Luzon – from Manuel to Mourinho?
I watched Guy Luzon’s press conference yesterday and noticed how he had morphed from a rabbit caught in the headlines to an assured and relaxed football head coach.
It is amazing what a couple of wins can do, good ones at that, and three in front of your own public, a public that were screaming “you don’t know what you’re doing” just a few weeks back.
The bitterness of Luzon’s arrival may still be lingering but the man himself, clearly at the first interview a combination of uneasy and unprepared, can afford to smile and he does, quite often.
Interesting also how his accent and command of the English language has gone from Manuel to Mourinho, at least in our perception anyway.
Luzon with all the circus going on around him was never going to give us a new ‘manager’ bounce, but over the recent weeks he has been able to assert his personality and footballing beliefs onto the players. I was told however by a good source that Johnnie Jackson and one or two of the other senior pros should take great credit in the week leading up to the Brentford game from preventing an all out mutiny.
Whereas Bob Peeters made the game and team selection complicated, Luzon has brought structure and simplicity to our game. Playing players in their best positions, offering them more freedom, pushing further up the pitch with a far greater tempo, and playing to players’ strengths, quickly visible in recent games.
One mustn’t disparage however the affect that the return of Stephen Henderson has had on the side, especially defensively and also that Luzon was allowed to bring in the experience of Johnson, Eagles and Diarra, each of whom has played at a higher level very recently.
Peeters had been calling for more bodies throughout the non-winning run, but didn’t get them. Peeters also was totally unable to counter other managers neutralizing his tactics and game plan. I hope when Luzon gets to this stage he will be more tactically astute.
Personally I am a big first impressions guy, and Luzon fell at the first hurdle, but everyone deserves a chance and the club is desperate for some continuity and it is imperative that Roland Duchatelet builds and not dismantles this team in the summer as this excellent article by Louis Mendez discusses.
I looked back at Luzon’s start when he was at Standard Liege and although not comparable to Charlton as he had a pre-season in 2013/14, Luzon won his first 9 games in charge, and only lost 3 games all season until they flopped badly in the play-off’s. By then the unravelling of his squad and at least rumours of it were in full flow as the Belgium season extends into the early summer.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Luzon/Duchatelet relationship develops into the summer and if the owner is willing to listen and learn from his lessons.