my theory for all of MB's tenure has been that he over-estimates the ability of Australian players to adapt tactically. If you have a look at the successful teams over the course of the a-league they are mostly managers who had a fairly consistent, rigid way of playing - with a bit of tinkering here or there - but a regular formation, key players in the same spot and same role each week and then minor tweaks to suit the opposition - ange, arnie, muscat, popa all more or less had this approach. even gumby had 'his' way of playing that he stuck to - it was stupid and naive but he stuck to it. MB seems to want to be the smart, adaptive manager that changes things up every week.....
- in the derby we sat deep and looked to opportunistically break and clung on for dear life
- against city we tried to press/trap aggressively (although not too high) with a quick front 3 and then counter quickly off turnovers
- we tried the agonisingly slow build up approach against roar and the result was a cure for insomnia
- we are playing with AM as a target man some weeks and then having duke/yeboah in others
- i'm not sure wtf we were trying to do against WU with AM in midfield
Some of these approaches worked well - others didn't but the only game I think where you could definitively say we were the better side was victory away. this is a bit of a worry this far into the season and with the manager having a full offseason to recruit and mold his squad.
My overall point though is that Aussie players aren't immersed in full time academies and societies where they live and breathe the game like they are in europe/south america - we just don't have the tactical understanding to be able to cope with 3 at the back one week, 4 the next, 2 holders one week, diamond midfield the next etc etc you get the point. when you add to this a couple of visa players (AM & mueller) and one pseudo-visa player (ziegler) who seem to be struggling massively to come to terms with the heat/physicality/refereeing in the league and you get to where we are - a bunch of big rep but underperforming foreign players, a host of confused local players, a frustrated manager and an increasingly impatient fanbase.
I do like a lot of what Babbel has brought to the club and hope he figures this out but after sitting through the last few games it is becoming increasingly hard to see where we are headed and what the plan is.