If you were incredibly cynical, you might read this as his way of giving up on the season already.
However, I just see it as Pep Clotet being relatively realistic about how things have panned out so far, and how the club need to address things moving forward.
Speaking ahead of the game with Wigan Athletic, Clotet spoke about the gap that exists between his Blues side and those at the top of the table, and how although his side managed to put up a good fight, they are still a long way away from being able to challenge them:
“It is annoying we didn’t get anything from those games. But it just highlights the difference between us and them. Those are teams prepared to have a push for promotion this season. We played probably a couple of the best games this season and we were close to something against them, but there is still a gap. A gap we need to shorten and utilise the good work everyone is putting in to try to get as high as possible this season, be as positive as we can, and be in a good position to be contenders next season.”
This is exactly the kind of point that I have been making all season in regards to the expectations of the fans. We shouldn’t be comparing and trying to put ourselves on a level alongside the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United, because to do so would be unfair on Clotet so early in his reign.
Wait until he has a chance to really establish himself before we put too much pressure on him to deliver.
Granted, when he talks about ‘gaps’, that does mean that we should be in a position to dispatch teams down the lower end of the table when we are presented with the opportunity, something we have so far failed to do so with regularity, and which I’ve also talked about recently and is something I do hold against Clotet despite being very much on his side.
Where will the Blues finish this season?
7th - 12th
13th - 21st
But let’s save the talk about promotion for another year. Focus on setting the foundations first, and then we can really give him and the rest of the team the chance to prove something to us.