venerdì 13 aprile 2012

A Scotsman in Canada

Martin Rennie has plenty to live up to. The Vancouver Whitecaps (2-1-2) manager, 36-years old, had his name rising up in coaching circles for some years. Rennie has turned the Cleveland City Stars into a major power in a two seasons stint before to do the same with the Carolina Railhawks. So, his name was said soon to be among the leading candidates to guide a MLS team. It happened when 'Caps appointed him. Rennie has never coached an MLS team before. But the skills are here. Is Rennie on line to become the next big manager from Scotland? Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, Jock Stein, and Alex Ferguson are still very far and Rennie has a long way to go but he's still young. He brought a very different perspective to coaching. His training methods are very different from the usual. He spends much time thinking about motivation. He doesn't believe in treating all players equally. The whole team can take advantage from a 'star' player accepted and understood. Try and find the right concepts. "You have ideas as a coach of what you think you want to do," he said, "but it's not until you're doing them every single day that you realize, 'Well, that didn't work out as well as I thought it would,' or 'I need to do things differently.' In the middle of last season we were playing well, we were possessing the ball well but we weren't scoring enough goals. We changed a number of things, the way we trained, the way we did things. Since then we've been very consistently high scorers." In Vancouver, where Rennie took over in November, he found some good players as South Korean defender Young-Pyo Lee and  forward Sebastien Le Toux. A lot of times people take players because they're a good. Rennie wants players suited for his system and each player has to understand his role. He's more about specificity. By the way, Rennie has been to point out that tactical flexibility is a crucial part of his thinking. So this season he employed 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2. 

Against Philadelphia, Rennie also utilized the 4-3-1-2 system. His 4-2-3-1 often looks like a 4-5-1 in defense. The Whitecaps are solid in defence. Once the forward line has been breached, the two holding midfielders are always in position to form the wall able to force opponents to spread the play outside where the two 'Caps wingers have dropped back to cover, or to play long balls that are easily defended by the central defensive duo of Jay DeMerit and Martín Bonjour. Rennie stressed his team in the way to stay compact: everyone must defend, everybody knows what to do defensively. Get behind the ball. It's no far from Josè Mourinho's approach with both Chelsea and Inter. Rennie is also a coach able to take a look to set pieces situations. While isn't not here the moment to describe all his offensive tricks, it's interesting to turn the eyes to a defensive situation, to see how he organizes this part of the game.

On the corner kicks against, Rennie keeps 3-men in a zonal coverage, maybe making cheerful Graham Taylor, who likes to have full-backs on the post to make smaller the goal.

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