John Petrie wrote:
When we kept the ball on the deck he dominated the midfield. When someone in front of him moved he tended to find them. When the forwards managed to keep the ball in the final third he was often backing up attacks.
He was unable to find any killer balls today because there was absolutely no movement in front of him. He was unable to dominate the second half because their manager reacted to his influence in the first half and changed things, our response was aimless punts.
If we play the ball on the deck and put someone up top who makes a dangerous run in behind the defence he will create. If we play people in front of him that show for the ball and find space then he will find them. If neither of the above happen then he will try and keep the ball.
Instead what we see is criticism for keeping the ball instead of an aimless lump to a forward unwilling to run away from their marker.
For years we have had a problem with our attacking movement and it is still a major problem for us. Players like Hourihane will find space and will find players with their passing but if they are to set up goals then they need decent movement in front of them. It is not their fault if it is not their and I'd rather they kept the ball than hoofing it aimlessly to a striker stood next to their marker or accelerating as fast as possible to put as many defenders between them and the midfield as possible.
This. Top post and absolutely spot on.
I find criticism of him today astonishing.
Me too on the whole. Fans were moaning to get it forward but when players did hoof it forward it just went back to our half and/or there was no-one running in front of him. Football's as much about what you do off the ball as what you do on it. Our other players didn't help him out enough.
The one thing he did do poorly was, as has been said, be too slow in his thought and tended to pick the wrong pass , especially in counter attacks. For all the reasons John said though, I don't think he deserves as much stick as he is getting.