Well Saturday was another day to forget for Coventry City fans despite it being Mark Robins first game in charge. It was another lacklustre performance from the team which saw us waist chances and gift goals to the opposition.
Maybe we as fans were expecting change too soon with Robins only having two days with the players however you do expect some sort of reaction from the players which we didn’t really see. The players should have been playing to impress but for me there was only one player who did that and that was David McGoldrick. He was part of everything that was good about the City performance. He showed touches of quality, some real finishing ability and worked hard for the team as the lone front man.
A real concern for me is that it is a player on loan who seems to care the most and it shouldn’t be that way. One player in particular who I have been disappointed with ever since his return to the club is Gary McSheffery. He has had Premier League experience and he is a Coventry lad but you would not believe this is if you were seeing him play for the first time. The passion for the game seems to have gone out of him and it genuinely seems like he doesn’t really care that much anymore.
For me there is nothing more frustrating for a fan than seeing a player especially a local lad not giving there all for the team. I don’t know whether he has just lost his ability, lost his confidence or just doesn’t care anymore but something needs to change as he should be a star in that team but it’s just not happening right now.
I don’t want to just single McSheffery out though as there are a lot of players in that side that are massively underperforming. Robins pointed to this fact in his post match interview where he highlighted a lack of confidence as the biggest issue within the squad.
There are many differing views when it comes to the role that confidence plays in football but I am firm believer that confidence can often mean more than ability itself. It is all well and good having ability but if you don’t have the confidence to use it then the ability goes to waste.
This is something that affects even the best players in the world with the obvious example being Fernando Torres. Now no one can deny the fact that he is one of the world’s best but even he needs to believe in himself for him to do well. During his bad spell of form he was receiving heavy criticism with many questioning whether he had just lost his ability but all he needed was for others to believe in him again so he could in turn believe in himself. This change in attitude as people began to back him made all the difference and once again we now see him week in week out performing for Chelsea as their number one striker.
There is also the issue of mentality surrounding the squad. There is a losing mentality within the squad at the moment and has been for a very long time. This has to change going forward as even the new players within the squad seem to have accepted this and are not happy to lose but don’t try hard enough to win.
Applying this to the whole of the Coventry squad and it is understandable that we are where we are. Criticism and a lack of belief is abundant within the fans and this is clearly going to impact the team. Fans have been calling for so called ‘tough love’ to be handed out to the players and that maybe what is needed for some of them but definitely not all of them. Some will respond much better to having an arm put round them and trying to get them to believe in themselves again. It’s all about finding that right balance and I think Thorn was probably too soft on the players and allowed to relax and get stuck in the rut that we still find ourselves in. Robins on the other hand seems like he will not accept bad performances so readily and from what he has said in the press as well as what I have heard about him, I have trust in him that he will be able to find that balance.
I have said before but the fans really need to play a role in this change in confidence and mentality. We need to start believing that these players are good players and we need to try to get behind them. I appreciate that it is difficult when we are seeing what we have been on the pitch. I do fully believe though that the combination of us fans, Robins and his coaching staff and we can get these players believing in themselves again. If we do then success could be just round the corner. These players are not as bad as their league position suggests and hopefully Robins will be the man to kick start our season by instilling some much needed belief back into the squad.