Friday, 21 December 2012

Why Manchester City is Tactically Inefficient

Manchester City are a wonderful team, there is no doubt about that. They have magnificent players and they are reigning champions of England. However, City finished in last place in their Champions League group with a miserly 3 points, winning no games, scoring only 7 goals and conceding 11. Since this is the case, I would like to point out a couple of things which I believe would make Manchester City a better team.

Against the weaker teams, Man City can afford to play Tevez, Aguero, Nasri and Silva together. However, this system runs into problems when up against stronger opposition, namely, sides who are very good on the counter attack such as Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United. It is against these sides where I think Mancini fails his team. Let me explain:

Image from
Mancini this season has found it problematic to find a suitable formation with the suitable players against the top sides. The reason is because his team is set up to play one of two ways. To play a compact and defensive game, or a game based on fluidity and attacking intent. The problem is that it can't do both. This is the heart of the problem which Mancini faces and the leading factor, in my opinion, which has led to their poor performances in Europe.
Against the weaker teams, City must play at least three of Aguero, Tevez, Silva or Nasri, but preferably all four of them. The reason is that in such games, the responsibility is placed on City to break down the other team's defensive block which you would expect to be tight and compact. Naturally, City would have the majority of the possession and would be the team who are expected to win the game. Such a strategy is pretty safe to use as long as they are playing against a team who do not counter attack very well. The negative aspect of this strategy is that against teams who can counter attack very well, City can be left exposed. A major reason comes from the way City are set up when the four players I mentioned play.

All four players play centrally. Aguero and Tevez are both strikers who play in the middle, while Silva and Nasri are not natural wingers and prefer to drift inside. Since this is the case, the only natural width City have is with both fullbacks pushing forward to support the play. It is essential that the fullbacks get involved in the attacking play, otherwise any team would find it difficult to create chances against a well organised defence. The reliance on the fullbacks to provide natural width can prove to be a problem. The reason is because when both fullbacks push forward, they can leave huge space behind them which can be exploited by the opposition players. Manchester United recently took full advantage of the space to create two goals in open play. The fullbacks going up by themselves is not a problem in itself. It only becomes a problem if the rest of the team cannot compensate for this particular movement.

Firstly, Silva and Nasri do not cover for their respective fullbacks forays forward. It is left up to Clichy and Zabaleta to track back to defend themselves even if they have advanced further up the pitch than Silva or Nasri.

Secondly, Yaya Toure is crucial to City's attack in that he often creates danger with his driving runs forward from deep areas, especially in transition. While this is all well, the harsh reality is that this means he leaves Barry isolated as the lone holding midfielder. In essence, the style of Toure often means that City's 4231 shape becomes a 4141 shape. People often debate whether Toure is better suited to a deeper role or a role behind the striker. The truth is that he can do both roles fantastically well. The problem is that he's asked to do both in the same game. Furthermore, this means that Barry is often forced to go forward with Toure in order to close up the distance between himself and Toure and this leave space in front of the two centre backs.

City's actual formation leaves too much space for Barry and both fullbacks to cover. Image from
Thirdly, Barry is not mobile enough to move laterally across the pitch. This is a crucial tactical error in City's shape because it means that Barry cannot cover for the fullbacks when they've gone forward. If Barry was as dynamic as a Ramires for example, City's 4141 formation could theoretically work. Sadly, this is not the case. Mind you, Garcia and Rodwell are similar types of players as Barry so they wouldn't make a tactical difference if they played instead of Barry.

The overall pattern seems to be that Mancini chooses to overload the middle and take numbers off the flanks in order to play four creative players all at once. While this system of play is not radical, it does require the players to do so. The problem City have, and is the ultimate problem Mancini has to solve, is how to give City width so that they can expand when they have the ball, while keeping compact when they lose the ball. At the moment, City don't do either. I get the feeling that City are not playing to the potential that they have. They have spent a great amount of money on players without a cohesive system in mind. Considering the money spent, City shouldn't be having so many and consistent tactical problems to deal with, and they should be dominating the league. Inefficiency in the transfer market is largely to blame and future managers (should Mancini not be in charge next season) will have the same problems as Mancini has. Too many players on highly paid wages that do not fit together in a cohesive system.

Having said all this, it still must be said that Manchester City are a great team with plenty of great players. They deserved to be champions last season. This season is different. Manchester United have strengthened and Europe taught them a lesson. In order to win the Premier League this season and to advance to the last 16 of the Champions League next season, Mancini has to find a way to incorporate his highly paid players into a better balanced system, otherwise he might no longer be wearing his blue scarf in the technical area of Etihad Stadium.

Published with permission from Sportskeeda

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Why Football is Better than Tennis and Golf

I was recently watching a Pep Guardiola documentary of sorts on Youtube. Actually, it was more like an intimate and revealing interview between Pep and Spanish movie director Fernando Trueba recorded in 2011. Among many things, Pep talked about how the player that plays in front of huge stadiums packed full of huge numbers of people once played played football on the streets with his friends. He went on to illustrate how he never met a professional football player that does not love the game. Expanding further on this point, Pep explained how his love of football shaped him as a person, saying that the best education he had received was from the school of football.
"I have learnt to deal with defeat, that others can be better than me. I have learnt to recover after not performing well, to try harder to be the best. I have learnt to accept that a team mate can be better than me, that the coach can pick another player if I have behaved badly. All that knowledge about relationships I have learnt from sport...I did not receive that education in theory, but in practice."
At this point I was thinking all the points he was making were fairly normal...until the following quote struck me.
"That is why group sports are more powerful than individual sports."
This got me thinking about comparing group sports and individual sports. I was curious as to which particular category of sport is better, on an overall scale. Which type of sport requires the most skill, the most determination, the most sacrifices and the most mental toughness. In essence, which type of sport is it the most difficult to become world class.

Having a limited knowledge of individual sports such as tennis and golf, I tried to picture myself in Roger Federer or Tiger Wood's shoes in the middle of long tennis game or golf tournament. No doubt a key distinction in both these sports is that when times get tough, there are no team mates to turn to. All the pressure is on the shoulders of a single person. There is no-one but yourself to blame if things go wrong and the performance is not good enough.

On the other hand, in a football team, there is a different kind of pressure. Your performance has a direct impact on the performance of your team mates. If you make mistakes, not only have you let yourself down, but you have let down your team mates as well. It is what I call the 'guilt factor' in team sports. This guilt factor enhances the pressure an individual feels to perform because the guilt of not performing is multiplied. This is not the case in individual sports because you are not playing for others and as such your actions have no consequences so to speak. The only consequence is what thoughts a player has in his head. Roger Federer clearly has mastered the art of controlling emotions:
"Previously I always thought it was just tactical and technique, but every match has almost become mental and physical - I try to push myself not to become upset and stay positive, and that's what my biggest improvement is over all these years. Under pressure I can see things very clearly."
It is clear to see that in a game like tennis mental strength and psychology plays an important part in the success of a player. While I do not doubt this, I do doubt that the role of the mind is more important in individual sports than in team sports. The reason for my doubt is that I believe you need even more mental stability in football due to the complexity of the game. Not only can obstacles come in the form of a loss of confidence on your part, it can come from the opposition players or your own team mates. It is not enough to simply be at ease with your personal psyche, it must be integrated successfully and harmoniously within your team.

An example of this might be the case of Mario Balotelli. He is a man who does not lack confidence or self belief. The problem is that his mental strength does not lie within the accepted limitations for his team to cope with. This is especially true for his manager Roberto Mancini. Mario's "self confidence" is perceived as a bad attitude, a brash cockiness and a weak team orientated mentality. If Balotelli's personality was to be used in tennis or golf he might stand a better chance of annoying and disgruntling less people, allowing him the freedom to express his talents to the full. In football, a more subtle approach has to be taken to successfully integrate with the people around him. This is what I mean when I say that team sports represent a more difficult and complex environment to control your own emotions, even if your are self confident and mentally tough.

Image from
Application of skill on a tennis court or a golf course is much, much easier than in a team environment. This is another reason why I believe football is better than tennis and golf. Golf especially is played in a closed environment. This is a state where the skill takes place in a stable and predictable environment. Corresponding with the closed environment, golf is an internally paced sport. In other words, the golfer controls when he chooses to commence and conclude the skill action. The skill has a clear beginning and end, the golf swing being an example of a closed skill.
The football environment is the opposite of these conditions, being both an open environment and an externally paced sport in which the athlete's decisions and execution of skills are affected by the players around him and the time that he must execute skills. I.e. a striker cannot miss an opportunity to shoot on goal because he feels rushed into taking the shot. Football players have to contend with a highly charged and pressured environment where quickness and speed of thought are crucial to skill execution, unlike in golf where you can take your time and pace yourself. Tennis is in between golf and football on the scale, where some plays are internally paced (executing a serve) and it is an environment where you must contend with only one or two opponents instead of eleven.

The final point I want to make is that group sports can have a bigger impact on the audience because it is a social event as much as it is a sporting event.
"You have to learn how to relate to others. I have learnt to make an effort for a team mate and I know that tomorrow he will do the same for me in order to achieve our common goals."
It is these interactions between team mates which enrich the sport. Football is a microcosm of society, where people gather together, share aspirations, make plans and objectives, and sets out to achieve them together. Differences of opinion will occur, people will get upset and bust-ups will inevitably occur. Managing these issues is part of the sport. Achieving victories together sweetens the experience of playing the sport.

In my opinion, the complexities and the richness of football cannot be compared to individual sports such as tennis and golf. Football is simply the best game in the world. Pep Guardiola perhaps has the ultimate reason for why football is the only universally loved game:
"It is also a fun game, it brings pleasure, it is a game in the end. We have forgotten about that word, to play. We at the bottom play football, we play everyday. I play dreaming about the next game and my players play everyday."
Published with permission from Sportskeeda

Friday, 7 December 2012

10 Slightly Quirky Ideas to Make You a Better Player

I am generally a serious and philosophical person. My writing reflects that and I'm sick of people telling me that I can't be fun. So I wanted to prove to them that I can let my hair down and be silly like them. So I have written the following article for the less serious people in life. (Or for serious but just not today people as well). Either way, put your silly hats on and don't tell me that my article is stupid. I will tell you now, it kind of is.

1. Driving bad for two-footedness

If you have a car and drive, you will already know that you mainly use your right foot to push the accelerator and the brake pedal. If you have a manual car your right foot will operate the accelerator and brake pedals, while your left will operate the clutch pedal. Either way, you will be using your right foot no matter what country you drive in. This means there is an imbalance in the work that your legs do. After many years of driving, the muscles in your right leg will have performed many more contractions than the muscles in your left leg. This means that the myelin surrounding the nerves in those muscles will have thickened, an adaptation related to muscle memory, or the ability for muscles to become more precise to certain movements. This may lead to an imbalanced use of one leg when performing football tasks such as always trapping or passing the ball with the right leg, simply because the muscles in your right leg are more used to contracting. If you want to be able to use both feet in football, don't drive. Or at least drive a manual car.

Want to be as good as Zidane? Image from

2. Playing chess improves tactical awareness

It is vital to improve your mental attributes such as awareness, confidence, decision making ability etc to improve as a football player. One of these attributes is tactical awareness, the ability to know where you are and where you should be. Chess is basically football played on a smaller field where the game lasts longer and is played at a lower intensity. It is proven that the chess masters have superior intelligence such as spacial awareness, problem solving and concentration. These attributes are basically the same ones that players such as Xavi, Zidane and Scholes have. If you play chess you can also improve these qualities which is the difference between the best players and the good ones.

3. Getting into your pants with the same leg makes your balance asymmetrical

Think about this- which leg do you use first to get into your pants or shorts when you dress? The first leg in is in all likelihood your preferred leg when kicking a football. In other words, since your childhood days you have been dressing and undressing without realising that you have been using the same leg over and over to get in or out of your trousers. If you assume that you change attire twice a day since you were five years old and you are now 25, you have dressed yourself 14,560 times. In a similar way to driving, you have been doing your non-preferred leg a major disservice. Not only has this affected your ability to use both feet, you have affected your balance. Try this experiment- wear different trousers to the one you are wearing now, but use your other leg to get into the trousers first. Not so easy, is it? If you are right footed, you have been overbalancing on your left leg. This means the action of passing, shooting or dribbling with your right foot is accentuated because your left foot is better at balancing your body than your right. If you want to improve your balance on your right leg so that you can use your left foot more in football, swap the leg you use to get into your pants.

4. To improve movement, walk backwards

Not a great point I admit. I was thinking of the movements in football and came to the conclusion that everyday human movement is non-specific to football movement. Football players run forward, run backwards, skip sideways, jump, jog, spin, hop- basically more than just walk, which is what we do in our everyday lives. If you want to improve your physical shape in football, then stop walking to work - skip instead. When you are in your office building, don't walk to your water cooler - walk backwards instead. When you walk up stairs, don't walk - hop up the stairs. These simple modifications in your day to day life will improve your football movement.

5. Playing FIFA helps you deflect blame so your confidence doesn't drop

It is a well known fact of playing Fifa on your game console that we humans refuse to blame ourselves when we concede a goal or lose a game. It is usually the players fault for not being good enough. Either that or you pressed X to pass but the button was faulty. You know what, the other player was cheating. Yep, that has to explain why I've lost every time I've played against my friend. What does this mean to us aspiring football players. It means that you will never blame yourself for mistakes you did. Never blame yourself for losing. It is this mentality which makes us bullet-proof. We will never get a dent on our armour of arrogance. Never accept it was our fault. (Why should it be - I tackled fairly but the referee gave a penalty - conspiracy!). All in all, we will never be hurt, never think it is me that's the problem and never lose our sense of self worth. If you want to never lose confidence in your ability as a football player, play Fifa. But never play as Fernando Torres.

6. Architects have a developed spacial awareness

The chess master moves his pieces in a particular space with obstacles in the way, but an architect designs the space. Not only does he design it, he designs it differently every time. That requires a mastery of spacial awareness and planning ability. Not to mention a real building is on a whole new level to a small board of 64 squares. Do you get what I'm getting at? If you want to improve your spacial awareness and ability to visualise and plan ahead, become an architect. Enough said.

Karate!!! Image from

7. Cycling will shorten hamstrings

On a slightly more scientific tone, it is said that fitness trainers who make their players cycle on a machine to improve their aerobic endurance are doing their hamstrings a disservice. You see, after constant repetition of cycling, your hamstrings will reduce in length due to the constantly shortened state it finds itself in a cycling motion. When a player kicks a ball hard or shoots on goal, the hamstring explosively lengthens as the leg moves away from the body. If your hamstring has been used to contracting in a shortened state, a sudden lengthening in such an action can cause a tear. In short, if you want to increase your chance of getting an injury, cycle. If you are smart, you would stick to good old running.

8. Ice skating improves balance

Ice skating improves balance because your whole body weight is balanced on two extremely thin strips of metal that has a much smaller surface area than your two feet. To improve your balance, take up ice skating. Simple really.

9. Karate kicks means better football kicks

Football is much like karate or taekwondo. In football, you use your leg to kick a ball. In karate, you use your leg to kick many things. Experienced martial artists have a greatly developed kinesthetic sense, the ability to know where your body is in relation to space. When performing a complex spinning kick, a martial artist must know precisely where his leg is and where it will go, as well as the ability to actually move his leg in the desired way. Elite football players also have an acute sense of their body position and can also precisely control the movements of their body and legs. Maybe Bruce Lee would have been a great football player if he hadn't discovered martial arts.

10. Artists can play number 10

I have written about creativity before on this site and on my own blog site. Having thought about it deeply I have come to a single conclusion. Artists are the most creative people on the planet. No doubt.  If you want to be creative as a football player, if you want to be able to make more assists, if you want to be revered like the most creative players in the history of football, I will tell you one piece of advice. Paint!

You can now take off your hats and resume normal life.

Published with permission from Sportskeeda

Saturday, 1 December 2012

What is Creativity in Football?

We all know what creativity is-yes? It is something which allows you to create. Ok, that's not quite the description that gets me any closer to answering this rather complex and simple question. Wikipedia tells us that creativity is the invention of something new which has value. That is a very broad answer and is open to interpretation. No doubt scholars and philosophers have debated and reshaped this concept of creativity for thousands of years and as far as I'm concerned haven't truly defined in a single statement what creativity actually is. This is because creativity is one far reaching intangible concept in which it is impossible to definitively encompass all of its aspects in a single definition. With this, I will now attempt to create my own definition of creativity. Creativity, that is, in football.

If I were to ask you which are the ten most desirable attributes you would want in a football player, you would probably give me six or seven answers. You would pause, think hard, struggle due to thinking too hard, but finally give me a total of ten attributes. I would list those attributes you gave me and write them down on a piece of paper and stare at them. I would guess that there would be a good chance that I had noted the word 'creativity' somewhere on that list. Moreover, if I were to repeat this process with another nine people, I would find the word 'creativity' nine times. So what is my point. My point is that we must first establish how people think about creativity in terms of imagining a perfect player. Done. We've now established that creativity is something which is valued by all the stakeholders in football, that is the fans, players and others. Since creativity is a highly desired attribute, it would make sense for it to be something quantifiable- but it isn't. Creativity (until someone discovers an algorithm) is an intangible quality, something which cannot be analysed through statistics like we can possession or passes for instance. Funnily enough, by attempting to find some kind of statistics to define creativity, we might be systemetising a trait which stands against the very systemisation which attempts to define creativity. If this is the case, how can we possibly define what creativity is in football? Well, John Cleese, one of the most creative comedians in history once said that "[Creativity] cannot be is literally inexplicable."  Now that we have established the value people see in creativity in a player, we can now start to answer our original question.
Image from
To answer this it is perhaps wise to start by explaining some fundamentals of the game. Fundamentals such as the objective is to win. This is achieved by scoring more goals than the other team. This in turn is manufactured in the two most basic aspects of the game: defence and offense. The defending aspect is concerned with preventing the other team from scoring while the offensive aspect is concerned with scoring goals for your own team. I think at this point it is fair to make the statement that creativity can only be achieved within these two aspects of the game. If your team has the ball, you are generally attacking and vice-versa. We all know that people generally associate creativity with attacking players, but can creativity also come from defenders? This is a hard question to answer but I believe the answer is no. Let me explain.

If we go back to our definition "creativity is the invention of something new which has value", defenders do not invent. They respond to what the other team is doing. Since reaction is in response to an outside stimulus, the "invention" has already been made by the attacker. The defender is simply responding to, and acting for a solution to the attackers' invention. However, (and this is where it gets complicated) one could argue that in the act of preventing an attacker from scoring or making any meaningful offensive play, the defender has "invented" a solution for his problem. I must admit that is correct. However, this is where the second part of the definition comes into play.

While the defender has had to invent a defensive play to counter the offensive play, his invention is not of a great value. In other words, the defenders' options to invent were restricted by the position of the ball and the opponents. This means that a part of the defenders' choice was actually chosen by the circumstances to which he could fully exert his creative thought over. This is where a a defender differs from an attacker. The attacker, unlike the defender, has the ball. This means that the responsibility is for the attacker to create in order to generate chances to score. Since the natural instinct of a defender is to react to the opponents' movements, their is less of a limit on what options an offensive player has to create goalscoring chances, than a defender has to limit goalscoring chances. The implication of this is that an attacking player with the ball has to create in a situation where he is, arguably, the player with the most pressure on his next decision. He is the reference point in the game at that moment in time and he controls the destiny of the next phase of play. This is why I think the player with the ball has to make a decision which holds a greater significance and value than a defender who does not have the ball.

Even though the player with the ball is supposed to be the most creative player on the pitch at that particular moment, there are a lot of players who do not display their talent sufficiently enough to be called creative. There are two viewpoints to try to explain why this is. The first possible answer is that certain people are born with creativity and others are not. The second possible answer is that all people are born with creativity but only a few have the ability to display their natural creativity. Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognised leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation according to his website. He once said that "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original...adults have lost that capacity...we don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it." He suggests that all children have a natural talent for creativity and argues that the modern day educational model frowns upon mistakes and fosters an environment which does not encourage creative thinking. Applying this to football, we can say that a football club or academy is much like a school and a coach is much like a teacher. A child can enter an establishment which creates an environment which can help creativity or deny it. 

Arsene Wenger once said that "a coach can stand in the way of creativity or he can foster it. But true creativity comes from the player himself. It's the player and not the coach who's creative. The coach can only help a player discover creative solutions a player wasn't aware of." It is an inspiring way to look at why children are more creative than adults. A famous psychological test is one where children and adults are asked to come up with as many uses for a paper clip that they could think of in one minute. Over and over again, children came up with significantly more ideas than adults. On the other hand, Cleese has a slightly different interpretation of creativity suggesting that it is as much about how one chooses to seek out creativity in one's life. According to Cleese, "Creativity is not a talent, it is a way of operating...Creative people get into a particular mood to allow their natural creativity to function." He talks about how creative people get into an 'open mode' in order to think creatively while being in a 'closed mode' is only to be used when you have the solution to the problem in order to effectively implement it.

The next angle of enquiry is to find out exactly what separates the best from the rest-the most creative players to the rest. Can we just assume that players who make assists and score goals are the most creative ones? Or is that too simplistic. By now, you should know that I like to go deep into any analysis, so naturally I think this is too simplistic a view to take. For example, Jason Puncheon from Southampton has five assists this season so far. Santi Cazorla has four. We all know who the better and more creative player is with all respect to Jason in the event that he is reading this post. So what is it which separates the best from the rest.
Image from Source: Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe

I often wonder if people think a player is creative simply because of his skill and a stereotype. If I asked you to choose who is the more creative player between Iniesta and Lampard the majority would probably choose Iniesta. Why is this? Lampard has greatly outscored Iniesta in his career and also had more assists than Iniesta, and yet, people usually refer to Lampard as a 'box-to-box midfielder' while Iniesta is a 'playmaker' or a 'number ten'. Could this categorisation of Iniesta and Lampard in creativity terms simply be because people think Iniesta is a skillful player. Or that Iniesta is a smaller player than Lampard, and that he's Spanish and Lampard is English. I think it is quite reasonable to suggest that skill/technique and public stereotyping have led people to believe that Iniesta is a more creative player than Lampard even though there is no statistical evidence to suggest so. Perhaps the reason people view Iniesta as a more creative player than Lampard is because Iniesta has the ability to make a play which surprises us, which was unexpected. With Lampard you get the feeling you won't get any spontaneous plays, it is all methodically efficient.

A player can be highly creative but cannot display his creativity because he lacks the skill to do so. It is no coincidence that the most creative players are also the most skillful ones. A truly creative player is one who views the game with curiosity rather than a series of inconveniences. Like both Cleese and Robinson say, a creative player does not fear mistakes and play as if they were kids. Be curious for the sake of being curious, without a conscious plan to seek a solution. It is players who can shield themselves from outside pressure so that they can get into the 'open mode'. Arsene Wenger puts this nicely- "This necessity [winning] can become a constraint that spoils everything. When you're obliged to do something, you do it badly. When you enjoy something, you do it with more conviction but also with creativity." The next time you watch a game, ask yourself which player is making mistakes but does not seem bothered. Who seems he is enjoying his football, who is not affected by the jeers he receives from the crowd. Which player does things which make his manager unhappy because he was not supposed to do that, but he wanted to try it so see what would happen. These are the things which should point you to the creative players.
Three amigos. Image from

One area of curiosity for myself is to ask whether a team can be considered a creative one when there is a heavily systematised approach, that is heavily tactically orientated and planned. Consider Arrigo Sacchi's famous AC Milan team which dominated world football in the late 80s and early 90s. To this day, that team is considered one of the most creative and attacking teams who were successful. However, this particular team is a paradox. Although they had wonderfully creative players like Van Basten, Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit, their team tactics were highly organised and planned and were led by a coach who was famous for his ability to structure a team to play a highly organised and structured system with strict patterns of movements. Aldo Serena, AC Milan 1991-1993, said that "Sacchi had imprinted some tactical concepts and that Milan side almost played on memory. The movements were perfect at the back, the midfielders came back to help and all of this was because of Sacchi's maniacal work, which actually ended with him stressing and exhausting all the players." In this light, was that Milan team truly creative, or just very well drilled? Perhaps the secret was that Sacchi had found the perfect balance between system and individual, as Thierry Henry explains- "If you have a player who's creative on the pitch, someone who's different from the rest, he has to blend in with the unit, but also be allowed to do what he wants. For a coach it's a tough job to allow an individual player to do what he wants and still integrate him into the team. In moments like this I'm glad I'm not a coach." Sacchi had three such players which he had to balance and he did so. Perhaps thinking that Milan were not a creative team is naive, because they were. It could just be that Sacchi had created an organised system, a stable platform to allow his three amigos to function at their creative capacities. Or perhaps that Sacchi himself was creative, maybe more so than his players were. Franz Beckenbauer believed that "A coach has to be more creative than a player. After all, a player's creativity only takes place on the pitch."

In the end, creativity is like water. You can put water in a jug and the water takes the shape of the jug. It is what you want it to be. It is hard to explain and hard to control.  Whatever you may think of it, creativity is like gold. It is precious and highly valued. I leave you with one last gem of a quote from John Cleese. "Telling people how to be creative is easy, it is being it that's difficult."