The Inter game. Should we be concerned?
I slept on it so you can quote me on my certainty. Why the confidence? I don't actually know. Okay, so my certainty is a little questionable. I guess the morning after the night before it might appear to be nothing more than blind faith because the opposite would be admittance of something far more serious than a blip.
I just don't believe that we have suddenly lost our new founded identity and that we've forgotten how to stand strong. I would prefer not to have to live through games like yesterdays but much like we picked ourselves up after the Everton loss, way back, we have to accept that we are in no way perfect and we still have plenty to do.
The Liverpool game can be easily accepted then dismissed. Individual errors the cause of our concern. The Inter game was a far more wide reaching headache. The Italian club was (this time) very much motivated in their quest to claw back some pride. They probably didn't expect it to be as easy as it was.
It was a shocking (it did feel like I was being electrocuted whilst watching) performance. Skin of teeth stuff.
The most important aspect of last nights loss was we won. We got smashed 4-1 and yet it was all smiles at the end. The weary smiles of escapologists thanking their lucky stars the chain unlocked just in time to avoid drowning.
Sure, we had players missing. But the major concern was the lack of determined and assured structure (with formation and tactics) and equally important a willingness to hurt Inter by resembling the side that beat them so convincingly last week, 3-0. That and some rather abysmal run outs.
We got it wrong. The coach, the players. Probably for the first time in a long time. Lessons learnt for sure, if anything the fact that complacency can creep up on you even if you think you've got it all under control. I'll only be concerned if we replicated this 'form' in the league. Then, no doubt, we'll be asking why we've gone all dizzy with our mental strength at this pivotal point in the season. Because I find it difficult to accept 'this is what we do'. Not with the overhaul in our preparation and training methodology. Same players, different team, right? So the same old mistakes are not the same old mistakes because these days they're isolated - making them new mistakes that need to be dealt with by that new forceful methodology.
(I think we can all agree we need an injection of one or two new players to heighten in-squad competition and in-game competitiveness).
The only imminent scratch of the head now is the potential for tired legs in the latter stages of the Fulham game. But we really should be looking to have it won long before the second half draws to a close. Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon will hopefully provide us with much needed outlet. Dawson will be fresh too.
Other lessons learnt? We we're treated to a tidy reminder that the high line only works with Lloris between the sticks and that we could have afforded a little more attacking intent rather than sit back and invite the inevitable.
We got away with it. I'll take that as long as it doesn't happen this way again.
Onwards we march with Benfica, Lazio, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Basel 1893, Rubin Kazan, Fenerbahçe.
Basel next up for us.