It's all about the FIRST TOUCH and we need to improve!

gerdm07

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In the Luton match discussion many stated their frustration with how slow we move the ball. Specifically, they take too many touches before making a pass. This is very true at the back and in midfield. I think, though, it is more about the first touch for many of our players. A poor, or even just an okay first touch, results in more steps to get rid of the ball and to take a shot. Yesterday it cost us:

- Rashford's first touch before the goal. Mount gave a good pass to Rashford and every good forward in the world would have taken a touch, made one step with the right, a step with the left and a shot. It's something that forwards practice all the time. Rashford's touch put the ball too far away from his body and he had to take an extra step, and he still had to stretch to cross/shoot. We were lucky the ball fell kindly to Lindelof.

- Garnacho's opportunity. The pass from Antony was perfectly weighted and Garnacho's first touch left the ball in the center of his body which forced him to take another touch. That extra touch allowed the defender to nick the ball away.

- More generally, I just see too many first touches that leave the ball bouncing, not out of feet, or too far away.

- IMO only 3 players in the match showed a consistently great first touch. 1. Eriksen, he is quick with two touch passing most of the time. 2. Antony, he has a nice first touch but he often doesn't know what to do after he controls the ball. 3. Hojlund. That's it.

ETH: work on clean first touches! It will improve our ball movement and goal scoring.
 

antsmithmk

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I'm watching Chelsea v City now where lots of chances are being created by one and two touch football. Our players can do it but are either coaches not to or lack the confidence to. The play like you mean it banner is very apt. Just have a go at teams.
 

berbasloth4

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Also only when eriksen plays does a player try take the ball on the half turn. When you get the ball with your back to goal there’s not much else you can do but go back. Slows everything down
 

SER19

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Agree. Also our passing can be very tentative, and lacking the fine details, for example not passing to a players dominant side and playing it just enough ahead for momentum. We too often receive the ball at a standstill compared to when watching better teams. Watch any highlights reel of the fergie years and what stands out is the quality of the first touch, whether its a first time pass or a touch that isnt just to control the ball, but to set up a better passing option. Just great awareness
 

berbasloth4

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if you listen to the Utd podcast maysie and all the Fergie boys are on they always say when a new player arrives first thing that’s done is they smash passes into them to test the first touches.
 

Bubz27

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City's goal then. Quick, first touches around the box.
 

Borys

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It's not first touch, it's about movement, knowing what to do, how teammates are positioned, also confidence that you'll have passing options once you receive the ball. We really don't have technically inferior players to all the teams above us in the league and CL.

We don't play as a team, it's always a group of 11 players that seem to be playing together for the first time.
 

Rozay

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First touch + movement. They go hand in hand in terms of controlling speed you are able to play at.
 

Borninthe80ts

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I fully agree we have issues in this area. A bad first touch slows down moves and takes the momentum out of the attack.
I think we have problems also with composure and decision making, which are compounded by confidence issues.
When we found some form last year we played one touch football and managed to open teams up. However with the lack of consistency in form and squad selection it’s difficult to build this fluidity.

We need a bit of stability. Hopefully this’ll help players find fitness and form.
 

Oranges038

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Back foot and fired into feet.

It's why I like Martinez passing.

Much easier to control and move those passes in 1 and 2 touches.
 

Pogue Mahone

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There’s no way you’re going to coach an improvement in such a fundamental technique for players in their 20s. If there really is a difference between our players and our rivals in terms of their ability to trap a ball then we need better players.

I think a lot of it will improve with confidence. When you’re playing with confidence everything feels easier and more natural. Including controlling the football. The first and most important element of a perfect first touch is backing yourself to make it.
 

UnitedRepublic

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It’s just confidence. Our players are technically capable but are overthinking currently because confidence is on the floor.
It’s not it’s deficiancies in the technical ability of some of our players it’s been evident for years a couple of good first touchs here and there doesn’t equal them having good first touchs. Very few players in this team has good enough technique.

Bruno can’t dribble in tight spaces.
Rashfords first touch is hit and miss.
Garnacho is alright.
Antony is also alright but its what happens with it after.
Martial good first touch and good in tight spaces.
Højlund okey first touch.

As for the midfield I would say Eriksen is the only one with a good first touch aswell.
 

Plant0x84

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Bruno can’t dribble in tight spaces.
Rashfords first touch is hit and miss.
Garnacho is alright.
Antony is also alright but its what happens with it after.
Martial good first touch and good in tight spaces.
Højlund okey first touch.
I disagree with pretty much all of that.
  • Bruno wasn’t bought to dribble, his first touch is good - he just needs to be smarter with his long passing and not try so hard to force play.
  • Rashford is a classic confidence player. He’s at his best when it just flows, but it isn’t doing that so far this season.
  • Garnacho has a good first touch.
  • Antony has a decent touch, but a confident Antony takes on his man and goes past him. He isn’t doing that this season. He’s losing it or going backwards.
  • Martial and Hojlund are both decent at controlling the ball and holding up play, but there aren’t a lot of confident runners to bring into the play at the moment because we fear a turn over.
  • Eriksen, Casemiro, Amrabat, and McT all have a decent controlling touch. You just don’t see the ball trampolining off these players like Lukaku used to.
 

gerdm07

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There’s no way you’re going to coach an improvement in such a fundamental technique for players in their 20s. If there really is a difference between our players and our rivals in terms of their ability to trap a ball then we need better players.

I think a lot of it will improve with confidence. When you’re playing with confidence everything feels easier and more natural. Including controlling the football. The first and most important element of a perfect first touch is backing yourself to make it.
I mentioned that Eriksen, Antony and Hojlund showed a first touch in the match. Here is a summary of others:

Shaw, Martinez and Malacia very good
I need to see more of Amrabat.
Bruno can have a sublime first touch at times, just needs to be more consistent.
Rashford's is good when he doesn't think too much.
Garnacho could be very good with practice.
Maguire's is good for a big man.
Sancho's is good, but....

We're not far off. ETH needs to work on this IMO.
 

giggslover

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Supposedly Lukaku had a horrible first touch...I'd still take him over 90% of our current players....
 

STYLOISRED

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In the Luton match discussion many stated their frustration with how slow we move the ball. Specifically, they take too many touches before making a pass. This is very true at the back and in midfield. I think, though, it is more about the first touch for many of our players. A poor, or even just an okay first touch, results in more steps to get rid of the ball and to take a shot. Yesterday it cost us:

- Rashford's first touch before the goal. Mount gave a good pass to Rashford and every good forward in the world would have taken a touch, made one step with the right, a step with the left and a shot. It's something that forwards practice all the time. Rashford's touch put the ball too far away from his body and he had to take an extra step, and he still had to stretch to cross/shoot. We were lucky the ball fell kindly to Lindelof.

- Garnacho's opportunity. The pass from Antony was perfectly weighted and Garnacho's first touch left the ball in the center of his body which forced him to take another touch. That extra touch allowed the defender to nick the ball away.

- More generally, I just see too many first touches that leave the ball bouncing, not out of feet, or too far away.

- IMO only 3 players in the match showed a consistently great first touch. 1. Eriksen, he is quick with two touch passing most of the time. 2. Antony, he has a nice first touch but he often doesn't know what to do after he controls the ball. 3. Hojlund. That's it.

ETH: work on clean first touches! It will improve our ball movement and goal scoring.
Shaw and Martial also have very good first touches
 

manutddjw

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We should hire Berbatov as a coach. I have a theory our players idolized him. Granted they can't do his first touch, but they got his walking pace down perfectly.
 

GueRed

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They have the talent there are good players there...they just have to trust themselves, their abilities and trust each other more.

Especially in the final third of the pitch when one touch passes and sharp movements are required to open up tight defences.
They're playing too safe in areas of the pitch where they have to be quick and incisive.

At the moment I think confidence is a bit low with some of the players..
ten Hag has his work cut out.
 

Red in STL

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For me it's mostly a lack of footballing IQ

We tend to pass to feet when it should be in to space where the player is running onto the ball, this is one of the big things that kills our momentum and allows the opposition to get set in defensive positions before the ball arrives in the danger areas

Certain players are guilty of overelaborating things, Rashford tries to commit the opposition player into diving in, they almost never do and thus kills many attacks, Bruno has the mentality that he has to be the one to provide the killer pass and as a result makes poor decisions

The other big thing is lack of concentration, it's an affliction that definitely applies to Dalot, AWB and Casemiro but it's not just those 3
 

ayushreddevil9

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For me it's mostly a lack of footballing IQ

We tend to pass to feet when it should be in to space where the player is running onto the ball, this is one of the big things that kills our momentum and allows the opposition to get set in defensive positions before the ball arrives in the danger areas

Certain players are guilty of overelaborating things, Rashford tries to commit the opposition player into diving in, they almost never do and thus kills many attacks, Bruno has the mentality that he has to be the one to provide the killer pass and as a result makes poor decisions

The other big thing is lack of concentration, it's an affliction that definitely applies to Dalot, AWB and Casemiro but it's not just those 3
It has always been the case. Our 'important' players are one of the most braindead ones out there
 

11101

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Its not first touch. Every player at our level has an impeccable first touch. It's movement and the routines of play.

Some players like one touch football, some like to play over the shoulder, some like to play in the channels, others like to get the ball and run with it. We have a mish mash of all different types. Some don't know where the others like the ball played, others are expecting the ball on the run but instead it gets played to their feet, and so on. These things need to be done on instinct and our players just don't have it. They're hesitating all the time to check what they're doing.

Rio once said he knew without looking that as soon as he got the ball in a certain spot RVP would be on the run ready for the pass. Our lot haven't a chance of that.