The inquest has begun. A 3-2 home defeat against Olomouc left Slavia Praha in the bottom two with just one point out of a possible nine. A desperate start.
Confidence, among the fans at least, was high before kick-off as everyone was expecting Slavia to get their first win of the season but the reality was much different. Olomouc, in truth, deserved to win by a bigger margin as they spurned a few glorious chances when Slavia were on the ropes.
Slavia began the season with a promising performance against Ostrava, they drew the game 1-1 but you got the impression they were on the right tracks. A 2-1 defeat at Liberec was as frustrating as it was encouraging, a mad 15 minutes in the second half cost them dear, but they played without fear and Karol Kisel’s goal had you waiting for the replay to make sure it really did happen.
However, the players crumbled under the expectation and pressure of being favourties against Olomouc.
Which is a worrying sign given there was an experienced team on the pitch, they weren’t youngsters with a fragile mentality – they had an average of 26 and had made 360 appearances for the club between them. 360 appearances!!! Players like Štěpán Koreš (47 apps), Ondřej Petrák (51 apps), Martin Juhar (29 apps) and Jaromír Zmrhal (31 apps) need to take more responsibility or move on.
Karol Kisel, as usual, and Milan Nitrianský were the only players to emerge with any credit from last night’s performance.
But the red and white shirt of Slavia can be a heavy one to wear and that’s a problem that the club will need to eradicate if the they are to move forward. Mental strength and the ability to play under pressure are fundamental attributes for any top footballer and it looks like Slavia need to find some very quickly.