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Robinson... How Do We Think He's Doing ?

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Not a great start to the season. When you throw in how we were playing before the previous season was curtailed and you can see that the pattern is very much one of recent underachievement and a downward spiral towards the championship. I would discount preseason because of the abstract circumstances we, and everyone else, found themselves in. The recruitment looked promising but that now looks, like our third place finish, like a false premise. In short, we are in the mire and need to find a way out of it.

What seems to be lacking, on every level, is leadership. I appreciate that playing without a crowd is going to be a new experience, but it falls on the players to motivate themselves and their teammates. I quite understand the footballing rationale behind the decision to let Peter Hartley go, but I doubt he would have been happy with the standards that the current side is setting, and he wouldn't have been slow in telling them about it. If the senior professionals cannot find it within themselves to take on that mantle then we need to look elsewhere for someone who can supply it.

with regard to our current woes up front, we probably need to look at the qualities of the players we ave and try and get the best out of them. I feel Robinson has been guilty of looking for versatility in his forwards rather than using what we have to the best of their abilities. I wouldn't discount any of them yet, but they all have something to prove. 

The road to redemption should start at training on Monday. The riot act should be read and those who don't fancy the hard work and fight to get us out of the mess we find ourselves in should be told that their futures lie elsewhere. We have the chance of getting some much needed cash from our European adventure and then basically a free hit against Celtic. If there are no visible signs of improvement in these two fixtures then things begin to look pretty bad for Robinson. I am generally not in favour of reacting in such a drastic manner, but there does come a time when a manager has nothing left to offer. I sincerely hope we are not there yet.

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1 hour ago, Andy_P said:

Gillespie, Tait, Carroll, Dunne, Hartley, Heneghan, Johnson,  McHugh, Moult, Main, Bowman. 

A conceivable eleven all signed from League One and below since a director of recruitment was installed to focus on those levels. That's not including Carson, Long, Frear etc. nor Kipre who came higher up from Leicester.  

Not world beating sure, but enough in there from those individuals to keep the team in the division, get to two Cup Finals that were not to mention any more because we didn't win, a third place finish that seemingly doesn't really count, and helped contribute towards the club moving to a debt free position. But aye, a lot of shite. Get rid of the Director of Recruitment. Don't look for players at that level any more. 

Can the recruitment be smarter? Absolutely.  Have there been bad signings? Definitely. But dismantling the whole set up is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It's toys out the pram stuff. 

Here's another eleven. As signed by the  greatest modern day manager in Motherwell's recent history, some say. Took us to third too. Kept us in the division. Even won that Cup that thirty years later they still talk of. Still managed to sign every single one of this lot though along the way. 

Gardiner, Sneddon, Murray, Maaskant, Jones, Shanks, Caughey, McCabe, Baker, Shepstone, McLeod

 

I liked Dave McCabe!!! You are absolutely right in what you say however. People forget the rougher spells under Tommy McLean. The cup final victory and a third place finish are the headlines (and great headlines they are) but not every performance under Tommy McLean was a cup winning performance. The same can be said for every manager we have had spanning the last 5 decades, some good, some bad (that we have been in the top flight since the 80's in itself is a minor miracle).

It is a very dangerous game as a Motherwell fan not to enjoy the rarity of two cup finals in one year or a third place finish. Anybody undermining those achievements, or not getting joy from these achievements, may need to consider if Motherwell is really the team for them. Bigger clubs than ours in Scotland have not enjoyed this kind of success in recent times. Fans of Hearts, Hibs, Dundee Utd to name just a few, would love to have had the success Motherwell have enjoyed during Robinsons time at the club.

The start to the season has been very disappointing. The performance against Hibs last week matched pre-season expectation  and we need to hold onto the positives of that game for now. Like a few others have said, a few minor adjustments and a favourable wind may just be enough to ignite the season. I still believe this is a good squad of players and I very much believe that Robinson is a good manager. 

I would be hugely disappointed if we lost to Glentorran and maybe if we did my resolve would waver a little but teams like Stjarnan and Albion Rovers remind us that these kind of results are in our DNA .

I believe it will come good but not before a difficult and possibly painful trip to Celtic Park.

 

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We don’t need a Klopp or a Bielsa but we do need a manager than doesn’t  see us lose to Accies at home every season. We also need a manager who every now and then can sign a goal scorer, not sign 8 forward players of varying levels of pish that replaced the unused absolute dross that never played and was jettisoned from the previous season. Maybe not chasing proven goal scorers like McDonald and Ainsworth away either.

The last time we only took 2 points from our opening 5 games was season 83/84, the last time we were relegated. Took us until 8 games in to win that season and only won 4 all season. What’s the odds on us beating that this season?

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7 hours ago, Andy_P said:

Gillespie, Tait, Carroll, Dunne, Hartley, Heneghan, Johnson,  McHugh, Moult, Main, Bowman. 

A conceivable eleven all signed from League One and below since a director of recruitment was installed to focus on those levels. That's not including Carson, Long, Frear etc. nor Kipre who came higher up from Leicester.  

Not world beating sure, but enough in there from those individuals to keep the team in the division, get to two Cup Finals that were not to mention any more because we didn't win, a third place finish that seemingly doesn't really count, and helped contribute towards the club moving to a debt free position. But aye, a lot of shite. Get rid of the Director of Recruitment. Don't look for players at that level any more. 

Can the recruitment be smarter? Absolutely.  Have there been bad signings? Definitely. But dismantling the whole set up is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It's toys out the pram stuff. 

Here's another eleven. As signed by the  greatest modern day manager in Motherwell's recent history, some say. Took us to third too. Kept us in the division. Even won that Cup that thirty years later they still talk of. Still managed to sign every single one of this lot though along the way. 

Gardiner, Sneddon, Murray, Maaskant, Jones, Shanks, Caughey, McCabe, Baker, Shepstone, McLeod

 

Yep I’ve pointed out something similar in the past. This theory that the signings from lower level have all been rubbish is simply not true. I remember when we signed Aldred from Bury and Carroll from Cambridge, both were rubbish by all accounts. As you say there have also been duds but name me a club running on a modest budget that only signs gems. Just getting rid of everyone is crazy talk.

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There's no doubt Robbo is under pressure but he's always managed to turn things around in our darkest hour so far. In such times, he's usually changed our set up and thats what is required now. The 4-2-3-1 set just isn't working especially against teams who sit in.

I'm no tactician but this formation seems to be a modern fad. The problem we have is that we just don't have the players to play this way...echoes of Jim Gannon.  Doing some reading up on it, a disadvantage of this formation is that its easy for the opposition to whip over crosses into the box, putting the central defence under pressure, unless the 2 full backs get out and to nullify opponents (which we don't do).   The 3 midfielders behind the striker need to work closely together to create, which they are not doing. The formation also relies on a clinical striker - do we have one? Even playing to his strengths, this isn't Jordan White's game. 

Individual player's performances aside, Robbo needs to come up with a system, and quickly, that plays to the strengths of his squad. 

If we beat Glentoran, then Robbo still has a mountain to climb. As others have said, give him until the end of the first round of fixtures, equating to mid October to turn us around. So far we are not adrift at the bottom which is at least something in our favour.

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Posted on P&B. Quite telling and shows that Robbo should be under pressure. This is the 2020 table. 
We have gone from 3rd in form team over 2019 to 3rd worst in 2020 !
Not easy getting decent strikers but our goals against and goals for shows where our troubles lie if there was any doubt. Not conceding that many but hardly scoring.

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3 hours ago, milo said:

 

The last time we only took 2 points from our opening 5 games was season 83/84, the last time we were relegated. 

Im not normally one for hysteria and certainly not at this early stage however that concerns me , doubly so  considering the soft fixture list we have had up until now.

Time is on our side but we may need to tie a striker loan into the Turnbull deal and i have everything crossed that wee Allan doesnt follow him out during this window

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51 minutes ago, Kmcalpin said:

There's no doubt Robbo is under pressure but he's always managed to turn things around in our darkest hour so far. In such times, he's usually changed our set up and thats what is required now. The 4-2-3-1 set just isn't working especially against teams who sit in.

I'm no tactician...... 

Neither am I so it interesting to read about this particular formation. 

Being someone who knows little about formation it is maybe naive to suggest that Turnbull and Polworth play in the same team but this is what I would like to see. They are our two most creative players. It would take someone more knowledge than me to know how to build a team around the two of them. 

Did England not have that problem (with better players) in Lampard and Gerrard? 

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I understand why people are looking at our form since the beginning of 2020, as it hasn’t been great, but I think that’s as relevant as taking into account the cup successes of prior seasons. All that really matters is the five games we have played of this season. We have not played poorly in these games. Predictable, reluctant to change tactically, lacking in urgency when attacking and losing concentration when defending?  Yes. But those things can - and should - be fixed. I stand by my feeling that we’ll come good eventually - I’d be far more concerned if we were sitting on 2 points after 5 games had we been playing poorly, but that hasn’t been the case. 

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44 minutes ago, Stu92 said:

I understand why people are looking at our form since the beginning of 2020, as it hasn’t been great, but I think that’s as relevant as taking into account the cup successes of prior seasons. All that really matters is the five games we have played of this season. We have not played poorly in these games. Predictable, reluctant to change tactically, lacking in urgency when attacking and losing concentration when defending?  Yes. But those things can - and should - be fixed. I stand by my feeling that we’ll come good eventually - I’d be far more concerned if we were sitting on 2 points after 5 games had we been playing poorly, but that hasn’t been the case. 

I tend to simply look on a season by season basis myself, squads  change and last season means nothing. The worry for me is that individual players are just about all going backwards and Robinson can’t just keep using inexperience as an excuse, most of our players, even the younger ones have plenty of game under their belts. As Kmcalpin points out above it’s got to be the formation and sadly now confidence draining away. We have had chances this season that have been missed but for the most part midfield has been poor and at times the strikers have just not had the service. I like OHara but I don’t like the role he’s playing this  season, he’s a box to box player and simply been played too deep. The wide players are absolutely wasted and as much as I think White is a good alternative off the bench he’s not a first 11 player. I like Robinson and want to see him stay but he’s made a mess of the first five games, playing Turnbull out wide against Ross County was frankly ridiculous and set the pattern for a manager who seems unable to decide what his first 11 is. He’s been slightly unlucky with injuries and Donnally, Dunn, McGinn, and Carroll are missed but he stated this is the strongest squad he’s had  and I would agree. We should certainly have more points but he needs to start by looking at the formation and realise it’s not working, teams have quickly sussed us out and are simply sitting back knowing we will give them a couple of chances. These are good players that look totally lost and the leadership needs to come from the top, at the moment I don’t feel that’s happening. And coming from me that’s probable as negative a post as I’ve ever posted on here.

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34 minutes ago, Stu92 said:

I understand why people are looking at our form since the beginning of 2020, as it hasn’t been great, but I think that’s as relevant as taking into account the cup successes of prior seasons. All that really matters is the five games we have played of this season. We have not played poorly in these games. Predictable, reluctant to change tactically, lacking in urgency when attacking and losing concentration when defending?  Yes. But those things can - and should - be fixed. I stand by my feeling that we’ll come good eventually - I’d be far more concerned if we were sitting on 2 points after 5 games had we been playing poorly, but that hasn’t been the case. 

For me it's the opposite. That we are sitting on 2 points after 5 games and actually played fairly well, from the back to the middle, is conceg because that tells me that this is the best this team can serve up and yet we find ourselves winless because our attacking options, and we have several of them, just aren't good enough. I don't see how things will improve because we just don't have the quality to create and take goalscoring chances. I don't have much faith in Robinson and our scouting team to source a decent, goalscoring forward either, they seem incapable of it! And when, not if, Turnbull leaves in the new couple of months we are going to be in serious trouble, because he is our only attacking quality from the middle.

And also a side point. You and others refer to 'the cup success of prior seasons. Firstly, we have had NO cup success. We lost two cup finals in 17/18 where we didn't lay a glove on Celtic. Sure the League Cup run was impressive, but the Scottish Cup run of that season was actually the flukiest I've ever seen. Own goals against Accies and Dundee, Hearts goalkeeper chucks us one, they play usnoff the park before McHugh pulls a stunner from nowhere, then Aberdeen turn in what must have been their worst defensive performance in decades in the semi. I enjoyed it at the time but don't kid yourself, it was a very, very lucky Cup run.

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6 minutes ago, Blakey said:

For me it's the opposite. That we are sitting on 2 points after 5 games and actually played fairly well, from the back to the middle, is conceg because that tells me that this is the best this team can serve up and yet we find ourselves winless because our attacking options, and we have several of them, just aren't good enough. I don't see how things will improve because we just don't have the quality to create and take goalscoring chances. I don't have much faith in Robinson and our scouting team to source a decent, goalscoring forward either, they seem incapable of it! And when, not if, Turnbull leaves in the new couple of months we are going to be in serious trouble, because he is our only attacking quality from the middle.

And also a side point. You and others refer to 'the cup success of prior seasons. Firstly, we have had NO cup success. We lost two cup finals in 17/18 where we didn't lay a glove on Celtic. Sure the League Cup run was impressive, but the Scottish Cup run of that season was actually the flukiest I've ever seen. Own goals against Accies and Dundee, Hearts goalkeeper chucks us one, they play usnoff the park before McHugh pulls a stunner from nowhere, then Aberdeen turn in what must have been their worst defensive performance in decades in the semi. I enjoyed it at the time but don't kid yourself, it was a very, very lucky Cup run.

Personally I thought we were very good in the Aberdeen game and ran them ragged.

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47 minutes ago, Stu92 said:

I understand why people are looking at our form since the beginning of 2020, as it hasn’t been great, but I think that’s as relevant as taking into account the cup successes of prior seasons. All that really matters is the five games we have played of this season. We have not played poorly in these games. Predictable, reluctant to change tactically, lacking in urgency when attacking and losing concentration when defending?  Yes. But those things can - and should - be fixed. I stand by my feeling that we’ll come good eventually - I’d be far more concerned if we were sitting on 2 points after 5 games had we been playing poorly, but that hasn’t been the case. 

This for me...those using last seasons stats to stick the boot in are ignoring the fact we finished 3rd...

 

...that's not to say that I'm not concerned with how badly we have started this season

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I'm not sure whether Robinson's heart is in the job any more.  He was touted (rightly it seemed) for a couple of club jobs down south and his National team in the close season and didn't get any of them.  Maybe he thinks his time for a "bigger" move has gone and he is struggling to come to terms with it.

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16 minutes ago, Blakey said:

And also a side point. You and others refer to 'the cup success of prior seasons.

The point I was making was that none of that actually matters a jot at this moment in time. Appreciate what you’re saying about luck being on our side though, I doubt any of us would be having this discussion to quite the same lengths if we’d had any sort of comparable luck in the five games this season. 

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First and foremost we have no divine right to win these games, we have however played well up to a point with the surprise being that we just can't convert. Are we able to say that it will gel in time, I think we can considering the strikers we have. 

We have all seen this before, we had no right to finish 3rd with what we had, but managed it, to put a burden on the side because of last year's position is wrong. 

Games since the season started have been poor yes, but I firmly believe that we do have enough talent on the squad for another top 6 finish, anything else is a bonus. 

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Robinson has proved over the last few years to be a good manager.

We go through polarising  feast and famine spells with him, a run of 12 game of winning - he's a hero.

A losing streak of 12 games he's the worst manager ever.

What frustrates me is during the famine he sticks with what used to work, eg formation or players when it clear we  need to change formation or style of play.     Suspect he'll do this within the next 6 games and we'll go through another purple patch.

 

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1 hour ago, Blakey said:

 

And also a side point. You and others refer to 'the cup success of prior seasons. Firstly, we have had NO cup success. We lost two cup finals in 17/18 where we didn't lay a glove on Celtic. Sure the League Cup run was impressive, but the Scottish Cup run of that season was actually the flukiest I've ever seen. Own goals against Accies and Dundee, Hearts goalkeeper chucks us one, they play usnoff the park before McHugh pulls a stunner from nowhere, then Aberdeen turn in what must have been their worst defensive performance in decades in the semi. I enjoyed it at the time but don't kid yourself, it was a very, very lucky Cup run.

A Cup Final is success for every team in Scotland except the OF and maybe Aberdeen. Nobody in Scotland has been able to get close to Celtic for several seasons now. If Celtic were to lose in a Champions League Final to Barcelona would that been seen in Celtics history as success or failure?

You mention the lucky cup run. Others mention the lucky 3rd place. Why is it that when teams allow us to dominate and hit us with the sucker punch, they are streetwise/ have us sussed, but when we do it to other teams we are lucky? 

I do not understand the determination to undermine our clubs success? 

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4 hours ago, El Grew said:

I'm not sure whether Robinson's heart is in the job any more.  He was touted (rightly it seemed) for a couple of club jobs down south and his National team in the close season and didn't get any of them.  Maybe he thinks his time for a "bigger" move has gone and he is struggling to come to terms with it.

Nearly died laughing when reading that .Newspaper talk that's all that was. 

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Not time for Robinson to go yet. A lot of good suggestions on here so I’m pretty sure he has not ran out of ideas. He just has to move is bum and try some of them!!  While we are obviously not scoring and not in a position we hoped or expected to be in, there is a very long way to go. We could easily have been sitting on 6 or more points but for some fine margins. I agree with some of the previous posts about finding the best system to suit our best players and also that we are perhaps not playing our wingers in the correct way in the current system. I’d say so far the Livingston game was the one that worried me the most but I think we are past that. I’d say we need to not panic but enjoy the possession other teams are willing to give us and be more patient for openings to appear or be created. We are trying to force the attacks and end up playing 50/50 balls at best instead of maintaining possession and moving the opposition defenders around. 

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We were playing 4-2-3-1 late last season and it wasn't successful. Maybe Robbo thought it was worth persevering with it but it just needed a bit of fine tuning personnel wise to make it work. Five games into the new season and its very plain that tweaking the personnel hasn't made the system work. He now needs a major rethink starting with Thursday evening. Not the best time to switch tactics granted.

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Goals needed to win games and a bit of flair , not ball retention and keeping your shape. We also need to come up with a solution when 70% of the teams in the leauge just sit in behind us and know the will get a chance to score eventually. Plan B for last 10 minutes doesnt work.

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1 hour ago, Kmcalpin said:

We were playing 4-2-3-1 late last season and it wasn't successful. Maybe Robbo thought it was worth persevering with it but it just needed a bit of fine tuning personnel wise to make it work. Five games into the new season and its very plain that tweaking the personnel hasn't made the system work. He now needs a major rethink starting with Thursday evening. Not the best time to switch tactics granted.

formation seems to be his biggest strength and major weakness.

He finds something that works and we have a purple patch of 15 games, teams catch on and figure out to manage us and we go on a run of 15 poor games until Robinson finally through desperation looks for a new formation.

A worse manager would be fired.
A better manager would be at a bigger club.

His 15 games are almost up so hopefully he's now desperate enough to change it. 

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Robbo wants someone to instil some desire in the team...... essentially we need the fans back. A good 90 minutes blast from the East Stand should leave the players in no doubt about what we think of some of the recent performances......

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15 minutes ago, Big Stall said:

Robbo wants someone to instil some desire in the team...... essentially we need the fans back. A good 90 minutes blast from the East Stand should leave the players in no doubt about what we think of some of the recent performances......

I don't think I've ever heard any player or manager say abuse from their own fans has been helpful. 

Accies would probably have put 3 past us if the fans had been in the ground.

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