Some of the positives I took from last night’s game was Hazard was again outstanding, and regardless of what other people are saying having played CB, you don't commit to a tackle like that in the box, it’s the player complete right to go down. So I thought he deserved a lot of praise for winning the penalty, the ball seems to be glued to his foot! He was also very unselfish in giving Ivanovic another goal (TOP SCORER!) and he deserved some praise for that to.
The biggest thing I took from the game is that tactically we were spot on. When you judge a managers performance it should come down to two things, the initial plan and reaction to problems that occur during the game. The first part of Robbie's performance was pretty much perfect. We controlled the game, but we look a lot more threatening and I remember thinking after 12 minutes that we wouldn't normally see this sort of attacking until the last 10 minutes, and I looked up and we were barely ten minutes in. There was a real threat about the team going forward, without really any problems at the back. Robbie, in my opinion set the team out pretty much perfectly, and I make that judgement based on the two Reading goals.
The first goal they scored was unbelievable. There won't be a better header all season, and no one is really to blame for that goal. You could say that Cahill should be tighter but even so full credit to Reading for a goal that came from nowhere. After that happened it did shake the team a little, but even so I didn't think we went into panic mode just yet, we carried on playing the same way and no one could have seen what was about to happen. The second goal came from a quality run from the Reading winger, and that happens in matches, you can never stop that. Cech should have saved it, we all know that, but he didn't and understandably we went from dominating, looking threatening and very good to suddenly being a goal down, and this of course changed the way we went about the game. The passing was slightly off, but again, that happens. The Reading goals were freaks, and whilst I am not taking anything away from Reading they managed to get into a winning position in what was essentially a small miracle.
Roberto's reaction is where he earned brownie points with me. When Carlo was our manager we dominated possession without looking threatening, we looked happy to knock the ball about and we thought the goal would eventually come, and then we would get to 15 minutes from the end and start really pushing for a goal and I round it so frustrating that we waited until the last 15 minutes to look for a goal. I have to say, we would normally get that goal, but I would have preferred to see us go out in the opening 10 minutes of the half and look for a goal than the final 10. That's what Robbie did last night. He obviously calmed the team down at half time and said, go and play the way we did for the first 20 minutes because we will score. Then he made some fairly bold changes. When he took off Ramires, he essentially gave up a more defensive player for a floating midfielder. Bold move indeed. But I loved it because he gave Oscar 35 minutes to make an impact not 5 minutes (I'm thinking about Scolari when he sent Stoch on against Arsenal with only injury time left). He gave him a chance to get into the game and actually have an impact. When he brought Sturridge on I figured it had to be for Torres, and I think a little part of Torres thought he was coming off as well. I think Torres took huge confidence in the fact that Robbie left him on because he thought he could score, and it worked out very well. Danny looked a big threat when he came on, chasing lost causes and actually offering more cover than Mata had most of the night, so maybe he's turned a little corner in his development. Di Matteo pushed the team from the 45th minute not the 80th. That was brave, and I liked it. I think he knows it’s better to give this job a serious go and then if he gets sacked he can look back with pride. And actually our best ever manager was the boldest of the lot.
In summary I think Robbie was very good last night, can't fault him for either goal, and before that we were battering Reading (strong test to come of course but you can only beat what’s in front of you) and I liked the fact that in 15 seconds we went from defending to almost scoring, as a holding midfielder/ Centre Back I hated facing my own goal against pacey/tricky opposition.