Fenerbahçe can survive transition period with Koeman

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published 23.11.2018 20:24
Updated 24.11.2018 00:01

Stability is what Fenerbahçe needs more than anything right now. The fans and the Fenerbahçe media need to know that they have a reliable team, even if not talented. The first two months of the season was a catastrophe because Cocu could not deliver that reliability. But now Erwin Koeman has managed to build the foundation of a reliable team and a good defensive posture. He is aware of the formula that Fenerbahçe desperately need during this transition period and he is aware of the limitations of his squad. Thus, the best thing to do for Fenerbahçe is to keep Koeman, at least until the end of the season when they will have another opportunity to reorganize.

First, the administrative chaos has not been dealt with and the club is pretty much going with the flow. The pressure of the fans and the media is so intense that there is not enough room to maneuver. The first catastrophic period put an end to Cocu era, but the next catastrophe would not trouble Koeman alone.

The stakes are too high for the chairman, Ali Koç, to take risks, because he is next in line. He already made a mistake by trying to undertake a huge project without taking the club under his full control. He is now in control, but there is no room for mistakes anymore. Therefore, he should not disturb the path Koeman is taking Fenerbahçe. They do not need to be the champions this season, but a solid form combined with one or two derby victories can make this season acceptable.

Second, the financial crisis in Turkish football has affected Fenerbahçe as well, and they could not build a team that can easily play a talented game. Although the squad is sufficient to be successful in the Super League, it cannot be successful through dominant strategies. As Koeman proved in the last three weeks, Fenerbahçe is suited to play a talentless game that is based on defensive strength, while the offensive actions are left to Mathieu Valbuena's talent. It is a very vulnerable offensive strategy - Valbuena being the only playmaker leaves Fenerbahçe with only one option when going forward. But asking more from this team would lead to more failures and a complete destruction of their self-esteem. That is why I think Koeman has the right mentality for the job.

Now, the biggest challenge is how to distribute the playmaking role of Valbuena among other players? As Yassine Benzia is left out of the squad for misbehavior, there are not many options left for Koeman. He can try to push Eljif Elmas forward and make him the center of the game. He would not make assists, but he can create the opportunities for Valbuena to make assists.

In addition, Andre Ayew on the wings should not cut into the penalty box for crosses if Fenerbahçe is going to play with Slimani and Frey as strikers. Rather Ayew should stretch the opponent's defense by staying near the touchline. That would not only create more space for the strikers but also increase Elmas's options as the primary playmaker.

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