Expectation - The opening game of the season.

The opening day of the season is important. Pre-season is over and everyone has been building themselves up for that first taste of the competitive season, and with that, the expectations of a good season.

I've had winning starts, for example at Southampton on the 6th August 2011, we beat Leeds United 3-1 at St.Marys. We stayed in the top two all season on our way to promotion to the Premier League.

And I've had disastrous losing starts. My first game as Sheffield United Manager resulted in a 4-0 defeat away at Gillingham on the 8th August 2015.

I did enjoy however, as did the supporters of Scunthorpe United, our opening day 2-1 victory away at Reading in the Championship on the 7th August 2010. Big Rob Jones scoring a 60th minute winner with a header from a corner. Set plays are so vital, and play a major part in the game. 

My first game as Sheffield United Manager was a disaster losing 4-0 away to Gillingham on the 8th August 2015. Pre-season is vital in preparation for the season ahead. Set plays are vital to increase your chances of winning games of football.

How you respond to a horrendous defeat following high expectation is important. There is no hiding place, especially with the passionate followers of the Blades. As Manager it is my responsibility and I am accountable for what happens on the pitch. I've always said to my players the first person I look at from the performance and result is me. 

'Look in the Mirror'  -  How well did I prepare the team ? How did I react to the situations during the game ? What could I have done to help the team ? 

At times you wish you could be on the pitch to do something about it when it's going wrong, however you can't, players need to take responsibility.

Players also need to 'Look in the Mirror'

The interview straight after a heavy defeat is a challenge ! Emotions are high, they need to be controlled, what you say is important. 

Rob Jones scoring a header from a corner for Scunthorpe United at the Madejski Stadium against Reading in 2010. Fantastically captured on video by a happy travelling Scunthorpe United supporter.