Is the high press the only way to go?

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by glazed, May 14, 2019.

  1. May 14, 2019
    #1

    glazed Full Member

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    Given that Liverpool and City basically piled up an insane number of points with variants of this tactic, is it possible to do something else and stay in the title race in the next few seasons?

    By high press, I don't just mean pressing. I heard Ole talking about high pressing earlier in the season in a way that made me think he doesn't really understand it very well. It's about keeping a high line, hunting in packs for quick repossession, and having a keeper/sweeper, to name just a few of the things we don't do but they do. It's an extremely sophisticated system to coach and manage positionally, and only a few coaches understand it properly as far as I can see.

    Of course there are differences between the Gegenpress at Liverpool, the high press at City, and the 'whatever Spurs think they're doing' at Spurs. But it seems like we will have to have our own variation pretty soon, and that involves a DoF deciding it and recruiting the right players. Otherwise we're in a permanent fight for fourth with Chelsea and Arsenal.

    https://talkingtottenhamtactics.wor...ssing-the-difference-between-spurs-liverpool/
  2. May 14, 2019
    #2

    11101 Full Member

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    I think it's the way to go in current football and it looked like we were trying to do it early on. Herrera even said as much in an interview. We still sort of attempt it in the first 10 or 15 minutes, but the fitness issue Ole has repeatedly talked about puts an end to doing it for any longer than that. If one player lags behind the system is easily broken and as we have often found this season you end up high up the pitch with tons of space open behind you.

    The other problem with it is you need 11 players who are very competent on the ball. We could play around De Gea if we had defenders who were great on the ball, but when we have Young booting it straight back to the opposition every time and Smalling treating it like a hand grenade, we've no chance.
  3. May 14, 2019
    #3

    SER19 Full Member

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    Yeah the high press is just part of that system. Without competent ball players all over its a waste of time.
  4. May 14, 2019
    #4

    glazed Full Member

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    Does rather suggest that most of our current squad would have to go - including DdG.
  5. May 14, 2019
    #5

    romufc Full Member

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    I think this hits the nail on the head.

    We have seen signs of pressing with Ole - however once the legs go the team automatically goes into Jose mode and sits back. Young tries to release Rashford down the line and defenders mop up.
    We get a goal kick try play from the back get to midfield and no one can keep the ball like we saw V Barca.. ball goes back to De Gea launches towards lukaku.. ball bounces back off him and we get counter attacked.

    Not only that - none of our defenders win one on one duels? V Everton it was invitation to shoot without pressure. Ole needs to get the press correct and transition this team into teams who can keep the ball better.
  6. May 14, 2019
    #6

    andycolegangstainnit Full Member

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    We've done it before under SAF (notably UCL SF 1st leg v Arsenal) when we had Anderson, Park, Hargreaves, Fletcher real high energy guys keeping the opposition penned in. not possible with our current players and we'd have to sacrifice creativity to be able to do it. Pogba would have to be replaced by someone like Milner. We tried to in bursts against Barca and also 1st 1/2 v Spurs at home. Everything in team sports is a trade-off and Klopp clearly thinks three energy guys in the centre and up front is the way to go. It didn't work at OT in Feb - in fact the only game I've seen at OT where the opposition didn't create a single chance. The bottom line is all players have to 100% fit and play at a maximum whatever the tactics - whether you press in the other half or wait for players to come to you. That's something we need to improve.
  7. May 14, 2019
    #7

    Sir Scott McToMinay Full Member

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    I reckon you can still hoof your way to a trophy, but yes, quick passing game with high pressing and lots of movement is the best football imho.
  8. May 14, 2019
    #8

    Enigma_87 You know who

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    Of course not. You can't expect high press with the players we got. You have to play to your strengths. Atletico Madrid doesn't play high press, doesn't have remotely the same quality compared to Barca and Real, but regularly are in contention.

    We don't play to our strengths which is the problem why we aren't successful.
  9. May 14, 2019
    #9

    Rifer Full Member

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    Didn't we score a lot of goals during the Caretaker Ole months because of high press?

    Also low number of goals conceded.
    Those high press helps defensive side of midfield and our defense, with opposing team loses composure and deliver poor services to the front = easier to defend.

    Thankfully our players during those time want to do it and we reap the benefits albeit short term.

    Once they decided to stop doing high press, our goals quickly spiraled down to zero and goals conceded plummeting up!
  10. May 14, 2019
    #10

    Red Indian Chief Torn Rubber Thus says Kemo

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    Tactical pressing has been the way to go for over a decade plus.

    United just never went with it due to 3 factors:

    1. Sir Alex. He had a style that worked swell without it
    2. Individual talent: we had the type of individual talents that could by pass
    Without those two things We must adapt of sink
  11. May 14, 2019
    #11

    Ekeke Full Member

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    Not the only way to go, but if we're going to change what we're doing to move towards something else then its as good an idea as any.

    But yes it would take a lot of turnover of players. The only player that particularly suits a system like that has just left on a free
  12. May 14, 2019
    #12

    simplyared Full Member

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    Obviously a good tactic as it's proved successful for the top 2 in the PL. City are masters at this. They just batter their opponents winning back posession in the oponents half and press. Pep developed this at Barca and the rest is history. I honestly don't think anyone has successfully developed an antidote to deal with it. That said, like everythong else, someone young coach will put forward a system that will work against it. Just a matter of time.
  13. May 14, 2019
    #13

    AshRK Full Member

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    People think Ole is some kind of a dumb manager who doesn't have any philosophy and is just a glorified cheerleader. If you notice his press conference he has on many occasion emphasized on hard work and outrunning the opponents. I also read somewhere how Ole was hugely impressed by Klopp's work at Dortmund and tried to implement that style of play at Molde. It's no surprise as a manager Ole likes pressing football which our team did for the first month or so but then they couldn't sustain as they were never trained to play that brand of football. This is why he has been looking forward for the pre season as that would give him good time to prepare these lads. The good part is he also knows this is a long process which cannot be completed overnight and hence he has downplayed winning the title next season itself.

    Here is a link which looks in detail at his tactics while he was at Molde

    https://totalfootballanalysis.com/h...solskjaer-manchester-united-tactical-analysis

    The good thing is the players might be properly trained for the first time since sir alex retired. Work hard and press the opponents.
  14. May 14, 2019
    #14

    RE1999 New Member

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    City under Pep don't play exactly the same way as his Barca and Bayern teams (who played a more counterpress style, over City's press style). Counterpress works slightly better against more technically gifted footballers (e.g. in Spanish and German leagues) as these are more likely to be able to find a way through the press and expose the space behind.

    It is also not quite as simple as saying 'this is the way we play now'. it requires extensive, intensive preparation with players who are willing to learn (and ridiculous technical ability and fitness levels). These are not things available to United at the moment and it is hard to see pre-season being long enough to teach players how to play a new way.

    We are far more likely to adopt a counter attack approach away from home (as Ole has had success with) and a space oriented style of press at home (e.g. Klopp's Dortmund).
  15. May 14, 2019
    #15

    11101 Full Member

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    It has been countered before a few times. To press high means the whole team is high up the pitch and the full backs play as right wingers. It leaves you quite exposed if the opponent beats the press. Inter did it to Barca with rapid forwards running into the space behind the full backs and great long range passers playing early balls to them. City and Liverpool do get exposed this way but there is no team in the league with the quality to really make it count, their defence recovers before the ball can be played into dangerous areas.
  16. May 14, 2019
    #16

    Will Singh Full Member

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    I get the impression that Ole as he keeps on saying wants to play the "United Way" what ever he means by that as I think he wants us to play the 4-4-2 pacey wingers style. We need to adapt to the new style of play and start working towards it by bringing in the right players for the high pressing tactics. Just hope Phelen can use he's experience and get us going.
  17. May 14, 2019
    #17

    Scholsey2004 Full Member

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    Yes I think high intensity pressing with a high line is the way forward. It's physically demanding though and failure to keep the ball makes it more so. Not all players are physically capable of playing at that tempo ie matic. Not all players will be willing to put the work in ie martial. Some players weakness in possession will make life harder for others ie smalling. Whatever the conversation we have the end conclusion is that we need a big overhaul in playing staff.
  18. May 14, 2019
    #18

    Skills Snitch

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    I agree with the OP and don't think he knows how to set it up.

    It starts with a high backline and making the pitch as small as possible. That's what makes it work. You can't expect to press like that by playing a deep line - it's why I'm guessing he's complaining about fitness because he somehow expects to play a deep line and the players to cover more ground to make up for it.
  19. May 14, 2019
    #19

    FreakyJim Full Member

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    I think it's about time we try no press. Just sit back, relax and hit teams on the counter, if we feel like it.
  20. May 14, 2019
    #20

    poleglass red Full Member

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    Not sure he doesn't know how to set it up, he doesn't have the players or the current fitness levels to do it. Of the players we would need to press collectively, we at any time have players such as Mata, Matic, Martial, Pogba and Lukaku who simply can't play that style of game. One or 2 players can't press on their own or they get bypassed. We've seen Rashford and Lingard press with some success at times but by and large they just get passed.I know Ole has mentioned our fitness levels, and to me that would lead me to think he knows right now he can't play a pressing game. Pogba in a high pressing team would be hard to implement so maybe a big part of our tactical approach for next season would be geared towards whether he stays or not.
  21. May 14, 2019
    #21

    Hoof The Ball Full Member

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    Part of the problem is how people understand the high press. What immediately comes to mind is, "how many high energy players do we have?" What made Barca's high press so effective? is it that their players were very high energy? Pedro, Messi, Villa, Xavi, Iniesta aren't especially high octane in comparison to what people think about players who are required to press effectively. Even Liverpool, although they do have very athletic players, it isn't primarily what makes their press so effective.

    - Organisation is paramount above all, even above high energy levels. If the defence doesn't have a high line then the midfield won't feel confident pushing higher, and if the midfield doesn't squeeze higher then the forward line will be running after players endlessly resulting in failure and fatigue. What is it that makes Liverpool's high press so good? Their positioning. Every line of players is pushed up, all a maximum of 10 yards away from any particular ball-receiver on the opposition side. If the defence, midfield and offence push up higher it creates minimal space between lines which reduces the space for (a) opposition counter-attacks, (b) space between your player and theirs resulting in less energy required to press effectively and (c) all passing options from the back for their goalkeeper to distribute are covered.

    High energy, high energy, high energy is good, when required but it's not the key factor in a good high press. It's too simplistic to equate lots of players running to good pressing.
  22. May 14, 2019
    #22

    doriandun New Member

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    No high press is not the only way to go, City and Liverpool's press is not about blocking passsing lanes, but falsing the player on the ball into a msitake, usually in the opposition half, if the odds is 3 to 1 in Liverpool or City's favour when pressing then you have level the odds in your favour, either by playing the ball quickly, one or two touch, then move it on, your team mates have to up their reading of the game, if they see you getting pressed, and chances are you will get disposed, then they have to gauge the oppositions next pass, start the begining of each half fully aware that both Liverpool and Man City, will press you agressively to kill the game in minutes, maybe consider playing narrow, thus allowing pushing them to operate more on the wings, confident that your defenders are able to defend most balls into the box, and pass it out of danger, not lumping it.


    It's their reading of the game, that allows them to anticipate your next move, because players have no idea what are going to do with the ball, when it arrives at their feet, let the ball do the work, and work on improving your movement, constantly provding the person on the ball with options, you need players with intelligence who understand link up play, Greizmann is the perfect example of this, although he is played as a second striker, you constantly see him provding an option for midfielders on the ball, coming deep, rather than standing in one position waiting for the ball to come to him, by him playing that role it allows his team to keep the ball better and move up the field together in a few passess. A player who should be able to counter the high press is Pogba, if he kept it simple and used his long range passess, one touch to set the ball second touch to move the ball on, like David Beckham used to do.

    Although in Pogba's defence the three up top are not very savvy in making intelligent runs, trying to run with the ball against Liverpool and Man City is futile unless you are doing it down the wing, as they come at you like vultures. The tactic the Jose's Inter used v Barcelona, is very much the basis of a templatte to build of.
  23. May 14, 2019
    #23

    RE1999 New Member

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    Probably should be noted that there difference styles of 'press' - which dictate the outcome. E.g. Liverpool want to expose the opposition defence and win the ball high up the pitch to create chances (more of a counterpress), Spurs want to merely force the opposition defence into a choice between smashing the ball up the field (or off the field), therefore recycling the ball with dominant defenders, and a risky back pass.

    Lots of different styles are open to OGS, but it comes down to the players. More likely to see a pincher style press, where LW/LB and RW/RB try to force the ball into the centre of the park where the CF has dropped and the CMs have pushed on. OGS did try this a few times (e.g. Arsenal away in the cup) and he has some success with it. It makes up for less mobile Pogba/Lukaku as Rashford/Lingard can do their running and Shaw/Dalot can provide cover out wide.

    It is, as we have seen, risky with CBs are poor as ours. As has been noted, other times have far better CBs and DCMs which can recover the ball if the press is beaten.
  24. May 14, 2019
    #24

    Skills Snitch

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    This sums it up for me. It took Klopp a couple of months to put his stamp on the way he wanted his team to play and press. He might not have been very successful with it at first, but you could tell exactly what he wanted his players to do. And it was only a matter of improving quality and the execution would improve with it.

    The fact that he doesn't have the players for it so he can't set them up to play that way, is a cop out.
  25. May 14, 2019
    #25

    Hoof The Ball Full Member

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    It is a cop out. Anything in football can be performed to a certain degree or level. A system is a system. You learn it, practice and perform it. At first, it takes conscious focus and effort mentally, but eventually becomes automatic, and when it reaches that point you can then apply said focus and concentration on reading the game better within that framework.
  26. May 14, 2019
    #26

    KristianMackle New Member

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    Really? He wants the players to better their fitness so they can sit deep? I've heard it all now.
  27. May 14, 2019
    #27

    glazed Full Member

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    This is the point that many are overlooking. We are nowhere near a properly organised pressing system even on our best day. I sincerely doubt our present coaches would know how to organise one even if they had all the right players and all the time in the world. It's a really sophisticated operation.
  28. May 14, 2019
    #28

    GazTheLegend Full Member

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    Pressing is much easier when your team doesn’t have players like Smalling, Jones, and Lukaku who can’t control a football, players like Martial and Rashford who just run forward and lose it within 30 seconds of winning it back, and players like Matic who just lumber around vaguely to look like they’re presssing when the reality is they’re hoping someone else does their job for them.

    People like to shit on Lingard but 11 Lingards would look like a good football team. One of the only players that fits a pressing system, ergo how he looks like a great player when he plays for England.
  29. May 14, 2019
    #29

    Overlook New Member

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    Effective pressing requires intelligent forwards with positional sense that are committed to working off the ball. Midfielders that can match high intensity work rate with speed of thought. Aggressive CBs that are comfortable playing in a high line and receiving the ball from their keeper. Fullbacks that are capable of running for 95 mins every game as well as providing genuine attacking threat. And a goalkeeper that’s willing to leave his line and aggressively intercept balls over the top. As well as a coach that knows how to implement this kind of system. Does Manchester United have any of these things?
  30. May 14, 2019
    #30

    crossy1686 Full Member

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    I think we have to if we're to get the best out of the team. A lot of teams in the PL can deal with us due to how organised they are defensively but when you add a high press into the equation, most teams don't have a defence who are good on the ball and just concede possession with ease, which explains City and Liverpool's point tally's.
  31. May 14, 2019
    #31

    Nevilles.Wear.Prada Full Member

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    Ehh... What is our strength my fren.
  32. May 14, 2019
    #32

    Champ Full Member

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    Smalling is we suited to a high press team, he is very aggressive when closing down.
    High press has nowt to do with controlling a football, more to do with fitness levels and being well drilled to press in the right areas.
  33. May 14, 2019
    #33

    Red Indian Chief Torn Rubber Thus says Kemo

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    All you need to press is high end fitness that gives you top level endurance and tactics. Not dynamism nor pace.
  34. May 14, 2019
    #34

    GazTheLegend Full Member

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    There’s no point pressing the ball if you instantly lose possession.
  35. May 14, 2019
    #35

    redIndianDevil Full Member

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    This is very true. All the poor games that we had was due to the frontline pressing and the defence staying deep, leaving huge spaces in the midfield for the teams to exploit. You can see this phenomenon in the Barcelona game too. This is why our midfield looks crap too as the midfielders are caught in no mans land, they don't know whether to press high or stay back and help the defence. Things like this should be fixed on the spot, it doesn't need new signings or pre-season this fix this basic problem. Our coaches are absolutely useless too, Mike Phelan is just coming back to coaching, he is a relic, Carrick knows absolutely nothing about coaching, just because he was a good midfielder doesn't translate to being a good coach. McKenna has been here for very long and still our team cannot pass and move properly. The entire setup reeks of incompetence.
  36. May 14, 2019
    #36

    redIndianDevil Full Member

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    Ha ha. I don't know why this myth is so prevalent. It's like people are clinging to any bare hope that Ole will come good and become the next Guardiola or Zidane.
  37. May 14, 2019
    #37

    AshRK Full Member

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    As much as we like to shit on Lingard, that's a true assessment. That's why I can't see ole selling him. Important player for his setup.
  38. May 14, 2019
    #38

    redIndianDevil Full Member

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    I think Conte managed to win a PL playing a different style. Defending deep could still be a good tactic to win the title, but we have to be good enough to open up the all the other teams, for that we have to attack aggressively and if we do that we have to incorporate some amount of pressing.
  39. May 14, 2019
    #39

    redIndianDevil Full Member

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    Lingard may be useful against a team that will look to attack us but against a deep defence he is pretty much useless as his passing will constantly let him down. He cannot be our number 10, he is too inconsistent.
  40. May 14, 2019
    #40

    Enigma_87 You know who

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    Not possession football. With the current crop we should be looking more to be like Simeone team, rather than Klopp or Guardiola, despite being tough to admit it.