Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Engineering a Blueprint ; City Special How Boss Pellegrinihas Masterminded a Change at the Etihad

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Engineering a Blueprint ; City Special How Boss Pellegrinihas Masterminded a Change at the Etihad

Article excerpt

TO borrow the words of that immortal Manchester bard Mike Harding, trying to pin down David Silva is like trying to plait fog.

Whether you are the person who draws the team line-up boards for television broadcasters, or an opposition defender, you never quite know where he will pop up.

And when Manuel Pellegrini dismisses the description of team formations 4-4-2, or 4-3-3, as 'telephone numbers', it is players like Silva he has in mind.

The City boss has introduced a fluidity and interchangeability to his team, together with a faster pace and attacking bravery. And those ingredients together make the Blues such a formidable force.

How often have you seen a City formation on the TV that pegs Silva as a virtual left winger, or a right winger? Then the game starts and Silva is popping up over on the right, or dropping back into his own half to pick up the ball or floating into a central space between the back four and the midfield.

Sergio Aguero also drops deep into midfield and uses space down the flanks, making a nonsense of attempts to pin him down as a striker.

In a recent interview Pellegrini revealed his belief that such fluidity is the most recent tactical innovation to hit football and that it is helping to make the game more of a spectacle.

"On a tactical level, and not just in the last two years - this began a few years before and it is intensifying - we are seeing increased mobility of players on the pitch," he said.

"It's very hard to find static players, who stay in just one position.

"Central attackers are moving to all areas of the pitch. It's very hard to mark players who are always appearing in different parts of the pitch.

"This is the evolution of the midfielder and the attacker and it is important for the defender not to create this space. This is a trend that is making football more dynamic and, in my view, more entertaining. …

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