Turkey should forget about short-term results

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
Published 17.11.2018 00:42

The common narrative is that the Turkish national football team has always been rebellious, something that compensates for its technical deficiencies as players give everything on the pitch. But the statistics say otherwise: Turkey is one of the least physically competitive teams in the Nations League. Although much younger, Turkish footballers ran 7 kilometers less than their Russian counterparts. While Sweden, a World Cup quarterfinalist, made 13 fouls to stop Turkey, the Turkish national team made only three, throughout the 90 minutes. This proves that the Turkish national team lacks not only talented players but also a talented organization.

The main argument proposed to justify this situation is that "Lucescu has been trying to find a decent squad to work with," despite the fact that he has been coaching the national team for more than a year now. Clearly, he has found enough time to shuffle his squad and find a magical formula. I am sorry, but this team is not your Spotify playlist Mr. Lucescu. You cannot achieve success without building a platform, where your players can learn what they should do.

The easiest way to do this is to imitate you opponents, to analyze how they build their strategies. If you cannot come up with an original strategy, it is definitely no sin to imitate others, since it is the only way learning happens. But throughout the last year, there have been no two games in a row where Lucescu tried to lay down a clear strategy, regardless of its success. Even the easiest ones - which I call talentless organizations - were absent. I do not understand how can a team facing Russia and Sweden away do not run more or make more fouls than their opponents.

Do we expect our players to save every game by their individual talents as Emre Akbaba did against Sweden? Let me tell you how many times that happened since Lucescu was put in charge, only two out of eight matches where Turkey could not beat teams like Ukraine, Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

So, it is clear that the Turkish national team is not composed of great individual talents that you can shuffle every game and expect some magic to take place. Furthermore, almost every team on this level knows well enough about talentless organizations, so they can easily neutralize individual talents anyways.

Thus, regardless of the result of Saturday's game against Sweden, I think Turkey must invest in a clear future with a new vision. Unlike Lucescu's claims, the problem is not in the quality of individual players, rather in the absence of a strategy to utilize them. To compete with Europe's best, Turkey should first invest in a long-term strategy.

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