Yep. Time to beat the Burnley hoodoo. An opportunity to go into the international break on a positive note. Keep the momentum going from our fantastic victories against Yeovil and Brentford Reserves. It didn’t quite turn out the way we wanted did it?
Yesterday was the most abject performance Rams performance I can recall in recent years, probably worse than that away loss against Palace and the home FA cup defeat by Blackburn last season. Even hearing that Forest and Leicester lost didn’t take the edge off my morose, sulky journey back home to Watford. So what went wrong?
I have a lot of time for Sean Dyche, he’s a good manager at this level and did a great job at Watford the season before last. Unsurprisingly, his team worked hard as a unit yesterday and were well organised, focused and disciplined. But they were no more than that. It’s got to be a massive cause for concern that we got turned over at home by a side that just concentrated on getting the basics right. We’re going to face much better teams over the course of this season. Obviously.
Like most Rams fans, until yesterday, I thought Freeman had been having a good season. He’s no Brayford, of course, but had looked pretty solid defensively and has done well going forward (particularly in the Yeovil game). He was very poor yesterday and certainly deserved to be subbed at half time. Was he at fault for the first two goals? Well, yes but so were others. Was it right for Clough to criticise him on Radio Derby after the game? I don’t have a problem with it but perhaps he could have been less blunt and shared the blame a bit wider (his later interview with the Derby Telegraph was a tad more diplomatic).
Where art thou Eustace?
After several games where Clough’s new fangled diamond midfield formation appeared to be working well, he had an important decision to make about who would replace the injured Hendrick. He made the wrong decision by picking Coutts and compounded it by playing 4-4-2 (although he said they changed it after ten minutes). Is the diamond just Clough’s method of accommodating Hughes, Bryson and Hendrick in the same team?
This game was crying out for Eustace to start in front of the defence. He would have bolstered our powder puff midfield and given a chance for Hughes, Bryson and Wardy to get forward more. As Chris Smith from the Ramspace blog (and others) have said, his experience and leadership might have made a crucial difference.
What needs doing?
A quick look at Twitter gives you all the answers you need to this question. Buy a “commanding centre half” (grow on trees do they?), spend “The Brayford Money”, desist from criticising your players in post match interviews and, of course, get rid of Clough.
I don’t know what the answers are (although sticking Eustace in would be a start) but the home League form this season has to be a massive concern. One point and no goals from open play in the first three games. Not good enough and it needs sorting.