Tuesday was a slog. A slog for the fans, the coaching staff and of course the players. I think Hayden and Shelvey played on injured. Shelvey could hardly walk by the end. We turned up at a Premier League side and didn’t give them a kick first half. When they came into the game second half our goalkeeper hasn’t made a save. That was a proper performance. It’s been lost in the anger, the penalties and the period against ten men but I know which side looked like a Premier League side and it wasn’t the team from Humberside. Some of our lot need to learn how to lose though. So often in the last ten years defeat has been down to a lack of application and effort on the players behalf. I get it. Anger and abuse has become the default setting that some people don’t know how to react to defeat with anything other than scorn. There was nothing to be angry about on Tuesday. Nothing.
The goal keeper has made an error. Regrettable, yes, but worthy of abuse and scorn? Not at all. As 2016 draws to a close I look back on 9 months ago and think of Everton away. Driving back in the rain and cold furious at a side that not only couldn’t defend or perform but didn’t really want to. Fast forward and we’ve a team that manages to restrict the home side to 0 chances and it’s not even worthy of comment.
So a bad week so far and worse could be to come. I would take a draw right now for Friday. We will be fine in this league, it’s the whining and the whinging I can’t stand at literally the FIRST sign of the team flattering. Some fans are desperate to belittle the manager and the side. Rafa’s United are superb at this level. That’s why they’re top. 2,000 places again for us – not enough. I’m sure we got 4,500 in 2009. The search for tickets has reached fever pitch again. There’s a passion for watching United that hasn’t existed in my match going life.
Friday comes at a terrible time. Everyone is knackered. I’m knackered and all I did was drive to Hull and back and watch two hours of football. Imagine how the players feel. This is a great chance for Forest to beat us. N Forest are unbeaten in their last three and have just won two away games on the bounce scoring seven goals. They’ve beaten Birmingham at home this season and their home form could be described as good until recent a defeat to Cardiff. Like many teams in this division, they’re inconsistent. I remember when Forest beat us 1 0 in 2009 (they were a better side then) and their fans treated it as a famous win. They’ll be up for this. The last team we played a club that despised it’s owner and was struggling at the wrong end of the table was last Saturday and that didn’t go well. However United are stronger away from home than they are at home. 3 goals conceded in ten away games in all competitions. That’s so good, and what I’m banking saving us again.
The team will likely be much the same as Tuesday with Darlow and Dummet coming in. I thought Diame played really well on Tuesday and I’m embarrassed by the abuse he gets. I hope he plays again. Lascelles and Darlow return to their old clubs. Lascelles was immense on Tuesday bar a slip late on – he was so dominant that it forced the reaction from the Hull striker. There was a fantastic performance from Anita at right back. Matt Ritchie was poor again and he hasn’t really done it away from home this season, I think Atsu should be in with a chance of starting in his place. Dwight Gayle should start. Mitrovic and Perez were conspicuous by their absence on Tuesday. There’s a chance Tiote may come into the side considering how knackered/injured our two in midfield were. Hopefully Colback could be back. He’s a massive miss.
Forest are free scoring side that also concede at will. They’ll see this as a great chance to beat us and Rafa and the players will have to do everything to get a result. A draw isn’t the end of the world.
ALEX HURST – Follow Alex on @tfalex1892
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