Late September 2019. MFC Mykolaiv right-back Roman Kunev is enjoying some gentle autumnal sunshine in Shevchenka Park, ruminating:

Last time I was sitting here, back in the summer, I was wondering whether I could trust Grigor Pasha, the newly installed gaffer at MFC Mykolaiv.

When I joined the club, a condition was that he’d strengthen the defence. For some time, little happened on that score. But as deadline day approached, we succeeded in recruiting some defensive talent.

In particular, we brought in Illya Ichuaidze, from Shaktar, at left-back. The man is physically impressive, with pace, and knows how to get a tackle in.

So I now feel I have some good players alongside me in defence.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the players ahead of me, because there aren’t any. Our tactics leave me exposed.

Theoretically, old Kornutyak could get across from his defensive midfield position to cover, but in practice he can’t move his Zimmer fast enough.

In the circumstances I admit I’ve been struggling, especially in the last couple of games. In the match against Obolon-Brewer, I couldn’t contain their left-winger, Nasimi, who scored. In my frustration, I was carded.

Then against Kremin, their left-wing, Chonka, scored. I was taken off.

If I’m honest, I allowed my game to get ragged.

The problem is, our tactics set me up to fail. Look in the paper and you’ll find they’ve given me a low rating — a 6.4 on whatever — and everyone thinks, ‘Kunev: he was a bad signing’. But what am I to do, with the winger constantly bearing down on me and no-one to help?

Fortunately, I think perhaps the Gaffer gets it. He occasionally opines that I’ve ‘let myself down’ a little, or something like that. But frankly I think he sounds as though he ‘s going through the motions and is only reluctantly making critical comments.

I guess he can’t very well say, ‘We hung you out to dry there again, son’.

 

 

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