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Can the players be enjoying it?


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Following on from Kalas’ interview last night a thought arose.

Most of us have played football at whatever level. I played defence/dm. And I remember playing in some desperate rearguard actions, and it was exhilarating. But when I played in a rearguard action week after week it was draining and not enjoyable.

For our players who played further up the pitch, it was even less enjoyable. They liked taking players on, creating, scoring, and would sit in the changing room gradually getting more pissed off.

This isn’t about results. It’s about would you, aside from the financials, enjoy playing football the way we do? And could it affect our chances of signing players in the future?

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I think lots of it depends on the dressing room. If the players get on well, training is fun and there’s a good atmosphere then it’s probably fairly enjoyable regardless of results. 

If the atmosphere is toxic, there are factions within the dressing room and lots of stress then it’s probably not.

I imagine that those are bigger factors than style of play. Players all talk too and that’ll be what they’ll discuss if a potential new signing taps them for info.

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Just now, Phileas Fogg said:

I think lots of it depends on the dressing room. If the players get on well, training is fun and there’s a good atmosphere then it’s probably fairly enjoyable regardless of results. 

If the atmosphere is toxic, there are factions within the dressing room and lots of stress then it’s probably not.

I imagine that those are bigger factors than style of play. Players all talk too and that’ll be what they’ll discuss if a potential new signing taps them for info.

Fair point. The argument may come down to the point of whether it’s a job or a love of the game as well. I’d imagine if you just want to play, style comes high up but if you want the wage (was it Benoit Assou-Okutu who admitted he hated football?) it won’t be relevant 

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1 minute ago, Silvio Dante said:

Fair point. The argument may come down to the point of whether it’s a job or a love of the game as well. I’d imagine if you just want to play, style comes high up but if you want the wage (was it Benoit Assou-Okutu who admitted he hated football?) it won’t be relevant 

That’s true. Interesting question. I think the reality is that most will follow the money. It’s such a short and unstable career that most players would rather play for (say) £20k a week in a team which plays poor football than £15k a week in one that plays beautiful football.

Obviously doesn’t apply to every player - but the reality is that if I was a footballer of our standard that would probably be my main consideration. The only exception would be if I played for a team I genuinely supported. 

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They're all right currently. We are not always up against it, we weren't for most of the Millwall game, but there is a real spirit and comraderie about this squad. There is pride to be had in good defending, not just from the Defenders but from the midfield and forward players too when they've put a shift in, and there's an adrenalin rush from winning. Results wise we've started 2021 well and there's joy in that 

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I think its clear to see that the players are still playing for Holden, it's usually pretty obvious when this isn't the case (look at Newcastle now) but you really wouldn't want to be an attacking player in this team.

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5 minutes ago, Phileas Fogg said:

That’s true. Interesting question. I think the reality is that most will follow the money. It’s such a short and unstable career that most players would rather play for (say) £20k a week in a team which plays poor football than £15k a week in one that plays beautiful football.

Obviously doesn’t apply to every player - but the reality is that if I was a footballer of our standard that would probably be my main consideration. The only exception would be if I played for a team I genuinely supported. 

Doesn’t always work out - see Marcus Stewart!

The one that shocked me was apparently Gabriel Batistuta hated football. Didn’t move from Fiorentina as was settled there and on enough cash - wasn’t a love for the club or the game, just the fact he liked the area and didn’t want to progress further in the game

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14 minutes ago, Silvio Dante said:

Following on from Kalas’ interview last night a thought arose.

Most of us have played football at whatever level. I played defence/dm. And I remember playing in some desperate rearguard actions, and it was exhilarating. But when I played in a rearguard action week after week it was draining and not enjoyable.

For our players who played further up the pitch, it was even less enjoyable. They liked taking players on, creating, scoring, and would sit in the changing room gradually getting more pissed off.

This isn’t about results. It’s about would you, aside from the financials, enjoy playing football the way we do? And could it affect our chances of signing players in the future?

It’s an interesting one because you’d say from the outside the spirit in the camp is high. Motivation and effort seem high. There were some moments in our recent bad run where I thought I saw cracks in that but....generally it’s looked good.

I feel increasingly though that Holden has a real weakness when having to react tactically during a game - slow to make changes, makes wrong changes, and rarely changes flow of game if the opposition are on top.

As a player, if you’re in that sort of position under pressure on the pitch (like last night, and many many other games this season) and you’re looking to your commanding officers for some assistance and the bullets keeping firing at you, eventually you’re going to lose respect, even if you like them and even if you get out alive that evening.

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7 minutes ago, Silvio Dante said:

Doesn’t always work out - see Marcus Stewart!

The one that shocked me was apparently Gabriel Batistuta hated football. Didn’t move from Fiorentina as was settled there and on enough cash - wasn’t a love for the club or the game, just the fact he liked the area and didn’t want to progress further in the game

That’s interesting, quite rare really. Good to see Arjen Robben playing for his home town club Groninjen - just for a bit of fun really.

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1 minute ago, Alessandro said:

It’s an interesting one because you’d say from the outside the spirit in the camp is high. Motivation and effort seem high. There were some moments in our recent bad run where I thought I saw cracks in that but....generally it’s looked good.

I feel increasingly though that Holden has a real weakness when having to react tactically during a game - slow to make changes, makes wrong changes, and rarely changes flow of game if the opposition are on top.

As a player, if you’re in that sort of position under pressure on the pitch (like last night, and many many other games this season) and you’re looking to your commanding officers for some assistance and the bullets keeping firing at you, eventually you’re going to lose respect, even if you like them and even if you get out alive that evening.

Yep, I think that sums it up for me. I’m not suggesting, and don’t think in any way, Holden has “lost the dressing room”. The concerns are the mental fatigue with how we play - defending for the majority of a game is mentally draining (and this isn’t just last night), and chasing the ball is physically draining (could this in part explain our injuries?), and if you’re not seeing that “fatigue” will improve may it ultimately lead to you losing faith?

Also agree re Holdens weaknesses- but that’s another thread!

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If their enjoyment is wavering now, wait until the fans can return and are screaming/booing at them and Dean from the stands. They'll really enjoy their football then!

We hear so much from the players how much support from the stands can help things on the pitch. That must impact their enjoyment of playing too.

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I know some people like to underplay the injury situation, but to play for half the season with virtually half the squad missing is quite extraordinary and any club faced with that is likely to struggle.  The fact that we’re three points off the playoffs and in the fifth round of the FACup is testament to what an extraordinary job the players have done.  I doubt they have enjoyed it, but they’ve stuck at it and to grind out a win against a team attacking us like Huddersfield did last night just confirms the grit and determination in that side.  These are unique times and to deal with them with a full squad would be challenging enough, but with a decimated squad and to stay in contention is quite something.  Gradually the squad is getting better, but it won’t happen overnight and in the meantime I think there may be more matches like last night, but I won’t complain if we keep getting three points.

The real issue for me is the weakness of the bench.  At a time when we can use five subs, to have only two or three outfield players with any experience is a major disadvantage.  The players appear to have given everything at a time when I doubt they are anything like as fit as they would usually be, and if I were them I’d look back at what they’ve achieved this season with considerable pride.  Injuries, isolation, no crowds to lift them, you couldn’t make it up.  I don’t expect us to be playing well week after week, but I certainly didn’t expect to be still in touch at this stage, let alone have a cup run.

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1 hour ago, Alessandro said:

It’s an interesting one because you’d say from the outside the spirit in the camp is high. Motivation and effort seem high. There were some moments in our recent bad run where I thought I saw cracks in that but....generally it’s looked good.

I feel increasingly though that Holden has a real weakness when having to react tactically during a game - slow to make changes, makes wrong changes, and rarely changes flow of game if the opposition are on top.

As a player, if you’re in that sort of position under pressure on the pitch (like last night, and many many other games this season) and you’re looking to your commanding officers for some assistance and the bullets keeping firing at you, eventually you’re going to lose respect, even if you like them and even if you get out alive that evening.

Funny one, because earlier this season I thought he made some effective subtle tweaks in game that made the differences, but agree, of late he’s struggled.

Maybe his drilling of the 352 was nice and tight that he understood the cause and effect to make a subtle tweak, and have confidence that it would work.

But with the transition through 433 to 442 with a very different group he’s not seeing the wood for the trees.

It does need to improve though.  We can’t keep letting opponents have long spells of dominance.

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47 minutes ago, Northern Red said:

If the spirit isn't good then we don't see that game out last night.

Agreed, as soon as any poster accuses these players of not trying that tells me everything I need to know, I.e no point debating with them......

Edited by Numero Uno
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1 hour ago, Silvio Dante said:

Fair point. The argument may come down to the point of whether it’s a job or a love of the game as well. I’d imagine if you just want to play, style comes high up but if you want the wage (was it Benoit Assou-Okutu who admitted he hated football?) it won’t be relevant 

I would think that the argument would be how long can a good atmosphere/fun training can be maintained before it turned toxic? Like you said, it’s ok for a bit but week on, it gets stale and the enjoyment goes.

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2 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

Funny one, because earlier this season I thought he made some effective subtle tweaks in game that made the differences, but agree, of late he’s struggled.

Maybe his drilling of the 352 was nice and tight that he understood the cause and effect to make a subtle tweak, and have confidence that it would work.

But with the transition through 433 to 442 with a very different group he’s not seeing the wood for the trees.

It does need to improve though.  We can’t keep letting opponents have long spells of dominance.

You may be right Dave - I can’t remember the details of all the early games but I’m thinking vs. Forest (we hung on) and then Barnsley we conceded late. Similarly we scored early Vs Cardiff and then had to hold on to that.
 

The turn arounds were Huddersfield and QPR away to balance that out. 

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1 hour ago, Silvio Dante said:

Following on from Kalas’ interview last night a thought arose.

Most of us have played football at whatever level. I played defence/dm. And I remember playing in some desperate rearguard actions, and it was exhilarating. But when I played in a rearguard action week after week it was draining and not enjoyable.

For our players who played further up the pitch, it was even less enjoyable. They liked taking players on, creating, scoring, and would sit in the changing room gradually getting more pissed off.

This isn’t about results. It’s about would you, aside from the financials, enjoy playing football the way we do? And could it affect our chances of signing players in the future?

Simple really, given the chance to play football in the style we are currently playing or sitting in the office checking hundreds of invoices, then it is not a difficult decision, even for the same money. Add on the obscene wages then the decision becomes a lot easier.
 

Not really sure the style of play matters too much to 99% of players, if the money is there, they will sign.

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1 hour ago, Loco Rojo said:

wait until the fans can return and are screaming/booing at them and Dean from the stands. They'll really enjoy their football then!

I was thinking this a while ago. The atmosphere at games, had we been able to attend, would be absolutely toxic. The players wouldn't want to experience that on a regular basis!

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1 hour ago, Silvio Dante said:

Following on from Kalas’ interview last night a thought arose.

Most of us have played football at whatever level. I played defence/dm. And I remember playing in some desperate rearguard actions, and it was exhilarating. But when I played in a rearguard action week after week it was draining and not enjoyable.

For our players who played further up the pitch, it was even less enjoyable. They liked taking players on, creating, scoring, and would sit in the changing room gradually getting more pissed off.

This isn’t about results. It’s about would you, aside from the financials, enjoy playing football the way we do? And could it affect our chances of signing players in the future?

I cant provide a link to this but the FA's psychology courses use data that identify why players play football. What it highlights is how different we are and how we are motivated by extrinsic and intrinsic factors - Attacking players tend to be more extrinsic (less team centred) and defenders more intrinsic (more team centred). 

Your question would you, aside from the financials, enjoy playing football the way we do? Would get no and yes everywhere. The biggest why people play and enjoy playing  football is that they get to take part, difficult in a game of 11 v11.

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I never understand this type of view point. If playing fluid, attractive football with lots of goals and not conceding any was so easy, why doesn't every team do it?

Top goalscoring Blackburn have 5 less points than us. Guaranteed if the roles were reversed, people would be moaning we can't see games out, can't grind out wins, etc.

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1 hour ago, The Dolman Pragmatist said:

The real issue for me is the weakness of the bench.  At a time when we can use five subs, to have only two or three outfield players with any experience is a major disadvantage.

I don't think Holden has used the few options we have as well as he could. Yes he's been hampered , limited, but we were getting overrun in MF last night and Holden obviously knew it. Nagy at 65 minutes for Wells, fair enough, but Bakinson was being bypassed and Palmer wasn't as effective, why not bring on HNM ? I think with the season as it is Massengo should have been used more. He seems to flog some players, even when we do have options.

 

16 minutes ago, Davefevs said:

Funny one, because earlier this season I thought he made some effective subtle tweaks in game that made the differences, but agree, of late he’s struggled.

Maybe his drilling of the 352 was nice and tight that he understood the cause and effect to make a subtle tweak, and have confidence that it would work.

But with the transition through 433 to 442 with a very different group he’s not seeing the wood for the trees.

It does need to improve though.  We can’t keep letting opponents have long spells of dominance.

When we switched last night, I thought the 4-3-3 should be 4-5-1 , allow 3 CMF to restrict Huddersfield space. They showed in the previous fixture how good they were at controlling and dominating possession. We ended up far too deep and they managed to pass through us at will. Bakinson and Palmer struggled 2nd half, either could have been switched much earlier.

I could understand TM coming on for a 3, I thought it would allow the FB's to play wider and limit space. Didn't make a massive difference. Sometimes looks like Holden waits to see what's happening , by which time it's too late. Got away with one last night.

What worries me is that I was saying similar things when Johnson was in charge , slow to make changes, sitting deep, noting much has changed in that regard .

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Just now, grifty said:

I never understand this type of view point. If playing fluid, attractive football with lots of goals and not conceding any was so easy, why doesn't every team do it?

Top goalscoring Blackburn have 5 less points than us. Guaranteed if the roles were reversed, people would be moaning we can't see games out, can't grind out wins, etc.

Yep. If the stats were reversed and we'd lost that 2-1 with the amount of chances that Huddersfield had, the reaction would not be one of how unlucky we were, it would be bemoaning why we couldn't take the chances and the defending that led to being 2-0 down in 25 minutes. I haven't looked at any Huddersfield fan reaction, but I suspect it's not far from that.

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3 minutes ago, grifty said:

I never understand this type of view point. If playing fluid, attractive football with lots of goals and not conceding any was so easy, why doesn't every team do it?

Top goalscoring Blackburn have 5 less points than us. Guaranteed if the roles were reversed, people would be moaning we can't see games out, can't grind out wins, etc.

Because that would mean all players all possess the same qualities, They do not and can't. 

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3 minutes ago, Cowshed said:

I cant provide a link to this but the FA's psychology courses use data that identify why players play football. What it highlights is how different we are and how we are motivated by extrinsic and intrinsic factors - Attacking players tend to be more extrinsic (less team centred) and defenders more intrinsic (more team centred). 

Your question would you, aside from the financials, enjoy playing football the way we do? Would get no and yes everywhere. The biggest why people play and enjoy playing  football is that they get to take part, difficult in a game of 11 v11.

Quick point - both to you and to others on this thread - in that there are some really good nuanced points being made by people on here and I’m glad people aren’t seeing this as a Holden bashing/supporting exercise, but more in the psychology of that how we’re playing may have longer term impacts. Type of responses that makes this place

In respect of the specific answer, that  definitely chimes with what I’ve seen in psychology. I suppose the answer on this may be that if we play ultra defensive, it’s unlikely to attract flair players - and is that different from other teams and how they set up? (Eg if you’re Bobby Reid moving to Cardiff was a mistake team set up wise solved by the move to Fulham). 
 

I do hold that defending continually and playing without the ball is far more mentally taxing, and it’s a matter of time before mistakes creep in.

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7 minutes ago, Cowshed said:

Because that would mean all players all possess the same qualities, They do not and can't. 

If they did, would they cancel each other out, which in turn would mean that there wouldn't be any goals?

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Just now, exAtyeoMax said:

If they did, would they cancel each other out, which in turn would mean that there wouldn't be any goals?

Depends!

If all eleven players on each team were 10/10 for attacking and 0/10 for defending it’s probably ending 15-15. If the reverse is true it’s probably 0-0. Either can be entertaining or not, bizarrely enough.

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4 minutes ago, Silvio Dante said:

Depends!

If all eleven players on each team were 10/10 for attacking and 0/10 for defending it’s probably ending 15-15. If the reverse is true it’s probably 0-0. Either can be entertaining or not, bizarrely enough.

Yes an interesting scenario, if you remove any instances of luck, bad refereeing, chance, stray dogs…:bounce:

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Just now, Silvio Dante said:

Quick point - both to you and to others on this thread - in that there are some really good nuanced points being made by people on here and I’m glad people aren’t seeing this as a Holden bashing/supporting exercise, but more in the psychology of that how we’re playing may have longer term impacts. Type of responses that makes this place

In respect of the specific answer, that  definitely chimes with what I’ve seen in psychology. I suppose the answer on this may be that if we play ultra defensive, it’s unlikely to attract flair players - and is that different from other teams and how they set up? (Eg if you’re Bobby Reid moving to Cardiff was a mistake team set up wise solved by the move to Fulham). 
 

I do hold that defending continually and playing without the ball is far more mentally taxing, and it’s a matter of time before mistakes creep in.

In regards to the last line mentally taxing is what some individuals thrive on. They relish the fight v flight. If the team has individuals who react in that manner mistakes are less likely. Those who do not look upon defending as an exciting challenge (a threat even) and lack confidence make more mistakes. 

Yes if players feel an environment suits them less it becomes less attractive. An environment can become damaging to confidence if the player is being asked to do tasks he feels he is poorly equipped to do = Its less enjoyable. Then some skilful players will go anywhere if the moneys right. Okocha played for Allardyce.

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