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GUARDIAN – Everton v Liverpool: Martínez and Rodgers tactics and management compared

Garry Monk, the Swansea City defender who was captain under Roberto Martínez and Brendan Rodgers during their spells in charge, assesses the Merseyside derby rivalsTactics Roberto and Brendan are both very aggressive in their work. What I mean by that is they’ve got a vision of what they want and they put that across in a very forthright way, and when it’s obvious that they believe in it so passionately, it rubs off on the players. They both want a passing and possession game but probably with different spins on it.With Roberto, I think being in League One was perfect to implement his way of playing, whereby we could make mistakes and not get punished. Roberto cared more about our tactical game being on point rather than the opposition. For instance, we never really worked on set pieces, which we probably should have done. Of course that might well be different with him in the Premier League. It was very attack-minded with Roberto, which was good, but defensively we were probably a little bit too open at times, especially when we went into the Championship. But I think it was Roberto’s belief that if we could impose ourselves on the opposition, we would win more games than we would lose.With Brendan, the higher level we were playing and the better we were getting as a team, the more he tailored tactics to the individual sides that we were up against – that was especially the case in the Premier League. Brendan took us mentally, physically and tactically beyond the levels we had been at before.TrainingRoberto was always on the training field along with Graeme Jones, his assistant. And Brendan was the same, very hands on with the coaching and getting points across all through the week. They put on different sessions but they had the same philosophy: retain the ball. Graeme had a big influence with Roberto, whereby he designed a lot of the training sessions.Brendan had Colin Pascoe, who had worked under Roberto as well. With British-style training sessions you might have a five-a-side and some possession with no real method behind it. But with Roberto and Brendan there was method behind everything we did. On a normal training session, you would touch a ball 200-300 times. In the training sessions they designed, you were getting 600-700 touches of the ball. The more touches you had of the ball, the more comfortable you became with it.It was about gearing as much as possible on the training field to similar situations on the pitch, where you might play in tight areas. The one thing they both realised as well – and I think this is really important – was that they had players that wanted to do what they were asking them to do. It was a good environment to go and work in.Man-managementRoberto had a real advantage because a lot of us had been his team-mates at Swansea before he took over as manager. Leon Britton, for instance, was his room-mate for a number of years. So Roberto knew how we worked and he knew us on a personal level as well. He was always easy to get on with. Paulo Sousa came in for a season in between and had a very different approach, so when Brendan took over it was like a breath of fresh air. He called me to the stadium on the day he was unveiled as manager and said: “You’re going to be my captain and that won’t change.”I’d never met him before but I knew from the first moment I spoke to him that he was going to be good for us. It was still difficult for me under him at times – when we got in the Premier League I was no longer first choice. But the way he spoke to me and treated me – I didn’t agree with him on certain things but I respected him because he was honest, and that’s the key element for me.Towards the end of the last year with Brendan, I was talking to him about coaching, because of my age, and he invited me around to his house a few times to discuss life after playing. But I think he was like that with a lot of the lads. He was brilliant with us. He would go out of his way to help and not just because he felt it was going to help him with managing; he genuinely cared about what was going on in your life.MatchdayRoberto would always name the team a couple of hours before the game. With Brendan, you got more of an idea earlier, because you would work on shape, or some kind of tactical session the day before, so you kind of knew more or less what the XI would be. In the dressing room they were both very calm and very clear in what they wanted to say, but with an undertone of “This is business” and “fall into line”.They’re not ranters or ravers, they’re not going to throw tea-cups. But you know when they’re not happy. With Roberto, you could tell because he would turn stern and you could see the anger in his face, even though he wouldn’t convey it by shouting.With Brendan, in training he would whistle to stop the session and then look at you. It was just a look. He would stare at you and wait an extra couple of seconds so that it was uncomfortable. If he felt that a player wasn’t pulling their weight or wasn’t giving their all, he wouldn’t hesitate to single them out. But he did it in a way where he didn’t alienate the player. He would do it so that the player knew he wasn’t just letting down himself, he was letting down the whole group, so there would a positive reaction from that player. EvertonLiverpoolSwansea CityRoberto MartínezBrendan RodgersStuart Jamestheguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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