Thursday, September 05, 2013

Critical reflection

One of the weekend's talking points was Paolo Di Canio's public slating of his players following the Mackems' defeat to Crystal Palace, a side widely expected to be among the division's whipping boys. The unhinged loon displayed his very tenuous grasp of psychology and man management by criticising both Ji Dong-Won (for ducking out of a header) and captain John O'Shea (for making a bad cock-up and then giving away a penalty and getting sent off when trying to recover) in his post-match interview. Both players did indeed deserve a rollicking - but that's what the dressing room's for.

While Di Canio came under fire from hacks and pundits, rather less was said about the fact that the Silver Fox actually did much the same. HBA was not only our matchwinner against Fulham, he was also the player who carried the most threat and spark all afternoon - and yet after the game his manager decided to declare our mercurial forward had "made some poor decisions" and reveal that he'd given him a half-time dressing-down, accusing him of slowing down our attacks.

I suppose the difference is that the Silver Fox could say it with a wry and relieved smile on his face rather than a scowl. All the same, I don't think public criticism is what a player as psychologically fragile as HBA needs, and certainly not when he's ultimately made the game's key contribution. On the contrary, the occasion surely called for the confidence boost of a manager raving about another superlative goal added to a growing collection.

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