If you are a Dundee United fan reading this right now, it’s probably a good bet you are pretty angry. That’s because the ones who aren’t angry are curled up in a ball in the corner muttering something about Leprechaun’s coming to steal their lucky charms.
Myself? Well, I’m living in a little bubble of positive denial this week. I am taking hope from the Celtic game (you know you are in a bad state if you are taking hope from a 3-1 defeat) that the team may have finally got the message about playing possession football.
I say finally because this isn’t something McNamara has just figured out; he has been saying these things in post-match interviews for months. It’s got so bad that United fans are playing ‘Jackie Bingo’ with such phrases as “We need to be braver on the ball”, “We were bullied” and “We play too many percentage passes [punts]”.
That was great at the start. How often do you sack a manager as he didn’t even see what the problem was?
Jackie knew what was going wrong and we were just waiting for him to fix it. Well, we’ve waiting long enough.
Most fans decided to give him a fresh start this season as he wanted to bring in some more players to address the fact we didn’t have enough winners (HOUSE!!!) in the squad.
But as we have seen from the first five games, the problems are still there. Whilst we have won at Motherwell and should have beaten Dundee, we haven’t played well. It has still been long ball football because the players are too scared to keep possession. The stats back this up.
In fact, the only time our possession has gone over 50% this season was when we lost 3 goals in the first half, so the opposition didn’t even bother closing us down when they came out for the second.
We really need to see that we are going to change this weekend. The defence need to choose to switch the ball across the back to find space rather than hit it long to the striker, the midfield need to work hard to find space rather than hide away and when they do get the ball they need to be strong and keep possession under pressure.
The most frustrating part about all this is that if we do these things we won’t be just be a good team, we’ll be a pretty damn entertaining one. The players at the club are designed to play exciting football. John Souttar is perfect to sit deep and spread the ball around whilst Scott Fraser has a touch of Stuart Armstrong about him.
Charlie Telfer has the skill to thread a through ball or hit a strike whilst Blair Spittal and Aiden Connolly can be very dangerous if you get them in the final third to go one-on-one with the fullback.
As I write this it looks like we are going to sign Billy McKay. He is clinical at this level and could be a fantastic bit of business … if we do the things I have just mentioned above. If we don’t? Then he’s just another striker we have that we aren’t using well.
For this supporter I think the trip up north this weekend is do or die for McNamara’s reign. I really want him to make the players on the park do what he is saying they need to do in interviews but there’s only so long you can wait.
It’s time for McNamara to show on the pitch what he is getting in training (BINGO!!!).
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