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Important Period[]

Managers in need of something inspirational to say in a press conference often identify an upcoming series of matches as an ‘important period’.

A boss like Sam Allardyce whose side are eleventh, with no real chance of honours or relegation, will frequently be heard to remark that ‘we’re about to enter a very important period’, often adding that there are ‘a lot of games, a lot of points on offer’.

Regularly-Identified Important Periods[]

- The Christmas period

- The Easter break

- Two or more home games in a row

- Any time teams close together in the table are playing each other

- Any other point of the season

Tactical Importance Of The Important Period[]

Cannier managers like Sir Alex Ferguson have made cunning use of this tradition to fire up their players. Manchester United’s legendary ‘treble’ of 1998-9 is often put down to Ferguson’s statement on the opening day of the season that ‘the next nine or ten months are a really important period for us’.

Conversely, managers who admit that their side is entering an ‘unimportant period’ will often see results suffer. Roy Hodgson endured a terrible run of results as Blackburn boss after letting slip on Match Of The Day that he was ‘not too fussed about the next few, actually’ and ‘wasn’t sure he would make it’ to the next match, a home fixture with Manchester City. Hodgson then produced a hanky and blew his nose repeatedly for the rest of the interview.