Admission of failure long overdue

Last updated : 26 January 2009 By Chris C
Mark Wotte is hardly the fan's choice as the new manager, but he did say some encouraging and revealing things in the press conference.

Most welcome was the admission that Saints' confusing 4-2-1-2-1 formation just isn't working and needs to change, as the vast majority of Saints fans will tell you. It's quite something to see a placard in the stands demanding a particular formation, an indication of just how bad things had become.

Wotte didn't commit to a particular formation but it was clear he wasn't go to stray too far from the coaching manual, particularly considering his teams in Holland were generally setup to play 4-4-2. There was also a welcome touch of realism.

"4-3-3 was a good system if you want to play attractive football, but at the end of the day it's all about results. I think that when you play the same way every match you become a little predictable and you have to have a belief in the system amongst the players."

The other point obvious to all concerned was that Saints need to have more experience in their line-up. The signing of Saeijs after than a succession of youngsters looking for a break was an encouraging sign and the expected arrival of 27-year-old Dutch striker Denneboom would be another.

Simply put, the youngsters not matter how talented aren't capable of playing out a full first season with all the physical and mental demands that it places on them. The proposed structure is actually more akin to what was promised at the start of the season, with the right blend of youth and experience, playing in a clear and consistent way.

Saints have got the balance wrong on both fronts, with an over-youthful side and a confusing formation. This formation descended into near farce against Doncaster as Saints adopted a clearly unrehearsed 3-2-2-1-2, revolutionary perhaps, but confusing to the players on the field.

Of course Wotte has a massive job to do to convince players and fans that he has the ability and motivational qualities to turn out season around, but at least some common sense seems to have prevailed.