Underachievement is easier to spot and much more talked about than overachievement in football, at least at times. Last season Real Madrid changed three managers and suffered their worst La Liga points total (68) since 2001-02. On the other side of Madrid, and much less talked about, Getafe finished 5th (59) and missed out on Champions League qualification on the final day of the season. Their success was relatively unrecognised though.
Perhaps clubs prefer it this way as it allows them to focus on moving forward instead of being caught up in the euphoria. But let’s put the spotlight on those overachievers last season to learn what what they did differently that could give our club the best chance of beating performance expectations.
One way to measure this is to look at the relationship between squad market value against points per game in the league. We can see how many points a club is expected to earn given the value of their players among the top 5 European leagues.
Getafe – Spain
Going back to Spain and Getafe – Pepe Bordalás celebrated his third year in charge last month. A club he has taken from Segunda División to the pinnacle of La Liga in just three seasons on a budget that’s the sixth lowest in La Liga.
Only one signing during his tenure has been above €6m. Last season Getafe had the 10th lowest squad value in La Liga according to our model, roughly 10% of Barcelona’s at the time. A team with no egos, Getafe players perfected tactical instructions deployed by Bordalás to enjoy a successful 2018/19 season.
Bordalás has taken Getafe to heights never imagined before – a strategy only possible through the platform and support provided to the manager by everyone involved.
Torino – Italy
Meanwhile, over in Italy, Torino finished 3 points behind AS Roma and qualified for a Europa League playoff spot. This was despite having a squad market value of roughly €200m less than the I Giallorossi.
In a similar story to Getafe, the manager (Walter Mazzarri) has been the linchpin to their success – constructing an aggressive counter-attacking side. Mazzarri’s tactics have been what set Torino apart, receiving praise from several managers including Carlo Ancelloti in a season where Torino frustrated opposition strikers with 15 clean sheets – which included a 0-0 in Naples.
Maximizing squad potential through specific tactics to outsmart our competition has proven instrumental in Torino’s rise to Europe once again.
Lille – France
In spite of avoiding relegation by a single point in 17/18, sporting director, Luis Campos and Lille continued following their philosophy in the transfer market going into 2018/19. A youth-oriented transfer approach has led to Lille generating over €200m in player sales over the past two summer windows.
A deliberate and patient strategy off the field has meant a steady path to success on the field. Astute signings such as experienced centre-back José Fonte and young forward Rafael Leão both joining on a free in 18/19 and then being pivotal as Lille finished in their highest league position (2nd) since 2010/11, demonstrates thoughtful planning. The latter was then sold on to AC Milan for around €23m.
Identifying specific and not necessarily always young talent in our recruitment strategy can enhance our long term squad value while improving short term team performance.
Once again we were reminded that there is no common theme in over performance. In saying that, following a unique strategy consistently that suits our clubs philosophy greatly improves our chances.