I think its good that Jacko already seems to have got all the different age group teams playing a similar game plan. In the first half yesterday at Orient we looked pretty good as we played high up the pitch press, press, pressing.
The only trouble with the pressing game ( well OK there is more than one trouble with it ), apart from the ever present danger of losing possession near your own goal – more of that later- is that everyone is knackered by the 2nd half. That seemed to be a regular issue when Adkins played that way. It happened again last night.
I certainly couldn’t claim any tactical knowledge, but it always seems to me that if you are going to play that way, it has to be in bursts of lets say 15 minutes when everyone presses before sitting normally for a while and having a rest. One of the other problems with it is that everyone starts to play like their lives depend upon doing everything quickly, it looks like one of those old comedy sketches when the film is speeded up. That means that passes are misplaced, shots and crosses are snatched at because in the pressing game apart from the pressing bit you are lured into doing every other part of the game at breakneck speed.
JJ made Albie skipper last night which was a nice touch. The problem was that Albie wanted to do absolutely everything, corners, freekicks, short passes, long passes ( frequently) Everything good that we did went through Albie, in fact, well, everything we did in the entire game went through Albie. Its really difficult to work out what to do with Albie. He is incredibly talented with the ball but his decision making is erratic. In a way, I would have liked to see him slow down, make lots of shorter passes and bring the other midfielders alive last night and not dominate every play himself. Aaron Henry, who has always been heralded as a fantastic prospect looked very ordinary as did Ben Dempsey.
In the end we were undone by a sloppy backpass from Albie and an even sloppier fall from Deji which on the balance of play was a fair result for the O’s.
Lets see how we adapt the press, press pressing game at Burton.