Sunday, April 13, 2014

Martino's battle with the philosophy (2013 vs 2014)


He came with clear, fresh ideas but ended up being the club's puppet.



Gerardo Martino is the first manager 'outside' the club since 2008 when Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova replace Frank Rijkaard. Guardiola came with a clear idea and philosophy and reached perfection with it. He left in 2012 because he felt that he couldn't control the team any more and couldn't trust the board. he was replaced with his assistant Tito Vilanova, who continued where Guardiola left, trying to be a little bit direct at the beginning but ultimately he ended up pushing the style possession based style to the extremes. His health issues couldn't let him continue at the club and he was replaced with Gerardo Martino, who was Bielsa's student (as was Guardiola)

He came to the club asked to continue where Vilanova finished but also add his own touch and vision to the team. He wanted to make some changes in the team like to bring a center back and a tall number 9 with him, but the club said no, because they wanted Neymar. So he had to work on what he had. He played with 4-3-3 and rotated mostly his midfielders (Song-Busquets, Xavi-Cesc, Iniesta-S.Roberto) and his four main strikers (Messi, Neymar, Alexis & Pedro) so that they would be fit at the end of the season in big title deciding games. From last season, he changed the team to be more dynamic, more direct and more quicker in transition offense. He had 4 very quick strikers so he used their speed to play more on the counter attack. Barcelona scored the most goals from counter attacks first half of the season from any teams in TOP5 leagues in Europe.





barca counters 2013/14

 In September they won two games 4-0, against Ajax and Rayo.But they didn't win the possession stats. Against Ajax at home, they had 'only' 56% of the possession and against Rayo they had 49% of possession which meant for the first time since 2008, when they lost 1-4 to Real Madrid, they had less possession of the ball then their opponent. It created huge debate over the style, philosophy, the club, Martino...for some, it was almost like a loss, a humiliation, that they had less possession of the ball.
 The other thing he changed was that the team changed their pressing style. When they had the opportunity, they pressed from up front, from opponents half, but they mixed it with pressing in midfield and they also sat back and let the opponent team to have the ball for longer periods, so that when they get the ball back, they would have more space from behind and then play quickly, with 2-3 passes the ball behind the high line. Verticalidad is what they call it in Argentina. It's different from usual long ball up front because you play between the lines and play the ball from back to front with 2-3 quick passes. Barceona used that style a lot in the first half of the season.

tata ball by allasfcb

 Although the results were good, they won the supercopa, they won the first El Clàssic, they were winning games pretty confidently. But some the board, the fans and some players didn't like the style of play. They thought that they had lost something that made them 'special' and 'defined' them in previous years.

"Xavi was the one that went to Martino and said that 'some of what you're doing, we understand. But we're losing our positional play and the elements that make us special. We need to retrench to what makes us good and differentiates us from other sides. And Martino listened and now there isn't a confrontational situation.'" - http://www.newstalk.ie/Is-Xavi-on-his-way-out-of-Barcelona

 From the Villarreal game at home on 14 December everything changed. Against Villarreal, Barcelona had 77% of possession but they created very little chances. They ended up winning the game 2-1 and everything seemed to go fine.  Martino's first thought that he would listen to the players and staff and media. But as time went by, he had very little control and couldn't present his ideas to the team any more. He ended up playing with 4 midfielders and leaving out one of their wingers (either Neymar, Alexis or Pedro) to give more control in midfield. Since the Villarreal game Barca have hardly had less than 70% of the possession, they have dominated the ball, but haven't dominated the games, struggling in most of the games to get the result and have been very few 'easy' wins since then. With the 4man midfield formation they rely heavily on individuals to create something and when those individuals (Messi, Iniesta & Neymar mostly) don't produce their magic, they will struggle. It also makes harder for them to get through the defense because they let the opponent to defend deep, so they have very little space to play in. It's pretty ironic that Both Vilanova and Matrino tried to make the team more direct in the first half of the season but both ended up playing with 4 in midfield. Coincident or connection?

 
barca tata 2013 vs 2014 by allasfcb

Martino has received a lot of criticism over the last few months and has been the scapegoat every time Barcelona have lost. Some of which is deserved, not denying it at all. Like the loss against La Real, his prioritising of lesser games (Like La Real in copa del Rey) over a 100point-league games with La Real and some of his tactical changes like playing Busquets & Song together in  midfield or resting key players in key games. But in a bigger picture, he lost control of the team in December and he couldn't put across his ideas any more. He became the scapegoat for everything - Barca fans blame everything on the coach, it's easier than facing reality that way. Even when the team has 29 shots in a game and plays wihtout a single center back, it's still coaches fault. Why? Because it's the boards first real coach that they had to sign outside the club and in a way they control him. 

23 comments:

  1. I totally agree. Steming from a fan pre-Pep, I was exhaulted at how they played the first half of the season. So good, and fun to watch. Heck, even Cesc was good. Martino deserves more than just scraps; this board has destroyed the best team of all time

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  2. Very sad to hear that, after all it is true what cruyff said. there is someone behind all these thing. Tata Martino cant move freely and deliver his idea because of old philosophy.

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  3. agreed. i think that this board doesn't deserve martino. i was so happy the way team was playing in the starting. we were actually defending deep and defending good. clean sheets were coming every other match.
    but now, everything is different. every good coach left us in this board's era. coincidence?

    i think if martino is getting offer from AFA, he should take it.

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  4. Well said, tata is a great coach, had great ideas/charisma at the beginning.

    I, when we 'lost' the possesion game to rayo, was furios as i thought barca are becoming another team that only cares about winning without concerns about style/beauty of play.

    Then i thought of all the games we lost in previous seasons when we were having superior control/possession and how 'sometimes' winning is more important than having more possession because that what wins you trophies at the end of the season.

    No coach is perfect, but I believe tata has more good to offer than media/fans are claiming. Thought he had a powerful personality when he brought new style to the team, but he easily surrendered to the media/fans/players and played in the old way that don't win you games all the time.

    Now he seems desperate and not caring about the job because he is certain that he will leave by the end of the season. That is hurting the team big time. They are playing without that winning mentality/spirit that a fighting coach can give you.

    This board fucked the best team of all time with their tactics and financial way of running things. Hope they resign this summer as I'm sure no referendum will take them out because for some reason 'culés' members have complete faith in them.

    Let's hope the players can fight and win the copa, and do their best in la liga even if they don't win it. At least show some respect to the fans.


    Btw, love your analysis on twitter and on here. Keep it up.

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  5. Great Article Cule,Since the first day Tata was signed have always supported him,i knew he had some thing great and special for the club that would bring in trophies but the Board won't allow that. If that about Xavi was true,then am disappointed in him.

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  6. But I remembered that there were matches that Barca had tried numerous long diagonal balls but failed, such as against Bilbao away from home, how would you comment?

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    1. Good point, there was time when they tried a lot of diagonal balls, especially from the two CB's to spread the game. It didn't work because they didn't create any danger with it. It went to side and then started positional play again, didn't play behind defense and cause any trouble. Also left Xavi & Iniesta out of the positional play, which they didn't like. I don't remeber him using that in many games though, there was a 4-5 game period around October-November I think. Someone could help me out here with stats...

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    2. And in some matches, I could see that Barca still playing a bit direct, and the games were free-flowing, Barca wasn't controlling the games...

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  7. I had a hunch after Barca declining performance, there's something wrong. At the beginning, signs were good. We were looking formidable. Played flawlessly. But all of a sudden, to see Baca back to square one, is depressing. After all we went through and all the hurdles, as a staunch fan, I expected something good this season.

    But I still want Martino to continue. Why? He's a disciple of Bielsa. If anyone who can understand Barca's style after Pep is Martino. I say: "Just forget the past and give Tata his artillery. He'll bring war."

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  8. somehow you forgot to mention that the games where they have possession and control but still struggle to score, are the ones that more recently neymar has been playing everytime as a starter. whereas clearly pedro and alexis are far far better for the team than him, just look at their games from the beginning of the season, where he was benched and the ones he played. against tight defenses the team needs to play the ball around from side to side to open them up, and wingers need to pass and move, but make much more movement off the ball than on it, and whenever the ball reaches him, the whole game stops for a few seconds, the quick passing reaches a halt it that and allows the defense to rest and reposition. it's sad really that this is sinking the team's game and it's unchangeable because of board/coach...

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I agreed that Neymar isn't suitable for Barca, just like Zlatan I think.

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    3. I've been pretty harsh on Neymar, everyone knows that already. He needs to play now because he cost so much money and because of his marketing, not because of his skillset. If there's one player who can play that role (with 4 midfielders+Messi), it's Pedro.

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  9. it may sound a bit harsh but I thnk barca has played more collectively as a team when Messi was out. Barcelona were more direct in early halves of the season( when messi was out) and they rarely tried controlling the game. we tried controlling games (Big games) n the second half so that messi will have time to show his magic. We can't be direct anymore because messi mostly sleepwalks on the pitch every time he has played this season. " the problem is that barca build attacks with 10 men and defends with 10 men. our defense has been blown mostly in first 10 minutes or last 10. defence is so turbulent in first 10 minutes that it seems like they're on some panic mode. also you don't expect xavi to suddenly go haywire and start tackling players like busi or mascherano. cruyff explains an idea that " you can win the league by scoring 50 goals and conceding only 20 or scoring 80 and conceding 40. Every team has their strengths and weaknesses( not the barcelona of 2010-11) and our strength is attacking and not letting opponents settle on the ball. also one more things which matters in game of football or any sports is the players "motivation". games like valencia home should never have slipped. In football every step back counts and injury woes to valdes and pique certainly didn't help. we were alive in all three competitions and deservedly so but these two injuries which for fuck sake had to come all togather made barca suffer

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    1. Pretty unjust about Messi. That golden era Barca had, he's hustled his heart out for the Club, Alexis played well after Messi's return but was sitted more times than should have. Pedro had declined parts of his game and Neymar still has a good way to go... What to make of the defence weaknesses? Because that is where the problems were more evident, with and without Messi's imposing magic around... Barca still leads in goal average in the Liga... and Leo is a big part of that. What about Xavi having irregular days (all understandably).... Defence has been a major part of the problem since before Guardiola fled... Wake up!

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  10. Barcelona Problem Arithmetic,
    Tata.................Out
    Guardiola...........In
    Sign two Tall Defender of which David Luis of Chelsea should be one Among them our problem is from the CD Finish and Barca Will fly like the Eagles again Visca Barca

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    1. David Luiz is not a defender. I want to fix the problem or prolong it?

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  11. Allas, I didn't know where else to ask you, but I was wondering if you have all of your old videos somewhere. I am coaching a team and would love to use all of your videos to show the Barcelona way. The videos like Salir Jugano-Victor Valdez, the video you made that talks about Pep Guardiola's system of Play, the 6 second rule video, all those older videos that were on your older youtube accounts. If there is any way for me to still get those videos it would be greatly appreciated! Keep up the great work and education, I have learned so much from you and your videos, and look forward to continuing to do so!

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  12. if he was confident enough of his way of playing style he would have never changed it no matter what they say. he is THE COACH its his job to try and make players believe in him and his way but instead he listened to a player? did guardiola listen to anyone? no he kicked the players out if they didnt do what he asked like ibrahimovic, marquez, and more...
    if tata had kept his play style and won trophies the board could never sack him. plus every barca fan was happy that we have a plan B at the beginning of the season and Xavi ( the most successful player ever for club and country) deserves more respect than this new guy.
    bottom line = martino = nice guy, not as strong for a strong club.
    confidence in system is #1 element of any coach.

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    1. Guardiola was a club legend who had a cindarella story of coming from a ball boy to first team captain and he trained the B team previously so of course he had all the support from the players, board and media. Martino is an outsider and when you are not either a Catalan or a Dutch you won't have that privilage. Deal with it.

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    2. Well said!

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  13. i am your fan and i love analysis, will you still update this website?

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