I can’t believe some of the things I’ve heard from fans, or read on this and other forums after yesterday’s load of tripe. The Rafa Out Brigade really are out in force. After one bad result! It makes you laugh. Do you think Arsenal fans are calling for Wengers head after four straight 0-0 draws? The last time Ferguson had anybody calling for his head, was 20 years ago but he’s had his fair share of off days too you know. It was only a few days ago everybody was calling Rafa a genius – and suddenly he’s gone from the messiah to a complete ignoramous. All because of one bad result. I can’t see what all the fuss is about personally. I can’t see why everybody is getting so het up.
Yesterday was nothing more than just a bad day at the office. Every team has them. Even United. We’d only lost once all season up until yesterday, so we were due a loss. It just so happens it was against probably the worst team in the league that haven’t actually won a game for four months.
Yes, Rafa’s decisions were baffling yesterday. I mean, Skrtel at right back? Darby was on the bench, surely he’d have been a better option. El Zhar instead of Benayoun? El Zhar started OK, but lost confidence very quickly after the first goal, and from then on was pretty useless all game. Yossi would have ripped Boro to shreds, had he been on from the start. But Rafa can’t be blamed for everything.
What people seem to be forgetting is that for the first 10-15 minutes we were actually playing rather well yesterday and were on top of Boro. It’s only after that soft OG went in off Xabi that the team let their heads drop, and allowed Boro back into the game. We did have a couple more decent chances in the first half to go in level, but it was just down to bad luck and a couple good saves from their ‘keeper we stayed behind.
The second half again started a little brighter. Whatever Rafa said at half time obviously put a boot up their backsides. And even when we conceded the second, we were still fighting for it. Or at least some of them were. Gerrard worked his socks off, and laid one on a plate for Kuyt – who fucked up royally and missed the easiest chance he’ll ever have had to have brought us back into the game.
After Gerrard went off injured though, you knew it was all over. Half the team didn’t turn up at all yesterday. The other half gave up somewhere around the 60 minute mark. And that really is inexcusable – but at the same time, Rafa did all he could from the touchline to make it work. It was the 11 on the pitch that couldn’t be arsed. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rafa kept them in the dressing room after the game to administer one almighty bollocking.
Some people round about me in the stands were saying that The Riverside Stadium has a hex over us, and that we never get anything there. While that may be true, what’s also true is that the team could have actually looked like they wanted to be there yesterday and fight for the title. But they didn’t.
Yes, we may have lost ground, or even given up our chances at the title. Yes, we may be in need of better players, or players that actually want to play for the club. And yes, Rafa may need to have a look at some of his decisions and admit he made a couple of mistakes.
But don’t call for his head yet. I still believe he is the man to bring the title back to Anfield. It may not be this season now, but he can do it. Lets wait and see what happens in the summer. I have a feeling we may be seeing a few surprising departures from the playing squad, and some surprising arrivals in their place. And I don’t suppose there’ll be too many moaning if we win a sixth Champions League this year.
Lets try and forget about yesterday and move on. It was just a bad day at the office. They do happen from time to time.