Justin Peach: “It’s a farcical decision to sack Morison.”

The first international break of the Championship season usually brings about managerial speculation and potentially one or two sackings. 

Unfortunately and rather surprisingly, Steve Morison of Cardiff has fallen victim to the axe after a summer of upheaval at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Morison came in last season initially as an interim manager before being handed the job full-time and was seemingly being tasked with steering the Bluebirds in a new direction.

After years of bringing in “old school” managers in the mould of Neil Warnock, Mick McCarthy and maybe less so Neil Harris, Morison was seen as a step into a modern footballing setup.

But after just ten games this season, the Cardiff board have sought to see fit to sack Morison and bring someone else into the club.

Why that is the case, only they will know. Here, I look into whether that sacking was justified.

Why was Morison sacked? 

The first thing you look at with any managerial sacking is the results. Have the results been good enough?

Well, with context, yes, you’d argue they have been steady. Without context, the results have been below average.

Looking at it from the Cardiff board’s point of view, five defeats in ten games after a summer of investment (yes, not a lot of money was spent but Morison was allowed to bring in 18 players) isn’t good meeting expectation.

Although it’s important to point out the investment was needed after a number of departures left the side short on quality and depth.

That being said, Morison has had to blend an entirely new squad together whilst getting his ideas and philosophy across which is not an easy task.

Not only that, but Cardiff were without an experienced forward until the latter stages of the transfer window meaning a key component of Morison’s side was missing. Something the board should take blame for.

After all, you could see how frustrated Morison was in his post-match press conferences whenever he was asked about a new striker.

But Cardiff haven’t scored enough goals you say…

Yes, completely correct. If you were to be critical of Steve Morison’s side this season, it’s that they haven’t scored enough goals.

The previous point mentioned of needing a striker would have been that solution but Morison was without one for seven of his ten games in charge this season.

However, their seven goals this season is their lowest goalscoring start since 1984, but is that down to Morison and his style of play?

Yes and no.

Cardiff have the fourth lowest xG in the league meaning they haven’t been creating enough good goal scoring chances, but at their other end of the pitch, they haven’t been conceding many either.

Kieran mcKenna Ipswich Town

So, should he have been sacked?

To be blunt; absolutely not.

Sure, Morison has displayed some tactical naivety at times and his side needed to improve going forwards but he’s in the middle of his first full season in charge as a manager blending together a new squad with new ideas.

There will be teething issues for any manager with this much change to a squad.

Hull are going through the same motions and you can argue they attracted a higher quality player with their higher budget.

But with that in mind, Cardiff have been performing better under Morison than Hull have under Arveladze, so that sort of perspective is needed.

They create more and concede less chances than their Championship counterparts according to the xG which perhaps highlights the positive job that Morison has done in a short space of time with a limited budget.

Where should Cardiff turn next? 

It’s a farcical decision to sack Morison and generally makes absolutely no sense.

The Bluebirds are reportedly willing to let Mark Hudson prove himself which makes you wonder why they’d replace an inexperienced manager with a manager with even less experience.

That’s before we mention the Paul Ince links. Whilst the report of Cardiff’s interest in Ince is vague, it does ask the question of whether the board have their heads screwed on.

Ince is the type of manager they wanted to steer away from when appointing Morison, so why re-enter that same cycle less than a year later?

If Cardiff are going to justify sacking Steve Morison in any way, then they have to go out and appoint a manager with a similar philosophy and drive that Morison had.

Steven Schumacher of Plymouth provides that happy medium between intricate possession play to fast and direct.

Kieran McKenna of Ipswich falls into that category also, with MK Dons’ Liam Manning perhaps being more similar to Morison.

These are the type of coaches Cardiff should be leaning toward rather than those of the old school genre that you’d hope will phase out of the game sooner rather than later.

Make no bones about it though, Cardiff have made a huge mistake in sacking Morison and one I hope doesn’t bite them in the back later down the line in the season.

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Author: Paula Bryant