Your team is on the rise. You feel the pressure increase, the opposition withdraws and shares nervous looks as they look for a way out.
If you were in the stadium, you would now be out of your seat, with that knot in your stomach, knowing there is something to give quickly.
A swarm of shirts buzzed around the penalty area. Another hacked clearance and the ball crawls out for a throw-in. It’s coming.
Drinking breaks have been brought in since football resumed for the rest of the season
Then the referee blows. Everyone stops. That’s it, time for a break. Get out of the drinks.
Football has had to undergo many drastic changes to be able to return in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. No fans, no handshakes, five substitutions – and two breaks. As close as possible halfway through each half and with the ball in a neutral area, the referee will stop the procedure so that everyone can freshen up.
Or, as Jose Mourinho calls such breaks, “tactical breaks.” “When someone says it’s just a break, we all know it’s not true,” said the always-cynical Spurs manager.
“It is a tactical break. You can help one team that is in the negative moment of the game and you can kill the dynamics of a team that is in a high, that’s for sure. ‘
It is worth noting that Mourinho called for the introduction of such tactical timeouts in 2014 after seeing Louis van Gaal do with Holland at the World Cup.
After his Manchester United team fought back from a goal to win 5-2 at home against Bournemouth, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: ‘I don’t think the water break is necessary when the weather isn’t hot, but we’ve got a lot of games in a short space, so it was decided we needed it.
“I don’t think we need it on days like this and the weather in Manchester. It gives teams the opportunity to reorganize and maybe we needed that here. ‘
Jose Mourinho says the breaks help the team who don’t have the upper hand in the game
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said, “I guess we don’t need them one day like this in the sense that it’s not hot. It was a bit of a gray day in Manchester, but certainly in other games it was good. ‘
Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray, whose team lost 3-1 to Leeds at home, said: ‘I’d like to see a bit of common sense from someone at the EFL. They need to see that it pees all day and doesn’t stop.
“Why on earth do we need a drink after 20 minutes is beyond me. It seems that the legislation has gone crazy, to be honest. I understand why we did it – in June and July it may be 30 degrees and we’ve had it like this for a few weeks.
‘Breaking drinks after three weeks of preparation makes sense, but here it was only 13 degrees. Before the game, the only thing an umpire said to the managers was: “It’s pouring out, no need to take a break.”
Matt Piper, former Leicester City and Sunderland winger and now a match reporter on BBC Radio Leicester, said, “You can feel the frustration of the players. You can also see it. It kills any momentum you are trying to build.
“Take Leicester’s game against Everton. Leicester was busy in the second half. I thought there was a goal imminent, you know when you can feel it.
“Then the ball goes out for a throw-in. Usually they took a quick one and got to work with their foot on the gas.
Drink breaks were brought in because matches came thick and fast for the rest of the season
Then boom. Breaking drinks. It just killed it. This gives Carlo Ancelotti time, he makes a substitute, slightly changes his tactics and it kills the game for the team on the rise.
“Five minutes before the drinking break, Jordan Pickford is wasting time, people are trying to get it out of the stadium. Ridiculous. “
The Premier League’s reasoning for introducing breaks was admirable and finally based on medical advice. And it is clear that there are no plans to lose them before the end of the season.
But Swansea head coach Steve Cooper said, “I’m not sure if these breaks are necessary, especially in the first half.
“There might be an argument for it in the second half because it’s a physically demanding schedule, but I don’t think people watch games and think, ‘the boys need a drink’.
“I don’t think the drink breaks have helped us if I’m honest. It’s no excuse, but the little speed we got against Luton (Swansea lost 1-0) was killed by the booze. That’s our fault – no one else. It was the same in our game with Millwall. We need to manage those restarts a little better. ‘
Manchester United manager Solskjaer said he doesn’t think the drinking break is necessary
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa takes a hands-on approach and says, ‘This is the recommendation. I started to adapt to this. ‘
As for the fans, Harry Robinson, writer for Manchester United fanzine United We Stand, said, “If it’s frustrating watching from the couch, it would be even worse if fans were allowed into the stadiums.
One of the major advantages of football over cricket, rugby, NFL, is that the game flows with only one major break during half-time.
“And we cannot be naive. There is always that fear of a slippery slope once TV companies see the advertising potential in a drinking break.
“I understand the argument for breaks, but it affects momentum.”
Additional Reporting – Joe Bernstein