Ball retention

Devil81

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I've got major concerns with our ability in retaining the ball during matches, I lost count during the 90 minutes Pogba, Rashford & Pereira especially gave the ball away needlessly.

I know we've all got excited with the euphoria of the 4-0 result but if you actually think about the fluidity of the game Chelsea looked far better in possession.

Whether it's holding on to the ball too long or attempting one of those stupid flicks our attacking players continually try we give the ball away constantly during the 90 minutes. I don't see a period of possession where I'm confident we've got full control.

Yesterday was insane how many times we lost possession, I'd love to know the actual stats for possession lost whilst in play of the ball.

Think this all boils down to not actually going out and buying a commanding midfielder to play alongside Paul Pogba, I love Mctomminey but he's still young and I don't see Pereira holding down that position all season either.

It's certainly an issue that will come back to haunt us this season if it continues because Chelsea were so wasteful yesterday.
 

Classical Mechanic

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Your forwards are always going to lose the ball more but Pogba and McT were unacceptable in this regard yesterday. Pogba turned the ball over 25 times and McT 15, it's just not good enough in that area of the pitch and why we looked so chaotic at times.

On Chelsea being wasteful, its worth noting that their xG was considerably lower than ours. Chances like Emerson's were low probability chances as were many of their other chances, they did better with their shooting than they should, rather than creating great chances.
 

RussellWilson

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Also if we want to be this pressing side, you can't do that on less than 50% possession, the players will run out of legs. It's why City and Liverpool can press with such intensity. They only have to do it for 35% of the game.

It's a lot down to lacking a player that knows how and when to recycle possession. Pogba is not the deep lying game manager that Ole wants him to be.
 

GaryLifo

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I don't think you can judge this properly until we've played a few more games

United were nervous first half and Chelsea probably surprised us a bit with how attacking they were.

We were much better after about 55 minutes and you could see that we were perfectly capable of keeping the ball especially at the back while being pressed.

We do need another midfielder and I would think that's the priority now for the next signing we make.
 

Red00012

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Your forwards are always going to lose the ball more but Pogba and McT were unacceptable in this regard yesterday. Pogba turned the ball over 25 times and McT 15, it's just not good enough in that area of the pitch and why we looked so chaotic at times.

On Chelsea being wasteful, its worth noting that their xG was considerably lower than ours. Chances like Emerson's were low probability chances as were many of their other chances, they did better with their shooting than they should, rather than creating great chances.
Seriously ? I know it was high but 40 between the 2 is shocking.
 

neilv93

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Overall, plenty of positives to take from yesterday's performance but agree with most in this thread - a midfielder is a must now. I'd love to see us go for Ndidi at Leicester, though I don't think they'll appreciate us coming after another of their stars. Rice at West Ham or Neves at Wolves would be equally nice in terms of inner-PL signings. Obviously Bruno, SMS et al if you look further afield.
 

golden_blunder

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Think it was more sloppyness which can be forgiven for the first match of the season. Things will settle down. However I do share concerns about lack of depth in midfield
 

settembrini

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It was an issue yesterday but I don't understand how you think that not buying a new midfielder to play alongside Pogba has caused this. You even acknowledge in your post that there were multiple players yesterday who were losing the ball needlessly and that Pogba was particularly bad himself in this regard.

Going by whoscored then our team passing average was 81%. Chelsea was 85% so they were better than us but not massively so.

A larger difference was the rate of getting tackled. Our players were dispossessed 16 times whilst in possession, Chelsea just 5. More than 3 times better.

For both stats Pogba was the biggest culprit. He lost the ball 14 times via passing and 5 times by getting tackled. The worst of any player on the pitch in both categories.

McTominay himself wasn't especially great either yesterday but I think it's unfair to hold him responsible for more senior players losing the ball via showboating and poor decision making.
 

Eddy_JukeZ

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Think it was more sloppyness which can be forgiven for the first match of the season. Things will settle down. However I do share concerns about lack of depth in midfield
Hopefully it was just us being sloppy.

Will be interesting to see how we fare in this regard against Wolves next season.
 

Infra-red

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We don't have the players for possession football and Solskjaer hasn't shown any inclination towards it.

We will continue to press sporadically and play mostly counterattacking football. I expect we'll have less than 50% possession in every game, home and away, vs the 'big' six this season. There's nothing inherently wrong with playing that way (see Atletico Madrid).
 

Adam-Utd

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I think we're better than we showed in that regard.

Both teams played a high tempo frenetic game and both lost the ball.

Once it settled down to a more normal pace we looked better again.
 

amolbhatia50k

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It was a very poor display in terms of ball retention. But in general as a team, we've had a gaping weakness in our ability to retain possession in forward areas/tight spaces for ages. The way Chelsea pinged it in around our box yesterday, and Liverpool and City do consistently, is something we struggle with. We rely on pace, dribbling, physicality and individual moments if attacking quality. But that ability to maintain control across the pitch isn't there.

It's not an Ole thing but has been a United thing for some time now. And in order for us to take the next step as a team, we'll have to get this right. The result yesterday was magnificent but this underlying problem exists and I hope Ole is able to show the impact of his coaching soon in this regard.
 

SirAnderson

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I think we're better than we showed in that regard.

Both teams played a high tempo frenetic game and both lost the ball.

Once it settled down to a more normal pace we looked better again.
I agree with this.
I think our midfielder pairing will be worked on during this 8 days and hopefully we can find a better balance that doesn't make us look so bad.
 

ivaldo

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We don't have the players for possession football and Solskjaer hasn't shown any inclination towards it.

We will continue to press sporadically and play mostly counterattacking football. I expect we'll have less than 50% possession in every game, home and away, vs the 'big' six this season. There's nothing inherently wrong with playing that way (see Atletico Madrid).
We won't prioritize possession but I don't think the second statement is necessarily true. 46/54 is a negligible difference, and if we were behind Chelsea were, I would have expected us to dominating the ball and camped in their half in the second half.
 

romufc

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Things must be put into perspective.

1. This was the first game of the season - 2 new players, new roles for a few players, nervousness is expected.
2. Pressure - So much has been said about the form at the end of last season, the players are not immune to it, once the goal went in we looked settled.

We know that McT and Pogba can retain a football, lets show some faith in them.
 

Vissy

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A midfield three (McTominay, Fred, Pogba) would have helped in ball retention. But Fred was not available for this game for some reason. So it's not that we can't hold possession, it's that Ole specifically chose to hand possession over to Chelsea and punish them on the counter.
 

Adam-Utd

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I agree with this.
I think our midfielder pairing will be worked on during this 8 days and hopefully we can find a better balance that doesn't make us look so bad.
It didn't help that once we did pass the ball forward Martial and especially Rashford have a habit of not trying to control the ball and hold it.

They'd rather try a fancy 1 touch flick which "might" come off every now and again, but most the time it fails and loses us the ball. I assume this is deemed an incomplete pass?.

We have to remember this is the first game of the season and nobody bar City in their 2nd half looked anything close to brilliant. It's always easier to criticise your own team, but a 4-0 win against Chelsea is good no matter the circumstances.
 

Nick7

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Things must be put into perspective.

1. This was the first game of the season - 2 new players, new roles for a few players, nervousness is expected.
2. Pressure - So much has been said about the form at the end of last season, the players are not immune to it, once the goal went in we looked settled.

We know that McT and Pogba can retain a football, lets show some faith in them.
Yeah you can't underestimate the pressure Ole and the players were under yesterday. It was a cagey first 45 but after we settled in we were fine. There's improvements to be made for sure, though.
 

Lynty

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What's the point of keeping possession when we haven't got the creativity to unlock a packed 18yard box once the opposition reset.

Unless your missing LVGs brand of football
 

Fosu-Mens

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I've got major concerns with our ability in retaining the ball during matches, I lost count during the 90 minutes Pogba, Rashford & Pereira especially gave the ball away needlessly.

I know we've all got excited with the euphoria of the 4-0 result but if you actually think about the fluidity of the game Chelsea looked far better in possession.

Whether it's holding on to the ball too long or attempting one of those stupid flicks our attacking players continually try we give the ball away constantly during the 90 minutes. I don't see a period of possession where I'm confident we've got full control.

Yesterday was insane how many times we lost possession, I'd love to know the actual stats for possession lost whilst in play of the ball.

Think this all boils down to not actually going out and buying a commanding midfielder to play alongside Paul Pogba, I love Mctomminey but he's still young and I don't see Pereira holding down that position all season either.

It's certainly an issue that will come back to haunt us this season if it continues because Chelsea were so wasteful yesterday.

Would add in the fullbacks as well. Since all teams leads the ball to our fullbacks and then start the close pressing. This happens x number of times per game and something the coaches nor the players seems to figure out what to do.

Regarding ball retention: movement, spacing, ability on the ball, options, coaching.

Think OGS focuses on the physical and pressing aspect of the game, and might focus more on passing if/when we can run and press better.
 

Robbo's Shoulder

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We don't set up for a dominating possession style of football and we don't really have the midfield for it, what we will do i believe is be devastating on the break, the pace up front now will terrify a lot of defences this season. We are set up far more as a counter attacking unit with a solid base at the back.
 

Varun

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Our midfield isn't good enough to retain the ball for long periods of time.
 

Kag

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We played most of the first half like a team almost trying too hard to show they’re up for it. We weren’t pressing in packs, but we were pressing. We weren’t keeping the ball, but the players were trying to play (over-ambitious) forward balls.

Chelsea looked similar on a lesser scale. Again, every player on that park wanted to show they want to play for Ole and Lampard. These nerves caused all sorts of mistakes, particularly in midfield, where both McTominay and (particularly) Pereira looked overawed and Pogba was playing like a bit of a testicle.

We settled down in the second half and I don’t think we’ll be as sloppy in the future. I hope not, anyway, otherwise we’re going to become unstuck.
 

noodlehair

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I actually think Pogba had a shocking game if you take out the two assists. He seems to have developed a new playing style of trying to keep possession whilst sitting on the floor for no reason. I'm not sold on it, though o sympathise with him a bit as he was getting feck all help from the rest of the midfield.

Mctominay for all his good work towards the end of last season and in pre season, did not make himself available for the ball anywhere near often enough, until it was 3-0. Anyone can be brave when you're 3-0 up.

At least one of Pereira and Lingard completely abandoned their position for the whole first half. I'm not sure which one it was as neither of them did enough to figure out where they were supposed to be playing. We were basically playing with 9 men in possession at times.

The defence and attack looked very good but the midfield was massively second best.
 

GloryHunter07

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I don't think you can judge this properly until we've played a few more games

United were nervous first half and Chelsea probably surprised us a bit with how attacking they were.

We were much better after about 55 minutes and you could see that we were perfectly capable of keeping the ball especially at the back while being pressed.

We do need another midfielder and I would think that's the priority now for the next signing we make.
I agree with this, lets not panic yet. We were sloppy with possession, but give it time.

Ole mentioned risk vs reward, it certainly paid off today but we will see as the season progresses.
 

Toad

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In midfield we have Pogba who can create moments of brilliance every now and again. We have McTominay who is still developing and Pereira who is a bit hit and miss (for me) anyway. Although each of these players may have something going for them they all have that one thing in common and that's losing possession regularly. Not great and needs to be worked on as soon as possible. Next summer hopefully we work on that midfield.

I can understand Rashford and Pereira because they were playing a bit higher up but McTominay got and Pogba need to be a bit more composed. Early days yet though.
 
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Rozay

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When you don’t have a couple of Silvas in your midfield this will happen in a PL midfield at the moment. Such is the pace of the league and the pressure in the ball. We just don’t have the right midfielders. Gomes and Garner would make a massive difference in this respect.
 

R'hllor

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There are a lot of times where we show just how bad we are at playing football. Pass and move, is like nah feck that. Attacking paterns in the box, with fullbacks etc. nah feck that too.

It will be really interesting to see how we gonna deal with parked buses this season, understand that maybe our focus on training are more on counter attacking.
 

mancan92

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We know our midfield isn't good enough to keep the ball.

I'm expecting the wolves game to be horrible for us expecting we will only have around 35% possession against their midfield.
 

Turnip

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And this is without Matic in the team, who could get caught with the ball by a tortoise. Pogba would be fine if he'd stop trying to show off, I love a Rivaldo turn in your own half as much as the next man, but when you fail it 2 or 3 times in a match maybe you should stop trying.

Pereira had his moments too, but considering how little PL minutes he's had I think that's forgivable, hopefully something he'll learn about quickly, I'm sure he's got the skill to figure out how to stop it. I also think Fred could be a solution for this.

All in all I think it was the first competitive game against a team which pressed pretty quickly with a few new faces in our side, so its something that will get solved as the players get used to each other. It didn't really happen in the 2nd half so I'd say we're already finding ways around it. Just be happy that we weren't against liverpool.


Also, we look outright lethal on the break. I've always thought possession is overrated anyway.
 

izec

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Playing Gomes would help. We could have bothered to buy a midfielder or two as well, but didnt. A midfield of Pogba, McTominay and Pereira will give plenty of balls away. Plus Lingard.

We lost Herrera, who was still good in that regard and whose decision making wasnt awful most of the time
 

Scotty McT

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It's been a problem for years with the same players attempting pointless tricks and flicks. Pogba is a particularly egregious example given the fact he keeps it simple for his national team, at least in the Euros and World Cup, so it's just a lack of professionalism and respect that he tries all these pointless tricks in a United shirt during Premier League matches. I know people can make the argument that a lack of movement causes Pogba to be elaborate, but I'm not buying that since passing it backwards is always an option.

I'm sure most of these players play FIFA all day with each other and they want to carry over those FIFA goals into actual football matches, or they want to recreate that once-in-a-generation Nani goal v City in the community shield, but 99 times out of 100 it's just going to result in losing the ball. So frustrating to watch, especially when Martial seemed to pull a muscle yesterday while trying a pointless flick.
 

Siorac

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We know our midfield isn't good enough to keep the ball.

I'm expecting the wolves game to be horrible for us expecting we will only have around 35% possession against their midfield.
They had 30% possession against Leicester so it might end up with the ball sitting in the centre circle while both teams are waiting in their own half.