Confidence trick?

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  How hard can it be for 20 odd grown men to present a united front? Numerous players have been in the press lately telling us that spirit in the Latics camp is high and yet Paul Jewell tells us that the silly errors at the back and lack of impetus up front are due to a lack of confidence. Today Paul Scharner has risen from his sick bed to misquotedly inform us that there is a feeling of resignation in the dressing room and that the players think that they are doomed to relegation. Lost in translation, or no smoke without fire?

With eight consecutive defeats under their belts, it’s not hard to work out where the truth lies, the question is what is being done about it? You can say what you want about Paul Jewell’s tactics or the ability of individuals in the squad, but if they lack the simple belief in their own ability to drag us out of this situation then no number of players returning from injury or new signings will solve the problem.

A lot was said early last season about how Jason Roberts had convinced a number of his team mates to join him in hypnotherapy sessions. With the team on a high from two promotions in three seasons it’s hard to say how successful they were but the stories from back then do point to a solution for now.

Jewell doesn’t immediately strike you as one for new fangled concepts like the power of positive thinking. You know the sort of thing, Focus on the orange dot, visualise your goal, imagine yourself having completed the task, how does that feel and how did you get there? Then again it was never needed before, his squad up until now has been filled with players who could clearly take and respond to a good old fashioned rollicking .

The team these days is a little more complex. Who knows how much of Jewell’s style of inspiration gets lost in the translation. In any case the fragile mix of continental internationals that make up a good chunk of the squad are likely to need a little more than a rabble rousing team talk to get them in the mood for a mud soaked Sunday lunchtime.

I’m no psychologist, but it’s clear that the mind set of the players needs altering and we don’t have time for the age old technique of “if we wait long enough one will go in of his arse and he’ll go on a scoring run” and unlike Alan Pardew, Paul Jewell shows no desire to step into Uri Geller’s shoes. Following Sam Allardyce’s lead and employing the equivalent of the Betty Ford clinic’s staffing just doesn’t seem right.

Maybe Jason Roberts had it right all along and the answer is to get Paul Mckenna in. Then again, with the headless chicken acts we’ve seem from half the squad this season, maybe he already has.

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