"Every competitive team sport is dependant on a good defence"
"I believe that every competitive team sport, including football, is dependant on a good defence. Why? So the team can gain ball possession as soon as possible and organize the attacking play, which is the purpose of the modern football. In this context I always insist on defending further away from our own goal, so that in transition from opponent possession to possession my team is as near as possible to the opposition’s goal. In order to achieve this, I want my team to pressure the ball, as well as their nearest individual opponent. The basis for my approach is to prepare the team so that with our own mobility we manage to create a ‘surplus’ in transition from defence to offense and vice versa in transition from offense to defence. All this can only be achieved by methodical coaching, and insisting on shortening the time for reaction from the exact moment of gaining or loosing the ball possession."
System of play
"Combining my long coaching experience in different countries and cultures, whilst following all the modern football trends I used various tactical team positioning systems such as 4-2-4, 3-5-2, 3-4-3 and 4-4-2. I would say though that the 4-3-3- team positioning is most satisfactory to my own football philosophy. Of course, it must be stressed that the chosen system is always dependant on the choice of players available at any one moment. But I endeavour to search for and coach players that fit into my favourite 4-3-3- system."
SEVEN-DAY TRAINING CYCLE
Sunday: day after the game
- Morning training: a light ‘recuperation’ exercise for those who played yesterday
– easy ‘footing’ 22-26 minutes; stretching 10-12 minutes; football-tennis or some light technical-tactical exercise but not too intensive; massaging.
- A much higher intensity training for the group of players who did not play yesterday, usually including a two-goal match with six or seven players each side on a shortened pitch – with a variety of special tasks.
Monday: one training session and other activities
- Morning training: Joint training exercise, not too high intensity of some 60-75%. Various technical-tactical finishing exercises, with an accent on the high level of technical confidence and performance.
- Watching video footage of the last match and analysis of this. Stressing each positive, whilst negative criticism only overall. I would only discuss a specific critical point in a one-on-one with a player or a small group.
Tuesday: very important training day – 2 sessions
- 10.00: specific training 80-90 minutes, stressing on speed of movement and speed of reaction using technical and TETA exercise.
- 12.30: joint lunch for the team and coaches.
- 13:30-16:30: obligatory resting
- 17.00: high intensity training session, mostly through full pitch size play and with specific tasks – playing between two penalty areas, limited number of ball touches, playing the ball across the halfway line.
Wednesday: one training session
- Medium intensity training in groups: forwards and attacking midfielders form one group, whilst defenders and defensive midfielders are another.
- Automatic repetition of certain standard actions, which I insist upon during the play.
- Each group session last approximately 80-90 minutes with an obligatory massage afterwards.
Thursday: one or two training sessions (depending on player conditioning)
- Morning: if two sessions, morning will be light intensity 60 minute training. We will practice automatic movements and repetition in technical-tactical exercise.
Includes setplay training.
- Afternoon: higher intensity training, but not longer than 70 minutes. Always to
include a game of football on a shortened pitch.
o Tasks: one or two-touch play, normal goals play or 4 smaller (2 meter) goals without goal-keepers. These are important in achieving a quality horizontal movement of the team and the ball. Obligatory playing the ball ‘across the half-way line’ achieves better vertical movement of players with and without the ball
- When there is only one training session on this day, it will be the afternoon session – duration 90-100 minutes. This session would be a combination of technical-tactical exercises and the above described play.
Friday: day before the match; one training session
- Morning: During the week I would have already decided on my best team of eleven players for tomorrow’s match, so the task of this final training session is aimed at perfecting the tactical play for this particular match. First team will play an 11v11game against reserves.
Progression would be: passive resistance at first, and gradually increase resistance
throughout the game to full resistance.
Additionally we will refresh the setplays both offensively and defensively and the session will end with a stretching exercise. Total training time – 70 minutes, at medium intensity.
- Afterwards I will give a short presentation on the upcoming opponent and will demand full individual concentration; each player needs to ‘run a film’ in his mind about the match and every possible situation that can arise, depending on their position in the team and the individual characteristics of their direct opponents.
Saturday: the match day (if home game)
- Players arrive five-and-half hours before the start of the match. I will conduct a team meeting which will last 20-30 minutes. After the meeting we have a private lunch and then an obligatory rest of two hours. After this we go to the dressing room for individual preparation for the match.
"On day 1 I decide on the team system and tactics for the next match, so that all the coaching sessions during that week are adjusted to cater to the best performance and winning the next game. The system will not change much or often, as this may create confusion and lack of confidence with my own team. During the training sessions I always insure that players are fully prepared for the team positions they are playing. My job as a head-coach is also to prepare the team in such a way that the style of play is recognized as ours and is unique. I do consider the opposition, and will point out particular threat and individuals to my specific players – but in general I insist on the approach and philosophy: ‘Let us train, prepare and do all that is possible for the opponent to worry about us, and not the other way round!’
"My defensive part of the team needs to be particularly trained to act cohesively and
synchronized, not only when defending against opponent ball possession but also when our own team has the ball. For this reason I rarely give additional tasks to any individual in my defensive line-up, as this breaks the required cohesion. Whilst insisting on this team unity, I also make sure that the entire coaching staff act as a team (assistant coaches, medical/physiotherapist, back-room staff and others). In order for this to function, each member of the team and staff must know what is their role, what is expected of them as well as what they should not be doing or saying at a given time. At the beginning of each week I will give my team of assistants the week plan, including the match plan. Each assistant will be given instructions as to their role. We hold operative planning meetings for 60 minutes before each training session. Coaching assistants are briefed to give discreet information to our players about the next opponent, while also creating a positive atmosphere and confidence in the ability of our team."
"The positive mental strength of any team is based upon its technical-tactical qualities aided by sound physical preparation and creating higher overall performance standards. But ever so important is the psychological state of mind for each individual player and team as a whole. This is very much a result of the goals and demands you give them. Aiming unrealistically high brings an individual and the team into a state of apathy and even depression, thus resulting in instability and results below the capabilities. On the other hand, an objective as a task creates and immobilizes motivation and results in a stable and positive psychological state of
individual player and the team, which in turn aids with attaining good results, which in exceptional circumstances can even be above the realistic capability of the team."
‘An old proverb says: ‘Lucky is the one who has a thousand wishes, but common sense prevails them all!’