Godfather Of Champions Chapter 167 1
Chapter 167: Penalty Shootout Part 1
Chapter 167: Penalty Shootout Part 1
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
With their confidence boosted by Wood's wonderful performance, the forest team players united to form a stronghold, defending against Middlesbrough's frenetic attack at the last moment. Despite looking like they were dejected and depressed, and battered and exhausted, they successfully kept the score at 0:0, then went into overtime in the end.
This was a watershed moment. Before this game, Middlesbrough did not think this match would be dragged into overtime, and thus, they launched a frenetic offense in the last few minutes of the game. Although Tang En's heart beat wildly, and his pupils suddenly shrank as he watched the game, he sensed the deathbed struggle within the crazy Middlesbrough ranks.
This is their last madness, and when the game goes into overtime, according to my expectations, the Middlesbrough players will not have any strength left to pose a threat to my goal. This is what happens, when you underestimate me and my team!
Because they had expended too much physical and mental energy in the first ninety minutes for the offense, Steve McClaren did not manage to wait for the moment when the Forest team was unable to hold on any longer. Instead, his own players were under more and more pressure, that they kicked the final shot directly into the stands, which only helped the Forest team out of the siege.
There was a five-minute break between the ninety-minute match and the half-hour overtime. It was not too long, but just enough for the players, who had played hard for ninety minutes, to sit down to catch their breath, drink some water, and listen to their manager chatter on about the tactical layout at the same time. Then, immediately, they had to stand up and continue on into battle.
Such little time was not suitable for a detailed tactical arrangement to be launched. Tang En let everyone sit around him together, and then told them, "In the overtime, we will continue to defend. Once we enter into the penalty shootout stage, we will certainly win!"
Everyone understood the simple and straightforward tactical arrangement that he had explained. He no longer needed to give encouragement. Currently, the team confidence was high, and their morale was flourishing. There was no need for him to say anything more.
After the game went into overtime, as both sides' strength was in deep decline, Middlesbrough could no longer besiege the Forest team, and Tang En intended to delay the time by planning to bring on substitutes. In the first half of the overtime, he brought off the exhausted Crouch, bringing on Rebrov, and at the last moment of the second half, Clint Hill replaced Gunnarsson, who was so physically maxed out that his legs were cramping.
Until the last moment, except for the goalkeepers, only George Wood was still able to sprint back and forth. This was also the most important guarantee that the Forest team had not lost the ball during the overtime. His physical strength was completely astonishing.
McClaren also used his last substitution quota during the overtime in order to try and make a last-ditch attempt. However, Zenden, who had just come on, encountered the same problem as Downing, as he tried to use speed to break through George Wood.
Like McClaren, he thought that Wood, who had run for one hundred minutes already, would not have the physical strength to tangle with them. But, alas, they were wrong. It was as if George Wood was being brought on the same time as Zenden. There was no problem with his physical strength, and his running speed was not affected. He also caused Zenden, who was in front of him, to tumble.
"George Wood, a perpetual motion machine!" In the end, Andy Gray simply gave this indefatigable guy a fitting moniker.
Guided by "the Perpetual Motion Machine", the Forest team persisted, until they obtained what they most wanted to see amidst the loud booing of the Middlesbrough fans, the referee finally blew the whistle to officially end of the 120-minute game!
"The game is over! Of course, it's just the 120-minute game that has ended! After a long battle, both sides entered the penalty shootout stage! This is the moment Manager Tony Twain wants to see the most. But, can his team beat Middlesbrough in a penalty shootout?" Gray was skeptical about this. Among the managers, who deliberately dragged the game into situations which they liked to see, but then realized that the outcomes were not what they wanted, well, these types of incidents were quite common. "A penalty kick largely depends upon luck to determine the winner ..."
Tang En squatted on the turf, the players sitting around him, gasping for breath. He held the name list for the players, who were going to represent the Forest team in the penalty shootout. The game had finally reached the moment of his plan. He, who had held on till his opponents' last moments of madness, had never been more confident. Yes, I can win! I can win my first championship trophy, ever since I have been a manager! If you want to ask me the reason, my answer is: No reason! I just believe I can win!
Gazing at the players sitting around him, who were being massaged by the medical team, Tang En shook the list in his hand and said, "I've heard this argument numerous times, that they think a penalty kick is a competition of luck, and the winning side is luckier than the loser. Now, I want you to know what a load of crap this is! If a penalty kick is just relying on luck to determine the result, why do we have to repeatedly practice it every day for one week? Let me tell you what the factors are that determine the final result of a penalty kick: Confidence and willpower! Just these two! Do you believe you can win this final battle? We've endured 120 minutes of difficult challenges, and we've successfully come to the end. Now, is there still anyone who doubts that we can win?"
"No, Boss!" the players answered loudly, despite their exhaustion.
"Very well! I know you have never doubted, because you are my players and you strongly believe as I do that the final victory must belong to us. You are all strong-willed warriors, who are never easily shaken! Close your eyes and think about the path you've gone through so far this season, then recall about the opponents we've overcome and the difficulties we have faced. When we were at our worst situation, in the away challenge against Millwall, what kind of game was that?" Tang En guided the players patiently and systematically. With their eyes closed, the players scowled and clenched their fists, remembering. The players who had not experienced that game also closed their eyes. Tang En did not care what they thought, because none of his players came from Millwall.
"From the traffic jam, riding the subway, the encounter with the football hooligans, all of this, then we finally won! 7:1! We shut everyone up, those who had laughed at us and humiliated us! A Premier League team couldn't stop us, and we have reached the finals. Before all these things, how many people would have thought we'd end up at the Millennium Stadium? No one, except ourselves. We have made so much effort to defeat one opponent after another, stomp on their bodies to get to the throne, and now we are only one step away from that glittering crown! What reason do we have to fall down here? I know you're all very tired, someone's even got a cramp in his legs." Tang En looked at Gunnarsson, wearing a team jacket, while he was being massaged by the team doctor on one side. He was bought by the former Manager Collymore, but his professional spirit and attitude had made Tang En choose to continue trusting in him, and he was glad had not misjudged him.
"But now ... Even if we have to climb, we will climb up, too! There's no difference whether we lose in the last step or in the first step, we will all be losers! We must win! We must certainly win!" Tang En clenched his fist and growled. His gritted teeth and fierce look made everyone also feel his thirst for victory and the championship.
Walker quietly watched Twain do these special "penalty kick tactical arrangements". According to common sense, most managers would try their best to lessen the pressure on the players before such an important penalty shootout, telling them to be normal or to let go of the outcome. Only Tony tried his hardest to make everyone understand that winning was the only way out, to let them know that they must win this game, and to give them increased pressure, so that they may rise to the occasion. Was he not afraid that the players would be crushed by the pressure? Or was ithe believed in his players more than most managers would?
Suddenly, a thought came to his mind, and he boldly stated, "I trained them, and they will be able to do it when I need them to." Tony's voice was filled with pride, like a general watching rows of well-trained soldiers walk past him into the battlefield. He trained them, and trusted them, and they had repaid his trust with real actions.
The boss said that we can win, then we will definitely win! The boss said we can do it, then we can certainly do it!
Why? You're asking me for a reason? Why? I can't tell you, because we don't know, but we believe in him, just as he believes in us. It doesn't need any reason!
Walker thought, perhaps this was a manager's charisma. Just like his boss, Brian Clough. Although he rarely appeared on the training ground, and he would only see him a few times a week, everyone was willing to follow him, believe his every word, and even obey his arrangements. If the boss had said, "Guys, we need a win", then they would fight to win the next match.
And this kind of manager was becoming more rare nowadays. It was the age of a player's outsized personality now, and the manager was becoming an unqualified worker. They directed the game, but could not discipline the team. They could be dismissed by the boss at any time, thus becoming the team's scapegoat for a poor record. Without saying anything else, would a manager now dare to slap the team's main players? Would he dare to punch a player in his stomach, due to poor performance? Risking being late for the UEFA Champions League final, just to get a player to return to the hotel to shave his beard?
No, there would never be such a manager anymore. Because, such men would absolutely not last long in today's football environment!
Though Tony would not dare to slap his own players, and would never let the players shine his shoes, he was really like "The Boss" in some areas! It was no wonder Bowyer said that there would be people who would compare Tony with "The Boss".
A manager, who could win the hearts of the players, and made them willingly to follow him, was truly admirable!