Football Psychology: Eddie Howe – Principles!

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Football PsychologySo from being touted consistently for the best jobs in the Premier League, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe is now favourite for the sack.

His post-match interview after the home defeat to Watford, was grim.  Eddie said he was going to go away after the game, and reflect on whether he was still helping the team or not.

The question itself, demonstrates a good amount of self-awareness. For out of self-awareness can come a diagnosis for change. A recognition of what isn’t working and a strategy to do something about it.

When a manager has had success with a formula. a way of playing, it can be very hard to change that formula. For the formula = success. At least that is what the past tells us.

But sometimes the past catches up with us. What worked for the last few seasons, is not guaranteed to work forever. And if a manager is wedded to certain principles, then it can be hard to let go of those principles.

But if relegation looms, then those principles have to be refined, re-examined, re-shaped to come to terms with the new reality. Principles are not fixed things. But reference points and guidelines that create stability.

If you have devised one way of playing that works, then why not trust yourself to devise another?

And perhaps his players have lost some confidence in their manager, because he is no longer giving them solutions to problems.

They know there is something wrong. Probably know how to fix it. But their manager is not helping them do so. Perhaps this is what Eddie Howe was alluding to in his post match interview.

Most football problems are not complicated to solve. They only become complicated, when you as a leader, cannot see what is happening, and why it is happening. That loss of clarity leads to only one thing. Relegation.

Bournemouth will be hoping in this week of reflection for their manager, he can be objective in his self-appraisal. He has come too far to be brought down by an attachment to fixed principle.