Galatasaray had an incredible run with Fatih Terim in the second half of the season. It became champion, albeit by a small three-point margin, ahead of Fenerbahçe and Başakşehir.
Under Terim, Galatasaray won 14 of its 18 league games and did not lose a single game against any of its title rivals. Terim deserves praise for the success he has inspired in a very short period of time. He only had a month to prepare his team for the second half of the season. His predecessor Igor Tudor also deserves praise for the same reason. Terim won the championship with a team that Tudor built in the first half of the season.
First, let's remember the beginning of the season for Galatasaray - a team with no clear shape, tactics or strategy in place. Some 40 million euros on transfers, combined with future debts made the team look like a terrible investment. Nevertheless, Tudor managed to establish a game based on a possession that utilized the individual talents of the team.
It was relatively faster than most Turkish teams and had more talents in their squad. But the problems began to arise when teams like Başakşehir and Beşiktaş exposed the team's defensive weaknesses. As their opponents wholeheartedly left the ball to Galatasaray and parked the bus, the team lost their ability to create time and space against crowded defenses.
Tudor's team started to concede too many goals in counterattacks and would lose their momentum towards the end of the first half. The defeat against the newly promoted Yeni Malatyaspor was the last nail on Tudor's coffin.
After Tudor, the first thing Terim did was to abandon the possession strategy, bringing in a responsibility to be creative for his team. Rather, Terim focused on improving the team's strength in the back by narrowing the defensive formation and intensifying the offensive press. His main idea was built on a very simple but effective premise: Turkish teams are most vulnerable when they are building the game in their own half.
Terim is aware of the lack of build-up quality in Turkish football, and rather than improving Galatasaray on this matter he chose to exploit it. It was, of course, a well-calculated decision since jumping on the new adventure of possession game could have cost Galatasaray a championship. Nevertheless, those who praise Terim's bravery must keep in mind that he did not put anything constructive on the table, rather he destroyed his opponents' strategies with decent defensive tactics.
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