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Alessandro

Believing our own hype?

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We built our winning run around being tough to beat, not scoring many goals and often winning ugly.

The Wolves game was a free pass, as was to a certain extent Norwich, but even to my layman eyes I felt like we'd stepped away from that solidity in favour of throwing more caution to the wind going forwards.

Before today I said I hope we haven't got complacent and started to believe our hype, as it were, and that I wanted us to grind out an ugly 1-0 win tonight.

Maybe some better amateur tacticians than me can say i'm wrong, but today was Norwich and Wolves again, but with less potency - end result, a disappointing loss. 

We are not good enough to score our way to promotion playing sexy football IMO - please let's go back to basics, tighten things up again and build from that.

Sorry this post is full of clichés, but I can't describe what i'm seeing technically - or maybe i'm wrong and people would rather see us giving it a go, even if we lose more games between now and the end of the season?

Edited by Alessandro
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Agree, LJs losing streaks (not saying it’s one yet but...) often have this pattern. We get some momentum by playing solid, simple and as a team that is more than the some of its parts. Then we seem to start thinking we’re better than we are technically and start playing too expansive and losing our shape etc. We get dicked by a few teams, lose confidence and spiral into a shit run. LJ goes back to basics, gets the shape back, start playing more compact (there was so much distance between the lines tonight) and we string a few results together get some confidence and it all goes round again....

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1 minute ago, RedSA said:

Agree, LJs losing streaks (not saying it’s one yet but...) often have this pattern. We get some momentum by playing solid, simple and as a team that is more than the some of its parts. Then we seem to start thinking we’re better than we are technically and start playing too expansive and losing our shape etc. We get dicked by a few teams, lose confidence and spiral into a shit run. LJ goes back to basics, gets the shape back, start playing more compact (there was so much distance between the lines tonight) and we string a few results together get some confidence and it all goes round again....

I'm not pushing the panic but yet, but I'd take a draw at Preston now to stop that happening.

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we are good at riding the confidence wave when things are going well.

As soon as that stops a panic sets in, a feeling of now knowing how to get out of it and manager that is unable to change it quick enough.

Has happened twice before. can easily happen again

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You need to shoot to score - we created pretty much nothing, sloppy marking, sloppy passing. Brum were tight to our players given them little time and packed midfield. They deserved the win. We are still sixth, the pack down to 13th are a lot closer, but it's still down to us, we can beat anyone on our day, we just need to get back to that.

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8 hours ago, Fiale said:

You need to shoot to score - we created pretty much nothing, sloppy marking, sloppy passing. Brum were tight to our players given them little time and packed midfield.

Totally agree Birmingham hurried us and for 75 minutes forced us to almost abandon central midfield, but I'm not sure it was a lack of shots that was out downfall. Twice in the second half Brownhill and Pisano took wild shots from distance when we had worked several players into much better positions ahead of them, so if anything I thought we weren't true to what got us here in the first place - patience to keep working the ball through the defensive line into better positions to create chances and once or twice have a spare man well placed to finish, rather than desperate pot shots from well in front of their back line.

Aside from Paterson, who set such an example when he came on, none of the players played with any composure or patience. Yes they were hurried by Birmingham and given little time to build, but even so it's poor that we surrendered our shape and the midfield so quickly - as @Alessandro says we forgot the basics of being tight and dogged which got us on our run. I would far sooner it have been 0-0 with ten minutes to go and no chances created, than the open game we got. Pack and Brownhill didn't combine or establish any foothold in central midfield (Pack and Webster only finally did together with 10 to go).

And feeding Paterson versus feeding Palmer was like chalk and cheese. Pato showed what we had been missing, someone to carry the ball and give others - like Dasilva - time to find space. Palmer tried to be cute whenever he got the ball but offered it so little protection that we gave away possession cheaply before we'd got anyone into space to build. He then compounded it by coming deeper (or really playing wherever he fancied) in the hope it would give him more time on the ball for his "tricks", never mind that it left Famara isolated and gave us few willing runners to allow us to play forward through midfield.

On the whole this is not a quick thinking team - it has done well precisely because it had given itself time to think by being solid and building, getting a spare man forward from defence so it doesn't need to rush the ball. Robbed of time by Birmingham last night we saw how few of our players can think quickly. Pack was great in the final ten minutes when he got time on the ball, but before that he was ineffective precisely because he was not given time (as an aside I think this is Walsh's long term advantage over him - ability to pick a pass more quickly). Brownhill was even worse, the game passed him by in a blur.

I don't think supporters were particularly impatient yesterday - it was more flat than anything - so I don't know why the players didn't feel they could slow it down and grind out a performance, but as in the OP perhaps we over committed to the higher line and attacking we've produced in our last couple of matches, forgetting the basics that have served us so well. Perhaps if Fam buries that chance first half we'd have settled better but instead it always felt like we were chasing a goal right from the start - when most of our wins have actually come from performances built on looking happy to protect a 0-0/point.

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10 hours ago, Alessandro said:

We built our winning run around being tough to beat, not scoring many goals and often winning ugly.

The Wolves game was a free pass, as was to a certain extent Norwich, but even to my layman eyes I felt like we'd stepped away from that solidity in favour of throwing more caution to the wind going forwards.

Before today I said I hope we haven't got complacent and started to believe our hype, as it were, and that I wanted us to grind out an ugly 1-0 win tonight.

Maybe some better amateur tacticians than me can say i'm wrong, but today was Norwich and Wolves again, but with less potency - end result, a disappointing loss. 

We are not good enough to score our way to promotion playing sexy football IMO - please let's go back to basics, tighten things up again and build from that.

Sorry this post is full of clichés, but I can't describe what i'm seeing technically - or maybe i'm wrong and people would rather see us giving it a go, even if we lose more games between now and the end of the season?

It has occurred to a degree. The ball is being played forwards faster. This creates space between City's lines for the opposition to exploit when the ball is lost. Birmingham could counter easily because the team was stretched. 

Tightening up is not necessarily what a team does without the ball it also what you do with it. Moving the ball safely through thirds creates safer zones of play, by looking after it you  have more players around possession, and can get into shape quicker when you lose it because of numerical superiority - Going forward quicker can lose that possession based structure.

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2 minutes ago, Cowshed said:

It has occurred to a degree. The ball is being played forwards faster. This creates space between City's lines for the opposition to exploit when the ball is lost. Birmingham could counter easily because the team was stretched. 

Tightening up is not necessarily what a team does without the ball it also what you do with it. Moving the ball safely through thirds creates safer zones of play, by looking after it you  have more players around possession, and can get into shape quicker when you lose it because of numerical superiority - Going forward quicker can lose that possession based structure.

This post has made me realise my OTIB supporter subscription has expired because I couldn’t like it, run out of reactions!

Yes it feels like we are playing the ball forward faster and we are playing higher up the pitch - obviously we changed up second half to a more direct approach, presuming that was a conscious tactical decision to counter Birmingham.

As I say it’s a difficult one to call because for months people complained about the ‘boring’ style of football and slow play - you can’t say that about the last 3 games really, but they’ve all ended in defeat.

Right now, I’d take us slowing things down a few percent and trusting the same processes that we built our run on.  

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The 35 year supporting cynic in me would not be suprised to see the wheels come off completely. That said, i think the squad is good enough and that last play off spot is still our own to defend. Tough game on Sat but it's the kind of game if won,  could start another decent run.

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6 minutes ago, Gazred said:

The 35 year supporting cynic in me would not be suprised to see the wheels come off completely. That said, i think the squad is good enough and that last play off spot is still our own to defend. Tough game on Sat but it's the kind of game if won,  could start another decent run.

It's the time of year traditionally teams that will stutter and fall away start to. Derby have lost 2 on the trot, Leeds lost last night - we know this division now and the way results can swing.

But so much football still to be played - it's that phycology between being hunter/hunted - favourite/under-dog. 

It's shifted a touch and we need to get used to that, but we play Leeds, Boro, Sheffield Utd and WBA in 4 of our next 7 games - where we might be more of an underdog and you wouldn't put it past us to nick an unexpected win or two against those lot - as you still we are still in the hunt which is great. 

Edited by Alessandro
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5 minutes ago, Alessandro said:

It's the time of year traditionally teams that will stutter and fall away start to. Derby have lost 2 on the trot, Leeds lost last night - we know this division now and the way results can swing.

But so much football still to be played - it's that phycology between being hunter/hunted - favourite/under-dog. 

It's shifted a touch and we need to get used to that, but we play Leeds, Boro, Sheffield Utd and WBA in 4 of our next 7 games - where we might be more of an underdog and you wouldn't put it past us to nick an unexpected win or two against those lot - as you still we are still in the hunt which is great. 

We are definitely in the hunt. We are still 6th, 2 points ahead of Derby who are on a bad run of form, and played a game less than the chasing pack from 8th onwards. Our destiny is definitely in our own hands but we have to get the mentality and tactics right, especially in these tough games coming up. Much of our success this season has been based on being tight at the back, and we need to go back to being difficult to beat first. A draw at Preston would be fine. Another defeat and the doubt won't have just crept in, it will have knocked down the front door and made itself at home!

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I thought yesterday we made way too many changes.

Palmer should never have started. He clearly hasn't understood fully our system yet. It reminds me of when Kent was introduced last season. Clearly talented, but causes more problems for the team than positives.

We were playing our 'normal' game first half...however...Individuals were having poor games. Palmer making the wrong decisions in dangerous parts of the field and losing the ball, leading to pressure and counter attack. And Weimann was very ineffective, regardless of boundless energy.

I would have kept Odowda on as he was having some nice touches and combinations with Da Silva. He wasn't having the best game...but it was far worse in midfield after he was taken off.

I would have also started Wright at RB...imo...he would have been perfect for this game, where his physicality would have been much needed.

I thought playing Wright at Norwich was also a wrong move...where we needed someone more like Pisano or Hunt imo. where agility was needed.

I was disappointed that LJ tactically abandoned our 'normal' game in the second half...where we basically abandoned midfield, and bombarded the Brum box with crosses, which were on most part easily dealt with. Even the second ball was easily won.

I look at the players on the pitch....and I don't see a side that can score goals from just crossing into the box.

We are far more productive playing through the lines with passing moves.

Perhaps the reasoning was, that LJ saw too many of our players having a bad day and it was just a gamble.

What was very apparent yesterday, is when our midfield isn't performing, we are stuffed and weak in reserve.

3 defenders for Subs?

Only one striker Matty Taylor, Palmers replacement, and a winger!!!

Not one midfielder.

Bad day at the office all round yesterday in every department.

What's more annoying is how similarities are occurring, that however 'odd' still play in the back of the mind and cause nerves and worry.

However stupid...a losing 'run' after a Wolves 1-0 defeat.

Palmer being brought in and not gelling straight away...reminiscent of Kent and Diony.

And our game style changing when it didn't need to.

There is an element of panic being felt...you could feel it in the ground yesterday.

As the OP said...we really need to go back to basics and play with players who know the system well.

 

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1 hour ago, Olé said:

Totally agree Birmingham hurried us and for 75 minutes forced us to almost abandon central midfield, but I'm not sure it was a lack of shots that was out downfall. Twice in the second half Brownhill and Pisano took wild shots from distance when we had worked several players into much better positions ahead of them, so if anything I thought we weren't true to what got us here in the first place - patience to keep working the ball through the defensive line into better positions to create chances and once or twice have a spare man well placed to finish, rather than desperate pot shots from well in front of their back line.

Aside from Paterson, who set such an example when he came on, none of the players played with any composure or patience. Yes they were hurried by Birmingham and given little time to build, but even so it's poor that we surrendered our shape and the midfield so quickly - as @Alessandro says we forgot the basics of being tight and dogged which got us on our run. I would far sooner it have been 0-0 with ten minutes to go and no chances created, than the open game we got. Pack and Brownhill didn't combine or establish any foothold in central midfield (Pack and Webster only finally did together with 10 to go).

And feeding Paterson versus feeding Palmer was like chalk and cheese. Pato showed what we had been missing, someone to carry the ball and give others - like Dasilva - time to find space. Palmer tried to be cute whenever he got the ball but offered it so little protection that we gave away possession cheaply before we'd got anyone into space to build. He then compounded it by coming deeper (or really playing wherever he fancied) in the hope it would give him more time on the ball for his "tricks", never mind that it left Famara isolated and gave us few willing runners to allow us to play forward through midfield.

On the whole this is not a quick thinking team - it has done well precisely because it had given itself time to think by being solid and building, getting a spare man forward from defence so it doesn't need to rush the ball. Robbed of time by Birmingham last night we saw how few of our players can think quickly. Pack was great in the final ten minutes when he got time on the ball, but before that he was ineffective precisely because he was not given time (as an aside I think this is Walsh's long term advantage over him - ability to pick a pass more quickly). Brownhill was even worse, the game passed him by in a blur.

I don't think supporters were particularly impatient yesterday - it was more flat than anything - so I don't know why the players didn't feel they could slow it down and grind out a performance, but as in the OP perhaps we over committed to the higher line and attacking we've produced in our last couple of matches, forgetting the basics that have served us so well. Perhaps if Fam buries that chance first half we'd have settled better but instead it always felt like we were chasing a goal right from the start - when most of our wins have actually come from performances built on looking happy to protect a 0-0/point.

Ole, I don't want to kiss your ass too much here (!), but your level of analysis is borderline genius, really enjoy reading everything you write and the fact you post on OTIB - legend.

 I'd love to see you on the city coaching team!

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14 minutes ago, spudski said:

I thought yesterday we made way too many changes.

Palmer should never have started. He clearly hasn't understood fully our system yet. It reminds me of when Kent was introduced last season. Clearly talented, but causes more problems for the team than positives.

We were playing our 'normal' game first half...however...Individuals were having poor games. Palmer making the wrong decisions in dangerous parts of the field and losing the ball, leading to pressure and counter attack. And Weimann was very ineffective, regardless of boundless energy.

I would have kept Odowda on as he was having some nice touches and combinations with Da Silva. He wasn't having the best game...but it was far worse in midfield after he was taken off.

I would have also started Wright at RB...imo...he would have been perfect for this game, where his physicality would have been much needed.

I thought playing Wright at Norwich was also a wrong move...where we needed someone more like Pisano or Hunt imo. where agility was needed.

I was disappointed that LJ tactically abandoned our 'normal' game in the second half...where we basically abandoned midfield, and bombarded the Brum box with crosses, which were on most part easily dealt with. Even the second ball was easily won.

I look at the players on the pitch....and I don't see a side that can score goals from just crossing into the box.

We are far more productive playing through the lines with passing moves.

Perhaps the reasoning was, that LJ saw too many of our players having a bad day and it was just a gamble.

What was very apparent yesterday, is when our midfield isn't performing, we are stuffed and weak in reserve.

3 defenders for Subs?

Only one striker Matty Taylor, Palmers replacement, and a winger!!!

Not one midfielder.

Bad day at the office all round yesterday in every department.

What's more annoying is how similarities are occurring, that however 'odd' still play in the back of the mind and cause nerves and worry.

However stupid...a losing 'run' after a Wolves 1-0 defeat.

Palmer being brought in and not gelling straight away...reminiscent of Kent and Diony.

And our game style changing when it didn't need to.

There is an element of panic being felt...you could feel it in the ground yesterday.

As the OP said...we really need to go back to basics and play with players who know the system well.

 

Excellent comments, bloody annoying though ... why did so many players have a bad day when it was such a crucial game?  Is the pressure getting to them?

Will the team get back to basics against Preston?  It seems like one of those games this season we'll win 1-0, and no doubt it will have been something we haven't done for about thirty years.

The similarities you mention between introducing Palmer this time around and Kent last season are a bit alarming.  Paterson has to retain his place.

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2 hours ago, Cowshed said:

It has occurred to a degree. The ball is being played forwards faster. This creates space between City's lines for the opposition to exploit when the ball is lost. Birmingham could counter easily because the team was stretched. 

Tightening up is not necessarily what a team does without the ball it also what you do with it. Moving the ball safely through thirds creates safer zones of play, by looking after it you  have more players around possession, and can get into shape quicker when you lose it because of numerical superiority - Going forward quicker can lose that possession based structure.

Think a bona-fide 4-3-3 might help in that respect- 4-3-3, in set zones of play- feels more compact.

I know we have our 4-1-4-1 which has been very successful and I'd be loathe to tinker- plus Paterson has come on greatly since Palmer joined- but just seems we are lacking that stability. Back to the best tactical aspects of this run at Preston Saturday hopefully and then we can perhaps build from there.

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3 hours ago, Alessandro said:

This post has made me realise my OTIB supporter subscription has expired because I couldn’t like it, run out of reactions!

Yes it feels like we are playing the ball forward faster and we are playing higher up the pitch - obviously we changed up second half to a more direct approach, presuming that was a conscious tactical decision to counter Birmingham.

As I say it’s a difficult one to call because for months people complained about the ‘boring’ style of football and slow play - you can’t say that about the last 3 games really, but they’ve all ended in defeat.

Right now, I’d take us slowing things down a few percent and trusting the same processes that we built our run on.  

Thinking this now as well. Was vocal in my displeasure a couple of months ago about our dire lack of goal-scoring threat, but now Im coming round to the 'keep it tight' way of thinking and try and scrape one nils etc. Realise that our defensive attributes are our best bet to reach the playoffs. George Grahams Arsenal anyone?!?

Feels similar to our last promotion push actually, we had a shocking goals for average back then as well, but still managed to scrape the points to keep us in the playoffs.

Edited by jaydee=inspiration

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3 hours ago, reddogkev said:

Excellent comments, bloody annoying though ... why did so many players have a bad day when it was such a crucial game?  Is the pressure getting to them?

Will the team get back to basics against Preston?  It seems like one of those games this season we'll win 1-0, and no doubt it will have been something we haven't done for about thirty years.

The similarities you mention between introducing Palmer this time around and Kent last season are a bit alarming.  Paterson has to retain his place.

LJ spoke about this in his post match presser.

He said how some players are still "stretched at this level" in terms of consistency.

Obviously the two half time subs come under scrutiny - KP still settling in and he thought COD looked leggy, although the player said he felt good.

Hoping our big gap in 3 games time can be used to get as many people as possible fit, fresh and raring for the run in.

Edited by Alessandro

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4 hours ago, Alessandro said:

This post has made me realise my OTIB supporter subscription has expired because I couldn’t like it, run out of reactions!

Yes it feels like we are playing the ball forward faster and we are playing higher up the pitch - obviously we changed up second half to a more direct approach, presuming that was a conscious tactical decision to counter Birmingham.

As I say it’s a difficult one to call because for months people complained about the ‘boring’ style of football and slow play - you can’t say that about the last 3 games really, but they’ve all ended in defeat.

Right now, I’d take us slowing things down a few percent and trusting the same processes that we built our run on.  

Bashfully I can say there is in my post history suggesting progression could be the approach and formation Lee Johnson has used to build that run.I certainly didn't expect the outcome to be as startling as it was. I also say something along the lines that I may not necessarily enjoy the outcome .. I do find some of the football boring. And that is it often. Perceptions and desires.

On Otib there are countless posts wanting this and that and that change but they ignore why Bristol City have advanced to where they are … That process secured parts of the pitch. By being more direct (attacking) parts of the process may have been surrendered.

Change last season saw the teams form nosedive. Spudski makes a point about Palmer v Kent. This player looks like he may seriously inhibit the way the team was playing by wanting to do too much, too many touches, poor decisions … No get, it secure it, move it.  

Change can come later. The successes of this season can be progressed later. Right now? Change. No. Be boring hard to beat. Looking at the squad it is not awash with goal scoring possibility. What Lee Johnson has done formerly is practical logical and methodical. Back to the dull basics please.

 

Edited by Cowshed

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I think a few have identified exactly where we are and where maybe now , well the last few games we look and feel a little different. An exceptional winning run, and it was, always, at any level has a bit of say luck and fortune. It might have been easy to get carried away with results, when the truth lay somewhere more realistic. LJ had set up and found a playing style that matched the players available to him ( transfer policy is another argument) . It was solid, consistent in approach and selection, and the players knew how to operate it. It was hellish boring to watch, but it was effective and build a steady mid table position with a sniff of the playoffs. Not bad. When I saw Palmer starting yesterday, that already raised a concern, and a bit of deja vu. Palmer has something, but as his boss at Blackburn stated, he needs to learn the game  in all of the phases before he can be a starting player . There was no indication that Palmer was ready for a game like that, indeed he looked more effective late on as a sub, where we might be chasing a goal. All of the shape, rigid defence that had gone before also went out of the window. We cannot score goals, when two of your forwards are Weimann and Taylor you have got to be worried, so chasing goals and games is not always our strong point though we have been resilient .I thought Brum did a good job on us, as did Wolves. I only saw highlights of Norwich, and I cannot say. Brum and Wolves changed how we were being attacked and others will follow. It needs we return back to our slightly turgid but effective approach, or we will see people losing their heads again, as we were playing early season. LJ first and foremost must go careful with his player management, give them back a shape and approach they can work with and not endlessly rotate player selection. All to play for of course and we are in a great situation for a play off place. Other teams around us , like Derby , having a few wobbles too. 

Edited by billywedlock

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@Olé yes, those two shots by JB and EP wind me up.  They are so wasteful of a good position.  Neither were in any position or body shape to have any chance of scoring.

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