Although they are countrymen and ex-players, Paulo Sousa and Luís Castro — technicians Flamengo and Botafogo who face each other this Sunday, at 11 am, in Brasília — see football and manage their teams in different ways. While the alvinegro appreciates the team with two defenders, a pair of wingers and attackers on the side looking for one against one, the red-black bets on the scheme with three defenders and two wingers, with Gabigol free to float in front, and midfielders coming from behind. However, there is a similarity between the two coaches: the importance of the midfielder on the pitch.
Patrick de Paula and Oyama are for Botafogo what Andreas Pereira and João Gomes are for Flamengo. The first ones arrived with a title brand, but they didn’t fall in favor with the fans. More affordable options, the pair that follows fit better in the scheme of the two clubs in terms of defending and organizing the team to attack.
“It’s a light. It’s the turntable, it connects the central aisle to all the others. It’s the firefly of the team. I look at the steering wheel in the offensive and defensive moment – explained Luís Castro in an interview with “Bem, Amigos!”.
At first, Patrick de Paula was hired to be that point of light in the Botafogo team. The most expensive signing in the club’s history (R$33 million), the midfielder arrived with star status.
In the debut match of the Brazilian Championship, against Corinthians, it was the number 8 who played this role. In the offensive transition, he tried to get the ball at the foot of the defenders when the three-way exit did not work and participate in triangulations in the attacking field. But Castro’s idea with Patrick didn’t pan out. In the following matches, Luís Oyama was chosen for the vacancy and corresponded with more marking power and intensity, a word often used by the Portuguese coach.
— I think my moment is precisely this phase that Botafogo is going through, a reconstruction. It’s the opportunity of my life, my first Série A,” Oyama told BotafogoTV.
If in last year’s series B, shirt 55 played as a second midfielder, protected by a first midfielder, in the current team he is the one who covers the defense, often playing as a head of the area – in the defensive phase, the Botafogo plays in a 4-1-4-1 scheme — but without failing to appear in the attack.
Since he arrived, Oyama has been a starter in the four matches of the alvinegro in the Brasileirão – he cannot play in the Copa do Brasil, as he played in the competition for Mirassol. With an average of 80 minutes per game, he is the Botafogo player with the most tackles, 14.
“The whole committee is helping me a lot in terms of developing so much defensively, which I think is an aspect that I have improved a lot, and offensively as well,” he said.
At Flamengo, the pressure on Andreas Pereira since the failure in the Libertadores final has become unbearable. The 25-year-old Manchester United midfielder lost space, dropped production, and should have his loan terminated without Flamengo buying him for R$60 million. In this vacuum, João Gomes grew up and will renew his contract with Flamengo soon, with a salary increase.
“There’s a lot of volume in the game, with and without the ball. Physically very strong, the best we have as a midfielder in duels. With this structure, the typology of players we have, we need players with physical, mental and commitment capacity”, said Paulo Sousa about the 21-year-old boy from Ninho.
In Flamengo’s structure, Gomes gives minimal protection to a defender who builds plays in a 3-4-3 scheme. Still, he needs to articulate more in attack with midfielders and wingers.
“Something that has to improve is the ability to pass mid-long”, observed Paulo Sousa.
Coach Paulo Sousa should start Gomes alongside Willian Arão, as Pablo should return to the team. But, if on the one hand he has the defender again, Paulo Souza will not have Santos (with a hip injury) and Pedro (pain in his right thigh).