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What goes on in Mick`s Mind?

I have read all the reports, even contributing to the blogs, and we all agree that Mick McCarthy got his tactics wrong at Craven Cottage.

Correction: he got them spectacularly wrong!

Firstly, I was surprised to see the track-suited Jones make his way to the bench, considering all the praise he has received from the management recently and who, if he is really looking for a new club, would want to 'put in a shift` to showcase his skills.

Was MM trying to shore up the defensive midfield by selecting Mancienne or in a Machiavellian manoeuvre setting out to 'diss` Jones, while suggesting to Mancienne that he had a real future at Wolves?

If so, as last season proved, the Chelsea loanee operates best as the extra man in a 4-5-1 system. Yet, on Saturday MM started with two strikers, presumably considering that van Damme (plus Mancienne) offered sufficient additional cover in defence.

As ever, having shakily withstood the initial barrage (why can`t we start at Premiership pace?), the plan seemed to work.

We scored a good goal against the run of play, courtesy of Doyle and van Damme, and from my vantage point behind Hahnemann thought that for the rest of the half we comfortably contained Fulham. Of course, the absence of Zamora helped, as did Hughes`s failure fully to wind up Dembélé until the half-time break. At the interval my friend and I were busily recalculating the team`s fortunes over the rest of the season, based on the premise that if we gained three points away from home at the expense of a classy team, how big a pile would we amass by May.

So, what was going through MM`s mind at half-time? At best, he should have left well alone or perhaps have thought about 'parking the bus`, adding defensive strength by withdrawing Ebanks-Blake, adding Guedioura and leaving Doyle upfront. While I commend the manager for possessing the flexibility of mind to change his opinion of a player, he still has to rate him accurately against the other contenders for the position. SEB has certainly improved, putting in the required ' shift`, but does not possess the class and ball-magnetism of Doyle nor the touch and finesse of Fletcher. If he did not want to revert to a more defensive formation, he should have kept Fletcher in reserve, asking Doyle to run himself into the ground first.

I suspect that Fletcher`s presence influenced the manager`s decision. He could not risk leaving a supposedly fully fit £7,000,000 player on the bench and, as a result, van Damme, of all people, had to make way. If Jelle was injured or unfit, surely MM would have told us by now? More to the point, how fit is Fletcher? He was a mere shadow of the person who sparkled against Stoke until his injury, possibly in retaliation for the one on Kenwyne Jones, forced him off. We could be in for a rough ride, given our current reputation, which will increase the twitchiness of referees and give our opponents the justification to put the boot in. Ironically, K. Jones was fit enough to score the equaliser against Villa Saturday.

The substitution completely upset the balance of the team, both up front and in midfield, and, even worse, it confused the players. It perplexed Doyle, for instance, and neutralized his influence on the game. Instead of taking SEB off, who at least was playing in his recognised position, and moving Doyle forward, he replaced the Irishman. Possibly Doyle was tired after his international exertions or MM had decided that he was not performing well enough, without recognizing the real reason for his striker`s distress. David Jones came on and was equally ill at ease. Why, if the manager wanted to add 'bite` (probably the wrong word to use at the moment), did he not bring on Guedioura, who is 'flying` and is desperate to play for the side? Mancienne, it should be added, had a shocker.

To sum up, I haven`t a clue what MM was thinking about. It would be interesting to hear his spin on the match, explaining why he acted as he did before and during the course of the game. Unless he can validate his actions - and he has not done so yet- he should own up to his mistakes and hopefully learn from them. I am a Mick McCarthy fan but was amazed at the seeming ineptitude of his decisions and might be forced to change my opinion if he gets it so badly wrong again. His tactics on Saturday were not just unfathomable they were bizarre and utterly counter-productive to events on the pitch. It was as if Hughes had walked into the Wolves dressing room at half-time, disguised as our 'gaffer`, and had dictated Fulham-friendly changes. Those made certainly played into their hands.



Southbank 60

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The Journalist

Writer: Southbank 60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday September 16 2010

Time: 11:00AM

Your Comments

Spot on. I'd asumed it was injury/fatigue but having heard nothing from the Wolves camp Mick is renowned for playing his favourites... and seb appears to be one of them... so out goes common sense and in comes pandering to 2 or 3 of his golden childs. must return to 451 on Sat. No Seb. and Gedioura must play.
Ad Mant
we've been talking about this already,check out "Wolves lose Unbeaten record".
Crete Wolf
Oops! Thanks for pointing out the overlap Crete Wolf. I did read the original article but not the follow-up comments. Nice that we are all in agreement though. Pity it can't alter the result.
Southbank60
God 1 loss and the negatives come out , MM made a mistake big deal , We had a bad day at the office , It does happen to teams you know , Man Utd have lost there many times , Its not an easy place to go , Just take ur hats off to Fulham , They was the better team , And move on to Spurs and we should not expect anything from that game so treat it as a cup tie :-)
ODDJOB79
Fair enough and now the reasons are coming out. Van Damme and Doyle were tired, as I suggested they might have been. I still find it difficult to explain the three strikers on the pitch though.
Southbank60
A I wrote myself I was surprised that we had so many attacking players on the pitch at one time considering we held a one nil lead against Europa cup finalists, but Mick was pulling them off as their legs were giving way- he has since spoken about their training schedules whilst on international duty, and their need to do more, which all adds up to fatigue. Mick has been there and done it at every level, and whilst his decisions occasionally leave me baffled to say the least, these occasions have become less frequent and his tactical abilities appear to have improved significantly as time passes by- not many managers would have kept last seasons squad in the Premiership. As our Odd JOB says, it's one defeat. We were a minute away from a tremendous draw and would have been singing from the roof tops if the unbeaten run had been extended. Tomorrow is what matters- and yes- I would certainly taken the draw.
New York City Wolf
On first halves only we would have 12 points...so his half time team talk needs some work!!!!!!Maybe....
OLDGOLD
 

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