Leyton Orient blog: Alberto Cavasin’s tough start and unhelpful distractions
12:00 19 October 2016
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Sam Churchett gives his thoughts on events taking place at Brisbane Road
Following Leyton Orient’s most recent loss to Luton Town, the club finds itself 22nd in League Two. The disappointment of relegation and missing out on play-offs last season has left many supporters struggling to accept that the O’s are again just another League Two side.
Whilst both the clubs wage bill and ambition are amongst the largest in the league, Portsmouth stand as an example that no team is owed a promotion. Fans must therefore respect the rebuilding process and be patient as the squad once again go back to basics.
It is essential at this time to remember how to take pleasure in each victory, regardless of the opposition, and to lower expectations in the short term to avoid the pressure for success suffocating the atmosphere at games.
Despite having conceded only one goal more than this time last season, Orient are seriously lacking digits in the ‘for’ column. At this point during the 2014/15 campaign, the O’s had netted nine more goals than during the current season.
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, this is also the number of goals Jay Simpson had scored by this point last year. However, he is yet to get off the mark this season.
Injury problems and the potential transfer speculation certainly didn’t help and he is now desperately in need of a goal. His lack of confidence is personified in every extra unnecessary touch he takes before getting a shot away.
Despite the recent results against promotion favourites Luton Town, Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth, Orient are showing a willingness to play a more progressive style of football.
At 1-0 down on Saturday, there were moments where the game could have gone either way, were it not for the lack of good fortune and conviction which so readily evades teams out of form.
New Italian manager, Alberto Cavasin, spoke about playing with style in his first interview and, despite disappointing results, you can certainly see the side are moving away from the hit it long and hope mentality which plagued them under Andy Hessenthaler.
Even without vast technical knowledge of the game, you simply do not hear as many desperate requests from supporters for the team to ‘play it on the floor’ as you did under the ex-Gillingham boss.
Against some of the toughest opposition in the league, with less than a fortnight to instil a new way of playing, to learn his best starting eleven, combat against injuries and suspensions, and lift an insecure team with no in-form goal scorer, Cavasin’s start to his career in English football has been difficult if not impossible.
Despite criticism from a small group of fans, the jury must remain out on the former Serie A Manager of the Year until his way of playing flows more effortlessly throughout the side.
With a win under their belt, some confidence running through the squad and first team players returning, we will truly get a sense of what the new manager is all about.
Off the field, the debate on social media and in the stands continues with groups supporting and opposing current Orient president Francesco Becchetti.
Both camps, however, have always been in agreement that the players need support on match days. Despite this, it was disappointing to see a banner brandished in the South Stand during Saturday’s game.
Frustratingly, the sign which read, ‘Becchetti Out, You Are Killing Us’, distracted O’s fans from focusing on lifting the side, as they had done so wonderfully when down to nine men against Plymouth a few weeks before.
Instead, the banner acted as a catalyst for chants of ‘Becchetti Out’ and ‘We want our Orient back.’ Whilst every fan has a right to their opinion and a right to protest how they see fit, the shift of focus was detrimental to the support from the stands and potentially the team’s progress on the pitch.
With those in opposition of Becchetti claiming their concerns are not purely results based, we will never know if the same banner would have been raised should O’s have been winning the game 2-0.
If not, and protests in large live or die on the most recent performance, then how much genuine weight do they carry to begin with? Would many supporters be quicker to defend the Italian businessmen if the team were competing at the other end of the table?
It appears that like the pet cat that gets the boot when it’s owner has had a bad day, Becchetti will always be, for some, the pantomime villain to blame when three points are illusive and another hopeful Saturday slips through their fingers.
Whilst the club is divided in the stands, the Orient players at least seem united in their defeat and disappointment on the pitch, slumping to the floor on many occasions this season after feeling like they have given all they could to no avail.
And so we move on to Hartlepool United, who sit mid-table with only a slightly better home record this season than the O’s. Having won only one of the last six meetings, Orient will be hoping to put another week’s work on the training ground into practise against less ambitious opposition to achieve the win that the fans, players and manager so desperately need.
With three quarters of the campaign still to go and Orient sitting seven points off the play-offs, promotion this season is still a possibility. Undoubtedly for the dream to become a reality, the fans will need to play a massive part, focusing their energy on being the 12th man and pushing the team forward during every game, whilst saving protests and matters off the pitch for before and after the matches.
Up the O’s.