Opinion: Is Zola Really To Blame?
Recently, I have not held back about my feelings regarding the departure of Gary Rowett and the introduction of Gianfranco Zola. In fact, you're probably all bored of me repeating myself about how Zola wasn't the right man for the job. But as a true Bluenose, we all just have to get behind the team and accept that he is the manager and therefore we have to stick behind the team even if the decision to replace Gary is still a bemusing one.
But is this poor run of form really down to Zola? I think that maybe he is getting more criticism than he deserves. Yes, he has come in and tried to change the style of the team. But surely everyone knew that before he had even walked through the door. The chairman and people who hired him would have accepted that a new style of play would be implemented and the funds were there in January for him to implement his style.
I would firstly like to say that Zola's business in January was brilliant. January is the hardest time to buy players as many are still under contract until the summer and therefore the prices go up and often teams don't want to mess around with new recruits half way through a season so there is often a lack of business albeit this is changing due to the increase in money in the game. But the signings that he has brought in have all impressed in my opinion. We needed wingbacks for his new style and therefore he brought in two wingbacks. We needed a winger and he brought in a winger. He needed to win back the fans, and who else would do that other than Craig Gardner. The only slight disappointment for me so far is Jerome Sinclair's contribution but I can see why Zola opted to go for him as he has been brilliant when I have seen him play also but he has not adapted to Championship life at the moment. Something which Zola would not have known. So overall, he addressed as many problems within the squad as he could given the money and time restraints and therefore we can't be too critical about this.
Yes, we can be critical about the results. But without wanting to make excuses up, he has been dealt a difficult hand with injuries and the odd suspension. The consistency of the backline has been under threat all year because of Michael Morrison and Ryan Shotton's injuries. David Davis being suspended doesn't help matters either as it's all about consistency. Yes, Zola is still trying to find his best team and is changing toe squad to do this, but the injuries haven't helped him with this and it's just one of those things in football which we can't blame the management for.
Also, when he gives a spell to youngsters such as Josh Cogley, many fans were saying that it was the wrong call and that he shouldn't be playing due to his lack of experience. But yet last season, these same people were calling for Reece Brown and Viv Otabor to get more game time under Rowett as it is a waste. So it's tough being a manager to please everyone but he is showing confidence in his players and they're responding as a team. If the togetherness is there, then we can start to kick on and get a run going. As soon as we lose that strength of togetherness then it will end as badly as Aston Villa's season did last year.