Jacek Gmoch in an interview with “Wprost” summarized the past training camp of the Polish national team, which was the first during Michał Probierz’s term of office. – We did not use our advantages in the area of freedom. Non-sporting factors could have contributed to this, but we were a bit distracted, and that’s important. We have problems with our defense line. It is very difficult to find players who would have above-club standards, the coach noted.
Karol Osiński “Wprost”: : Two matches for Michał Probierz as the coach of the Polish national team are behind us. Four points scored in matches against the Faroe Islands and Moldova. Are you satisfied?
Jacek Gmoch: We wish every coach well. It’s too early to draw conclusions, let’s keep an assessment distance. The Polish national team has been under evaluation since Nawałka left. She is given greater value than what she is. We want it to be this way, but it doesn’t happen. Successive coaches are breaking their teeth to create a team of these players. I believe that in recent years the condition was to build the national team around Robert Lewandowski and make it younger. All coaches had this obligation. Nawałka did not succeed, then two European-class coaches arrived – Sousa and Santos, and they also failed. Various problems that we saw in communication… Sousa was tempted by money and he saw earlier that it would be difficult to do anything with this national team, so, speaking in quotation marks, he escaped. There were so many specialists, but the foreman was nowhere to be seen, as Michnikowski’s classic says.
Even before Michał Probierz was hired, there was a lot of talk about the need for freshness and freshness in the Polish national team. Did you notice it in these two meetings?
I believe a top-class coach was needed and Santos’ problem was his way of leading the team as a conductor. There was no contact with the players, there was none. It’s hard to imagine conducting in three languages. It all came together. He’s a top-class professional, but he couldn’t cope because this communication, especially in motivation, is very important. I have no doubt that we will improve here. There are several players in this team whom the coaches know, such as Przemysław Frankowski. Michał Probierz has his group sort of behind him from the very beginning, so there are no communication problems. However, it seems to me that all the national teams that existed did not meet the most important condition, i.e. they did not become a team.
We had youth debuts, we scored three goals, but the fans expected results above all. We were two points short of the total, and considering who we played against, we can’t necessarily be satisfied. What do you think went wrong?
Winning the first match as a coach is very important. I always mention Nawałka and his friendly match against Germany. He was a bit lucky, because after the World Championships, the Germans were rebuilt and they found a fork in the form of the Nawałka team. You need to have material for motivation, to base it on something, and it is based on everyday life. Michał Probierz’s first match was a bit lucky, although playing in the Faroe Islands is very difficult. Two issues arose here: the artificial surface and the weather, but also the character of the team. Despite everything, we played somehow, scored a goal quickly and then played with ten players. You also need to be cautious before judging your first victory. They also had difficulties in the form of difficult flight, and the artificial surface also leaves its mark, it tires the players. Small things lead to great victories.
I want to help the national team coach. The first half was completely different with a different attitude. Touchstone tried to motivate the team, which was visible in the second. It was a completely different team. We won the running duels, even though we had little rest, everything worked fine. Let’s look at Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. When a player cannot cope in the position designated by the coach, he does not play, he simply does not exist. He has to play in every position he needs to because this is the future of football. I used to say that the ideal football in front of us is one in which players can play in any position with the same result. This is what we are aiming for in the theoretical ball diagram. The goalkeeper is also a man who has to use his feet very well. In high pressing, he plays like a libero, outside the penalty area. This is a development, so consideration of positioning is unnecessary.
In the match against Moldova, the coach decided to change Piotr Zieliński’s formation compared to the first match against the Faroe Islands.
Piotr Zieliński’s position was changed because we have to play comprehensively. We play surprise football, breaking the zone into which the defenders also have to enter. A player of this type, at this technical level, as well as Szymański, should play wherever the coach orders him. The interchangeability of items is a constant process that will happen. I call it my own way.
Density – what is it? Just look at the teams: Czech Republic and Faroe Islands. They played what was modern. Just look at what positions the players on both sides play. This is what I call density, and we don’t use it, I don’t see it. This is very important. The forerunner of all this is Guardiola, and even the Faroese and Czechs played this way and had to struggle to score a goal and win the match.
In the first half, the team did not show proper motivation, it was visible. What would you do if you were the coach in such a situation?
This is kind of bothering the coach, and I want to help him. This is very hard work and you have to respect the person who undertakes this task. In front of our audience, we were motivated by the match we lost in Chisinau. I felt agitated, so like other fans we were thirsty for blood, but our team didn’t show it. This is the first problem that caused us to score a goal. In the second half it was clear that they played differently, they bit the grass and won the duels, because earlier we had lost both in the air and physically. It was eye-catching. The match was arranged in such a way that the stands fell silent.
Touchstone is not a sorcerer and will not perform miracles. He made changes because he had to and I think that’s how it should be. I would prefer the coach to be guided by reason and knowledge, not intuition. It is needed because it can add arguments and this is important, it should be used, but much less frequently.
The coach surprised by fielding two attackers against Moldova. I’m tempted to ask about the strengths of this national team, do you see them at all?
We played with two strikers and I think it’s a very good idea. We did not use our advantages in the sphere of freedom. Non-sporting factors could have contributed to this, but we were a bit distracted, and that’s important. We have problems with our defense line. It is very difficult to find players who would have a supra-club standard. High pressing, but also medium pressing, was not our best. I can’t find another word for it than density. There is a specific value of players’ concentration per square meter depending on how they handle the ball. We have an open space on the left side, because we hope that if the ball goes long, we will change the position.
So what changes need to take place for the game to reach the level we expect?
The atmosphere was different before, now it is better. It was visible in the first match and also in the second half of the match against Moldova. Great communication between the players is visible. There is this group of players who spit blood for the coach and they set the tone. This is how you have to accept the honorable role of a player of the Polish national team.
Do you appreciate Piotr Zieliński’s work as captain?
As captain he also has another role on the pitch. I didn’t see it being a problem, but changing the captain in football democracy means that the team chooses a specific player. There was definitely an agreement, because there are some laws, that it works this way.