Synergy is a term that you hear and think “I know what that means”, when in actuality it is complicated terminology for most people. The original word derives from the Attic Greek linguistic term “synergos”, which essential means “working together.” This has been adapted and manipulated to a term more along the lines of “creating a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts.” That’s exactly what new manager Mauricio Pellegrino is attempting to accomplish.
Why is this important and what does it have to do with football? Obviously, reading that statement, you can understand exactly how it relates to football. What you may not understand, is the complexity of implementation, and what this achieves on the pitch.
Psychological implementation in coaching techniques is something still being developed within the game. Most fans will want the genius tactician as their manager, which is nice and all, but many fans may neglect the psychological mindset behind the game.
This was an issue that we saw with previous manager Claude Puel. Puel had a decent game-plan most of the time. His issue was getting the players to buy into his system. Imagine him standing in front of the players and attempting to introduce himself. If you don’t know Claude Puel for whatever reason, go watch one of his press conferences. Then reports came out that he was feuding with several players on the pitch. The Frenchman neglected the psychological aspect of the game and in essence had the players and fan-base turned against him because of it.
Psychology in sports is a genre that is extremely fascinating to me and I believe has always needed to be included more. New manager Mauricio Pellegrino has taken that genre and turned it into a managerial style.
In his press conferences he regularly discusses how he wants the players to become a team on-and-off the pitch. How can force players and teammates to become close to one another? You can force the players to regularly spend time together, but what good will that do? They will probably end up hating each other more if there was already a distaste.
Pellegrino seems to have found a system that is implemented through training and outside of training that allows players to rely on each other. One of the most important and difficult things to teach a lot of individuals is how to rely off each other and work together. Through an extremely methodical agenda, he is slowly allowing our players to become a single unit, which is extremely difficult to do.
This will take time and patience. This is not something that is going to happen overnight.
When synergy is created and the players are now reliant on one another, you will see the difference on the pitch. Football is a game based on margins. You can create the perfect game-plan, and it can fall apart before your eyes. This will be based on the unlucky bounce, that one perfect run, or the impossible strike that the player will never make again in his career. When you are playing a game based on these margins, it is important to have the upper-hand on a psychological level.
It is shown by Football Stats that 25% of all goals in the Premier League were scored between minutes 76-90. This shows that throughout a game, the mental and physical nature of the game breaks down and it allows the opposition to score. These players, however, go through excessive conditioning and their bodies are made for this. What this shows, is that more often than not, these goals are allowed by a psychological breakdown, whether by an individual, or a team not being a unit.
When Pellegrino stresses the synergy tactics, he is not only physically training the plays, but mentally training them as well. When a team begins to play as a unit, you will see that the style of play will be enhanced and the player’s morals will rise. It is one of the most difficult things to implement to a team you didn’t get to choose any of the players for, but if he gets this right, we may see one of our most successful seasons in history.