Lopetegui – Not As Bad As Some Suggest?

6 May, 2024
written by AD Hammer

 

Lopetegui – Not As Bad As Some Suggest?

Recent developments seem to suggest that Moyes will be leaving and Julen Lopetegui will be replacing him shortly. Of course, we do not know for sure that will be the case even if the rumours seem to be hotting up.

One thing we DEFINITELY DO NOT know for sure is who is supporting this appointment in our senior management.  The constant suggestions that this is a Sullivan appointment and that Steidten and Noble are against it is simply fake news – a narrative created by sites, channels, and prominent social media accounts that suspect this to be the case but have no evidence to back it up.

Let’s not be influenced by that narrative or we are going to go into the new season as a further divided fanbase. Let’s also not be influenced by the board stooge, who is now spinning the opposite narrative, probably on behalf of Sullivan, that he is a Tim Stediten pick. None of us actually know, and I feel certain that neither Steidten or Noble are stupid enough to share that kind of opinion where it would get leaked or reported.

Whether we have been Moyes In or Moyes Out, let’s go into this potential new era with open minds, supporting the new manager and hoping for some more positive football. Let’s make our initial judgements of Lopetegui, if appointed, after he has had some time to get a new team playing his way, and allow him until at least Christmas before we allow any doubts to creep in.

That’s easier said than done for some of us. I’ve gone from thinking he might be a good shout earlier in the season, to being a total wanker and stupidly signing the petition against him. The latter being because I allowed myself to be influenced by social media channels that were suggesting he was the Spanish Moyes.

However, after doing some research, I am going to get myself totally behind him if he comes in, but it is going to be a massive challenge rebuilding this squad and getting them playing a different way, which will take time.

What Do We Know About Him?

It’s fair to say that it hasn’t all been sunshine, but he certainly does not play Moyes-ball ! A brief overview of his career can be found below, focusing largely on his full management roles after he spent time coaching young Spanish teams and B teams.

Porto – July 14 to Jan 16

W53, D16, L9 – Win Ratio 67.9%

Failed to win silverware, got to CL quarter finals, was let go half way through following season after not getting out of CL groups and slipping to third.

Spain – July 16 to Jun 18

W14 D6 L0 – Win Ratio 70%

After successful qualification for Russia WC2018, it broke that he had agreed a deal with Real Madrid and he was let go a week or so before the tournament started.

Real Madrid – July 18 to Oct 18

W6 D2 L6 – Win Ratio 42.8%

Lasted four months, the national Spanish situation had created bad feeling and mountains of pressure, and after a poor start was let go after being thrashed by Barcelona.

Sevilla – June 19 to Oct 22

W90 D44 L36 – Win Ratio 52.9%

Won the Europa League in 2020. Finished 4th for 3 seasons in a row, Sevilla had only finished as high as 4th for one of the previous 9 seasons, with Unai Emery achieving a best finish of 5th. Started his fourth season poorly and was let go by October.

Wolves – June 19 to Oct 22

W10 D6 L11- Win Ratio 37%

Took over when Wolves were bottom of the table having won 2 of 16 games. Led them to safety and 13th place finish. Left controversially a week before this season started as board promises over finances were reportedly not kept.

 

Not being an expert on European leagues, I have researched the style of football that Lopetegui’s teams have played, and while not all of them scored a bucket load of goals, his style is a long way away from Moyes. He has largely played in a 4-3-3, with the full backs pushed on. When in possession, the DM often drops in between the centre backs, creating a back three that holds a high line, he also has a preference for technically gifted midfielders.

Playing in a higher block than we have been used to under Moyes, his teams tend to press and win possession higher up the field. When in possession, his teams are encouraged to play more centrally between the lines, as opposed to the hoofing down the wings we are currently seeing. He seems to be more possession led in approach, and his teams patiently progress the ball upfield.

Undoubtedly, he brings a more forward thinking style than Moyes. Whether that means it will be entertaining and/or successful remains to be seen, but if his past football is an indication of his future then we will NOT be in for more of the same.

He wouldn’t have been my first choice, but as someone who is sick and tired of the way we currently play our football, I am willing to give him a chance and get behind the change, if it happens of course. COYI!

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2 Comments

  1. He wasn’t my first choice but if it is going to be 4-3-3 with the full backs pushing on as you say, then I’m all for that. As a new manager I will always give them full support until they prove they are not worthy of it.

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    • I guess the proof will be in the pudding, as they say 🙂

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