Grigor Pasha writes: At present we are playing, In Romania’s Liga 2, with a 3 – 2 (WBs) – 2 – 1 (trequartista) – 2 formation.

The main challenge arising from this decision is finding a sufficient number of decent centre backs (CBs).

Here’s how I’ve tried to solve that problem

On the right, as a centre-back defend, our first choice has been the boy Budeanu.

26 Mar 20 Budeanu

We first had Budeanu in on loan last season, when he was very young and raw. In the spring, I decided that he had earned his chance (for one thing, he trains well). He took his chance with great accomplishment, looking assured and mature beyond his years despite being far from the finished article.

Sadly, though, in yesterday’s match (30 September) he broke his leg. I feel for the boy.

On the left hand side we have, again as a centre back defend, the boy Boca, a natural left-footer. He joined us last spring with the youth intake and went almost straight into the first team as a 16 year-old. He too took to senior football like a duck to water.

Boca not only performed well himself: he showed signs almost straightaway of working well with Budeanu.

26 Mar 20 Boca

Boca’s not great on the ball — despite our efforts, he kicks away a lot of possession — but once his heading has improved he’s going to be a heck of an asset.

Will a big club come in for him? I think perhaps not — his technical limitations and lack of real pace might count against him. And I hope that’s the case, because I’d love him to become established as a rock in the defence.

Between the too we’ve decided to play a libero (attack). In Liga 2 you won’t find a player with role familiarity, so it’s a question of finding someone with the right quality and then working hard to convert him.

Our answer, whom we’re extremely happy with, is Enache.

26 Mar 20 Enache

He’s got a welcome rounded quality to his game.

I’ve been rather surprised to find him linking up well with Mihai Isfan, our trequartista, Enache like to push forward beyond the centre backs; Isfan likes to drop deep (more that I really want him to, tbh); and so they use each other as an option.

I’ll tell you what, playing down here with a libero and a trequartista, makes me look pretty damned hip. They’re my equivalent of driving a Morgan Sports.

The real difficulty, I think, with playing with a libero is not findingĀ  a suitable player — it’s finding someone else to deputise should that be required.

Our answer to that is Ene.

26 Mar 20 Ene

Since joining us at the start of pre-season, Ene’s provided an incredibly flexible service. We’ve played him mainly as a centre midfield attack, but he’s also done some match time as a target man, wide target man, and wing back, as well as having already deputised (for short periods) for Enache as libero.

I like this guy. He makes my life so much easier.

The very dark cloud of Budeanu’s broken leg has a silver lining. I had been wondering how to give more game time to the boy Talmaciu, who has exhibited at least some promise (and a willingness to train). Well, now has an opportunity to break through.

26 Mar 20 Talmaciu

With a back three, we’ve opted to play an offside trap — something I major on in pre-match meetings.

Through staff development we’ve reached a point where we are reputed to have the best defensive coaching in the league. When I arrived here I found two decent coaches on the U19 staff, so promoted them both. Between them they do the defensive coaching.

They are Axinciuc, who does the tactical stuff…

26 Mar 20 Axinciuc

and Schiopu, who does the technical:

26 Mar 20 Schiopu

Much of the work we’re doing in individual training is focused on making the players more assured on the ball — something we’re supplementing with team training on distribution from the back.

Although our line-up of centre backs is quite inexperienced, I find myself placing some trust in them. My fear is that we might pick up another serious injury. We do have other options — but they’re inferior.


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