Robin Sainty: Why Daniel Farke must be counting down the days!
PUBLISHED: 06:00 03 October 2020
I have a lot of sympathy for managers who are expected to face the media immediately after a game.
Usually, after a defeat, tensions are riding high and the dressing room isn’t a great place to be, yet straight from that environment they are expected to gather their thoughts and produce a calm analysis of what has gone before in the face of often probing questioning.
At Bournemouth, Daniel Farke was visibly animated and frustrated when asked about the absences of Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia, and that has generated a range of responses from fans that has probably been amplified by the fact that our forced exclusion from games has removed the traditional place to let off steam.
The first defeat of a season always hurts that little bit more, but the air of uncertainty swirling around the club seemed to make it so much worse, with nearly two weeks left before we know exactly what squad City will have. If that’s stressful for us as fans, just imagine what it must be like for Farke, whose preparations for games is being impacted by the fact that Premier League and overseas clubs are regularly being linked with his young stars.
Like everyone else outside the club who has expressed an opinion on the Cantwell/Buendia situation, I have no idea what has actually gone on, but clearly Farke felt let down on Sunday, as evidenced by the candid nature of his comments.
While this sort of situation inevitably results in fans being split between those who see the fault as lying with the manager and those who blame the players, it’s important to appreciate a point regularly made by Stuart Webber; loyalty cuts both ways.
City have contributed hugely to the development of players who have gone from relative obscurity to being coveted targets over the last couple of seasons and have a right to expect to be shown some respect.
Webber and Farke have always said that they would never stand in the way of any player who wanted to better themselves subject to the club’s valuation being met, but if, and I stress ‘if’, a player (or their agent, who would stand to make a significant amount of money from a transfer) were to try to force a move at less that the club’s valuation then that would be hard to defend, particularly when one considers the exemplary behaviour of Max Aarons, despite being linked with much bigger clubs than either Buendia or Cantwell.
Of course, the absence of the two players at Bournemouth along with Kieran Dowell being out of action until the New Year meant that Farke was forced to adopt a different approach on Sunday, and while the more blue-collar midfield set-up made sense given the quality of the opposition, the decision to field two wingers but then play a striker who thrives with the ball played on the ground rather than a target man in Jordan Hugill was harder to fathom.
Despite losing at the Vitality Stadium, City generally played well outside the final third and dominated possession in the second half but a lack of creativity and a disappointingly low standard of delivery into the box saw them come away frustrated, and while that hardly constitutes a disaster just three games into the season, there is a real concern amongst fans at the moment that we could end up with a nightmare scenario where the club gets involved in a game of brinksmanship over potential departures but ends up losing key players very late in the window with no time to bring in suitable replacements.
Thursday’s pictures of Cantwell and Buendia training hopefully mean that last week’s events were a storm in a teacup, but with Ben Godfrey now off to Everton I think that we’ll all be feeling significantly happier when October 16 has been and gone!