A number of issues have cropped up that has made me wonder this. Firstly, you look at our squad, we currently have three key players who have made it known recently their eyes are set elsewhere.
Moussa Sissoko – every interview the man gives, he spouts about wanting to be playing CL football, despite his performances by and large being closer to Championship standard than Champions League.
Papiss Cisse – I think it’s clear to all and sundry that he isn’t happy. Reports he’s been late for training, missed meetings with the management etc. His performances have been lethargic to say the least.
Fabricio Coloccini – signed a new deal in the summer but spent most of it being linked with Palace. Hasn’t looked settled here in almost three years yet has unbelievably retained the armband despite declining performances and a lack of leadership ability.
Yet they all seem undroppable. Coloccini understandably has to play given our lack of options at CB, yet Sissoko and Cisse somehow retained their places yesterday despite putting in appalling performances against West Ham.
Then, our disciplinary record has been abysmal. Yesterday apparently several players just ignored McClaren when he asked them to go and applaud the fans. You look around at the players and you just don’t see any belief or hunger in them, which is odd given McClaren is a new manager and you’d imagine they’d be eager to impress him.
You always hear that McClaren is a great coach but not a great manager, and I’m starting to wonder if that’s exactly the right conclusion.
Do you agree that things might not be that bad after this season? Have your say in our discussion thread.
Some replies from that discussion thread:
“No. As for Sissoko and Cissé, he was saying how he was going to make changes and all he did was change Anita, the better of the 2 holding midfielders and also the least outspoken for Ayoze. He talks a good game, but in reality I think he’s scared of the backlash from certain players if they get dropped.”
“I think the issue lies with the spine of the team, and that’s the 3 mentioned in the OP, I don’t think the rest of the squad is an issue, just those seniors and I think it stems back to the Pardew era, I think he made a perfect breeding ground for player power and its one of the last remaining issues of the Pardew era. We need to ship these players out IMO.”
– Don Sholeone
“We’ve bought young, generally successful players, from successful clubs (abroad), and told them ‘we’ll make you a star’. Come to us, play every week, then you can move on to bigger premiership teams.
“The problem is that our players have never really needed to give 100% week in, week out, ever. They’re young and successful, and have had relatively meteoritic rises in their careers. They’ve never experienced the constant battle of the premiership, and still have the previous mindset that if they pass the ball a bit, the wins will surely come. Obviously this isn’t true. Hence, when they go a goal down, they get royally huffed and throw the towel in.
“Player’s with less natural talent know that they get by on effort. Very skilful players often get by because they are often playing teams of significantly lower quality (most european leagues are nowhere near as competitive as the premiership). Obviously the best players have both; players like Cabaye and Debuchy understood that effort was key in the premiership and hence moved on. The current mob just don’t.
“I really think that we’ve bought turkeys again (MBemba excepted). They’re players who, when the sun is shining and you’re playing a much poorer team in france or belgium, you look like a world beater, but they’re totally wrong for an, at best, mid table premiership team. Is Schteeve able to implement this mentality in the players? I suspect not.”
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