As fervent Blues supporters, we have to understand one very undeniable fact, and that is Pep Clotet is having to play to a system ordered from above. Fans know we need wide wing play with pace, and quick breakaways that hurt teams, but Ren and co. want narrow possession seeking players who can both hold on to the ball and spray it around like Barcelona.
This situation at Blues is just not only frustrating for fans but calamitous in terms of keeping our head above water in this tough Championship league.
The last three away games resulted in the familiar 0-3 scorelines which must resonate somewhere with our Chinese owners. Under Garry Monk, we had away defeats yes, but by narrow margins and sometimes very unlucky. This time around, we find defeats big and deserved, and the less said about possession football is probably for the better. We could go on all week about the frailties of the incoming players, and the type of character they bring to a club built on a ‘never say die’ tradition, but losing the likes of Morrison and Adams was always going to be a set back and it is and that loss hasn’t been remedied.
Clotet is unfortunate and, in my opinion, certainly knows it. He has accepted a position of Head Coach that thousands of us fans would give the earth for, but as far as I can tell – only on very, very strict conditions. Notably, rip up Monk’s playing policy and play ‘our way’ of watchable pleasing to the eye controlled possession football.
The problem is that second rate foreign imports cannot supply the dream. We need change and we need it quickly but the only way we will get it is by losing at an alarming rate. Drastic words but the facts are there, as first and foremost Clotet has to play this system whether he wants to or not, which will result in a massive struggle to survive in forthcoming months.
Why on earth the Gianfranco Zola fiasco hasn’t been binned is the biggest mystery. Monk had it cracked, with only a few tweaks needed, after a season of horrible challenges and and in bravely overcoming those issues, proved playing anything other than this Kamikaze way is the right way for Birmingham City.
The alternative is, get a Manchester City type takeover.
Yesterday at Swansea proved yet again that we need to change very quickly to not only survive but to make us able to compete. Clotet is looking forward to the return of Mrabti and Maghoma but will he be able to play them as they should be used. Again, in my opinion, we have a weak set up at Blues with fierce instructions on how the football is to be played irrespective of whether we have the quality.
My one piece of advice to Clotet is this – sit all the players down in front of a telly at Wast Hills this week and make them watch Ben Stokes ‘one man show’ at exactly the same time they lamely surrendered at Swansea.