Steve McClaren faces another challenge at Twente

Majid Mohamed
136477160 300x200 Steve McClaren faces another challenge at Twente

Twente's new coach Steve McClaren toasts with chairman Joop Munsterman

Steve McClaren replaced Dutch coach Co Adriaanse last week after a combination of problems led Twente chairman Joop Munsterman to let the manager go with still six months remaining on his contract despite good results in general.

Twente have evolved from a club that attempted to challenge the traditional big three clubs in the Netherlands in 2008 – Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord – to a club that is now part of a top 5 along with AZ. There will be pressure to maintain recent high standards but McClaren’s previous history with the club should give him time to achieve his targets.

Twente under Co Adriaanse ended the 2011 with three successive defeats including a loss to Feyenoord in the league, Wisla Krakow in the Europa League and PSV in the Dutch Cup. These defeats led to the players and staff losing trust in the methods and tactical choices of Co Adriaanse. McClaren enjoys a good relationship with Munsterman and will know most of the key players at the club who remain from his previous time Twente.

The Twente squad may have changed but the staff remains largely the same since 2010. McClaren’s staff will include Boudewijn Pahlplatz, Alfred Schreuder and Youri Mulder.

Only Belgian coach Michel Preud’homme and more recently Co Adriaanse have taken the helm at Twente since McClaren left to join Bundesliga side Wolfsburg in 2010. McClaren may have to prove his loyalty to Twente as some fans believe his decision to leave after securing the championship trophy was motivated by the money on offer in Germany. The Yorkshireman returns to a club that is organised and well run. McClaren will continue to play attractive football but this time will be expected to build his side with more youth players at the club.

Under Co Adriaanse Twente used a 4-2-3-1/ 4-3-3 formation with McClaren likely to stick with his favoured 4-3-3 that he employed in his first spell at the club. Co Adriaanse relied heavily on 6ft 5in target man Marc Janko but it is unlikely that McClaren will resort to such tactics. Young Dutch striker Luuk de Jong should flourish along with wingers Nacer Chadli and Ola John in the new system of play to be adopted by McClaren and the coaching staff. Twente fans will expect less high balls aimed at De Jong and Janko.

Twente have the third highest budget in the Eredivisie, only below that of PSV and Ajax. They are currently third in the league just five points behind leaders AZ. Hopes for a Dutch Cup triumph were dashed by a defeat to PSV before the winter break. McClaren will therefore be expected to challenge for the title but finishing in the top four is a minimum requirement along with a strong showing in the Europa League this season (Twente will play Steaua Bucharest in the round of 32). European qualification via the league is a must for the club.

In terms of transfers it is unlikely that Twente will buy any players in the January transfer window. McClaren faces a challenge to keep key players such as Douglas, Ola John, Nacer Chadli and Luuk de Jong this month and in the summer. It is fair to assume a key player will leave in the summer for a new challenge with Twente having to be creative to acquire a replacement for a significantly smaller sum than they receive. It is a situation that Twente are familiar with.

In the 2009/10 season Twente managed 27 wins in the 34 league games on their way to the title. He recorded 65 wins, 20 draws and only 17 defeats in 102 official matches. That’s an impressive 83 per cent of games that he did not lose, which will be very difficult to improve upon.

Picture:Getty Images

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