Not being afraid to lose in order to win matches is a foreign concept to some managers. Some coaches are just conservative by nature; a mindset that can probably be traced back to childhood. Setting up a team to restrict space, and to be compact isn`t particularly brave, and you do have to rely on players not making mistakes and a large slice of luck (with deflections and bounces of the ball) to ensure you get results.
In contrast there are other managers who want to play on the front foot. It doesn`t matter what level of football you play at, whether it is Guardiola or Klopp in the Premier League or a team like us in a midst of a relegation battle in the Championship, the fundamentals are the same. Press the ball, commit numbers forward and make things happen for yourself.
It isn`t a particularly earth shattering revelation but Garry Monk has instilled this aggressive, attacking mindset during his first two weeks in charge at the club. Speaking to the Birmingham Mail about our manager, Lukas Jutkiewicz was full of praise for how he`s changed the attitude of the team in such a short period of time:
‘He is very methodical in what he wants his team to be doing in terms of pressing and in terms of the team shape – and we do a lot of work on that. On the other side of that we have been given that freedom to go and express ourselves. He`s a big advocate of that.’
Freedom of expression is the crucial bit here. More conservative managers would prevent their players thinking too much, or offer them little chance to break out of the tactical plan provided. Such restrictions can leave players feeling shackled, and when the system falters they feel powerless to change things. Under a more freeform style however, these shackles can come off, and things in the final third can begin to happen.
With Lukas and Che Adams partnered up front, we are not only threatening our opponent`s box with greater numbers, but allowing a partnership to flourish between two players who`ve shown that it has worked before. The combination is potent, and the understanding between them, combined with the freedom to play, was in evidence in the 3-0 win last time out
That freedom is clearly allowing Jota to thrive as well. His brace at the weekend was reminiscent of his days at Brentford. At the Bees, the freedom to play and attack was a key reason for the Spaniard`s success and hopefully we`ll see continual improvements now he is playing for a manager who offers him the same leeway.
We should see other players in the team coming out of the shell a bit more too. Of course, it was just one win against the Tigers at the weekend, but it should set the precedent for the next couple of months. Going out to win rather than being afraid to lose is vital to the club`s survival this season. How confident are you that we`ll survive? Let me know in the poll!