It’s been a slightly sticky start to the season for Kilmarnock.
The shock exit from the Europa League to Welsh Premier League side Connah’s Quay was followed by defeats in the Premiership to Hamilton and Rangers, leading to a few impatient fans questioning new manager Angelo Alessio’s position.
The panel on the Totally Scottish Show this week were joined by Barry Richmond from KillieFC.com to discuss Alessio’s start at Rugby Park, and how the impact of the summer’s upheaval, which saw much of the squad and Steve Clarke depart, may even have been underplayed.
“We’re calling it the summer of shambles,” said Barry. “Everything started falling to bits when there was a big Steve Clarke-shaped hole in the door. It was pretty difficult to fill it, and we took a wee while to get somebody new in so that was us behind the ball straight away, and that’s been shown on the park.”
Alessio, who has been Antonio Conte’s No.2 since the early days of the Inter manager’s career, has made some changes, but has he been making them too quickly?
“There are definitely changes: we used to win. To be fair to him, I don’t think he was 100% right up on what he was coming in to. He’s been operating on a higher level, albeit as an assistant. I think he’s got a lot more to do than he thought. Add the fact we lost the CEO and the chief scout too.
“For him to impart all his knowledge to the players and create major change must have been very difficult. We’ve sort of reverted to how we were playing before so I think he’ll start to change things more slowly now.
“Some of the fans wanted him gone at 10pm that night [after Connah’s Quay], saying ‘we’re better just getting rid of him now’ – I don’t understand that at all. Everybody’s got to be given a chance. It’s not all down to his CV, but he clearly knows what he’s doing.”
JJ Bull has been crunching the numbers and studying Killie’s games so far, and he agrees that Alessio needs more time.
“I don’t think I’ve talked to a single person who thought Killie were going to be the same level as they were last year, after Clarke left. The Connah’s Quay thing was a shock – the players weren’t good enough on that one night and there was a stupid red card.
“I’ve been through all of their games – against Hamilton they were decent enough. They had 78% possession (although that doesn’t mean anything really), but they had all the game, Hamilton just sat back, got a random goal by punting it 80 miles in the air, the boy takes it down and scores. The second goal was another launch, through the middle and it was a bit of a stramash.
“xG was about 1.89-0.83 – they should have won the game 2-1 or something like that, and on average they would win if they played it another ten times. To suggest Alessio is short on time is funny.”
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