A good attitude is important
January 1, 2000
I have missed a bit of live football recently, so it’s good to be back at the Mem today.
First of all, my wife Gill and I sincerely thank all at Bristol Rovers, Supporters, Volunteers, Management Team, Staff Players and Directors for the very many good wishes that we have received over the past couple of weeks especially, and indeed, over the past months, leading up to Gill’s major surgery.
We are pleased to say that the operation was successful and that the usual mix of gentle exercise and rest will see Gill on the way to a full recovery. Thank you so very kindly. Makes you realise that win, lose, or draw, football is only a game and that you should work to live and not live to work.
The role of ultimate house husband is ok, chores by day and more TV watching by evening than as is normal, well for me at least. Still, the Euro matches made up a little for not being able to be so much involved with the blue and white action here in Bristol and around the country. Spurs caught my eye, particularly, what a difference an out and out winger can stil bring to the game!
I searched the domestic and European web sites in earnest for post match reactions from within the game but found the best round up on the official FIFA website no less. Here’s what Mr Redknapp had to say about the Gareth Bale performance against Inter at White Hart Lane;
“He’s against a right back who is rated as the best in the world and what he’s done to him over the last two games is amazing.”
The Spurs boss goes on;
“He’s also a great lad. You couldn’t meet a nicer, lower maintenance boy than him.”
Lower maintenance is a new one on me, but I am sure Sir Alex would understand. The point is a serious one, though. Good attitude is an important factor in the modern game and it is what youth coaches look very carefully for.
North London rival Arsene Wenger was not so happy. He accused Arsenal of complacency after Shakhtar Donetsk stormed back to beat the Gunners 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League. The FIFA site saw it this way. Wenger’s side looked in control when Theo Walcott opened the scoring at the Donbass Arena, but the Ukrainian champions knocked Arsenal out of their stride after that. French left back Gael Clichy gifted Shakhtar the lead on the stroke of half time. Clichy had time to clear from deep inside his own half, but instead opted to take an extra touch, allowing Darijo Srna to steal possession and drill over a low. cross that Eduardo swept past Lukasz Fabianski.
Wenger saw things from a wider perspective;
“We lost concentration in the duels and you could see what was coming towards half time. I felt we moved out of the game altogether and moved into the game altogether, so it was more of a team problem, a kind of complacency problem more than an individual problem. We have learned the lesson that at this level you cannot lose focus at any moment and that is why we were punished.”
Take your point, Arsene, but it looked like a huge individual error to me, as FIFA reported, gifted mate. Talking about not losing focus at a European level, isn’t that what managers at League 1 level say as well? Just goes to show, the Arsenals of this world suffer at times just like the rest of us. The truth is often forgotten, there are 22 players out there, and not just 11.
FIFA has Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho also talking about levels following his team’s fight back at AC Milan. He is reported as saying;
“The important thing is to learn to play at this level”
Like nicking a point at the death perhaps? Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri couldn’t hide his disappointment at having given up the chance of victory so close to the final whistle;
“We didn’t get disorganised, we waited for the right moment and under normal circumstances, just a few seconds from the end, the game was won. But this happens in football,” he said. “I’m disappointed that we lost the three points 20 seconds from the end.”
We have certainly seen a lot of last minute action ourselves this season. It never pays to leave before the final whistle.
Finally, the Football League web site in the week following the Carlisle game Team of the week:
Mikkel Andersen – Bristol Rovers: Rovers were staring defeat in the face when Carlisle were awarded a last minute penalty at the Memorial Ground. Referee ON Langford claimed that defender Gary Sawyer had handled the ball in his own box. However, Andersen preserved a point for Rovers with a fantastic stop down to his left to deny Gary Madine.
Jamie Cureton – Exeter City: Even at the tender age of 35 veteran striker Jamie Cureton is still scoring goals for fun. He helped himself to a brace at the weekend, but sadly for Exeter they finished on the end of a rare home defeat to Brentford.
Well done to them.