Lack of pace despite having it in our squad

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by tomaldinho1, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. Aug 28, 2018
    #1

    tomaldinho1 Full Member

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    It's been clear to me, since the PL started getting more and more competitive that having pace in your attack is probably the most important thing when thinking offensively. This is especially true on the flanks when you deploy two wide attackers, as seems to be the norm with most top teams. For me pace comes in two parts: speed and acceleration.

    I have never been a huge Lukaku fan and this isn't a thread against him, or Sanchez or anyone but I would bet we have one of the slowest accelerating front threes in the league. Our starting team has been a Sanchez-Lukaku-Mata front three before for example. These aren't players who can take people on or go past a man regularly - this is crucial playing the way we do because to threaten the opposition whe you sit deep you need both out balls (impossible without pace) and the ability to counter (impossible without pace). Lukaku is quite fast once he gets going but was easily marshalled by Alderweireld/Vertonghen who are relatively average pace-wise because he's so big and heavy his acceleration is probably the same as theirs, if not slower.

    We actually have a rapid front three of Rashford-Martial-Lingard if we were to try and use it. All three are fast, Rashford incredibly so and all three have great stop start acceleration, especially Martial with the ball at his feet.

    Mourinho has nothing to lose and must have been sick of Lukaku missing chances and touches last night and how poor Alexis looks in general. Why not try the young guys out, teams will have to sit deeper to account for their pace at the very least.
  2. Aug 28, 2018
    #2

    Ronaldo's ego Full Member

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    Of course pace is a huge asset but it’s not more important than decision making and being able to attack as a cohesive unit. Put pace with clinical finishing, being able to pick the right pass and being on the same wavelength as your teammates and you have a frightening opponent. Pace alone is just...being able to run faster.

    Front three of Martial, Lingard and Rashford jut isn’t good enough. Sure, every once in a while they’ll catch someone on the counter but over the course of a season they’re not anywhere near consistent enough
  3. Aug 28, 2018
    #3

    Rozay Master of Hindsight

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    The speed you move the ball at is far more important than the speed of any individual. This is where we lack the most.
  4. Aug 29, 2018
    #4

    sergiosigurvinson New Member

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    I'm still wondering why didn't the club go for Axel Witsel.
    A few articles in the Belgian newspapers (interviews with Martinez) made it all clear. Witsel is the key player in the Belgian team.
    He runs the dressing room, he is a tactical genius in the dressing room and on the pitch. He adapts himself immediately to any new player coming on the pitch. He is very strong, skillful, plays one touch football and has a lot of grinta. The only thing he lacks is the real speed.
    He costed Borrussia Dortmund 20 million euros, and at the moment they are already over the moon.
  5. Aug 29, 2018
    #5

    Keeps It tidy Hates Messi

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    Weird thread to post this post. And I actually think gambling on Fred was a better move for us.
  6. Aug 29, 2018
    #6

    OverratedOpinion Full Member

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    I've always thought Axel Witsel is a bit crap.

    Yeah we move the ball to slow, statistically the slowest in the league in fact.
  7. Aug 29, 2018
    #7

    charlenefan Far less insightful than the other Charley

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    Indeed and once again this all starts at the back with those so uncomfortable on the ball they only ever pass sideways instead of forwards
  8. Aug 29, 2018
    #8

    abdo99 Full Member

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    It's not about pace only. It's about the mind also. There has to be understanding and cohesion, knowing how and when to make the runs to hurt the opponent. The ball moves quicker than any player. What's the point of having pace when we move the ball so slowly and allow defenders time to reset? We have to make more passes and then utilize the pace at the end.
  9. Aug 29, 2018
    #9

    Carolina Red Moderator Staff

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    Spot on. The ball can be faster than anybody.
  10. Aug 29, 2018
    #10

    11101 Full Member

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    Yes and no. Our players need to use their pace to get away from their marker or there is nobody to play those passes to. That's a bigger issue for me at the moment. Our forwards almost never attempt to make runs even though they all have pace.
  11. Aug 29, 2018
    #11

    Keeps It tidy Hates Messi

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    As American coaches say pass always beats ass.
  12. Aug 29, 2018
    #12

    Aloysius's Back 3 Full Member

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    I remember that Lvg played
    Martial as a LW, Rashford as a ST and Lingard as a RW.

    If he had not found the guys mid season - he would definitely had played Martial & Rashford upfront in a partnership with Lingard as a CAM/False 9. Especially considering he was trying to build a 352 early on in that season.

    Now people can say that's not good enough - but I don't think it's any worse than what we see here - especially if you chop and change Lukaku with Rashford - so he occasionally plays as a RF that drifts to RW - whilst the same is possible on the Left with both Martial & Sanchez.

    Our lack of pace comes from the stagnation of our wingers to provide service to a target man. Likewise - our target man stays still to bring others to service.
  13. Aug 29, 2018
    #13

    Adam-Utd Part of first caf team to complete Destiny raid

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    While that's true you've got to be fast enough to attack your marker also.

    Juan Mata is excellent at pass and move, but he's not dangerous as he isn't fast. Compare it to Mane / Salah who are both very good at pass/move but have excellent acceleration to combine, and they become extremely dangerous.

    Rashford has the pace but not the touch/balance.

    Martial has the pace/touch/balance but not the movement.

    Spain have proved recently that you can do all the passing in the world, but if you lack any individual players who can beat a man you'll struggle also.
  14. Aug 29, 2018
    #14

    TMDaines Full Member

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    Including De Gea. His lack of vision in wanting to get counterattacks away is infuriating, especially when you can easily see the space for individuals when sitting behind his goal.
  15. Aug 29, 2018
    #15

    Leftback99 Full Member

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    LVG sold Zaha, Nani and Welbeck and then moaned he had no pace in the team. He was clueless.
  16. Aug 29, 2018
    #16

    amolbhatia50k Sneaky bum time

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    Cohesion. It's all about that. Playing as a unified team. United. That's what is missing.

    As for pace, our defence is quick and that's not considering TFM who is on loan and rapid. In midfield, as far as CMs go, Periera, Pogba and Fred are quick. Rashford, Martial to an extent Lingard are quick enough. Lukaku once gets going is very fast. Sanchez has slowed down but isn't slow per say.

    As always, it's more about how the pieces come together where the pictures goes wrong.
  17. Aug 29, 2018
    #17

    tomaldinho1 Full Member

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    Yh it's obviously a combination of the two, if you only pass with amazing speed and accuracy you'll have to beat players with movement alone - that's pretty much impossible. Even peak Barca, who many consider the best of all time at this type of passing game, had players who were incredibly quick in terms of acceleration and dribbling speed. That extra half second you can buy yourself with a short burst of speed is everything in professional football. If you don't have that acceleration you have to have an exquisite touch (Berba, Ibra even someone like Crouch generaly had excellent control) which is where Lukaku really lets himself down.

    I think we lack this type of dynamism currently but reckon if Jose just went with Martial-Rashford-Lingard we'd see no worse football than we do now but with the added prospect of having the ability across the front three to really break at speed and also to take players on.
  18. Aug 29, 2018
    #18

    Aloysius's Back 3 Full Member

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    No he moaned he didnt have technical players in his team - every player LVG sold was absolutely non regretful except Zaha right now who may or not be just marginally below his level; its normally his signings that are trash. Nani, wellbeck, Rafael are worse players than we had then & everybody else he sold except Rooney his club captain was too old for anyone except Jose.

    Plus - the lack of pace is not an issue; he ended up finding and using Martial, Rashford and Lingard by half way through the season; thats not slow is it?

    If LVG stayed for another season - they would all play as forwards and not as makeshift wingers helping a target man. As I said before; Jose has only managed to get the best out of Lingard because he is the only player out of those 3 that has ended up playing in their most natural position.
  19. Aug 29, 2018
    #19

    Murder on Zidane's Floor You'd better not kill Giroud

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    Pace is useless against teams which sit back against you. This is 75% of teams.
  20. Aug 29, 2018
    #20

    Leftback99 Full Member

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    I've said it before, we could reverse every transfer decision LVG made and the squad would arguably be in better shape with no money spent. He's the main reason we are in this mess.
  21. Aug 29, 2018
    #21

    Aloysius's Back 3 Full Member

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    You might have said it before - that does not make it right. In my opinion; LVG bought players badly but sold players well - not one player is regretful. If Lvg didn't have bad seasons with Rooney, RVP, Nani, Vidic Rio, Rafael, Zaha, Fellaini and who ever else was there - some of those players would still be here whilst the others just retired. He complained about that too - how he regretted the old guard going.

    I'm not really supporting United to try and make Jose scratch a title with an elderly squad before we have to restart after his 3rd season conundrums (woops - are we there already? ) - I'd rather we built a young & upcoming team for good - that plays above their level now & can dominate the league & possibly Europe in the next 3 to 5 years. Whilst Lvg didn't buy many good players - he got rid of the pure duds that Jose started almost with a blank sheet but no one except Rashford, Lingard & Martial to start with and thought we needed Sanchez, Bailly, Lindelöf,Matic, Lukaku, Fred - to take us up to the next level. Add willian to it to.

    The types of players Pep would have on a blank sheet would have been interesting - I'm sure he would not be crying about welbeck & wouldn't be buying an 80mil target man when he came in to a squad with arguably 2 of the most highly rated up and coming strikers at the time.

    If pep could make Gabriel jesus work & sterling work - absolutely no way he would struggle with martial & Rashford picking up them from the point they were at pre-Jose.

    Never mind - Lukaku the target man with everyone else supplying him - just the football we need :rolleyes:
    Jose had the ability to built what he wanted at United almost from scratch - continues to be a poor ageing outlook of football. Continue dreaming that welbeck & Rafael was here.
  22. Aug 29, 2018
    #22

    J_XO New Member

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    We’ve tried it when Lukaku was injured. Didn’t work. We looked toothless.
  23. Aug 29, 2018
    #23

    Bestietom Full Member

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    Speed in the way you play is better than individual speed. We are a team who has the slowest build up in the premiership which was pointed out on the Paddy Crerand show.
  24. Aug 29, 2018
    #24

    el3mel Full Member

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    We don't run. That's what makes the team look so sluggish and slow. Almost every player wants the ball in his feet to start running. Except for Lingard and Rashford, no one wants to make an off the ball run behind defenders. Thus, we look static and shite.
  25. Aug 29, 2018
    #25

    Messigician Guest

    Not sure about this. Zlatan didn't have much pace and was a very effective signing for United. Furthermore players with pace but no brain tend to flop players such as Gervinho for Arsenal who was billed as a big signing for them.

    I don't think a striker needs to be lightning fast look at the top strikers right now. Lewandowski, Kane, Suarez, etc. They're far slower than even Lukaku but all very successful the main attributes required are composure, being clinical, and positioning pace is a welcome asset but not the most important factor.
  26. Aug 31, 2018
    #26

    sglowrider Against Oral Equality

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    I always think of this match as the epitome of United's power, speed and movement:



    I could watch it over & over again. All quite different goals.
  27. Aug 31, 2018
    #27

    WR10 Correctly predicted France to win World Cup 2018

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    The ball moves faster than a player. Our player's pace is not the bottleneck here.
  28. Aug 31, 2018
    #28

    Class of 63 Full Member

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    Yeah, and you can never have too much grinta

    ps. What is grinta ?
  29. Aug 31, 2018
    #29

    Beagle Full Member

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    Also he can play as a Reginaldo.
  30. Aug 31, 2018
    #30

    12OunceEpilogue Full Member

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    Indeed. To be fair to the OP a combination of the two, moving the ball with speed out to a fast forward, is the dream counter attack we seem so far from achieving but in a crude choice between one or the other I'm going with the former every time. When we move the ball slowly we produce nothing and seeing the likes of Martial and Rashford sat on their heels or forced backwards because we aren't getting the ball to them quickly enough nor in the right areas (always to feet, never in behind) is infuriating.

    We seem to have had a twofold, chicken-and-egg problem in which we seldom move the ball quickly, but when we look to do so there's no-one showing for the ball with decent movement, and when certain players such as Lingard do show for it with a nice run or a cute drift into space we can't move the ball quickly to them. I appreciate the OP's point that we're missing/unable to utilise raw pace on the flanks, particularly on the right with an aged Tony V and Mata, but we also seemingly don't have the will to move the ball quickly either, which is far more of a cardinal sin in a so-called counter attacking set-up.
  31. Aug 31, 2018
    #31

    Minimalist Full Member

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    Isn’t this a Van Gaal quote?
  32. Aug 31, 2018
    #32

    King_Cantona07 New Member

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    Tempo and releasing ball quick is the key. Not even bolt can help in frontline if ball is not released to attacking players quick enough.
  33. Aug 31, 2018
    #33

    JPRouve can't stop thinking about balls - NOT deflategate

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    Determination/hustle.
  34. Aug 31, 2018
    #34

    Raees Legal Guardian of the Football forums

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    The ball moves faster than players is true but even teams like City, Liverpool and Barca who buy heavily into that philosophy use three or four forwards which stretch the pitch and have express pace. Their forwards can all beat men from standing starts and inject pace into sterile possession.. so that if momentum is lost from an attack, a quick drop of a shoulder or fast passage of play involving one-two and a skill move and they’re in front of goal. So you need a bit of both.. in Sanchez, Martial, Fred,Lingard and Rashford, we have these players and you could argue Lukaku and Pogba also have it in them to inject pace, they’re both explosive footballers considering their big frames.

    What is often overlooked is how important it is to position your players in a way where they are on the front foot and also minimising how much explosive speed they waste in defensive situations, how deep they’re having to pick the ball up from - which means they’re having to go through greater hurdles/more lines of defence rather than being up against the oppositions defence directly. If players are playing in a stodgy system, where they pick the ball up in unthreatening areas, and are clueless as to how best to exploit their speed then we will continue to look like a slow side.

    When Neymar or Mbappe pick up the ball, they’re almost certainly going to be more often than not in that final third in a wide area one v one against a full back or ready to make a run in between CB and full back (close to 18 yard line), you won’t be seeing them defend as much down the flank if at all. It pushes the other team back and if the other team comes at them, the opposition is forced to accept it will be stretched, there will be spaces and they’re having to take risks.

    With United under Fergie, we might not have been the best possession side but we worked hard in making sure the wide players received the ball constantly in threatening situations and our gameplay revolved around letting them exploit the oppositions full backs and we looked very aggressive and quick.. even in periods of relative failure in 03-05. Giggs, Kanchelskis, Ronaldo and even Nani and Valencia rarely had to constantly turn back and regurgitate play slowly.. there was intent and purpose whenever they ran at defenders because of the tactical instructions underpinning that aspect to our play.

    At the moment because we are relying on players mostly just deciding for themselves when to pick the ball up and doing things, it leads to a much slower and imprecise build up and they’re in the wrong positions constantly to put the opposition on the back foot and run at them. The first half of the Spurs game we penned them in and suddenly Shaw looked quick, Fred was lightening in and around the box and everything looked 10 yards quicker. Spurs who had dropped deep to try and combat this ferocious start looked laboured and slow as feck. Once they regained composure and played higher up the pitch second half, they looked the faster team and moved the ball to players like Lucas in the right areas and allowed him to constantly receive the ball with his face to goal and permitting him to run directly at our players.

    Spain and Germany in the World Cup also highlights how having no pace in the side and over-passing to safe options instead of ensuring players are receiving in in dangerous situations and having an element of risk to your passing is key to avoid creating very slow unpenetrative sides. Unlike us these teams kept the ball very well and yet they shared the same flaws of looking devoid of urgenct and zip.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  35. Aug 31, 2018
    #35

    NoLogo Full Member

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    Exactly. It's our transitions that suck big time. Our players can't move the ball around fast enough to exploit the gaps in our oppositions defense. Imo this is due to two problems, the defensive nature of our play. Everyone defends, and the entire team sits deep, there is no one apart from Lukaku to play a quick forward pass to and playing the first pass to a lone striker is almost never the best first move and results in what our fan base calls so lovingly "hoof ball".

    The other problem is our defense. I said this time and time again that especially against deep standing opponents we can't rely on them to carry a ball forward and create an overload situation. That goes for FBs just as much as our CBs. Shaw so far in this season being the only positive in that regard.
  36. Aug 31, 2018
    #36

    Rossa Full Member

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    People are so obsessed with pace :nervous:

    The fact is, if we play a front three of Martial, Lukaku and Rashford, I think we have the fastest trio in the league. Rashford is at least as fast as Salah (overrated in terms of downright speed, outpaced by Van Anholdt), Martial is faster than Mane (who looks to have lost a yard) and Lukaku is a lot faster than Firmino. It's probably about the same for City, though Sane might be a tad quicker than Martial - though he's been outpaced by a 30 something Valencia a few times.

    Lukaku is perfect for a counter attacking team as no defender will catch him at full pelt - remember that run against Chelsea in the 90th minute? Martial and Rashford would then provide the speed and dribbling on the wings. However, for some reason, our players just stop working when played on the right. It makes no sense. Rashford, for instance, has bags of speed, can dribble, is decent with both feet and actually has a very good cross on him - sounds perfect for the right wing, right?

    We have plenty of fast players. Put all players together, I would argue we are one of the fastest. Our fullbacks are plenty fast; our centre backs with Smalling and Bailly are rapid. Our midfield with Pogba and Fred are quick. Only slow player out there is Matic. The problem is the way we play. Scholes and Carrick were slow, but they made us play quick football. Pogba can run faster, but he always takes extra touches compared to say Carrick. That is our biggest problem, imo - our somewhat lethargic approach to moving the ball around, not the actual running.
  37. Aug 31, 2018
    #37

    JPRouve can't stop thinking about balls - NOT deflategate

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    I kind of agree with your sentiment but I feel that you forgot one aspect of speed, it's change of direction and in general lateral movement. That's the big difference between United and pretty much every other big teams in the world, we have the stiffest bunch I have ever seen. They are fast on a straight line but it's most of the time useless on a football pitch, most of these players are central players for that reason, Martial and Rashford included.
  38. Aug 31, 2018
    #38

    Rockets Redglare New Member

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    Yes Rashford always looks incredibly fast when he’s running the ball out of play ten times a match.
  39. Aug 31, 2018
    #39

    Sky1981 Fending off the urge

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    Caf has a very simplistic idea about football.

    Pace. Potential. Formation. Position. Are the usual suspect.

    There's more to football than just running with pace. Where do you run to? Who will provide the ball? Who do you cross to? Does the team system suitable for wide pacet winger? What about fullback, does the fullback we have suitable for a wide pacey playmaker? Does our striker lukaku good at heading cross?

    The above is only from our own point of view, we also have to take into account how the opponent set up, when they put two bank of four playing tight and compact there's little space for pacey winger to run to. Does our opponent fullback more susceptible to dribble? Does their centerback handle cross well?

    Football can be a simple game, but at the highest level it certainly involves a lot more intricate tactics and planning than to simply pass it wide and make the winger chase it.
  40. Aug 31, 2018
    #40

    Rossa Full Member

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    Agree completely - the topic was that we lack players with speed, which I completely disagree with.

    If the question was, we lack players with agility and technique and movement in tight areas, then I agree completely. We lack a Hazard type of players. We have plenty of sprinters. Whenever Valencia faces Sane, I'm not the slightest worried as I am confident he will handle his speed. When he faces Hazard, however, you just know that Hazard can go anywhere and despite his acceleration, he doesn't depend that much on it. We lack that kind of players. However, having looked at Fred, he seems to have that agility about him.

    I do think that Martial is quite agile and pretty great in tight areas. His problem is his complete lack of movement without the ball.