McClaren’s stick or twist dilemma

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Steve McClaren. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES


Simon Cheshire

By Simon Cheshire

Last Wednesday evening had been a positive one for Rangers, winning their first London derby since October 2016.

The total domination and class which oozed out of man of the match Eberechi Eze was a certain highlight for the R’s.

However, three days on, all the positive work was undone, as they slumped to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Norwich City: on what was an evening to forget at Loftus Road.

The main reason behind this could be blamed on changes in personnel.

Going into Saturday’s game, boss Steve McClaren had made three switches: with Alex Baptiste, Josh Scowen and Tomer Hemed all coming into the side; whereas Geoff Cameron and Angel Rangel missed out due to injury.

Jordon Cousins was rested after playing the full 90 minutes on Wednesday.

Tweaking of the team is something to which the Rs faithful became accustomed to under previous regimes.

But if our most successful teams are anything to go by, consistency seems to be the key.

The cliché ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ springs to mind. Everything seemed to click into place Wednesday, with the 2-0 score line perhaps flattering a poor Millwall side.

Eze and Luke Freeman were two players who shone on Wednesday evening, with them seemingly benefiting from the forced change in formation: Nahki Wells leading the attack, due to Israeli international Hemed’s Yom Kippur fasting earlier on during the day.

This consequently caused Eze and Freeman to take more central roles, which seemed to cause a limited Millwall defence problems.

But with the re-introduction of Hemed on Saturday, Eze and Freeman were again pushed back out wide; and were able to take more of a back seat when the R’s were leading an attack

Both drifted in and out of the game.

Going into Saturday's trip to Wales against Swansea City, McClaren now faces a dilemma of whether he should stick or twist: with a system which was successful against Millwall, or one which was unsuccessful against Norwich.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

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