Tuesday night’s defeat against Crewe made it only one win form eight (If you count the Blues X1 matches) so should we be concerned. With only one more pre-season friendly until the Man United game it’s been a bit worrying to here words like “shambles” being used to describe our performances, and that’s from the manager. Considering the quality of the opposition the number of goals we have scored is very poor and looks like continuing to be our achilles heel. It also doesn’t look like McLeish knows who will be in his first team squad come August 16th. But do the results in pre-season friendlies really matter?
There is an argument that it’s all about fitness and that players will never really exert themselves for a non-competitive match. England friendliesare a good example, I’ve pretty much given up watching them. Also with players being at different levels of fitness depending on the off-season they’ve had it’s difficult to play a settled team. Looking around we are not the only Premier League club to suffer indifferent results. Manchester City have only won one game so far as well while many others have lost to lower league opposition. You would expect the lower league teams to be at a higher level of fitness due to their starting a week early. History also tells us that teams that do well in pre-season do not always do well when the real thing starts. Tottenham had an excellent pre-season last year but were bottom until Harry came along.
On the other hand is this just making excuses for a team that is not looking anywhere close to Premier League standard at the moment. The fitness argument is valid for early games but they should be up to speed by now. We should all be looking for a vast improvement against Gijonon Saturday. We can’t afford to start the season sluggishly because while the United game is in the ‘nothing to lose’ category it’s quickly followed by Portsmouth and Stoke at home. They are definitely in the ‘target for points’ category. Also why shouldn’t players be up for these games? Shouldn’t they all be pushing for starting places at Old Trafford?
My view is that while there are a number of things that still need working on we shouldn’t get too hung up about results in meaningless games. I have faith that things will be different when the real football starts.
Of course I may change my mind after watching Saturday’s game.