One of the most interesting ways to learn, I find, is to talk to people. It might seem to be an imposition but you'd be surprised to find how often people are more than willing to dedicate their time if they see that you are genuinely interested. And, more often than not, you'll find that what they tell you stick effortlessly in your memory. It is why I enjoy doing interviews for Blueprint for Football so much. The most recent of those interview, with experienced Spanish coach Ismael Díaz Galán who has guided a number of clubs in Spain (including Malaga who he led to promotion) as well as elsewhere around the world, was no exception as he spoke frankly about what it takes to be a manager. Read, enjoy and learn.
I have to admit that the first time that I saw Huddersfield play was when they met Manchester City in the FA Cup but was suitably impressed by how the team functioned as a unit despite the absence of any remarkable talents. It is an impression that happens to be backed up by statistics.
As football changes so too does what is held to be important. Wingers, especially those who did their best work as close to the touchline as possible, used to be a vital element in each team but today are considered out-dated. The same, to an extent, believed about crosses in the box who are considered outdated in an era where ball possession is king. Yet that isn't the case.
One of the most pleasing (yet surprisingly under-reported) stories of this season has been Atalanta's rise. Last week they achieved an extremely impressive win in Naples. Here's how they did it, tactically.
“It is an art in itself to compose a starting team, finding the balance between creative players and those with destructive powers, and between defence, construction and attack – never forgetting the quality of the opposition and the specific pressures of each match.” - Rinus Michels