OM: big character, 3-4-2-1, pressing... who is Igor Tudor, Sampaoli's very likely successor?

OM: big character, 3-4-2-1, pressing… who is Igor Tudor, Sampaoli’s very likely successor?

Unknown in France, but considered in Italy as a promising coach after his good season with Hellas Verona, Croatian Igor Tudor is Pablo Longoria’s priority to succeed Jorge Sampaoli on the OM bench – who has also found an agreement with him. Presentation of his method.

It was him that Pablo Longoria targeted. As explained by RMC Sport, Igor Tudor is the big favorite to take over from Jorge Sampaoli on the OM bench. Internally, confidence reigns to have him signed, so much so that the discussions could end very quickly, perhaps even as early as Monday. Seduced by their exchanges and what he has achieved this season on the side of Hellas Verona in Italy, Longoria is convinced that he is the man for the job. This is not yet the case for all Marseille supporters. Some wonder about the CV of the Croatian, who at 44 has few references as a technician, and wonder if he has the shoulders to apprehend the Marseille fervor and the pressure of a club qualified for the next Champions League, a competition he would discover as a coach.

Instability and big character

For many, Tudor is better known in France for his past as a player. A solid central defender who played more than 170 games with Juventus Turin between 1999 and 2007. A real soldier also capable of helping out as a right-back or defensive midfielder, double Italian champion and holder in the lost Champions League final in 2003, on penalties, against AC Milan by Rui Costa and Andriy Shevchenko. Tudor is also two World Cups played, in 1998 and 2006, during a career weighed down by repeated injuries. For his retraining, he first joined the staff of his national team, before taking the lead by becoming number one at HNK Hajduk Split, his training club. This experience, between 2013 and 2015, remains his longest as a coach so far.

The sequel was not very stable. In seven years, he has known six different benches: in Greece (PAOK Salonika), in Turkey (Karabükspor, Galatasaray), again in Croatia (Hajduk Split) and in Italy (Udinese and Hellas Verona). He also left only good memories where he went. At PAOK, its leaders did not appreciate that he publicly turned on his players. He had taken the door for being too critical. His assertive character was also visible at Juve, where he was Andrea Pirlo’s assistant in 2020-2021. Stayed only a year, he had settled a few scores when he left. “It was Pirlo who brought me in. He offered me the position of assistant and I accepted because it was Juve. But he also took on other people and put us all on same level. It was not fair because after all I am a coach”, he had lamented in the Italian press.

Supporter of 3-4-2-1 in Verona

Which did not prevent him from bouncing back and silencing some critics this season with Hellas Verona. Under him, Giovanni Simeone and his gang ended the Serie A season in a convincing ninth place, and they could have even grabbed a European place without a badly negotiated final sprint. It is especially in the game that his training has seduced. With an offensive style and without complex. “If he is the one who arrives at OM and if he follows what he did in Verona, it will be a big change for the Marseille supporters. He does not make possession an essential part of his play. his game. What interests him is above all to know how his team can impose his system without the ball and prevent the opponent from playing”, analyzes Johann Crochet, Italian football specialist for RMC Sport.

Organized most often in 3-4-2-1, Hellas finished with the fifth best attack in Italy (65 goals), after signing nice shots with success against Roma (3-2), Lazio (4-1) or even Juve (2-1). “This season, Hellas Verona are the Serie A team that have triggered the most off-ball pressing actions and the fastest. They built on the work of their predecessor Ivan Juric. With Juric, it was a a little less vague defensively but Verona had a little more difficulty in scoring. With Tudor, the attacking trident, with Giovanni Simeone, Gianluca Caprari and Antonin Barak, worked very well. At one point in the season, it was even the trio most prolific striker in Europe. We saw clear ideas last season in Verona”, supports Johann Crochet, who notes a real difference between the Tudor style and that, for example, of Roberto De Zerbi, another name mentioned among the potential successors of Sampaoli.

Intensity and aggressiveness

“The Italian is closer to Pep Guardiola in terms of possession. Tudor is totally different. It’s more physical and aggressive. With him, the pressing starts in the opponent’s penalty area. Which the players like , it is the enormous work of intensity carried out in training. Some say that they are rinsed after the training sessions. With him, you have to get used to having a very large volume of races and an explosiveness at the dry cleaners”, emphasizes Johann Crochet. This was described by midfielder Adrien Tameze, at Hellas Verona since 2020, in a long interview for RMC Sport last February. “It’s a lot of races, a lot of bodybuilding sessions, a lot of pressing and one-on-one exercises. There is always intensity in the exercises and in the games”, confided the former Niçois , which has become indisputable in this team where intensity, aggressiveness and individual all-terrain marking were the recipe for success this season.

“Juric and Tudor are coaches who, when you watch them on the bench, even when you’re tired, you know they’re going to kill you if we don’t run. They keep telling us ‘go’, ‘press’, “come back”, “attack”, “again”. They are never tired on the bench”, he said. Personality traits that can make you think of a certain Jorge Sampaoli. “Clubs like Juve, Inter, Naples and Milan like to have the ball, detailed Tameze. Our philosophy is to quickly prevent them from playing, not to give them time to settle, to press them. Our objective against these clubs is to get the ball high to trigger a goal-scoring action quickly. Our system is very effective for that.” While the story could have continued, Tudor made the choice to leave Verona this summer. As if he knew he was going to have an opening at a more prestigious club. In the Talent League?

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