So, we were crap in the first half because we played 4-4-2 and were dreaming of edging closer to the top, and much better in the second because we went 4-3-3 according to Doctor Evil. Nothing to do with missing out the midfield and lumping long balls forward then! And nothing to do with Derby's fragile confidence being shattered by the goal right on half time! Nope, Allardyce explained it all thus:
"We weren't very good today, there's no doubt about that. I think the players saw the Southampton result and that plus the 4-4-2 formation I picked affected them. We changed to a 4-3-3 after the break and everyone saw the best of our players after that."
The trouble is, I didn't see a formation change at half time. I expected us to set up 4-4-2 but it looked pretty much like 4-3-3 throughout. Where was Baldock playing whilst he was on the pitch? Wasn't he operating the left flank? Time and again, the ball was thumped up the left touchline for him to chase. And Faubert? Wasn't he very advanced on the right? Wasn't it Faubert who was repeatedly getting into the box ahead of Cole as Baldock crossed from the left? And if we were setting up 4-4-2, why was Collison over on the right when Derby broke with the ball to score?
The truth is, this was a shit Derby team very, very low on confidence. Once they conceded, they folded. It was nothing to do with Allardyce's team talk or formation changes - had we not scored on the stroke of half time, we would have seen a very different game, with the fans booing off the team at half time and on their backs from the very start of the second.
The one thing that Allardyce got spot on was "We weren't very good" although I think the word "today" was surplus to requirements - we weren't very good at Coventry, at home to Bristol City, away to Brighton, for 70 minutes at Hull, second half against Leicester...
But, as the Allardyce Apostates will rightly say, we keep winning!