Listen to any Midlands radio phone-in and it’s only a matter of time before a West Bromwich Albion supporter is live on air questioning Tony Mowbray’s seeming reluctance to play with two strikers.
The Baggies manager’s views on such programmes is well-known - he does not boost the audience figures, put it that way - partly because he believes those who do contribute have little grasp of what they are talking about.
He said: “I genuinely don’t [listen to them] and I don’t know what people are saying because I don’t want to surround myself with the negativity from those who, with total respect to them, don’t know enough about the game or the team to have an [worthwhile] opinion.
“The perception people have of football is that if we have Roman Bednar and Ishmael Miller on the pitch at the same time then we are playing 4-4-2 - even though we are not.
“But on the days when I have played James Morrison or Kim Do-Hoen as a second striker I am supposedly still playing 4-5-1, when actually I am playing 4-4-2, or even 4-3-3.
“What do Liverpool play when they have Fernando Torres and Robbie Keane on the pitch?
“It depends how positive people want to be.
“The shape we finished with on Saturday - with two strikers on the pitch - was not dissimilar from the one that started.”
Mowbray stressed that his side’s style - which no one could argue is not attacking - has been built around idea of retaining possession.
The notion of a formation is very much an aside, says the manager.
He added: “The day we play 4-4-2 and can’t get the ball off the opposition is the day that same fans will ring up these phone-ins and criticise us for not getting the ball out of our half or because we are not passing or keeping hold of the ball.
“They will also be the ones moaning when our players are not finding the little pockets to run into which allows us to keep the ball and move it.
“But at least we’ll have two strikers up top who are not getting a kick - and we can bash it towards them every so often, watch them lose it and then start defending again.
“I understand people think that if we don’t win it must be because we haven’t got two up front - but that’s not always the case.
“In most games our two strikers have been on the pitch at the final whistle but formations don’t mean a lot in football.
“Chelsea rarely have Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka on at the same time and they will probably win the league.
“Are Chelsea fans telling their manager to play with two strikers? I don’t think so.”