When I think about Şenol Güneş's career in Turkish football, I always remember the Latin phrase "Hic Sunt Leones," which means "Here are lions." He is one of the few people in Turkish football who raises his voice against the economical, social and political exploitation of football by the elites. Further, I do not think there is another Turkish coach who is capable of taking a team to the top from the bottom. Unlike most Turkish coaches, he was not interested in cheap plans to achieve short-term success, rather, he focused on young players and building a team structure with them. Added to that, unlike some reformist coaches, his plans did not stay in the textbook, he successfully implemented his plans and made them come true. His achievements at both Trabzonspor and the national team are still the ones that the Turkish Football community is most proud of. Today, he is on his way to creating a new and promising Bursaspor and is probably making one of the greatest contributions to Turkish football at the moment.
Bursaspor is a young team and four players of their regular playing squad are under 20 years old. Ozan Tufan, who is 19 years old, has already made his debut for the national team and promises to be a long term investment for Bursaspor. However, despite the idealistic approach of Şenol Güneş, which is often seen as waste of time by most Turkish football columnists, the team gets decent results in the league and they are leading in their Turkish Cup group. Thus, Güneş is not only building a sustainable system for Bursaspor, which can be used by future coaches of Bursa, but he is also creating a strong team that can chase trophies in the short term.
Given these facts, their performance against Galatasaray was a positive signal in terms of Güneş's plans. To be honest, despite Bursa being the away team, they were the side that lost two points and deserved to win. Bursa bravely pressed Galatasaray's defense and midfield players and they circulated the ball with a pace that has been never been seen this season. Some columnists tried to attribute this fact to the absence of Selçuk İnan for Galatasaray or the "strange" squad decisions of coach Hamza Hamzaoğlu. In my opinion, this is a traditional tactic of the elites in Turkish football in order to undermine any attempts of reform. It was Güneş's brilliant ideas that let Bursa circulate the ball freely and dominate the game. The point is, traditional football perception still worships the players' individual skills, but as Güneş has showed us, a simple structure built between three mediocre players would always beat a one magnificent player.
Further, Güneş put his quick wing players on the farthest point of the wings to distract and widen Galatasaray's defense, which paved the way to the lethally penetrating runs by Fernandao, Ozan Tufan and Belluschi. Luckily for Galatasaray, Bursa generously wasted five or six opportunities that could have helped them finish off the game in the first half. Nevertheless, just as in their performance against Konyaspor, Bursa played with the same strategies and tactics to dominate the game. Thus, we can easily say that Bursaspor is truly the subject of their game and has great potential for improvement. If Güneş can build a more settled system for the attacking side of the game just like the one he did for the defensive side of the game, the team would not have allowed its opponents to come back.
On the other hand, Hamza Hamzaoğlu finally joined the guild of "coaches crucified by football columnists." Ironically, the elites wholeheartedly sacrificed him when they overlooked the success of Bursaspor and Şenol Güneş. There is a consensus among almost all football columnists that Hamza Hamzaoğlu's lineup choices led to this "catastrophic" result. Nonetheless, Şenol Hoca beat Hamza Hoca due to the superiority of his strategies and tactics, not his players' individual performances. Turkish football columnists often forget this fact, but I believe Şenol Hoca never does. Seeing as, team work and collective action will always create better results than selfish and individual-based plans, Hamza Hamzaoğlu should be worried about his players' disconnection, rather than expecting magic from Wesley Sneijder or Selçuk İnan.
If there was a part of the Galatasaray team that worked well, it was Fernando Muslera. Strangely, while Galatasaray's game is worsening, Muslera is looking really good. His reactions and command of the area were more than adequate. At the other side of the pitch, Bursaspor's young goalkeeper Harun Tekin was also good. However, he should be more precise in his decisions.
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