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RM and his Backroom Staff - 10 weeks in Post

edited October 11 in Swansea City
This discussion was created from comments split from: Alan Tate as it was going way off topic (again!) 🙄


  • That was a ridiculous choice to offer people and it has righty been shredded by posters on that forum.

    'Very, it’s definitely coming together' or 'Not at all, it isn’t working'

    No option for 'Pretty happy, with reservations'? Of course most people went for the first option. I did.

  • Its a very fair poll, if people dont want to answer it they wont.

    Any sensible poll should never offer an odd number of choices to choose from, so offering only 2 is fair, it forces people to make a real choice, and question what they really believe rather than just sitting on the fence.

    Otherwise too many people will choice the middle option so they can claim they were right no matter the outcome

  • How about:

    Are you totally optimistic about this manager, prepared to ignore any warning signs and willing to let him paint us into a corner it will take years to get out of if he scoots off at the first opportunity it’s like he did to MK Dons


    Are you reserving judgment until we have a bit more to go on?

    Fixed it!

  • Cadleigh,

    yet another dig at RM

  • edited October 10

    Colin - if someone throws a completely bogus survey at me as evidence that RM is in fact the Second Coming and I should park any reservations I have, and another poster defends said bogus survey as entirely reasonable, of course I am going to respond. You would.

    A couple of posts ago I talked about the positive things I have said about him.

    I don’t get it. People raised questions about Cooper from the first match and no one tried to cancel that discussion. Why are a small number of people on here so desperate for him to be the Messiah?

    I don’t expect an answer to that but I will ask you a serious question:

    Martin has made no secret of the fact that he only wants to play with wing-backs and is structuring the team accordingly. Do you have any concerns about the implications of this my way-or-the-highway approach on the next manager and our ability to compete were Martin to ship out?

  • I have no concerns with him structuring the team using wingbacks.

    Cooper did - by accident it seems now, from what he has said since, than design.

    it worked for him, for a while. And then when he felt it didnt, he changed it.

    No reason why Martin wont do the same. Pep did the same. He played for a long time with 3 at the back. now he plays with 4. Helped obviously with the calibre of player he works with.

    Martin's philosophy is very different to Cooper's. He is about dominating the ball. Cooper's wasn't. And to do that, he has worked on a style he knows works. That includes wingbacks.

  • Cadleigh,

    I don't think I need to tell you what my feelings are for a survey at this stage of the season.

    Yes, you do say positive things about RM but to me there always appears to be a rider in your posts, questioning RM. You are entitled to do that, its your opinion.

    It took me a long time to question Cooper and whether it was because of a house move and being unable to see as many matches as I used to(even though there was always the dreaded re button) the repeated deep defending when protecting a one goal lead, even against teams struggling at the bottom of the league saw me scratching my head at the reasons why Cooper allowed it to happen. I can't explain why some can make an almost instant opinion, only they can.

    I have posted my keen interest on the 3 c/back formation for a long time and I have no concerns should RM leave when you consider how many players there are in the squad that can play in a back four as well as a three c/back formation. If you are looking for a plan B then with a rigid 3 c/back formation, the variety in set-up in front of those three should give a number of options to RM, as he has already this season.

  • Thanks Mark. It's not how he sets the team up that concerns me (as you said, Cooper used wingbacks too), it's about the structuring of the team itself. Cooper always intended to switch between playing with WBs and a traditional back four, so he ensured he had enough players who could accommodate both formations. For now we have two traditional LBs and two RBs in the squad, with Latibeaudiere and Laird both able to play in that position. And we have one traditional winger if I am counting correctly. By the end of the next transfer window I'd be surprised if we have any wingers left and I anticipate we'll have fewer FBs too.

    I am struggling to think of a Swans manager who has done something like this. Every previous manager in the modern era (ie post-Jackett) has recruited with the intention of having a balanced squad, able to accommodate different formations depending on the nature of the opposition. As I said, it'll be a hard job for the next manager if they inherit a squad that can only play in one formation. In fact it could be quite a disincentive for candidates.

    Obviously, we are all hoping that Martin's experiment works (certainly shows promising signs) and that he stays with us for many years to come.

  • @Cadleigh

    So which positions in any formation are we actually missing?

    It sounds again like you are trying to create a problem where none exists.

    I dont see any experiment, what I can see is a coaching team making players better players....and what a surprise players seem to agree.

  • @Cadleigh

    'Cooper always intended to switch between playing with WBs and a traditional back four,'

    I'd be interested to learn how you came to that conclusion. My recollection is that he played with a back four up to the time we suffered so many injuries, that he was left with very little alternative other than to play a back 3 with wingbacks. Yes, it went well for him for a while thereafter, but the team soon settled into the hoofball that he so obviously preferred, so it didn't really matter what formation he employed, the style was still the same.

    Up to the point of the injuries, which I think was about February of his first year in charge, I don't recall ever seeing any evidence that he had any intention of switching between the two formations.

  • Try to put together a 4-2-3-1 formation, with at least one genuine cover player for each position, and with two genuine wingers in the three up front, as opposed to inside forwards. IMO this has always been our best formation, with overlapping wingers and full-backs and it permits not just pacey attacks but the maximum possible combination of passing triangles. Then fast forward to the next transfer window, during which we will add WBs and probably CBs at the expense of wingers and FBs.

  • Well that is pretty easy. I assume you mean players not out on loan currently, as the line up would change slightly. By the way the 3 behind the the forward dont consist of wingers, they never have been, they are Midfielder/Wingers.



    ..................Downes ...........Grimes...........




    Naughton....Cooper.....Williams R.....Manning

    .................Fulton.............Williams D.................

    Smith ....................Walsh.......................Danda


    It seems you are trying to construct yet another reason to criticise RM.

    I assume he chose all the players he inherited.

    How about you pick a team of 4-4-2 from last last year with 2 genuine centre forwards in the front line plus 2 genuine back up centre forwards.

    That wasnt SC's fault, instead it was the Owners & Directors.

    Good luck!

  • I specifically said wingers, not inside forwards. Only one winger there and that’s Whittaker and he’s out of favour with the manager.

    I am talking about the formation when Dyer and Routledge played as genuine wingers in front of Rangel and Davies.

    And no, I am not going to put together a 4-4-2. Nice try.

  • Interesting you can ask questions that can be easily be answered (the 3 behind the forward always tend to be midfielder/wingers) , but refuse to actually answer a reasonable question yourself. .

    So your criticism of RM is he didnt recruit enough wingers to suit you, but no comment on having zero centre forwards last year. I'd get your priorities sorted if I was you.

    Remember next year we will have Joseph and Garrick back with another year under their belt, if you want forwards.

    It sounds like you are getting desperate with your criticism!

  • Look, this is getting exhausting.

    Here are the facts:

    • RM has no use for full-backs.
    • RM has no use for wingers.
    • He will get rid of any FB who isn't pacey enough to play as a WB.
    • He will get rid of any winger who can't function as a full-on defender (as opposed to covering for his FB on occasions).
    • By the end of the process we will have a squad that can only play one formation.
    • If we had a shortage of strikers last year that was because we had a very expensive forward player (Ayew) and a goal-scoring winger (Lowe) who did the job very adequately. It was not a matter of strategy, it was simple expediency. It has never been a matter of strategy for the club to intentionally unbalance the squad. Until now.

    If you are fine with that, great. That's all I was asking - how people feel about this. By all means let's discuss the meaning of all this, but let's not try to deny the reality.

  • How exactly did these facts arise?

    Did SC have no use for full backs as we played variations of 3-4-3 last season?

    Did SC have no use for Wingers as he didnt play with wingers last season?

    Which Full backs has RM got rid of because they arent pacy enough?

    Which Wingers has RM got rid of, who apparently can't function as defenders?

    As the Oracle of Delphi. please let us all know the winning lottery numbers, as well as your prediction we will only have a squad who will only be able to play one single formation in future? A prediction I believe rather than a fact.

    So for SC, not having no CFs was expedience. Jamal did well so lets judge at the end of the season when we see how many goals all our forwards and midfielders have scored. For a valid comparison please let us know how many of the current squad were recruited after RM arrived.

    You have no facts, you have your own prejudices which you try and parade as facts, when all they are is your projection of your own biased views, which you desperately try to use to criticise anything and everything about RM.

    At least stop pretending and come out of the closet with your dislike of RM's approach, instead of the

    '...everything about RM's is cr4p, but I really support him, and here are more reason why he is cr4p..'

    Its fooling no-one, except perhaps yourself, so when it all starts clicking, at least you can say to yourself, see I supported RM all along.

    You will be the only one who believes it.

  • OK, going to set up a new thread to discuss this as it doesn’t have much to do with Alan Tate any longer. @Webmaster

  • Also, please don’t take any of this personally. We all love the Swans, that’s why we are on here.

  • Cadleigh,

    I’m assuming we both grew up with the old 2-3-5-formation that saw f/backs barely crossing the halfway line and following Alf’s World Cup win, the 4-4-2 formation was the way the game was played. What followed saw a retention of 4 at the back, 3 or 5 in midfield, and also 3 or 1 up front.

    We have seen changes in centre forwards / strikers, some making their name as aerial battlers and also the small, quick, tricky former wingers like Routledge who were able to create the gaps for the telling pass to be made and run into or the small, nippy strikers that come alive in the penalty area.

    Throughout football there has been a revolution in the type of player that played outside the centre backs, no longer having the sole ability to defend but more importantly the pace / skill to counter, catch the opposition out of position and link up with their strikers and also get their name on the goalscoring sheet. The roles Man U’s Shaw or Chelsea’s Chilwell are asked to do is no different to what RM expects from Laird. In a flat back four Chelsea’s Azpiliqueta replaced Ivanovic at right back but when tactics change from game to game he can be utilised either in a back four or a back three.

    Flexibility in playing different positions is the order of the day for many head coaches, especially foreign ones while the roles of midfielders and strikers have also changed. Yes, there is a need for the defensive midfielders who are quick to the breakdown and second ball as there is for other type of right or left side midfielders who possess the skills to link up with their lone striker or take a shot on goal. Is this flexibility something you fail to grasp and don’t realise that in effect it is plan B or C.

  • I dont take it personally. I liked Sc but didnt like the football. For some the results where all that was important, I understand but dont agree.

    Happy to discuss further.

    For me RM is re-introducing a style, and is using a formation atht is effective in the current environment.

    Over time the formation will flex but the players will still be able to play the same style imo.

  • I think I'm a generation younger than you, Colin - I was taught that a full-back's job is akin to the castle in chess - they have the freedom to advance all the way to the opposition's goal-line and all the way to opposite corner flag on their own goal line to do their job. Not sure what era of football that puts me in! I totally get the need for players to be able to play flexibly and to adapt to multiple different instructions from the manager in the course of a game. And I do understand that our players do that, despite your rather patronising suggestion that I don't.

    The question I am asking - and you haven't addressed, really - is simply whether it is sensible to put all your eggs in one basket. But as I said earlier, let's take this discussion to a dedicated thread.

  • Cadleigh,

    no intention of patronising, best leave it there.

  • interesting that you are making certain judgements about the way Martin has set up and the personnel.

    He's had a 6 day window to train the squad before the first game. and in that time and the subsequent 4 weeks, he had to assess that squad of players and work with recruitment to bring players in.

    He's using a tried and trusted system he knows works. And with time being in short supply, that's what he's using. It's not to say he wont change it in the future. and wont change it after having several windows, or after getting the players more used to the style of possession football .

    What's crystal clear, he's not going to change it any time soon. So get used to it!

  • edited October 11

    Oh, I don't know Mark. Last season he showed he was prepared to change formation. After 10 games in a row playing the same 3-5-2 formation (actually might have been more - I was so bored I stopped counting), and having taken his MK Dons team down to 19th place, he changed to 3-5-1-1 and then - thrillingly! - to 4-2-3-1. This stopped a run which had seen two wins in 10 games.

    Now funnily enough, we have two wins from the last 10 games and we are in 19th position, so maybe we'll see a change for the Cardiff game? 🤔

    Out of interest, knowing what you do about how Cardiff play the game, how would you set up the team if you were the manager to counter their threat and win the game?

  • Did I imagine the lack of actual wingers in Cooper’s tactics? Did I imagine all the frustrated posters that couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t play Celina in his natural no.10 position? Was it me or did I imagine him stubbornly refusing to rest Ayew when it was plain to see he had nothing left in the tank? Didn’t his kamikaze approach not to use substitutions create a furore on this very site? Let’s not forget that mistakes were made by SC that eventually led us to being stuck in the Championship for another season. In my book Graham Potter and Steve Cooper aren’t messiah managers purely because their time at the helm didn’t lead to winning promotion or any trophies. Neither is Russell Martin currently and I suspect that he may not be at least for this season. However I’m looking forward to his next season in charge to see what developments there’ll be and how he progresses from there as this season is to me is a steadying of the ship after such a turbulent pre-season. Oh and a quick shout out to Alan Tate as this is a thread about him. When you think about it, can you actually imagine a team of Alan Tate’s and what that would mean in terms of tactics for the manager. It would definitely be a head scratcher.

  • I'm no Cooper apologist so I'm not going to attempt to justify the things he did. (He did win a world cup and take us to the play-offs twice of course; I think his period in charge is going to look better the more time passes.)

    I admire your optimism, and I hope you are right.

    To put things in perspective, after a season and half in charge of MK Dons, Martin took them to a 13th place finish. Progress on the previous season's 19th place, although to be fair they were in the relegation zone when he came in, so lot of rebuilding needed. MK Dons are now in the League One play-off places, which must owe a lot to the work Martin did with that squad, although next time someone says 'Martin had no pre-season, do you understand how important that is?', just say reply 'Liam Manning'. (Who, by the way, has already deployed four different formations in 11 games this season.)

  • So you think Martin came in, assessed his squad, and decided that playing with three CBs and WBs was the answer we needed? You think it is entirely coincidental that he adopted that formation in the second game of last season at MK Dons and only departed from it on one occasion for the remainder of the season? And he will willingly switch to a back four if the circumstances require it? I hope you are right but I see no sign of it. He played 4-1-2-1-2 practically every game in his first season as a manager and 3-5-2 or 3-5-1-1 practically every game of his second season. Doesn't strike me as a manager who likes change.

  • Cadleigh,

    One can look at RM’s tenure at MK another way. Just imagine any head coach in their first managerial gig starting with a back four, realising that he wasn’t entirely convinced that formation was the way forward, then changing the formation to a back three, and hitting on a formula that turned MK round into genuine promotion contenders, and along the way tinkering with the midfield and strikers in front of a back three.

  • You are talking about Liam Manning's MK Dons when you say 'promotion contenders', presumably, not Russell Martin's? Last season Martin's MK Dons finished 13th. They spent a grand total of seven weeks outside the bottom half of the table, and five weeks in the relegation zone. A short spell of good results took them to ninth place, six points off the play-off places with two games left to go and an eight point deficit in goal difference over Charlton. They were weren't promotion contenders, they weren't even close. But as I said, Martin obviously deserves some of the credit for the way Manning has the team playing now.

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