One of Michael O'Neill's most overused words during his time as Northern Ireland manager was 'scenario'.
In his distinct Ballymena twang, he often sounded akin to the great Sir Alex Ferguson when addressing an issue.
During his eight years in charge of the national team, he had plenty of 'scenarios' to deal with from eligibility, lack of first-team football for his players, strikers failing to score, recruitment, player behaviour and improving the overall international experience for his squad.
But the major scenario he often referred back to was moving away from a team that promised much in his early years, but failed to deliver.
He hated that scenario.
O'Neill was desperate for Northern Ireland to move away from a side that was consistently feeling sorry for itself and to start showing an urgency and ruthlessness in games rather than being the plucky underdogs.
He often referred to other teams being 'streetwise' and his players were too honest.
What he demanded most of all was that his players arrived in camp with an incredible level of fitness which allowed him to develop and execute his game plans.
His message clicked: Northern Ireland became more aggressive, threatening and exciting. As confidence grew, the goals came.
He utilised the strengths of his players to pin back the opposition, even if they were considered far greater in quality, and pressed high.
During Ian Baraclough's tenure so far, we have seen glimpses of the formidable Northern Ireland but on too many occasions the bad habits have returned with individual errors proving costly, the team going ultra-defensive and a worrying concern about where the goals are going to come from.
Also, when you have little faith in your goalkeeper, that is just another mental and physical issue for the defenders to deal with.
O'Neill had time to evaluate and make the necessary changes.
It was a work in progress because while Northern Ireland won their group in Euro qualifying for France 2016, the style of football actually improved in the years after the tournament.
Baraclough will not be blessed with time. Forget the fact he is nearly halfway through his 18-month contract, which will come up for review after the World Cup qualifiers, it is the major concern that key players may no longer be able to have the same influence on games as they once did.
Age waits for no man so even if the likes of Steven Davis and Jonny Evans continue well into 2022 and beyond, their bodies may not be able to produce the type of performances we have all come to expect from them.
While there are some good young players coming through - Ali McCann has been a great addition to Northern Ireland's midfield, while Daniel Ballard continues to impress - it's unlikely the quality of Davis and Evans will be replaced during Baraclough's time.
Then you have the perennial problem for Northern Ireland - who will score goals?
During the 2008 Euro qualifiers it was David Healy who was banging them in, and then in qualification for France 2016 Kyle Lafferty became the hero.
Without a ruthless finisher in the team, it's such a difficult job to win a game of football. Northern Ireland, under O'Neill, were able to do it for a few years as everyone contributed. But, as we've found out, that can't last forever. Dion Charles is scoring goals for fun at League One level and it looks like he will get a move to the Championship in the summer, but we just don't know what he will be like at international level because he has never been tested.
Then we have the realisation Northern Ireland are no longer a major threat from set-pieces following Gareth McAuley's departure and the counter-attack, which was a major weapon for the men in green, hasn't been as effective.
In Parma on Thursday night, during the second half against Italy, Northern Ireland showed they are still capable of producing that bruising and battling display which pegs a team back, forces them into mistakes and creates plenty of chances. However, when opportunities at this level arise, they must be taken.
Bulgaria on Wednesday night under the Windsor Park lights would be an opportune time to put that right. Even in the early stages of this World Cup qualifying campaign, it is win or bust.
It's a difficult scenario, a scenario Northern Ireland are not used to, having started their last three qualifying campaigns off in positive fashion, but if they are to be major players in Group C this time then it's time to front up and become the aggressors once again.