As a coach myself, it's clear to me what is happening and in time we should improve considerably but patience will be needed.
Increasingly in the past, we faced teams like Huddersfield sitting deep ( initially) and staying compact in fear of our counter. Games like Saturday may well have ended 0-1 Or 0-0 In the past.
Puel is trying to get us to retain possession more but also attack at speed either via quick passes to break central lines or via the counter.
The issue is that when you try to get players to focus more on keeping possession, reduce the % game longer balls, players often go too far the other way. This is what we started doing last season, at times this season and what Southampton did the Season before. To please the manager you choose not to lose possession, recycle, recycle, recycle bit you've missed much of his message.
The result is we play sideways, we isolate Vardy etc and deny any kind of service. From being fast and furious, we go to the opposite extreme and play a too measured ( boring) game.
In other words, players start to go too far in the opposite direction as possession becomes key.and they fear losing it too much.
Albeit not overly enthralling to listen to, Puel has always maintained the desire to play quick attacking football, not retain possession at all cost, to be brave etc but players on the pitch are a little too afraid at first to do this as it may result in lost possession. Equally, it relies on good movement infield from your advanced midfielders and striker. Yes it means Vardy sometimes has to offer himself up to hold up as a 10 not play constantly as a 9.
On Saturday, early on I saw Schmeichel grab the ball and look long for Vardy. On a few other occasions, I saw us try a more direct approach. I was impressed on Saturday as it was the 1st time in a while I saw us trying to move back to the centre ground we need to be at. A mixed game where sometimes you switch play to create space to break lines and other times where you look longer. This makes us more unpredictable and is key for breaking down stubborn teams who park the bus.
There was good movement at times in the pockets of space but all too often it's Madders. Nacho, Guezzal etc need to come narrow at times to create forward opportunities more often too.
At 2-1 up, Huddersfield had to gamble and play a higher line which makes Vardy a greater threat again.
Mendy and Wilf are looking great but need to look for those line splitting balls more. Maguire is crucial as he breaks lines with passes more than anyone. Other than him, Amartey also finds those line splitting balls which is why he's preferred to Simpson who could only really play safe or go long down the line.
We've gone from 1 extreme of play to the other over the course of last season but the owners held their nerve. Its easy to panic and pull out halfway through a transition but we are now showing signs of gradually making better decisions more often and showing greater movement to enable those line breaking moves forwards. There is a fair way to go and with younger players we need to be patient. With older players accept change is hard to adjust to as they may have played a certsin wsy for years and for some just not conduisive to their skillset.(Simpson)
I just hope we forgive the lapses and allow the progress to continue. Puel bores me shit less but that's no reason to discount the progress he is slowly but surely making.
I don't post much so apologies for the essays when I do. 🤣