Or maybe I am: Apologist: “a person who offers an argument in defence of something controversial.”
Suppose someone said: “we’re going to start again with this team. Bring in the youth team. Sign a few experienced players. Work to build a blend.”
How long would you expect it to take to get this right?
Here’s a run of four games that promoted QPR had late last season:
10 Feb 2014 Derby County 1 – 0 Queens Park Rangers
16 Feb 2014 Queens Park Rangers 1 – 3 Reading
22 Feb 2014 Charlton Athletic 1 – 0 Queens Park Rangers
1 Mar 2014 Queens Park Rangers 1 – 1 Leeds United
Derby made the playoffs, too, and many considered them the best team in the league. They had a run early on including four defeats in seven games. Late in the season they had a run of four games without a win.
Wigan were even more iffy: they had a run of one win in five early on. They lost four in a row halfway through the season, and closed out with a sequence of LWLLWL.
The difference here is that Fulham’s problems haven’t been a bad run in an otherwise good season, but a bad run with nothing else.
But still. Bad runs are part of football in the Championship.
This is interesting: http://theonlystat.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/championship-week-4-fledgling-fall-of.html
The key part in Fulham’s predicament at the moment is that they simply can’t buy a goal for love nor £11m of Ross McCormack – although the League Cup winner in midweek against fellow Championship side Brentford may get him going.
Does anyone really expect Fulham to still be scoring just 13% of the shots on target at the end of the season? That’s less than half the league average of around 30%.
Defensively the west London team have also been burned – somehow conceding goals at double the league average – almost 60%.
Of course both these could be down to the quality of chances that Fulham are creating and conceding – but to have this wide a disparity must surely be very unlucky. (Consider it the reverse of when a West Brom or Sunderland or Swansea or other Premier League “minnow” is up near the top of the table a couple of months in – eventually every shot they take stops hitting the back of the net, opposition shots curl just inside rather than outside the post, and the team slides back down to its more natural (playing talent-based position somewhere in the middle of the table).
You know what that is? That’s just the bounce of the ball not going our way yet. If, across the league, 30% of shots on target are going in, and it’s half that when we shoot and double that when our opponents shoot, well that’s just the break of the ball. Last season every single team ended up clustered around the 30% figure, with 6 points either way.
So that’s just bad luck.
1) we knew rebuilding would take time
2) most teams have bad strings of results. Even teams that aren’t starting from scratch.
3) we’ve probably been really unlucky so far. I know people won’t like this but it’s how things work. If you toss a coin once anything could happen. If you toss a coin 100 times you’re more likely to see a 50/50 split between heads and tails. In short sequences of games things don’t even out. They just don’t. People will rightly say that we haven’t played well, but a lot of that is a function of the bad luck: when that starts to stabilise the players will appear more confident, the fans will overlook things that will get picked out after defeats, and the world is generally a happier place.
There. I did all that without talking about anyone in particular.
Okay, now I will. Look, I don’t agree with most of what Magath’s doing either, but I’m not convinced that the sky’s falling down just yet.