My readers would know I never admired the way Fatih Terim manages his teams; I find his methods chaotic and unsustainable. But he has won his eighth trophy with Galatasaray in nine seasons, and so I must acknowledge the fact that his formula in Turkish football is successful. He has already written his name down in history and he is clearly the most successful manager in Turkish football history. I think what makes him so successful in Turkey is that he understands the mental requirements of a championship better than everyone else, especially much better than Başakşehir manager Abdullah Avcı.
In the final game of the Turkish Süper Lig championship race, Galatasaray simply dominated the game against Başakşehir and earned the prize for their hard work. The game was one-sided throughout 90 minutes, as Abdullah Avcı fell into the same trap as Beşiktaş coach Şenol Güneş did. After pressing high up the pitch successfully for the first 15 minutes, Avcı's team found a goal from a decent set-piece. Nevertheless, rather than continuing this method, they simply parked the bus in front of their penalty box and tried to protect the result in the most primitive way. Thus, Avcı's mistake was twofold, first he changed his team's strategy before the game and applied an aggressive counter-pressing tactic, and when it somehow worked, he then turned to an ultra-defensive strategy for the remaining 75 minutes.
This, of course, gave Galatasaray lots of time and space to build up their game in Başakşehir's half and to use the right wing line with Sofiane Feghouli and Mariano to make lots of crosses. Although they could not find a goal in the first half, it was obvious that Başakşehir would concede a goal, especially after Emre Belözoğlu, the experienced playmaker of the team got injured.
The second half was completely a different story. Galatasaray increased the pressure and found four goals, but only two of them were counted after close referee calls. The game Galatasaray played was chaotic, but more importantly it was brave, and I think that makes all the difference.
Both against Beşiktaş and Başakşehir, Fatih Terim did not prioritize preventing his opponent, as Güneş and Avcı did. Although he did not have a clear set-piece for attacking or defending, he was not afraid to play the game in his opponent's half and push his defenders forward. Added to that, despite continuous counter-pressing, Galatasaray defenders tried their best to not kick the ball onto the other side of the pitch. When the individual talents of the team were combined with this brave approach, the result was complete mental superiority against Başakşehir.
Speaking of mental strength, I must also emphasize that until Başakşehir creates a solid fan base, they will never be able to win these types of games. Although there were serious tactical mistakes on manager Avcı's behalf, the team mainly suffered from a mental collapse as they ruined an eight-point lead in only a month and a half. Başakşehir needs to have a clear lead at the end of the season, or they have to create a more populated fan base. Because it was obvious in the game that Başakşehir players knew that they were playing against a team which millions of people supported, while there was practically no one supporting them. They clearly did not believe that they could win, because there is no other explanation for their total collapse in the second half of the game and the second half of the season.
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