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5 Matches In, Clint Peay's Tactical Changes Receiving Mixed Reviews
“Tactical and results are two different things. At times, you want to implement your own ideas, and style as a coaching staff, and the results are the results."
After Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Orlando City, the Clint Peay era had officially reached five games. This seems like a good time to check on his stint as interim head coach and the changes he has made.
With the loss to Orlando City, Peay’s record as head coach stands at 1-1-3. While New England has clinched a playoff spot, they have also dropped to fifth in the Eastern Conference and will not have home-field advantage in the playoffs.
The main difference since Peay has taken over is a change in tactics and positioning. The interim head coach has used Matt Polster as an inverted left back while using DeJuan Jones on the right.
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In this position, Polster is asked to do a lot which was evident against Orlando. he is playing a position he is not exactly familiar with and expected to help out on the attack while also being a stout defender.
After the loss to Orlando, The Blazing Musket asked Polster if he feels that Peay’s tactical changes have worked for the club.
“Tactical and results are two different things, the
midfielder left back said. “At times, you want to implement your own ideas, and style as a coaching staff, and the results are the results, and at this club that’s all that matters. I’ve always said that at this club, since Bruce [Arena] was here, it’s all about winning and that’s the most important thing to me, the staff, organization, and the players. That comes first and we want to get back to those winning ways, especially heading into the playoffs. The tactical situation is what it is. I think we are capable of playing that, it’s just difficult when we haven’t had a preseason under our belts of really dialing that in as a group.”
Another feature of Peay’s tactical system has been a reliance on playing a single striker. Whether it be Giacomo Vrioni or Bobby Wood, New England’s starting XI has always featured a single striker up top.
Especially against Orlando, Peay did pivot to two strikers after a dreadful first half. While Gustavo Bou replaced Vrioni at the start of the second half, the interim head coach moved Chancalay up the pitch to work alongside his fellow Argentinian.
While Polster might be a bit skeptical of the system, Peay believes that the changes he has implemented have worked as he has intended.
“I think obviously there’s been progress game by game,” the interim head coach said. “Again, I think the start of the game was very positive for us. I think it’s been getting better in terms of how we move the ball and how we dictate games. Defensively, I think the group, in general, we need to all do a better job. I don’t necessarily think the defensive changes were the issue. I think it’s more guys making plays and executing better in critical moments.”
So after five matches, Peay is sticking to his tactical guns. Whether that is the right choice remains to be seen.
With two matches left in the regular season, there isn’t a lot of time to work out the growing pains and if these issues continue, New England’s playoff run will come to an unceremonious and abrupt end.