The downfall of Fenerbahçe did not start in the first few weeks when the team suffered back-to-back defeats. That was just the experimental stages where coach Phillip Cocu tried different squads and different tactics. It was after the national team break that Cocu could not come up with a decent strategy and retreated to individualistic chaos to try and put an end to the team's bad form.
That is when Fenerbahçe's morale and their trust in Cocu were torn apart. The team which sacrificed the first month of the season and a Champions League ticket to achieve long-term goals suddenly became a third-class team which did not have a unique strategy. But I think Cocu would have not have turned in this direction if there had not been pressure from the administration and the squad.
When it comes to Turkish teams, sacking a coach for having complex long-term plans is a habit. In an environment where short-term success is everything, pushing for a long-term agenda bothers executives and players in Turkey. No one wants to risk their contract or career for an unknown journey to the future. That is why almost all foreign coaches with long-term vision suffer harshly in Turkey, because no one in the club shares their vision.
A prime example is the former coach of Galatasaray from the 2014-15 season, Cesare Prandelli. The Italian coach was mocked by his players and given the nickname "video coach" for having them watch a heap of full-game replays. The tough physical exercises were also a problem for the players, they thought the exercises were unnecessary for winning the Super League and getting "sufficient" success in the European arena. So, the downfall of the team started with minor defeats, and then ended with a catastrophic 3-0 home defeat against Trabzonspor, which led to the end of Prandelli's journey in Turkey.
Now, given Fenerbahçe's sharp turn toward classic Turkish football practices, after the national break, was not in line with Cocu's original possession game plan and it seems to me that an interference from the administration or the squad was likely. Either the few executives in the Fenerbahçe administration convinced their new Chairman Ali Koç to pressure Cocu to play a more pragmatic game, or the players protested against Cocu's original plan and did not give it a chance. The reason why I suspect that these might have happened is that Fenerbahçe players are not putting up a fight on the pitch, they accept defeat so easily. This I cannot explain through strategic or tactical measures, and I think this can only occur when a team loses their trust in their coach.
Regardless of what you think about Cocu, the problem that led Fenerbahçe into this position exceeds his role. The pressure from the fans push executives to prioritize short-term success, and when that happens players know that they are going to be judged by their short-term performance. Yes, Cocu could have found more pragmatic solutions to keep the transformation process more healthy. However, if a team does not want to sacrifice a year to reshape practices that have ruled Turkish football for decades, then that club should not promise change. Now, the ball is in Ali Koç's court to show his commitment to changing Fenerbahçe, because the team is slowly going back to the Aziz Yıldırım era practices.
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