22 March 2015

Charlton 3 Reading 2

Surprising admission: the evidence is building that Guy Luzon is the kind of manager/coach I like. Not just because of the results, but because he seems able to release the inner child inside his players: to get them to play with the sheer fun and enthusiasm you will see on any school playground when the kids get a chance to kick a ball about. No-one takes up football because they want to excel in zonal defensive patterns: it's the pure thrill of doing something clever with the ball that gets people hooked. Get that feeling back, allied to technical skill and physical fitness, and you'll get good performances.

Not always good results, though. The result against Blackburn and the halftime score today showed that the balance can be missing. Charlton had played with some verve but no finish. The energy faded and the game dwindled into snooze, allowing Reading to score a goal that felt ridiculously unimportant.

Luzon's halftime talk must have been something like "Carry on doing what you're doing, just do it a bit better." And so in the second half the performance of the team was more adventurous, and the score could have been higher than it was. Of course, there's a downside. Once again, the defence had occasional lapses, one of which gave Reading late, delusive hope but generally speaking any team that regularly scores three goals in a game is regularly going to win.

Unsurprising confession: I never really warmed to Bob Peeters. It's partly my (perfectly rational) prejudice against really tall people, but he finally lost me after the game against Ipswich in November. Charlton had played brilliantly, particularly in the first half, but lost. Peeters said afterwards he hadn't spoken to the team after that game, because he didn't know what to say. It's obvious (isn't it?) that he should have said "Carry on doing what you're doing, just do it a bit better." Instead, in the following weeks we saw his pattern of play get even more rigid and, ultimately, negative.

Peeters, I suspect, would have destroyed Tony Watt, who is closer than most to the child in the playground. You need to accept that he will do some ludicrous, wasteful things every game, but occasionally he'll do something unbelievable, like setting up Simon Church's goal from an apparently impossible position. Luzon seems happy to give him the freedom to do this.

If you've ever been on a management course you'll recognise that Luzon's management is a vindication of theory Y. But of course you'll also have realised that management theories are pseudoscientific nonsense, so I'm not sure where that leaves us.

Other views:
Hungry (despite the pies) Ted
Chris Powell's Flat Cap
Chicago Addick
Drinking During the Game


ChicagoAddick said...

Great piece Brian.

Matthew Blake said...

Brian... like in the dog on The Family Guy?

Echoing ChicagoAddick, great writing!