Monday, September 11, 2017
Gillingham wrap - Oxford United 3 Gillingham 0
I've got a mate who used to work in Formula 1. He's a highly skilled engineer, when I asked him what he did, he said that he designed the bit which holds the wheel to the car, or as you and I might think of it, the thingy.
That's all he did, designed, tested and built this particular thingy, and when he had one thingy, he went back to see if he could improve it. That's it. Not only that, there were hundreds of engineers, all designing different thingies. You'd think that you just design a car, build it and drive it as fast as you can.
Football teams are a bit like that; it's never quite finished. A constant balancing act between optimum performance and blowing yourself to pieces. Just as you think you're reaching perfection, something happens - an injury, a loss of form, a transfer, a retirement.
The last few weeks felt like Pep Clotet was tightening the screws on his machine, perfecting his thingies; blending each component to work as one. We were gradually becoming more of a whole. With the talent at his disposal, it seemed the question was; how long would it take to get to where we want to be and how long could we hold it?
Gillingham were a curiously deceptive opponent, they seemed competent, but at the same time useless. None-the-less, this was as complete a performance as we could hope for. Maybe more complete than any home game under Michael Appleton last year; and that's saying something
Reaching a sweet spot after six games is impressive although there's a risk we think the job is complete. Injuries to Ribiero and Obika alongside with Williamson's brief parental leave show that this is as dynamic environment as a running Formula 1 car. What seems certain is that Saturday showed we appear to be ahead of where we might have imagined we'd be given the summer we had.