If the first half performance against Bournemouth was a 3/10, this one against Astra merited a 1 – for turning up. Except we didn’t.
Looking at the team sheet before the game did not exactly set the pulse racing and, if any flicker of pulse was ignited pre-match, it was most certainly extinguished by 45 minutes. We were dreadful.
Tore started right with Antonio on the left. Why? This didn’t work on Saturday and by just past the 30 minute mark, Bilic had dispensed with the experiment on the European stage too. Frankly though, in the first period, neither approach resulted in a wide man getting to the bye-line and delivering anything into the box.
Calleri missed another sitter (for a supposed centre-forward) but in truth we created next to nothing against our resolute and entirely more canny Romanian opposition.
Håvard Nordtveit was allegedly in the starting 11 but I don’t recall a single worthwhile contribution from him in those first 45 minutes. Indeed, he was subbed at half time but replaced by Valencia. Again, the expectation with his arrival was not exactly soaring and so it came to pass. Another inept and ineffective display from the Ecuadorian whose days are surely numbered in the claret and blue.