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P&J: Calderwood highlights a communication problem


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It’s good to talk, Dons manager tells his players

 

By Paul Third

 

Published: 16/09/2008

 

Initiative. Control. Communication. The three qualities Aberdeen manager Jimmy Calderwood wants to see more of from his players.

 

Calderwood yesterday put himself through a replay of his side’s 2-1 home defeat by Hamilton in the hope of identifying what went wrong and he believes he has the answer.

 

From a bright start and a 1-0 lead, Calderwood watched in dismay as his players conspired to lose their grip on proceedings against Accies. Despite knowing what the problem is, Calderwood feels powerless to fix it. He said: “We watched the game again this morning and it was frightening to see us start a game so well and then let go our grip.

 

“We were overcompensating on so many occasions by doing silly things such as not letting a defender pick up a player and we gave away two soft goals which was disappointing.

 

“It is a problem in our game and I don’t know how we fix it. It’s not an issue of leadership and I’m not singling out Scott Severin for criticism as he does talk to his team-mates. But we are too quiet on the field.â€

 

Calderwood made light of the lack of communication, a characteristic he noted on his first day on the job at Pittodrie, and, while admitting the players’ dialogue had improved, he still wants more.

 

He said: “I’m beginning to wonder if air has become expensive as the players don’t want to use it.

 

“Communication was such a big part of British football but it seems to be gone now as we work with a different breed of player. Players have to take control and talk to each other. If you are a player and you see a man running on to you and you are free, take him on and take command of the situation. If you do that two or three times your opponent will stop coming towards you.

 

“Tactically, it is a massive part of the game. You can work on systems all week but once the players go across the white line they have to use what they are told. I can’t force people to talk to each other but I can keep reminding the players of the value of it until I’m blue in the face.â€

 

The Dons manager highlighted two examples from Saturday’s game to illustrate his point, but it is the result of these indiscretions he wants to eradicate.

 

He said: “Hamilton played without fear but we should have taken command of the situation. I keep telling players they have to see situations developing on the field and adjust accordingly.

 

“I watched on Saturday where Andy Considine had the ball at his feet and Charlie Mulgrew was 20 yards from him in space. No one said anything, so Andy thumped the ball down the park rather than look to build another attack down the left. Sone Aluko started brilliantly and Hamilton doubled up on him to stop him playing.

 

“It freed up a player elsewhere but we couldn’t seem to find the space to exploit and, if anything, it was Hamilton who always seemed to have a man in space. It’s those little details where, by giving a team-mate a shout, you can retain possession of the ball and not lose the ball cheaply.â€

 

Some of this already being discussed in the other thread but its interesting to see that he has said a lot more to the P&J then the wee snippet on redweb. He sort of contradicts himself about leadership and Severin (obviously he cant come out publicly and say it though), that that is evident to all of us.

 

And yes he can make them talk to each other, he and the coaches should be making them scream at each other in training.

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Communication/leadership is also a personality issue. There are people/players who are natural leaders and some who are natural followers - Willie Miller, McLeish were natural leaders for example. Leadership is an attribute/quality we lack in our squad and surely it is a coach/managers job to sign some leaders. You sign skill players, physical players, positional players, and vocal/leaders for example. To me it's a management/signing issue - players can talk but not all can talk/lead on the park and this has been an issue with the dons for years. Every team requires leaders who encourage/enforce communication on the pitch and we've lacked this for a long time.

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