OL–Besiktas: Florian Maurice analyses the Turkish team

Florian Maurice

The OL recruitment manager spent last weekend in north-east Turkey to observe his team’s next Europa League opponent. Florian Maurice watched the Black Eagles earn a deserved win away to Trabzonspor, another ace of Turkish football. Maurice played against Besiktas when he wore the Paris jersey, and he accepted an invitation from OLweb to decipher the play, characteristics and the strengths… of the Istanbul team.

Lessons from the match at Trabzonspor

 I went to see them play on the weekend in their 4-3 win over Trabzonspor. They’re a good team. They have a lot of strengths, particularly on an attacking level. But that’s not all, because above all they have a well-oiled squad, and are compact and very well organised. There’s also a lot of team spirit and aggression in the team’s playing style.

A system and a playing philosophy

 When I saw them play, they started with a 4-2-3-1 but I don’t think that that was a strict formation, it was open to evolving. This system enables them to go forward fairly quickly and utilise their many attacking strengths with Taliska, Cenk Tosun, Ricardo Quaresma… In midfield, they depend on players who work a lot, who put a lot of effort into winning the ball. They have some very good players but I don’t think that they have an individuality that comes out, that is particularly evident. They’re in the service of a very well organised squad. That’s what I took away. 

Besiktas celebrate in their 4-3 win against Trabzonspor


(little known)

player to watch closely

 Cenk Tosun is a very important player in this team. He’s a forward who’s very skillful in front of goal, who has a strong presence in the opposing penalty area, who is very active and who is capable of scoring. He is one of Besiktas’s strong points and therefore a player to watch. There’s also Talisca, who is a good player, and Ricardo Quaresma, who’s already known and who can make the difference at any moment. I don’t know if he’ll recover from his injury in the last match. 

An absence of weight

 Vincent Aboubakar's suspension (sent off in the last European match against Olympiakos) is something to take into account. Even if he doesn’t always start, he’s an important player for Besiktas. His absence changes things a bit. Physically, he works and weighs heavily on the opposition defences, while often being decisive in front of goal. It’s a big absence, but one that doesn’t fundamentally change the team.

Story: Flo Maurice and Besiktas

Even if he admits to not really having many precise memories of his matches, Florian Maurice has already crossed paths with Besiktas. It was in the 1997-98 season when he was wearing the colours of Paris. In effect, PSG met the Istanbul team twice in the group stage of the Champions League. Former Lyon players Franck Gava and Paul Le Guen were also at the party. As was Joël Bats, coach alongside Ricardo that season and now goalkeeping coach.

An eye on Turkish football

 From the matches I’ve seen, Turkish football has reached a very good level. There are some big teams in the league. There are some very intense matches, fast-paced, competitive. But it’s also a very promising league on the tactical and technical levels. And Besiktas has been the best team in the Süper Lig for some time.