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HUGHTON'S NOTES

Posted on 17 October 2006  - 12:00

Chris Hughton travelled to Istanbul to watch Besiktas on Sunday night - here is his assessment of our opponents before the UEFA Cup group stage clash on Thursday night.

Chris Hughton travelled to Istanbul to watch Besiktas on Sunday night - here is his assessment of our opponents before the UEFA Cup group stage clash on Thursday night.

WE'VE watched a lot of tapes of Besiktas and it was what I expected. First of all it's a good stadium with a very, very passionate crowd. They won 1-0 on Sunday, the stadium was about two-thirds full and they are expecting to be full on Thursday.

The opposition - Glenclerbirligi, who started the game mid-table - played well and gave them quite a few problems but Besiktas were quite strong in the end. Even though it finished 1-0, they could have added another couple towards the end.

In most of the games we've watched it's been very much a 4-4-2 system with either a diamond shape in midfield, so four defenders, two strikers, one player behind the front two, one holding midfielder, one left and one right or sometimes a flat midfield four. I also know they've played at some stage with four in midfield in a 4-4-1-1, one front player behind the striker. Basically it's a back four and variations in midfield and up front.

BESIKTAS TRAVEL ADVICE

On Sunday the went with a diamond in midfield with two strikers who both worked very hard, chased everything and were strong in the air. If anything, Tigana would have played a diamond shape at Fulham and they were always a very good footballing team, but Besiktas are a very big side and always have that option to hit the front.

The offensive players did well. Nobre and Gulec up front, two hard-running centre forwards who look for flick-ons and worked very hard across the line. Possibly the biggest threat on the night was Delgado, the Argentinian who was at Basle, who played behind the front two and is a very talented player. He's certainly one if allowed to have time on the ball that can hurt teams with his passing. He was on all the set-plays and can play behind the front or just off the front.

They have a young player in Burak Yilmaz who is a real talent. He played right-sided on Sunday but he can also play just behind the front. A good runner with the ball, good striker of the ball and he's scored a few goals for them this season.

Richardinho, who didn't play, is another of the Brazilians with a wonderful left foot who can play anywhere on the left side. They have a back four with a holding player and the left-back, Uzlmez, got forward more than the right-back Toraman - outside of two fairly big centre-halves. Zan was the goalscorer on the night, he's 6ft 4ins and a threat in the air, but also good on the floor.

They are a good side, a big side and a side used to this type of competition.