By Mihail Vladimirov.
A manager must do three things to set up his team. He must choose a formation; select his players; and provide them with tactical instructions.
Of course, all three impact on the others – and all need to be done to fit the overall team strategy. But in general the manager will make his decisions on his in-depth tactical instructions last, once he has a basic framework and players in mind. All three stages are important. Overlooking any one of them can result in impaired performance, which could end up with you losing the match. But then, doing all three perfectly won’t guarantee you the win either.
We know that for the first two – team selection and formation – Kenny Dalglish performed acceptably last season. The issue was whether his in-depth management was up to standard in the modern game – especially against the so-called “smaller” teams.
What do I mean by “in-depth tactical focus”? Simply, this is a catch-all phrase for the micro-level decisions which prepare the team tactically – setting the team’s overall approach and style of play; detailing how the team will move and react during the different phases; outlining the passing and movement combinations with which the team will look to attack; explaining to your players the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses and how best to exploit them. These are the decision which mould and hone the team’s tactical behaviour so that the raw system can be perfectly balanced in both attack and defence.
So, how well did Dalglish do with this aspect of the game? What did he do well, and what not-so-well? Were there massive mistakes, or did a collection of minor issues add up to fatally weaken the team? Let’s go through the season in detail.
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