It’s a bit early in the season but today’s match against Rotherham United at Villa Park is vital. Roberto Di Matteo said at his press conference yesterday:
On whether this has been the lowest ebb he’s worked in before…
Personally I have never experienced it, neither as player or manager.
There’s definitely a mindset that needs changing here.
The best recipe is a good positive result. The sooner the win comes the better.
There is definitely this hangover but it’s a new season, it’s a home game, we have new players on the pitch and I am sure they will get the support.
Our supporters are good. We have to look forward into the future.
Consecutive defeats at Sheffield Wednesday and Luton Town have undermined confidence in the stands, particularly Wednesday’s League Cup exit. They were both self-inflicted; Pierluigi Gollini’s error at Hillsborough and Roberto Di Matteo’s substitution at Kenilworth Road, both undid what had been good work.
There is a genuine concern that as RDM called it, the “hangover” is a long one. Winning today will help to soothe it but following it quickly with victory over Huddersfield Town next week is vital if we are to sustain any small ingot of confidence from today.
The only positive about losing in midweek is that it wasn’t a full XI. There will be several changes today which hopefully will perk things up. In reality, presuming Nathan Baker has recovered from his head injury, I’d expect Di Matteo to revert to the side which lost at Hillsborough.
It’s been six months and one week since we last won a competitive game; Norwich 2 – 0, in case you had forgotten; I had although in my defence I’ve tried to forget everything about last season. Before last weekend, I’d hoped to wake up and find out it had all been a bad dream. It was, we just happened to live it.
With the transfer window being open, as much time at RDM’s press conferences is spent on targets and potential deals as it is on matches. To put Wednesday night into context, he believed the lesson learned was a “clear idea” on who he wanted to bring in. James Chester completed his move from West Bromwich Albion, a defender with solid experience of playing at this level which is obviously a step up from the Hawthorns.
Dr Xia gave the players a pep talk yesterday and was, according to the official site, “in inspirational form”. I don’t know why but the mental image of the Minions oohing and aahing in awe at his words, popped into my head when I read that. If it works, fair play to him for his words. If it doesn’t, at least he tried.
And that is what we need today: effort. We aren’t going to win just by turning up and just as we gave Rotherham hope with Wednesday’s performance, they dropped a two-goal lead to Wolves last weekend and lost at 4 – 5 at home to Morecambe in the EFL Cup. Their form is almost as wretched as ours but I expect the Millers to sit deep and defend.
It’s important we make that possession count as quickly as possible. An early goal will do wonders for the atmosphere, especially if netted by Ross McCormack on his home debut. We need another hero, eleven of them this season but there is a buzz which is missing at the moment. There isn’t one player who can make the crowd sit up and take notice when he’s on the ball. Not consistently, anyway. A goalscorer always does that.
I think it’s too much to expect a thrashing to be handed out today but a win is vital. Prediction: 3 – 1 to the Villa.