This is the 2nd article in the series by guest author Mark Rennolds. If you missed the first article then here it is.
First Season Set Up
So, the main thing I want to do for the squad involves giving them an identity and a way of playing for each other that will bring results that no one expected. I want the opposition to be constantly under pressure, for us to be solid and dogged in our approach to defending (ankle biters) and then quick to spring the leash once we’ve got the ball back. As our squad is one of the favourites for relegation this season due to our transfer and wage budget structure, then it’s important for us to be well organised rather than wasteful with the ball.
And so, I introduce my first-choice tactic that we will run with initially. The tactical style (our identity) will be known as #Terrier Tiki, and even if we tweak the roles throughout the season then I want this identity to be the core of the club. I have moved away from my original tactical plan due to the signings that Guido has made and they are detailed as below. There are two variants of the tactic based on if the opposition is stronger than us or if I want to sit a bit deeper and encourage the opposition to come out a bit if I’m struggling to break them down.
We will be structured in our play, with each player knowing their role and working as a team to control the space without the ball and exploit the opposition’s weaknesses with the ball. I’m pretty strong through the middle with good central defence, midfield and attacking midfield options so will look to push the play through them initially working the space until I can get the wing backs and wide attacking midfielders free. I’ll break down the individual roles and player instructions below and explain the reasons for them, as well as provide the 2 tactics download links below.
In possession I want us to look like this:
In transition I want us to do this:
Out of possession I want us to do this:
Individual Roles / Instructions
I don’t really add too many player instructions unless a players weaknesses / strengths make it natural too. I want all the players to follow the team identity so it would be going against my principles to be doing otherwise.
His job is just to keep the ball out of the net and give the ball to the defenders as quickly as he can where safe.
Left Back – Wing Back (Attack)
Aggressive overlapping and crossing required. These guys need great stamina and workrate, along with crossing and vision.
Ball Playing Defenders (Defend and Cover)
Their main job is to defend but play the killer pass where possible to the guys higher up the pitch. I’m unsure if my CB’s are up to it so may switch to standard central defenders if not working out.
Right Back – Wing Back (Attack)
Same as above.
Central Midfield – Deep Lying Playmaker (Support)
Main link player as will hold his position in the midfield area, dictating the passes to both flanks and linking play with the other central players.
Central Midfield – Advanced Playmaker ( Attack)
This is the guy who runs into the more advanced positions for the DLP to link up with. Quite often will run past the AMC into the box.
Left Attacking Midfield – Inside Forward ( Support)
Individual instructions: Set to mark the Right Wing Back and Shoot less often.
Cuts inside to overload the central areas and pulls defenders out of position for the other players.
Right Attacking Midfield – Winger (Support)
Individual instructions: Set to mark the Left Wing Back, Cross from the byline and Shoot less often.
Stay wide and knock balls in for the Striker, Inside Forward and Attacking Midfielder to get on the end of.
Central Attacking Midfield – Attacking Midfield (Attack)
Hooks it all together for the team ** Key Player**. Takes the risks in unlocking the defence for others to score but will arrive in the box late to finish off moves.
Striker – Advanced Forward (Attack)
He’ll run the channels and pull defenders around as well as get on the end of moves where possible.
Pre-season and Early Results
It’s all about building squad fitness and tactical understanding for me in pre-season, so nice easy games where we build the above as well as confidence going into the new season. I want as many goals and clean sheets as I can across the whole squad but especially the main players I expect to start on a regular basis. U23 and U18 friendlies will be used for back up players to get there fitness up. As you can see we performed well and I asked the DOF to get any new signings in place as quickly as possible and to move on any of the deadwood he felt was taking up squad space and wage budget.
We have performed better than I thought in the Premier League, only conceeding one goal and winning the first four games. The important switch I make tactically is to switch to the Segundo Volante’s tactic which slows the tempo when I want to kill the game or if they are playing with an Central AM.
Transfer Activity by Guido Merry
New signings had been agreed pre the new DOF being installed, namely Terence Kongolo from Monaco who impressed whilst on loan the previous season and the club broke their transfer record to sign at £18 million. Guido then looked at the style of football I wanted to play and like all good DOF’s should do, went out & got what I needed & strengthened the depth of the squad, to back up our high-intensity approach which will result in injuries unless we rotate accordingly. With a net outlay of only £13.5 million Guido has balanced the books well and left £8 million for the next window if needed with £325k per week budget left over. Guido had a few things to say as well.
I am quite happy with the deals we managed to conclude. While Huddersfield is active in the Premier League, we are not quite as financially powerful as some of our respective peers in the division. This means that every penny counts in terms of our transfers. We cannot afford to splash the cash on players with no re-sale value or no instant added value.
We also cannot afford to buy expensive, proven quality players. Essentially, this restricted us to hunting for players on the transfer list and allowed to leave for a modest fee and players from lower reputation leagues. Ultimately, I think I managed to find the right balance between transfer listed opportunities and players coming in from abroad.
Every signing I made has the potential to double or even triple his value over the course of the season, allowing us to sell players who are unhappy, have unrealistic wage demands or have simply peaked. I have quite high hopes Almirón and Borja in that respect.
Most of the loan deals are youngsters who do not count towards our squad limits, yet can offer squad rotational options in the long run. I managed to sneak in a future fee for Willock, who could be a potential England international in this save. Pellegrini and Mai are two other promising youngsters who can offer us rotational options.
Players In by Guido:
Patrick Hermann 27 – £5.25 million
Right Att Midfielder, great workrate with an eye for goal
Chris Willcock 20 – Loan
Left Inside Forward, Wonderkid with electric pace
Luca Pellegrini 19 – Loan
Left Back, good all round player for most premier league clubs.
Miguel Borja 25 – £3.1 million
Striker, Great buy & well worth a punt at £3 million.
Beni Baningime 19 – Loan
Defensive & Central Midfield, Solid all rounder to act as squad cover
Lucas Mai 18 – Loan
Central Defender, strong physical centre back to act as squad cover
Miguel Almiron 24 – £7.5 million
Central Midfielder – brought in to be a force in midfield alongside Aaron Mooy, great vision & speed make him one to watch this season.
Colin Quaner £6.75 million to CSKA Moscow
Elias Kachunga £8.75 million to Fenerbache
Rajiv van La Parra £10.5 million to Trabzonspor
Steve Mounie £17.5 million to Newcastle
To summarise, a good pre-season so far with good movements in the transfer market have put the new manager in a good place & the supporters positive about the future. Next is to organise the training schedules which I will go into more depth about in part 3, as well as share some of the tactical feedback on what is going well with the Terrier Tiki & show some videos / screenshots etc.
Thanks for reading.