Tag Archive for 'Napoli'

Napoli’s problems that no one is solving

The deepening crisis continues for Napoli, which now finds itself 20 points off the top of the standings. One explanation for such negative results compared to initial expectations may have to do with the pressure generated by this expectation to repeat again this year the outstanding season completed last season and to easily regain the same team cohesion even with a new coach.

This way of thinking may have put a lot of pressure on Napoli and resulted in distrust in the players once they realized that the mechanisms of the previous season seemed to have disappeared. So this tendency to compare current performance with the previous season may have resulted in a perception of failure or disappointment.

To this must be added the expectations of the public and the media, who, following the championship victory, have increased their expectations of the team. The pressure to repeat the success, however, can become so intense and constant that, if not comforted by positive results, it is a cause of distrust in the team. Also, within the team itself, there may have been an increase in pressure. The players may have felt compelled to prove that the victory was not accidental and that they could confirm themselves as a top team.

It should also be kept in mind that success results in greater media exposure. The team becomes more visible and subject to greater media attention. This exposure may have added pressure as every step or achievement is analyzed and discussed publicly.

The coach and staff should carefully manage these forms of pressure, creating an environment that encourages confidence, reducing stress, and helping players maintain the mindset they need to meet the challenges of this new season. It may be that the team suffers from tactical problems but it certainly does not show that it is a united team in dealing with these difficulties.

Mazzarri and Napoli cohesion

We start with a basic idea, and that is that a team’s performance is most effective if there is agreement on goals and the means to achieve them. This finding is a fundamental part of the concept of cohesion, which is the dynamic process that reflects a team’s tendency to stick together and remain united in pursuit of its goals. Lack of cohesion, in my opinion, has been the problem that Napoli has manifested during Rudi Garcia’s management.

This is because one of the most common problems that occurs in teams when the coach’s goals do not match the team’s goals. Garcia has also failed to find effective ways of communication to get his proposals accepted. It should be obvious how necessary it is for the members of a team to identify with the goals of the coach otherwise what happened happens: the team loses confidence and the coach is exonerated

Mazzarri was faced with a situation in which the players were not satisfied with the role they played in the team, they had lost confidence in the strength of the group, and the negative results were confirming and worsening these negative moods.Garcia’s approach did not include discussion on these issues, which is necessary to manage a team in a winning way. If asked,

I would suggest that Mazzarri introduce moments of discussion on the same issues. It can be concluded that although various approaches can be used to convince individuals of the worthiness of the proposed goals, a system centered on team enhancement will certainly be very effective. In this way, a positive relationship is built between individual motivation and commitment, leading to effective performance and a consequent positive perception of the value of individual contribution to collective work.

Napoli: the winning team changes

The saying “A winning team does not change” will certainly not apply to this year’s Napoli, which dominates the Italian league. It has been official for days that Spalletti will no longer be its coach and it is likely that some players will leave the team.
These are hard facts to comprehend for those who have the idea that the goal of an absolute level club is to constantly improve. Thus, to attract in the immediate future new resources, serving the attraction represented by the enhancement of the roster of players that has been there during the championship and the quality of the work done by the staff led by the coach.
This concept has, however, been challenged by the coach’s departure and the fact that the possible transfer of important players such as Kim min-jae, Zielinski, Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia is being discussed.
Spalletti praised his players for their progress in the Champions League. “The quality of our soccer allowed us to stand out,” he said. “It was motivating for the players because they were facing a deserving Champions League finalist and they had to show everything we had achieved during the season.” He left, though, and the explanations certainly involve the stress accumulated during the championship, having received the confirmation via e-mail with a pec, the extreme difficulty represented by repeating this victory. My impression is that the necessary was not done to keep him in the lead of Naples.
The joy and enthusiasm of the fans will continue for a long time, as is only right when such a success is achieved decades after the victories won by Maradona’s team. If before today such an outstanding achievement had only been achieved thanks to the role played in Napoli by a sports legend, one cannot help but show gratitude to today’s team that has made it possible to unite the present with the past, giving a glimpse of what the future could look like.
The first games of the new season will be experienced with this state of mind, and it will be very positive for the city and its fans. The players and the entire team, however, will have to give thanks for this enthusiastic support and make these emotions their own by transferring them into the game, showing that they want to continue to nurture them through their desire to continue to amaze the world.

Napoli success: to play to make someone happy

The quality that Napoli expressed to win the Scudetto has been widely analyzed in match commentaries. However, it is my impression that the success was also determined by two other factors that Spalletti wanted to introduce that valued personal aspects that are important to every human being and that relate to the need for happiness and a sense of belonging.

In fact, he said, “We have to make someone happy in order to be happy people. From a personal point of view it’s the family, from a professional point of view it’s our fans, we don’t give a damn about individual numbers and who scores goals, we have to bring a team and group achievement to our city that makes the fans feel proud of us. We have to do something for the public’s affection for our jersey.”

On the other hand, how can you not espouse this approach to soccer in a city that named its stadium after Maradona, a player who fully represented soccer as the joy and bond of belonging to this team and Naples. So, of course you play to win but you win because you want to be happy and make happy. This is no small step, because you have to be aware of how to play to achieve this twofold goal, which combines the result with the enthusiasm born of playing your game. Achieving this goal was not easy, because we know that soccer is a very emotional sport. Because of the goal, which is a rare event, it is no coincidence that the three most usual scores in Serie A in order of frequency are 1-1, 2-1 and 1-0. It only takes one episode to change the fate of a game. This is not the case in other team sports such as volleyball and basketball where about every minute a point is awarded.

On this basis, to prevent the high level of emotionality from becoming a negative load of impulsiveness and foul play for teams, it was necessary for it to find its outlet in the joy that the game can convey. When we use words like, “we are going to the field to have fun,” it does not mean that we are going on a jaunt; it is not a sign of superficiality. Instead, it implies a desire to fully experience the pleasure of the challenge, namely the joy of doing as well as possible in difficult moments what one has prepared for.

Ideas about Napoli-Milan

Matches like that of Napoli-Milan won by the latter with the resounding score of 4-0 are very interesting in revealing how the power of the collective mind can foster unexpected results.

Someone, paraphrasing a famous phrase might say, “This is sport, beauty.”

The lesson here is that even the strongest team can lose a game by conceding four goals if … if they do not play as the strongest team. This is the lesson that Spalletti and the team should take home after this match. Absolute level soccer, puts us in front of these psychological experiments that no research could build in a laboratory. What if these conditions arise: the strongest team is now certain to have won the championship, its equally elite opponent wants at all costs to achieve a prestigious result, whatever the result this will not affect the likelihood of winning the Scudetto. Hypothesized outcome: it is likely that the stronger team will enter the field certain that the gap inflicted on their opponents will be enough to make them play with the idea that a draw will be a great result and that we will win because we have been the strongest so far.

This is what did not happen because the supposed victim, on the other hand, had prepared as well as possible to deliver an optimal performance and entered the field with this kind of winning mentality. What happened teaches us how difficult it is to change the mindset during the match and tells us, in a nutshell, that becoming as proactive and aggressive as you started by entering a different program is not exactly obvious, in fact it is very difficult and with ease we move from disbelief to surrender.

Competitions are brutal events and if you do not show up ready, what you want will not happen. This reminds me of a thought Gianni Mura had about Platini, when he said that when he retired he still wanted to play but not to suffer. This happens, sometimes, to strong teams.

The anarchic style of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

The whole world is talking about Khvicha Kvaratskhelia from the New York Times to his coach Luciano Spalletti to Del Piero and Arrigo Sacchi. He is a young Georgian soccer player who is described in the NY Times article as follows, “His anarchic style has taken Italian soccer by storm, turning Napoli into a title contender. More important, he has made soccer fun again.”

This is something very different from the classic player that is theorized by soccer schools in which other factors prevail and certainly not anarchic style and fun. There are certainly other soccer players who are technically more gifted, but he is better. Thus we return to the accustomed reasoning, you need technique and quickness but it is instinct and unpredictability that make a player great. In this can be summed up the importance of a style defined as anarchic. It does not correspond to doing what is on one’s mind at that moment or acting without thinking as an impulsive soccer player would. Kvaratskhelia, on the contrary, puts his instincts at the service of technique. Basically, he understands before others what needs to be done and does it by making use of his qualities.

Playing with this high level of intensity and mental participation is exciting and rewarding, especially because the results prove him right and thus this increases his personal conviction to continue in this way. In this way he has built a virtuous circle in which speed and technique serve his equally fast decision-making ability, and this allows him “not to worry if something doesn’t work. He doesn’t think about the negative consequences. This is true for many attacking players. They are bold. They are bold. They are a little bit anarchic,” as explained by Andrés Carrasco, Spanish youth development manager at Dinamo Tbilisi, the club that discovered Kvaratskhelia.

The different mindset between Napoli e Juve

Knowing the mentality of a collective allows one to predict how a team will react when faced with emotionally intense situations. In this soccer league, Napoli and Juventus represent the two extremes of a continuum in which success and team cohesion are opposed to failure and lack of cohesion. Those who want to understand the reasons for these differences between the teams should analyze the following factors:

  • Organizational quality of the football Club - The organizational system consists of the set of organizational strategies and structures, decision-making system, planning and control system, leadership style, culture, climate and values. The better the efficiency and effectiveness of the organizational quality, the better the ability of the team and coach to play with a winning mentality.
  • The quality of the image of the football club - This refers to the satisfaction of the membership and identification needs of the team and its stakeholders. This dimension is mainly concerned with, the authority of the corporate leadership, its credibility, the personality and professional competence of its key figures, and the results and prestige gained over time.
  • Team goals - This refers to the goals of the current season (winning the championship, ranking among the top four, staying in Serie A) are result goals. Then there are also performance goals (achieving a certain individual and collective performance standard) and process goals (centered on improving individual technical-tactical, psychological and physical skills). It also concerns the development of a team mentality that is able to give itself new goals on the field in relation to the different phases of play in a game. It involves knowing how to use the positive moments of a match to one’s advantage, as well as requiring the presence of a pre-ordained plan for dealing with the negative phases of the game or phases of increased competitive tension.
  • The technical-tactical quality of the team - This refers to the stock of football skills and their integration into team play, which determines much more than simply the sum of the qualities of individual players. The greater the team’s technical-tactical competence combined with an optimal degree of physical preparation, the greater the likelihood that the team will be able to cope with the different, even emotional phases of the game.
  • Collective effectiveness - It is expressed through performances that are superior to those that each could provide individually. Technical-tactical quality is part of collective effectiveness; cohesion and conviction refer to its relational and cognitive-social aspects. So the question that needs to be asked is, “How should players interact on the field for the purpose of showing unity and confidence in their skills as a team?” Napoleon was accustomed to say that he also won his battles with the dreams of his soldiers; this phrase is an effective metaphor for what should be meant by collective effectiveness.
  • Players’ motivational orientation - Players and the team as a whole must manifest a growth-oriented mindset. An example of the application of this concept to soccer may involve the purchase of a soccer player. Generally this is done on the basis of technical and tactical background; thus, it is believed that a player who performs well on one team will manifest the same effectiveness on another. In many cases, this phenomenon has not been repeated, and this can probably be attributed to this static conception of mentality, which does not take into account the different conditions between one club and another and how these affect the players’ adaptation and consequently the quality of their performance.

The new Napoli winning mindset

Great game that of Napoli at home to Ajax ended with the score of 6-1. These matches against worthy opponents are won in this overflowing way when a team is not only satisfied with playing well. They are a demonstration of what should be meant by a winning mentality. When the determination of the team is welded with the quality of play and the desire of individual players to want to continue playing at their best until the referee’s final whistle.

The conjunction of these three aspects has a multiplier effect that is far more beneficial than the sum of individual wills. This Napoli new mentality is geared toward personal and team growth, and matches represent challenges generating strategies for improvement that culminate in playing consistently at a high level. In fact, it was these Champions matches played against Liverpool and Ajax that taught the team what its potential was that had hitherto been unexpressed. Matches like these are remembered for a lifetime and, more importantly, they keep motivation and confidence high, so any subsequent high-stress competitive situation will be approached with the belief that they can repeat what was done in these Champions League matches.

It is often stated that in order to win these matches Italian teams should increase the speed of their play and maintain this approach for the entire duration of the match. Napoli’s matches teach us that this characteristic, however, always goes to motivation (I want to do it) and conviction (I do it). In this way you realize what I have often heard Gianni Rivera say, that in soccer you should not run but make the ball run. So speed of play only happens when mind, technique, tactics and team work together for 90 minutes.

Napoli: performance anxiety?

There is talk, in these days, of the performance anxiety that would have hindered Napoli at least in the last two games, important to remain among the favorites for the final title. Attributing the negative results of a team to this psychological dimension has been very successful among the media. It means feeling insecure in the decisive moments of the championship, with the effect of providing unsatisfactory performances. It is a reasoning that labels a team and expresses a collective psychological condition that is invalidating. Were I a coach, I would reject this explanation by asking myself, “How should players interact on the field in order to show unity and confidence in their team skills?” I would also ask myself, “How can I stimulate performance that is superior to what each could provide individually?” Napoleon used to say that he also won his battles with the dreams of his soldiers, this phrase is an effective metaphor for what should be meant by team effectiveness. In this way, we are no longer talking about anxiety but about collective effectiveness and how to train it. The theme consists of understanding what behavioral approach is necessary to achieve victory, providing each player with precise and different tasks, so that when someone makes a mistake the others know what to do. Each player needs to know and be a part of the story that the team is building as the minutes go by, and this task orientation needs to be trained specifically throughout the weeks. However, it is not just a technical/tactical issue, it requires each player to perceive himself as an active part of a program that goes beyond his person and is about the success of the team. By developing this collective mentality, it will be possible to come out effectively from situations of greater competitive pressure, without falling into the victimhood inherent in the explanation that attributes failures to anxiety, a manifestation of a character limit that requires a long time to change, while the league, moving on weekly appointments, requires a great willingness to change. Therefore, the question is not so much whether players are anxious, but how willing they are to quickly change ineffective behavior.

Juan Jesus is the new Napoli leader

A team needs leaders on the field, but if the only leader is the coach, it cannot become a winning team. It is therefore possible that Juan Jesus‘ post-match declarations, which make him more and more of a leader, are an expression of this process of change, not only his own but also that of Napoli.

The team is fighting to win the Scudetto and Spalletti‘s words confirm the need to have leaders on the pitch: “We have to look our opponents in the eye, the players have understood and perceived this, they are all there determined to play the next game… something has changed in terms of attitude, we have realized that we have to do what we are good at. In the moment of difficulty you suffer, you adapt, then you pick up what is your conviction, what is your quality.” Juan Jesus responded to this request.

The change has been stimulated and favored by the stakes but finds its foundation in the passion that fuels the desire to win. Assuming responsibility requires courage to face problems; it doesn’t mean never making mistakes, but knowing how to get right back up. This is a crucial step found in every culture. If a North-American says that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall but how quickly you get back up, a Chinese says it in other words: “Fall 7 times, get up 8″. That’s the meaning of the footballer’s words when he said, “Good at fighting back, now we have to play our game!”. It doesn’t matter if you are an immovable starter or if you enter the game in progress, this is the indispensable mentality that holds together the team that struggles to achieve important results.