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Tactics Thursday: Inconsistency

Inconsistency can make even the best tactician look foolish.

Jeff J Mitchell

It has always intrigued me to consider the parallels in Coaching at any level. Regardless of age and skill level, Coaching has a few things that remain static no matter the pitch or level of play. Picking a formation, training a specific session, or choosing the starting eleven is something Coach must do, and with that every Coach endures the most frustrating of all Coaching problems...inconsistency.

Truth be told inconsistency is far more or a problem at the lower of plays than that of the Professional level. Think about, you have a player say in USL who has to have a second job to continue his dream of playing and you have a player in Serie A who is paid quite well to do what he loves. The simple thing is while they both work their job a bit differently, they are both human, and with that comes distractions, disinterest and lack of focus. So how does a Coach pick a winning eleven when the going gets tough!? That much is a little more challenging...

I will start with an anecdote and then build a more professional case into it. When I was Coaching at the high school level I played a 4-2-3-1, I had two senior players with plenty of experience. One of them was extremely gifted, incredible touch with even better vision. I was ecstatic to have starting at RAM. The problem with him was his sort of lackadaisical attitude, when he was on there was only one player better on the whole team, when he was off he may as well be playing a different sport. The other player competing for his position was not talented and not as fast, but while the first player would be considered five star sometimes and one star others, the other player was 3 stars all the time. Sadly I had to go with old reliable when I needed to make a snap decision, and while the level is different, I personally believe the choice is the same.

So when I look at Milan's under performing roster and I know certain players are more talented than others, and others wonder why so and so doesn't start. Ask yourself about consistency or lack thereof and is the manager choosing the more reliable player to avoid any haphazard mistakes or is he playing his best talent hoping for a fove star performance??? It is that last question, that from a Milan perspective perplexes me the most. Balotelli is a potential five star talent, but he has played at a level one lately, so do you leave him and watch him sulk or do you bench him and go with a solid three!? How about Mexes and Bonera, Urby and Constant, or Abbiati and Gabriel...the list can go on at Milan with Honda and Saponara maybe being the next two.

The point is if you can reliability out of one, you may take it, in turn getting reliable results. If not then you get wild ups and downs, and in essence you get the current state of AC Milan. So I turn it over to you...