The Hull victory was a step in the right direction, nothing more, but there have been significant changes that Garry Monk has already instigated at the club during his short period as manager at St Andrews.
1. Creating an environment to perform
The club has essentially been fighting relegation for the best part of 15 months. We have had four different managers during that time, and while some of the players have changed, the atmosphere really hasn`t changed that much.
To change that, the new boss has given the squad greater freedom of expression on the pitch. When you are in a relegation fight for so long, players kind of get into the same mindset. They will inevitably think that the worst will happen as a change in manager hasn`t worked before. This time though, the gaffer has given the player`s the responsibility, and tasked them with taking the club out of trouble, rather than looking to the manager for the solution.
2. Simplifying his tactical setup
In his latest interview on the ‘Blue Noise’ podcast for the Birmingham Mail, our manager has revealed how he has simplified his message, and reduced the difficulty of understanding his tactical plan. He believes it is unhelpful to burden players with a lot of new information, especially in the middle of the season, when there is little time to learn new tactics.
He feels the player are good enough to understand what is expected of them without the added tactical coaching that is usually commonplace when a new coach is appointed. So far this simplified approach seems to be working.
3. Sending a message to the fans and players
In the same podcast, Monk explained the thinking behind the switch to 4-4-2 when he arrived. It was a statement of intent, both to his players and to the fans. He is telling his team to play on the front foot at all times, and although it won`t always get us results, it will allow us to control games more often than not.
It also gets the fans onside with attendances back up, as we can see the team is not setting up to defend. The lack of fear and positive intent can boost the atmosphere in the crowd, which in turn leads to improved performances. It`s essentially a feedback loop which looks like a very clever ploy by the gaffer. What do you think? Let me know in the poll.