Ball retention

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Devil81, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Aug 12, 2019
    #1

    Devil81 Full Member

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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.
  2. Aug 12, 2019
    #2

    Classical Mechanic Full Member

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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.
  3. Aug 12, 2019
    #3

    RussellWilson Full Member

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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.
  4. Aug 12, 2019
    #4

    GaryLifo Nice Bloke

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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.
  5. Aug 12, 2019
    #5

    Bestietom Full Member

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    Midfield signings a must. Gaping holes still there.
  6. Aug 12, 2019
    #6

    Red00012 Full Member

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    Seriously ? I know it was high but 40 between the 2 is shocking.
  7. Aug 12, 2019
    #7

    neilv93 New Member

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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.
  8. Aug 12, 2019
    #8

    golden_blunder Site admin. Manchester United fan Staff

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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
  9. Aug 12, 2019
    #9

    settembrini Full Member

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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.
  10. Aug 12, 2019
    #10

    Eddy_JukeZ Full Member

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    Hopefully it was just us being sloppy.

    Will be interesting to see how we fare in this regard against Wolves next season.
  11. Aug 12, 2019
    #11

    Classical Mechanic Full Member

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    Pogba lost possession through bad touches and dispossessions 11 times, McT 6 times, the rest came from incomplete passes.
  12. Aug 12, 2019
    #12

    Infra-red Full Member

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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).
  13. Aug 12, 2019
    #13

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

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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.
  14. Aug 12, 2019
    #14

    SirAnderson Full Member

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    Hopefully we don't have to wait that long.
  15. Aug 12, 2019
    #15

    amolbhatia50k Sneaky bum time

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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.
  16. Aug 12, 2019
    #16

    Adisa likes to take afvanadva wothowi doubt

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    We don't have enough ball players.
  17. Aug 12, 2019
    #17

    SirAnderson Full Member

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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.
  18. Aug 12, 2019
    #18

    ivaldo Mediocre Horse Whisperer, s'up wid chew?

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    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.
  19. Aug 12, 2019
    #19

    romufc Full Member

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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.
  20. Aug 12, 2019
    #20

    Vissy New Member

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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.
  21. Aug 12, 2019
    #21

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

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    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.
  22. Aug 12, 2019
    #22

    Nick7 Full Member

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    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.
  23. Aug 12, 2019
    #23

    Lynty Full Member

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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
  24. Aug 12, 2019
    #24

    Fosu-Mens Full Member

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    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.
  25. Aug 12, 2019
    #25

    TRUERED89 New Member

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    Why wait until next season? Lets see what happens next Monday :lol:
  26. Aug 12, 2019
    #26

    Robbo's Shoulder Full Member

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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.
  27. Aug 12, 2019
    #27

    crossy1686 Full Member

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    This.

    Also, have we ever been a ball retention team? Only under LVG that I can remember.
  28. Aug 12, 2019
    #28

    Varun Moderator Staff

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    Our midfield isn't good enough to retain the ball for long periods of time.
  29. Aug 12, 2019
    #29

    Kag Full Member

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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.
  30. Aug 12, 2019
    #30

    noodlehair "It's like..."

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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.
  31. Aug 12, 2019
    #31

    GloryHunter07 Full Member

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    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.
  32. Aug 12, 2019
    #32

    Toad Full Member

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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.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  33. Aug 12, 2019
    #33

    Rozay Master of Hindsight

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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.
  34. Aug 12, 2019
    #34

    R'hllor Full Member

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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.
  35. Aug 12, 2019
    #35

    mancan92 Full Member

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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.
  36. Aug 12, 2019
    #36

    Turnip Full Member

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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.
  37. Aug 12, 2019
    #37

    izec Full Member

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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
  38. Aug 12, 2019
    #38

    Sir Scott McToMinay Full Member

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    We haven’t, but the way we played under Van Gaal even Burnley would be able to retain the ball like that, passing it around in our half with zero attacking intent.
  39. Aug 12, 2019
    #39

    Dead Wood Woodward New Member

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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.
  40. Aug 12, 2019
    #40

    Siorac Full Member

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    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.