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Quick Starts and Secure Finishes

Most fans agree that the Wolves have been performing reasonably well for long passages of games but have suffered from slow starts and a lack of concentration in the last ten minutes. The statistics, according to the official match reports, are horrific.
Leaving aside the cup matches, in which we benefited from late goals in two games and suffered in the third (against Manchester United), lapses in the final few minutes have cost us five points (and potentially even more).
In addition, we have invariably started slowly. We even gave away goals in the first minute of two matches, ultimately losing both games when we might reasonably have expected to gain four points. Ironically, we should feel relieved that we did not ship more goals at the start because out of the thirteen league games played, we were under pressure from the kick-off in ten of them.
Loss of concentration, leading to free kicks and penalties, from which the opposition scored, occurred in six games. Altogether, they cost us nine points. Naturally, one should add Henry`s stupid foul to this list of aberrations as, arguably, it was responsible for us dropping a further three points.
So, if we learn to focus on the match from beginning to end, we can pick up a lot of points, even if we do not play any better. How do we achieve this aim? Even if I was being silly when suggesting that ADHD was to blame, the problem appears to be a mental one rather than a lack of physical fitness (if stories emanating from the Compton training camp are to be believed). At the kick-off we seem intimidated by the top teams and affected by expectation-weighted tension when playing lesser sides (this will soon change, as there will be no lesser sides left). At the end of the match, tension rules supreme.
Is it my fault that the team is suffering such mental anguish? Is it unfair of me to put so much pressure on extravagantly paid players by asking them to do the basics correctly: defend as if one's life depended upon it, pass to a member of the same team, score when presented with a reasonable opportunity and concentrate from the kick-off until the final whistle. As I suggested in an earlier blog, we should play as if already relegated and therefore with nothing to lose. Indeed, we improved when we adopted this approach against Manchester City and United, Arsenal and Chelsea and belatedly against Bolton.
The trick is to play like that all the time. Perhaps the team should employ a sports psychologist, though in an interview on 10 November MM ridiculed the notion. The players do have the services of Bill Stevens, a sports therapist, who should include a reality check when he talks to individual players. At the moment psychological conditioning appears to consist solely of whistling in the dark. Alternatively, the management could employ a primary school teacher to instruct the team in telling the time, with an emphasis on working out what the big hand is pointing to in the last ten minutes of the game (plus injury time).

There remains the problem of the sluggish starts. Apart from banning the players from excessive 'exuberance` in the days leading up to a match, they should give greater consideration to their preparation on match-day. Athletes warm up for an hour or more before a race, yet, apparently, the Wolves limber up in the first ten minutes of play. As far as I can see, the players come out a few minutes before the start and kick the ball a few times before returning to the dressing-room. They are barely out of first gear when the whistle blows. They could at least jig about with the go-go dancers, if only to practise their corner-flag celebrations, should they ever score a goal.




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The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday November 19 2010

Time: 10:05PM

Your Comments

Banksy- I enjoy your articles tremendously so take note that you are not a blogger, but a writer. Another cracking piece of work and great points raised and working in mental health, there are a lot of questions to be asked about the way we have started and finished games, the concentration lapses, the inability to concentrate for 90 minutes. To ask of a player to throw himself into a full blooded challenge is a bare minimum- I hate war but to use it as an example soldiers earning relative peanuts in Iraq and Afghanistan have sniper bullets whistling past their ears so these pretty boy dandy's should have a think about pulling out of a tackle and as myself have mentioned in a previous article, consider themselves to be in a privileged position. Okay, some were born with talent, some have worked their socks off improving their game but they are paid absurd amounts of money for something they love. F* this far too mentioned bore of a players career being short. These days even the lower earners will hit sums that we may not earn in a year. I like a drink and I shall sink several tonight but I don't have to wake up tomorrow and play Blackpool in a game that has the potential to either allow us to put a foot on the bottom rung or potentially throw us into a state of disaster (as far as league tables stand). If we lose tomorrow it will be our 9th in 11, correct me if I am wrong. If we lose tomorrow, tell me who the hell we will beat. Several of us have agreed that we played great against the top sides and yes, left surprised with 3 points after expecting none when the reality is we could have finished with 9 but guess what- we didn't. I think you're point on our preparation is the stand out of the lot. I repeat, I am not another who is calling for the manager's sacking. I think he has done wonders for our beloved club, but our organization is a huge concern. Of greater concern is that if we can see it, they can and their efforts to fix what has been going wrong has led us into deeper trouble. I truly hope we get something tomorrow but the league is not looking pretty at all. Eternally optimistic, but you can't avoid realism.
New York City Wolf
true to every word. maybe they need to drink more lucozade
SmithyWolves
Maybe leave the lone strker, it has'nt worked!
seanlyncha7x
 

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