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Everything posted by capt_oats

  1. All the usual cliches come into play here; if we start positively and confidently, looking to try and press and control the game as we have been doing we should (hopefully) be OK. If we're hesitant then we could be in trouble. It's all about how we start the game, an early goal would be nice. Since the ICT game (which marked the arrival of McDonald in the team and Pearson coming back from injury) we've gone from routinely failing to create chances, (if the BBC match stats are anything to go by we didn't get into double figures for shots on goal in any of Baraclough's first 10 games in charge) to having 10+ attempts at goal in 4 of our last 5 games with a consistent increase in attempts on target with 3 wins and one draw to show for it. So without wanting to tempt fate I'd hope we can continue in that vein, if we're able to create chances as we have been then I think we'll score a couple. Having said that I'd be surprised if we kept a clean sheet we've only kept 1 in our last 5 games (vs Accies) and only 5 all season (though 2 of those were against St. Mirren) and our defence is still by far the weakest area of the team but going forward we definitely have options. 3-1 Motherwell. (Pearson, McDonald, Sutton)
  2. ^^^^^^^ this. Would still be more than happy to step aside and give Ross County the opportunity to beat them though.
  3. On the goalkeeper thing, it's a howler no doubt and not the first from Long. However here's the league record under Baraclough from him taking over until the end of the Jan transfer window and since the new players have come in, it's an almost equal, though nevertheless fairly small, sample size: 13th December - Baraclough takes over. Black in charge vs Ross County 2-2 draw. up til end of transfer window: P W D L F A Pts 8 2 1 5 5 19 7 post-window (Twardzik out, Long In, 1st game 3-2 defeat to County) P W D L F A Pts 7 3 1 3 12 9 10 So under Baraclough we've gone from conceding 2.3 goals per game with Dan in goal to 1.2 with Long. Obviously there are caveats aplenty that affect this as far as the players in front of him go but given that this is a short term thing and the objective is to stay up then it'd seem mental to change what is by all accounts an increasingly settled side, albeit one with a defence that remains unconvincing. It'd be different if we had a stand out keeper waiting in the wings but given that Dan's as much of a bombscare as anyone and the very fact that Baraclough felt the need to bring in someone to replace him then that says a lot. Really made up for Erwin, hopefully he'll kick on with that goal and the systems we're playing look to play to his strengths and get the best out of him rather than reverting to nominally sticking him out wide as a winger.
  4. Great turnaround especially after shipping such a soft opener. Fine goal from Erwin and I can only echo what Casagolda said earlier in the thread. He's raw no doubt, but if people genuinely can't see what he offers then I despair. That said I've sat and listened to fans berate as many Motherwell centre forwards over the years so unfortunately I don't see big Lee being any different. What's particularly pleasing to me is that we looked comfortable switching systems and Baraclough deserves a bit of credit for making the changes. I was moaning a while back about him trying to play a 433 in the Dundee game and them failing miserably so switching to that and it being effective is a positive. Indeed, to have seen such a dramatic overhaul of an XI and have them improving at the rate that they have says a lot. Obviously bringing Macdonald back seems to have been the catalyst and he has a huge effect on how we play but I'd argue that it's as much about giving Black his jotters and replacing him, as since that point the team suddenly looks like they get how the manager is wanting them to play. Broadly speaking though, that's our XI now. For all Long's sold the jersey against Aberdeen and that howler yesterday we've been picking up points with him in goal where we weren't with Dan. I realise that's a bit reductive and there are arguably other factors involved but the very fact that the manager felt the need to bring a 'keeper in suggests he has (not unreasonable) doubts about Dan so I don't see Long dropping out unless he's injured. In fact I really don't see many changes being made to the team unless they're enforced, save the obvious one that Hammell will come in for Straker who, to me, was only ever brought in as a body for short-term cover after it became evident that Hammell wasn't coming back any time soon. I feel a bit sorry for Conor Grant, he's shown that in his natural position he's got something to offer but sticking him out wide midfield is never going to get the best of him, which is a shame. However on current form he's never going to get in front of Pearson and Lasley as one of the two central players in the 442 that seems to be our default system to start with at the moment. Looking forward to Tuesday. If Ross County could please stop winning games it'd be appreciated.
  5. I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that, though he's nowhere near as inept as McCoist, McCall's definitely cut from the same cloth. He has a lack of faith in youth structures, is generally in thrall to "big" names and when it comes down to it, tactically he's fairly limited. Like McCoist he's also a "Ranjurz man" whose experience of success there was simply to chuck money they didn't have at the team and buy in players rather than develop them themselves. I'd also suggest that he's equally confused as to why these teams in the Championship aren't simply lying down to them on the "journey" on their way back to their "rightful place in Scottish football". I'm probably being quite reductive here but as MJC pointed out earlier in this thread, our pre-season pretty much consisted of a jolly to Portugal and there were some really interesting comments from our new owner in his interview on the Motherwell podcast earlier this week, along the lines of him being surprised at the players lack of fitness and a clear lack of structure when he arrived at the club. That's directly attributable to McCall and Black, indeed it's telling that since we've cut Black loose and appointed new coaches at Fir Park our form and performances have improved markedly and suddenly we seem to be playing the sort of football the new manager said he wanted to play when he arrived but anyway, I digress. Everyone seems to focus on McCall's league record with Motherwell and I suppose that's understandable given that it's the big selling point of his CV however given it's apparently the case that he's only at Ibrox til the end of the season and his remit is to get the best out the players that are there in the remaining fixtures it's a bit of a moot point. In that respect, for me, his fairly dismal cup record is much more pertinent to the situation he finds himself in now. I've said this about him on various threads but my main issue with McCall (beyond his teams lying down to Oldco Rangers and Newco for that matter) was that he seemed totally incapable of motivating his teams to play above themselves. For examples see the Scottish Cup final vs. Celtic where we didn't really turn up (3-0 loss, 1 attempt on target, 1 attempt off target, 38% vs 62% possession) and the various European ties against the likes of Panathinaikos (5-0 agg defeat), Levante (2-0 defeat at home, 3-0 agg), Kuban Krasnador (2-0 defeat at home, 3-0 agg), Stjarnan (5-4 agg, having led 2-0 in home leg & been up twice away), then you start looking at cup defeats to Albion Rovers and the 3rd division incarnation of Sevco along with a few cup exits at the first time of asking. You could also point to his record in the league against Oldco Rangers, 1 point from 18 and a 17-1 aggregate. Over the course of a league season (save this current one) McCall proved to be a decent enough manager for Motherwell however put him in game where his team needed to play above themselves or simply needed to win then more often than not he came up short. At the time I had a suspicion that him walking away from Fir Park when he did was less the noble act he painted it as and was more a strategic move as he saw that the possibility of the Sevco job on the horizon. However, who knows, maybe he genuinely didn't know how to fix the shambles he'd created at Fir Park.
  6. Well that was pleasing. 14 shots on goal, 8 on target, 4 scored. Even with the likes of McDonald having an off night we still looked decent going forward with others stepping up. Still a total car crash at times at the back & prone to lapses so in that context a clean sheet is pretty welcome.
  7. Unless there are injuries I'd be surprised if we change from the same starting XI. Only thing I would say is that sticking Grant out on the right seems to be a bit of a waste and doesn't really suit him (not his fault obvs).
  8. Will decide how gutted I am about that tomorrow after the Thistle, Ross County and St Mirren results come in. Again decent first half performance, fairly comfortable in truth. If they'd actually had to work for the two goals it'd have been easier to take but to gift them as cheaply as we did is a proper kick in the nuts.
  9. Happy to help. Let's look at the key players who started regularly and the number of games they played in his first two seasons shall we? I've overlooked people like Bob McHugh who made appearances but generally came on as subs and even with the greatest generosity in the world I couldn't call a "key" first team player: For the 3rd place season (McCall's first full season in charge): - Randolph (42) (already at the club when he arrived) - Hammell (42) (already at the club when he arrived) - Craigan (28) (already at the club when he arrived) - Hutchinson (34) (already at the club when he arrived) - Hateley (43) (already at the club when he arrived) - Humphrey (40) (already at the club when he arrived) - Jennings (37) (already at the club when he arrived) - Law (43) (signed by McCall) - Lasley (36) (already at the club when he arrived) - Murphy (40) (already at the club when he arrived) - Higdon (39) (signed by McCall) - Ojamaa (21) (signed by McCall) that's 3 of 12 that were signed by McCall For the first 2nd place finish (McCall's 2nd full season in charge): - Randolph (41) (already at the club when he arrived) - Hammell (41) (already at the club when he arrived) - Hutchinson (36) (already at the club when he arrived) - Ramsden (31) (signed by McCall) - Hateley (40) (already at the club when he arrived) - Humphrey (39) (already at the club when he arrived) - Lasley (43) (already at the club when he arrived) - Law (43) (signed by McCall) - Murphy (29) (already at the club when he arrived) / replaced by McFadden (13) (signed by McCall obviously) - Higdon (44) (signed by McCall) - Ojamaa (44) (signed by McCall) 5 of 12 were brought in by McCall still less than half are his players Clearly the 3rd season sees a shift and the majority are players signed by McCall but the first two seasons it was a team the foundations of which had been laid by Gannon & Brown.
  10. Jesus wept, can we please put to bed all this pish about him losing *all* his players. First full season in charge in terms of first team players he lost Sutton, brought in Higdon, Nicky Law, Ojamaa Second season he lost Jennings & Murphy, he brought in Higginbotham and McFadden Third season he lost Randolph, Humphrey, Law, Ojamaa, Higdon and Hateley he brought in Gunnar Neilsen, Lawson, Sutton, Vigurs, McManus, Anier, Ainsworth This season he lost Hutchinson & McFadden (released) and brought in Ainsworth permanently, Ojamaa on loan and his other signing this summer was Josh Law. Bar the third season where there was a slightly higher than usual turnover of players the myth that's being pedalled that he was essentially starting from scratch each season is exactly that, a myth. He lost players (as most teams do) and was given more than adequate backing to bring in replacements and extend the contracts of McManus, Hammell and Lasley. That's not to mention the quite remarkable list of bang average players he brought in over his tenure (Omar Daley, Adam Cummins, Tim Clancy, Hermann Mboa Mekongo, Francis Jeffers, Maurice Ross, Fraser Kerr, Dan Twardzik, Craig Reid, Mark O'Brien are just a few examples). Worth noting that he released McFadden claiming that we had enough players looking to play in the strikers positions then by the end of the transfer window he's brought in Ojaama because it turned out we didn't have enough strikers. He finished 2nd twice and 3rd once with a strong team that he inherited from previous managers. Well done him. He also went out of the cup to Albion Rovers and a 3rd division Sevco, was frequently papped out the cup at the first time of asking and lost in Europe to a part-time Icelandic team having been 2 goals up in the first leg and up twice in the 2nd leg. The team that Baraclough is struggling to turn round is McCall's team, a team who started the season looking unfit and ill prepared and the fact that we've had to bring in 8 new players, bin the coach and recruit a fitness coach before we've even remotely looked like improving tells you pretty much everything you need to know.
  11. This is another to add to the list of tl,dr things I've posted variously about McCall, in short I never liked him and was pleased to see him walk from Fir Park however as much as I disliked him and his management style at Fir Park he was by no means a failure as such, he's just not as good a manager as he's credited with being. You have to give him credit for his league finishes (though no one mentions the caveat of it being in a league that had Hearts falling to bits, Hibs in free-fall and being before the likes of Aberdeen got good again). There's no denying that he took over a team that had a consistent run of mid-table finishes (3rd & 7th under McGhee, 5th in the Gannon/Brown that started well but saw the wheels totally come off and 6th when McCall arrived) and similarly he left them kicking about the bottom of the table with a team that was absolutely bereft. To put this in context, in order for us to see a slight upturn in performances we've had to add 8 new players to the squad McCall left behind, they really were that poor. So make of that what you will. He inherited a more than decent squad the foundations of which were put in place by Gannon & Brown, as others have said, Gannon may have been a Grade A mentalist but he had a good eye for a player. The team McCall inherited consisted of: Randolph, Hammell, Steven Saunders (pre-injury), Craigan, Hutchison, Hateley, Humphrey, Lasley, Jennings, Jamie Murphy, Sutton. That's a team that was (clearly) good enough to compete in the SPL. McCall's immediate additions? Steve Jones, Gavin Gunning, Maurice Ross and Franny Jeffers. Mmmmm-hmmmm. Beyond Nicky Law, Higdon, Ojaama and at a stretch McFadden and Ainsworth (as pleased as I was that Faddy signed it was a fairly inconsistent return) his signings were at best 'meh', at worst Omar Daly (I could substitute a ton of names here, he really doesn't have an eye for a player). Before anyone says "Oh! but he was working on a shoestring budget", he had a budget, he just didn't spend it well. Gannon didn't spend any transfer fees but he still managed to bring in: John Ruddy, Steve Jennings, Giles Coke, Chris Humphrey, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Tom Hateley all of whom were good players for an SPL level and in a couple of cases better than SPL level. McCall on the other hand brought in a raft of average players as short term fixes and the fairly abject squad we've had at Motherwell this season is the result. More pertinent to the situation he finds himself in now with Sevco is the fact that he seemed unable to motivate his teams to perform above themselves, you might say that finishing 3rd & 2nd last season proves otherwise but the fact is that the team he inherited was good enough to compete with most of the teams in the league. He's a manager who plays the percentages, he focuses on the games he thinks he can win and completely writes off the ones against "bigger" teams. We resolutely didn't turn up in the cup final, I think most Well fans who were at the Panithinikos and Levante games in Europe would concede that his team looked beaten before we even kicked off in those games. He was even talking us down before Stjarnan this season. Then of course there's Albion Rovers. Having said all that, overall he wasn't the great manager that the media and fans of other clubs seem to be really keen to portray, the league finishes are really just something that he's been able to hang his hat on and dine out with, which I'd argue is why he chose to jump ship when he did. I think he's played his cards well in that respect, but then he's a media man and the whole "had Motherwell punching above their weight & had all his players sold boo-hoo" narrative seems to work really well for them and it glosses over his fairly stark limitations as a manager and his broader effect on the club so it's no surprise to see them run with it. I won't even go into him having us roll over every time we played Oldco (17-1 aggregate over 6 league games, 1 point from a possible 18 tells its own story then there's his whole talking us down when we played the Zombie incarnation when they were in the 3rd Division). He never showed any intention of putting out a team to even consider competing against Rangers in any of their forms so in a way to see him roll up at Ibrox CV in hand is hardly a surprise. My stance on McCall was always that you'd find out how good a manager he actually was when he had his own team on the field and by and large the ageing team that was sitting at the bottom of the league when he decided to walk is that team and that, combined with the frequently poor performances against limited lower league teams, neglect of the youth team and consistent failure to turn up in cup games says a lot more about McCall and his managerial talents than the league finishes do.
  12. Any time I've seen his name mentioned it's generally been about him in a 'technical director' role, aye.
  13. Don't often post on the Sevco threads but am quietly amused at the suggestion of Magath taking over and a bit surprised that no one's really mentioned the fact that by and large he's a next-level mentalist. What could possibly go wrong with that group of players and a manager whose nickname's "Saddam" and whose training methods are compared with torture. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/26265494 http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/sep/20/fulham-farewell-magath-felix-madcap http://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/dress-sense-medicine-balls-dictatorship-what-felix-magath-will-bring-fulham
  14. If we go with something approaching the same XI as the past couple of weeks and approach the game in the same way as we did against ICT & the first half yesterday (on the front foot and other such cliches) there's no reason why we can't get something out this. Especially if Baraclough & the new coaching staff continue to get a tune from McDonald and Johnson. Given that a couple of weeks ago you'd turn up at Fir Park not knowing who was supposed to be playing where then I suppose the worry is that we try to change things up from what's beginning to look an almost settled team and set up to try and contain Aberdeen with a 451 or something since I've very little confidence that, relatively improved as we may be, we could actually do that for 90mins. Our subsequent games following this in the run up to the split are absolutely our "must wins", I think there's a fair chance of this being 1-1.
  15. Agreed re: Watt, what with the club making a big thing about his new contract and the fact that Straker was bombed straight out the squad after the Dundee game I'd hope that would mean that Watt would be the preferred replacement but who knows. Roughly the same team & system as last week (give or take) would be welcome.
  16. If you look back at his comments prior to the League Cup embarrassment I don't think he even played a part. "It's probably an even game and a hard one to call if I'm honest" http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/19719079 Not only were Sevco in the 3rd division but they were comfortably beaten 3-0 in the cups by teams in the same league (ICT & United) as Motherwell that season, a season in which we finished 2nd. They were also beaten in their own league by Stirling Albion, Annan & Peterhead with draws against Peterhead, Berwick, Annan, Elgin, Montrose (x2), Stirling Albion (x2) and our manager is talking us down against a 3rd division team saying "It's probably an even game."... utter embarrassment of a man.
  17. I think it says more about McCall than the psyche of the Scottish manager in general tbh. You certainly shouldn't be surprised. He put out a team that basically rolled over against Sevco when they were in the 3rd division and by all accounts packed Nicky Law's bags for him and encouraged him to head over to Ibrox when he was out of contract. IIRC the aggregate score of his Motherwell vs Oldco in the league: 17-1 (over 6 games). Grand total of 1 point out of 18. No mention of that in his open letter to the fans when he left. Yet he talked up beating Celtic a couple of times. There's no arguing that his league positions with Motherwell were a credit to him but I always felt a lot of that was down to him inheriting a decent team rather than him being a particularly good manager (Randolph, Hammell, Hutchison, Craigan, Lasley, Jennings, Humphrey, Jamie Murphy, Sutton to me that's the core of a decent SPL team). Beyond the league finishes his apparent neglect when it came to the development of youth players, his abysmal cup record and obviously his willingness to roll over to his former club give a fuller picture of his tenure.
  18. In keeping with this theme, that's Motherwell just appointed a physical performance/conditioning coach last week. When it comes down to it though, as a lot of you have pointed out, it's down to the individual and how motivated they are in terms of self-improvement. Do they want to simply maintain a fitness level that's enough to get by for 90 mins or actually push themselves. It's definitely a cultural thing and I suppose when it comes down to it, if they're playing in a league where they're constantly being reminded (be it media, former managers/players *waves at Stuart McCall*) that only one team can/is expected to win it then where's the incentive for them to do more than simply get by. I mean, seriously, since the introduction of the split the "aim" for most clubs is to finish Top 6, basically whether they mean it or not they're projecting the notion that simply finishing slightly above average represents a successful season (don't get me wrong, given the current nick we're in I'd bloody love Motherwell to finish slightly above average this season).
  19. Obviously it's a bit "if your auntie had baws she'd be your uncle" but I keep going back to that save by Long in the 1 v 1. Another day he (or Dan) misjudges that even slightly, he doesn't quite get there, the ICT striker goes down, it's a pen and we're 1 down against the run of play from yet another unforced mistake and (depending on the ref) down to 10 men for the 2nd half. I know he didn't and we weren't but given last week, as abject as we were, the only goal came from a shanked cross that flew over the 'keeper into the top corner I guess there's a lot to be said for these margins. Credit to the players for not completely going to bits when they equalised as well.
  20. I think there's definitely something to that. Given we've seen a fairly rapid turnover in staff in the last couple of weeks (new fitness & conditioning coach as well) and the fact that until then IB's been working with McCall's staff and there's been such an obvious disconnect between what he's been saying he wants from the team and what they've actually been doing then you do wonder if the new guy has made a difference. (Obviously having the likes of Pearson & McDonald available is a factor as well) Obviously it's only one game, we're still bottom of the league and all that. However a bit of direction & a system the players are comfortable with would definitely be progress given the past couple of weeks.
  21. Josh Law at left back? I suppose he can't actually be any worse than Straker was last week (and yes, I have seen Josh Law play). Looks like: Long Law / McManus / Laing / Ramsden Grant / Lasley / Pearson Johnson / McDonald / Erwin Or Pearson could be behind McDonald with Johnson and Erwin out wide in 4231. F*ck knows... Either way dropping Sutton? Crumbs!
  22. ^^^ this.Last week from where I was sitting it looked like we were attempting (attempting being the operative word) to play a 433 (Erwin & Johnson wide of Sutton with Grant, Lasley & Moore as the narrow 3) but failing miserably. There was absolutely zero sign that the players were comfortable with it and in all honesty it's really not the time to be trying out new formations. I generally don't bang the drum for 442 but scrapping the overly complicated system and going with Sutton and McDonald up top would be my choice since the 433 and 4231 just isolates Sutton as all that happens there is we bypass the midfield, go long and lose the ball. Even looking like we know how to score a goal would be something.
  23. initially I thought 4231 with Lasley & Kerr the 2 deeper midfielders and Erwin out wide but could easily be 433. curious to find out either way.
  24. He's been announced starts on Monday apparently. http://www.motherwellfc.co.uk/2015/02/13/robinson-appointed-well-assistant/
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