Search

Mick McCarthy, Paul Lambert and the art of instruction

11:08 20 February 2012

Let

Let's get physica - City's midfield powerhouse Wes Hoolahan helps kick Swansea off the park by daring to make contact with Leon Britton. Photo: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Given one chant from the Barclay, I suspect the rest of this paragraph isn’t going to generate much of a warm glow in these parts – but I feel sympathy for those banner-loving fans at Molineux.

Just saying…

• Other than the clear mutual respect Brendan Rodgers and Paul Lambert enjoy, there seems to be an edge to City and Swansea. I enjoy the Swans’ style but they’ve taken a few ‘Swanselona’ traits too far. Danny Graham couldn’t stay on his feet, regardless of contact, while the whole ground seemed to have banned any form of tackling at football played in south Wales. And as for Nathan Dyer’s post-match comments?… “We maybe didn’t get as much protection as we would’ve liked – there were a few too many kicks…we’re not the type of team to be crowding the referee so maybe we’re a bit naïve in not protesting as much as we should.” Had City crowded the officials at any point on Saturday, Dyer may have a point. But he doesn’t, and Swansea had better be careful no one really goes out to kick them off the park any time soon.

• I like Harry Redknapp a lot – don’t we all – but the great man-motivator couldn’t get as much as a peep out of Steven Pienaar, Everton’s saviour. Best remember ‘Arry’s only human, before he takes over our beloved England stars.

Or maybe it’s Mick McCarthy I feel for, rather than Wolves. McCarthy has had a tough time of it this season as the self-asserted ‘sleeping giants’ of English football saw their significant development and improvement plateau with top-flight relegation struggles.

It is an ongoing issue with domestic football at the moment – all sides outside the big hitters start every season trying to prolong their Premier League status. This season we’ve all tasted what top-flight football means – clearly, it is the only place to be.

I personally think McCarthy would have kept Wolves up.

But that wasn’t what saw him kicked out – that was the manner of Sunday’s 5-1 home defeat to their fierce rivals.

You can only imagine what the Baggies felt that day. Or take yourself back to Thursday, April 21, if you like. Whatever’s easiest.

Wolves looked lost on Sunday; devoid of any confidence and completely clueless over what their individual jobs were or how to go about them.

No doubt there was a plan devised during the week – but McCarthy’s men could not put it into practice.

If you are a struggling side, that failure do turn a tactics board into three points is a regular occurrence. We all saw that at Norwich before Paul Lambert’s arrival, under various managers and groups of players.

And it is worth highlighting – given that under the current manager, it is rare any player looks unsure over what their role is or the team then fails to deliver.

Don’t forget, this isn’t a group that turns up with ‘their’ game and ‘the’ formation every week. The press room – like the stands – awaits the pre-match team sheet in a similar way to tucking into a Kinder egg.

Andrew Surman answered my question at Colney before City’s game at Swansea – and made the work of Lambert and Ian Culverhouse on the training ground and in meetings in the Colney mobiles sound very easy.

“We work a lot in the week on what we’re going to do on a Saturday so that anyone that comes in knows their job,” said Surman. “The manager makes sure he gets his point across; Cully as well.

“If you don’t understand, they are there to talk to and ask questions, and I suppose both have got experience as players as well.

“It’s a key thing this season. I’ll mention Benno (Elliott Bennett). He went in at right-back, knew what to do and knew his job, and I think everyone playing this season has gone out and done that.”

In some ways footballers are simple folk. Make them feel like world-beaters and those brick walls won’t stand a chance.

But there is a knack to communicating relentlessly changing plans and instructions to your group of players that they understand and almost always follow to the letter.

It’s what the game outside England thrives on – especially in major championships. It’s what has made Sir Alex Ferguson’s success so long and so fruitful and Old Trafford.

And in truth, it is what sets apart Mick McCarthy and his ex-Wolves from Paul Lambert.

Related articles

3 comments

  • It's all the behind the scenes hard work by Cully and Lambo that makes a major contribution to City's success. Long may they reign.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

  • I agree, in the end it is the simple stuff that counts and there is nothing so encouraging as working with a group that you know that you can rely on.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

  • It is also helpful that the players trust and believe in their manager coaches. Just take a peek at Chelski to see what can happen even with 'good' footballers who have lost belief.

    Report this comment

    Soglio Star

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other news

07:31
Image issued by the British Geological Survey of a graphic showing where an earthquake struck in Sandwich, Kent. Photo: British Geological Survey

Tremors from an earthquake in Kent were felt as far away as Cromer in the early hours of this morning.

The home of Raymond and Margaret Pagram after part of a 30m elm tree fell on it in Worlingham.

It has been more than two weeks since part of a 30m tree fell on a bungalow in Worlingham, causing significant damage.

57 minutes ago
Action from the Beccles Triathlon

Organisers of the third Beccles Triathlon are calling on people to show their support and line the route for the annual event.

(Front row from left) Carnvial Princess Bethany Newley, Miss Beccles Christine Soanes and Carnvial Princess Hannah Borton.
(Back row from left) Last years princesses Emma , former Miss Beccles Evangaline Robinson and last year's princess Sophie Sampson.

The search is over for this year’s Miss Beccles as a woman born and raised in the town is chosen at a ceremony at the Public Hall.

Most Read

06:30
Sarah Lee (back right) with her friend Helen Senner and mum Judy Rushmere (back row) and friend Andrea Downes and sister Debbie Brooks (front row).

Thousands of women dressed head to toe in pink descended on the Norfolk Showground last weekend to do their bit in the battle against cancer.

Read more
Wed, 13:15
The altercation took place at the Blue Boar Lane Tesco on Sunday. Picture: Ian Burt

Police are appealing for information following an attempted burglary in Broome.

Read more
Beccles Town Youth FC trip to SC Hoevelaken, Holland.  (FOR BBJ)

Forty young footballers have returned home after spending four days in the Netherlands playing football and experiencing Dutch life.

Read more
The home of Raymond and Margaret Pagram after part of a 30m elm tree fell on it in Worlingham.

It has been more than two weeks since part of a 30m tree fell on a bungalow in Worlingham, causing significant damage.

Read more
Suffolk County Council
07:31
Image issued by the British Geological Survey of a graphic showing where an earthquake struck in Sandwich, Kent. Photo: British Geological Survey

Tremors from an earthquake in Kent were felt as far away as Cromer in the early hours of this morning.

Read more
Twitter

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 13°C

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Beccles and Bungay Journal e-edition today E-edition