After Blues are beaten at Leeds Andy Munro looks at manager and players.
2024 began with another depressing result, Leeds having three times the shots and Blues lacklustre in all departments. Wayne Rooney has converted a decent mid-table (at least) squad into a relegation-threatened outfit bereft of any confidence.
Rather than depress myself and anybody reading this report with a resume of the ‘match’, I think it’s more telling to look at the Blues matchday squad under both Rooney and John Eustace.
RUDDY: Under Eustace, a good solid keeper who commanded his area and cleared his lines in a no-nonsense style whilst under Rooney, he is as nervous as a kitten and his air of dominating his area has gone.
BUCHANAN: Thankfully, even under Rooney, he looks one of our better players.
AIWU: Should be renamed AWOL given his sketchy defensive work and illustrates why Eustace, unlike Rooney, kept him well away from the starting XI.
SANDERSEN: Still a decent player, particularly under Eustace, but questionable as an influential captain when playing for Rooney.
LONGELO: Half-decent, if predictable, going forward but lamentable defensively under both managers. That’s why Eustace rarely played him even when we were down to the bare bones.
JAMES: Mediocre against Leeds but the one thing that Eustace got wrong and Rooney has got right.
SUNJIC: Reborn under Eustace but now plays like he is waiting to be hooked by an unimpressed Rooney.
BACUNA: Inconsistent under both managers so no real change there.
DEMBELE: Mercurial under Eustace, who gave him confidence, but only glimpses under a Rooney who Dembele knows isn’t his biggest fan.
BURKE: Under both managers it’s all in the name. That’s why Eustace sensibly gave him little game time.
STANSFIELD: Becoming a lonely figure of frustration under Rooney when under Eustace he was supported by the formation played and not left to his own devices.
TYLER ROBERTS: The jury is still out but he looks lightweight.
GARY GARDNER: Looks slower than the honey monster under Rooney and rarely played under Eustace even on the rare occasions he was fit.
Meanwhile, the undoubted talents of George Long defensively and Myoshi and Andersen offensively get splinters on the bench. Beam me up Scotty, and don’t send me back until Shrek is gone, along with his highly-paid cronies.