Belief When Bottom Of The League
The latest fly-on-the-wall peak behind the curtain into the EPL dressing room caused its expected afluttering.
This season's treatment - hot on the heels of title winners of Pep Guardiola then perma-chaos of Jose Mourinho - followed Mikel Arteta trying to recapture glory days for one-time UCL stalwarts.
The banner pic comes from one of the pre-trailed Amazon series' All Or Nothing clips. The thrust; High Performance Teams.
Three games in (to the 38-match season). His team sit rock bottom of the log.
Without a point. Big questions being asked. Sackrace odds seriously shortened.
Whatever angle you expect, I bet few saw this choice coming.
Having been thrashed thrice on the bounce, including the humiliation of five-nil last time out, the coach elects to deliver a fascinating peroration before their crunch fourth match.
He begins with his opinions of high performance teams.
'They get results ...
These teams have to be surrounded by people who are very special.
They are willing to work 24/7.
They do it for one reason only.
Because they love what they do.
That's their drive.
That's their purpose.'
Then the footage skips on a bit; "I want to share something with you".
He begins to draw the classic x/y graph axes.
His emotional state. In this toughest of weeks. Entitled MA, as in his initials.
He charts how his personal disposition has flowed. On a scale of 1-10 over a time looking like 14 fourteen days.
From the lowest possible point. Rising, falling. Then oscillating makes way for straight lining upwards.
'Thank you so much ... Believe in yourself, I do ... Let's go.'
Then the mic drop.
Or marker pen drop, in this case.
Especially for anyone expected to deliver any kind of presentation aimed at improvement.
They won this next game. Albeit against the weakest side in the division. But still avoiding calamitous banana skin.
Then developed nicely through the season. Although staggering at the end, did better their previous league finish.
I sense the jolt of this unusual approach worked as much as the content.
A decent pointer that stands alone.
Consider too the duration of it. Despite judicious editing, it does not ramble on. We can land our point, and also 'go'.
Then there's the speech itself. I am compelled to promote the mitigation of English not being the mother tongue of the speaker.
For those of us when speaking in our native language, we must alter pitch, tone and tempo where required.
Using a single sheet to cram in more than one 'idea' seldom best works.
You think those sitting closest could see?
The impact of his linegraph and subsequent plotting would be even greater if he'd have simply turned over to a fresh leaf.
Maybe in his absence he wanted his players to walk up and study. Everything on show. But even then, there are at least three separate threads on display. Dulled, I feel, to be less than the sum of their parts. Which coincidentally was a fate befalling his side up to that point.