Swansea City - Happy But Not Happy
Today was a much needed win over an unbeaten Sheffield United side tipped for promotion. Many had said before the match that it doesn't matter how the three points came as long as we get them. Well they had their wish, we got the three points without playing particularly well, but I am deeply concerned about what I saw.
First, I don't understand why Sousa persists in selecting an out of sorts/out of form Pintado when there are other options. Agreed I am an armchair manager like the other 14000 other supporters and we must make allowances for injuries, players with their minds needing sorting out and the tactics needed to counter a strong and well-organised Sheffield United side. But Pintado has not been cutting the mustard for me despite working hard and with a record signing Beattie who himself needs a run in the side on the bench I am finding it hard to make allowances.
Second, I thought the formation a clever one with Ashley playing as anchor between the defence and the midfield and with any other line up in front of him I would have given Sousa full marks. But again Sousa's selection was odd to say the least, unless there are mitigating circumstances I am not aware of. Where was Britton or Allen? Is size a consideration against a physically strong Sheffield side? But that has never been a problem in the past as Britton and Allen are tenacious tacklers who work hard over the whole pitch tracking back all the time to give the defence a hand when needed.
Third, Gower needs to be dropped. I found it hard to remember one pass from him that reached its intended target. His confidence is rock bottom and although dropping him may not help too much we can't afford to carry a player who seems to be getting worse not better.
Fourth, the fitness levels of the team seem to be poor. The whole team seems tired and it's only nine games in. Who trains them? I'd heard a rumour it was Sousa but I can't verify that. If so he needs to hand over those particular reins to someone who knows about these things.
Fifth, is Sousa operating a rotation system? The team changes every game. Each I am not a big lover of such tactics and would point to Burnley (and us last season) as examples of a team that got to know each other and how each other played.
Sixth, something is not right about the morale. I don't now what it is but my wife who is season ticket holder with me has picked this up and (yes it's in writing dear) is usually very perceptive about these things. And looking at the body language today I agree.
Seventh, I am not sure Lopez is a good acquisition. I get the feeling that he doesn't 'fit'. One of Martinez's strengths as a manager was his ability to buy or select players who were able to click with one another on a personality level. I get the impression - I may be wrong - that Lopez does not fit in this way and may be the cause of disharmony in the team.
Eighth, where on earth is the discipline? Two players off and others booked for piffling offences like time-wasting or kicking the ball into
Lastly, I am all for giving managers time to settle in and get the team, staff and style of play the way he wants it, but will these things really get sorted out in time or is Sousa's overall approach wrong on several levels?
To close. Positively it was good to see magic-daps score even if he looked a little slow and his first touch a little poor. Dyer was immense proving that its not the size of the player with a heart but the size of the heart in the player. The defence is solid - although Bessone scares me with his positional play. And de Vries is playing consistently well.
I won't be crying out for Sousa's sacking just yet - he still deserves more time - but I will be watching more than the way we play. I will be looking at body language, how the players interact, who plays and whether the fitness levels improve more.
Up the Swans!
With big thanks to Vital Swansea member 'Vicar' for sharing the article with us.
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