I’ve mentioned before that Sven is more Italian in many ways than he is Swedish, when it comes to football. Here’s backup for my view from the most interesting football book of the year, Gianluca Vialli’s The Italian Job:
..In Italy, public opinion routinely analyses a manager’s work with a fine-tooth comb. How is the tactical system working? What are the fitness levels like? What kind of physical preparation is being done? Which players are improving under his guidance?
What you rarely hear there is what you almost always hear in England: talk of passion, inspiration and enthusiasm, and whether or not the manager is transmitting them to his players. In England, more so than in Italy, everything is personalized: a manager’s character is on the line every time his team takes to the pitch. He is judged on how much (or how little) he has inspired his players. I don’t think it’s a coincidence either that when Erickson is criticized it is usually for his laid-back, calm demeanour, which is seen as ‘lack of passion’. The notion that a coach could be more muted, relaxed, maybe even less passionate, and still be a good leader of men seems unfathomable in England. ‘I suppose it’s normal that in England they don’t judge a coach or even a match based on tactics because they all play the same way,’ says Lippi. ‘There is no innovation. And so the only way to differentiate English managers is in their character, their passion, their approach and how well they relate to their players. It’s never a question of tactics because they are all the same.’