Quotations and Soccer Tips

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A team’s true spirit and character are released, not when they’re winning, but when they’re losing

In the Premier League in England, Arsenal lost a game after being undefeated for 50 times. This means that they didn’t lose a game for two years.

A few years ago, A.C. Milan was undefeated in all competition, National and International, for more than two and a half years!

What happened after the defeat?

The two teams collapsed.

If, for two years a team never loses, it’s human to have the conviction that they’re unbeatable. And for two years, they were. They practiced and played, practiced and played, and never lost. It became a habit. Even the Coach began not to consider a defeat anymore. Instead of making the team aware of that possibility and how to cope with it, they too fell into the trap of thinking that they were unbeatable.

For Arsenal and A.C. Milan, even though every time the question was asked they always answered, “Sure, sooner or later we’ll lose. That’s O.K. We can deal with it.”

It wasn’t O.K. The confidence accumulated in two years, was gone and it takes months to come back after a series of games played really badly.

As I said, the teams collapsed. What kept them together wasn’t the spirit of belonging or their teams character anymore. It was only their victories. When the victories were gone, the teams were gone too.

They needed time to come together again and find that spirit that makes a team a unit. Sir Alan Ferguson, the coach of Manchester United, when asked what makes his team good, always answered: “What makes Manchester really good is the ………………… United!”

Players had to show their character and ability to learn to forget the defeats. This, and only this, keeps a team together. Team spirit and character. A great coach from the past always said that: “Your team will win more games with their character than any victorious tactics in the world!”

Absolutely true.

Off side trap? Sure. Counter attack? Sure. Pressing? Sure, but without passion, heart and muscle put together in the service of team jersey, there’s no way to have a victorious team. In particular after an unexpected defeat.

Coach Gianni