Thursday, April 14, 2005

Fermez la bouche

With a series of solid performances during our eight match winning streak, allied to a new-found work ethic, Laurent Robert - a player for whom the word "mercurial" was invented - appeared to have repaired the bridge between himself and Graeme Souness brick by brick.

Two appalling Premiership defeats - and two early summons to the touchline to be substituted - later, and KABOOM! Our Gallic genius / groan generator has taken it upon himself to dynamite the whole carefully rebuilt construction with a few characteristically ill-chosen public comments.

"It is difficult for me at the moment. In the last three games I have been taken off after 55 or 60 minutes and I don't like that. I don't like it when the team plays bad football. I have not been happy when I have been brought off. I think everyone has seen that - it is very depressing. There is no communication and the manager does not speak to me face to face to tell me when I am playing badly, and neither does his staff. I read that he does not feel that I do enough but I feel like I have proved myself to him last month. You will have to ask him what he means by that. When everyone said I was playing well, I was getting many balls down the left. I have not been seeing so much of the ball recently."

Unsurprisingly Souness is not impressed, and has labelled Robert "selfish". He, like everyone else associated with the club (I imagine), is particularly upset at Robert's sense of timing, just in advance of two massive games which will mean the difference between a season of long-awaited success or one of dismal failure.

We've said it before and no doubt we'll say it again (though it's uncertain how much longer Souness and Shepherd will persevere with him): shut up and play up.


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