Why do we make so few tackles?

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Pogue Mahone, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. Feb 1, 2018
    #1

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    Watching teams like Spurs and Liverpool doing their whole pressing thing really brings it home how few of our players are any good at tackling the opposition. You just don't often see Manchester United players crunch into a tackle and come up with the ball, leaving their opponent on his arse. Apart from the obvious in game advantage of putting the opposition on the back foot, it gives a lift to the fans and can bring a shift in momentum (Lindelof murdering that poor cnut in the CL being a good example) . But we're absolutely crap at it.

    Here are the teams that win the most tackles in the league.

    1. Huddersfield Town 473
    2. Everton 446
    3. Crystal Palace 445
    4. Stoke City 444
    5. Southampton 436
    6. Watford 435
    7. Chelsea 432
    8. Liverpool 428
    9. Newcastle United 425
    10. Arsenal 409
    11. Tottenham Hotspur 407
    12. West Ham United 406
    13. Leicester City 405
    14. Manchester City 398
    15. Swansea City 393
    16. West Bromwich Albion 390
    17. Burnley 377
    18. Brighton and Hove Albion 375
    19. Manchester United 360
    20. AFC Bournemouth 333

    Obviously, the teams that have the most possession need to make fewer tackles but still, that table makes for grim reading. Out-tackled by the defensively inept fannies at Arsenal ffs.

    Confusingly, things were much better last season.

    Club Stat
    1. Middlesbrough 727
    2. Liverpool 719
    3. Everton 712
    4. Crystal Palace 699
    5. Manchester United 690
    6. Leicester City 677
    7. Southampton 675
    8. Arsenal 673
    9. Stoke City 666
    10. Tottenham Hotspur 661
    11. Chelsea 652
    12. Manchester City 643
    13. Burnley 638
    14. Swansea City 635
    15. Hull City 631
    16. Sunderland 630
    17. Watford 618
    18. West Bromwich Albion 605
    19. AFC Bournemouth 604
    20. West Ham United 574

    In terms of individual efforts, our number one tackler is Matic (24th place) Then we have Hererra/Valencia in joint 46th and Young in 50th. After which we don't see a single United player until Smalling creeps in at 129th place.

    So what's going on? Just one of those weird statistical quirks? Or something more significant?
  2. Feb 1, 2018
    #2

    Romez New Member

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    Because of Mourinho's tactics.

    We don't press the opposition properly as a team, we sit off (even against smaller teams) pressing one player at a time and wait for the opposition to make a mistake and lose the ball trying to play through our organised midfield.
  3. Feb 1, 2018
    #3

    afrocentricity Part of first caf team to complete Destiny raid

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    Pogue its been like this for a long time (off and on for years), it really pisses me off because its as if we have consciously decided not to tackle or press at times.
  4. Feb 1, 2018
    #4

    Freak Born a freak always a freak.

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    Our players don’t press to win the ball. They press to hope the opposition go backward. Often times it seems they press because they have to but couldn’t be arsed to so it becomes just a ‘show’.
  5. Feb 1, 2018
    #5

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    Where the tactics different last season? If so, in what way?
  6. Feb 1, 2018
    #6

    charlenefan Far less insightful than the other Charley

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    Where was Herrera in the individual table last season? Given he played most games last season but barely any this I would expect the two may be linked
  7. Feb 1, 2018
    #7

    Andersons Dietician Full Member

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    Did Herrera play more minutes last year? He had some of the highest tackle and interception stats in the league up there with Kante and Ngueye(dude from Everton) that could be a reason as to why we had better stats last year.

    It’s mostly just down to the way we play with a low block, makes it hard for people to play through us because we are so compact that really we don’t need to be making as many tackles. Also accounts for the lack of ground covered by our team. It’s simply tactical.
  8. Feb 1, 2018
    #8

    golden_blunder Site admin. Manchester United fan Staff

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    What’s the stats for possession this season? Would be interesting to see in conjunction with the tackling

    Also am I right in thinking we generally don’t cover as much ground as other teams?
  9. Feb 1, 2018
    #9

    Skills Snitch

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    We're not a very proactive team. We do go hunting for possession and neither do we go hunting for goals. We wait to capitalise on our opponents mistakes to make a chance or get the ball back.
  10. Feb 1, 2018
    #10

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    He was 17th, with 84 tackles by the end of the season. So far this season him and Matic have already made 88 tackles between them (41 and 47 respectively).
  11. Feb 1, 2018
    #11

    Smores Full Member

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    Asssuming that table is for the full season and not at the same point then we're not that short.

    We've always been a team that stands off to create space for the counter rather than looking for the quick turnover.

    I remember when we played Bilbao (i think) and suddenly pressing became a huge issue that we had to modernise on.
  12. Feb 1, 2018
    #12

    Andersons Dietician Full Member

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    I just checked those stats and he’s made 21 tackles. Are your stats all competitions? Mine were just the league.
    Matic has 29 but has played about 1400 minutes more this season.
  13. Feb 1, 2018
    #13

    ghagua Full Member

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    Pogba looks as if he does not like to tackle, and Matic who is supposed to be defensive player tackles less than De Gea, that's where our problem is. We are also horrible at pressing the ball and winning back possession.
  14. Feb 1, 2018
    #14

    Greck Full Member

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    -Least combative midfield around top clubs.
    -No pressing system- there's more to pressing than having one guy run around like a headless chicken. Modern pressing is about having 2-3 players first of all close off passing angles before closing down the player.
  15. Feb 1, 2018
    #15

    James Peril Full Member

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    Trying to find some stats to suit some agenda? The differences are miniscule between United, City and Spurs. One extra tackle each game doesn’t explain a single thing.
  16. Feb 1, 2018
    #16

    Andrew~ Squiggle

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    I don't think this actually means anything, on it's own. Most of the top 5 teams on that list are teams that are struggling, for example. Which suggests that they probably have the ball less and have to tackle more. The middling teams are mostly top teams - they usually press the ball more and also have more of the ball on average; balancing that out.

    So based on that cursory logic: United don't press as much as most other teams and have the ball more than most teams, ergo, fewer tackles.
  17. Feb 1, 2018
    #17

    Pexbo has never watched Star Wars

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    It's a bit of a moot statistic isn't it? I mean there is absolutely zero correlation there between league position and tackles made. Chelsea won the league last season and had the 11th most tackles. Tottenham the 10th most. City top the league this season with 14th most tackles, United are in second with 19th most tackles.


    I'm really struggling to see any significance in tackles made.
  18. Feb 1, 2018
    #18

    Adisa likes to take afvanadva wothowi doubt Scouse Lover

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    We don't press.
    It really is that simple.
    If like to see how we compare to their teams in winning he ball in the opposition half.
  19. Feb 1, 2018
    #19

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    What agenda would that be?

    We’re averaging two tackles per game below Spurs and City fwiw. And that’s without the context of % possession. I’m guessing - but need to check - that both teams have better possession than we do, hence less opportunities to tackle.
  20. Feb 1, 2018
    #20

    Dumbstar Full Member

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    A very astute observation. That's been Mourinho all through the years. At Chelsea he would do that and win many games 1-0 off a deflected Lampard goal or individual Drogba genius. Lukaku and Pogba are not those type of players. They need an up-and-at-em type of game to make them effective.

    However, there have been a few successes with this method when Lingard or Martial would break to score the first goal.
  21. Feb 1, 2018
    #21

    Raees Boing Boing Baggies

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    What a bizarre accusation. Agenda posting on tackles.. what is he smoking.
  22. Feb 1, 2018
    #22

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    I’m not saying there’s a direct correlation between making tackles and winning the league. Especially when you consider that teams which dominate games shouldn’t need to make many tackles. It’s been something that’s bothering me all season, though. We seem to be getting “out-tackled” by most teams we play. Especially in big games. These stats support the impression I’ve got from watching us play.
  23. Feb 1, 2018
    #23

    Jacko21 Full Member

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    I remember reading a piece about Julian Nagelsmann (Hoffenheim manager) and it contained a bit about how, in the main, he doesn't like his team to tackle but rather cut the passing lanes. Because tackling contains too many variables - you risk conceding a free kick, injuring yourself, the ball ricocheting etc.

    Not that I think this is how Mourinho operates, but not tackling much needn't hinder you, providing you are intercepting passes and cutting off the passing lanes - a responsibility that falls not only to the midfielders, but also the strikers.

    Against Tottenham, it felt like we were pressing sporadically and out of desperation. Whereas generally (against the bigger teams) Mourinho instructs his teams to drop off, cut passing lanes, starve them of space and wait for a mistake.

    Both approaches have their merit. I just don't think our players adopt and fulfil Mourinho's tactics to their fullest - which is why we come unstuck and why we're not yet the typical Mourinho team. Mourinho would've expected to be further along with this team by now and results like yesterday shouldn't be happening. The responsibility for this has to lie with both the manager and the players.
  24. Feb 1, 2018
    #24

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    Very good point. An “interceptions” table would be helpful.
  25. Feb 1, 2018
    #25

    Catch New Member

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    Agreed. Look at how many tackles Rio made in his time. You don't have to be blood and thunder to win the ball back. Up until last night we had an outstanding January without conceding a goal...how did we get the ball back in those games?
  26. Feb 1, 2018
    #26

    Varun Moderator Staff

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    To avoid living in fear in case we get the ball.
  27. Feb 1, 2018
    #27

    Adisa likes to take afvanadva wothowi doubt Scouse Lover

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    To be honest I think it's a big issue. The problem with our strategy is that most top teams now are very organised against the counter attack, especially if your retreating into your own half to get the ball. It simply gives you too much distance to cover. The best place to win the ball is on the half way line or in the opposite half and give the other team, little room to organise itself.
    I have seen us retreat against mid table teams and it's frustrating.
  28. Feb 1, 2018
    #28

    Pexbo has never watched Star Wars

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  29. Feb 1, 2018
    #29

    Jacko21 Full Member

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    Yes it would.

    This is also where 'tactical fouls' come into play - the dark arts of football. Both Mourinho and Guardiola instruct their players to commit them, because tactical fouls removes the uncertainty - if a player purposefully commits a certain foul, the games is stopped, you regroup and any opportunity the opposition had is temporarily nullified. Mourinho would sooner defend a set piece than have the opposition counter and run at his exposed defenders.

    Whereas going into a tackle whereby you may or may not win the ball, isn't really very productive - it's energy-sapping, causes mistakes, risks injury and results in a game that you can't control - something Guardiola loathes.

    Tottenham made many a tactical foul last night. It's a cheap but effective trick.
  30. Feb 1, 2018
    #30

    SadlerMUFC Full Member

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    Pretty much everyone has said it. We don't press and that's why we don't have a lot of tackles. But I'd be interested to see where we stand when it comes to interceptions and creating turn overs. That's where we will probably be higher in the table. As for Herrara, the reason he has so many tackles is because he is often found "ball chasing", which is probably the reason why he doesn't get a lot of minutes. Mourinho wants discipline when we are defending. Be in the proper position when defending to force the opposition into turning it over from a bad pass and then we can quickly counter attack. Personally, I would like to see us mix it up a bit. I have no problem with giving the opposition half, but I would like to see us press more once they are in our half. Then when we create the turnover there is more space behind our opponent's defense to counter. Teams like Liverpool who press all the time have to hold a high line which means they are vulnerable to long balls over the top. If we sit back and then press we aren't vulnerable to the long ball (yesterday excluded)...
  31. Feb 1, 2018
    #31

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    Cool, thanks. That actually looks as though everything evens out. A couple less tackles/game than City/Spurs/Pool/Chelsea but a couple more interceptions.

    The only missing piece in the jigsaw is working in some sort of "possession factor" to allow for the fact that teams who dominate possession can get away with making fewer tackles/interceptions than their peers.
  32. Feb 1, 2018
    #32

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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  33. Feb 1, 2018
    #33

    Minimalist Full Member

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    What other reason could it possibly be but Mourinho?
  34. Feb 1, 2018
    #34

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    I don't think you read the OP, did you?

    For the record, Mourinho was also our manager last season.
  35. Feb 1, 2018
    #35

    poleglass red Full Member

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    this lack of tackling has been bugging me for ages. Our best tackle yesterday was made by Sanchez in our half, crunching slide tackle in 2nd half. We hear Mourinho likes big physical players, but yet we are getting bossed in midfield every game we play against one of the big teams. Matic and Pogba are both 6 ft plus yet they make very few ball winning tackles. Matic is about positioning and he is good at that but once he's caught out he's done. Dele Alli at one point in 2nd half made 2 bad tackles in a row on Sanchez. Somebody needed to step forward and put him in his place, we just don't have that. Even Fellaini, he's more awkward and elbows than plowing into a 50-50 and winning the ball. I'd like to see Sanchez maybe start up front, with Lingard in behind. At the very least both of those players will press. Seeing Vertongen stroll around like Beckenbauer was sickening. We have to stop teams building from the back and it needs to be a collective effort, 2 wingers and Pogba would need to be on board with that also. I keep hearing Pogba can't play in a 2, well neither can Matic, he doesn't make tackles, he's too slow in getting back, and he's not tracking runners either. We need energy in midfield, not sure we have anyone right now, Herrera maybe, but his passing was terrible when he came in. I see us going out v Huddersfield and putting on a show, Pogba probably doing fancy flicks and everyone will think everything is sweet again. We are constantly getting dominated in games against the big teams esp away.I'm sure everyone saw the stat yesterday. Since Jose come in, his record in away games to Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs is 8 games, 0 wins, 1 goal scored
  36. Feb 1, 2018
    #36

    Vilev Banned

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    Pogba. He is making way too little tackles, in most cases players just breeze through him. It's embarrassing. Though the late Matic is also shit in this department, his overall tackles per game stat have fallen lower that 2.0 which is awful for a DM.

    But i mean of course it's also a question of how are these players managed. Matic had not had a rest for a while and Jose did not even bother to look for a fall back options at DM. Because Carrick well he is struggling and Ander is simply not a DM.
    Actually Ander is our best player in terms of tackles per game, now he does tackles, sometimes giving away fouls and stuff, but not pulling out every time like a "one of the best midfielders".
  37. Feb 1, 2018
    #37

    Minimalist Full Member

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    Cheers for that, wasn’t aware.

    I simply said Mourinho. Not a specific aspect of what he brings. I have no idea, nor does anyone else why we we’ve made less tackles than last season. Perhaps we’ve become more like a Mourinho team this season and this is a trait (conserve energy, sit back, careful with your tackles)?

    I don’t know why the players would suddenly change their ways without coaching to do so.
  38. Feb 1, 2018
    #38

    Ace of Spades Full Member

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    So it looks like we even out in terms of tackling and interceptions with the other top teams, but we have the least possession in the top six. I think the biggest problem is we are too passive. We need to defend from the front and press teams, instead we sit back and invite teams to attack us. That just means that we win the ball back deep in our own half and have to build up play from the back, which we are not good at and that just puts pressure on the players and we resort to hoofing, which is always a low percentage gamble as we have one or two players there who are both marked.

    Poor tactics overall, against lower sides we get away with having superior players, but against top sides our lack of a decent game plan is exposed.
  39. Feb 1, 2018
    #39

    Sparky Rhiwabon Full Member

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    I always think we are set up more to win the ball back via interceptions rather than tackles - I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not (I guess there is less chance of injuries). Either that or waiting until the ball is launched into our box and win possession back (sometimes momentarily) via a defensive header or clearance.
  40. Feb 1, 2018
    #40

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    Starting to wish I hadn't stumbled across the PL club stats thingy.

    Check this shit out. The clubs whose keepers have made the most saves this season.


    FFS!

    1.Sunderland 176
    2. Burnley 151
    3. Hull City 137
    4. Leicester City 131
    5. Stoke City 127
    6. Arsenal 124
    7. AFC Bournemouth 123
    8. Swansea City 121
    9. Watford 121
    10. Middlesbrough 117
    11. West Ham United 117
    12. West Bromwich Albion 116
    13. Crystal Palace 108
    14. Everton 96
    15. Manchester United 85
    16. Tottenham Hotspur 85
    17. Southampton 76
    18. Liverpool 73
    19. Chelsea 69
    20. Manchester City 64

    We need to not concede another shot on target between now and the end of the season in order to protect the goal as well as we did in 2016/17. Hard not to conclude there's a link between us making much fewer tackles than last season and our goal being peppered with much more shots...