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Sven sticking to sound principles

Despite a recent downturn in results, Sven has been talking in the press today about sticking to his footballing principles and not abandoning the way the team is playing, in favour perhaps of a more direct approach seen by some sides around the Premier League.

It is something I agree with, and Michael Ball was also echoing the sentiment today in that we are not doing a whole lot wrong, or different from the start of the season, and my view supports that with the exception we are not displaying the consistency we had throughout the team at the beginning of the campaign.

In a lot of ways, it was to expected though as the way we started this season was on the back of consistent team selection and key players were performing week in week out. There is also a truth in that many of the players - particularly key performers such as Elano and Petrov, were largely unknown quantities.

Over the second half of the season though, teams become a little more aware of the likes of Elano - singleing him out for more attention, and the squad depth (or lack of it) is something that is now being exposed with the spate of suspensions and injuries we are suffering from.

Sven and his backroom staff are calm characters though, and whilst this can grate on some people or be interpreted as a lack of passion, I believe it will stand us in good stead in the long run as despite the 'win now' demands of the modern day Premier League, the 'evolution not revolution' approach is the sensible one and by continuing to try and play football with a young, hungry side, we are more likely to achieve success in the long run than a return to the signing of over the hill players seen during the last days of the Keegan reign, or adopting a more physical, direct approach.

Unless you are blessed with Roman Abramovich's millions, you cannot simply buy overnight success given the gap the top four currently enjoy, but looking at the sides who are hoping to challenge - namely ourselves, Tottenham, Aston Villa, Portsmouth and Everton, they are generally sides that are being built with an emphasis on youth, as opposed to simply being acquired.

The continued success of the youth team this season is another positive and proof of the excellent foundations the club has, and whilst this season looks to end on a disappointing note given the start we enjoyed, we are clearly heading in the right direction - something that has been a rare feeling as we head towards the climax of a campaign in recent times.