The Italian Serie A tactical wits might attract interest from abroad sometimes. However, are they really useful?
The echo of Sampdoria’s all-forward kick-off style has reached also Estonia. In words to Õhtuleht, Levadia’s coach Marko Kristal described the set-up as an attempt to bring some surprise into the game or simply pressure the opposition (Lazio) since the beginning of the game. ‘There’s a chance that the coach has simply watched too many NFL play-offs,’ concluded jokingly the Levadia’s gaffer.
Is it really the case? We asked our tactician, Giovanni Costantino, UEFA B licenced coach and youth coach at FC Futura Juniorit, the youth teams of FC Futura Porvoo (Finland).
‘This set-up it is used to give unpredictability to the kick-off,’ explained the 30-year-old coach from Sicily ‘in the initial minutes of the game, it helps not giving any benchmark to oppositions about the formation that will be used.’ Was NFL an inspiration for you? ‘We don’t watch American football in Italy to get tactical inspirations, I am quite sure as a lot of people implement this in Italy,’ explained Giovanni ‘this is just a psychological move to get some advatanges.’
Giovanni stresses the fact that also Zdenek Zeman has been implementing this trick. The Bohemian coach (recently fired at Cagliari Calcio) showed the same set-up at kick-off both in Pescara (see video at bottom) and more recently with Cagliari (see picture on the right in the game against Inter).
Does Giovanni believe in the effectiveness of this scheme? ‘I’ll tell you what my course teacher was telling me: ‘’if you prepare this, you can do 1-2 times each game. If you do it more, then you will get sacked.’’ Obviously he was meaning that if you kick off the ball quite often, it means you let in too many goals…’ Zeman’s ears are certainly whistling right now.
‘I don’t prepare them for my games,’ confesses the young coach born in Messina ‘I prefer to spend time to prepare set-pieces.’