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Interesting Article On Proactive/Reactive Managers


The College Dropout
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Pardew being so reactive is probably my biggest gripe about his management style. We are rarely stamping "our" game on the opposition unless it's to work hard. Got it from the Guardian. Anyone else agree? Disagree?

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/mar/12/david-moyes-harry-redknapp-tactical-breakdown

 

There are various opposing tactics in football – attacking versus defensive, ball retention versus counter-attack, fluid versus structured, wide versus narrow. Great tactical battles come between two sides evenly balanced in terms of ability, but completely opposing in strategic terms.

 

In recent years, Everton against Tottenham fits that brief. First, they are evenly-balanced – since Harry Redknapp joined Tottenham in late 2008, the eight league meetings between he and David Moyes have an aggregate score of 8-8, an average of 1-1 per match. They are always enjoyable, absorbing matches – clashes of genuine quality between two big clubs, without either the viciousness of a derby or the hype of a top-of-the-table clash.

 

Second, there is a clear element of opposing strategies – in particular, with the two coaches' attitude to individual matches, and on a wider level, their degree of interest in tactics. Redknapp does little coaching himself, and has a laissez-faire approach to players' roles. Ahead of Tottenham's away trip to Norwich in December, he told Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale they could play where they wanted – he believes in maximising a player's ability to make their own decisions, letting attackers play with total freedom, and in playing a proactive game true to his own side's strengths.

 

Moyes resides at the opposite end of the spectrum. A much more studious coach, he personally works on his side's shape every day in training, varying it according to the challenge of the upcoming weekend. The main criticism of him, amid widespread praise for his decade in charge of the club, has been for being too defensive. But 'defensive' is a broad term that encompasses various aspects of play – the more specific allegation is that he is too reactive, too keen to change things according to the opposition's strengths, rather than imposing his own style of football upon the game. That submissive nature has been more obvious this season – Everton's average possession was 51% in 2009-10, 50% in 2010-11, but down at 46% this campaign.

 

Such a reactive approach means Everton are well-suited to facing bigger opponents, but picking up wins against weaker opposition is more of a problem, as they look uncomfortable when forced to make the running. From their last seven games, Everton have beaten Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham, yet drawn with Aston Villa, Blackburn, QPR and Wigan, all 1-1.

 

Redknapp, whose side have a poor record against the big clubs this season, tends to select upon fitness, form and confidence, rather than with the opposition in mind. Therefore, Tottenham often look tactically weak in the first half, before Redknapp changes things to prompt a second-half improvement.

 

Redknapp says things like, "you can argue about formations, tactics and systems forever, but to me football is fundamentally about players," as he told the Sun in 2010. "The numbers game is not the beautiful game, in my opinion." Whereas Moyes responds to criticism of his approach by saying: "If I had my way, I would love to sit down with people and ask to hear them explain the strengths of 4-4-2 compared to the 4-4-1-1 which we play. If you ask me, I'd argue all day long."

 

The difference was epitomised by the battle at the weekend, and in particular the contest between Bale and Seamus Coleman. These are, broadly speaking, two similar players – 22 and 23 respectively, full-backs converted into wingers because of their pace and attacking drive. If there's one area of tactics Redknapp does take an interest in, it's getting his attackers into space, and this has been particularly obvious with Bale.

 

"One of Gareth's main assets is the way he uses his fantastic pace to run at defenders," he says. "You need space in front of you to do that, though, and on the left wing, that space can become more easily closed down."

 

That desire for space has seen him fielded in the centre and the right in recent weeks. "People have been double-marking or even triple-marking me [out on the left]," Bale says. "I've had to mix my game up, and I'm improving all the time."

 

He started on the right here, partly to get away from that double-mark. Coleman did a great job against Bale at White Hart Lane last season, doubling up with Phil Neville, a few days after Bale's hat-trick against Inter that led to an explosion of hype.

 

Yet there was no escape. Demonstrating how reactive Moyes is, he had intended to use Coleman in that same role in conjunction with Neville, but upon seeing Bale line up on Tottenham's right on Saturday, Moyes told Coleman to trot over to an unfamiliar left-sided position to maintain the tracking. Redknapp was calling the shots and trying to lead his players into space, Moyes was responding to each move by telling his players to shut down the space. That's natural for a forward against a defender, but these were players in the same position.

 

Coleman replicated his job from last season with relative ease. Bale is less comfortable on the right, as a couple of poor crosses early on showed – one straight at a defender with his unfavoured right foot, the other a swipe with the outside of his left. In fact, it's probably easier for a wide midfielder to double up against an 'inverted' winger looking to come inside – the player can take up a reasonably central position and show him down the line. Neither Coleman nor Bale were comfortable crossing with their weaker foot, and with Royston Drenthe and Luka Modric also coming inside from the opposite flank, the game was tight and congested, which played into the hands of Moyes.

 

After a frustrated chorus of "Gareth Bale, he plays on the left" from the travelling Spurs fans, he eventually moved to his favoured flank. Coleman's marking had forced Bale from the left to the right last season. Now it forced him from the right to the left. Sure enough, Coleman followed him across the pitch again.

 

With Redknapp a near-certainty for the vacant England position, Moyes is the favourite for the Tottenham job. This game showcased how different the two are, and what a huge departure it would be from Tottenham's current style if they were to approach the Scot.

 

Of course, it's often a deliberate move to bring in a coach with a wildly different style to his predecessor, but this is after some level of failure, when there is a natural intention to break with the past. Redknapp would be benefitting from that with the FA, where the process of replacing a plucky Englishman with an intelligent foreigner, and vice-versa, is about to start its third cycle. But Redknapp's tenure has been a success, and Tottenham would have to decide how much they want to continue with his beliefs, and how much they want something different.

 

Tottenham could do with more structure against big teams, Everton need more invention against small teams, while England need both. Can we fuse the two managers? Both are highly talented, but both need to diversify to establish themselves in the top tier of coaches.

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agree he is a reactive manager but that makes sense considering there are a lot of sides that are attacking wise, technically better than us.

 

As a manager you got to do something about that.  My only major concern with him is that when we go to play sides which are quite beatable, we still play a too cautious approach,

 

he still astounds me sometimes, like i can't quite figure him out.  I don't know if it's his ego or he suffer the compulsion to fight fire with fire. 

 

We went to spurs and tried to play football.  why? if he stuck to his usual game of setting us out to defend first and then knock some long balls to counter, would have made better sense, we're not going to out play spurs, yet went to play football and got battered. 

 

vs Stoke , you would think we would go there to play some football and keep it on the deck pass keep possession to stop stoke from their direct play,  instead we went there fighting fire with fire, we out Stoked them with longballs all day and beat them.

 

the man is a contradiction.  sometimes i think he's completely clueless amd then other times he does things which goes against the grain and it works.

 

 

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Top 5 aside I don't think there are teams with many better attackers than us.

 

He's like Moyes in the sense that he doesn't change things and impose our game against weaker teams... that's not how we are coached. We are coached to contain.

 

 

He said, we went to Spurs to try and play some and we didn't. At all. Nothing. So that's false. We just got whacked.

 

Against Stoke we contained their threat and Demba scored a hat-trick. That's how we are always set-up. Defend well, battle in midfield and look for some inspiration up top. At home, Stoke look to impose their game on opponents which plays into our hands. That's not how we play at SJP. We look to defend well, battle in midfield and hope someone does the business up front. But our general play/possession? It's evident we don't focus on that in training as much because we don't have a style of play. Sometimes we attempt to play football but that goes away very easily.

 

I don't think Pardew tells Cabaye he needs to get his foot on the ball and really control the game. You wouldn't get Redknapp worrying so much about Ben Arfa's defensive duties, he would focus on what he does best - attack.

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Top 5 aside I don't think there are teams with many better attackers than us.

 

He's like Moyes in the sense that he doesn't change things and impose our game against weaker teams... that's not how we are coached. We are coached to contain.

 

 

He said, we went to Spurs to try and play some and we didn't. At all. Nothing. So that's false. We just got whacked.

 

Against Stoke we contained their threat and Demba scored a hat-trick. That's how we are always set-up. Defend well, battle in midfield and look for some inspiration up top. At home, Stoke look to impose their game on opponents which plays into our hands. That's not how we play at SJP. We look to defend well, battle in midfield and hope someone does the business up front. But our general play/possession? It's evident we don't focus on that in training as much because we don't have a style of play. Sometimes we attempt to play football but that goes away very easily.

 

I don't think Pardew tells Cabaye he needs to get his foot on the ball and really control the game. You wouldn't get Redknapp worrying so much about Ben Arfa's defensive duties, he would focus on what he does best - attack.

 

maybe your right, but we sure did set out to play a lot less direct vs spurs, did the same vs liverpool got whacked both times.

 

we started the match last night very much like we did vs liverpool, we wanted to be less direct , and the second half we brought shola on and went two up top for a more direct approach.

 

i disagree that we always set-up the same way,  if we did , i don't think you would call that so much as a reactive coach, more like a one track minded and "we do what we do best so you deal with us" coach. 

 

Pardew is clearly better than that.

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Against Spurs I'm not sure we where set-up to really play. Whenever we play 2 up top we tend to go direct as we are often outnumbered in midfield. Didn't see the L'pool game.

 

We are always set-up the same in the sense we are set-up to deal with the opposition's strengths whatever they are. There have been a few games in the last few months where we have genuinely tried to impose on other teams; Fulham & QPR.

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Against Spurs I'm not sure we where set-up to really play. Whenever we play 2 up top we tend to go direct as we are often outnumbered in midfield. Didn't see the L'pool game.

 

We are always set-up the same in the sense we are set-up to deal with the opposition's strengths whatever they are. There have been a few games in the last few months where we have genuinely tried to impose on other teams; Fulham & QPR.

 

we just about pulled it off vs qpr and got smashed by fulham, ive come to the conclusion we're just been completely sh1t recently, and there's no hiding from that lol  regardless of what pards approach is. 

 

having said that, vs fulham we were playing Leon Best out wide,  not a smart move by pardew.

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Ironically, Tony Pullis is probably one of the most proactive managers out there. You can't say they don't try to impose their way of playing on their opponents, can you :lol:

 

I have no issues with Pardew being "reactive", but he could try to react in more ... sensible ways? "We're playing QPR, we should look into attacking player X cos he's shite" etc and not "lets play Ryan Taylor and Perch down the right to contain SWP".

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Interesting thread this, missed it before. Hes definately a reactive manager yeah. Result of that has probably been our defence overperforming & our attacking play suffering a bit. Ba was just sorting it on his own before so the balance was successful overall, much less so recently.

 

As they say a mix of both is best. The emphasis for us is definately swayed towards being hard to beat mostly yeah. Hopefully that would even out a bit with better defenders, less need to be protected and better on the ball. Next season will be a much stronger indication of what we're capable of under Pards in the whole i imagine.

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Not very good at reacting either. The Fulham away game being a prime example. We were playing them off the park but Jol saw what was wrong, changed thing at half-time and they were all over us instead. Pardew had no answer.

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Ironically, Tony Pullis is probably one of the most proactive managers out there. You can't say they don't try to impose their way of playing on their opponents, can you :lol:

 

I have no issues with Pardew being "reactive", but he could try to react in more ... sensible ways? "We're playing QPR, we should look into attacking player X cos he's s****" etc and not "lets play Ryan Taylor and Perch down the right to contain SWP".

 

Very true. Same thing with Wenger. It's the Arsenal way, win, lose or draw.

 

Pardew is reactive to the oppositions strengths, rarely their weaknesses. Same thing that's indicative of Moyes. It's all about reacting to the opposition managers forward moves.

 

 

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Guest Tyson

As much as i hate his Pulis' approach, he's very proactive. He's developed a style of play, although unique, that's difficult to prepare for. Managers aren't going to spend a small chunk of thier respective pre-seasons brainstorming a job-specific system, to nullafy an outfit they'll most likely face only two times a season. They'll stick with their own gameplan. But you can see why Stoke sneak-up on alot of teams, and are able to muster enough points to safely finish mid-table & be an outside shot for a Europa spot.

 

Pulis' overall gameplan, and Stoke's general attacking pattern.

 

1. Timewasting from the back, followed by the hoof-ball to centreforwards that are capable of feeding 2nd chance opportunities to the wide-men.

 

2. Play for stoppages in the wide-channels.

 

3. More timewasting as they set-up for said setpiece, whether that be delivered by foot or long throw-in.

 

5. Set-piece pumped into their battering rams in the box.

 

4. If that fails, it's back to Step-One following the next turnover of possession.

 

It's unorthodox, and when taking into account the timewasting practices (in open play, from the back) it restricts the actual game-time for deck playing teams. It's not something you encounter thirty-six times a season. With Pulis at the helm, with his gameplan, Stoke will never be relegated.

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