Reflections on Norwich defeat
Ending the Fratton season with defeat was not the way that we would have wanted it but that is what happened when we went down 1-0 to Norwich, who secured their promotion to the premier league as a result, last night...
Steve Cotterill did not have much to say about the game itself really, merely reflecting on what he thought 'could have been'.
A pretty even game really but a lack of cutting edge is all that he thought separated the sides: 'it was a tough game for them and us. I thought if we could have kept a clean sheet we might have nicked it 1-0, because we've not been free-scoring for a while.
'But we didn't do too badly to keep them quiet considering they have people capable of scoring goals all around their team. Their diamond formation didn't cause us too many problems.'
I do hope that Cotterill - assuming he is still here next season? - decides to dispense with this 4-3-3 come 4-5-1 formation that he continues to persist with and goes with a conventional 4-4-2 formation.
At least if he does keep with that formation I hope that he has someone at the head of the attacking threat that can do such a formation justice and the players out wide are not being utilised in a negative way, as some of our supporting players have in some ways this season and that had detracted from what they might have offered us in a more central role perhaps?
Quite why we did not go with this last night surprises me and why we did not change to this at 1-0 down, at least sooner, even more so.
Yep Cotterill has had his hands tied all season, some of this down to his own doing if we are honest, but - and do not think I am 'jumping on his back' - his predecessors were constantly knocked for their tactical failings. There have been many times this season where I would have to say, even taking into account all factors, that he has been found wanting too...
Cotterill had some words of praise for Norwich following their promotion but bemoaned 'what could have been' had our situation been different: 'I'm delighted for Norwich. Their owners are terrific and are proper football people. It's a great football club.
'But it's really difficult to see another team get promoted on your own patch. It's hard to take.
'The desire to manage in the Premier League burns inside me and it's hard to see another manager standing six feet away achieve that. But good luck to Paul Lambert.
'With a little bit of help and a few players it could have been us up there, although I don`t think we could have finished in the top two after the start we had.
'But the lads have been brilliant and it's a credit to them that we're where we are in the table. Without the players and supporters this club would be rock bottom of the Championship.
'Pound for pound we have the best supporters in the Championship - they've been first class from day one.'
When all is said and done survival in this league was the main aim and we have more than achieved this so we have achieved what was the minimal aim - as things stand at the moment our task would be to do exactly the same next season.
The worry is that with the continued uncertainty around the club next season looks as though it will be even tougher...
An up and down season comes to an end next weekend, it is just a shame that the game at Scunthorpe will almost certainly be a damp squib now because neither side has anything to play for at all - then again perhaps this will make it a blinder, maybe I am just hoping for something we will not get?!
At least it will be a new ground and a decent day out as always!
Congratulations to Norwich, best of luck to them next season back in the big time...
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