Rafael Benitez : the Master of Rotation

By: JoeReds

Many have cited the way Rafael Benitez handles his strategy as unorthodox but brilliant (as the two are so often linked) and, while few are as willing to take the chances he does, all have to admit that his particular brand of thinking suits him well; leading him to an impressive record. But what makes him seem so strange when compared to other coaches? What earns him so much debate and admiration? It is quite simple, really: he refuses to stay content.

Yes, yes, we know: all coaches want the best for their teams and will seek it out. But, at the same time, there is a certain level of complacency that occurs when a team becomes successful. Players and coaches alike will believe their method has been perfected and that they should do nothing to change it. After all, why tamper with something that has proven to work?

They will refuse to look at other ideas because they are worried of destroying the success they have created.

Benitez is the opposite of this. He willingly seeks out change. There is no one who boasts a roster that is more constantly updated, fixed or completely reorganized as he does. And there is no one who will more actively look for new talent. As a coach, Benitez has one goal; and that is to continually improve his team. That cannot be done, he argues, without trying to find who is available and see what they can do. This thinking is simple but aggressive, and marks him suite different than his fellow coaches.

He places an emphasis on team, rather than one player. Many teams will have a definite "star" and try to build strategies around that individual. Benitez does not. Instead, he calls for team effort and support. No footballer is to rank above another (whether he's a star player or not), simply because this does nothing to help the overall goal of becoming better. Players work best together, not separated by rankings of who is supposedly the best. And this type of thinking borders on the shocking in the sports' world, because so few will dare to do it.

But, in truth, Benitez offers a common sense approach to football: a team cannot think themselves perfect; there is always room for improvement; no player is guaranteed to be safe to change; and no player puts himself above the good of the team. With this, he's managed to create a strategy that works... and succeeds.

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