As if Monday's match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur wasn't frustrating enough, Alex McLeish has now embraced his trademark style off the pitch, defending his tactical decisions to the press. Here are a few of his most choice statements:
"I’ve been playing four forwards the whole season and I took one out."
Raise your hand if you think Emile Heskey is a forward. Also, does AML not understand that there's a difference between "attacker" and "forward"? Because that might explain quite a bit.
"Guys like young Chris Herd and Barry Bannan are getting a crash course in Barclays Premier League football and if we're relying on these kids for the whole season it's putting a lot of pressure on them."
Well, you're not relying on these "kids" for the entire season. Bannan has nine games in the Premier League and has started just four of those. Herd has started five times this season. And, in the world of football, 21-22 actually isn't a kid. It's time for them to be stepping up anyway.
"The goals we lost were calamitous – we’ve got to defend better than that. Spurs were gifted two goals and the second one was a circus."
Alex. You set up your team in a defensive formation and you're saying "We've got to defend better than that"? If you know the team can't defend, what on earth are you doing putting out a team with one mission in mind? Villa have absolutely fallen apart on set pieces this season. Apparently McLeish thought there was no way one would transpire in this match against Spurs.
This quote shows just how little AML knows about football tactics and formation. Granted, I don't know a lot either, but I know enough to realize that parking the bus very rarely goes well. Playing almost an entire match in your own half is going to backfire -- eventually, a mistake will be made and a ball will be in the back of the net. Playing defensively and hitting the opposition on the counter -- fine. It makes sense for this team, particularly with Gabby Agbonlahor. It eases the pressure off the defense for a few minutes, allowing them to regroup. But there was no service forward, there was no one to retain the ball in midfield, there was no need to even have Darren Bent on the pitch. Try six defenders next time, moron.
"I just wanted to tighten things up a wee bit," said McLeish. "I still think that was the right thing to do."