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Sunday football in Barcelona - A lesson in humility

Total Football continues its series of diary entries from Jasmit Jabbal, a Sunday League football coach with a difference.

It's one thing getting together with a group of mates from the pub for a match on Hackney Marshes on Sunday morning.

Jasmit faces a different set of challenges, as he tries to mould a successful Sunday League side in that great footballing region - Barcelona.

A Lesson in Humility

After matching our tally of wins from last season we faced the daunting challenge of playing the best team in our division.

We all agreed that this game had probably come too early for us, because, although we have clearly made progress in our attempt to go from the side with the wooden spoon to genuine contenders playing the Spanish style of football, we still have a lot of work to do.

The aim has always been to see whether we can change the mentality of players through coaching to play a simple passing game, in an effort to discover whether this is the best way to play football; if a terrible amateur side can adopt it and be successful then surely it is.

However, what happened instead was that the side reverted to type and we suffered a heavy defeat. To stand a chance of beating Rizo Recard we needed to stick to the game plan, take our chances, and hope for some luck.

Rizo are made of mainly French players and play a short passing style in their area, and then revert to a direct ball over the top.

Neglected the game plan

Their goalkeeper has a huge kick and they have a talented centre midfielder who keeps the ball ticking over. Unfortunately, we missed the two key chances we created, had no luck and neglected the game plan as soon as we went behind.

In the end we lost 5-1 in a result the flattered our opponents. We worked hard and put in a lot of running, but in the end we neglected short passing football, which is the whole point. The following week we played the other of the big four in our division.

We also got stuffed again. This time it was a 6-0 thrashing that flattered us. This time it was FCUK who battered us, it what was the worst performance I have witnessed in a side I have played for.

We did not create a single chance, we did not pass the ball and in the end our goalkeeper was man of the match, which says it all.

So what positives can we take from these two awful results?

Well we have learned the following:

• This is amateur football, and although we are conducting an experiment here we must keep it fun and enjoyable, people are dedicating their time and money to play and it is imperative that we do not lose track of the fact that this is a social occasion that people are doing for fun.

• We need some perspective; our side won only two games last season. This season we have already matched this feat and the sides that beat us will finish amongst the top four.

• We have made progress, illustrated by results against poorer sides, now we must ensure that we stick to passing football against the better teams.

If you are going to lose, lose trying to do the right things. We now have some pivotal games against mid-table sides which will be a truer indicator of our progress.

We were bottom last season, a mid-table spot in January will be seen as progress.

The defeats have humbled the players, but also they will have learnt it is better to pass it and try to win then knock it long and hope for the best.

Let us hope we can recover, much like Arsenal has, and I can report back with some positive results.


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