Chris Sutton feels that managers such as Dean Smith, who made a host of changes for Aston Villa’s FA Cup third round clash with Fulham, should tell the fans beforehand.
In the Daily Mail, Sutton didn’t like the fact that Smith said Villa would be ‘as competitive as we can be’ at Craven Cottage before his rotated side lost 2-1.
He said: “Aston Villa’s away allocation of 3,135 was sold out at Craven Cottage on Saturday, with tickets costing up to £30. Thousands made the 250-mile round trip to watch their team face Championship Fulham. They saw Dean Smith make nine changes, Villa lose 2-1 then off they headed home back up the M40. Maybe Smith believes the end will justify the means.
“Maybe Villa will retain their Premier League status and he will have done his ultimate job of securing survival. But that doesn’t stop me feeling for the fans. If a manager is going to ring the changes then he has an obligation to tell the people who pay the price of a ticket. Instead, Smith said at his pre-match press conference: ‘We’re going to go and be as competitive as we can be.’ The result of that was nine changes and a defeat.”
TBR’s View – Managers can hardly give out team information before a game
Sutton’s view is a bit idealistic here. Managers such as Smith don’t want to give out a competitive advantage before a game by sharing team news.
As for the fans, of course it’s hugely disappointing for them to spend time and money travelling down to see a shadow squad dispatched by a team from the league below.
But it wouldn’t have taken too much reading between the lines to know that a relegation-threatened side who suffered two long-term injuries over the festive period would make changes and prioritise survival over a cup run.