Xabi Alonso: a deep dive into his management style and philosophy

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Former Cheap Liverpool Football Shirts For Kids and Real Madrid star Xabi Alonso, synonymous with elegance and control in midfield, has opened a new chapter in his football career: coaching.

His coaching philosophy is a fascinating blend of influences, honed under the tutelage of some of football’s greatest strategists. Having played under Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, Alonso has a unique perspective on different styles of play. This rich tapestry of experience informs his approach on the touchline, where he prioritises a possession-based, fast-paced system.

A mix of possession and pace

Alonso’s teams are all about ball control. They like to dominate possession and use compact triangles to move the ball around the pitch effectively. However, their obsession with possession does not translate into sterile, lateral passing. There is a clear emphasis on verticality, with direct passes aimed at unlocking the opposition defence. As Granit Xhaka, a key player under Alonso at Bayer Leverkusen, explains: “The coach wants us to keep the ball, but possession doesn’t mean we have to go from right to left. We have to look for our strikers and we know the quality we have in front of us.”

The threat of the counter-attack

While Alonso’s teams prioritise possession, they also possess a potent counter-attacking weapon. When they win the ball back, they focus on aggressive transitions. Players are trained to exploit loose balls and launch quick attacks on goal. This approach reflects the influence of coaches like Mourinho, who instilled in his teams a relentless counter-attacking philosophy.

Xabi Alonso: a deep dive into his management style and philosophy

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Flexibility is the key

One of Alonso’s strengths as a coach is tactical flexibility. He does not stick to one rigid formation. For the 2023-24 season, Alonso’s preferred formation is a 3-4-2-1 with three centre-backs, full-backs, a double pivot in midfield and a trident, but he is also willing to experiment with formations such as 4-3-3 and 3-4-3. This adaptability allows him to tailor the team to his needs. This adaptability allows him to tailor his tactics to his team’s strengths and to exploit his opponents’ weaknesses. In an interview, Alonso underlined the importance of this flexibility: “I want the players to be stimulated by different things and not be limited to knowing what to do in one situation …….. In different situations, if you start with two centre-backs or three centre-backs, it’s a completely different situation.”

A coach in the making

Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen was Xabi Alonso’s first managerial position. He was appointed on 5 October 2022, replacing Gerardo Seoane.

Prior to that, Alonso cut his teeth as a coach in the youth ranks at Cheap Real Madrid Football Shirts For Children before taking over as coach of Real Sociedad B in Spain’s Segunda Division B.

Xabi Alonso’s coaching career is still in its early stages, but the early signs are very promising. His ability to combine possession play with quick counter-attacks, coupled with his willingness to adapt formations, make him an exciting prospect. Inspired by the tactical brilliance of his former coaches, he is forging his own style on the wing. With his tactical knowledge, leadership skills and experience as a world-class player, Xabi Alonso is on his way to becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of football management.

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