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Do we miss dominating games (in possession)?

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by andersj, Mar 7, 2019.

  1. Mar 7, 2019
    #1

    andersj Nick Powell Expert

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    First of all, I understand that it is hard to miss anything at the moment. This has, for me, been the best two-three months in probably 20 years football wise.

    Second, this post does not have much to do with last night. I did not expect us to dominate possession at any point without Pogba, Herrera or Matic.

    When Ole came in we had played boring football for the best part of five years. I never expected him to make us this good and I never expected him to manage to make us this entertaining. It has been incredible and we should probably just enjoy the moment. But yesterday it became quite clear that OGS will be our next manager. I’m both excited and very curious where he will take us when he get time and resources to put his stamp on us.

    While many of the ingredients in what we used to know as Man Utd-football is back we could still improve some parts of our play. While LvG-possession style is awful, I always loved the pragmatic and proactive approach Ferguson had. In my opinion his style was a bit similar to this years Liverpool or Spurs at their best (please dont let this be the topic, if you disagree, that is fine).

    But how do we get back there? We probably need to improve the fitness of our squad?!

    Will new players solve much? For instance a new right back and winger? Will players like Smalling, Bailly and even Jones limit and maybe even prevent a more «proactive football»?

    What type of midfielder should we prioritize? Someone similiar to Pogba that can play both next to him and replace him (Eriksen, B. Fernandes etc)? Someone with different qualities that are more suited to «keep us ticking» (a type similar to Modric, Kroos, Verratti, Scholes etc), either instead of Matic or Herrera?

    Or will OGS continue building on the type of football we have seen so far, just trying to add a few new qualities to the mix?
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  2. Mar 7, 2019
    #2

    Grande Full Member

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    No.
  3. Mar 7, 2019
    #3

    Skills Snitch

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    Well ideally you want to see your team have as much of the ball as possible (because that's what you're there to see - your team play football). Van Gaals execution and recruitment was awful to make the most of it.
  4. Mar 7, 2019
    #4

    el3mel Full Member

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    I agree. Our ball retention skills are so so bad for a big club imo. We usually end most of our big games with possession less than 40 and win those on counters most of time.

    I think this needs to improve in the upcoming season. I won't say to dominate possession, but possession should be shared between us and the opposition and it becomes a back and forth, a 45-55% possession or something.

    I don't think Ole wants to just play on counters and surrender possession all the time. It's just some of our players tend to lose the ball very cheaply which gives the opposition a chance to dominate.

    It's something to improve that's for sure.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  5. Mar 7, 2019
    #5

    Bojan11 Full Member

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    Give Ole pre season. The players next season will run more, we will sign players better in possession at the back and midfield. Ashley Young whenever he gets the ball his first decision is to kick it long. We need a CB who has decent ball skills. We need a midfielder who can dictate the game like Carrick.
  6. Mar 7, 2019
    #6

    youngrell Full Member

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    Under SAF we often had superior players to most of our opponents, so naturally dominated the ball better.

    This group of players is never going to out pass teams like Man City or Barcelona, nor should they be trying to.

    We are playing to our strengths and when up against lesser opponents we usually have greater possession anyway.

    We were sloppy on the ball last night, but we were also in a different shape with a lot of stand in players. I have no doubt we'd have improved on this with first choice midfield.
  7. Mar 7, 2019
    #7

    andersj Nick Powell Expert

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    + its tricky to change a style overnight after Mou has implemented his style for more than two years.
  8. Mar 7, 2019
    #8

    ayushreddevil9 Full Member

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    I am pretty sure we will have more of the ball in some big games next season(assuming Ole's still at the wheel). We will sign players that are capable of doing it.

    Currently its just making the best use of what you have and we are doing it pretty well IMO.
  9. Mar 7, 2019
    #9

    andersj Nick Powell Expert

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    I agree with regards to City and Barca, but what about the games against Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea? We had little possession and very little in their half.

    I enjoyed these matches, but can we improve some areas of our play?
  10. Mar 7, 2019
    #10

    GJNJ Full Member

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    There are 2 phases of attacking play that Ole has mentioned a few weeks ago. 1 is the fast forward passing and the second is breaking down teams sitting deep. I think at the moment the focus in the little time he has been here is on the first one, but we do give the ball away too quickly sometimes when the counter isn't on and in general the passing has been poor at times (Ole has also said this too) especially towards the end of matches when we should be more in control. Although he's been winning this is still a transitional period and the true patterns of play will probably be next season with a preseason and some additions to the squad.

    In general I'd rather see us fast attacking with less possession then possession for the sake of possession like under lvg.
  11. Mar 7, 2019
    #11

    abdo99 Full Member

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    No I'm not worried. football is a game of momentum. it was with us yesterday for the last 15 of the 1st and last 15 of the 2nd. our defending was only suspect before Ole made the tactical change. for the rest it was fairly comfortable. When we had our spells of momentum we circulated the ball very well and went toe to toe with them. PSG relied on counter attacks by the end.

    what we did yesterday is better that what PSG did and more diffcult. both teams had equal shots on the goal yet one did it with significantly less possesion and 10 players missing. give it pre season and few extra signings we'll be as good as Zidanes RM. capable of switching between different styles and formations like double edged sword and dispatching teams with ruthlessness. I can already see the similarites here.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  12. Mar 7, 2019
    #12

    andersj Nick Powell Expert

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    I agree! As I said, Fergusons pragmatic approach was brilliant.
  13. Mar 7, 2019
    #13

    JJ12 Correctly predicted Portugal to win Euro 2016

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    I think that's something that's going to be worked on long term - new signings and a pre season will be huge for that.

    However it will be like Fergie's United so won't necessarily dominate like a City or Barca but a lot more than what we've had in bigger games this season.
  14. Mar 7, 2019
    #14

    Nick7 Full Member

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    We can improve, but what I missed is dominating in terms of the score. Can't be understated that Ole is only here 2 and a half months in the middle of the season in a very hectic stage of the season. We can improve and I think we will with more time and understanding of Ole's game.
  15. Mar 7, 2019
    #15

    Bobcat Full Member

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    Yeah. I appreciate Young for a lot of reasons, but hes lost a fair bit of pace now and it leads to a lot of hoofing when hes put under pressure. Lindelof is great playing out from the back, but you cant say the same for his CB partners


    -------------DDG------------
    Dalot--???--Lindelof---Shaw
    -----Herrera----???---------
    -----------Pogba-------------

    Another good ball playing CB and a skilled box-to-box MF or anchor to partner Herrera (Fred?) and i think we are going to be a lot better at keeping possession. I like Smalling, but his hoofing is infuriating at times. Matic has been good since Ole took over, but hes not a man for the future.
  16. Mar 7, 2019
    #16

    mu4c_20le Full Member

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    No. When you dominate possession, that means the opponent has nine or ten men behind the ball. We've seen in Jose's first season how frustrating that is. Even under SAF we've never strived to dominate possession against the big sides.
  17. Mar 7, 2019
    #17

    ReallyUSA New Member

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    How quickly people forget the meltdowns that were happening with LvG.
  18. Mar 7, 2019
    #18

    Fahad Jawaid Full Member

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    I think its a combination of both, one that we have a certain style which is geared towards quickly hitting the team with pace rather than slowly dismantling them with passing and movement.

    Secondly we have alot of players who are awful at keeping possession so if we adopt to that style alot of players will not be suitable to that style. (Rashford, Lukaku, Young, Smalling, Rojo, Bailly, Mctominay, Fred, Sanchez, Perriera, Darmian).

    I loved the style we played in 2006/2007, the lineup in that season was mostly.

    VDS
    Neville Rio Vidic Evra
    Ronaldo Scholes Carrick Giggs
    Rooney Saha

    what is noticeable in that lineup is almost every player was good in possession with special mention to Scholes, Carrick and Giggs who hardly gave it away.

    Therefore in order to improve it we need players who are good in possession specially at CB and CM Positions which are essentially where you need ball players who are comfortable on half turns, plus we seriously need to stop with Ashley young, i think every match he has the highest amount of balls given away carelessly. I lost count at the amount of times he plays that stupid pass on the wing. Lastly we need a groom Rashford, i love him but he needs to be better with the ball, he does not need to be Mbappe but improve himself like Saha who had a amazing holdup and combination play. It will give us a new dimension in attack and improve our possession play immensely.
  19. Mar 7, 2019
    #19

    Irwin99 Full Member

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    The home games against Juventus and PSG were a bit alarming at times because they were so much better on the ball than us and listening to Ole it seems he's aware of this and wants to improve. Domestically it doesn't seem to be as important though. I'd rather watch a lightning quick counter attack and high intense pressing than possession for the sake of it.
  20. Mar 7, 2019
    #20

    RedCurry Full Member

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    Possession isn't about how many goals you can score. It only takes a second to score. It is more about how much fewer goals you concede and how much rest you can afford to your players within the game. If your team has the ball, you have to do a lot less chasing back. Majority of your sprints are towards the opposition's goal. You'll also notice that teams that play possession style football have relatively lesser muscular injuries over the season due to relatively lesser fatigue.
  21. Mar 7, 2019
    #21

    adexkola Arsenal supporter

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    People need to go watch old United games if they think Ferguson was all counter attack like Mourinho or Big Sam. We were really good at increasing pressure on the opponents box in the last half of the game, especially if we we're a goal behind or needed a result. And you couldn't do that without having the ball.

    I will never understand why people's first go to when possession is mentioned, is LVG.
  22. Mar 7, 2019
    #22

    andersj Nick Powell Expert

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    Vidic was probably our weakest link «on the ball». And he was much better than Smalling, Jones, Bailly etc in this aspect. In terms of his passing, he was probably even better than Lindelof.
  23. Mar 7, 2019
    #23

    Raven Full Member

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    I think I may have made a post like this at the start of the season while Jose was still here. I saw so many similarities. An underachieving team, for years with an incredible, young, yet underperforming squad. Just needed the right man with the right passion to take them forward.

    Edit: and more experience
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  24. Mar 7, 2019
    #24

    AKDevil Full Member

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    Valid question. First half was scary how much we couldn't retain the ball and it just kept coming back and back. Feel last night was a slightly unusual situation with the injuries etc. Between Pogba, Herrera, Matic and Fred, our most senior midfielders, they can all handle the ball.
    Having said that, United style, which is what we've gone back to, is not necessarily about hogging the ball but playing fast football which I guess leads to more turnovers.
    Our possession under Mourinho was poor because of his awful, negative, hopeful tactics.
  25. Mar 7, 2019
    #25

    Sir Scott McToMinay Full Member

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    I never remember a posession dominant United team in the 25 years I’ve been following the club.
    Sure there was that ultra defensive posession style under Lvg, but that was masturbation, not domination.
  26. Mar 7, 2019
    #26

    izec Full Member

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    There is a difference between dominating possession and being so bad at it that you cant get hold of the ball. We dont need to dominate possession, but we should be able to keep the ball and attack with possession.

    You need the ball to also get out of pressure and move the opposition around. If you surrender possession like we did against PSG and Juve, you will just get dominated and concede too many chances. It is no coincidence we barely score from open play in these games. Having the ball means you are in control and we arent most of the time. I like to be in control and when not in possession, give the ball to the opposition because of tactics rather than not being good enough to keep it. Nobody says we should have 70% of the ball with 2 shots on target, but be good at it that the opposition cant play around like they want to whenever they feel like it. Be active yourself when you want and dominate parts of games in periods at least. Currently, we arent able to stamp our play on top sides and have to adapt a more passive and defensive role, even if we want to keep the ball, we get dominated if the other team wants to attack. That isnt good. A good mixture and flexibility is as always the key, rather than one strict style.
  27. Mar 7, 2019
    #27

    Adisa likes to take afvanadva wothowi doubt

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    I agree. Our ability to keep the ball is abysmal.
  28. Mar 7, 2019
    #28

    Dion Full Member

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    Cardiff 75 - 25
    Huddersfield 65 - 35
    Bournemouth 65 - 35
    Newcastle 66 - 34

    Reading 40- 60
    Tottenham 38 - 62
    Brighton 56 - 44
    Arsenal 37 - 63
    Burnley 75 - 25
    Leicester 56 - 44

    Fulham 48 - 52
    PSG 44 - 56
    Chelsea 33 - 67
    Liverpool 35 - 65
    Crystal Palace 55 - 45
    Southampton 65 - 35

    PSG 27 - 73

    So the only games where we weren't dominant in possession were the Reading game (Cup game, second string, 3 days after Newcastle), Fulham (2-0 up away from home after 20 minutes, 3 days before PSG) and Spurs, Arsenal, PSG x 2, Chelsea and Liverpool. From those games we have 6 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss with a combined goals for and against of 14-4.

    I think we're doing alright to be honest.
  29. Mar 7, 2019
    #29

    RetroStu Full Member

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    In one of Van Gaals seasons, we had the highest possession stats out of any team in Europe over the whole season, and the football was boring as feck.
    I think possession is one of those stats that people think you're the better team if you have more possession than the opponant, or you 'deserve' to win the game if you have more possession etc. Football doesnt work like that though.
  30. Mar 7, 2019
    #30

    Andycoleno9 Full Member

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    We don't have specific style. We play like Real under Zidane. We rotate slow tempo with possession and quick counter attacks. But when we go in defensive mod, it is not like we park a bus. Except Spurs, no other team didn't create much chances while we were in defensive mod.
  31. Mar 7, 2019
    #31

    youngrell Full Member

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    Well, they were all away games so we can expect them to have the lions share there. Think it would be similar at OT in our favour.

    Of course I think we can improve but I'd rather be winning these games than controlling them.
  32. Mar 7, 2019
    #32

    Walters_19_MuFc Full Member

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    Not really. Yesterday night was an Athletico Madrid style performance. Two banks of four, narrow and countered. Football is not all about dominating possession but what you do when you have the ball and we made it count.

    Having said that, we dominate most games and have done possession wise under Ole. This shows that we're adaptable and can change our style if/when needed. Some teams haven't got the ability to do so.
  33. Mar 7, 2019
    #33

    Andy_Cole Full Member

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    Bring back LVG!

    Sack Ole
    Sell Pogba
  34. Mar 7, 2019
    #34

    MrSingh2002 Full Member

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    No, but when he has better players who can control the tempo of a game like a Scholes/Kroos/Pirlo then we can contemplate keeping the ball more if required.

    Our current squad is more suited to counter attack so play to our strength for now. If we wanted to keep more ball we'd need a ball playing CB and CM. Pogba on his day can do it too.
  35. Mar 7, 2019
    #35

    Leftback99 Full Member

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    Apart from under LVG I can't remember us ever being a team that dominated possession, particularly in Europe, even when we had Scholes and Carrick.
  36. Mar 7, 2019
    #36

    Infra-red Full Member

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    Not quite true. The football under Van Gaal was certainly mind-numbingly dull, but we were never really top of the tree when it came to actually keeping hold of the ball.

    In 2014/15, Bayern, Barca and PSG all averaged a lot more possession over the course of the season than we did. In 2015/16, we ranked 12th in Europe, behind sides like Arsenal, Wolfsburg, Lyon, Fiorentina, Nice and Dortmund.

    Under Van Gaal, there was obviously more of a focus on passing than under Ferguson, Moyes or Mourinho, though. Ole doesn't seem too bothered about it, either.
  37. Mar 7, 2019
    #37

    R'hllor Full Member

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    We should be able to have decent amount of possession even when we under pressure, never had anything against being defensive in general but examples like last night in certain moments when we looked like Sunday league team is not acceptable for me and not sure is that quality on the pitch related. When you win the ball and instant lump it forward aimless, sure you can do it few times during a game but if you do it as idea or way of play, nah, thats a no go for me.
  38. Mar 7, 2019
    #38

    WensleyMU New Member

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    Dominating the ball was never something I associated with United. Speed of attack was the thing United had. Zero to goal in 10 seconds.

    Of course we often did have more of the ball/possession but we didn't really dominate in the way the possession sides do. We didnt need to. In fact, until maybe 2011, when Barcelona had schooled us for the second time, the primary possession based team we faced was out bitch (Arsenal). It was dull and overrated and it still is.
  39. Mar 7, 2019
    #39

    breakout67 Full Member

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    Possession is meaningless. Fixing our movement of the ball is what matters. Smalling and Young in the same line-up will guarantee a pressing trap that forces Smalling to pass to Young who hoofs it down the line to a non-existent right winger.

    Get a more well rounded CB and a proper right side and we won't turn over the ball after the first sign of pressure.
  40. Mar 7, 2019
    #40

    Jib Full Member

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    Pogba, Herrera and Matic aren't possession players...

    Pogba always look for the " killer pass" while Herrera and Matic are workhorses...