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Thread: Keeping the lead

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    Keeping the lead

    What is the problem with keeping the lead in this Irish team? I know this was visited after the Italy game but its been a recurring problem since 2002. Trap seems baffled so what is going wrong with these EPL stars who surely are used to killing a game off with their clubs..

    Would it help having a Defender or Goalkeeper as captain. This could be the key to beating the French!! I think we'll take the lead in Croker.. Can we keep it this time?

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    pure and simple for years now when we score we start defending deeper and deeper. for whatever reason we stop pressing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duggie View Post
    pure and simple for years now when we score we start defending deeper and deeper. for whatever reason we stop pressing.
    But the reason we conceded the equalizer against Italy was because we kept pressing, when we should have just kept the ball by any means away from the Italians..

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    Quote Originally Posted by M@ttitude View Post
    What is the problem with keeping the lead in this Irish team? I know this was visited after the Italy game but its been a recurring problem since 2002. Trap seems baffled so what is going wrong with these EPL stars who surely are used to killing a game off with their clubs..

    Would it help having a Defender or Goalkeeper as captain. This could be the key to beating the French!! I think we'll take the lead in Croker.. Can we keep it this time?
    Unfortuantely I have horrible recurring nightmares relating to times that preceded 2002, it goes back further than that mores the pity.

    lack of confidence, lack of guidance, lack of tactics/strategy / fear - all have played a part.
    I thought you were off the drink Ronnie?

    "No, I drink to help me mind my own business....can I get you one? (c) Ronnie Drew

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    Quote Originally Posted by M@ttitude View Post
    What is the problem with keeping the lead in this Irish team? I know this was visited after the Italy game but its been a recurring problem since 2002. Trap seems baffled so what is going wrong with these EPL stars who surely are used to killing a game off with their clubs..

    Would it help having a Defender or Goalkeeper as captain. This could be the key to beating the French!! I think we'll take the lead in Croker.. Can we keep it this time?
    There's definitely a lack of composure and tactical savvy in seeing out games - which long pre-dates Trapp, as far back to at least the late 70's / early 80's.

    The choice of pass and type of ball you play with a few minutes left on the clock can be crucial.

    Retaining possession is key - if they don't have the ball they can't hurt you.

    A few clever runs to the corner flag wouldn't go amiss with a minute to go either!!
    Quoting years at random since 1975

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    This has to be the main topic of conversation in the Irish camp! The Italians thought us a lesson.. A goal means nothing against the top teams unless you can defend a lead. Crucial in the first playoff that we keep a clean sheet, or maybe just a 1-1.. I wont be celebrating ecstatically if we take the lead like I did against Italy! Ill save my celebrations for the final whistle, fingers crossed!

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    Youth Team Leeside Swagger's Avatar
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    When we go 1-0 up we have to push for a 2nd. We've a terrible record of defending 1-0's so we cant do much worse imo. The cushion is all important at international level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leeside Swagger View Post
    When we go 1-0 up we have to push for a 2nd. We've a terrible record of defending 1-0's so we cant do much worse imo. The cushion is all important at international level.
    Do you not see the fallacy in your argument? It is pushing for a second that makes us terrible at defending one goal leads!

    We just need to learn to counter attack....
    Superdave to the resc....

    Can you wait til I finish my pint? Or else...

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    Lack of confidence and a winning mentality. Being ahead is such an unfamiliar position for them that they don't know how to correctly deal with it so lose their nerve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    Do you not see the fallacy in your argument? It is pushing for a second that makes us terrible at defending one goal leads!

    We just need to learn to counter attack....
    It's not though. With the exception of the 2nd Italy equaliser we've generally given away leads through sitting back and inviting teams onto us. When we do this our ball retention tends to be terrible and we get pushed back further and further till we crack.

    Holding onto the ball in the right areas is the key and we're terrible at this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumcondra 69er View Post
    It's not though. With the exception of the 2nd Italy equaliser we've generally given away leads through sitting back and inviting teams onto us. When we do this our ball retention tends to be terrible and we get pushed back further and further till we crack.

    Holding onto the ball in the right areas is the key and we're terrible at this.
    Agreed, upto the Italian game we wouldve said every time we go ahead we naturally seem to sit back and as a result are under terrible pressure which usually results in the concession of a goal. The Bulgaria away game is an exception to this where we looked reasonably comfortable in the lead except for a poor defensive error left them in.

    However, in the Italian game we went on the attack again immediately after going ahead, with the the result that the otherwise excellent JOSH was out of position and the Italians broke down that free side.

    I think the key is if we go ahead early that we dont sit back like we did against Bulgaria at home, that we continue to play the game as if it were level. Whereas if we go ahead late on ie in the last quarter, as in the Italian game, I think at that stage its appropriate to adopt defensive/time wasting tactics and only have reasonable forays forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    Do you not see the fallacy in your argument? It is pushing for a second that makes us terrible at defending one goal leads!

    We just need to learn to counter attack....
    What games have you been watching? In almost every important game in recent times that we have taken the lead we've ended up retreating and retreating until the opposition is camped outside our area. Then we seem to almost inevitably concede a goal. We've shown that we can play attacking football against the top teams and score, we need to play to this strength and finish teams off.

    Regarding the second point, we dont have the players with the speed of thought or vision from midfield to play counter attacking football against the top teams.

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    I think we always sit back too deep and invite the opposition onto us. This is always going to lead to us conceding a goal as teams who are better at keeping the ball will eventually create chances and score/force a mistake. Our defence is clearly not good enough to soak up pressure from opposing teams. We may have an Italian manager but he can't make us defend like the Italians. We also have a team that contains senior players who have never seen out a match successfully against a top country. John O'Shea for instance has never played in a winning Irish team in a competitive match against a top nation, and he made his debut in 2002.

    I don't think we can blame Trap for this failure to close out games. At least Trap keeps two men up front in every game, instead of reverting to the old Mick McCarthy tactic of five in midfield after 65-70 minutes. I never used to understand why McCarthy used to do that, all it succeeded in doing was drawing the opposition fullbacks onto us. McCarthy even used to do this when we were on top in games, like in Macedonia in 1999. Trap certainly cannot be blamed for Italy's 2nd goal against us, he must have been furious that we left ourselves 3 on 3 at the back in injury time. We just need to pray that we finally learn from our mistakes against France, or that we get a goal in the final minute in Paris to send us through. And to have any chance in the play-offs we must play Finnan at RB and O'Shea at LB, Killer is an accident waiting to happen

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    What worries me is that we tend to retreat when we have something to lose. Generally we don't do it when we're level. Only thing about being at home first in the play off is that Trap might consider 0-0 a good result and hope to snatch an away goal in the 2nd leg. I'm concerned that if he bangs on too much about how important it is to keep a clean sheet a home we might play as we normally do when we go ahead and sit back inviting them on.

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    They should always ignore the first goal scored, for or against.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leeside Swagger View Post
    What games have you been watching? In almost every important game in recent times that we have taken the lead we've ended up retreating and retreating until the opposition is camped outside our area. Then we seem to almost inevitably concede a goal. We've shown that we can play attacking football against the top teams and score, we need to play to this strength and finish teams off.

    Regarding the second point, we dont have the players with the speed of thought or vision from midfield to play counter attacking football against the top teams.
    I don't mean in every case it is what costs us but surely as a strategy pushing on when you are a goal up is frought with danger as it leaves you vulnerable and exposed. Now, our ability to hold a lead when that is blatently what we are trying to do is also poor but I think it can be improved upon and pushing for extra goals isn't really viable. Just look at the Italian goal. You could practically see them laughing as they crossed the half way line. Thet knew they were going to score because of our kamikaze approach.

    For what it's worth, I think we only attacked when ahead against the Italians in this campaign and it was blurring my recollection of earlier games (like Cyprus, home and away, Bulgaria home etc etc) but I think we are capable of holding on to what we have without unnecessarily pushing forward. Now, if we had someone in central midfield able to hold onto possession etc etc (say, S Reid) we would certainly be in a better position.
    Superdave to the resc....

    Can you wait til I finish my pint? Or else...

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    I don't mean in every case it is what costs us but surely as a strategy pushing on when you are a goal up is frought with danger as it leaves you vulnerable and exposed. Now, our ability to hold a lead when that is blatently what we are trying to do is also poor but I think it can be improved upon and pushing for extra goals isn't really viable. Just look at the Italian goal. You could practically see them laughing as they crossed the half way line. Thet knew they were going to score because of our kamikaze approach.
    I dont really see how it can be judged as viable or not since we havent tried it. The Italy game is a bad example, we just lost our heads for a split second and were punished. Obviously I'm not saying push on for another goal in the 89th minute if we are ahead by one, the ball should be put in to row z in that scenario.

    What I'm saying is if we go one up with a decent amount of time on the clock and are playing well why not push on for the 2nd?

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    Simple solution to keeping the lead;
    1. Take St. Ledger out of the team.
    2. Push one of the central midfielder ahead of the other to stop the opposition running through the middle.
    3. Don't stop trying to score when we take the lead.

    easy ......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumcondra 69er View Post
    What worries me is that we tend to retreat when we have something to lose. Generally we don't do it when we're level. Only thing about being at home first in the play off is that Trap might consider 0-0 a good result and hope to snatch an away goal in the 2nd leg. I'm concerned that if he bangs on too much about how important it is to keep a clean sheet a home we might play as we normally do when we go ahead and sit back inviting them on.
    I think this is a myth perpetrated particularly by Father Time, Johnny Giles. What happens when we take the lead is that the other side takes the game more to us (e.g. Italy). We don't sit back - we are pushed back and don't have the ability to keep the ball and thus have to defend for our lives. If we sit back, wtf were John O'Shea and others doing caught out of position when we should have been defending a 2-1 lead against Italy.

    I fear that top teams, when they raise their games, can push us back and there isn't a whole lot we can do about it.

    I would be reasonably happy with a 0-0 in Dublin. I feel we can score in France. Our home form for most of the games has been terrible. Trap's formation is better suited for away games. Of course I wouldn't complain if we win at home either but I would be surprised if we do.
    Forget about the performance or entertainment. It's only the result that matters.

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    I know individual errors can almost always be blamed on conceding goals. But ours are very bad. O'Shea up the pitch for Italy's second goal. Allowing a free header for Italy's first goal. Kilbane's mistake in Bulgaria to mention just three recent ones. You can't blame a system or way of playing on those mistakes. We can't afford to give away cheap goals. Especially against teams like France who might undo us with one or two moments of brilliance. Cut out the unforced errors and we can do it.

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