How Dave Challinor is looking to implement total football approach at Hartlepool United

Dave Challinor wants to give his Hartlepool United players ‘license and responsibility’ to express themselves with no player having a set role.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 4:45 pm
Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Boreham Wood at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 23rd November 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Boreham Wood at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 23rd November 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

The Pools boss has looked to implement an expansive approach to his opening five matches so far which has produced plenty of success with three wins and two draws and 15 goals scored.

The fluidity of the side in the final third is exemplified by six different players getting on the scoresheet on more than one occasion since Challinor took charge.

“We’ve hopefully given them more freedom to go and express themselves and with that has come a belief that we do have goals and threat all over the pitch,” added the Pools boss.

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“For the goals to be spread around has been massively pleasing and really rewarding for the players.

“From a team perspective, we’re not thinking we’re reliant on a certain player and if they don’t score then we’ll struggle, adding goals from different areas like we are will give everyone a lift.”

While Challinor wants his players to express themselves, he doesn’t want to lose a sense of discipline on the side as the players take responsibility and act on each others actions and movements.

The Hartlepool manager’s approach isn’t too dissimilar from the fluid ‘total football’ ethos popularised by the Dutch national football team in the 70s where players can adopt a range of positions and roles in response to the movement of their teammates.

“No player has a set role really, we want the shackles off,” Challinor added.

“We obviously change things for certain games in terms of what we want for players but I want to give the players license and responsibility.

“If there’s an opportunity to go forward, do it, and the other players recognise that and sit in or if all the midfielders have pushed forward then a full-back needs to spot that and fill in.

“It’s about making decisions on the pitch that affect the game and players recognising that and taking responsibility where they have to.”

Pools travel to face Woking in the National League this weekend as they look to close the gap on the play-off places.