Are their any coaches who have been successful being 'unpredictable'?

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Are their any coaches who have been successful being 'unpredictable'? Empty Are their any coaches who have been successful being 'unpredictable'?

Post by Casciavit Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:33 pm

The other day I read an interview were Ranieri took pride in being the original tinkerman. He boasted about how he could play many different systems with a 3 man backline as well as a 4 man backline. He also mentioned how useful it was to be able to change shape in-game. As well as being able to use different players depending on the opposition.

When asked if there were other coaches like him, he said Pep comes to mind. Due to the versatile players at hand, Pep can play many different systems and use different players depending on the opposition. Which, in return keeps the opposing team guessing.

In theory that sounds great doesn't it? You know what you'll do, but the opposition doesn't know what you'll do. You have an advantage, but have coaches actually been successful using that method?

Lower level teams have tried it before. As its easier to bench and rotate average players, but what about world class players? It's tougher to bench a world class player in a specific game were he thinks he should be starting. Furthermore he most likely would be starting that game for any other team in the world.

In recent memory two teams come to mind when it comes to being unpredictable. Thomas Tuchel when he was coaching Mainz, used to choose a system depending on the opposition. You would only start, if you were beneficial in exploiting the opposition's weaknesses. As a result he had no problem benching his bigger named players. Especially if he thought they wouldn't be beneficial starting. However, he would sometimes bench them intentionally to exploit the opponent's tiredness. It remains to be seen whether he'll do the same thing at Dortmund.

Luis Enrique on the other hand tried to do the same at Barca, in the beginning of the season. He used the same system, but switched the players. Barca only started the same 11 twice after the Sociedad fiasco. It was only then, did Barca start to dominate after they started using a consistent 11.

The reason Hoeneß and Rummenigge signed Pep, was because they wanted Bayern to play with total fluidity and be unpredictable. Pep now finally has the players to make due on the task at hand, and he could be the first which begs the question:

If Bayern manage to win the CL, will they be the first team to win it without a consistent 11? Moreover if they do go on to win, will we see more coaches taking their lead, by no longer using a consistent 11, but rather use different players and a different system depending on the opposition's weakness?




TL;DR: Is being unpredictable the future of footy? If Bayern win CL, will they be the first to do it without a regular 11? And will more teams be trying to do the same if they do?
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Post by Lupi Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:48 am

I think of unpredictability is more of a attribute for Lesser sides as hidden weapon to go against the odds.I might be wrong but to me It is a way for managers to use the players at their full potentials mainly for covering their disadvantage. At the end of the day Messi  does what he does anywhere in the attacking dep, same goes for Ronaldo and the rest of well known players that in a way defeats the purpose.
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Post by The Franchise Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:27 pm

I would like to jump to one thing you said.

Is being unpredictable the future of footy?

I would say no. I feel like im starting to understand where football is going tactically and I dont really like it.

I think every team is becoming more and more similar to each other. I think bits and pieces of many philosphies are being used within one team and it is spreading.

I see it like this;

When you lose the ball, immediate counter pressing. Like the Barca of Pep, you lose the ball and you immediately hunt it down.

When that fails, or what the ball is lost in a place you cannot press. You have to "park the bus". 10 or even 11 players have huge defensive responsibilities now. Two banks of 4 behind the ball in a low or medium block. The striker and what used to be a 10 are interchangable in this, but at least one is always goal side of the opponants deep lying midfield. Shuffle side to side, encourage passes to the flank and let them play along the back. Over and over again untill they give up the ball.

When you start your offensive transition, you go for the counter attack. Every team. When you cant get superiority, possession. Every team, even what used to be defence minded teams have an element of possession. Some are more risky than other in terms of offensive transition and looking to break, but generally speaking many teams have more patience than ever.

I see now in many games, there is no obvious possession winner. Many games have possession just 2-4% difference with their opponent, both are playing the same style of match and waiting for the other to make the first error, or their team to score from a set piece or some individual magic.

I think teams are less distinct and less individual than ever before. Sometimes its not fun to watch, but I understand it, every coach feels as if they are missing out on something if they dont use all aspects of the game.


In terms of unpredictability, I think now is the time we will see it. Because it wont take much for you to notice someone playing radically different.

The Barca-Bayern semi final was very different, a game nothing like any other last season. It was so surreal and so strange from a tactical point of view, almost a throw back game with some modern elements.

But in terms of being unpredictable, like Ranieri, I feel when you leave even your players confused you take it too far. If you constantly change your own players dont have a plan to fullback on, a routine to follow, something they know works. If you "play" with players too much it defeats the purpose. I dont want to sound preachy, especially to coaches who know twice as much as I do, but players arent machines and you cant just tell them to do something different every day and expect them to perform it. I really believe that football just comes down to the decisions you make and as a coach you want the players to make easy decisions, without even having to think of them.
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Post by Casciavit Sat Aug 29, 2015 2:34 am

@The Franchise wrote:I would like to jump to one thing you said.

Is being unpredictable the future of footy?

I would say no. I feel like im starting to understand where football is going tactically and I dont really like it.

I think every team is becoming more and more similar to each other. I think bits and pieces of many philosphies are being used within one team and it is spreading.

I see it like this;

When you lose the ball, immediate counter pressing. Like the Barca of Pep, you lose the ball and you immediately hunt it down.

When that fails, or what the ball is lost in a place you cannot press. You have to "park the bus". 10 or even 11 players have huge defensive responsibilities now. Two banks of 4 behind the ball in a low or medium block. The striker and what used to be a 10 are interchangable in this, but at least one is always goal side of the opponants deep lying midfield. Shuffle side to side, encourage passes to the flank and let them play along the back. Over and over again untill they give up the ball.

When you start your offensive transition, you go for the counter attack. Every team. When you cant get superiority, possession. Every team, even what used to be defence minded teams have an element of possession. Some are more risky than other in terms of offensive transition and looking to break, but generally speaking many teams have more patience than ever.

I see now in many games, there is no obvious possession winner. Many games have possession just 2-4% difference with their opponent, both are playing the same style of match and waiting for the other to make the first error, or their team to score from a set piece or some individual magic.

I think teams are less distinct and less individual than ever before. Sometimes its not fun to watch, but I understand it, every coach feels as if they are missing out on something if they dont use all aspects of the game.


I agree with this. It reminds me of an interview I read a few years ago. Uefa were interviewing Seedorf, and they asked him how he envisioned his ideal team to play like. He replied by saying, he would want them to circulate the ball like the Spanish, press like the Dutch, and defend like the Italians.

Your point is telling, as it seems like the managers of the future are going do that. Thus, they will want to combine the best aspects from the many successful teams. In the hopes of creating a perfect machine.


@The Franchise wrote:In terms of unpredictability, I think now is the time we will see it. Because it wont take much for you to notice someone playing radically different.

The Barca-Bayern semi final was very different, a game nothing like any other last season. It was so surreal and so strange from a tactical point of view, almost a throw back game with some modern elements.

But in terms of being unpredictable, like Ranieri, I feel when you leave even your players confused you take it too far. If you constantly change your own players dont have a plan to fullback on, a routine to follow, something they know works. If you "play" with players too much it defeats the purpose. I dont want to sound preachy, especially to coaches who know twice as much as I do, but players arent machines and you cant just tell them to do something different every day and expect them to perform it. I really believe that football just comes down to the decisions you make and as a coach you want the players to make easy decisions, without even having to think of them.

Watching Barca-Bayern left me laughing tbh. The way the players hunted after every ball was bringing me back memories of playing football after school lol. I mean take a look at this ffs:



As for the second part, I agree. Playing simple football is the best football, yet the hardest to do. I don't know any coach who has been successful being unpredictable. That's why I've been keeping an eye on Bayern this season. Pep has a distinct style of play, and Bayern's main formation is a 4-3-3. Yet at the same time we all know Pep wants his team to create as many on-field superiorities as possible. This is how Bayern played in the first game (Hamburg) and how they played in the second game (Hoffenheim):

Are their any coaches who have been successful being 'unpredictable'? Initial-lineups

Are their any coaches who have been successful being 'unpredictable'? Lineups5
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Post by Myesyats Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:13 am

This is how you play football.


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Post by The Franchise Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:40 pm

That Barca- Bayern clip Laughing

School football is the best to describe it. Players everywhere, cant put 5 passes together, 4 man groups trying to tackle a ball and a strange mix of dribbles and quick passes.

Obviously the difference is in school 99% of the players suck and here the game is so tactically varied it is causing chaos.
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Post by alexjanosik Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:49 am

@Casciavit wrote:The other day I read an interview were Ranieri took pride in being the original tinkerman. He boasted about how he could play many different systems with a 3 man backline as well as a 4 man backline. He also mentioned how useful it was to be able to change shape in-game. As well as being able to use different players depending on the opposition.

When asked if there were other coaches like him, he said Pep comes to mind. Due to the versatile players at hand, Pep can play many different systems and use different players depending on the opposition. Which, in return keeps the opposing team guessing.

In theory that sounds great doesn't it? You know what you'll do, but the opposition doesn't know what you'll do. You have an advantage, but have coaches actually been successful using that method?

Lower level teams have tried it before. As its easier to bench and rotate average players, but what about world class players? It's tougher to bench a world class player in a specific game were he thinks he should be starting. Furthermore he most likely would be starting that game for any other team in the world.

In recent memory two teams come to mind when it comes to being unpredictable. Thomas Tuchel when he was coaching Mainz, used to choose a system depending on the opposition. You would only start, if you were beneficial in exploiting the opposition's weaknesses. As a result he had no problem benching his bigger named players. Especially if he thought they wouldn't be beneficial starting. However, he would sometimes bench them intentionally to exploit the opponent's tiredness. It remains to be seen whether he'll do the same thing at Dortmund.

Luis Enrique on the other hand tried to do the same at Barca, in the beginning of the season. He used the same system, but switched the players. Barca only started the same 11 twice after the Sociedad fiasco. It was only then, did Barca start to dominate after they started using a consistent 11.

The reason Hoeneß and Rummenigge signed Pep, was because they wanted Bayern to play with total fluidity and be unpredictable. Pep now finally has the players to make due on the task at hand, and he could be the first which begs the question:

If Bayern manage to win the CL, will they be the first team to win it without a consistent 11? Moreover if they do go on to win, will we see more coaches taking their lead, by no longer using a consistent 11, but rather use different players and a different system depending on the opposition's weakness?




TL;DR: Is being unpredictable the future of footy? If Bayern win CL, will they be the first to do it without a regular 11? And will more teams be trying to do the same if they do?


Interesting topic. Pep is the coach who comes to mind immediately. He has so many tactical variations. His teams are so fluid and keep changing shape throughout games. Used to love watching his tactical variations for us. One game in particular comes to mind. It was a Clasico at the Bernabeau. We kept alternating between a 3 and a 4 man backline. Busquets was key to the switch. Dani might remember the game and the details more though.

I was watching the game yesterday and Pep was again at it with the variations. A 3 man backline with 3 fullbacks( Lahm, Alaba and Bernat) with Alonso joining in when under attack or building from the back. A seamless transition from 3 to 4.
I also thought the game was interesting because it marked a philosophical shift for Pep. I had my doubts after last week's game but yesterday's game just confirmed it.

Pep Guardiola, the ultimate Cruyffist playing a counterattacking game at home. Never thought I would see the day. It was fascinating and at the same time a bit sad to watch. He completely conceded the middle of the pitch to Leverkusen. Didnt even bother trying to play through the middle. Patient build up in the dfensive third waiting for the right moment. Then a quick diagonal ball from Alonso to Costa on the left wing for a blistering counter. Or if that ball wasnt on, then a quick ball cutting through the center of the pitch to Muller or Lewa in the top third.
In all these years,Pep would overload the middle of the pitch trying to gain midfield superiority. First time,I have seen him willingly concede the midfield. Even Thiago was stationed close to the left flank near Costa. As soon as he got the ball, he would look for Costa.

In short, Pep conceded midfield superiority to gain the advantage on the flanks and play a counterattacking game. Maybe he did it to counter Leverkusen's aggressive press. He knew they would press relentlessly in the middle of the pitch. So just concede the middle and attack through the flanks with the blistering pace of Costa and Robben. Interesting tactic to adapt to the opponent. Further reinforces that Pep is the most tactically flexible coach in the game. Slight difference. Previously, he would change tactics within the confines of his philosophy. I think this year he is willing to look for solutions outside the confines of his philosophy.
An interesting turn in the evolution of Pep the tactician which makes me a bit sad.


Last edited by alexjanosik on Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Casciavit Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:13 pm

@alexjanosik wrote:

Interesting topic. Pep is the coach who comes to mind immediately. He has so many tactical variations. His teams are so fluid and keep changing shape throughout games. Used to love watching his tactical variations for us. One game in particular comes to mind. It was a Clasico at the Bernabeau. We kept alternating between a 3 and a 4 man backline. Busquets was key to the switch. Dani might remember the game and the details more though.

I was watching the game yesterday and Pep was again at it with the variations. A 3 man backline with 3 fullbacks( Lahm, Alaba and Bernat) with Alonso joining in when under attack or building from the back. A seamless transition from 3 to 4.
I also thought the game was interesting because it marked a philosophical shift for Pep. I had my doubts after last week's game but yesterday's game just confirmed it.

Pep Guardiola, the ultimate Cruyffist playing a counterattacking game at home. Never thought I would see the day. It was fascinating and at the same time a bit sad to watch. He completely conceded the middle of the pitch to Leverkusen. Didnt even bother trying to play through the middle. Patient build up in the middle third waiting for the right moment. Then a quick diagonal ball from Alonso to Costa on the left wing for a blistering counter. Or if that ball wasnt on, then a quick ball cutting through the center of the pitch to Muller or Lewa in the top third.
In all these years,Pep would overload the middle of the pitch trying to gain midfield superiority. First time,I have seen him willingly concede the midfield. Even Thiago was stationed close to the left flank near Costa. As soon as he got the ball, he would look for Costa.

In short, Pep conceded midfield superiority to gain the advantage on the flanks and play a counterattacking game. Maybe he did it to counter Leverkusen's aggressive press. He knew they would press relentlessly in the middle of the pitch. So just concede the middle and attack through the flanks with the blistering pace of Costa and Robben. Interesting tactic to adapt to the opponent. Further reinforces that Pep is the most tactically flexible coach in the game. Slight difference. Previously, he would change tactics within the confines of his philosophy. I think this year he is willing to look for solutions outside the confines of his philosophy.
An interesting turn in the evolution of Pep the tactician which makes me a bit sad.

It's interesting you see it that way. For me it reaffirmed the idea how building from the back can be so useful.  They stretched out the pitch and got the ball quickly to the free man in between the lines, bypassing Leverkusen's 4-2-4 press with relative ease.  

As for the second part, at Bayern Pep has always emphasized playing to the strengths of his wingers. Here's an excerpt from his book (covers first season at Bayern), where he says how he wants his team to play. And yesterday's first goal showed his idea in practice somewhat, as well as the first goal against Hoffenheim last week.

Are their any coaches who have been successful being 'unpredictable'? CFXHTQNVEAEUhA8

Yesterday's goal: http://streamable.com/qh6h

Muller goal vs Hoffenheim: http://streamable.com/nhmn
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Post by alexjanosik Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:36 pm

You are basically saying what I mentioned. That the ball in between the lines and the diagonal ball to the wings helped beat Lverkusen's press with ease.

Regarding the second part of your post, I know he has employed a wing based style at Bayern.We have discussed it extensively in the Barca section. But I always felt it was within the confines of his philosophy. Control the midfield and the ball but attack through the wings. Last couple of games have been different. He willingly gave up midfield control and went direct through the wings. A big difference imo.

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Post by titosantill Sun Aug 30, 2015 2:12 pm

fabio capello; the original mourinho without the funny, witty and sometimes tasteless soundbites (capello had some tasteless soundbites of his, but they were neither funny nor witty). i think his defensive methods turns people off him as some 'tinkerer' of sorts, because 'tinkering' in coaching is often associated with "offensive minds". but if you watched his milan side that won the champions league, hell, *bleep* it, deschamps played in midfield for milan and they were successful

he had raul play on the left when we won la liga in 95 or 96, and ten years later he played him on the right. the madrid side of 06/07 had only one unchangeable position in offense, and that was ruud as the striker; robinho would sometimes play wide left or attacking mid, reyes would play anywhere in offensive midfield depending on capello's mood, guti played centrally, but in some games he would be pushed in the attacking midfield role...and whilst fabio's tinkering was crap in the early part of the season, we won. a very good coach, especially in the league set up
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