With several having stinkers and the draw meaning an unwanted replay the week of our crucial game with Cardiff, it’s fair to say there were few positives to take from Saturday’s bore draw with Blackburn – however Florian Lejeune’s was one of them.
The game was the Frenchman’s first competitive appearance since suffering a devastating cruciate knee ligament injury over pre-season, yet he looked the classiest player in black and white from start to finish.
Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t exactly look good at the back as a whole, but Lejeune still looked the part. He made several superbly timed challenges and showed quality and composure on the ball throughout – also going close with a well hit free kick late on, showing little sign of fatigue given it was his first full game in 6 months.
It’s a promising sign given we’ve lacked that sense of calm at the back in recent weeks, however it’s fair to say his comeback performance was as good as it got.
Jacob Murphy, Joselu, Freddie Woodman, Isaac Hayden and Kenedy all looked worryingly poor for me.
Murphy showed a real lack of confidence (and/or quality), Joselu looked like a rabbit in the headlights any time he got the ball in and around the box (a real worry given he’s our back up option to Rondon), Woodman got nowhere near far too many crosses, Hayden played like a player who doesn’t want to be here and Kenedy continued to look wasteful and a shadow of the player we saw in the early part of 2018.
Unfortunately, our collective performance also hampered the willing Sean Longstaff – one of few players who tried to get the ball moving forward on the rare occasion he managed to get into the game.
He showed flashes (albeit very few) and Florian Lejeune looked good on his return from what can be a career-ending injury, but it was a game filled with far more negatives than positives unfortunately.