Do we take it too seriously?
Dropping points that seemed in the bag as we did against West Ham at the weekend can be as demoralising as it is frustrating and crushingly disappointing. Even Wenger was moved to describe the experience as 'sickening`.
Various team members have leapt forward to add their voices to the expressions of frustration. Clichy tells us we have to improve the small things, Arshavin that the whole team is very upset, Vermaelen that conceding two goals from nothing was 'very bad` with a more relaxed Fabregas feeling that while we are under pressure to win every game our competitors are also bearing a greater weight of expectation. Hopefully all this hand wringing, soul searching and gnashing of teeth is very cathartic as we need to get over it quickly.
The tossing away of 2 points at Birmingham the season before last was a pivotal moment in the season but more damaging was the following three consecutive tight PL draws in winnable games that really undermined our title challenge. The car crash game last season against Spurs at the Emirates when a 4-2 lead was abandoned in the final moments of the game heralded 3 PL losses in the next 5 games while perversely winning the games against ManU and Chelsea. Prior to the Spurs game we had won 4 of the 5 games played including CL wins over Porto and Fenerbahce.
It isn`t a lack of mental toughness as some have suggested that allows us to occasionally concede points in games from a winning position as there are also games where we come back to claim points from a losing position. If there is a lack of mental fortitude it`s in taking such results too seriously. Letting it negatively affect our mindset going into the next game and carrying it over into the game will stop us from playing with the fluency and freedom that seems to have come back into our game in the early part of this season.
Getting over the inevitable poor unanticipated results is what sets champions apart. United needed to do it once already this season going down to Burnley just as Chelsea have needed to deal with a surprise loss to Wigan. It`s right that we should learn from failures but not to the extent that we become so obsessed with setbacks that we lose the confidence and self belief to play the relaxed, fluent incisive game that we are more than capable of. It is possible to be too analytical and too often we have given way to self doubt and failed to rationalise what really happened. If anything is to undermine our potential for success it`s the need for the arrogance to shrug off results like that at Upton Park and treat it for the freakish result, part and parcel of any season, that it was.
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