Brighton striker and SunSport columnist reckons it’s the manager’s job to make you feel wanted
NOW the window has shut, the most important part of every football club is man-management.
The 25-man squads are sealed, there are no more transfer comings and goings and everyone knows where they stand.
So how do managers move forward in their mission to achieve success?
Did they get all the players signed they wanted? That’s highly unlikely but also a common outcome of any transfer period.
Secondly, how will they plan to move forward with the squad they have? And I’m not just talking gameplans and tactics.
I’m talking about producing a team that plays as one — completely in harmony with each other — a team that is united in every way, believes in the task and the manager leading them into battle.
Tactics, gameplan and players are all influential in how a team performs but the question is how to manage every individual in your charge and get them to play like a finely tuned orchestra.
For me, that’s mostly down to the conductor. Most of this comes down to man-management.
And I can assure you this is a hard task with a dressing room full of strong characters, egos, different views, backgrounds and opinions.
No two managers are the same and I believe how players are man-managed on a daily basis has a huge influence on their performance on the field.
Players want a manager you feel in your gut you want to play for — they can have the best tactics and philosophy in the world but if you have lost a player in his heart or head, you have lost him in every other department.
Take Tony Pulis — my boss when I was at Crystal Palace.
He is a calm and collected man who, even in a relegation battle, can inspire confidence throughout his squad.
He takes each and every player individually and speaks to their personality to make them believe — and in turn the group gels and is filled with motivation.
Under Tony, you would always feel secure as a unit and expect the defence to keep you in any game.
And no matter how hard he pushed us, he had this knack of making every player want to excel for him.
Alan Pardew, another man who managed me at Palace, was a little more forward-thinking.
He simplified the game for his players and gave them a base of options in which to express themselves.
He also insisted everyone greeted one another every morning to instil a togetherness in the squad — one of the little things that can have a big effect.
Eddie Howe was the most tactical manager I have worked under.
His meticulous approach created an adaptable group that moves fluidly between slight alterations of formations week in and week out.
He is certainly the best coach at improving players I have been involved with.
In my short time at Bournemouth I learned more than in any period of my career, both on and off the pitch.
My current boss, Chris Hughton, is an extremely good man-manager.
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His door is always open and he always has time for his players. His way is to ensure an even keel and keep us on course in any waters.
He will never get too high or too low depending on how results are going.
That is how the players achieve a mindset and sense of perspective.
A basic requirement for management is being strong-minded but with the ability to adapt your approach for success with our ever-evolving game and squads.
That’s been my experience of some of my former and present coaches and how they managed the groups.
Each squad will be different and how they tinker their style to fit is the reason why they have had long and successful managerial careers.