If they lose a game well it’s usually how they got it all tactically wrong!
There has to be blame somewhere doesn’t there and why not take the blame away from yourself and blame the tactics.
Even a watching parent or friend will find some sort of excuse for their son/daughter or mate.
Also the word ‘we’ crops up a lot when you lose. “We didn’t play well”. ‘We should have done this” It’s when the word ‘I’ is applied or the word ‘You’ is asked, when the excuses begin.
The point I’m trying to make is that nowadays tactics is a word that can be used to excuse a player or team from having played badly or lost a game.
The media thrive on tactics because without them, half of the programmes would be defunct and half the employees would be without jobs.
Next time you watch Match Of The Day or Sky Sports and someone is analysing a game, note it carefully when they analyse a goal being scored and then when they analyse a goal being conceded.
In the first instance when the ball ends up in the back of the net, you will hear things like “Look how the full back has overlapped and supported the play” or “The midfielder has pushed on and got beyond his striker to create the goal”.
In the second instance, when a goal has been conceded, you will hear things like, “Look at the defending, shocking, the full back is nowhere to be seen, look where he is, totally out of position up the field”, or “The midfielder has gone awol, hasn’t tracked back”.
The build up to the scenarios are usually the same, one team attacking but putting the ball in the net and the other team missing the chance to score and being hit by a break away.
However, in a television studio it is easy to freeze play or just show one side of the story, to promote the importance of tactical play.
Otherwise we would be simply subjected to watching football matches and not listening to tactical master classes and who wants to just watch football!
Look at the Brazil side when they had Roberto Carlos playing as a supposed left back and Cafu playing as a right back. Now even a person of basic football knowledge could see these players were playing like wingers, more often in the opposing half than their own.
You had the best national managers looking at how Brazil plays and working out a way to beat them. Surely it was a simple case of exposing the space that Carlos or Cafu left behind them when your team got the ball.
But no one figured it out did they as Brazil went on to win the World Cup?
The greatest minds in World football couldn’t tactically work out a simple equation such as this.
Manchester United played Barcelona in two Champions League Finals in recent years.
What does Manchester United not know about how Barcelona plays?
What does Barcelona not know of how Manchester United plays?
Why couldn’t Manchester United tactically overcome Barcelona?
Okay they lost the first match and the ‘excuse mongers’ can come out and blame let’s say the heat or they simply had a bad day.
So you learn, you work out what went wrong, you now know TACTICALLY how Barca play. You have the advantage of the game being played in your own country at Wembley; weather excuse goes out of the window. Incidentally I am a Man Utd supporter!
You set up your side and after 90 minutes you find you have been humiliated even more than last time!
The simple thing with both the points I made about Brazil and Barcelona is that no one has done anything wrong tactically.
They were simply outplayed by players who were better; who didn’t give the ball away and ultimately had a better understanding of each other than the opposition.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe tactics matter but in my opinion they matter when your mindset is more defensive than offensive.
If Sir Alex Ferguson had a defensive mindset, he would have set Man Utd up totally differently.
If Roberto Martinez had a defensive mindset, Wigan would no doubt have stayed up this season because a lot of managers whose teams finished just above Wigan, do have that mindset.
That is why you will hear of managers such as for example Sam Allardyce having outwitted or tactically outmanoeuvred his opposite number.
Now if you do analyse these games, you will see they have simply set up their teams not to lose and then you hope!
You hope for a set piece goal, or a breakaway or maybe an individual bit of brilliance.
Now just recently after the Champions League win, Bayern Munich are flavour of the month.
Real Madrid has worked out how to play against Barcelona as they know their tactics.
Next time you think like that or watch a television pundit talk about such things, I suggest you go out and write down the Bayern Munich and Real Madrid team sheets including their subs. The answer will become glaringly obvious and it’s not about tactics!
Finally to all the players who play at whatever level you do, after a game whether you have won or lost, lose the word ‘we’ and ask yourself ‘How did I do?’.
If you do this, there is no doubt at all you will improve as a player but if you don’t then keep on blaming those tactics!