The players.Then tell me which of the two has changed from last season, when the team was doing well, Dean Smith or the players?
First of all, I'm not making any argument.The jist of your argument is that the manager should adjust his tactics and formations to suit the opposition, whilst doing so with several new players.
Secondly, my response to you was to clarify your misunderstanding of what Knutson was saying with regards to a comment made on here about Smith having 'streaky' periods. You felt that was inconsistent with something he'd said previously. The reverse is actually true, it's entirely consistent with Knutson's analysis of the stats, even though it's only his interpretation of them. No-one is saying he's right I don't think.
The jist of which is this: when Smith has the players available to implement the playing style he wants to play, they can be very successful, aka, end of last season with an attacking three of Jota, Vibe, Canos. When he doesn't have the players available, aka, this season and an inexperienced front three of Watkins, Maupay, Clarke, it's not proving very successful, either with goals scored or high xG chances created. Should he be adjusting his tactics/strategy to take this into consideration is the question?
This is one plausible explanation for why Smith and the teams he coaches and selects go through good periods and bad periods.
I don't think anyone is really suggesting or advocating any radical changes to playing style or strategy. But I do agree with Ted Knutson, that the most successful managers have the ability to fine tune and adjust according to the opposition and players available to play. Smith doesn't appear able to do this.But maybe you, too, imagine that DS should be able to accommodate new personnel AND change the tactics, even the ethos, of the club, all within the space of seven League games at the start of a new season?
We do seem to be heavily dependant on the fitness and availability of our best players in terms of performance.