Liverpool Message Board
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I actually don’t disagree with most of that Mel. We do need to show more character in matches, and I'd hoped the WHU match would have been a turning point where we did show some character, but it seems it’s not stuck.
I also do think it’s down to the manager to help create that, but also have to recognize how young the set of players he's working with is, and therefore how hard a task he has on his hands. We’re not talking about many seasoned veterans here, but quite a few kids who need to be taught not to be intimidated. It seems to me they almost always go out believing in themselves, their team mates and the system, hence some of our great starts to games, but are too easily dented if or when things don’t go to plan. But I so have to give some credit, its few times I’ve seen the lads actually stop playing. Even down by 2 at Stoke, and still getting clattered into, they kept going.
But on the progress issue I do have some disagreement. Progress is movement from one place to another. Positive progress assumes moving forward, negative the opposite. We are on or about the same point total now as when Roy was in charge, however you have to take account of where we were coming from before that point.
In hindsight I don't actually put all the blame on Roy (the previous owners I think have major culpability) but he took a team that had just fallen out of the top 4, having finished 6th the previous season, with the expectation that we'd bounce right back, and took us down further in the table. It's hard to argue from the point he began to the point he left us, under his regime we were going in the wrong direction.
For BR he did take over a club that finished 8th, but its second half form was well below that as others have pointed out. Near relegation battlers I believe. Based on that we're well above relegation performance so it could be argued we're moving forward, but the highest we've reached so far is 8th, so maybe the progress is rather stunted.
But for some it comes back to how they define progress, and how much expectations plays into things. If that means not reaching a certain target, and some still have the expectation that not being in the top 4 is failure they will never see progress. However if progress is moving forward from the current position toward a goal, then I think it’s a different matter. I also think it is important to look beyond the raw statistics. They are important as measurements, but other factors can be considered.
If Rafa had not won the CL in 2005 (and some still think he did it with someone else’s side) most would say he took us backward in his first season in charge. Based on pure statistics that would be fair, but he was also building a platform for progress, by bringing in his players, instilling his ideas, and building up things behind the scenes. It’s that platform that got us to Cardiff, and make us think we could take a serious run at the league. Question is does anyone see the same building by BR that may not pay off this season, but will in seasons to come?