline nidgemo

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #127 on: May 12, 2008, 05:21:13 PM »
I think the majority of those games we did carry on attacking.....not gung-ho, perhaps, but we always created more than enough chances to win

Trust me - in that period we were drawing all the games, we didn't.

It's what set me off against Rafa at that time. You could just see the team play decent football, go ahead, and then immediately fall back into a completely defensive tactic and mindset.
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Offline nidgemo

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #128 on: May 12, 2008, 05:24:54 PM »
People are human, no matter how much they are paid. All professional sportspeople talk of trying to get in the optimum mental state to compete. And breaks in your concentration do affect you.
Linford Christie wouldn't even shake anyone's hand before a race, so that competitors wouldn't drain his mental energy. He would just focus on the finish line.

The point is I would find it very surprising if the boardroom mess hadn't affected the players to some degree.

And it's the managers job to ensure the players are right - another area in which Rafa often fails.

Both Mourinhio and Ferguson have managed their clubs to titles while the papers speculated constantly about their jobs being under threat, through fallings out with owners of the club (which ended up getting Jose the sack, and seen Ferguson in court v two main shareholders) Man U have seen just as ingnanimous takeover as ours and just as much opposition.

Those managers used it to foster an "us against the world" spirit which made their teams better.

Yes, there was shite off the field. But Rafa made mistakes in not using it for the benefit of the team.
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Offline megabomberman

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #129 on: May 12, 2008, 05:35:18 PM »
People can say all they want about rotation but I don't think it was exactly rotating that destroys a challenge... Its rotating players in just because their name is on the back of an LFC jersey... Rafa places too much fate in players like voronin. not good enough...

Also that formation against reading, what was going through rafas head playing crouch wide out left, coupled with a sucker punch from united the league died that day..

Offline leccyred

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #130 on: May 12, 2008, 05:38:32 PM »
Too many draws.

Message ends.

Offline No666

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #131 on: May 12, 2008, 05:46:28 PM »
Quote
And it's the managers job to ensure the players are right - another area in which Rafa often fails.

Both Mourinhio and Ferguson have managed their clubs to titles while the papers speculated constantly about their jobs being under threat, through fallings out with owners of the club (which ended up getting Jose the sack, and seen Ferguson in court v two main shareholders) Man U have seen just as ingnanimous takeover as ours and just as much opposition.

Those managers used it to foster an "us against the world" spirit which made their teams better.

Yes, there was shite off the field. But Rafa made mistakes in not using it for the benefit of the team.

I noticed that before the big CL games against us, Grant got in a sports psychologist/motivator, and seemed to think it really helped the team get the right mentality. I assume this is because he has the personality of a dead fish and couldn't motivate anyone. But more seriously, does anyone know if we use sports psychologists/motivators? If not, perhaps we should, on the grounds that any thing that may help is worth investigating.

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #132 on: May 12, 2008, 05:50:01 PM »
Second period of 3 months - 11 Nov – 10 Feb
P13, W5, D5, L3, Points 20, Dropped 19 from 39
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Offline jamiehill

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #133 on: May 12, 2008, 06:36:20 PM »
if we beat the Mancs we will win the league.

Does this generation of Liverpool players want to be the ones that surrender our league record to our bitterest rivals?

Next year we have to win at all costs. We have to beat the top teams home and away. We have to beat the relegation fodder. No mercy .... the mancs are getting too close.
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Offline abhred

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #134 on: May 12, 2008, 06:37:48 PM »
Second period of 3 months - 11 Nov – 10 Feb
P13, W5, D5, L3, Points 20, Dropped 19 from 39


Clear where we lost the league.
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Offline b_joseph

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #135 on: May 12, 2008, 06:41:58 PM »
Second period of 3 months - 11 Nov – 10 Feb
P13, W5, D5, L3, Points 20, Dropped 19 from 39

You can shorten it even more than that. In December 30 to January 30, we dropped 11 out of a possible 15 points.

Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #136 on: May 12, 2008, 06:42:17 PM »
Trust me - in that period we were drawing all the games, we didn't.

It's what set me off against Rafa at that time. You could just see the team play decent football, go ahead, and then immediately fall back into a completely defensive tactic and mindset.
I disagree, I thought we were trying to attack but in a measured, patient way (though I haven't rewatched the games recently).
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Offline Lfsea

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #137 on: May 12, 2008, 06:44:59 PM »
Second period of 3 months - 11 Nov – 10 Feb
P13, W5, D5, L3, Points 20, Dropped 19 from 39


And this is said sequence:

English Premier Liverpool 2-0 Fulham 10-11-2007 

English Premier Newcastle 0-3 Liverpool 24-11-2007 

English Premier Liverpool 4-0 Bolton 02-12-2007 

English Premier Reading 3-1 Liverpool 08-12-2007  
 
English Premier Liverpool 0-1 Man Utd 16-12-2007

English Premier Liverpool 4-1 Portsmouth 22-12-2007 

English Premier Derby 1-2 Liverpool 26-12-2007 

English Premier Man City 0-0 Liverpool 30-12-2007 

English Premier Liverpool 1-1 Wigan 02-01-2008 

English Premier Middlesbro 1-1 Liverpool 12-01-2008 

English Premier Liverpool 2-2 Aston Villa 21-01-2008 
 
English Premier West Ham 1-0 Liverpool 30-01-2008

 
English Premier Liverpool 3-0 Sunderland 02-02-2008 

English Premier Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool 10-02-2008

The highlighted matches are the WTF??? matches imo.
 

Offline litmanen37

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #138 on: May 12, 2008, 06:49:09 PM »
ive saw a few stats today that make me realise that we are pretty unlucky this season


we have enough points to warrant a top 2 finish on many previous ocassions.


we have scored more goals than any other top flight team this season (119)

our goalkeeper has won the golden glove (most clean sheets) for the 3rd season in a row

we have allowed the fewest shots on target this season (90) this is an all time premier league low

our top goalscorer hit over 30 goals in all competitions and is the most prolific ever foreign import in a first season

our captain once again broke the 20 goal barrier






we have had a good season. the unlucky aspect being that so have the other 3 members of the 'BIG 4' - summed up by the fact that all 4 were in the CL QF, 3 were in the SF, and 2 will contest the final.


we have a good enough side, and have had a good enough season, to have won the league on several of the seasons gone by. the problem that we have is that the top division is in its rudest health for many years. the best are getting better, and this is our problem.


we have had a good season in my opinion.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2008, 06:54:11 PM by litmanen37 »
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Offline b_joseph

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #139 on: May 12, 2008, 06:50:18 PM »
I disagree, I thought we were trying to attack but in a measured, patient way (though I haven't rewatched the games recently).
You are correct. We tried to attack all season long but we just were not ruthless enough and we made mistakes at the other end ( Gerrard vs Wigan..Carra Pen @ West ham...the whole defense for a junk goal @ Boro)

Offline The Nihilists

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #140 on: May 12, 2008, 06:52:25 PM »
rotation - Torres getting rotated out of the side at Portsmouth

we were going great guns till then


Yawn. Torres wasn't really scoring then, and certainly not in away games. Very easy to say, that.

United lost away games when they left out Ronaldo, but they came back to win the league. The fact was we were a fraction short in terms of quality, we lost Pako, and we were being run by two Yank muppets.

Offline Walking Through A Storm

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #141 on: May 12, 2008, 06:57:51 PM »
Though the Mancs and Chelsea have better players with us, I feel the main problem is with mentality. look at how we perform against bottom half teams compared to those teams, who know to just grind out the wins.

We need the champions league spirit in league games, we don't believe that we are better than the rest, beleve enough to push for the last minute winner as the Mancs so often do.. I don't think this is Rafa's fault, though motivation is not his strongest area, his main error this season was a few strange but crucial team positions, but he's mostly been very good, I'd say its more due to the massive lack of recent domestic success. It's no cooincidence that this season's bad patch came after the Klinsman incident, that must have really shook the dressing room.

I think to solve this is difficult. The three main factors I can think of is to bring in a good assistant, to get rid of Tex c*nt, and to have a nice, easy confidence building fixture list to start the season with. This last one should not be underestimated - look at what it did for Arsenal this year and the Mancs last year.

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #142 on: May 12, 2008, 07:05:39 PM »
and to have a nice, easy confidence building fixture list to start the season with. This last one should not be underestimated - look at what it did for Arsenal this year and the Mancs last year.

True - but with the traditional game less than everyone else early doors cos of the CL qualifier, plus the usual tricky away game to start the season plus Lucas and Masch at the Olympics I can see us being a little off the pace by September by which time the usual media pressure will e cranked up. Hope I'm wrong.

Offline GoldenFleece

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #143 on: May 12, 2008, 07:15:51 PM »
This is quite an easy question in my opinion... We don't "quite" have a good enough team/squad. I thought at the beginning of the season that a team that would/could have Riise, Pennant & Kuyt on the pitch at the same time surely couldn't win the league. I thought we might give it a good run though.

Agger's injury was massive. S it changed the way the ball was carried out from the back and also meant that we defended deeper and therefore we were playing our football in an ineffective part of the pitch and couldn't squeeze the play as we like to do (something we do better than anyone in Europe)

The off the field chaos has not helped apart from giving Benitez a bit more time in charge! In my opinion we have the best manager in the world and I think the off field chaos has put him in a pretty untouchable position within the club. He is now the only member of the Liverpool hierarchy that alot of supporters trust... so there may be a silver lining after all.

But in conclusion I don't think our squad or first sixteen is as strong as the manc's or the Chelsea. I don't think it is that big a gap and with a sensible summers spending we may be really close next year. So I wouldn't say it all went wrong especially but was destined to be unspectacular from the start.

Offline sidneyroughdiamond

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #144 on: May 12, 2008, 07:20:22 PM »
You can mention all the statistics you like regarding goals scored and clean sheets gained. But it's obvious that are spell of draws from November to February cost us dearly. Another problem is our inability to take points of the three "big" teams, our record against these teams is growing increasingly desperate. When your going into matches at the emirates, stamford bridge and old trafford expecting nothing then you can never expect to maintain a challenge for the league. You can normally rely on us to do the business against these teams at home but even that is wavering now. If we are to challenge for the league we will have to achieve more points gained against these teams than dropped simple as.
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Offline skidz73

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #145 on: May 12, 2008, 07:23:17 PM »
I'd prefer to look at the homes against Wigan, Villa and Spurs. Those were guaranteed nine points in previous seasons. SO add that dropped six to 76 and we get 82.

Then we see exactly how decisive the home games against United, Chelsea and Arsenal all were.
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Offline sidneyroughdiamond

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #146 on: May 12, 2008, 07:38:21 PM »
I'd prefer to look at the homes against Wigan, Villa and Spurs. Those were guaranteed nine points in previous seasons. SO add that dropped six to 76 and we get 82.

Then we see exactly how decisive the home games against United, Chelsea and Arsenal all were.

I take your point but during the course of a season your going to have these games in which you drop what should be 3 points, i know this season we've done that unusually at home. However i still maintain that if your going to concede the "big" games year in year out then it puts too much pressure to routinely polish off the so called "lesser" teams.
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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #147 on: May 12, 2008, 07:39:12 PM »
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Offline skidz73

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #148 on: May 12, 2008, 07:42:22 PM »
I take your point but during the course of a season your going to have these games in which you drop what should be 3 points, i know this season we've done that unusually at home. However i still maintain that if your going to concede the "big" games year in year out then it puts too much pressure to routinely polish off the so called "lesser" teams.

You've obviously acknowledged the fact that draws were at home, but even still they are games we've won with no bother over the last three seasons. The number of draws at home this season has been frustrating. That is where I think we could have ultimately seen a challenge from us falter as we have in the past always been able to rely on our home form which has been as good as any side which has won the league in seasons gone by.
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Offline sidneyroughdiamond

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #149 on: May 12, 2008, 07:43:48 PM »
The top four's record against each other this season is as follows:

Man utd) 13 points from a possible 18

Chelsea) 8 from 18

Arsenal) 6 fom 18

Liverpool) 4 from 18
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Offline Barnes & Beardsley

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #150 on: May 12, 2008, 07:49:34 PM »
It is interesting reading all your views and most seem to agree that the off field problems can’t really be used as an excuse.

What I find interesting is that a lot of people feel we don’t have enough quality in each position. I admit our first XI is not as strong as the top two and our record in the mini league over the last four years is not great; only 4 wins out of 24 with 17 points out of 72. However, the real question is do we feel our team isn’t good enough to beat the teams below us? My opinion is that I don’t accept this and we’ve seen that we can beat anyone apart from the mancs, but doing it consistently throughout the season is a different matter. There is no doubt that we need to take points off the top three, but we can’t afford to throw away 7 points against 2 relegated teams like a poster previously said.

I would say the fixture list this season was pretty fortunate. We didn’t face any of the top 3 until the end of October and we lost the momentum after the 6-0 Derby win. We need to be aiming for 85 points next year.



Offline skidz73

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #151 on: May 12, 2008, 07:51:20 PM »
The top four's record against each other this season is as follows:

Man utd) 13 points from a possible 18

Chelsea) 8 from 18

Arsenal) 6 fom 18

Liverpool) 4 from 18

I reckon we've pegged Chelsea and United back there. Going forward I feel we are more than capable of getting 9 points from the 3 home games. And that's what we have to aim for.
By the way, I should tell you that I haven’t had a chance to shower while making my way up here, my balls are extra vinegary.

Offline OLD SAINT NICK'S GOT BIG SNOWY BALLS

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #152 on: May 12, 2008, 07:52:32 PM »
The top four's record against each other this season is as follows:

Man utd) 13 points from a possible 18

Chelsea) 8 from 18

Arsenal) 6 fom 18

Liverpool) 4 from 18

Surprised me that one - I always though United were far and away the best against the 'Small 16'. They took 74 points off them, we took 72

Offline a partridge in seat_5c

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #153 on: May 12, 2008, 08:57:51 PM »
For example, how can someone say something like "not playing Torres against X (eg, Pompey)" is the reason we didn't win the league?

very easily

he rotates in the wrong games

why you would play a weakened side AWAY against a top half side is simply beyond me

if there's 12 games a season you start with your strongest side it is AWAY to the other 9 top half sides and at home against the other top 3 sides

12 games

it's not that fucking hard is it surely


I love the fella dearly but I do share Nidge's doubts whether Rafa has the ability to guide us to a title. He always seems to want to do it the hard way. Got a slight lead at the top of the table ? Good opportunity to rotate a bit and keep players fresh for the end of the season. The fuck is it !!

I do think rotation has its merits, and I thought despite the settled side in the back third bringing us a string of good results, we didn't show the same intensity against Chelsea in the CL semi that we've shown in the past, so perhaps a bit of tiredness had crept in. So yeah rotate a little bit but for fuck sake do it in the right matches.

And this isn't near-jerk, I made the same comments last summer in some thread on what Rafa absolutely needed to do this season to stand any chance of winning the league. Sorry to say it but he fucked it up.

Offline Barnes & Beardsley

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #154 on: May 12, 2008, 09:30:23 PM »
The effects of Torres and Gerrard missing games

Torres missed 4 games
Everton (A) (Inj) Won 2-1
Blackburn (A) (Inj) Draw 0-0
Chelsea (A) (Inj) Draw 0-0
Birmingham (A) (Not selected) Draw 2-2

Torres was a sub for 5 games
Portsmouth (A) 0-0 came on 62
Birmingham (H) 0-0 came on 60
Fulham (H) won 2-0 came on 71 and scored the first on 81
Arsenal (A) 1-1 came on 80
Fulham (A) won 2-0 unused

8 points dropped not included the games when he was injured.

Is it a coincidence that out of the 5 goalless draws; Torres missed 2 and only played 30 minutes in 2 others?

Gerrard missed 3 games
Sunderland (A) (Inj/Sus) won 2-0
Derby (H) (Inj/Sus) won 6-0
Fulham (A) (Not selected) won 2-0

Gerrard was a sub for 3 games
Portsmouth (A) 0-0 Unused
Arsenal (A) 1-1 came on 66
Birmingham (A) 2-2 Unused

6 points dropped

For the sub appearances both players were match fit and passed fitness tests before the games. They might not have been fully fit, but were fit enough to play.

Offline Barnes & Beardsley

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #155 on: May 13, 2008, 04:13:24 AM »
I think one of the biggest myths this season is that as soon as Alonso returned from injury our results improved. This is not an attack on Xabi and I'm not saying we didn't miss him throughout the season; just an observation looking at the results.

Xabi was injured for 2 months after the Arsenal game and returned for the away game against Derby on 26 December which we won 2-1. We then went on our worst run of the season with 4 points from 15 in January.

26 Dec - Derby away: 2-1 win (Alonso played the full 90)
30 Dec - Man City away: 0-0 draw (Alonso unused sub)
02 Jan - Wigan home: 1-1 draw (Alonso played the full 90)
12 Jan - Middlesbrough away: 1-1 draw (Alonso came on 59)
21 Jan - Villa home: 2-2 draw (Alonso unused sub)
30 Jan - West Ham away: 1-0 loss (Alonso played the full 90)

Xabi didn’t play in the PL & CL in February and in this month we had 3 wins and 1 draw and started our run of 7 straight wins.

02 Feb – Sunderland home: 3-0 win
10 Feb – Chelsea away: 0-0 draw
19 Feb – Inter home: 2-0 win (Alonso unused sub)
23 Feb – Middlesbrough home: 3-2 win

When he returned for the rest of the season against Bolton on 2 March, our results and performances had already improved considerably compared to January.

Can we credit Alonso solely for our 5 straight wins in March and continuation of good results in the last 3 months? There is no doubt that our performances improved. However, it coincided with the fact we were out of the title race, out of the domestic cups with only the CL to win, we settled on a formation and personnel and the realisation that we had a fight on our hands to secure fourth place. Gerrard also made his ‘rallying call’ at the end of February; a few weeks after the embarrassing loss to Barnsley in the FA cup.

Offline Mimi

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Re: Season 2007/8 - Where did it all go wrong?
« Reply #156 on: May 13, 2008, 06:00:38 AM »
Yes, there was shite off the field. But Rafa made mistakes in not using it for the benefit of the team.

And even if he tried, there were just as many supporters willing to use the occasion to stick the knife into  Benitez. It was commonly thought that Rafa had instigated the mess and there were a lot of supporters for Gillett and Hicks at the time. There was much reservation about the march support of Rafa, there was willingness to understand the Klinsmann fiasco because it was assumed Rafa brought it on himself, there were the infamous threads calling in support of Rafa or those suggesting other managers, some even thought he deserved it given the Newcastle press conference, and a lot of people still remembered his demeanour after Athens. I think given the lack of information people had at the time to the state of relationship between Gillett and Hicks, Rafa was put in a hard place and almost had no bargaining power. So how was he supposed to rally the supporters for the team, when his own position was so weak?

Now his position is diametrically opposite; it is so much stronger because the rift between Gillett and Hicks has been revealed fully. Those that supported Rafa at the time of the Newcastle press conference did as much on the basis of intuition and faith in the manager and trust in those few members who had some access to behind the scenes knowledge. I know because I was one, and it was a difficult argument to make given that whatever facts available at the time could also have been spun in favor of Gillett and HIcks, who at the time appeared united.   

I'm not sure why you use Mourinho as an example of someone who managed their way to titles while his position was questioned- they have been unable to take back the league ever since his relationship with Roman soured, and now stretching to two seasons (so far). One smart thing that Abromovich did when Grant was under question was to affirm his position with the six year contract. people laughed, but look at the stability it gave them at least within the dressing room. At our lowest point of the season, there was open dissension in ours. As for Ferguson, their takeover never involved a questioning of his position. He has given the Glazers a rallying point against those who wanted to break away and form their FC United. Rafa has emerged to be a rallying point, but only after being bloodied himself and openly questioned by all parties involved. 

Maybe now we can be blase about the off field chaos because it looks like there might be end game in sight at least for Gillett. Let's not forget how quickly sides and positions changed within the last five months, which seems like a life time ago.