Steps taken forward, and sleepwalking back again

Laurence Griffiths

"Encumbered forever by desire and ambition, there's a hunger still unsatisfied; our weary eyes still stray to the horizon, though down this road we've been so many times."

I guess this is what we get for trying to read too much into Mourinho's comments.  It turns out when he says that we're not ready to win the Premier League just yet, it probably does mean that, well, we're probably not quite ready to win the Premier League just yet.

"A ready team, a complete team, kills this game."

There were no revelations, no new insight from the manager following Tuesday's disappointing 1-1 draw at The Stadium of Disappointment ... err, Theater of Dying Dreams Hawthorns.  The problems we saw on Tuesday were the problems from earlier this season.  The lack of killer instinct.  Letting the opposition get comfortable and allowing them back into the game.  The lack of concentration at the back.  Those few crucial mistakes that result in goals conceded.

"We were not strong enough to kill the game. They had a reaction and we couldn't cope with the reaction."

"The attacking players stopped to play and gave the chance to the opposition to feel more comfortable and feel no fear and to come up the pitch. At the same time my defensive line started playing too deep."

"We gave them the ball and we just waited for them to put the ball in the box and try to fight against it. That's not our game, it's not the way we feel comfortable. I think there was a little bit of a lack of personality. We must have that personality to get out and not accept that pressure and to play for so long in the last third."

We've made great strides this season to develop that killer instinct (I guess we're calling it a "personality") or, if needed, to be able to lock down a one-goal margin of victory.  On Tuesday, we did neither.  Perhaps it was tiredness, as José stuck with the winning combinations that had been delivering heaps of said personality.  Perhaps it was complacency, turning into frustration, turning into mistakes.  Perhaps, perhaps.

Two steps forward, one step back then.  Still, at worst, we'll be third and just one point behind leaders Arsenal with twelve games to go (and at least seven points ahead of fifth place).   Not bad, not bad at all.

If there's one thing we learned from the last two matchdays, it's that no team is safe (how's that 5-1 feeling, Arsenal?) and no team is unbeatable (wonder what odds you could've gotten for City to fail to score for 180 minutes?).  Mistakes will be made.  Upsets - if not just about anything - can happen.  In the meantime, let's stir things up a bit and give the likes of André Schürrle and Mohamed Salah the opportunity to make FA Cup heroes out of themselves.

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