Steve Bruce started today’s pre-Everton press conference with a very fair assessment of our recent form:
“We’d conceded too many, been a bit too open, goalkeeper’s had to make far too many saves, so we had to address that to give ourselves a chance. Last week was more like it. Now, we’ve got to get the balance right by being more of a threat up the pitch.”
He accepted we’d been giving Darlow too much to do and felt we were much better defensively on Sunday after switching to a back five – however he rightly admitted that we need to be “more of a threat” in the final third moving forward.
I can’t argue with any of the above and am glad he was addressing our issues at both ends of the pitch, however his next set of comments felt like one step forwards, two steps back:
“We aren’t going to score two or three goals every week,”
“We would love to.
“Don’t get me wrong, we would love to be the Entertainers again but it’s just not possible so we have to get that balance right.”
The “it’s just not possible” comment totally discredits the quality of our attack on paper.
This is a manager who’s got a front four worth over £100m in Wilson, Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Fraser – players who will hardly be inspired if they happen to read his comments this morning!
He’s putting a dampener on what could be a very exciting forward line and lowering expectations unnecessarily.
We’re not asking to be gung-ho – that wouldn’t work – but we rarely have more than a couple of shots on targets every week (we’ve had just 17 in our last 8 games!), never mind scoring two or three! We too often don’t even give ourselves a chance.
Talking of how many times we’ve managed three goals in a game, that’s only happened in THREE times in Bruce’s 44 Premier League games in charge.
I don’t expect us to score three ‘every week’, but it would be nice if Bruce could stop holding back what is actually a very talented group of players.
We’re better than he gives us credit for. OK, we may never match the Entertainers, but we’re not asking for that. We’re just wanting to see a team that has so much attacking potential to at least have a go.