Grigor Pasha writes: In my previous post I left you, in my first season with Farul Constanta in Romania’s Liga 2, with spring approaching and the team falling towards the relegation zone.

The 4-0-3-1-2 formation patently wasn’t working. Something needed to change.

Tactical reform

With reluctance, I introduced a 4-1-3-1-1, where the 1s stood for, respectively, a half back, a shadow striker, and an advanced forward (or, on occasion, a poacher).

The formation constituted a halfway house between the two other formations we’d used (namely 4-1-3-0-2 and 4-0-3-1-2), so changing to it didn’t cause too much of a lurch.

My thinking was that, by having at least one player in each row (so no zeros in the formation) there would be no chasms between banks of players. This would make it easier to instil a somewhat shorter-passing game.

I had to find someway of preventing the defenders from kicking away possession through hoofing.

I’m glad to say it worked. We retained possession more and so found ourselves under less pressure.

Style: or lack of

So why did I say just now, ‘With reluctance’? Because the football that we’d produce was always going to be limited. I guess teams with flair and skill could make something of that system, but we’re not really like that.

We’re organised, workmanlike, and pragmatic. In part because the players are like that. And in part because that’s me: that’s what you get. A poor man’s Roy Hodgson, if you like.

Results

But it worked.

We finished 11th — the club’s best ever position. More importantly, in my view, I got a one-year extension to my contract.

Compared to the season before, we finished higher (in the season before I arrived, Constanta finished 14th), but won fewer matches.

And scored fewer goals. Played 38, scored 40.

I feel rather proud of those statistics. They tell you both that we were boring and that we were efficient.

 

Image credit: ‘Boring sign’ by Andy Nystrom, generously made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence

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