Ball retention

Sultan

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Staff
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
44,109
Location
Don't talk unless you can improve the silence
Young players are always inconsistent. Creative players will always lose the ball more than safe players. Central defenders generally have the best stats for ball retention for a reason. It was also a very frenetic game yesterday. Once United were up 3-0 ball retention was simple with the players hardly taking risks.
 

Devil81

Full Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2014
Messages
4,517
Said it on the other thread, the culprits were Lingard and Pereira. Both roles are the hub between midfield and attack. But they were poor on getting involved during the game. Their passing numbers were 26 and 15 passes respectively, which tells that they rarely made themselves available for Pogba and McTom.
That's a great point, there were a few occasions I had sympathy for Pogba as you could clearly see he had zero out ball.

We could be a fantastic side but clearly, there is a little element missing.
 

Ash_G

Full Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
7,226
Young players are always inconsistent. Creative players will always lose the ball more than safe players. Central defenders generally have the best stats for ball retention for a reason. It was also a very frenetic game yesterday. Once United were up 3-0 ball retention was simple with the players hardly taking risks.
Yeah- I think it's being overblown a bit. There was clearly some sloppy play at times but they felt like issues of our own making e.g. Pogba holding on for too long, players trying flicks etc rather than players panicking etc and some of it was hopefully due to lacking that bit of sharpness. Tactically as well we set up in the first half in a way that let them dominate the ball as when we lost it we didn't get the wide players to track back and so we got overwhelmed in the middle as you had Barkley coming inside from the wing and so we were outnumbered making it hard to get the ball back but also once we had it we were trying to do quick counters rather than slow build up- I didn't get the sense that if we wanted to slow the game down and keep the ball that we couldn't.
 

OverratedOpinion

Full Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2017
Messages
1,570
I think Fred seems to lose the ball for us but weirdly one of the things he seemed to do well in the match compilations for Shaktar is keeping the ball when he looks like he is about to lose it.

I think the way Fred plays is all down to inches, he invites pressure but at his best he always seems to find a way out. I think this is why a lack of confidence or consistent playing time effected him so drastically last season. If he can get back to his best he would he really valuable in this respect.

Pogba reminds me a bit of Giggs when he moved to midfield in that he is always trying something and as such may lost the ball. He can play a more conservative role but you probably lose more than you gain
 

Adnan

Full Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2013
Messages
15,622
Location
United Kingdom, England
Said it on the other thread, the culprits were Lingard and Pereira. Both roles are the hub between midfield and attack. But they were poor on getting involved during the game. Their passing numbers were 26 and 15 passes respectively, which tells that they rarely made themselves available for Pogba and McTom.
26 and 15 passes and people want to know why we can't retain possession or control games. Lingard and Pereira can be upgraded easily from within the squad but I wonder how long it will take until the penny drops.
 

Sterling Archer

Full Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2016
Messages
4,242
Said it on the other thread, the culprits were Lingard and Pereira. Both roles are the hub between midfield and attack. But they were poor on getting involved during the game. Their passing numbers were 26 and 15 passes respectively, which tells that they rarely made themselves available for Pogba and McTom.
Great point. Two positions, had we recruited , would position the squad for a far better challenge for any honors.

That said, I hope nerves settle and these players grow into the season.
 

Sultan

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Staff
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
44,109
Location
Don't talk unless you can improve the silence
Ole is setting up the team to let the opposition have more of the ball and hit teams on the break. We'll just have to accept losing possession due to mostly playing on the break.
 

90 + 5min

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
198
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.
Spot on.

The one thing I don't agree is lack of midfielder. Surely I wanted one more central midfielder but I think it is down to not playing ball at right time. Players we have are not pub players. They know how to pass the ball. What they must work on is to play it simple and play it at the right time. If you watch the game there is too much waiting and to many complications. Lots of those lost possessions are down to flicks and show-off passes. If we can simplify our passing game and if we start playing in a simple way we will be much more dangerous.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Reactions: nimic

Mcking

Full Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
4,021
Location
Nigeria
I think Fred seems to lose the ball for us but weirdly one of the things he seemed to do well in the match compilations for Shaktar is keeping the ball when he looks like he is about to lose it.

I think the way Fred plays is all down to inches, he invites pressure but at his best he always seems to find a way out. I think this is why a lack of confidence or consistent playing time effected him so drastically last season. If he can get back to his best he would he really valuable in this respect.

Pogba reminds me a bit of Giggs when he moved to midfield in that he is always trying something and as such may lost the ball. He can play a more conservative role but you probably lose more than you gain
Fred does seem to have that tendency to just give the ball away in dangerous positions, but more often than not, he retains it. He had the sixth best passing accuracy in our team last season and he is someone that do take risks. He has little problem winning the ball, getting on the ball, retaining the ball , and progressing the ball both long and short. What he lacks is the consistency. McTominay and Pereira are just the complete opposite, and we will always struggle to get on the ball with them in team. They are invisible more often than not and doesn't have a clue on how to make themselves available for the ball, so we will always be outnumbered with them in the team.
 

Greck

Full Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
3,286
Midfield isn't good but we're being overly negative if we think it's expected for bottom half sides to dominate us in possession. Of course I don't expect us to start every game with Mctominay and Pereira.
 

Tel074

New Member
Newbie
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
490
How far away is Fosu-Mensah to fitness ? He could do a job as a DM until we get to the January window . He is big strong and one of the quickest at the club . I remember watching him when he was younger in a few reserve's games and he was brilliant in that role ..
 

MrBest

Full Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2016
Messages
1,256
Mctominay and Andreas have played a handful of professional games between them both, they need time and a consistent run of games. Pogba is getting uaed to his new partners, he also gets swamped by defenders whenever he touches the ball as who will waste there time in Andreas. My point, give it a few months and we will be able to see if these guys can handle the midfield job. What was clear though was the level of fitness. Does anyone have any km stats, i would like to know how muxh we ran compared with the other 19 teams ...
 

Alexit

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Jan 22, 2018
Messages
287
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.
Agreed, our poor ball retention is directly related to our poor midfield. Disgusting that it's not been addressed yet.

If I recall correctly, Lampard also mentioned it in his post-match interview with the Sky pundits. He said something along the lines of: United can't control a match so you have to take care you don't get snuffed on the break.
 

Walters_19_MuFc

Full Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2013
Messages
18,843
Location
Birmingham
I agree, our ball retention was poor yesterday, but with time and finding the right balance of the team, it can only get better.

Back five seems fine. We can finally say we have a stamped down back five. Two very good ball playing centre backs, flanked by two well rounded full backs.

Then you move onto the midfield. A lot of people, including myself said that we could really do with a deep-lying playmaker. Someone, as you said, thst commands the ball off the back four and starts attacks. However, Ole obviously didn't feel the need for one, and it seems he has gone with Paul Pogba to fill that role. Now, as you mentioned, Pogba was poor in possession against Chelsea, but I can't imagine he'll always be that bad. Pogba made 63 passes, with a pass accuracy of 76.2%. He was also dispossessed 4 times. Not great reading for a deep-lying playmaker! That said, he also made 4 key passes and bagged himself 2 assists. Going forward, I expect Pogba to be much better in possession.

Moving futher up the pitch we had three players behind the forward which consisted of Rashford, Lingard and Pereira. The midfield rotation between them wasn't great, and the lack of involvement on the ball would suggest they were scared to receive the ball.

Passing stats were:

Rashford: 22 passes - 59.1%
Lingard: 26 passes - 88.5 %
Pereira: 15 passes - 73.3%

Not only is that a dreadful reading in terms of thier passing accuracy (except Lingard), as I said above, the number of passes are quite low, especially Pereira and Lingard, who were roaming playmakers, as opposed to wide forwards like Rashford.

Again, going forward that will definitely need to improve and I imagine it will.

We haven't got a lot of top class options in the final third, especially players who find a pass, but I would prefer Mata to come in for Pereira, as he is very good in possession. I'd keep Lingard in there as he's a link player, and Rashford can continue to play the wide forward role.

I do think, with all that's gone on last season, and the end of last season with Ole, the players were nervous. Obviously, that doesn't excuse the silly flicks and tricks we saw, as you pointed out, but having won convincingly against a side you'd expect to be in and around top 6 this season, I personally feel it will give us the confidence to go out and play better football next game.
 

Yagami

Kira did nothing wrong
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Messages
7,659
Look at our midfield. McTominay, Pereira, Lingard... Bar Pogba, it's filled with players who are invisible/lacklustre when we have possession. They're in the team for their defensive/pressing qualities.

Against decent opposition, with than midfield, we're always going to struggle to keep the ball.

I say it a lot but, bar Matic,we don't have one CM who can shield the ball, and Matic is a liability defensively so that negates that.
 

VJ1762

Full Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
915
What I would give to have this man back right now. The last pass in particular is crazy.


If we are leading by a comfortable margin, I would love to see gomes and garner get a chance.
 

lawliet354

Full Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
1,115
Location
Uncomfortable chair
Said it on the other thread, the culprits were Lingard and Pereira. Both roles are the hub between midfield and attack. But they were poor on getting involved during the game. Their passing numbers were 26 and 15 passes respectively, which tells that they rarely made themselves available for Pogba and McTom.
Agree with this, when Pogba is played deeper, then the no.10 should be able to act as a link between the midfield and the striker, but we have nobody good enough for no.10. Just see how Griezmann play for France and we can see why it still works having Pogba played deeper. I hope Angel Gomez can be our no.10 for the future, because right now none of Lingard, Pereira and Mata are good enough if we want to have better ball retention
 

Son

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
193
Young players are always inconsistent. Creative players will always lose the ball more than safe players. Central defenders generally have the best stats for ball retention for a reason. It was also a very frenetic game yesterday. Once United were up 3-0 ball retention was simple with the players hardly taking risks.
Xavi & Iniesta rarely ever lost the ball & they were pretty creative. We just need a different type of midfielder to tie the system altogether. We’ll never get anyone on their level obviously but a playmaker of some description.

Too many kick and run players in our team.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

red woppit

Full Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2017
Messages
695
Location
Buchebi
Supports
Northampton Town
Mata is the most natural 10 we have, and he does have the ability to find space, and keep the ball moving, if he was brought into the team our ball retention stats would improve greatly I believe, but it looks like Ole wants to give Pereira the opportunity to nail down that position, so I think he will persevere with him for now. Ultimately, I think, and hope, that Gomes will get the chance to make that position his own, but it may take a few matches for him to get the chance. He is potentially the most gifted midfielder we have, and once he has 25 to 30 games under his belt, he will be bossing the midfield, and personally, I think we should be looking to build a team around him as I feel that Pogba will almost certainly be on his way probably next summer.
 

Adisa

likes to take afvanadva wothowi doubt
Joined
Nov 28, 2014
Messages
36,783
Location
Birmingham
Ole is setting up the team to let the opposition have more of the ball and hit teams on the break. We'll just have to accept losing possession due to mostly playing on the break.
Ole in the post match conference said we were sloppy in the first half. So I don't think giving the ball away is intentional. Playing on yhe counter is unsustainable for most games as it would be our responsibility to break teams down.
I just think we are a sloppy team in general.
 

WR10

Correctly predicted France to win World Cup 2018
Joined
Jul 19, 2009
Messages
4,740
Location
Dream
What’s the fuss? Did you see the passing map? We kept possession brilliantly within our back 4/our half/Maguire which dragged Chelsea way up the field - unlocking our counter attacking threat. We win 4-0.

Against worse opposition we will retain the ball with ease. It will be creativity that’s the problem.
 

Treble

Full Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2008
Messages
10,634
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02640414.2013.786185

Read this research paper that compares high intensity running of High and Low percentage possession teams...

A very interesting read
Thanks for that read. Think most low possession teams do not use high pressing. Imo, high pressing + low possession is physically very demanding and unsustainable. Otherwise, Mourinho wouldpractice it!

I remember someone commenting about Barca 09-11 that they are the only team in the world that can recover physically while playing with the ball. Low possession means you have to chase the opposition all over the pitch, provided you intend to press them all over the pitch.
 

Infra-red

Full Member
Joined
May 4, 2010
Messages
8,008
Location
left wing
Thanks for that read. Think most low possession teams do not use high pressing. Imo, high pressing + low possession is physically very demanding and unsustainable. Otherwise, Mourinho wouldpractice it!

I remember someone commenting about Barca 09-11 that they are the only team in the world that can recover physically while playing with the ball. Low possession means you have to chase the opposition all over the pitch, provided you intend to press them all over the pitch.
This is precisely why we will only press sporadically this season, before retreating back into a 4-4-1-1 shape and trying to soak up pressure.

If you want to press like City, you have to also pass the ball like City. We will never be capable of that.
 

Valuedrug

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
48
Definitely a key issue. It could be down to nerves to some extent. It did get better in midfield at least after our lead got more comfortable, but I doubt it's as simple as that.

Unless some of the youth players break out, I don't see where it's going to come from. I think it's most important in midfield in order to build sustained control and pressure in a game, and as everyone knows, we're light in the midfield department. Apart from Pogba, who is quite wasteful himself a lot of the time, none of our midfielders have displayed high levels of the technical quality in receiving and passing the ball, that you see in players like Silva, Eriksen, De Bruyne and so on. First touch, the ability to turn with the ball quickly, awareness of other players in advance etc...I don't see much of that in any of our players.

I sometimes watch analysis videos of individual players on YouTube. Some of the top playmakers - even before they receive the ball, they know more or less what their options are, because they scanned the pitch ahead of time. I never really checked, but it doesn't feel like our players do this at all. Most of the time when they receive the, it seems like they need to take a few touches to get control, then some more touches to assess their options, until they finally decide to pass it horizontally to the nearest teammate if not backwards. This feels like 95 percent of our play in possession. Back when we still had Carrick in the team, he would regularly find a solid pass forward between the lines right after receiving the ball. I feel like this barely ever happens in the current United side.

I guess we'll see how the season progresses, but I don't know that Fred, McTominay, Matic or any of the others can deliver this kind of playmaking. I suppose Ole is betting, that we won't need it most of the time. In all fairness, even Liverpool don't really have anyone in that mold anymore.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Raoul

Greck

Full Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
3,286
Mata is the most natural 10 we have, and he does have the ability to find space, and keep the ball moving, if he was brought into the team our ball retention stats would improve greatly I believe, but it looks like Ole wants to give Pereira the opportunity to nail down that position, so I think he will persevere with him for now. Ultimately, I think, and hope, that Gomes will get the chance to make that position his own, but it may take a few matches for him to get the chance. He is potentially the most gifted midfielder we have, and once he has 25 to 30 games under his belt, he will be bossing the midfield, and personally, I think we should be looking to build a team around him as I feel that Pogba will almost certainly be on his way probably next summer.
I don't see it with Mata. Even when he came on. Keeping it simple is preferable but Mata's passing is so safe it's almost pointless.
 

NoPace

Full Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2014
Messages
5,495
I've been really surprised how sloppy Pereira is in possession over preseason and the Chelsea game. He seems like he's in the Ashley Young, Alexis Sanchez, Lukaku group of attackers where he just repeatedly inexplicably gives it away. Like Sanchez he has a good first touch (unlike the other two) but seems to struggle to link with teammates in a secure manner.

If that doesn't change, I think Dan James will win the RW job for most games for that reason alone.
 

Rasendori

Full Member
Joined
May 30, 2016
Messages
713
Location
Hyperbolic Time Chamber
Whilst acknowledging that United did have issues with ball retention, I liked the following:

Bisakka under pressure from Barkley


Bisakka tries to buy time, but is yet to see a passing option he's comfortable with.


Instead of aimlessly clearing it, his head has been lifted and he now sees Pereira in space.


Great composure and awareness from Bisakka to pick out Pereira.



Bisakka prevents a possible throw in for United by feigning a clearance


This buys him a bit of time


Goes into a standstill position


And scoops the ball to Jesse Lingard. A throw in would've allowed Chelsea to remain on the offensive.
 

Champ

Full Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2017
Messages
852
The more passes you make, the less chance you have of scoring.
Majority of goals come from small passages of play rather than retaining the ball for any length of time.
Pressing high as a team is much more important in today's game then retaining the ball for any length of time.
Obviously the situation dictates this to a degree, for example one nil up with 5 to go you'd want to retain the ball.
 

Buster15

Full Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2018
Messages
3,644
Location
Bristol
Supports
Bristol Rovers
That's a great point, there were a few occasions I had sympathy for Pogba as you could clearly see he had zero out ball.

We could be a fantastic side but clearly, there is a little element missing.
Yes I agree to a certain extent about Pogba.
But as I have mentioned before his biggest problem is that he can be and often is closed down very quickly when in possesion.
The opposition knows this.
The players also must be aware of this and it is their job therefore to give him options to make far more simple and quick passes.
 

90 + 5min

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
198
The more passes you make, the less chance you have of scoring.
Majority of goals come from small passages of play rather than retaining the ball for any length of time.
Pressing high as a team is much more important in today's game then retaining the ball for any length of time.
Obviously the situation dictates this to a degree, for example one nil up with 5 to go you'd want to retain the ball.
Thats is incorrect.

I'm not a big fan of passing to ball to eternity and I love more directly style of football. BUT if you look at the facts you'll see that most (if not all) teams that have more possession and more passes in the game usually wins.

To put it in other way even if its to simplified. If your team have 70% and the other team 30% then you have almost 65min to score the goal while other team get 25 minutes. Thats a lot of difference. There is now other factors to think about (like quality, tactics and so on) but still the more ball you have the more your chances increases to win the game and in this case to score a goal.
 

Grande

Full Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
2,568
Location
The Land of Do-What-You-Will
Mata is the most natural 10 we have, and he does have the ability to find space, and keep the ball moving, if he was brought into the team our ball retention stats would improve greatly I believe, but it looks like Ole wants to give Pereira the opportunity to nail down that position, so I think he will persevere with him for now. Ultimately, I think, and hope, that Gomes will get the chance to make that position his own, but it may take a few matches for him to get the chance. He is potentially the most gifted midfielder we have, and once he has 25 to 30 games under his belt, he will be bossing the midfield, and personally, I think we should be looking to build a team around him as I feel that Pogba will almost certainly be on his way probably next summer.
It’s a delicate balance between retention and winning back the ball. Mata is our best ball retainer, but across more than three yards, our weakest ball reclaimer. Pereira is far from Mata’s level of sophistication, but he ran the most of all players on the field against Chelsea, if you combine kms and most sprints. Mata would probably have bottomed that list.

Pereira has the technique to retain the ball well in an open field, but his inclination is to go for the marginal passes, which leads to ball losses. Mata is good and smart enough to balance that so he can both recycle the ball, and open up tight defences. That’s why I still expect to see Mata against buses that park at Old Trafford, while Pereira will get
more chances in end-to-end games.

Pereira has the technique, working capasity and ethic to be alot more useful at either one of the 8, 10 or 11 roles in a 4-2-3-1. He just seems a slow learner, still making a lot of wrong decisions both on the ball and in press. Pereira with Mata’s brain would be a dead cert starter, but alas.

Lingard is the closest in-between thing we’ve got, so on form, I expect him to play alot this year, contrary to popular demand.

Gomes can grow into the best of all these worlds, and if he keeps on developing like we’ve seen, I think he will get more and more of that game time.
 

Champ

Full Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2017
Messages
852
Thats is incorrect.

I'm not a big fan of passing to ball to eternity and I love more directly style of football. BUT if you look at the facts you'll see that most (if not all) teams that have more possession and more passes in the game usually wins.

To put it in other way even if its to simplified. If your team have 70% and the other team 30% then you have almost 65min to score the goal while other team get 25 minutes. Thats a lot of difference. There is now other factors to think about (like quality, tactics and so on) but still the more ball you have the more your chances increases to win the game and in this case to score a goal.
No, it's true,
The more passes in a move, the less chance you have of scoring. You can check any stats you want, they all back this up.
If I remember rightly, the percentage of teams winning having had more possession was only about 55% a few years back, which suggests possession isn't everything.
Pointless retaining the ball if you don't shoot.

You'll find that football is around 50% chance and 50% skill, once again this is backed up by facts and figures, you couple this with the lower chance of scoring the more passes there is in a move and you'll see how possession doesn't win games.
Shooting however, this is what wins games.
 

Irwin99

Full Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
1,958
No, it's true,
The more passes in a move, the less chance you have of scoring. You can check any stats you want, they all back this up.
If I remember rightly, the percentage of teams winning having had more possession was only about 55% a few years back, which suggests possession isn't everything.
Pointless retaining the ball if you don't shoot.

You'll find that football is around 50% chance and 50% skill, once again this is backed up by facts and figures, you couple this with the lower chance of scoring the more passes there is in a move and you'll see how possession doesn't win games.
Shooting however, this is what wins games.
100% chance if you're Moyes and playing against Fulham. I'm sure I recall him replying something like 'you'd need a football brain to understand that' when asked about the infamous 81 crosses against Fulham.
 

Scotty McT

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Messages
274
No, it's true,
The more passes in a move, the less chance you have of scoring. You can check any stats you want, they all back this up.
If I remember rightly, the percentage of teams winning having had more possession was only about 55% a few years back, which suggests possession isn't everything.
Pointless retaining the ball if you don't shoot.

You'll find that football is around 50% chance and 50% skill, once again this is backed up by facts and figures, you couple this with the lower chance of scoring the more passes there is in a move and you'll see how possession doesn't win games.
Shooting however, this is what wins games.
Who are these statisticians measuring how much luck a team has had?
 

90 + 5min

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
198
No, it's true,
The more passes in a move, the less chance you have of scoring. You can check any stats you want, they all back this up.
If I remember rightly, the percentage of teams winning having had more possession was only about 55% a few years back, which suggests possession isn't everything.
Pointless retaining the ball if you don't shoot.

You'll find that football is around 50% chance and 50% skill, once again this is backed up by facts and figures, you couple this with the lower chance of scoring the more passes there is in a move and you'll see how possession doesn't win games.
Shooting however, this is what wins games.
I believe that you are still incorrect. Let me put it in a different exaggerate way. If you have 100% of the ball and the other team have 0% don't you think you got better chance of winning?

As I said earlier that having most possession is not everything because of quality, tactics and so on but it increases your chance of winning. If we are talking about possession in one attack (move) during a game then it all depends on players, quality, tactics, little bit of luck and so on. However having more ball in one game should give you more chances of winning if you use your possession in right way.

Here is one article about possession and win. A bit old but still. I would be glad if you could present to me with some articles or reports that backs you theory. Because if I'm wrong I'll happily hold my hands up.