Expensive players are only part of the story by Neil Watson
Like everyone who watched yesterdays game I’m bitterly disappointed with the result but more in the manner in which we played. An opening match against last years record breaking champions is the most extreme baptism of fire imaginable for Emery and our new acquisitions. By comparison Chelsea also lost to City by a similar score yet appear to have spent more than us on players over the summer – so to suggest the problem is because we haven’t spent enough oversimplifies matters.
What we perceived as player discontent last season when certain members of our squad looked uninterested seems not to have been solely as a consequence of our outgoing managers tactics but more of a personal issue. It seems pointless highlighting the individuals in question, since we all know who they are, but the decision Emery now finds himself in and how those decisions will define how quickly his work in progress comes to fruition.
The risk for him is in dropping players regarded as big players in order to change the mood and attitude on the pitch. What we saw yesterday was a generally lethargic performance by established first team players against a team arguably capable of winning the UCL this season. As we often hear players really enjoy the ‘big’ games where the stage is set for them to perform against the best. From what we saw yesterday some of our keys players lacked the motivation and quality to perform at that level.
Unai has a wonderful opportunity, not necessarily subject to unlimited funds, to change the playing mentality of our team. The mentality is created within the team and not by individuals. ( #Leicestercity2017).
Dropping some of our show ponies in preference to players that will refuse to give up and throw themselves into challenges with no fear for themselves, will be in the faces of the opposition from the first whistle….. it may not be pretty, it may not remind us of our glorious invincible past but perhaps now is the time we need to field a team that nobody wants to play against.
Our club can complain about FFP and that it imbalances the fairness of league if our players can go onto the field with a pride and belief in themselves and a refusal to take defeat lying down.
Unai needs to have the courage to pick players that will give him that commitment and aggression and ignore reputations or players reputations.