A fine line between success and failure
Tuesday night, against QPR, was a prime example of this.
Going into the game if I had been offered a 1-1 draw I would have, and I dare say most others would have too, bitten off the arm that was offering this scoreline to us - especially with the performance we had put in against Derby in the game before. QPR, although their record may have suggested otherwise were not 'unbeatable'. That said they were, and still are, top of the league and unbeaten so a point would have been a good return.
Long-term readers of Vital Pompey, and especially those that know me well and see me around most games, will know that I have this kid-like 'belief' that we are almost indestructible and no matter what is going on, and what has gone before, or who we play I feel that we will win every game. Perhaps I let my heart rule my head at times but I really have returned to those undisputed thoughts that we WILL win each week, and lets face it - not thinking we are the 'greatest team in the world' - at this level anything it possible so this really is not as out of reach, or unrealistic, as it might sound.
There was very little in it against QPR and it was those fine margins that made the difference - these being, I think, tactical know how, experience and arguably most importantly of all, in that instance at The Fortress that night, the options available to the managers on the bench?
Now, for these reasons above, I cannot really take full credit as it was a conversation with Chix on the way home that brought up those factors...
There is a huge gulf in experience when it comes to Neil Warnock and Steve Cotterill, and some might also argue quality? Tactically, whatever you might think of the guy you cannot doubt that Warnock has a good football brain, and I would say is a better tactician than Cotterill, quite possibly than Stevie every will be, not that this is a big at our manager mind.
Despite all of this the 'options available' factor is, or I should say was, 'probably' the key and most decisive factor in, what turned out to be, an inability to have seen off QPR and inflict their first nopower league defeat of the season. As far as 'strongest starting 11's' go, when all of ours are fit and available, all in all I think that there are not really many better than us at this level, although our problem, as it has been for a while really, is a lack of depth to the squad. Even though we battle through it is starting, and (I think I have decided to accept that this will be the case) will continue to - especially during the cold, wet and windy winter months that will see injuries increase and 'possibly' weather related cards, and therefore suspensions, clocked up - bite. As much as, due to the realistic nature of our situation, we cannot really be expecting many reinforcements can we?
That said, and this is what I have started to accept and think we have to manage to increase numbers somehow, the realisation that we have to find a way of getting in more bodies is becoming more apparent.
Ok, they 'might not' be ready but sometimes the best time to get ready is to be thrust into the mix, which is why I feel we need to make more of the younger players and utilise them more again instead of finding reason not to use them. Matty Ritchie, in particular is someone that I think we MUST bring back in the not too distant future as he does offer us a genuine option and outlet to use on the wing, either wing really, and at a push left back. My worry is, especially with the fact we allowed him permission to play for Swindon in the FA cup, that we have no plans in the immediate future, if at all, to bring him back! I would also say, new player wise, finding cheap free agents, or another emergency loan that could have a minimal permanent transfer fee attached with January in mind must surely be possible?
Ensuring things are conducted in a realistic, and affordable, manor continues to be a must - I trust I need not go into details as to why...
Anyway, back to the options point in connections to Tuesday's game, Chix's thoughts were with more options available to Cotterill it would have been interesting to see if we could have seen out the game? The fact that these thoughts even raise their head further highlights that 'lack of depth' feeling I guess, right?
It is funny how much 'only' getting a point against QPR was seen, in some quarters, as points dropped - in a way I guess I kind of agree as we were winning going into the dying minutes and this was a game at home, but once again this also highlights the 'fine line' thoughts. Part of me 'maybe' thinks that not winning, much like the defeat at Derby, will not hurt us too much and 'may' even do us some good. Granted beating QPR would have laid down a marker of intent but how those margins of error would have lessened and the expectation levels grown as a result!
Then again with such fine margins how much 'might' those dropped 2pts cost us in May...
All in all though I am more than content that the fine line that there is between success and failure sees us walking within the 'successful quadrant', and long, hopefully, may this continue!
PLAY UP POMPEY!