What is becoming increasingly obvious at the moment is that players are not wanting the ball in certain areas. That is especially evident at the back. None of the defenders seem comfortable getting the ball given to them, the distribution is poor and we are making consistent mistakes. One player is better than any other on the ball, and he’s currently the 4th choice centre back, Conor Shaughnessy.
The young Irish defender has a blatant background as to why he is very good with the ball at his feet, and equally comfortable. He was a central midfielder and until the summer that was the position we thought he was still playing. In a defensive crisis during the summer in came the youngster and it didn’t take long for him to impress. However it never seemed the likely outcome would be that he came into the side at any stage this season but Christiansen was impressed enough to name him amongst the subs on opening day with Pontus Jansson suspended. He came on and within what seemed minutes he gave away a penalty. Since then I can’t remember him putting a foot wrong and he has played plenty of football.
He has started a few games in the league and has been solid, playing with both Jansson and Cooper. The big test for me was the Fulham game, just over a week into the season where he started up against one of the quickest and trickiest forward lines in the league. He stood up to the task and was my man of the match that night, dealing with everything that came his way. He then had to deal with Millwall away and with literally no midfield he and Jansson were bombarded for 90 minutes and eventually conceded late on after an error by his partner Jansson. With some horrible defensive performances from all three of the centre backs in recent weeks, both with and without the ball it begs the question why isn’t Christiansen doing anything to change it. One clean sheet in 9 league games…
Players need to be brave on the ball and in all honesty at times in the last few weeks it looks like Thomas Christiansen isn’t getting the players to play for him, whether that’s true or not we are unsure but he can’t keep picking the same players and expecting different things to happen. We are getting beat convincingly most weeks and Boro and Wolves will most likely do the same unless there are changes. It all went into perspective for me on Saturday when before kick off I was already expecting to be beaten by Brentford. I felt similar against Derby and I do for Boro and Wolves. The main reason for that is that Christiansen doesn’t look like he will change his style and tactics even though we are losing for fun. Shaughnessy would certainly add a ball-player to the back line and some composure, if not the experience, something that clearly isn’t helping us currently.