Neil Warnock: After beating Boro we should pack 'em in for Big Sam's visit
What I Learnt This Week
It felt good to get our first goal and first victory last weekend, and there was no better place to do it than in a local derby at Middlesbrough. The boys played ever so well, roared on by our huge travelling support. I've quickly noticed how many fans we take away from home and it is great to have that sort of backing when you go to strange territory.
Our result sets it up nicely for today's match against Big Sam's West Ham United, who have done remarkably well. Since coming to Leeds three weeks ago I've been saying I'll be disappointed if we don't get 30,000 today and, with last week's result, that's what I'm hoping for. There should be a great atmosphere and I'm sure West Ham will enjoy it too, because they have had a bit of a hiccup lately at home, with four straight draws. I would imagine it is a breath of fresh air for them to play away, where they always seem to pick up good results.
I think the automatic places are between West Ham, Southampton and Brian McDermott's Reading, who have sneaked into second place almost unnoticed. When I was at QPR earlier this season I told Brian to take Kasper Gorkss from us as he wasn't getting games in the top flight; he has proved a wonderful signing, along with another of my promotion team of last season, Matt Connolly, who Reading have on loan. Both know what is required after last year.
I just hope we play rubbish today and win, unlike when we played Southampton a couple of weeks ago, when we played fantastic and lost. At this stage of the season it is more important to win than how you play, especially in a league like this, where everyone takes points off each other. There isn't one match you could call a certainty, which spurs on teams like ourselves and others a few points off the play-offs. We all know what can be achieved if we put a run together.
2 Old guard did Chelsea so proud in a thriller...
It's a long time since I have enjoyed a game as much as Chelsea v Napoli. Both teams were going hell for leather to win the game, which made for great entertainment. Even in the final seconds of extra time it was in doubt as one goal from Napoli would have finished it. Knowing how cruel football can be, I almost expected them to do so.
Napoli obviously don't know any other way to play and they had some great opportunities to put the tie to bed in the first half; but all credit to Chelsea, who never let their heads go down, even when Napoli pulled a goal back. Once again the old faithfuls came up trumps and showed what they are worth. To reverse the old saying, if you're good enough, you're young enough.
Having said what a great result it was, I was embarrassed watching Didier Drogba going down like he did. He obviously wasn't aware the camera was on him when he opened his eyes to see if the referee had noticed. His expression said everything.
Seeing Robbie Di Matteo on the touchline made me think back to 2008, when Chelsea reached the final with an interim manager and Avram Grant was a penalty-kick away from winning the Champions League. First, though, they have to get past Benfica and Barcelona, which will be tough. And if they do, I bet Jose will be waiting for them in the final.
3 ...but they won't find Leicester any pushover
After Wednesday's result I imagine everyone in the Chelsea squad fancies themselves to get to the FA Cup final, but they won't find it easy tomorrow against a Leicester City team who are flying the flag for the Championship.
Nigel Pearson's squad is as good as any in our league, with a number of players capable of playing in the top flight. They are the Man City of my division – they even had Sven as manager. The strike force, David Nugent and Jermaine Beckford, have already played in the Premier League and I fully expect the likes of Lee Peltier, who's as good a full-back as any in the division, and Andy King, who always seems to pop up in the right place, to play there one day. There's also Kasper Schmeichel and £1m defender Wes Morgan, not forgetting my old midfielder Neil Danns, who's scored a few latterly. He's a lovely young man and a great pro.
4 No surprise in finding who those 'sources' are
The story that made me smile this week was a rehashing of an old tabloid classic, the "source within the camp" revealing players are unhappy with the manager. This week Manchester City was the club in question, but it could have been any club. We've all had these stories. The funny thing is, whenever you look into it, they always seem to have come from players who are not in the team, or their agents. Fancy that. I had a couple at QPR who hadn't been picked in months and were miles from the first team. Unsurprisingly, they didn't like me, but that didn't stop newspapers quoting them.
5 Arsenal did well to stick by Arsène
Two months ago many Arsenal fans were calling time on Arsène Wenger. I remember that FA Cup tie against Aston Villa when they said at half-time he'd been there too long, it was time for a change, and they were not going to finish in the top four. Arsenal came back to win that game in the second half, but that did not prevent the knockers having another go after Arsenal lost in Milan last month.
Readers will know I've always supported Arsène. He's a fabulous manager and look what he's done for that club. Fortunately, the hierarchy at Arsenal are not the type to rush into stupid decisions and they took no notice. It is all very well saying clubs should listen to fans but the danger is you only hear a small minority, and if you haven't got experience you can be drawn into a knee-jerk reaction. At Arsenal people on the football side kept faith and trusted the manager, and look where they are now: on the brink of finishing in the top three. I wonder what all those knockers are thinking now? The grass is not always greener on the other side.
6 Technological aid must stop on the line
No doubt everyone saw Clint Hill's "goal that was never was" at Bolton. It really is time now, hopefully by the start of next season, to bring in goal-line technology. But I think it should stop there. I know some people want technology to be extended into other areas, and it is true that Djibril Cissé scored a goal that was offside later in the game which technology would have picked up. But where does it stop? Throw-ins? Goal-kicks? After all, the corner Clint scored from should not even have been given.
If every decision was referred, the game would be so stop-start it would last for hours and there would be no flow to it. It is not like American football, or cricket, where the play stops all the time naturally.
7 When the chips are down it's Tevez time
Our old friend Carlos Tevez has reappeared and it looks as if he might get the chance next week to play against Chelsea. I can't see him getting a great welcome, but when the chips are down you need to use all the resources at your disposal. After losing last week at Swansea, I guess that is how Roberto Mancini must feel now. It'll be interesting to see how Carlos does.
8 Parents' agony can strike anywhere
My heart goes out to the parents of the schoolchildren killed in the bus crash in Switzerland this week. What a terrible thing to happen. It really struck home for me because that very night we had a meeting at school regarding William going on a ski trip in a couple of weeks. You can imagine the feelings of the parents, but you can't wrap the kids up in cotton wool. It could easily happen crossing the road close to home. In fact, a young boy was tragically killed on his bicycle not far from our house last week. My sympathies to his family as well. They must be going through agonies.
9 New job means I miss out on family holiday
While William's away, Amy and Sharon are going to get some sunshine for a week as punishment for me taking on another job. We had planned to all go away, but I'm working. I did suggest they all come up to Leeds, but it didn't seem to have much appeal. Instead they've decided to have their holiday without me and I'll foot the bill.
I could do with some sunshine too; I've had a bad cough all week. I used so much Olbas oil the bedroom reeks of it, but it does help me sleep.
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