We’re seeing such hoo hahing and gnashing and wailing, we guess, including by ourselves, over why Michael Beale’s Rangers is offering so little, playing so badly, and looking so incoherent.
The answers are Mark Warburton and Pep Guardiola.
In summary, the legendary Spanish manager took Spain’s tiki-tika football style from the mid-00s and perfected it at Barcelona with the magnetic trio of Xavi, Iniesta and of course Messi. He ended up becoming the byword and standard of that style of football.
When former manager Mark Warburton took over, he went for the same 4-3-3 style of play, and in the Championship, it was pretty easy to execute really, especially given the budget. He overhauled the squad and made the football pretty.
It fell apart hard in the Scottish Premiership, and he got the sack.
Michael Beale, sadly, is making the same errors Mark Warburton is – he’s trying to be Pep Guardiola, and in the way the Bread Man’s substandard squad collapsed against higher quality opposition, so is Beale’s.
Tiki-tika, which is basically narrow channels, quick passing and high pressing, only works if you’ve signed the right kinds of players to engage it. Unfortunately for Michael Beale, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi Lundstram, Jack and Lawrence are not.
Some could point at Cantwell and Raskin, but overall not only are they not fit, but they’ve not been as impressive this season as last, which is unfortunate.
But that’s getting away from the system Beale is trying to force – he’s trying to play the Barca Spain Pep even Man City setup, with players that are absolutely not able to do that, in a league where the system does not suit.
He’s signed a bunch of players and clearly hasn’t done the research he himself claimed he had, because few to none of these players fit the system he is trying to use.
There’s no one-touch move type player, no quick, short, low centre of gravity type player – indeed the one player we had who could, Ryan Kent, is well gone, and he’s been replaced by Sima.
In simple terms, Michael Beale got rid of the players who could actually play the system he wanted, and replaced them with players who couldn’t.
He’s even going with the soft-centre defence which was a hallmark of that Spain and Barca side – the difference is Ben Davies really isn’t Mascherano…
No, it’s not working, and unfortunately, due to the players he’s signed, Michael Beale doesn’t have a plan B.
He’s built an entire squad around the system he wants to use, thinking it would blow the SPL away, but it failed horribly and he’s nothing to fall back on.