SCOUT Phil Smith looks back on the convincing win over Ipswich on Tuesday night, and ahead to a testing trip to West Ham tomorrow
The dictionary definition of the word comfortable relates to physical comfort, being free from stress and having a feeling of ease or security. For the majority of those at Turf Moor on Tuesday evening, that was exactly how they felt from the first whistle.
Paul Jewell opted to utilise a 4-4-2 diamond system, and I can only presume that the aim was to come away with a point, thus achieving a platform to build from, given their current league form.
The predictability of the diamond makes it an almost ideal defensive formation. In theory, the numerical advantage in the centre allows for ball retention, and the ability to control the flow of the game.
However, they were too narrow, and, as a result, space in the centre became condensed and passing options became limited. Those around me commented that Junior Stanislas and Keith Treacy appeared to shy away from the ball in parts. That is wholly inaccurate.
They were evidently under instruction to block the full-backs, which provided ourselves with two key advantages. Firstly, both Kieran Trippier (pictured) and Ben Mee were free to effectively become an extra man in midfield during offensive transition.
Secondly, it prevented support being made available to Jimmy Bullard at the tip of the diamond.
Confidence is a fragile commodity and it would be reasonable to suggest that it is not available in abundance for the men from Portman Road at present.
In the diamond, more than any other formation, your personnel need to be comfortable in a one-on-one situation. I cannot fathom how Jewell expected this to be the case, given their form.
After criticising the team for their failure to apply pressure in the first, second and third phase against Hull City last weekend, it was pleasing to note a change in attitude.
In phases one and two it was apparent that we would allow the opponent no time on the ball and look to force a mistake. Block compactness was kept in phase three, allowing the player to face the play and wait for a mistake.
“We never score from a corner” was an ever present chant on our travels last season. Indeed, up until the routine which bought Nathan Delfouneso a goal on debut, at the KC Stadium in March, our set piece delivery and routine had been a major cause of concern.
Eddie Howe has eradicated that blot from our copybook, and that can only be beneficial for the football club. The opening goal evidence of the strides made under the midweek birthday boy. A near post weakness had clearly been identified pre match, a routine formulated to exploit, and Sam Vokes reaped the rewards to open his Turf Moor account.
After the defeat against Birmingham City it was reasonable to suggest that we were in danger of being sucked into a relegation battle. Fast forward seven days and we have been outplayed in the main up at Hull, and brushed aside what was, being totally honest, a woefully poor Ipswich Town side.
Consecutive victories maybe, but a trip to the Boleyn Ground represents a more accurate test of our credentials. If Eddie Howe can bring the points back from the capital tomorrow afternoon, then maybe, just maybe, we can start to believe that we have turned the corner.