How Do Football Teams Recover From Humiliating Defeats? Conclusion

This post is a companion piece to the first part


Forgetting The Idea of Forgetting

Dan Quinn couldn't get over his defeat because he probably acted as all professional athletes do in such situations; Try to forget it.

This is the fundamental problem of forgetting, that it is an automatic, spontaneous act that does not require any effort. In fact, we are not sure it is correct to describe it as an “action” in the first place, because how do we forget things? Of course, being busy with other things helps, but there is no such thing as trying to forget. The real magic of forgetting is that it happens without even trying.

So it failed with Júlio César and the generation of Brazil, whose footballing death was announced by the Germany Sevens, and therefore it will fail with everyone who tries to bypass it in the same way often because everyone confuses forgetting and transgression and most crucial difference between those concerned is that transgression is preceded by understanding.

This is what no one does after such a defeat. Who wants to analyze a match in which they conceded 7 goals from a historic rival? Exactly the opposite is happening. Trying to avoid everything related to the match, or rather, escaping from the memory of it, and escaping is not synonymous with forgetting, of course.

This instinctive behaviour leaves a person prey to his imagination, and whenever the victims remember - so to speak - the match, their minds manipulate them, adding details and omitting others, so they end up with a distorted version of what happened, exaggerating self-flagellation or vice versa; Exaggerate your opponent.

This is an understandable part of the process of dealing with trauma as described by the Kübler-Ross model. The only problem is that the same model does not extend over the years as it did with Cesar. All this time transforms a defeat in 90 minutes into something like the ghouls and witches you used to hear in your childhood, and you only realize their truth after you reach puberty, after years of unwarranted terror.

This is what makes the first and most important step of all is to kill these fantasies by subjecting what happened to serious analysis. The internet is full of reports and analyses giving you the usual common sense advice such as “you gotta hang on”, “don't let defeat get you down”, “don't let the doubt get to you”, and “now you can buy our guide to recovering from heavy defeats from your historic opponent for only $44.99".

This is all beautiful and wonderful, but of course, it is not useful. César must have tried to hold himself together and not let defeat affect his level or doubt seep into him, and he may have bought the evidence as well, but he did not benefit from anything. These tips are like someone telling you: "If you want to be a great player, you have to train." Well, that's fine, but then what? How do I train? How often do I train?

The paradox here is that this question is the same question that everyone asks after similar defeats: What exactly happened? The problem - surprisingly - is not that the answer is impossible, but quite the opposite. Any of them can go back to the game, analyze it and extract all possible answers, but what really prevents everyone is embarrassment and fear, in addition to the hysterical ridicule that will be exposed to anyone who tries to think about such situations.

The good news is that Manchester United can really analyze and understand what happened. Indeed, that was exactly what Ten Hach did following Brentford's early-season 4 goals defeat. He sat his players in the conference room and watched the game together and reviewed some footage, then he took them to the training ground to run the kilometres that the Brentford players beat them in the match.

How did they do it? A lot of humility, and a lot of courage too. The second paradox here is that in the aftermath of such humiliating defeats, arrogance may take hold of the loser, so the players exchange blame, trying to deny themselves the accusation. Correction, as he did after the Brentford quadruple when he ran with his players.

Truth And Nonsense

Two-thirds of the world's crap is generated by social media platforms following similar matches. You know how it goes; How legends are made from 90 minutes, how “memes” and “comics” attack the loser, and how the result erases any correct behaviour that its players did during it. The logical first step is to detach from the hysteria and look at what happened objectively, no matter how painful it may be.

This is what will reveal to the Manchester United players that they made a very good first half, which will reveal to Ten Hag the mistake of leaving one of the Liverpool backs free while pressing, and how that caused the first goal, and it will also reveal the change in the way Liverpool pressed in the second half with Harvey Elliott joining the lead trio, which contributed in the second and third goals, Bruno, Shaw and Lisandro's psychological, mental and professional collapse after the fourth goal will also be shown.

Thus, the myth turns into a reality that can be refuted, studied, and learned from, and thus negative feelings are invested in a clear plan of action with specific measurable and experimental steps.

This is what helps collective sports teams overcome similar defeats, and this is what they never do because they are embarrassed to relive the events of the match, or because they succumbed to all the exaggerations of the media and the masses after it, or because their imagination deluded them that the defeat occurred for unexplainable reasons, or because they did not They are still in the stage of denial and are not ready to admit that what happened actually happened, and the result is that all attempts to forget backfire, so do nothing but remind them of the bitterness of defeat.

This is the real difference between a fan and a professional player; The latter is required to learn from his mistakes, and there is no way to do that except by studying and analyzing them, and in that process, an additional advantage is giving him the humility necessary to continue in these competitions. This is something that players like Bruno and Shaw need to learn, for example, because their overwhelming desire to win, and their exceptional competitive spirit, make the impact of those defeats stronger on them than others.

This is what Dr Vergen noted in the same study she conducted. It is the highly competitive players who suffer the most from humiliating sports scandals, simply because they cannot accept them and therefore cannot get over them.

In Conclusion

In the end, analysis and study are what transform "the ghoul" from a mythical being that embodies your worst nightmares, whose limits are the same as the limits of your imagination, into a logic that can be dealt with, discussed, and subjected to experiment.

Analysis and study are the only way to turn things upside down, because - believe it or not - these defeats are often a double-edged sword, and just as the "death drunkenness" of the loser causes another kind of intoxication for the winner. A kind that makes him incapable of analysis and study in turn, drowning in post-match hysteria and its glorious moments, and at that time the imagination does what he did, and delusions of what did not happen, so he believes that the result expresses the difference in the real level, and this is the mistake that the loser does not have the luxury of committing.


About that match: Brazil 1-7 Germany - The Analyst
When Everything Suddenly Stops Working: The Causes of Team Collapse in Team Sports - Frontiers
How to deal with heavy losses - Online Soccer Academy
Football; A mix of mixed feelings - Tech Talk
High altitudes and overwhelming lows; Is being a sports fan good or bad for your health? Conversation
What happens to your body and brain when you watch sports? - NBC News
When you watch your team fall apart; Coaches, Psychologists, and Players Analyzing the Causes of Team Collapse - Frontiers
Quinn on the Super Bowl: "It's in the past, but I'm not over it yet." - NFL
Julio Cesar's March - Transfermarkt
The five stages of dealing with trauma and grief and how to deal with them - CNN
How do you cope with losses without losing confidence? - Soccer Psychology Tips
12- How do you see lessons in defeats? Peak Performance Sports
Liverpool 7-0 Manchester United; Analysis - Football Made Simple
My Post: Erik ten Hag's Two Faces: Bloody Fist
My Post: Erik ten Hag's Two Faces: The Other Guy


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Haha Loved the tweet about the 7-up with Carragher. Summing up your article I think it all really comes down to a mental game doesnt it? How often do teams in sports go into half time so far up that they come out for the second half a different team because they've already thought they've won the game.