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I remember my lecturer a few years ago using a word/phrase/expression to describe a seemingly easy problem that is actually quite hard to fix (e.g. if a football team keeps losing games, everyone looks at the problem and goes "oh, well just replace the coach and that'll fix it", when in reality the problem is much more complex/nuanced than that).

Hopefully someone can help!

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Perhaps "Fixing the symptoms but not the root cause" is what you are looking for. Or "It's anything but child's play."

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Some examples are:

  1. 'there's more to this than meets the eye'

  2. 'a wolf in sheep’s clothing'

  • #1 seems apt, but #2 seems for a different situation? – k1eran Mar 3 at 2:25
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"Easier said than done" is a current saying for a seemingly easy problem that is actually quite hard to fix.

If you say that something is easier said than done, you are emphasizing that although it sounds like a good idea in theory, you think it would be difficult to actually do it. Collins

  • Avoiding mosquito bites is easier said than done.
  • I know I should stop thinking of her, but that's easier said than done.
  • I think of this applying when what is said is actually what should be done, but it’s not as easy to actually do: “To walk on a tight-rope just keep your balance and stay on top of the rope.” or Monty Python’s to play a flute just blow in one end and move your fingers up and down on the other end. OP is asking for something where the “obvious/trivial answer” is not the real answer. – Jim Mar 3 at 2:30
  • @Jim "To walk on a tight-rope just keep your balance and stay on top of the rope.” doesn't sound easy at all. Imho the saying only applies when the proposal sounds easy: to play a flute just blow in one end and move your fingers up and down on the other end might fit. "Replacing the coach in order to win the championship" sounds very easy, but won't necessarily be effective. – Centaurus Mar 3 at 13:01
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It’s harder than it seems/looks/appears/etc.

For example

Enjoying the Moment: It’s Harder Than It Seems.
- https://psychcentral.com/lib/enjoying-the-moment-its-harder-than-it-seems/

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