Mid Season Update 15-16
It’s been a very busy few months in Amsterdam has I try to implement our tactical philosophy whilst trying to meet expectations. We lead the table as we prepare for the winter break. After a brief chat with @Cleon81 I decided that I will let our Head of Youth Development bring players in to the club, Phil Cannon is in that role at the moment but maybe replaced shortly by someone who fits in better with The Cruyff Philosophy as we look to invest in youth development. The first half of the season for me as been to try and get us playing a brand of football that fits in nicely with the philosophy that we are building at the club. I have been watching and analysing our system on the field in fine detail across all our squads. This takes time so my save moves along slowly but it gives me great satisfaction to see our work paying off with micro management. I have had a lot of interest in our 3-3-3-1 system from our community which as been fantastic. The system I use is most definitely not a plug and play and requires a lot of factors coming together to get the end result. A few people have tested the system for me by using the basic tactic and micro managing their team accordingly, what works for my players may be totally different to what works for others. What I do know is the people who have used the tactic have all enjoyed the beautiful football it’s produced but have tweaked and used a different strategy to get their teams playing the football they want. A few people have asked about the wingers at the club and what the future holds for them in a system that does not use wingers. Well it would be foolish of me not to tap in to the talent at my disposal so their are a number of things that I am doing to integrate them in to the philosophy on the pitch. (1) I have a 2nd tactic that uses the same philosophy with wingers or inside forwards, I always have a plan B on the pitch because I like to mix things up a bit against different clubs but keeping to the philosophy. (2) I train players to play in different positions for example Victor Fisher is on a training programme to enable him to drop in to the False 9 position, Cruyff liked players who could play in a number of positions….Total Voetbal (Rinus Michels). I get great satisfaction from someone training in a new role and then pulling it off on the pitch. I am blessed with some fantastic potential at the club. If anyone wants to try the tactic out feel free to send me a direct message to @totalfootball71 with a e.mail address and I will send you the tactic. (Be patient though as I am at work but will respond asap). I have said though this is not a plug and play and will need you to set your own match strategy and manage your players accordingly. I have used Contain right through to Overload on matchday to try and get the result.
17 games in and we are top of the table at the winter break, we have played some really good football with 7 wins in the opening 8 games Milik scoring 9 goals in that run of games with the highlight being an hat trick in the 4-0 victory over PSV in the Amsterdam Arena. The next 9 games we won 5 drawn 1 and lost 3. Two of the defeats were on the road and I think they were down to me getting our mentality wrong on the day. Never the less we have started well with the players doing well within the system. Player’s who are playing really well are Daley Sinkgraven, Riechedly Bazoer,Nicolai Boilesen and Arka Milik. Unfortunately Bazoer who is playing really well as my Regista as started making noises about a move to a bigger club, hopefully I have persuaded him to stay with us until the end of the season. Abdelhak Nouri as done well in the first team after I brought him in to the squad from the B team.
The board wanted us to qualify for the group stage and we accomplished that with wins against Young Boys and Sparta Prague. We then drew a tough group that contained Real Madrid, Benfica and Wolfsburg. We lost our opening game against Benfica and our second game against Real Madrid before we got our first point at home to Wolfsburg. I was then confident that we could go to Germany and get a win in the return at Wolfsburg and it looked good as we went in 1-0 up at the break via a Boilesen goal. Wolfsburg went down to ten men early in the second half and gave us a great chance to pick up all 3 points however the game turned and we lost 2-1. 1 point from 4 games left us rooted to the bottom of the table with Benfica and Real Madrid left to play, our hopes of going further had been seriously dented. We gave ourselves an outside chance of staying in Europe with a 1-0 against Benfica but a 1-0 defeat in the Bernabeu in our final game left us rooted to the bottom and out of Europe….I thought we played pretty well to be honest in Europe without any reward.
A chance for us to play a rotational side in the Dutch Cup means we give players on the fringe a run out to see how they are fitting in to the system. Volendam up first at the ArenA and a comfortable 2-0 win for the boys courtesy of Serero and Bazoer with the goals. We then destroyed HFC in the 3rd round with El Gazi netting 5 in an 8-0 win. A visit to SC Cambuur in the 4th round gave us a 1-0 win courtesy of Van de Beek putting us in to the quarter-final were we have a home draw against Roda JC.
Unfortunately Jaap Stam as left the club after being offered the managers job at FC Twente, we wish him the best of luck. The board have made available £5m for the transfer budget taking the available total to around £7m. The transfer window is open again but I can’t see us doing any business coming in but we may be open to offers for a couple of players in our B team. Hopefully we can fend off any bids for our top players during the window which could unsettle the squad. Well that’s it for this post, I should have another post up at the weekend as we come to the end of the season here in the Netherlands, hopefully we will be fighting for the title and Dutch Cup double, plus I will be looking at our B team and Youth team progress and development.