Chris Deacon of brentfordfc.com sat down with B Team Analyst Ben Chadwick on Thursday afternoon to talk through some of the positives and negatives of the 2-2 draw with Atalanta. He gave us his perspective, through the eyes of an analyst.
CD: What were some of the positives to come out of the 2-2 draw?
BC: I think we did well after we came to terms with their intensity at the start of the game. We defended well enough to stay in the game during the first half, then had much more control in the second half. We pushed them more, didn't leave any gaps and could have won the game in the end.
CD: What did you see that was negative?
BC: We struggled a bit in the first half because they rotated their midfield and we were defending quite low during those early stages. They were moving players around a lot and we were having trouble adapting to it. In other words, they were in control of the spaces around the pitch for a lot of the first half an hour.
CD: How would you rate that team performance out of 10?
BC: Seven. There were lots of good moments for us, which brings up that rating. The second half was very good, we showed a lot of intensity and control in the last 30 minutes of the game. Our coordination was better, players were finding each other with the ball. In the end, we probably should have won because of the amount of chances we had.
We need to get better at attacking the box when we break, sometimes there's an easy pass to score but we don't take that. At the other end, sometimes we were a bit narrow. You could tell the defenders were worried about letting Atalanta play through them, this meant sometimes we were letting them have easy passes to the outside and they could cross it into the middle. Overall, it was a good game.
CD: How can you take the lessons from analysis and apply them to training this week?
BC: I will watch the games and try to advise the coaches as best I can on areas that we can work on. The coaches will take that and apply it to the parts of their training sessions if they feel it is necessary. Being the analyst, not the coach, I will say what I'm seeing on the video, strengths or weaknesses, and relay that to the other staff.
An example of this came last week. I spotted something Atalanta might be weak on, looking at different types of crosses into the box. We tried a few things in training and then in the match as well. When you go a goal behind, you start playing football to score and planning like that takes a back seat.
CD: What's the plan for the upcoming Milan matches?
BC: We'll do two separate pre-match meetings, they are two different teams and require their own approaches. You have to respect them, they are two good teams so we'll give them the appropriate attention.
I've given some match footage to our players this evening as an exercise where they will then come back to the coaching staff and present what they think is going on. The coaches will then give our feedback and move the session into how we want the players to approach the games.
Italian teams are very tactical, they will change their structure during games, and the matches here often become like games of chess. The game will change throughout the 90 minutes in a way that the English game doesn't often do. We'll prepare the players with structures of our own that shouldn't break down easily, even if the opposition are changing things throughout the match.