It was wonderful to see Rowan Vine back out on the Loftus Road pitch yesterday after nearly twelve months out, as we are more than well aware. Whether or not he was on long enough to have made a real difference is irrelevant – the standing ovation he received as he ran on to take his place at the head of the attack said it all: Vine is back!
After the game, Viney spoke to Radio London about the game:
“We started off o.k. I think we started off well. First half we were the better team. We created a couple of chances but couldn`t force the goal. I thought it got a little bit scrappy. It was quite stretched at the end. Backwards and forwards but without too much quality, I suppose,” was Vine`s summary of the game in general.
Vine was also asked about Sousa`s sending off:
“I saw the incident. It was a bad challenge in the first place. I think he (Sousa, that is) reacted. He is a passionate guy. It was a high kick in the face. So you are going to react.
“I just think that maybe the 4th official just got a little bit busy. And he stepped in and told the ref. I don`t think that he was swearing, I don`t think he was shouting too much. He was just letting the ref know he`d seen what`d happened.”
As for his own time on the pitch, Vine had this to say:
“I was delighted to be out there. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever – 20 minutes. I`ll take it at this stage of the season. I just wanted to get out there for that first time again and feel part of it, and then hopefully the pressure`s off and I can start enjoying my football as soon as possible.”
When asked about the state of the Loftus Road pitch, Vine had this to say:
“It`s in a terrible state, there`s no two-ways about it! To go out there and play the kind of football that we try and play, and the manager wants us to play, is a tough ask.
“I don`t know if there`s a lot we can do about it now until the summer, but at this level you`d expect a better surface than that. It is in a bad way – I think opposing teams know it. We know it. It`s just – what can you do on it?”
Neil Warnock apparently made an astute comment regarding our pitch – that “you can`t really exert sustained pressure on that pitch.” Vine replied:
“You lose a bit of confidence in what you can do because it`s out of your hands. You can`t affect it. If you want to play the pass you normally pass you`ve got doubts in your mind whether it`s going to get there, whether it`s going to bobble, whether you can have a touch, whether you can do a trick. Stuff like that.”
Vine continued :
“I think it`s massive that at every Club, especially at this level, that you need to have a good playing surface. Because that`s the way football should be played – on a nice, flat pitch. With all the technology that people use there is no excuse for it.”
I do feel that, at times (not just yesterday but over the past few weeks) players have been hindered by the poor quality of the pitch – with passes going wrong. Think about how Taarabt tried to take a free kick yesterday afternoon, in the first half, and ended up on his backside with the ball travelling with hardly any pace on it right into the stomachs of the Palace players in their two-man wall. I`m sure Taarabt wasn`t the only one feeling frustrated – I know I was! But was this because Taarabt couldn`t take the free-kick – or was it because the ball didn`t leave the pitch properly after he kicked it?
Later on in the second half yesterday, Delaney went in with a sliding tackle – and came away not just with the ball but with a huge divot from the pitch! It is not difficult to see the problems. But aren`t those problems the same for the opposition as well?
Well, I`ve heard that the pitch is going to be re-laid in the summer – so that should sort that particular issue out. Shouldn`t it?!
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