Show no more Mers-y
By Ben Blackmore
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Paul Merson has told Walsall fans that now is the time to start judging him.
Walsall manager Paul Merson has told the club's fans that this is the season to judge his managerial capabilities.
The Saddlers finished nine points outside the relegation places in League One last season, but the points tally reflected an improvement from the previous year.
Merson finally feels that the squad of players at his disposal is his team, and is prepared to take full responsibility for the outcome of the forthcoming campaign.
"I've said all along judge me on this year on my team," Merson told Sky Sports News.
"This is my team, I brought all these players in, last year a lot of my team was built with players under contract that I didn't personally need or want.
"This year I've had a year to look around the leagues and in reserve football and see who would be able to come and play in our team.
"We'll see now, I'll be judged on that. If it goes well, people will go 'he's a good manager', if it doesn't it'll be the same old story - 'he's clueless still!'"
In his playing days, Merson brought much flair and creativity to the game, but it appears that Merson the manager is shaping up to be more defensively-minded like his old Arsenal boss George Graham.
"If you're letting in one goal a game you've got half a chance, if you're letting in two or three goals you're very rarely going to win a football match.
"So the most important thing is to make sure we keep it tight, we've brought in players like (Chris) Westwood to make sure that happens and the way he's performed in pre-season, he's a top buy."
Westwood was equally as generous in his praise of Merson, and believes that The Bescot Stadium could see lots of good times this season.
"He teaches us the way he thinks the game should be played and it's getting through. The confidence is sky high in the squad at the moment."