Piet Cremers: Young analyst who's now a key figure at Man City
Written by Simon Austin — January 19, 2022
AT 26, Piet Cremers is younger than the average age of Manchester City’s playing squad (27) and almost half the age of their manager, Pep Guardiola (51).
Despite his callow years, the Dutchman has become an important and influential member of Guardiola’s backroom staff at the Etihad though. Last July he was promoted to become their Head of Performance Analysis and Insights, replacing Aaron Briggs, who had left after nine years to join Monaco (where he is now assistant manager).
Cremers manages a team of performance analysts who - as their title suggests - analyse performances in training and matches using a combination of video and data (there's an article here with more detail on what exactly performance analysts do).
But, even more than that, City's performance analysts have focused on individual development in recent seasons, which is where Cremers has come into his own.
After a short stint as Under-23s performance analyst, Cremers was promoted to first-team duties under Briggs in August 2018. The duo did a lot of individual work with players, mainly in conjunction with Mikel Arteta, who was on Guardiola’s coaching staff until leaving to become Arsenal boss in December 2019.
“For example they did a lot of work with Raheem Sterling - on the timing of his runs into the area, on the positions he should take up in the box and his shot selection,” someone who has worked with Cremers at City told TGG.
“They used a combination of data, video analysis and one-on-one coaching. This was when Pep really realised that this approach to individual development could reap huge rewards.
“Piet has something of a hybrid role, because he integrates with the coaching team, data science and video analysis, but this is increasingly how the game is going at the highest levels.”
Last July, with Briggs having departed for Monaco almost a year earlier, Cremers was promoted to Head of Performance Analysis and Insights. It’s a senior job for one so young - and until recently you wouldn’t have seen anyone of that age on a senior coaching staff (see also Carlos Cuesta, another 26-year-old, at Arsenal) - but it made a lot of sense.
“Piet isn't an ego and he's humble and level-headed,” the insider said. “Pep realises you have to surround yourself with the right people. It's been the perfect storm, with Piet being in the right place at the right time, but he's made the most of all his opportunities."
Cremers works closely with Carles Planchart, who has been Guardiola’s performance analyst and assistant since his time in charge of Barcelona B, and also with Brian Prestidge’s data science (Insights) team. Sometimes he acts as a bridge between the data scientists and coaching staff.
The Dutchman joined City in January 2018 after 18 months as a performance analyst with their partner club NAC Breda. During his time with NAC he had liaised with Briggs and impressed with his statistical and video work.
In a 2016 interview, Cremers explained: “We not only analyse the match footage (at NAC), but we can work with the players on a daily basis.
“We work according to the expected goals model. That is a probability calculation programme. By means of knowledge sharing, both clubs make each other stronger."
Prior to NAC he had worked for a season with Brentford and also for Excelsior Rotterdam and NEC Nijmegen in his homeland. His ascent has been a rapid one and it will be interesting to see how it continues, with analysts becoming increasingly influential on club staff, with some earmarked as the managers of the future.