This is the fourth part of the series from guest author @SegundoVolante1 Be sure to give him a follow if you enjoy his story.
I knocked on the chairman’s door and he immediately beckoned me in with his squeaky voice. I never thought I would be so relieved to see someone, I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown. This was only in my first day for fucks sake, I needed to get my act together or else I wouldn’t be cut out for this managerial lark.
“Sit down he said, you look very agitated. Do you want anything to drink?”
“No I just wanted to talk to someone and you were the first person that came in mind”
“What’s up, is something bothering you?”
“Just the complete lack of respect I got from the players, Vernetti was already making fun of my inexperience. I’ve only been here for a day and its already started.”
“Don’t worry I think I can do something to help you. Wait for my call tonight.”
Well I did get the call and the contents of the call surprised me greatly. Apparently the chairman was great friends with Hector Cuper due to him spending most of his playing career with Ferro. Cuper would you believe it was the current manager of the Egyptian national team and had recently led them to the World Cup for the first time in 24 years, he was an idol in the country. The chairman had sorted a meeting for me with him because he was coming over to visit his family. Hopefully I could learn a few things from him but I hoped I wouldn’t inherit his curse.
The next few days were very uneventful and before I knew it, it was time for me to meet Mr.Cuper. I put on my best suit and sprayed some aftershave on. I had to look good we were meeting in the trendiest café in town. The one where I was supposed to meet Messi, just thinking of that recalled bad memories. I removed these thoughts from my mind though the future was positive. At least that’s what I told myself.
When I got there I immediately noticed Cuper, he was wearing a suit and the first thing that striked me about him was how thin he looked. He looked like a man that was on a salad diet, but who was I to say that. I was at least 3 stone overweight. We made our introductions and I ordered a quarter pounder, meanwhile he ordered a Caesar salad. I was right!
“How are you” he said
“Good, I really am honoured to meet you”
“Please spare me the niceties, we are both managers. Just consider us two managers having a chat”
That definitely took by surprise. He considered me an equal, that was a very welcome confidence boost.
“I heard from Lautaro that you were having some problems”
“Yes, it was my first day and already some of them were making fun of my lack of experience. I really didn’t know what to do so I went with the hard as nails approach. I asked my assistant to make them run a lot”
“Well first of all I consider man management the most important aspect of football. You need to figure out how to treat every players. Some players like having their egos stroked while some love playing under pressure. Some will respond well to a bashing while some will just curl up and disappear. You need to learn how to get the mix right”
“So I can gain the players respect”
“Of course, you can over time. All you need is a bit of understanding in psychology and of course results will matter. The players will immediately respect you if you go on a good run”
“That was really helpful thank you”
“Do you know that I still watch all of Ferro’s games, Ferro is the club with the most special place in my heart. Maybe I can give you some advice”
“I think your best player is easily Vernetti. I know you have already encountered problems with him, but I advise you to try and sort it out. He is a very good player for this level, decent physical attributes as well as technicals. He’s a team player too that’s why a lot of bigger clubs are interested in him. If I was you I would do my all to please him and keep him at the club.”
“Another very good player you have is Lujan. He doesn’t have the workrate to mattch Vernetti but he has better technicals, the only shame is that he’s on loan. Very good dribbler and he really is a flair player. Keep your eye on him.”
”Last but not least in the list of players who I think are the best at Ferro is Brian Aquino. He isn’t the most naturally gifted player but he will certainly run his socks off for you. Utilize him well and he can be your Mr. Reliable”
“Talk me over your tactics and maybe I can help with that too”
After looking over the team and gauging the ability we have I was thinking of going with a structured counter attacking system. It is a weird variation of the 4 4 2. The idea is it’s a 4 4 2 when we are defending then it switches to a 4 3 1 2 when we are attacking. The left winger will cut inside to the am spot and left central midfielder will occupy the space which he has vacated. I would like the players to make a quick transition from defence to attack and to get the ball forward quickly. I would also like them to play with verticality and to get the ball into the box when presented with the opportunity. There are 3 particular players which I hope to give specific instructions”
“As mentioned before I want the inside forward to change into an attacking midfielder when we have the ball so I will ask Lujan to sit narrower when we have the ball”
“As for Perez I don’t want him to get forward a lot due to the presence of a natural winger ahead of him which is exactly the opposite of what I want from Mazur who is the left full back”
“I will ask Aquino to get wide when we have the ball to once again aid with the transition from the 4 4 2 to the 4 3 1 2”
“The best advice I would give you is to keep things simple. Players here are not exactly tactically astute or supremely gifted technically. Don’t overcomplicate things”
“I wish you the best of luck”
And with that he got up and left. That was more helpful than I imagined it would be. Now I couldn’t wait to scour the market for some new players. The squad definitely needed some depth.