Did Our Defense Suddenly Become World Class? Why?

JJ12

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Maguire is in our best team
 

tomaldinho1

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We did not suddenly become world class but the whole team had a good game. Let's not forget DDG had to make 3 really good saves but that back three worked very well - all are technical enough and fast enough (particularly Axel and Shaw) to cover each other (mostly Lindelof) who actually was really good defensively around the box as well. Also we essentially played 5 at the back and 2 DMs so it makes sense we looked more solid - what was surprising was how bad PSG were in possession which allowed us a lot of chances to score which we squandered.

I'm a big believer, particularly with how we've seen big name players continuously disappoint for us over the last few years, that we just reward current form. If we stick with this formation I think we should stick with this same team bar Martial who is banned. Pogba played well when he came on but is he better than Fred, McT or Bruno in their specific roles? Maguire is a solid CB but should he walk straight back into the line up?
 

Ole's screen

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Because PSG hardly ever got a clean run at the defense. The midfield was much deeper and much more compact than against say Spurs or Crystal Palace. Thats partly due to having more pace in defense (Axel) and partly due to having more legs and commitment in midfield (McT and Fred over Pogba and Matic).

/Thread
 

Munkehboi

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PSG didn't turn up, opposistion can have bad games too. We haven't suddenly become World Class in defense.

The main thing is we didn't make any silly errors leading to a goal.
 

spiriticon

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No it didn't become world class overnight.

We just played 5 at the back and 2 dynamic midfielders to protect them so there were just a lot of bodies in the way of PSG.
 

eire-red

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While individually we had some good performances at the back (AWB, Shaw and Tuanzebe in particular stood out) we defended better as a unit in general.

When we play 4231, we're too open through the middle when Pogba and Matic play, and Rashford and Greenwood don't always track their runners back.

What impressed me more wasn't that we defended well (I had a feeling we'd be very difficult to beat with Fred and McTominay shielding that back 5) it was how we kept the ball and managed to keep an attacking threat.

That hasn't always been the case when we've played a more defensive structure. We kept our forward intent, which meant we didn't come under long spells of pressure.
 

Withnail

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Many of the issues early on were fitness, they were lacking minutes. Every year we usually have 5-6 friendlies, maybe more, we had 1 this year. Palace had played 6 games before they faced us and spurs had played 11 by the time they played us!

We only conceded a couple of goals more than the champions last season....our entire defence didn't suddenly just become terrible. You can see they're up to speed now, it showed against Newcastle, they barely had a chance against us.
This!

I swear some people act like last season didn't happen and the first three league games are the only games we can judge anything on.
 

Ekeke

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Organization and players who balance out the weaknesses of others. Also a big match against a team where we were the underdogs, so nobody is complaining that we had a defensive setup and they had most of the ball. Because all that matters is we won.

Pace, strength and a 3rd CB to cover Lindelof, 2 DMs who are happy to compete for the ball in front of the defense and an AM thats working hard to win the ball in front of them. We got what that team was capable of and Paris didnt get what their team was capable of on the night. They lacked the end product you'd expect from attackers of that quality
 

fps

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No. PSG were very poor, and DeGea had to make one excellent stop athletically and another positionally. That said, it looked good. They played to their potential and the extra body at the back meant there weren't many spaces to play through.
 

Tel074

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We had a makeshift defense against PSG. But Luke Shaw looks better as a LCB than he does as a LB playing next to Maguire. I didn’t have any worries whatsover about Lindelof, which I normally have several times a game. And Tuanzebe looked like a young but fully seasoned defender.
What happened here? Did everyone raise their game because we were playing Neymar & Mbappe? Did Fred and McT just do an outstanding job at protecting the defense? Is Luke Shaw really better as a LCB? Or is it the absence of an Maguire that actually improved us?

As look better because we have a midfield base that covers and works hard . When Pogba plays in that role he doesn't offer that cover plus I think we look better with 3 at the back anyhow
 

RedDevil@84

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We defended as a team. We did that with Jose when we defended as a team and beat all other average teams to reach 2nd. Not going to happen everyday.
Teams will play differently and same plans won't work every time.
 

Lassitude42

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Fundamentally our team had much more spirit than PSG, who played like a bunch of mercenaries. Which is pretty much what they are.
 

TheRedDevil'sAdvocate

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Football is a team sport and therefore defending properly is a collective effort. The same thing goes with attacking purposefully. You can have the best two centre-halves in the world in your line-up but if the gap between the defence and the midfield is as wide as the Grand Canyon and the opposition manages to constantly get players on the ball in those areas, facing the goal, each of your world-class defenders will probably look like a deer in the headlights: back-peddling while runners are making runs in behind left, right and centre.

One very positive thing that happened yesterday was that the whole team was switched on throughout the 90 minutes in the defensive phase off the ball. I'm saying very positive because in many league games our attacking trident "behaves" in a way that makes you think that they are relieved of any defensive duties. Yesterday this was certainly not the case. Both Rashford and Martial were keeping tabs on their ball-playing CBs and Fernandes had a leash around Danilo Pereira and both our WBs were ready to push up and close down Florenzi and Kurzawa. The three men at the back allowed us not to get outnumbered between the lines while maintaining safe numbers at the back. The instruction for Shaw/Fred and Tuanzebe/McT was to not allow Mbappe, Di Maria and Neymar any space to receive the ball deep, turn around and run/create. Whenever this was not a possibility, the order was pretty obvious: hack them down. It was an instruction that was followed to the letter and it won us the game. It was a collective effort from the deepest defender to the farthest attacker. This is how Liverpool look "more than the sum of their parts". If their front three stops closing down relentlessly, trust me, even Virgil will start looking shaky in their high line.

Did the nature of the game favour us? Of course, it did. We were given the opportunity to field a team that was leaning more toward compactness and work-rate because we knew that we would not have to generate spaces but we would need to exploit the spaces PSG would be willing to sacrifice in order to make their system work. Most of our defensive issues stem from the fact that we still lack the necessary balance between defence and attack when the game demands of us to create pockets of space with our passing game in the final third. Then Pogba and Matic become important because they are the best passers of the ball we have in the midfield. But they are slow, they can easily get bypassed and they are not ideal for closing down/pressing high up the pitch. And when the front three don't press and when Matic/Pogba are in the midfield too, only the Kompany-Ramos-Puyol-Vidic ultra aggressive type of defending can help you at this level: Defenders who can do the job even when their area of responsibility, both ahead and behind them, is considerably larger than the "average defender's".

Lindelof looked good yesterday because he was given a specific area to defend without the need to venture outside the box a lot (especially in the wide areas where he's very weak). Maguire would look good in that role too, there's no doubt about it. They look better when the spaces they have to protect become smaller and they look worse when those same spaces become bigger because the team hasn't transitioned properly defensively. The key is to make these spaces small (eliminate attacking threats) without sacrificing creativity and reducing your passing game to direct balls down the channels for Rashford and Greenwood to chase.
 

SadlerMUFC

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I suggest if you don’t want this to be about Maguire then there’s plenty to talk about in the defensive performance of today. So if I say Luke Shaw played better at LCB than he has sometimes played at LB, does this mean it’s a passive aggressive Luke Shaw Bashing thread?

Or are we fans not allowed to comment what we see because according to you our perfectly normal comments passive-aggressive? Are you a self appointed censor, and are we living in China now?
The funniest part is that you aren't even man enough to admit what your post is actually about. But go on, tell us again how this post has nothing to do with hating on Maguire :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

Mick1

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Do you really need me to explain that to you? The fact you added it later confirmed if it was needed it was a Maguire bashing thread.
Pointing out his price does not make it bashing.
IE: this is bashing
Being shit at 80m is different than being shit at 40 mil. Maguire Is the opposite of the Pogba is : the right attitude and lack of talent. Both monumental mistakes and money down the shitter.
Could have had Upamecano for half the price.
 

manunited1919

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OP it does seem like you were eluding to maguire being the problem.
The thread is here to exchange opinions. There are many different parts to why we looked good.
* Maguire. Maguire is not THE problem, but he did start the season with no focus at all. This is a form issue.
* Shaw. We had him play as LCB most of the game, and I think this might be his best position. Sort of what we had with Blind, who was actually better as a Centerback than as a LB.
* Pace. Whenever we play a high line, we need at least 1 defender with Pace at the back. The pairing Lindeloff / Maguire doesn’t seem optimal for this reason. Tuanzebe should start more games, but the key will be whether or not he can stay healthy.
* Tactical. 3 at the back reduces space, and it makes it easier for CBs to reduce chances created by the other team. Same thing by having Fred and McT protecting the defense.
* Discipline/organization. Because it was PSG which is supposed to be a top team, everyone was on top of their game and defenders stuck to defending. Thus you didn’t see AWB completely abandon their posts which we have seen before. Nor did we see any of our CBs marking no mans land which we have also seen happen on several occasions.
* Opposition. PSG wanted to attack, so they played into our counterattacking tactics perfectly.
 

manunited1919

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The funniest part is that you aren't even man enough to admit what your post is actually about. But go on, tell us again how this post has nothing to do with hating on Maguire :lol: :lol: :lol:
The post is about those things that we all saw yesterday that had an impact on our defense being so much better. I haven’t been following Red Cafe this closely, so I didn’t know that there were so many people here sensitive about criticism of Maguire. So I changed the title, to see if we could aviid this becoming about Maguire and to have a more productive discussion. But you snowflakes don’t want Maguire criticised at all, you are over sensitive to that topic. But at the same time you keep bringing Maguire into the center of discussion, so you aren’t really helping your own case here. Not too sMartial.
 

Zlatan Ibrahomovic

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Our defense is actually pretty good and has been since around january. Not surprising that they had the capacity to contain a team like PSG.
 

SadlerMUFC

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The post is about those things that we all saw yesterday that had an impact on our defense being so much better. I haven’t been following Red Cafe this closely, so I didn’t know that there were so many people here sensitive about criticism of Maguire. So I changed the title, to see if we could aviid this becoming about Maguire and to have a more productive discussion. But you snowflakes don’t want Maguire criticised at all, you are over sensitive to that topic. But at the same time you keep bringing Maguire into the center of discussion, so you aren’t really helping your own case here. Not too sMartial.
"You're a snowflake" he says as he whines passive agressively about Maguire :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

Denis79

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We had a makeshift defense against PSG. But Luke Shaw looks better as a LCB than he does as a LB playing next to Maguire. I didn’t have any worries whatsover about Lindelof, which I normally have several times a game. And Tuanzebe looked like a young but fully seasoned defender.
What happened here? Did everyone raise their game because we were playing Neymar & Mbappe? Did Fred and McT just do an outstanding job at protecting the defense? Is Luke Shaw really better as a LCB? Or is it the absence of an Maguire that actually improved us?
Maguire being absent had nothing to do with it, did you watch the game? Did you notice how deep we sat? That we played 5 at the back with two hard-working DM's?
 

MikeKing

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Maguire being absent had nothing to do with it, did you watch the game? Did you notice how deep we sat? That we played 5 at the back with two hard-working DM's?
Well, that's both true and not true in a sense. We have defended the same way for a long time. We defend with a lot of bodies, and we do very often defend just as deep as against PSG. The difference to me however was that we actually were able to maintain high pressure and a relatively high line. Tuanzebe, Bissaka, Telles Fred and McTominay won a lot of duels due to a closer distance between our players, coming from us keeping a high line without dropping deep too often. I think this is what gave us the possession and edge, and the fact they couldn't break through behind our defence meant their attackers got on the ball too deep to do anything serious 1vs1. The shape was really good, but we had players that were able to win the ball back quickly and over time it kinda suffocated the opposition to a degree.

I don't think we're able to do this with the Maguire-Lindelof partnership. Lindelof is hopeless in physical duels and 1vs1's out wide, and while Maguire is more aggressive he is slow as shit on the turn and struggle to cover when playing a high line. He needs real cover himself if he is to do that, but I think he can do it if he is allowed to not be the aggressive one, but the one who stays a bit behind everyone else.
 

Denis79

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Well, that's both true and not true in a sense. We have defended the same way for a long time. We defend with a lot of bodies, and we do very often defend just as deep as against PSG. The difference to me however was that we actually were able to maintain high pressure and a relatively high line. Tuanzebe, Bissaka, Telles Fred and McTominay won a lot of duels due to a closer distance between our players, coming from us keeping a high line without dropping deep too often. I think this is what gave us the possession and edge, and the fact they couldn't break through behind our defence meant their attackers got on the ball too deep to do anything serious 1vs1. The shape was really good, but we had players that were able to win the ball back quickly and over time it kinda suffocated the opposition to a degree.

I don't think we're able to do this with the Maguire-Lindelof partnership. Lindelof is hopeless in physical duels and 1vs1's out wide, and while Maguire is more aggressive he is slow as shit on the turn and struggle to cover when playing a high line. He needs real cover himself if he is to do that, but I think he can do it if he is allowed to not be the aggressive one, but the one who stays a bit behind everyone else.
We don"t have the quality to do it with only 2 defenders and a single DM you're right. We did great and our players worked their socks off but saying that the reason we defended well was Maguires absence is faulty. I'm pretty confident we would gave had a similar game if we switched Maguire with Lindelof.
 

MikeKing

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We don"t have the quality to do it with only 2 defenders and a single DM you're right. We did great and our players worked their socks off but saying that the reason we defended well was Maguires absence is faulty. I'm pretty confident we would gave had a similar game if we switched Maguire with Lindelof.
Yeah, I don't have any doubts about that. Especially considering they didn't play with a striker. If they had Cavani playing instead of Danilo, you'd want Maguire and not Lindelof in there. It's mostly because of the pace and tenacity of Fred, Tuanzebe, Bissaka and Shaw/Telles, and the physicality of McTominay helped as well. Maguire is a factor if he has quick players around him, and he'll be fine in whatever setup. He just really needs to play quicker passes in the build up :lol:
 

Denis79

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Yeah, I don't have any doubts about that. Especially considering they didn't play with a striker. If they had Cavani playing instead of Danilo, you'd want Maguire and not Lindelof in there. It's mostly because of the pace and tenacity of Fred, Tuanzebe, Bissaka and Shaw/Telles, and the physicality of McTominay helped as well. Maguire is a factor if he has quick players around him, and he'll be fine in whatever setup. He just really needs to play quicker passes in the build up :lol:
And not do his famous dribbles? No way, where's the fun in that?
 

RedRonaldo

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1. 3 CB at the back
2. Fred and Mctominay to protect the defence
3. No more Individual errors which cost us games
4. Maguire is not playing, for some reason our defence actually look more organised and disciplined too. We defend as a unit.

It could be any or all of the above reasons, they are all the obvious take though.
 

cyril C

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What? Play 5 at the back plus 2 DMF, of course we are world class in defence. It should work against many top teams, just not good at breaking down a bus.
 

The Brown Bull

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The short answer is no.
The long answer is definitely no.
We had a good result last night. One good result.
Talk to me in 12 games time.
 

Nitewolf

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Bit dumb seeing that they got a goal within 90 mins of play today.
You see, when you call someone dumb, you should at least be right. That was an own goal, in wasn't even a forced error.

Grow up.
 
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Zlatattack

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When in defensive phases of play we had 2 mobile midfielders shielding a back 5. The sheer numbers alone made us hard to beat, although everyone did their job well. It probably also helped that the mentality was to defend well and then counter.

In our normal 4231, we tend to want to impose ourselves on the game so are less defensive. That means our fullbacks/Shaw tend to be a bit higher, Pogba doesn't sit back and defend and Matic isn't as mobile as the Mc-Fred pairing can be. This makes it harder to defend as effectively.

Couple that with tiredness and lack of match fitness, some transfer related negativity, there was clearly some ring rust at the start of the season. Hopefully going forwards we'll be more solid.
 
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It was one good game, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

One thing I will say is Maguire makes a lot of unenforced errors. I wasn’t surprised we looked more assured without him. He dwells on the ball too much & misplaces basic passes often.
 

Born2Lose

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The whole structure of the team looks better with two grafting defensive midfielders, it's no coincidence Rashford has scored 2 in 2 in with less attacking players instead of 1 goal in 3 with more.

Also takes a lot of pressure off the fullbacks when you're playing 3 CB's or/and have Fred and McT covering for them.

I've always been an Ole in, but if he deviates from this and returns to the tactics from the start of the season it'll make me seriously question him.
 

GueRed

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A deep defensive line and having work horses Fred and McTominay stopping the supply to PSG's the front men helps...
 

Scholsey2004

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Most of our best performances are playing this defensive counter-attacking system, especially against strong possession sides who commit lots of players forward. Obviously it's harder to defend when you play a high line with less cover from midfield.