How long does it actually take foreign players to learn that a) the British press will take any opportunity to twist whatever you say to their own benefit and b) that it’s not acceptable in this game to openly discuss any doubts or concerns that you may have about your colleagues or manager?  Denny Landzaat found out quite quickly last season after Paul Jewell dragged a retraction of his comments about Latics style of play out of him, but the message obviously didn’t make it through to Paul Scharner.

Whilst Landzaat’s about watching the ball sail over his head were backed with evidence and reflected what many fans had been saying about the team’s reaction to their situation.  Although some people held (and still hold) doubts about the Dutchman’s abilities they too wanted to see less obvious and more varied tactics deployed.  Even those who felt that Landzaat wasn’t pulling his weight could empathise with his concerns.

Scharner is in a similar position this year, his performances have lacked in skill and enthusiasm and yet his comments have received a very different reaction.  Basically because the old manager had tried to get the team playing some football and the new manager, well he’s too new to make any assumptions about how he wants the team to play.

Birmingham fans may have been ringing bells of doom about big hoofs and ten at the back but yet on Saturday he lined the team up in a 4-4-2, had a go at the opposition and had two players in midfield either one of whom could quite easily be considered a luxury when you’re looking down the wrong end of a relegation battle.

The closest we’ve got to a retraction from Scharner are his comments on Monday about how Steve Bruce has instilled new levels of enthusiasm in the squad and his previous words have been left hanging as a fairly ineffectual warning to a manager whose primary job this season is to secure Premier League status, presumably at all costs.  If he manages that playing pretty football then all power to him.

It has been left to the man himself to put people right about his tactics and unsurprisingly he denies any claims of him being a long ball merchant.  I suppose it’s a fine line between hoofing it up to a big man and getting the ball to the front players as quickly as possible but as we saw in the middle years of the Paul Jewell era it’s effective and exciting to watch, if you do it right.

You need the right midfield to manage that though and with doubts already hanging over the Austrian’s head, his words may have cost him the chance to play his part.

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