A shallow piece of NCFC dignity was restored at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. Yes of course we lost, didn’t score, as has become de rigeur and, Olivier Giroud’s header from an excellent Christian Pulisic cross completely bamboozled Timm Klose who got nowhere near his man.
Not only did we fail to bother the “goals for” column yet again but registered not a single shot on target and in the process managed to achieve a personal best of losing eight league matches in a row.
But there was a bit of fight, although if the idea of going 4-5-1 and hoping the opposition waste all their chances is the shape of things to come you can count me out. Kind of reminds me of a previous regime. Chris Hughton anyone?
As others have said elsewhere, if we contrast this match with the 2-3 loss against Chelsea at Carrow Road earlier in the season it was really quite painful stuff to watch. The first game was one of the most enjoyable defeats I’ve ever witnessed as we gave it a good old go and probably deserved a point. This time around the match was hard to watch with enthusiasm, to put it mildly.
Daniel Farke’s take on events was I would suggest typical of what we know of the man.
“There are no happy days at the moment. We’ve been relegated so we’re not dancing on the tables. We lost a game and we’re still disappointed, but I was pleased with our reaction because it was a difficult night for us.
“We’ve been relegated for two days and my young lads handled it against a highly motivated Chelsea team who needed to win after their game against Sheffield United to finish in the top four.
“They’re a top class side in the best league in the world, so it was a difficult game for us but we were competitive. We looked solid in defending, were well structured and our tactical behaviour was spot on.”
It’s difficult to argue with him of course. But what concerns me the most is he will have only just over a month to try and reboot the mindset of this squad during which will be the strangest pre-season that any of us have ever experienced.
I had a short but interesting interchange with MFW’s Billy Dunthorne on his fine article on Tuesday wherein Billy said: “I think the lack of transfer speculation regarding incomings in defence would probably tell you we’re comfortable with our options”.
But how comfortable can we be with so many goals conceded from set pieces and [albeit excellent] crosses from the likes of Pulisic?
We are hearing of lots of incomings at basically the lower/middle level but with the exception of Sam McCallum they are all midfielders. No defenders and no strikers. With all respect to Stuart Webber, is this really what we need?
Genuine width, sure. Only Onel currently provides that, but CMs we have enough of unless we can get a box-to-box player kind of in the Damien Francis mould.
Anyway, it was good to hear Webber break his silence over the weekend and at surface value he made a fine speech. Who’s to say he might not have a pair of centre-backs and a striker up his sleeve? He yet might.
But pre-season will be uncharted territory for Farke who has to become Mr Motivator and that right quick, as we say round these parts.
August and slightly beyond will prove a real test for him to provide said motivation and to get that confidence restored. And then there will be the need to get the new faces indoctrinated into Farkeball, which despite Tuesday’s midfield blanket I do not really see changing too much in the Championship.
We need some steel for the Championship. Not specifically Sheffield steel, but steel nonetheless.
I have always found it a little bit counter-productive to criticise individual players but in this case I’ll break my own rule.
Courtesy of Declan MacManus, I’ll dedicate this to Josip Drmic.