lunedì 10 febbraio 2014

Much to prove

Remember this: Good coaches don’t always make good managers. There is a gap between Numbers 2 and 1. While Brian Kidd and Carlos Queiroz immediately come to mind, Rene Meulensteen is the latest example. A former assistant of Sir Alex Ferguson, he was in charge at Anzhi Makhachkala for just 16 days before joining Fulham as No.2 to Martin Jol, then going onto replace him when the Dutchman was fired in December. But Fulham continue to struggle. The results remained poor as latest 1-0 defeat in their FA Cup game to Sheffield United testified. And Meulensteen’s job is now in jeopardy, although late equaliser against Manchester United give him some breath. The knowledge gained from working on the shadow of great managers can't be translated to instant success. Making the step up and spreading the wings isn’t impossible but it’s a hard way. Almost every No. 2 thinks he can be a manager. You have to left your comfort zone. You have to become the decision maker. You are no more  working with the club's academy, or a respected and admired assistant coach close to his players, and too friendly… you have to treat the boys differently. Expectations rise and you have to exercise control on the training field and in the manager's office as well. Coaching and managing are different jobs. Your thought process has to be different. Many coaches have failed after leaving their assistant job. André Villas-Boas knows it: he served as José Mourinho’s right-hand man but his lack of man-management skills damaged him. Managers often struggle in their first jobs, just ask Rafa Benitez. Some others simply don’t find their way. Kidd is now a coach at Manchester City after a failed spells as manager with Blackburn Rovers and Queiroz too had forgettable stints with Real Madrid and Portugal. That is not the charge against Garry Monk. There are exceptions. Malky Mackay worked at Watford under Brendan Rodgers. Gus Poyet and Tony Pulis were assistant coaches. Steve Clarke finished in the top half the Premier League in the last two seasons. Monk will face a huge test for his first managing job. The days of playing are over. He took charge at Swansea after Michael Laudrup was fired. There was a feeling that Laudrup’s regime was too soft, his training apparently lacking in intensity and with not enough tactical input during the games. Monk wants to instill a good work ethic and started with a double session. Knowing everything about the club and about the players may help. He learned club’s passing philosophy playing under Roberto Martínez and Rodgers. The former Swansea captain also has experience as club's academy coach but this is a different kind of story. He will have to manage big players.  Monk took over with Swansea close of the relegation zone. He and his first-team coach Alan Curtis have to put their players through the right paces. Their debut worked as Swansea had a memorable start under the new manager. Monk has the opportunity to succeed at management level.

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