Diego Simeone does not read Van Basten. And if he hears him, he doesn’t listen to him. The Dutch center forward stylist confessed a few days ago in EL PAÍS that football has become a sport owned by the coaches. “Now, we are basically talking about coaches. That’s not good. They have become too important. Players need to assume more responsibilities, because they are the ones who have the most power to influence. Today if a team plays well or badly, we attribute it to the coach. And I really don’t know what the coach’s influence is. Liverpool is Klopp, Madrid is Zidane, City is Guardiola… ”.
Van Basten omitted the paternity of Atlético, one of the most author teams on the football planet. Cholo’s interventionism borders on totalitarianism and in the recent tie against Chelsea it has been elevated to the maximum expression. On the way out and on the way back. In Bucharest, with a defense of six in a line in which Correa and Lemar were the full-backs; Llorente (the team’s second top scorer) and Hermoso the outside centrals, and Savic and Felipe, the interior centrals.
This Wednesday at Stamford Bridge, the coach’s interference with the changes, especially in the second half, became distressing for his own players. Substitutions and exchanges of tactical drawings every seven minutes. At 68 minutes, with more than 20 to go, he had already used up all three trade windows, plus the halftime wild card.
In the intermission was when the Argentine coach rectified his decision at the beginning of the game to play with a defense of four defenders in line (4-4-2). With the entry of Hermoso by Lodi, the team was placed with three centrals, a line of six midfielders (Trippier-Llorente-Koke-Saúl-Joao Félix-Carrasco) and an offensive reference, Luis Suárez (3-6-1). At exactly seven minutes (53 ′) Dembélé entered for Carrasco. New positional readjustment that did not settle or decipher. There was no time. It was sensed that the Frenchman was positioned on the right and Saúl on the left. The photo lasted five minutes. At 58, Correa entered for Luis Suárez. It was like undoing the previous change. The Argentine threw himself into the right-handed lane and Dembélé occupied the Uruguayan zone.
The question was from the first month of the coaching course. Why hasn’t Simeone substituted, and in the same window, Dembélé for Suárez, forward for forward, and Correa for Carrasco, midfielder for midfielder, without going through the intermediate stage that was only valid for five minutes? The team then went on to get into a 4-4-2, as at the beginning of the match.
Ten minutes later (68 ′), penultimate zafarrancho: Lemar, an inside, by Trippier, a right back. New reorganization (3-5-2). The occupation of the spaces became even more sophisticated. Three centrals (Savic-Giménez-Hermoso); two high backs (Llorente and Saúl), three midfielders (Correa-Koke-Lemar) and two staggered forwards (Joao Félix and Dembélé). There was still one last piece movement before the end. This bound by the expulsion of Savic. Koke was placed as a right central and Lemar was placed as a theoretical midfielder.
All these tactical situations that occurred throughout the game are purely descriptive. Without going into the evaluation of the decisions. If it was convenient to withdraw Luis Suárez when the team had to score two goals, no matter how much the Uruguayan was in the process of becoming the first player in the history of the Champions League to link 25 away games without scoring and in that match he would have lost seven balls, had a 67 percent success in the pass and would not have finished on goal.
Or if so much change of position in such a continuous way does not end up unhinging the players, however versatile they may be and they no longer know exactly what their position is at all times. Saúl and Llorente were the most affected in the dance of the London night.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.