Jos The Boss?
It's a tough gig for Jos just now, some thoughts on his predicament

The game against Ipswich was a very difficult watch, I expected it wouldn’t be easy but it was worse than that. Many fans thought the worst and gave it a miss as, despite what the official figure says, there were more like 18,00 there than 22,000. Clearly many of the players who started the game are either just not good enough and/or their confidence is lower than a snakes belly at the moment. But post-match JL came in for as much stick as the players and it feels like his all too brief honeymoon (only equivalent to one in a Bridlington B&B anyway) is well and truly over. The case against JL voiced by fans includes the following:

  • Team shape and tactics constantly changing
  • His use, or rather non-use, of substitutions to try to make a difference
  • The team selection at Millwall which severely damaged his credibility
  • An overly cautious approach – both game plan and managing player fitness/returns
  • He doesn’t inspire confidence – press conferences and lugubrious  demeanour etc
  • Motionless and in-active in the dug-out
  • Lack of previous Championship experience
  • He can’t cope with managing 2 games a week
  • He was out of work for a long time before Wednesday
  • He’s had little or no impact
  • He didn’t do his research about the problems at S6

In response the case for him from fans appears to be:

  • He’s had a good managerial record – better than that of CC
  • He’s managed big clubs – Hertha Berlin amongst others
  • He’s a disciplinarian and that’s what was needed after CC’s  relaxed regime
  • He didn’t know the full scale of the problems with injuries and confidence and has been massively hampered by them
  • CC was out of work longer than him before their respective jobs at SWFC
  • He has given youth a chance which was needed
  • In the Bundesliga teams play less matches so no surprise he’s found it hard
  • He did make an initial impact but that fell away, but it’s better than Meggos’s impact in 10/11 after 10 games, Meggo went on to build the core of a promotion winning team
  • History says he can inspire players and teams – promotion to Bundesliga and staying up says he can
  • Acting like a maniac in the technical area doesn’t necessarily make you a good manager – Alan Biggs referred to Sir Alf Ramsey who won the World Cup sat on his seat

All that is pretty balanced really, but the fact that he doesn’t have the weight of arguments in his favour means he is now under enormous pressure to get a positive result against Bolton on Saturday – there is a real danger that the significant rumblings in the volcano that is fan opinion will explode if he doesn’t. I think he is a nice antidote to the metaphoric bull and guff we had to put up with before and I want him to succeed. As I have said before Meggo W2 D1 L9 of his first 12 games and that was in League 1 without an injury crisis, he then went on to W4 D4 L2 of the last 8 games, I hope JL can do that too. The other point is that I am not convinced that changing manager with less than 10 games left is that likely to have much impact, the statistics are against it, and he needs a period of time with some better players returning for the run-in; surely Van Aken, Hutch, Bannan, Forestieri will give the team a lift?

His current predicament is that the players he has are not good or confident enough and he has to play a shape that hopefully allows us to defend better, eg the 3 or 4 at the back debate. If he takes the former route he has to play players at wing back who aren’t good enough to do it, if he takes the latter route the 2 central defenders and central midfield players aren’t good enough to defend. If he overloads the defensive capability he risks leaving us totally toothless up front. The collective level/confidence of the squad available to him is low – the poorer ones all have to be playing a bit above their usual level and the better players have to be at the top of their game for us to have a chance. Securing good results with this squad right now is very difficult. Despite all that a defeat against Bolton might mean that DC reacts or JL thinks it’s not worth the candle, particularly if he suspects he won’t be here after May anyway.

The best we have played under JL was against Derby where we got the balance right, and also against Villa where we were only let down by some sleepy defending at set pieces, plus a goal keeping error. So, we can do it, we have shown it to be so. I think another 10 points will be sufficient to secure and avoid the financial meltdown that relegation would bring. The statistical genius that is Peter Loemann reckons it might be as low as 43 points. Either way it’s at least 2 wins, possibly 3 and they look a long way away at the moment. But, hope springs eternal and we have to have that, and we also have to bring some positive energy to Hillsborough on Saturday – barracking from the stands, even if it might be justified, won’t help players who have empty confidence tanks. We have the chance to try to make the difference on Saturday – let’s give it a go.

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