You need to know your students. You must know them through and through. As conceptualisers, as technicalisers…
“If Torres was a robot who was impossible to injure, and whose performance could not be diminished through overwork, then yes – maybe we’d see him start more games, and maybe we’d only need three strikers. But that takes Rafa’s belief in ‘possibilities’ out of the equation, and the fact he’d rather have 4 strikers deliver 15 goals than one delivering 20. ” (quoted from this link)
Rafa can’t do that yet. He wants the ‘two’ Liverpool team to work as one and I think he is dealing with Defensive and Attacking concepts. What people usually call as set pieces are even subsets of these D and A concepts. That’s why strategic and tactical knowledge is important for each and every player to ‘synthesise’ in their game.
It is not everyone got a ‘different role’ anymore. Its everyone got two or three roles and they may overlap with another player. So to tackle a ‘defensive team’ that packs the midfield, he will fill it with more ‘defensive concept minded players’ so that they will unravel the other team.
He can do so much as implement his system. At the end of the day the players need to implement it well.
The team will be poor when they are not concentrating or not fit, in the case of Portsmouth and Porto game. In the case of Birmingham, the strikers and midfielders employing the concepts somehow got confused or did not managed to subdue the opposition. The opposition actually READ the concepts.
The concepts often work, because what Rafa does for the first 30 minutes is to BREAK DOWN the opposition team and then the team will run riot in the 2nd half. This had been shown prior to Portmouth and even with Chelsea, a big team. Hence his conceptual play really works.
So perhaps he need a BREAKER or some kind of psychological tactic to deploy against teams that read his concepts. Traditionally by sitting back and absorbing attack after attack is one ploy, ie suddenly go defensive when one expects you to attack. However it needs to have the whole team to turn it around on cue and the fans to actually appreciate that its a tactic and that it will work.
Fans now is not appreciating the system with its D & A concepts…fans are reactive to say the least.