The Tony Gale Column

Wednesday 13 March 2019 11:00

We got on the front foot against Chelsea and showed a good account of ourselves, so it was a shame we were unable to continue that into the first half at Leicester. But credit to the lads, and also to Scott for his half-time team talk, we were much better after the break. Let’s have it right, though, Leicester are a very good team. I saw them the week before when they were unlucky against a very good Watford side. We caught them at a bad time, what with it being their first home game under the new manager, and they were always going to want to put in a strong performance.

After Floyd Ayité equalised we showed a real intensity and purpose, looking like we were going to go on and nick it, but as has often been the case this season we were doled out a great punishment for any mistake made. It is difficult to play well for 90 minutes within a game, but what we’ve got to try and do is make sure we score during our periods of dominance.

You don’t want to blame any individuals, but it is a combination of individual errors and not taking our chances which is costing us. Having said that, there have been encouraging signs – we’re looking to get a little bit more on the ball, the boys who got us promoted are back in the side, and now it’s just about transforming that into a few results.

We’ve got a difficult game up next on Sunday, but not that long ago West Ham had a go at Liverpool and should have won the game quite honestly. They showed that, if you get at them, there’s a wobble there. You can’t leave yourself too vulnerable at the back, though, because the pace of their front three can really hurt you. But I’d say in other departments we can certainly get at them.

First though, Liverpool have got the small matter of Bayern Munich away in the Champions League on Wednesday night. That’s evenly poised after the first leg finished goalless at Anfield, so let’s hope it goes all the way to extra-time and penalties so that they’re knackered for our match! Some people will say a midweek fixture won’t affect a team of Liverpool’s stature, but it must do – all that travelling and the highs and the lows that come with the Champions League. So I think it’s always best to play those big teams pre or post a Champions League match. It’s not easy juggling that with the Premier Leagues, and that’s when you see hiccups with teams who are going for the title.

It’s been a really tight title race which will probably go to the wire, but my money is still on Manchester City. I know they’ve got the busiest schedule because they’re still in all the cup competitions, but there’s more quality in that City team, for me. Maybe not in the striking departments, but creatively it’s a better team, certainly a better squad, than Liverpool. They’re both going to need to fully utilise their squads in this run-in, but there will also be an element of luck, too. It will depend on who had more luck with injuries, suspensions, and who is able to put their best team out on most occasions, because you can cruise through some matches, but getting your best team out on that pitch is key in the run-in.

Of course, City are the next visitors to the Cottage, so we could end up having a say in the title race. If we can turn over one of the big sides, it wouldn’t half pick the crowd up. People say it’s only three points at the end of the day, but that’s nonsense. Beating a big side is a real coup and gives everybody a boost, showing everyone that you can beat anyone. There are only eight games left, but if Scott can win three or four and get the odd draw then he’s giving himself grounds for getting the job, and I’m sure the boys will be doing their best for him.

Related Content