*The lines below are based on a free translation of chosen excerpts from a text originally written by Rafael Nakamura.
— ooo —
Like any good strategist, Scolari first defines his objective and then outlines intermediary goals to achieve it. And as anyone will tell you, the mission of a football team is to win titles.
– But how do you win titles?
– By having a strong, confident and regular team/player squad.
– And how do you assemble strong teams?
– With money.
– And where does the money come from?
– From sponsors, ticket sales, etc.
– And how do you increase these revenues further?
– In many ways, one of the best being to participate in the Libertadores Cup.
However, Felipão knows that he’s not sitting on the best team in the world. And in the Brazilian Championship, Palmeiras is quite far behind the current top three. However, Palmeiras is still alive in the knock-out style championship South America Cup, where we could be considered one of the stronger teams. Thus, the objective becomes clear: in order to assemble a stronger team for 2011, Palmeiras needs to win the South America Cup, which today constitutes the shortest route for gaining access to the Libertadores Cup.
In the light of the above, the logics change. Even with Palmeiras’ doctors affirming that Lincoln is fully recovered from his injury, Scolari only lets him on the pitch in the final moments of the games. However, on practice sessions, Lincoln and Valdivia are often seen playing side by side, forming what could prove to be a fantastic offensive force.
There are also indications that Scolari has been using the Brasileirão as luxury training sessions. Why otherwise change a 3-5-2 formation that had not suffered a goal in three games for a 4-4-2 formation that immediately lost 3-0 at home? He is experimenting. In the same way that he’s testing new players in new positions, having them gain rhythm and become used to tactical changes before and during games. This is absolutely essential, as the player squad is limited. With his experience, Scolari is building a complete team from an incomplete squad.
As a supporter, the above can at times be hard to understand, especially as you want your team to win every match. But Scolari knows that this is not how you go about things. He has an objective, he has priorities and a plan of action. He cannot throw this away in order to please the cheering crowds who act out of love for the team. Scolari stands firm – also because he himself loves Palmeiras.
Thus: patience, palestrinos. We’ll have a strong team next season. We’re in good hands.