Wednesday August 26, 2020
It’s a cliché that you shouldn’t read too much into pre-season friendlies and, as with most clichés, there’s usually a grain of truth in there.
And that’s what I’m going to do with this defeat to Leicester. I’m certainly not, as seemed to be the case on the #bcfc Twitter feed during the game, going to completely write off players, both young and old, on the basis of one half of football in this kind of a game.
Two different teams for each half, three first-teamers (Gardner, Friend, Jukey) not available, up against a technically better Prem team, more transfer incomings hoped for. Expectations levels shouldn’t have been high.
The bar was low, could the players stand in the right places for the new coach’s new system and could they run around for 45 minutes?
While we just about achieved that, it has to be said that there weren’t a huge number of positives to be taken otherwise. We weren’t pleasantly surprised by the coherence of the performance or wowed by a stand out performance from a kid or more established player returning to form after the horror of the end of last season.
A couple of little things, Lakin and Boy-Munce showed some nice touches and movement, as did George towards the end of the first half – the better of the two for Blues.
Jeacock did alright in goal, even-stevens with his clearance against Albrighton resulting in a goal for Leicester balanced out by his penalty save. And a smart stop low down just before half-time.
Other than that, not much to see here as the senior players didn’t really extend themselves much – it’s difficult to think of a majorly positive contribution that any of them made to the game. Steady-eddies most of them.
As well as the bringing in of new players and the development of youngsters, it will be interesting to see whether Karanka and his team can bring the best out of some of the players who let themselves down last season. I’m thinking particularly of the two current whipping boys, centre halves, Roberts and Dean.
There was a time when Dean was so good defensively that we had song about how good he was defensively. There was a time last season, before lockdown, when we were thinking how good Roberts was alongside Clarke-Salter. Can Karanka re-find those players?
Clearly much work to be done both on and off the pitch, but let’s not pay too much attention to pre-season and, indeed, the start of the regular season as, I suspect, this is a longer-term project and it will take a while for Karanka to stamp his authority on the club. Only then will we see the upturn in results that all of us hope for.
Blues 0 – Leicester 2