Team spirit is always cited by players and managers as the most important thing in the game, but if players can’t actually talk to each other, that will inevitably take longer…
It’s been a sticky start to the season for Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership.
Five games in and no wins, with only two draws and perhaps even more worryingly only two goals. Manager Stephen Robinson has expressed his frustration that his players weren’t finding the net, and even hinting that he was dissatisfied with the backing from his board.
:He seems frustrated that he’s not being backed financially to bring in the striker he needs,” said JJ Bull on The Totally Scottish Football Show. “This is the problem with Motherwell right now: they’ve got all the possession, they dominate games but they aren’t creating shots from close range to score.
“I think he questioned their desire, to get in dangerous positions – as in, physically dangerous to their own health, where it hurts. Strikers need to be a bit mental, don’t they? Maybe the ones he’s got are a bit nice.”
However, Laura Brannan offered another potential explanation for their early season rustiness that we hadn’t really thought of before.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses, but there’s also the point that – and this is for any club – the restrictions because of covid protocols, a lot of the boys are split between changing rooms on a daily basis. It means that for a team like Motherwell, who have got a lot of new signings coming in, they’re not mixing with each other, not getting to know each other as quickly. They didn’t have a pre-season trip away this year, where you’d usually have a week in a hotel together.
“Say, for example, Tony Watt is in one dressing room and Nathan McGinn is in another, they might not speak to each other. On a friendship level, just getting to know each other level, they only know each other on the training pitch.
“It’s something the boys at Motherwell have taken into their own hands recently. They went to the management and said “we want to get a games room, some sort of social area”. Because they’re not even allowed to go out anymore – there’s nowhere for them to socialise and hang out. Hopefully in time they’ll get to know each other, on and off the pitch, a bit better.”
All of that is of course exacerbated by the number of new arrivals in the squad.
“People might look at it from the outside and the squad hasn’t really changed that much, but when you actually look at the starting XI a lot has changed since last season.
“Callum Lang has come in up top, Jake Hastie, Tony Watt, but there’s also the likes of Jordan White is so new to things, Ricki Lamie, Stephen O’Donnell, and then you look at boys who have been there before but [are back from injury] like David Turnbull, Trevor Carson is in the team now. And then there are also boys like Sherwin Seedorf who has looked like one of the most promising players in the squad.
“Even when you look at the team from last year, so much has changed and it’s going to take a while to come together.”
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