Grigor Pasha writes: By now you’ll no doubt have heard the news that I’ve resigned from OFC Pomorie, despite meeting the board’s expectation of a mid-season finish.
Since then I’ve spent some mornings in the Sea Park in Burgas, which I’ve recently moved to, drinking good coffee, looking out to sea, and even indulging myself with an occasional cigar.
I bring with me a notebook in which I’ve recorded my thoughts from what I’ve learnt from a season of football management/
My main learning has been tactical. I don’t look back with much pride on my tactical decisions.
I can see now that I was over-hasty to adopt hipster formations. Particularly (1) formations retrieved from history and (2) asymmetric formations. For example, WM, the Hungarian system that overcame WM, and an asymmetric formation employing a wide-target man.
Not that there’s anything wrong with those formations in themselves. I’m confident of that.
But you have to be sure you have the players. It may be a problem that, in the Bulgarian second, the players just aren’t used to those kinds of tactics. Certainly when we switched to a more familiar narrow diamond, things improved somewhat.
But certainly I realise that, in a few positions, the players just weren’t as suited as I’d convinced myself they were. Particularly at full back: a defence comprising one centre half and two full backs requires strong, rounded, players. And up front: none of my forwards were suited to playing as a lone striker.
Memo to self: be candid in player assessments.
I don’t like switching all the time between formations. But equally I can’t see that it’s realistic to remain with one for eternity.
My reason for that latter assertion is that my experience at Pomorie indicates that oppositions scout you and, in due course, suss you out.
For example, in the latter stages of the season we became over-vulnerable. And the main reason for that was that the opposition clearly began to target our full backs, who weren’t very good.
It’s well known, of course, that a weakness of the diamond is that it affords little protection for the full-backs against opposition wide-players bombing down the flanks.
But actually what kept pulling us apart wasn’t that: it was cross-field/diagonal passes into our full-back areas, often long distance from the opposite side of the field.
My other main learning point — this time, from good practice on our part — was that if you have a decent set-piece taker (in our case, Bekir Rasim) and you make a point of devoting regular time in training — to attacking corners, attacking free kicks, and set piece delivery — you can become dangerous pretty quickly — certainly sooner than I’d expected.