It may have taken a hell of a long time but it has finally occurred to Paul Jewell and his players that this season might have given them something to apologise about. Whether it’s come too late to who the fans round is another matter as is whether they are apologising for the right thing, but it’s an apology all the same, and it should be taken gracefully.
Reflecting on the performance against Liverpool, Jewell has admitted that the cautious approach that if tried to impress on the team may not have been the best thing for a set of players better suited to… I’m not sure what, but not suited to defending, at least.
Although he is prepared to take the blame for the poor performance, suggestions are there that he still feels it was the right way to go. In his comments to the press, he reiterates his opinion that going to Liverpool and ‘opening up’ could have cost Latics significantly in terms of goal difference, although at the same time he admits the obvious, that we’ll never know.
Jewell’s apology was as much to the players as it was to the fans but Arjan De Zeeuw has looked to shift the blame away from Jewell and accepts that, whilst the tactics may not have been right, you have to look at the players’ application of them on the day.
The conclusion appears to be that Latics did alright, but not enough, especially when they were chasing the game. The captain repeating fans concerns that after conceding the first goal, the team never looked like getting back into it.
The statements seem like more of an attempt to draw a line under the game at Anfield, but really they are a reflection of the season at large. The number of games where both manager and players have got things right are relatively few and those where this same apology was due many.
Disappointingly, the sorries, in this case, weren’t followed by any promise to do better. There’s no indication that anyone has learnt from the mistakes, and every chance that they will be repeated. There is growing concern amongst fans that the West Ham game will see Latics trying not to lose, when to win the game could banish most thoughts of relegation.
Whilst it’s nice to see people stand up and admit where they may have gone wrong, it will be 3 o’clock on Saturday before we know whether they meant it. If they did then we could be putting our feet up and reflecting on a job done come tea time.