Brighton and Hove Albion manager Gus Poyet has given a damning verdict on the state of English football.
His solution? Teams should play more like the Seagulls, currently three points clear at the top of League One with games in hand.
Poyet, 43, praised his Albion side for playing more of a passing game, keeping possession and having the tightest defence in the division.
His remarks came in an interview in The Mail on Sunday as Albion prepare to take on Premiership side Stoke City in the FA Cup 5th round tie next weekend.
The newspaper summed up Poyet’s criticisms of English football as a game played with “too much aggression, too much fear and not enough skill”.
The Uruguayan coach prefers to build on the basics.
He is convinced that if home-grown players adapted as well as the Brighton squad, the England side would have more international success.
He cited a simple lesson from his 15 months at Albion, according to the newspaper, saying: “’It’s well known in England that when the ball is going forward every centre-half in the division loves to head it as high and as long as possible back down the pitch.
“We do that if it’s a 50–50 ball. But if we are on our own, I tell them to bring the ball down. Don’t just give it away.
“That doesn’t mean we never play the ball long.
“It’s not like we only pass the ball but we have made a big change.
“If you are able to convince your players, then you can get both sides into your game.
“You can get the aggression, the craziness, the pace, the commitment, the good part of English football.
“But also you can do the other side.
“It’s also about taking risks.
“To win you need risk.
“When you play long from the back and kick it away into the last third, you don’t take any risk. It’s easier.”
With the move to the Amex Community Stadium imminent, the paper said that Poyet appeared keen to stay at Brighton.
He was quoted saying: “My mentality now is to stay here for a long time.
“If we can do the things we are doing here, then why not?
“I want to prove that what I believe works.”
After 14 years in England as a player, coach and manager, Poyet has much invested in building success, not least through the progress of his teenage son Diego.
Diego is a trainee at Charlton Athletic and plays for the England under 16s.
The Brighton boss added: “If I see the name Poyet on the England shirt, it’s going to be strange.
“But he got British citizenship last week, so why not?”
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