Well, lets start off with what we knew about Paul Ince before the start of this increasingly dire season that we are having.
He played for numerous clubs including Manchester United, Liverpool and Internazionale making 609 appearances and won 53 England caps which shows he was a good player especially in the central midfield role. But what is he like as a manager?
He joined Macclesfield with the club bottom of League 2, seven points off their nearest rivals. He then revived confidence and after a 3-0 win against Chester they managed to climb off the bottom of the table. They subsequently avoided relegation, albeit on the last day of the season. This was a decent start to his managerial career as he then went on to manage MK Dons where he won the LDV Vans Trophy and won them promotion into the Coca Cola League 1.
Then came the big step-up, his move to our beloved club Blackburn Rovers. The decision to appoint Ince as manager came as a shock and to some fans a bit of a joke as he is inexperienced and not good enough to be a Premier League manager. Let’s start off with a review of the transfers that have occurred under Ince at Blackburn.
The Good: Paul Robinson is probably one of the best replacements for Brad Friedel we could of got that was available at the time, sure he has his critics as he has made mistakes in the past but so has every other keeper in the Premier League. The main thing we have to do is keep his confidence up and give him plenty of practice as our defence seems to do every match. Next up is Vince Grella, although we haven’t seem much of him as he is plagued with injury, i was extremely impressed at his first half performance against Chelsea and hope it is a sign of things to come. The final two are questionable on whether they are up to standard or not as Danny Simpson who is on load from Manchester United has made many woeful mistakes in the past few weeks but has shown that he has the right platform to become a decent right back, the other is Carlos Villanueva who at first glance was absolutely brilliant, he put in a brilliant performance against Grimsby and made an assist in the Fulham match after coming on from the bench. Apart from those games, he hasn’t really shown us what he can do as he has been played on the wrong side of the field and has been more like a ghost than a player.
The Bad: Robbie Fowler, I do not know why on Earth we have signed this useless waste of space who is literally pasted it. He is a merely a patch on what he used to be and can hardly manage 30 minutes without needing to be subbed off. When, Ince started Fowler with Roberts in attack against Bolton, I could not believe it when we had talent such as Matt Derbyshire and Benni Mccarthy on the bench. To be honest, the bench is too good for Fowler and he should not be at the club. Another dismal player is Keith Andrews, the only reason he is at the club is because he was Ince’s captain at MK Dons. I don’t have a clue why everybody is giving him so much praise just because he scored the equaliser against West Brom, he is a terrible player who can not tackle or pass which are the essentials for being a central midfielder. The final two are Julio Santa Cruz who was only bought to try and keep Roque at the club and Mark Bunn who we have seen none of, we don’t even need him as we have a perfectly able substitute keeper in Jason Brown.
Next i shall review the season so far.
Well, it started off brilliantly, all fans were in great expectation for the new campaign and had a lot of aspiration for Europe and maybe even pushing for the top four. The first match against Everton went well apart from the shaky defence and goalkeeper but it gave everybody a lot of confidence as we won with the last kick of the match. Then came Hull, West Ham and Arsenal. In all these matches we suffered from the same things. The most important of all being the giving away of the ball in the middle of the park and not being able to defend. Hull capitalised on a goalkeeping error, West Ham outplayed us and Arsenal showed us a footballing lesson. So one win, one draw and two losses turned a promising start into a worrying start.
Then came our last win for a while were we played absolutely wonderful in the first half and then hung onto the win in the second half against Newcastle. After that thing went downhill very fast. Three draws and five losses followed. Four of the eight teams included Bolton, Middlesbrough, West Brom and Sunderland. All of these teams we should be beating easily if we want to secure ourselves in the Premier League. The other four games where Chelsea, Manchester United, Aston Villa and Tottenham. We should of at least got two or three points from these games but something is different from previous seasons where we have got points from these sort of teams. The main difference is that we do not fight for it, the ambition in the team seems to have disappeared completely. The fight that we usually show against the so called “big” teams has gone and i don’t know whether we will ever get it back while Ince is manager as we seem to be getting worse and worse every week.
The last point i have to make is, what is he doing with his team selection?
Why does he insist on changing to 4-5-1 when we go behind or even starting with the formation, especially when he is going to play Jason Roberts upfront on his own. This is a position he can not possible play because Jason Roberts is someone who you have in your team to hold up the ball and lay other players off like another strike partner which he doesn’t have in this formation. Ince also plays players out of position like Steven Warnock and Carlos Villanueva. Playing Villanueva as a right winger is basically playing without a right winger as he is predominantly left footed and doesn’t get enough of the ball as most of out attacks unfortunately go down the left side to Pedersen. We also need to play Warnock at left back as he is the best one we have got and we have other suitable midfielders. Finally, why does he play Mokoena at home, he is a player you play when you want some assurance in front of your defence when you know you are going to be on the back foot because all he can do is tackle. We simply can not play him against teams like Sunderland who we need to be attacking all match.
In summary, I believe that if things do not improve within the next month, we should seriously consider replacing Ince as manager as if it carries on we will find ourselves in a terrible position as we approach the second half of the season
By Alex Francis
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