It wasn’t so long ago that Jadon Sancho was staring at a run of form that had seen him go 202 days without scoring a league goal, but now the Borussia Dortmund forward seems to be back to his very best.
A goal and an assist in Saturday’s Bundesliga clash with RB Leipzig was the second time in just six days that the English forward had stepped up and dominated a match for Dortmund. Football changes in an instance and it now seems as though Sancho is back on the straight and narrow.
But how much of Sancho’s change in form is down to the club’s decision to replace Lucien Favre with interim head coach Edin Terzic?
A fresh solution to old problems
According to German broadcasters Sport1, the new coach has taken a far great hands-on approach to dealing with Dortmund’s many young talents and is often seen having long, one-to-one conversations with Sancho during and after training.
The club also reportedly allowed the England star to take a brief winter break to Dubai, where he was able to meet up with his dad after both were separated by COVID restrictions in England and Germany.
Unlike Favre, who often favoured squad rotation over a dependency on in-form individuals, Terzic also seems far more interested in putting a greater degree of pressure and responsibility on the likes of Sancho, Erling Haaland and Gio Reyna to perform each and every week without fear of being swapped out of the team for little reason.
And when we look at the 20-year-old’s form since Terzic came in it certainly seems as though his man and squad management is having a positive impact on the player.
Sancho back to his best
In the five games leading up to Favre’s dismissal at Dortmund Sancho was averaging just 0.2 goals and assists per 90 minutes and an average xG of 0.14. Since Terzic has taken over the player's goals and assists have shot up to one P90, while his average xG has also risen dramatically to 0.47.
Similarly, while the player’s average touches in the box per game has gone up slightly from 2.6 to 3.6, his shots on target P90 has risen quite notably from 0.2 to 0.8 P90, while his shot assists have almost doubled from 1.8 P90 to 3.2 P90.
Aside from his actual goals and assists, the most dramatic change in Sancho is his demeanour and how hungry he now looks to take on any nearby defender when he gets the ball. This is also backed up by the player’s successful dribbles P90 standing at just 1.2 in the five games prior to Terzic’s appointment but now averaging around 3.2 P90 under Dortmund’s interim head coach.
It remains to be seen whether Terzic will be handed the job permanently in the summer, but for now everyone at Dortmund can rest a little easier, safe in the knowledge that the change in coach seems to have got Sancho back to his best.