Date:Monday March 12 2007
I always try to remain upbeat and positive, but I am finding it increasingly difficult in the wake of some very ordinary performances and a lack of passion from the players and the manager.
Despite criticism by some of the fans that the team is not good enough to survive, I have to say that they are perfectly capable of holding their own in this division.
Individual players come in for stick for being poor players, and that is far from the truth. There is not one player in the squad who is that poor. They are simply not playing to the best of their abilities, nor fighting hard enough when the chips are down.
Looking at the Chelsea v Spurs match, Chelsea were woeful in the first half, and looked down and out of the cup by half time. They were having an off day and did not play much better in the second half, but they fought for all they were worth and got themselves another chance with their efforts.
Luton were similarly poor in the first half and should have thrown everything at Leeds to get back into the game; it was a very important match and one that had they won would have gone a long way towards consigning Leeds to one of the relegation slots while showing the others in the zone that we were going to fight for our status.
Instead, they left it too late, and even when a lifeline was presented to them on a plate with a late penalty, failed to take the opportunity to take an unlikely point.
The players have to give 100% for 90 minutes not just the last 20 minutes chasing games.
The time has come to realise that they need to put in some very big performances, even though that realisation should have come months ago. Mike Newell's refusal to accept that we were in a relegation dogfight as we plummetted down the league table showed that he he had misplaced faith in the side to turn it round, when he should have been giving them a kick up the backside, and has allowed the malaise to continue to the point that we are now in the bottom three.
We need to see a team selection that will bring in the players who are up for the fight, not luxury players who may be pretty to watch but do not have a stomach for the fight.
On most days, you could bet your house on Dean Morgan blasting a penalty kick into the net, but on Saturday he delivered a poor effort. At least he had the balls to take it, and he was one of the few players who looked capable of beating a man, and showed some passion.
However depressed we all are at the situation we find ourselves in, we need to be the twelfth man again, like we were in the promotion season. It is easy to sing and be encouraging when we are winning; we need to get behind them whatever the situation.
The next two games are massive. Hull simply must be despatched and Ipswich likewise.
We need the points from the next six games as the last three look daunting in Luton's situation. Derby and Sunderland will not relinquish any points easily at that point of the season and Southend away will be just as difficult. Twelve points from the next six games is a big ask, but it would almost certainly guarantee safety.
Mike! Lads! Is it too much to ask that you produce 90 minutes of 100% passion and do or die effort just six times in the next four weeks?
Date:Monday March 12 2007
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