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Get With The Times Martin O'Neill?

Steff the Villan in MON doubt shocker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I saw a comment on one of these threads (in the Vital forum. ed) a few weeks ago regarding Martin O'Neill and how he does not use sports psychologists, I must admit I thought it was a nothing remark with Martins renowned ability for man management and team building, I assumed that he was well versed in this field, I was wrong.

I mentioned some time ago about Luke Moore and his obvious problem, also stating that I was sure that MONs team psyc would know how to sort it and all will be well, obviously it wasn't.

I don't claim to be an expert in this field, psychology was just part of my sports science degree, but even I can spot some of the problems that the team have had, It would appear that maybe some of the poorer individual performances from our lads have simply been due to the roles they have been restricted to and the positions they have been forced to play, I have never been a fan of playing people out of their position, it is a confidence game, and confidence in one position does not necessarily carry to another, a player (or any athlete) needs to feel confident and capable in the role they are playing, if not how can you expect them to perform at their peak at the highest level? which is exactly where they are, this is the premiership FFS.

We are starting to see some of our players performing to a higher standard (yes I know it has been against poorer opposition, but top corner from the centre circle is still top corner from the centre circle) could this possibly be due to players slotting in to the positions they want to be in?

IMHO we are loosing Melly because he can't play where he always has for us, we have also lost players due to confidence issues (Moore) and the desire for first team action (take your pick) now I am not stating for a moment that any of these players were good enough for the new improved Villa, but with the right psyc approach maybe one or two would have been, but the flip side is, that the depletion of the team must have had an effect on the teams stability and belief, If you know there is plenty of competition you try harder, you're also comfortable in the fact that all of the weight of the future of Aston Villa is not just on your shoulders, you have back up.

Now I love MON, I really do, and I reside with great comfort in the fairy glen, but I hope that MON is now seeing what a difference 'positional confidence' can make and maybe, just maybe he will make that link to the players needs, get up to date and realise that psychology really is a science and really can make a difference.

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The Journalist

Writer: Steff The Villan Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 14 2008

Time: 9:00AM

Your Comments

I think MON knows more about managing a team of professional players than we should presume to Stef.
The lack of people playing in their correct positions is down to MON and him alone, he's been at the club for coming on 2 full seasons, he's had 3 and a bit transfer windows and not bought in a right winger (Routledge who hasn't started) or a right back despite loosing 2 in the summer. These are his choices. I doubt he's just told a player to play in a position without them giving him the confidence in training. Point of rant is he knows what he's doing.
Not saying he doesn't Yatesy, and I am a massive fan of his, the whole point of it is that things move on, a decent pscyhologist may have been able to get Moore past his problem and given us that extra striker, the way we deal with the players physically has advanced tremendously over even the last ten years, should we not advance the way we deal with them mentally too? Proven methods have been in place for quite some and are used by Olympic squads, professional athletes and by top teams in all sports all over the world, to say our team would gain no benefit from the use of these methods goes against the grain, gone are the days of a pint before the match and a fag at half time.
Don't disagree with the concept of using anything that could give us an edge - particularly a sports psychologist if it'll help. However I don't think it would have helped Moore the wondersulk stop shrugging his shoulders, and I also don't think it's the reason Mellberg is leaving either - he's got the chance to play for a top European club and experience challenging for trophies towards the twilight of his career - something he's not getting at Villa. Other than Mellberg though, who else has been consistently played out of position?
MON doens't simply play players out of position to cover injuries or lack of a player in a particular position, he plays them there to improve their game. Playing gabby on the wing has improved his technique, his ability to go past players and his working of the channels, all skills that are needed as a pacey striker. We must remember that with the exception of mellberg all the players played out of position are young and need to improve different aspects of their game. Wenger for instance played Henry at Left winger for monaco as at 17 know all along he was a striker, and is now doing a similar thing with Walcott on at right wing. And as for Mellberg your kidding yourself if you think he would have stayed at villa, He is going to juve, a team that can offer him more money and Champions league football. Finally would you really want MON to sign players only good enough for mid table teams to be first team players at Villa?
Interesting article steff, and I do actually agree with a lot of what you have to say. It would have to be a plus surely?
I've been fortunate to meet, chat with, and hear many presentations by Bill Beswick, who is an absolutely top man and a close friend of one of my very good friends. Beswick was with Derby, Man Utd, Middlesvilla and England before going to Sunderland about a week before they played (and beat) us. He has got some great methods and is very capable. However, a guy like Bill is VERY difficult to find - because he has been in coaching before AND has an excellent football background - players respect him as a football man as well as his psychological methods. The majority of sports psychologists would not survive in a football dressing room unless they had this type of balance...... Most people in the game will tell you that Martin O'Neill needs very little help in this particular area, and certainly wouldn't see it as a priority. I agree with YatesyVillain that neither the Moore nor Mellberg situation would have changed.....

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