The Blues have been inconsistent of late and it is an issue Jody Morris puts down to a number of reasons.
Over the festive period, wins away to both Tottenham and Arsenal were sandwiched between home losses to Bournemouth and Southampton, and a New Year’s Day draw at Brighton. Despite the indifferent form we remain in fourth position in the Premier League, helped by a six-game winning streak in the Autumn which is proof we can build up a head of steam.
Reflecting on our more recent run, Morris pinpointed the cause and the possible solutions.
‘It’s been a group problem,’ the assistant head coach said.
‘Sometimes you can get away with two or three who have been a little bit inconsistent, but our numbers of players who have been inconsistent is more than two or three.
‘Sometimes when we make mistakes it snowballs into more mistakes rather than us simplifying the game and riding out the little spells when we’ve maybe been poor. They have maybe gone on for longer than they should do. You’re going to get spells in games where you need to be a little bit more solid, and when you do get an opportunity, you need to take it and put it to bed.
‘You need to be clinical,’ continued Morris. ‘You do need that little bit of quality. When other teams set up and start working you out a little bit more, you need to rely on a few players to perform further up the pitch, and create some more chances with varying up their game.
‘It’s a collective effort. We can all get better at creating chances, whether it be from winning the ball back high up the pitch, or whether it be from going back to front a bit quicker. It’s a combination of those that means we haven’t been doing as well as we should.’
This summer, Morris returned to the club he played for until 2003 and later coached at in our Academy. When Frank Lampard, a former Chelsea team-mate of his, was appointed at Derby, he took Morris with him as his assistant, and that relationship continues to this day. It means Morris is as well placed as anyone to explain what kind of manager Lampard is, and how he copes with setbacks.
‘He lives and breathes it. He’s passionate about improving players, and passionate about winning, but it’s not just results that push him into a place where he’s getting frustrated.
‘Recent results would maybe point towards it being his first test as a manager, but we had moments at Derby when we were winning games when we’ve been just as frustrated.
‘He’s a deep thinker and he wants to come up with ways individually and as a group. We are forever talking about where we can improve, what we can do better, and what we should be looking at. He was like that as a player, and he’s certainly like that as a manager.’
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