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Opinion

Steve Bruce and the definition of insanity

2 weeks ago
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The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

This can usually be applied to experiments in science but it’s also applicable to our team.

How are we expected to score goals and win the game if the other team always have the ball?

It’s simple stuff really isn’t it. Unless you are Steve Bruce that is.

Across the country there will be thousands of coaches of grass roots teams who would have been preparing their teams for games on Sunday, if it hadn’t been for the lockdown. They would get their players together before the game and I guarantee not one of them would say “let them have the ball, we’ll try and score on the break.”

The tactic of closing a player down, pressing the opponent into a mistake, limiting their options, is the most basic tactic. If you were explaining the game to a moron would you say try and get the ball off the other player, or let them have it and hope they don’t score? It is so basic.

This tactic flows through the grass root leagues right the way up to the EPL where the best exponents of it are Liverpool and Man City – the teams that win everything. However, this great secret seems to have somehow been missed by our tactical mastermind Steve Bruce.

So now let’s turn our attention to being in possession of the ball. There are so many quotes to suggest how to do this but I’d like to stick with an example from Swansea.

While languishing in the lower reaches of the bottom league, the club called upon the services of Roberto Martinez. They told him they wanted to avoid getting relegated but they wanted to do it the right way, by playing attractive, possession based football. The rest as they say is history, as the club played great football, turned unheard of players into competent cogs in an efficient machine without spending millions and won a trophy along the way too. They also outplayed the bigger teams both home and away.

However, if that’s too complicated for people to understand, then follow another simple rule – copy the style that the winning teams adopt. It’s so basic. Swansea managed to do it, Leicester play that way as do all the successful teams. So maybe a change of direction is required from the dug out.

I can’t see us winning many games this year with this zero possession approach from Bruce. I also think a bit more time needs to be taken on adopting a manager with tactical ability rather than the first (or tenth) name on the list.

In training the players need: sessions on possession, on keeping the ball under pressure and moving the ball quickly. Small sided fast paced games – like the constant five a sides Keegan got the players playing in his spell as manager. Tactical explanations of how to hunt and also play in packs and how to close down the opposing players. Simple stuff.

Over to you Steve Bruce. I’d try and sort this out quickly before fans are allowed back in and let you know what they think.

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