Mark Bowen: Birmingham was a point gained
Following yesterday’s excellent comments from Kolo Toure, is was a surprise to hear Mark Bowen today making contradictory noises about the draw at Birmingham being a point gained.
“We talked about it afterwards, and you look at tactics and other things, but maybe it was just one of those occasions when you have too many players not playing to 100 per cent of their capabilities.
“If you have two or three not quite up to it, maybe the rest can carry them, but when you have five or six not quite at it on the day it affects you.
“When you look at that, and the fact Shay kept us in the game, it was a point gained in the end.
“A lot has been made of the fact that we have had four draws in a row but we look at it that three of those draws were away from home, and two were against sides that have beaten Chelsea.”
Bowen is clearly trying to downplay the recently dropped points and put a positive spin on things, but I sincerely hope he doesn’t mean it. The failure at Birmingham wasn’t just about players having an off day and not playing to 100 per cent. The tactics and teamplay weren’t right. Shaun Wright-Phillips doesn’t lack for endeavour but we’re clearly not getting the best out of him.
Roque Santa Cruz may not have been fully fit, but that doesn’t change the fact that he and Tevez had no service in the second half. The discomfort in defence is hardly a one-off either.
The lessons should have been learnt from the Wigan performance when we were poor prior to Zabaleta’s sending off. To concede a two goal lead against Fulham and follow it up with the Birmingham display implies everything is not ok with the tactics and coaching.
The words of Toure sounded like those from someone who is used to winning and has that mythical ‘winning mentality’. This is the calibre of player that Hughes has signed. The words of Bowen make one wonder if the management team are at the same level. It’s impossible to imagine Ancelotti, Wenger or even Benitez accepting a draw at Birmingham as a point gained, whatever the circumstances.
Bowen is right to point out that Chelsea lost at Villa, but look at John Terry’s fury when it happened, and how they responded to it – not dropping a point or conceding a goal in the Premier League since.
With the current troubles at Liverpool, this is a great opportunity to stake a claim for a top four place. Missing out through a willingness to take a point and write off bad days would be hugely disappointing.