In Defence of Our Defence: Defending the Indefensible?

bosnian_red

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I still disagree here.

We can’t employ the front press (which will be long term our plan) and cover that space with our personnel.

We’ve also got the likes of Varane, Lindelof, Maguire, Evans whose best traits from a defensive stand point are their blocking.

With these players I’d ask what do we expect them to do?

I’ve not seen a single person describing how to make this better.
Come on man. We are incredibly disjointed. There is no excuse for it. You pick one style and run with it. Whether you go for what your end goal is as a group even if you don't have the players, or go for a different one that suits what you have. Doing this in between disaster which leads to Manchester United having the 3rd most shots conceded per game in Europe's big 5 leagues is embarassing. You can't downplay how horrific that is.

We do press high. But we don't follow that through the rest of the team. There is 0 intent from ten hag to have us press high in deep midfield or defence. The fullbacks stay back leaving an easy out all the time, which means the front 4 or 5 players that press are ridiculously easy to bypass, which means they are useless defensively. If you want you let defence deep, then keep the attack deep. It's not rocket science. Conceding as much xG as we do and as many shots as we do is a straight up failure from ten hag to do his job.

Again, for our club to be among the very worst across all the big leagues at this is laughably shit. We are comparing ourselves with relegation fodder, the worst of the worst teams in a manor league. Whatever you may think about our squad, it's not that bad. It's a top 6 in the prem squad at worst. It's an embarrassment from ten hag.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Why should we, unqualified people, have to explain how to make it better? The club employs a manager to figure that out.

Ten Hag has been given adequate resource to recruit personnel who are more suitable. Not to mention his job is to also coach players to learn to play whatever system he chooses to implement. No manager gets to bring in 25 players who perfectly suit his vision, so how do other teams manage to play good football?

It's lame excuse after lame excuse. We can all see through it
I don’t mean you I mean all these critics and analysts. Have any explained how exactly you get a Lindelof and AWB left sided defence play significantly higher and better?

How do you get a 35 year old Evans closing the space between a high press?

I think we’ve gone for an unusual but pragmatic approach that long term will work for us.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Come on man. We are incredibly disjointed. There is no excuse for it. You pick one style and run with it. Whether you go for what your end goal is as a group even if you don't have the players, or go for a different one that suits what you have. Doing this in between disaster which leads to Manchester United having the 3rd most shots conceded per game in Europe's big 5 leagues is embarassing. You can't downplay how horrific that is.

We do press high. But we don't follow that through the rest of the team. There is 0 intent from ten hag to have us press high in deep midfield or defence. The fullbacks stay back leaving an easy out all the time, which means the front 4 or 5 players that press are ridiculously easy to bypass, which means they are useless defensively. If you want you let defence deep, then keep the attack deep. It's not rocket science. Conceding as much xG as we do and as many shots as we do is a straight up failure from ten hag to do his job.

Again, for our club to be among the very worst across all the big leagues at this is laughably shit. We are comparing ourselves with relegation fodder, the worst of the worst teams in a manor league. Whatever you may think about our squad, it's not that bad. It's a top 6 in the prem squad at worst. It's an embarrassment from ten hag.
The gaps are by design. We press high and if it fails we drop deep.

We concede loads of shots but look at how many goals we’ve conceded? The only teams better than us now are Arsenal, Liverpool and City.
 

Eriku

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The gaps are by design. We press high and if it fails we drop deep.

We concede loads of shots but look at how many goals we’ve conceded? The only teams better than us now are Arsenal, Liverpool and City.
:lol:

It’s sheer luck and/or inefficient finishing that has stopped us from conceding more. You can’t seriously argue those stats point to our defensive tactics being viable?
 

Zed is not dead

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The gaps are by design. We press high and if it fails we drop deep.

We concede loads of shots but look at how many goals we’ve conceded? The only teams better than us now are Arsenal, Liverpool and City.
We had a nice start to the game yesterday because you could see Varane and Lindelof pushing high and going for duels at the half way line.

After Brentford’s first attacks, both Varane and Lindelof stopped going for duels high up the pitch and that’s when the gaps appeared.
Then it got even worse when Maguire came on because we can only defend while running towards our goal when he plays.

To me it’s not a systemic issue but a player issue. They lack either the skillset or the confidence to play a highline (sometimes both).

The only way for us to stop the defensive imbalance is to play like we did under Ole, ie a low to mid block and go for counters. Basically this means you don’t press until opponents are in your 40m and that’s just not what the coach seems to want.

So until we get the right defensive players or the coach decides to change his philosophy, we’ll see the same scenario repeat itself.

And this is where the Caf is losing its mind because it wants a coach with a philosophy without growing pains
 

Idxomer

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The gaps are by design. We press high and if it fails we drop deep.

We concede loads of shots but look at how many goals we’ve conceded? The only teams better than us now are Arsenal, Liverpool and City.
Better than us in what? There are at least 5 teams better in everything and that's being generous.
 

BenitoSTARR

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:lol:

It’s sheer luck and/or inefficient finishing that has stopped us from conceding more. You can’t seriously argue those stats point to our defensive tactics being viable?
Na. We are defending really weirdly but it’s working. How else would you like me to judge?
We had a nice start to the game yesterday because you could see Varane and Lindelof pushing high and going for duels at the half way line.

After Brentford’s first attacks, both Varane and Lindelof stopped going for duels high up the pitch and that’s when the gaps appeared.
Then it got even worse when Maguire came on because we can only defend while running towards our goal when he plays.

To me it’s not a systemic issue but a player issue. They lack either the skillset or the confidence to play a highline (sometimes both).

The only way for us to stop the defensive imbalance is to play like we did under Ole, ie a low to mid block and go for counters. Basically this means you don’t press until opponents are in your 40m and that’s just not what the coach seems to want.

So until we get the right defensive players or the coach decides to change his philosophy, we’ll see the same scenario repeat itself.

And this is where the Caf is losing its mind because it wants a coach with a philosophy without growing pains
It’s systemic/personnel. We can’t press high with all the team because the defence isn’t built for that (that we’ve been able to play)

I genuinely think it’s easier to wait until the summer. When I’m sure we’ll buy a CB, CDM and LB and see how we play then.

I think it will be significantly better.
 

AndySmith1990

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Na. We are defending really weirdly but it’s working. How else would you like me to judge?

It’s systemic/personnel. We can’t press high with all the team because the defence isn’t built for that (that we’ve been able to play)

I genuinely think it’s easier to wait until the summer. When I’m sure we’ll buy a CB, CDM and LB and see how we play then.

I think it will be significantly better.
Delusional I think
 
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I still disagree here.

We can’t employ the front press (which will be long term our plan) and cover that space with our personnel.

We’ve also got the likes of Varane, Lindelof, Maguire, Evans whose best traits from a defensive stand point are their blocking.

With these players I’d ask what do we expect them to do?

I’ve not seen a single person describing how to make this better.
If we keep our current type of defensive personnel. Literally the only way we can play that way and survive is having a midfield with legs with utter resistance to losing possesion.
 

eire-red

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Come on man. We are incredibly disjointed. There is no excuse for it. You pick one style and run with it. Whether you go for what your end goal is as a group even if you don't have the players, or go for a different one that suits what you have. Doing this in between disaster which leads to Manchester United having the 3rd most shots conceded per game in Europe's big 5 leagues is embarassing. You can't downplay how horrific that is.

We do press high. But we don't follow that through the rest of the team. There is 0 intent from ten hag to have us press high in deep midfield or defence. The fullbacks stay back leaving an easy out all the time, which means the front 4 or 5 players that press are ridiculously easy to bypass, which means they are useless defensively. If you want you let defence deep, then keep the attack deep. It's not rocket science. Conceding as much xG as we do and as many shots as we do is a straight up failure from ten hag to do his job.

Again, for our club to be among the very worst across all the big leagues at this is laughably shit. We are comparing ourselves with relegation fodder, the worst of the worst teams in a manor league. Whatever you may think about our squad, it's not that bad. It's a top 6 in the prem squad at worst. It's an embarrassment from ten hag.
Thank you for pointing this out. The fact that our set up is so glaringly flawed is what frustrates me so much about EtH as our manager.

Our pressing is absolutely garbage. Watching Hojlund wasting energy chasing down the GK, Bruno, Rashford and Garnacho ambling towards the split CB's and deep midfielder, while our FB's sit back and leave the easiest out-ball possible, and our team is entirely split apart with such simplicity it is embarrassing to watch. Like, either do it properly or do something else, because every decent team can see how badly we press and sucks us in.

Last night, Brentford played like a couple one-two's in quick succession down our left. It wasn't anything special, there was no clever flick around the corner, or quick feet. It was like watching the set-up of a drill, the passes were like fairly obvious 15 / 20 yard passes, and it was like a hot knife slicing through butter.

Two or three passes after a pathetic press, and they are at our back 4. This happened in various different forms and guises time and again. I don't think there's any real defence for what we saw last night, and have seen time and again this season.

We can dress up the stats any way we want, but my eyes don't lie to me. We are so easy to play against it's just not right. When we face the worse teams that are less clinical, they miss a lot of chances / take pop-shots / fluff opportunities. When we play the better teams, we have been routinely pasted under EtH. xG will not tell that story.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Thank you for pointing this out. The fact that our set up is so glaringly flawed is what frustrates me so much about EtH as our manager.

Our pressing is absolutely garbage. Watching Hojlund wasting energy chasing down the GK, Bruno, Rashford and Garnacho ambling towards the split CB's and deep midfielder, while our FB's sit back and leave the easiest out-ball possible, and our team is entirely split apart with such simplicity it is embarrassing to watch. Like, either do it properly or do something else, because every decent team can see how badly we press and sucks us in.

Last night, Brentford played like a couple one-two's in quick succession down our left. It wasn't anything special, there was no clever flick around the corner, or quick feet. It was like watching the set-up of a drill, the passes were like fairly obvious 15 / 20 yard passes, and it was like a hot knife slicing through butter.

Two or three passes after a pathetic press, and they are at our back 4. This happened in various different forms and guises time and again. I don't think there's any real defence for what we saw last night, and have seen time and again this season.

We can dress up the stats any way we want, but my eyes don't lie to me. We are so easy to play against it's just not right. When we face the worse teams that are less clinical, they miss a lot of chances / take pop-shots / fluff opportunities. When we play the better teams, we have been routinely pasted under EtH. xG will not tell that story.
We haven’t had a LB all season. Do you not think the amount of defensive and general personnel rotations we’ve had to have due to injuries makes it harder to sort this?
 

bosnian_red

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The gaps are by design. We press high and if it fails we drop deep.

We concede loads of shots but look at how many goals we’ve conceded? The only teams better than us now are Arsenal, Liverpool and City.
The goals conceded stat is a fluke. Not gonna go through that again. If you think conceding only 1 goal after games like yesterday (which are more or less, a regular occurrence) is sustainable, then I dunno what to say, it's just straight up wrong though. They hit the woodwork 4 times and had over 30 shots FFS, a 5-0 would have been deserved.

The gaps by design is the exact problem. We would do far better if we just coached out the gaps. Defended as a team. It's incredibly simple. The stats are painfully evident. Manchester United should not be one of the worst defensive sides in Europe. Even if we were mid table stats wise it'd be bad. But we're relegation fodder. That's just shocking.

Ten Hag wants us to press high, but he doesn't know how to coach it. He doesn't know how to get us to defend deep properly either. The whole point of a coaching set up is to reduce opposition chances, not concede acres of space and 20 shots per game. Oh and to add, I find it really hard to take the injuries into account when his system by design directly causes so many injuries because of all that space they have to cover.
 

bosnian_red

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Na. We are defending really weirdly but it’s working. How else would you like me to judge?

It’s systemic/personnel. We can’t press high with all the team because the defence isn’t built for that (that we’ve been able to play)

I genuinely think it’s easier to wait until the summer. When I’m sure we’ll buy a CB, CDM and LB and see how we play then.

I think it will be significantly better.
It's not working :lol: we just conceded 30 shots to Brentford, over 3 xG, they hit the woodwork 4 times and had a marginal offside var call. It is nothing but pure luck that our goals against per game isn't as bad as it was in the Champions League.

Don't be delusional man. It's fine if you think he'll turn it around. But call a spade a spade. What he's doing now is garbage, our defending as a team is absolute dog shit, and needs to be improved. Opponents are constantly in our box, we concede one of the most shots in our box in Europe, we concede one of the most touches in our box on Europe, teams have free runs at our back 4 and our midfield has a hopeless task simply because of the coaching.
 

BenitoSTARR

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The goals conceded stat is a fluke. Not gonna go through that again. If you think conceding only 1 goal after games like yesterday (which are more or less, a regular occurrence) is sustainable, then I dunno what to say, it's just straight up wrong though. They hit the woodwork 4 times and had over 30 shots FFS, a 5-0 would have been deserved.

The gaps by design is the exact problem. We would do far better if we just coached out the gaps. Defended as a team. It's incredibly simple. The stats are painfully evident. Manchester United should not be one of the worst defensive sides in Europe. Even if we were mid table stats wise it'd be bad. But we're relegation fodder. That's just shocking.

Ten Hag wants us to press high, but he doesn't know how to coach it. He doesn't know how to get us to defend deep properly either. The whole point of a coaching set up is to reduce opposition chances, not concede acres of space and 20 shots per game. Oh and to add, I find it really hard to take the injuries into account when his system by design directly causes so many injuries because of all that space they have to cover.
xG per shot of 0.08 in our worst game of the season (last night).

A 5-0 wouldn’t have been deserved based on xG 2-0 would have been a fair result.

You don’t need to resort to hyperbole to convince me last night was shocking I agree with you.

We can’t get Evans, Lindelof or Maguire to convincingly play a high press. You can’t tell me AWB is a good enough player to be a top LB to play that high press. Your attack is sometimes as good as your best player and defense is often as bad as your worst.

Our weak spot was LB. It got exploited because we don’t have a LB. Have we even had 5 games with a fully fit LB?

Ten Hag knows how to coach a high press. He also knows the limits of his players. For example Mainoo and McTominay in midfield not exactly world class is it?

We are currently the 4th best in the PL for actual goals conceded despite having the worst defensive injuries in the league and not having a left side of defence all season.

It’s a minor miracle.
It's not working :lol: we just conceded 30 shots to Brentford, over 3 xG, they hit the woodwork 4 times and had a marginal offside var call. It is nothing but pure luck that our goals against per game isn't as bad as it was in the Champions League.

Don't be delusional man. It's fine if you think he'll turn it around. But call a spade a spade. What he's doing now is garbage, our defending as a team is absolute dog shit, and needs to be improved. Opponents are constantly in our box, we concede one of the most shots in our box in Europe, we concede one of the most touches in our box on Europe, teams have free runs at our back 4 and our midfield has a hopeless task simply because of the coaching.
See above. I do believe when we improve the physical and technical profiles in the squad we will improve.

But right now genuine question who in our squad starts for Liverpool, Arsenal or City?

The Brentford game was absolutely shocking. But the rest of the season (while disappointing) is understandable and as shit as it feels a bit of a necessary evil.
 

eire-red

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We haven’t had a LB all season. Do you not think the amount of defensive and general personnel rotations we’ve had to have due to injuries makes it harder to sort this?
If we were sitting here debating over being 4th in the league, regressing slightly in our overall play and being under par in the CL to date, then yes I would take your point.

However, we're talking about fundamental flaws in set up that allows a team who had lost 5 out of the last 6 to walk through us at will, have a shot from basically every attack, hit the woodwork 4 times, have a goal ruled out for a marginal offside and eventually score immediately after we somehow managed to score with the only threatening moment we had in the entire game.

If EtH needs to have perfect conditions and a full strength first 11 to execute basic fundamentals of football to an acceptable degree for a club of our stature, such as attacking and defending as a team, then I'm not sure that's reasonable.

We had a full strength 11 for the opening game against Wolves and they walked through us at ease in the first game of the season, so it's not true to say that the problems we have had is down to personell options and injuries only.
 

bosnian_red

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xG per shot of 0.08 in our worst game of the season (last night).

A 5-0 wouldn’t have been deserved based on xG 2-0 would have been a fair result.

You don’t need to resort to hyperbole to convince me last night was shocking I agree with you.

We can’t get Evans, Lindelof or Maguire to convincingly play a high press. You can’t tell me AWB is a good enough player to be a top LB to play that high press. Your attack is sometimes as good as your best player and defense is often as bad as your worst.

Our weak spot was LB. It got exploited because we don’t have a LB. Have we even had 5 games with a fully fit LB?

Ten Hag knows how to coach a high press. He also knows the limits of his players. For example Mainoo and McTominay in midfield not exactly world class is it?

We are currently the 4th best in the PL for actual goals conceded despite having the worst defensive injuries in the league and not having a left side of defence all season.

It’s a minor miracle.

See above. I do believe when we improve the physical and technical profiles in the squad we will improve.

But right now genuine question who in our squad starts for Liverpool, Arsenal or City?

The Brentford game was absolutely shocking. But the rest of the season (while disappointing) is understandable and as shit as it feels a bit of a necessary evil.
Man, xG per shot is such a nonsense stat, I really hope you know that. Sure, teams occasionally take pot shots. Most of them, are not. You wouldn't add up to over 3 xG. They hit the woodwork 4 times. They had a marginal VAR call. Onana made some ridiculous saves. They created more and better opportunities than the 4-0 last season, so it's really not a stretch to say a 5-0 would've been more deserving than a 1-1. We are among the worst in the league at conceding shots in the box, at conceding touches in the box, at conceding big chances, at xG conceded.

You talk about no left back. Guess what, Dalot played an entire loan at Milan at left back, he's very capable on either flank. Ten Hag can just... Put him there, and put Wan Bissaka on the right. Both Arsenal and city today are using players who were primarily center backs as fullbacks. You coach them and retrain them, and find who can make it work for your system. Lindelof played plenty at right back and is fine there, yet we kept shoving him at left back because he didn't want to disrupt dalots partnership. Fine. Whatever. But it's a problem of his own doing.

What makes you think ten Hag knows how to coach a high press? There were loads of people who pointed out his off the ball, defensive coaching was a problem at Ajax. There is 0 evidence that he's ever been able to coach that successfully.

Honestly, yes the Brentford game was horrific but the majority of our games this season aren't far off of it. It was all a lead up to that game, it's not a lead up to it all clicking and suddenly being a complete side. We are a million miles away from looking like a good team. Our players are not that shit to be playing like that against anyone, let alone Brentford.

Again, I don't want to get into the convo of the top 3. It's pointless, they are so far off. When ten hag shows he can start outplaying relegation fodder, maybe then it'd be worthwhile to talk about how we compare to actual top sides, and not just relegation fodder.
 

BenitoSTARR

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If we were sitting here debating over being 4th in the league, regressing slightly in our overall play and being under par in the CL to date, then yes I would take your point.

However, we're talking about fundamental flaws in set up that allows a team who had lost 5 out of the last 6 to walk through us at will, have a shot from basically every attack, hit the woodwork 4 times, have a goal ruled out for a marginal offside and eventually score immediately after we somehow managed to score with the only threatening moment we had in the entire game.

If EtH needs to have perfect conditions and a full strength first 11 to execute basic fundamentals of football to an acceptable degree for a club of our stature, such as attacking and defending as a team, then I'm not sure that's reasonable.

We had a full strength 11 for the opening game against Wolves and they walked through us at ease in the first game of the season, so it's not true to say that the problems we have had is down to personell options and injuries only.
And I’m saying these fundamental flaws can’t be solved unless you make a massive sacrifice to the overall progress of the side.

We’d have to play as a complete lower block and counter attack side which nobody here wants to be.

So the compromise is we try to install the high press with our forwards and midfield options in preparation for a longer term approach to this and then deal with the back line when we can. Right now they can’t press high (physical profile lacking) so we resort to funnelling and blocking.

Did you know for example we have the following:
  1. 6th highest attacking third tackles in Europe top 5 leagues
  2. 7th highest number of tackles in Europe top 5 leagues
  3. 64th best for % success (the players making the tackles aren’t good enough)
  4. 1st blocks in Europe 5 leagues
  5. 1st shot blocks
  6. 20th pass blocks (we lack elite interceptors in midfield)
  7. 53rd interceptions
So the high press is causing a lot of high tackles which is great news for next season.

And we’re blocking successfully more than anyone else in Europe.

Essentially we’ve looked at what we’re capable of doing with the current personnel and compromised.

It’s not pretty, it gives us heart attacks but it’s effective for what we can do right now.

It’s not what anyone wants long term and I expect it to be significantly better early next season.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Man, xG per shot is such a nonsense stat, I really hope you know that. Sure, teams occasionally take pot shots. Most of them, are not. You wouldn't add up to over 3 xG. They hit the woodwork 4 times. They had a marginal VAR call. Onana made some ridiculous saves. They created more and better opportunities than the 4-0 last season, so it's really not a stretch to say a 5-0 would've been more deserving than a 1-1. We are among the worst in the league at conceding shots in the box, at conceding touches in the box, at conceding big chances, at xG conceded.

You talk about no left back. Guess what, Dalot played an entire loan at Milan at left back, he's very capable on either flank. Ten Hag can just... Put him there, and put Wan Bissaka on the right. Both Arsenal and city today are using players who were primarily center backs as fullbacks. You coach them and retrain them, and find who can make it work for your system. Lindelof played plenty at right back and is fine there, yet we kept shoving him at left back because he didn't want to disrupt dalots partnership. Fine. Whatever. But it's a problem of his own doing.

What makes you think ten Hag knows how to coach a high press? There were loads of people who pointed out his off the ball, defensive coaching was a problem at Ajax. There is 0 evidence that he's ever been able to coach that successfully.

Honestly, yes the Brentford game was horrific but the majority of our games this season aren't far off of it. It was all a lead up to that game, it's not a lead up to it all clicking and suddenly being a complete side. We are a million miles away from looking like a good team. Our players are not that shit to be playing like that against anyone, let alone Brentford.

Again, I don't want to get into the convo of the top 3. It's pointless, they are so far off. When ten hag shows he can start outplaying relegation fodder, maybe then it'd be worthwhile to talk about how we compare to actual top sides, and not just relegation fodder.
Why is it nonesense?

What makes total shots any less of a nonesense if those shots aren’t high value?

Dalot’s position is RB. Longer term he’ll probably start there. Is the solution to a disjointed and chopped and changed injuries back 4 to then take the one player who has had a very good season and a consistent role and change them around too? I think this shows a fundamental lack of understanding on your part.

See the high tackles in Europe stat. How are we having so many successful high tackles if we can’t press from the front? Is it just luck?

Again improve the technical and physical profiles and it will happen.

We need to look at this as a long term project so we can’t ignore the top 3 conversation.

How do you think we start consistently outplaying relegation or other candidates in the league?
 

bosnian_red

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Why is it nonesense?

What makes total shots any less of a nonesense if those shots aren’t high value?

Dalot’s position is RB. Longer term he’ll probably start there. Is the solution to a disjointed and chopped and changed injuries back 4 to then take the one player who has had a very good season and a consistent role and change them around too? I think this shows a fundamental lack of understanding on your part.

See the high tackles in Europe stat. How are we having so many successful high tackles if we can’t press from the front? Is it just luck?

Again improve the technical and physical profiles and it will happen.

We need to look at this as a long term project so we can’t ignore the top 3 conversation.

How do you think we start consistently outplaying relegation or other candidates in the league?
Part of a press is not giving opponents an easy out where they have a free run at goal. Just because we cause mistakes now and then doesn't make it successful. Conceding 20 shots per game goes hand in hand with pressing high but dropping the defence deep. That's basics.

XG per shot is nonsense because you're taking an average of 30 shots that range from 0.01 xG to 0.5 xG or more. The problem isn't the pot shots. If it was 30 shots from range all under sub 0.05, that'd be one thing. It very clearly isn't. Look at the breakdown of how many shots we concede inside the box. Look at the quantity of big chances we concede. If our plan of conceding low quality chances was functional, we wouldn't be high up in stats like that one. We're shit at all of it.

How do I think we start outplaying relegation fodder? As Manchester United? Are you being serious right now? Just fecking coach them to play as a connected team and follow the basics is all you need for that one. It's pathetic what we see and actively causing issues.

The top 3 conversation is pointless right now. That's my point. Eventually I'll get to it. I don't think Ten Hag has the capability to coach on par with Pep, Arteta, Klopp and many other managers like that, so I guess from that perspective it's a very obvious "get rid". But we need to reach the step where we actually play like a competent top 4 side before we think about stepping up to a title challenger. We currently play like any of the other mid table dross who will have variance basically be the deciding factor of where they finish.
 

eire-red

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And I’m saying these fundamental flaws can’t be solved unless you make a massive sacrifice to the overall progress of the side.

We’d have to play as a complete lower block and counter attack side which nobody here wants to be.

So the compromise is we try to install the high press with our forwards and midfield options in preparation for a longer term approach to this and then deal with the back line when we can. Right now they can’t press high (physical profile lacking) so we resort to funnelling and blocking.

Did you know for example we have the following:
  1. 6th highest attacking third tackles in Europe top 5 leagues
  2. 7th highest number of tackles in Europe top 5 leagues
  3. 64th best for % success (the players making the tackles aren’t good enough)
  4. 1st blocks in Europe 5 leagues
  5. 1st shot blocks
  6. 20th pass blocks (we lack elite interceptors in midfield)
  7. 53rd interceptions
So the high press is causing a lot of high tackles which is great news for next season.

And we’re blocking successfully more than anyone else in Europe.

Essentially we’ve looked at what we’re capable of doing with the current personnel and compromised.

It’s not pretty, it gives us heart attacks but it’s effective for what we can do right now.

It’s not what anyone wants long term and I expect it to be significantly better early next season.
Do you have any info on how many goals we have scored from turnovers in the final third, and where that ranks?

That is the ultimate goal, and it feels like not a lot. So we're doing something that we're not getting a lot or reward from doing, bar making it very easy for the opposition to open us up.

When you talk about progress and not jeopardizing that by continuing how we are, what do you mean?
 

BenitoSTARR

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Part of a press is not giving opponents an easy out where they have a free run at goal. Just because we cause mistakes now and then doesn't make it successful. Conceding 20 shots per game goes hand in hand with pressing high but dropping the defence deep. That's basics.

XG per shot is nonsense because you're taking an average of 30 shots that range from 0.01 xG to 0.5 xG or more. The problem isn't the pot shots. If it was 30 shots from range all under sub 0.05, that'd be one thing. It very clearly isn't. Look at the breakdown of how many shots we concede inside the box. Look at the quantity of big chances we concede. If our plan of conceding low quality chances was functional, we wouldn't be high up in stats like that one. We're shit at all of it.

How do I think we start outplaying relegation fodder? As Manchester United? Are you being serious right now? Just fecking coach them to play as a connected team and follow the basics is all you need for that one. It's pathetic what we see and actively causing issues.

The top 3 conversation is pointless right now. That's my point. Eventually I'll get to it. I don't think Ten Hag has the capability to coach on par with Pep, Arteta, Klopp and many other managers like that, so I guess from that perspective it's a very obvious "get rid". But we need to reach the step where we actually play like a competent top 4 side before we think about stepping up to a title challenger. We currently play like any of the other mid table dross who will have variance basically be the deciding factor of where they finish.
And I’ve explained why our midfield and defence (that’s been available) will not be able to perform a perfect high press. So we let our attackers do what they can and if it fails fall back. What else do you suggest?

The xG per shot is relevant unless you want to only look at big chances which is fair but then that doesn’t fit nicely with 30 shots narrative when the majority are blocked and dealt with easily.

We really aren’t shit at all of it again hyperbole to make a weak point.

Ok so do you believe it’s straightforward to coach so many different combinations to perform consistently to beat sides? Becusee id argue that’s really challenging otherwise everyone would be able to do it.

What are these basics? How do you build a connected team?

It’s never pointless we need to be coaching and recruiting with this in mind. Unfortunately injuries have prevented what looks like a possible top 4 squad from showing its true level.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Do you have any info on how many goals we have scored from turnovers in the final third, and where that ranks?

That is the ultimate goal, and it feels like not a lot. So we're doing something that we're not getting a lot or reward from doing, bar making it very easy for the opposition to open us up.

When you talk about progress and not jeopardizing that by continuing how we are, what do you mean?
You have internet you find that if it’s pertinent to your argument. I’m making mine based on what I know.

I feel like you’ve ignored or skim read my points here.
 

bosnian_red

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And I’ve explained why our midfield and defence (that’s been available) will not be able to perform a perfect high press. So we let our attackers do what they can and if it fails fall back. What else do you suggest?

The xG per shot is relevant unless you want to only look at big chances which is fair but then that doesn’t fit nicely with 30 shots narrative when the majority are blocked and dealt with easily.

We really aren’t shit at all of it again hyperbole to make a weak point.

Ok so do you believe it’s straightforward to coach so many different combinations to perform consistently to beat sides? Becusee id argue that’s really challenging otherwise everyone would be able to do it.

What are these basics? How do you build a connected team?

It’s never pointless we need to be coaching and recruiting with this in mind. Unfortunately injuries have prevented what looks like a possible top 4 squad from showing its true level.
Quite simply, you either press as a team or you sit back as a team. The worst solution that helps literally nothing is doing the ok between of pressing high with half the team and leaving it easy for the opponents to play through because the defence is deep. That is the 101 how not to coach a defence.

The 30 shots is a problem, as qre the big chances, as is the xG conceded. It's all connected. Our goals conceded is a fluke this season to not have about 10 goals more, but then again that's why our CL campaign was a joke and conceding 3 goals per game. Just balances out in the cups sometimes. A competent team reduces the shots against, reduces the quantity of big chances, and reduces the xG as a whole. You can't just look at the end result of luck meaning they missed chances and deduce that it's functional.

In terms of simplicity and coaching basics, yeah a manager of Manchester United should be able to do this better than most other teams in the league. The how? I dunno I'm not a manager. I just know there are 20 teams in the prem, 20 other coaches, and a significant amount of them look better coached than us. That shouldn't happen at this club. And as you say, you make signings and appointments with the end target in mind. I absolutely promise you this, if Them Hag was ultimately good enough to have us competing with coaches like Pep and Arteta and Klopp, we would look much more functional right now.
 

BenitoSTARR

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Quite simply, you either press as a team or you sit back as a team. The worst solution that helps literally nothing is doing the ok between of pressing high with half the team and leaving it easy for the opponents to play through because the defence is deep. That is the 101 how not to coach a defence.

The 30 shots is a problem, as qre the big chances, as is the xG conceded. It's all connected. Our goals conceded is a fluke this season to not have about 10 goals more, but then again that's why our CL campaign was a joke and conceding 3 goals per game. Just balances out in the cups sometimes. A competent team reduces the shots against, reduces the quantity of big chances, and reduces the xG as a whole. You can't just look at the end result of luck meaning they missed chances and deduce that it's functional.

In terms of simplicity and coaching basics, yeah a manager of Manchester United should be able to do this better than most other teams in the league. The how? I dunno I'm not a manager. I just know there are 20 teams in the prem, 20 other coaches, and a significant amount of them look better coached than us. That shouldn't happen at this club. And as you say, you make signings and appointments with the end target in mind. I absolutely promise you this, if Them Hag was ultimately good enough to have us competing with coaches like Pep and Arteta and Klopp, we would look much more functional right now.
Ok well we know we can’t press high as a side. We don’t have the players can we agree on that?

If we can the alternative is a much lower press. Maybe we could go mid block but it will absolutely be criticised by fans for being too deep and negative and it long term doesn’t teach our forwards the movement needed for future seasons.

I don’t think we’ll play this way long term and I agree a top team doesn’t defend this way but you weren’t asking for a top team this season as you don’t want to entertain the top 3 comparison so compared to every other side we aren’t conceding? So maybe we’re just incredibly lucky or maybe there is a plan that works for our personnel or maybe other teams need far more criticism for how shit they must be defending to all be worse than ours in the final stat that matters.

We’ll see. I disagree I think next season with hopefully some CBs, LB and DM will come in who are physically able to play a high pressing line and close our gaps finally.
 

NewGlory

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To be fair, modern defense is the job of the entire team, not just of the back 4. That said, it is true that our defense is too slow and unable to play a high line, especially when we don't have Varane-Licha, and Licha hasn't been available all season, but the main problem for our defensive troubles is our midfield and frontline. They lose ball incredibly cheaply and opposition cuts through our midfield easier than a sharp knife through soft cheese, not to mention that McT in midfield, running into spaces Hojlund should be in, is a disaster against counter-attacking teams, when we try to play high line.

We need to fix our midfield, by buying a DMF who is actually available, as opposed to Casemiro. That way, we can play a DMF, Mainoo as #8, and a #10 who won't be losing balls left and right (i.e. not Bruno). Maybe we should stop obsessing with Bruno and try Mount as #10, given how we payed metric shit ton of money for him.

And our wingers (Rashford, Antony and Garnacho) + Bruno need to stop shooting stupid long shots towards the goal or running alone into 3 defenders, instead - they need to start assisting Hojlund and passing to whomever else is available in the oppo box, so we can keep the ball better.
 

NoLogo

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To be fair, modern defense is the job of the entire team, not just of the back 4. That said, it is true that our defense is too slow and unable to play a high line, especially when we don't have Varane-Licha, and Licha hasn't been available all season, but the main problem for our defensive troubles is our midfield and frontline. They lose ball incredibly cheaply and opposition cuts through our midfield easier than a sharp knife through soft cheese, not to mention that McT in midfield, running into spaces Hojlund should be in, is a disaster against counter-attacking teams, when we try to play high line.

We need to fix our midfield, by buying a DMF who is actually available, as opposed to Casemiro. That way, we can play a DMF, Mainoo as #8, and a #10 who won't be losing balls left and right (i.e. not Bruno). Maybe we should stop obsessing with Bruno and try Mount as #10, given how we payed metric shit ton of money for him.

And our wingers (both Rashford and Garnacho) need to stop shooting stupid goals and running alone into 3 defenders, instead - they need to start assisting Hojlund and passing to whomever is available, so we can keep the ball better.
I don't think the midfield is at fault alone, it's the entire team. Our pressing is just wrong, you can see with other teams that if their front line presses the midfield and defenders push really high to not allow too much space in midfield, with us there is so much space you could drive 10 trucks through and that is not alone on our defensive midfielders, the space there should never be available, if it's wide I expect the fullback to push up, if it's central and one of the DMs is involved in pressing high up the field a central defender needs to step up into the space. We can't have the front 4 players chasing after balls just for the d-line to be so deep that 3 or 4 opposition players are in free space in that area. Our transitions after losing the ball are often wank as well, the team reacts way too slowly to losing the ball, there is usually no one counter pressing and if they are it's usually a single player while the rest watches and he gets easily passed by, the whole team needs to instantly react to losing the ball and with speed and aggression, rather commit a foul than let them play just through you. But honestly it sometimes feels like the league is just too fast at times for 50% of our squad.
 

NewGlory

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I don't think the midfield is at fault alone, it's the entire team. Our pressing is just wrong, you can see with other teams that if their front line presses the midfield and defenders push really high to not allow too much space in midfield, with us there is so much space you could drive 10 trucks through and that is not alone on our defensive midfielders, the space there should never be available, if it's wide I expect the fullback to push up, if it's central and one of the DMs is involved in pressing high up the field a central defender needs to step up into the space. We can't have the front 4 players chasing after balls just for the d-line to be so deep that 3 or 4 opposition players are in free space in that area. Our transitions after losing the ball are often wank as well, the team reacts way too slowly to losing the ball, there is usually no one counter pressing and if they are it's usually a single player while the rest watches and he gets easily passed by, the whole team needs to instantly react to losing the ball and with speed and aggression, rather commit a foul than let them play just through you. But honestly it sometimes feels like the league is just too fast at times for 50% of our squad.
I agree with everything you said.
 

bosnian_red

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Ok well we know we can’t press high as a side. We don’t have the players can we agree on that?

If we can the alternative is a much lower press. Maybe we could go mid block but it will absolutely be criticised by fans for being too deep and negative and it long term doesn’t teach our forwards the movement needed for future seasons.

I don’t think we’ll play this way long term and I agree a top team doesn’t defend this way but you weren’t asking for a top team this season as you don’t want to entertain the top 3 comparison so compared to every other side we aren’t conceding? So maybe we’re just incredibly lucky or maybe there is a plan that works for our personnel or maybe other teams need far more criticism for how shit they must be defending to all be worse than ours in the final stat that matters.

We’ll see. I disagree I think next season with hopefully some CBs, LB and DM will come in who are physically able to play a high pressing line and close our gaps finally.
My view on it is we're incredibly lucky this season, and other mid table sides generally have much lower quality than us so that final bit in both boxes won't be as good as ours. I tend to put that last bit in both boxes more down to player quality than anything coaching related. The coaching has its biggest impact in between the 2 boxes. Smaller teams don't get criticized for not being ahead of us because... Well... They don't have one of the highest wage bills in the world, don't spend 200m a season, don't have the players we do, etc.

Also in terms of the mid block getting criticized... Nah. If a manager plays a suicidal tactic because he is afraid of playing a tactic that'll get criticized, he's not it. That's a lame excuse. The current suicidal tactic has us 11 points off 4th, 8 off of 5th, 0 goal difference after 29 games, and an embarrassment in the Champions League group stage, in what was actually a very weak group. So yeah, he should have drastically changed something ages ago.
 

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I agree with everything you said.
And you know what really pisses me of that they have to know what they are doing wrong as well, there is no way our staff isn't seeing this and not talking to the team about it video analysis sessions and match reviews and yet the team keeps making the same mistakes, week after week, after week, it drives me nuts.

I just remembered that I recently saw a video in which they said we conceded 100 shots against us in 5 games while City had only 200 against them all season. That is completely insane.
 
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NewGlory

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And you know what really pisses me of that they have to know what they are doing wrong as well, there is no way our staff isn't seeing this and not talking to the team about it video analysis sessions and match reviews and yet the team keeps making the same mistakes, week after week, after week, it drives me nuts.

I just remembered that I recently saw a video in which they sad we conceded 100 shots against us in 5 games while City had only 200 against them all season. That is completely insane.
yeah, there is no way that fans see it and coahces don't. The only explanation is that this bunch of players are just unable to fix the problems you mentioned.
 

eire-red

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You have internet you find that if it’s pertinent to your argument. I’m making mine based on what I know.

I feel like you’ve ignored or skim read my points here.
I haven't at all, I see the point you're making. And I was actually surprised with the statistics you have there in terms of how mnay tackles we are managing in the final third, so I'm not skim reading.

However, the salient point you seem to be making (from my interpretation) is that you think EtH is pretty much doing an OK job with a very difficult situation, is positioning the team to be able to press high, but recognises that we can't do that so we have adopted this quasi high press / low block in lieu of getting in players that can execute what he wants to do.

You believe that this is acceptable because when we get the right players in key positions we will see massive gains in performance because we will be able to iron out all of the issues and transition to a high block, high press team.

However, at this current moment in time, the only rewards we seem to be getting from this set up is being able to win tackles and block passing lanes. We're conceding chances, we're wide open down the spine of the team, we don't defend as a team, we don't attack as a team, we're easy to play against and generally we're lucky to even be where we are in the table (in my view).

We have a 0 goal difference (I think currently?). We're not exciting or attractive going forward, we're porous defensively, so what exactly are you referring to when you say that abandoning our set up now would require massive sacrifices to future progress?

If the progress that you're referring to is your belief that we are being set up in a way that if we manage recruit the right players, if we manage to get a proper footballing structure, if we manage to ship out the players not good enough, if all of these things happen, then the ends will justify the means in terms of the absolute borefest and non-football I have to watch us serve up week in, week out.

That's a lot of ifs that need to happen. EtH has done an OK job in 2024 with some results we have gotten, and has clearly struggled this season due to injuries. Many other teams have lots of injuries too.

I really cannot stand the football EtH has us playing, probably for the last 12 months now. I can't recall sitting back, and thinking "wow, that was a good performance" in the longest time. Pretty much the entire top half of the table play better football than us, or at the very least execute the fundamentals of the game to a more consistent degree.