If the game against Scunthorpe was anything to go by, it’s going to be a very long season. Given the lowly opposition, I’m surprised our manager didn’t attempt to inject some flair and inventiveness into our play.
Give us something exciting to watch, something to make us forget the shenanigans of late. If anything, yesterday’s performance emphasised the malaise that seems to be hanging around the club.
The manner of Jose’s exit is still raw and the fans are split about who was right and who was wrong. Us staunch “Mourinhoists” are the most disillusioned (or delusional depending on who you listen to), and I’m still finding it difficult to support these players. It’s an odd feeling — I want Chelsea to win desperately but I don’t want these players to succeed.
This season is effectively over as far as we are concerned. So what do we want? Do we want Europa League football? I would say not. I imagine as well as trying to bed in a number of new players, a new manager and possibly a new playing style, playing “lower league” European football would not do us the world of good.
But how many players will go this summer and how many years in the wilderness will it take for us to get back to being a top four certainty?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves — this week will probably be a good measure of where we are and what we can expect for the rest of the season. Win both games and it’s hello to the top half of the table. Drop points and I think that will establish the pattern for the rest of the season.
Many are still clamouring for the youth to be given a chance. Playing the youngsters is always a gamble, but when you find yourself in this sort of situation, the gamble is even bigger and it is unfair to the youngsters to a degree. The new manager will want to hit the ground running — like it or not, playing kids who lack experience is a risk no matter how talented they are.
You can be the best player in the world but against a team of long term professionals, even a bunch of mid-table journeymen is a world away from youth football.
The kids have little experience of the cynical late challenges, of the win at any price mentality, the brute strength, and intensity of top-flight football.
When you are in a hole, which we are in, you need experienced professionals to dig you out. There are exceptions but they are few and far between, and although our current crop of youngsters is very good, I’m not sure any of them are exceptional.
Hiddink doesn’t really have that pressure. The owner backs him and apparently wants to see what the academy he has built has produced. Much has been made of the youngsters we let go who have gone on to do well elsewhere, but it’s difficult to know whether they would have been as successful had they stayed. There are so many factors which contribute to the success or failure of any one individual and I think it’s wrong to castigate and judge decisions with the smug advantage of hindsight.
Perhaps a few youngsters in the side will make me a feel more connected to the team. At the moment I am just going through the motions of being a supporter. That said, I really miss feeling the passion and connection that has been part of my life since my childhood. Hopefully this is just a short blip and years from now I will look back and laugh at how dramatic I believed it all to be at the time.
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