Slow Build-up play

RDCR07

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That was a pathetic performance. Why is our build up play so so bad? Sloppy first touches, sloppy passes, no one and two touch. Everyone gets the ball and slows down the play. No energy. No speed in the passing or switching of play from side to side. Even simple passes were off today. At this rate we won’t even make top four.
 

Giant Midget

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We are Manchester United. Did Scholes need to be told who to pass to? Did Giggs?

Until we get a better midfield, it’s laughable to expect us to be able to dominate other teams. Aston Villa have McGinn in midfield, how can we possible compete against that?
 

izec

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Ole

He is trying to emulate Fergie, but isn't half the manager and we are in 2021.

Plus rookies like Mckenna and Carrick. It is a bit of a joke.
 

sullydnl

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That was a pathetic performance. Why is our build up play so so bad? Sloppy first touches, sloppy passes, no one and two touch. Everyone gets the ball and slows down the play. No energy. No speed in the passing or switching of play from side to side. Even simple passes were off today. At this rate we won’t even make top four.
Read the piece in the Independent today about Pep and Tuchel's intensely detailed coaching. Then ask yourself honestly if you think we're coached to the same high standard.
 

Freak

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Our buildup play just involves passing it to wan bissake who stops and passes it back to the defenders. Rinse and repeat
 

Abraxas

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I'm not sure it was bad, we had 28 shots today. That suggests we're building into the opposition half and getting into positions well.

It is decision making and movement in the final third and the execution of the final pass or shot.
 

Dinghy

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Luke Shaw is the only player at the back able to play out of the high press. When he's off it's the shit trio of AWB, McT and Fred that has to do it.
 

RDCR07

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I'm not sure it was bad, we had 28 shots today. That suggests we're building into the opposition half and getting into positions well.

It is decision making and movement in the final third and the execution of the final pass or shot.
The slowness of it is what’s letting the opposition get back and defend. What’s the point of having 28 shots. The number that matters is we had 0 goals.
 

Abraxas

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The slowness of it is what’s letting the opposition get back and defend. What’s the point of having 28 shots. The number that matters is we had 0 goals.
I agree they weren't all good quality shots. However, the opposition are allowed to get back and defend. It's part of their structure as a team with 5 at the back and they generally have athletic, hard working players.

We had plenty of moments where we got the forward quickly too and we spurned those chances to do so which comes down to the final pass and execution.
 

the_cliff

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Our build up play has been bad since the Mourinho days. We try to play the ball in quick transitions and hit teams with our speed, unfortunately against teams that have rigid systems and sit deep it doesn't work. Unfortunately, the majority of the teams we come up against sit deep and have rigid systems which is why we look slow and lethargic most of the time but we do get the odd 4-1 5-1 (Newcastle Leeds are examples) when we come up against teams that commit men forward. It's also a reason why we've had recent success against Pep.

I'm just surprised that people are just noticing this now. It's been happening since Ole took over. People just think we get Ronaldo and Sancho it will solve the issue but it doesn't work like that. Our passing out from the back is too slow, we get the ball to our midfielders too slow and when we do get the ball to out midfielders they are in line with our defenders. Then Bruno playing as a second striker instead of a traditional number 10 causes a huge gap between our 2 holding midfielders and our front 4. It's piss easy to defend against. In these sorts of games we've relied on individual brilliance and we have for a long time now. Against West Ham last week it was Lingard, this week unfortunately we didn't have anyone to bail us out. Unfortunately people will say it's because we don't have a DMF and we'll have to wait till we get a DMF for people to say we need a new rb AWB ain't good enough with the ball or something of the sorts. There's always an excuse.
 

RDCR07

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Read the piece in the Independent today about Pep and Tuchel's intensely detailed coaching. Then ask yourself honestly if you think we're coached to the same high standard.
I understand the coaching is shit but this is common sense. How do the players not speed up the play? Why is it always labored?
 

sammyhol

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Luke Shaw is the only player at the back able to play out of the high press. When he's off it's the shit trio of AWB, McT and Fred that has to do it.
this!!

you can’t be in a pivot midfield position if you aren’t constantly finding gaps in front of the CBs, to take it on the half turn and play forward, line splitting passes.

keane, Scholes, carrick, even Matic all great at it…

fred and mctominay don’t have the footballing intelligence to do it.
 

Adam-Utd

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we don’t care about it - it’s not important.

all our coaches want is to get the ball forward asap into the strikers. they look up for the long ball instead of just passing it through midfield/fullbacks and by then it’s too late and we’re shut down.

I respect ole for what he’s managed so far, but he can’t take us to the next level. anybody who doesn’t respect possession and build up play won’t win in modern football.
 

redom

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Are there any stats for how long each player averages for each possession of the ball i.e. from their first touch to final touch (be it pass, shot, tackled). It does seem like we take that extra second to move the ball on quite a lot and cumulatively that can add up.
 

spiriticon

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We can never maintain good momentum for more than 10-15 minutes. After that the opponents always finds a way back into the game
 

TMDaines

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That was a pathetic performance. Why is our build up play so so bad? Sloppy first touches, sloppy passes, no one and two touch. Everyone gets the ball and slows down the play. No energy. No speed in the passing or switching of play from side to side. Even simple passes were off today. At this rate we won’t even make top four.
I feel as if the opposite is true. What I saw today was a side that are very hurried and in possession. A number of our players play in a fashion where there’s a basketball style shot clock: if they don’t shoot in 15 seconds, then they have to concede possession. So many times we played very direct balls over the top, which is bread and butter to Martinez. Greenwood too was making every dribble with the sole intent of shooting at the end.

We needed a lot more patience and maturity out there today. Keep the ball, make the opposition sweat and work hard defensively, pull defenders out of position and craft a clear chance.

I caught Ronaldo at one point urging his teammates to calm it down. I couldn’t help but agree.
 

croadyman

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Doesn't seem to matter who is playing we just don't move the ball quick enough
 

#07

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The build up play is bad because the players are.

United's double pivot can't move the ball forward. We know, Ole knows it, the rest of the Premier League knows it. Nobody is scared when McFred have the ball at their feet. This is not Carrick and Scholes. Its not even Anderson and Cleverley. Our centre midfielders cannot move the ball through the lines with any quality. Only Matic has anything like the required level of ability and his legs are shot, something he knows which makes him often take more touches than needed and slow things down anyway.

So to get around it Ole tries to use the fullbacks. However, one of our full backs is Wan-Bissaka. Which means ball progression down the right is a pipe dream. And we lose the left side when we lose Shaw. Happened at the end of 2019/20, it happened today.

We could, maybe, just about, get away with our terrible midfield if we had prime Jordi Alba and Dani Alves as full backs. But we dont.

So what we get is effectively, hold the ball and hope for Bruno and/or Pogba to do something special.
 

Marwood

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we don’t care about it - it’s not important.

all our coaches want is to get the ball forward asap into the strikers. they look up for the long ball instead of just passing it through midfield/fullbacks and by then it’s too late and we’re shut down.

I respect ole for what he’s managed so far, but he can’t take us to the next level. anybody who doesn’t respect possession and build up play won’t win in modern football.
It's not a modern football thing. We had Keane, Scholes and Beckham in midfield over 20 years ago. Using the ball well was central to everything back then.

Agree with your post though. I understood the counter attacking type football the first couple of years but it has to change now. It needed to change 12 month ago.
 

Idxomer

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It's not a modern football thing. We had Keane, Scholes and Beckham in midfield over 20 years ago. Using the ball well was central to everything back then.

Agree with your post though. I understood the counter attacking type football the first couple of years but it has to change now. It needed to change 12 month ago.
It makes you wonder why he bought the likes of Amad, Sancho, and VDB. 3 players who have been coached properly before to value the importance of keeping possession when all the signs indicate he can't utilize this kind of player.
 
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sullydnl

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we don’t care about it - it’s not important.

all our coaches want is to get the ball forward asap into the strikers. they look up for the long ball instead of just passing it through midfield/fullbacks and by then it’s too late and we’re shut down.

I respect ole for what he’s managed so far, but he can’t take us to the next level. anybody who doesn’t respect possession and build up play won’t win in modern football.
I think it's less about respecting possession and build-up play (which I'm 100% sure Solskjaer would say he does) and more about being on top of how coaching is shifting towards more detail-orientated, analytical (and analytics-based), pre-coached systems of implementing those aspects of the game rather than them being as individual-led as they were even in the recent past.

The type of preparation that would see you being one of the most possession dominant sides in the league/Europe 10 or 15 years ago won't cut it to the same extent now, as the other top teams are much more rigorously prepared than they were back then.
 

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we don’t care about it - it’s not important.

all our coaches want is to get the ball forward asap into the strikers. they look up for the long ball instead of just passing it through midfield/fullbacks and by then it’s too late and we’re shut down.

I respect ole for what he’s managed so far, but he can’t take us to the next level. anybody who doesn’t respect possession and build up play won’t win in modern football.
This is spot on. This is exactly how I see it too. Ole doesn't think it's important. He got a question from MUTV if it was important that McTominay was back, he answered that the important thing in football is being good in both boxes, and I think that sums up Ole. He was a goalscorer and he wants a good goalscorer over everything else, he doesn't particularly care about possession, midfield play, or something like that. He wants United to be good in both boxes, hence Varane/Maguire and Ronaldo/Cavani. He wants it simple and that isn't the way forward for a big club today I think.
 

VP89

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We are Manchester United. Did Scholes need to be told who to pass to? Did Giggs?

Until we get a better midfield, it’s laughable to expect us to be able to dominate other teams. Aston Villa have McGinn in midfield, how can we possible compete against that?
Its not laughable. Ole has a top squad and a capable coach can drill his players much better than what we see.

McTominay and Fred aren't shite players. Our midfield options are there, it might not be world class but its daft to suggest THAT'S why we didnt control our game yesterday or prior games. Ole is out there playing a central midfielder on the left, who doesnt even stick left, and he has a 10 who then has to find pockets wide. He has a striker who finds the right winger has cut into central areas to shoot, so he moves wide. And he has a more progressive ball playong midfielder on the bench to play two holding midfielders who aren't really drilled into a familiar pattern of play.

Im sick and tired of this scapegoating of our quality of midfield. They are actually better in quality than what they are given credit for. But if there's no actual positional sense or pattern of play thats being coached then its game over.
 

BlahRules

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Ole

He is trying to emulate Fergie, but isn't half the manager and we are in 2021.

Plus rookies like Mckenna and Carrick. It is a bit of a joke.
I remember when these two were coaching for Jose. There was certain attacking plays which we scored was a result of their coaching. End of the day Jose wanted to play the team a certain way which is why he failed.

It's clear the tactics are to allow Bruno to play with freedom and create all the big chances while Fred and McTominay arr to retrieve the ball and to pass it to Bruno or pass it sideways. Shaw has more freedom but that's because his abilities allows him to whilst AWB avoids to commit 90% of the time, knowing that he is very limited with the ball. The two wide forward are to play with freedom, I have yet to see any structure of game from the wing forward. One of the main reason why Sancho hasn't hit the ground running. I wonder when will see some rhythm between the front three.

Barcelona midfield wasn't strong but their front 3 played for each other whilst our front 3 don't and is why the #9 ever gets a game full of chances to score.

This is why we will never be successful. The tactics ole deploys are too easy for managers to play us off the park.
 

Adam-Utd

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This is spot on. This is exactly how I see it too. Ole doesn't think it's important. He got a question from MUTV if it was important that McTominay was back, he answered that the important thing in football is being good in both boxes, and I think that sums up Ole. He was a goalscorer and he wants a good goalscorer over everything else, he doesn't particularly care about possession, midfield play, or something like that. He wants United to be good in both boxes, hence Varane/Maguire and Ronaldo/Cavani. He wants it simple and that isn't the way forward for a big club today I think.
Pretty much, he's talked about it many times before.

He's a 90's player stuck in a 90's football mentality.

While yes he's not wrong that that's where the danger is - you have to control matches also. You're more likely to score more goals and concede less in that scenario.

Honestly though the biggest issue lately is the sloppiness. I can't believe how often we just misplace passes, fail to make a 1-2 happen or just generally look uncomfortable on the ball.

The villa match was one of the most frustrating I've seen in a long time.
 

Marwood

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I think it's less about respecting possession and build-up play (which I'm 100% sure Solskjaer would say he does) and more about being on top of how coaching is shifting towards more detail-orientated, analytical (and analytics-based), pre-coached systems of implementing those aspects of the game rather than them being as individual-led as they were even in the recent past.

The type of preparation that would see you being one of the most possession dominant sides in the league/Europe 10 or 15 years ago won't cut it to the same extent now, as the other top teams are much more rigorously prepared than they were back then.
I don't think any of that is needed to get this team passing the ball better.

You really think our 2008 team wouldn't cut it now in terms of possession?
 

sullydnl

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I don't think any of that is needed to get this team passing the ball better.

You really think our 2008 team wouldn't cut it now in terms of possession?
If you literally transplanted our 2008 team as they were then into now then they wouldn't be even remotely as effective.

You're effectively talking about a time pre Guardiola's Barca versus now when all the top coaches (Klopp, Tuchel, Conte, Simeone, Naglesmann, etc.) have been directly influenced by that Barca side, aided by 13 years of development in sports science and analytics. The level of preparation that goes into build-up, pressing, defensive/attacking transitions, etc. at the top level now is miles ahead of what it was back then.

Hell even forgetting the very highest level like the CL, it's now common for mid level PL teams like Southampton, Brighton and Leeds to come into games against us with pressing games beyond anything we'd have faced from similar level teams in 2008. How would we possibly be as effective as we were back then unless we developed tactically too?
 

Marwood

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If you literally transplanted our 2008 team as they were then into now then they wouldn't be even remotely as effective.

You're effectively talking about a time pre Guardiola's Barca versus now when all the top coaches (Klopp, Tuchel, Conte, Simeone, Naglesmann, etc.) have been directly influenced by that Barca side, aided by 13 years of development in sports science and analytics. The level of preparation that goes into build-up, pressing, defensive/attacking transitions, etc. at the top level now is miles ahead of what it was back then.

Hell even forgetting the very highest level like the CL, it's now common for mid level PL teams like Southampton, Brighton and Leeds to come into games against us with pressing games beyond anything we'd have faced from similar level teams in 2008. How would we possibly be as effective as we were back then unless we developed tactically too?
We beat Pep's Barca over two legs in 2008 but you think that team would struggle today against Leeds(who we spank on a regular basis) and Brighton?

It's easy to buy into a lot of the noise around football. To listen to those who have to talk about it day after day. Over analysis etc. New terminology that gives the impression of evolution but is really something that's always been around.

But we've currently got a 36 year old up front, Pogba left wing and Greenwood right wing. Coupled with two centre mids that struggle with basic control and passing.

All the sports science in the world won't have Pogba and Ronaldo pressing as hard as Tevez and Rooney. No amount of analytics will have the current midfielders building the play like Carrick and Scholes.

Nothing can make Maguire as quick as Rio.

It's all about players. The best managers are the best not because they're great on a whiteboard. They just get their recruitment right. They put players together that compliment each. We haven't done that for a long time.
 

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We seem to love just passing it around pointlessly in our own half, and when we finally reach the opposition’s half we continue pointlessly passing it around sideways. I mean at this point I just think Ole and our coaches just want us to play cowardly possession football, almost LVG like.
 

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We seem to love just passing it around pointlessly in our own half, and when we finally reach the opposition’s half we continue pointlessly passing it around sideways. I mean at this point I just think Ole and our coaches just want us to play cowardly possession football, almost LVG like.
That’s definitely not what they want. If that were so then they wouldn’t let the likes of Bruno and Pogba try tons of risky passes all game. It’s more that they apparently can’t coach the team to retain possession productively and work openings in the opponent’s defence.
 

Alfie092

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Poor coaching, simple. Ole either needs to up his game and improve the pace of our build-up or he needs to go. It's always way too slow and it allows the opponents to stay in shape and make it hard for us to break teams down for the 90 minutes. We only score due to individual brilliance as we do have several top quality players who can produce something out of nothing but that does not happen every game and when it's one of those off-day, which is often, we need to have a style of play and work as a team to break teams down. Unfortunately, we can't really do this due to our slow and braindead buildup. Very frustrating as I feel this very reason alone would mean another trophy-less season for us.
 

sullydnl

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We beat Pep's Barca over two legs in 2008 but you think that team would struggle today against Leeds(who we spank on a regular basis) and Brighton?

It's easy to buy into a lot of the noise around football. To listen to those who have to talk about it day after day. Over analysis etc. New terminology that gives the impression of evolution but is really something that's always been around.

But we've currently got a 36 year old up front, Pogba left wing and Greenwood right wing. Coupled with two centre mids that struggle with basic control and passing.

All the sports science in the world won't have Pogba and Ronaldo pressing as hard as Tevez and Rooney. No amount of analytics will have the current midfielders building the play like Carrick and Scholes.

Nothing can make Maguire as quick as Rio.

It's all about players. The best managers are the best not because they're great on a whiteboard. They just get their recruitment right. They put players together that compliment each. We haven't done that for a long time.
I didn't say they'd struggle against those sides, I said they'd struggle against those sides more than they would their 2008 equivalents. Which is self-evidently true. The 2021 teams do things their 2008 equivalents didn't at a level their 2008 equivalents couldn't, because while pressing as a concept obviously applied for decades it has become more rigorously structured, trained and prevalent over the last 13 years. If their opponents were better prepared since 2008 but the 2008 team weren't, they wouldn't do as well as they did then.

We're not talking about new terminology giving the impression of evolution. Teams now literally have better organised pressing and possession games and literally have access to better sports science and analytics to help coach and prepare their players. It would be like trying to argue that our 2008 team and those they were competing against weren't better prepared tactically than their equivalents from 1995.

It's also a measurable change. Possessions won in the attacking third (per team, per match) increased from 2.82 in 10/11 to 4.05 in 19/20, a 44% increase. Ball recoveries were also up 13%. That's not something that happens by accident or something a team thrown in from 13 years ago could adjust to without their own understanding of what to do when being pressed/counter-pressing evolving too.
 

Oranges038

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If you literally transplanted our 2008 team as they were then into now then they wouldn't be even remotely as effective.

You're effectively talking about a time pre Guardiola's Barca versus now when all the top coaches (Klopp, Tuchel, Conte, Simeone, Naglesmann, etc.) have been directly influenced by that Barca side, aided by 13 years of development in sports science and analytics. The level of preparation that goes into build-up, pressing, defensive/attacking transitions, etc. at the top level now is miles ahead of what it was back then.

Hell even forgetting the very highest level like the CL, it's now common for mid level PL teams like Southampton, Brighton and Leeds to come into games against us with pressing games beyond anything we'd have faced from similar level teams in 2008. How would we possibly be as effective as we were back then unless we developed tactically too?
Not at all.

That 2008 would easily be top 2/3 in the league and one of the best sides in Europe.

As bad as this Utd side are at times they have still beaten the likes of Southampton Brigthon and Leeds quite easily. The Utd 2008 side would rip this current Utd team to shreds.

They were an outstanding group that would still finish the league on 80+ points. Simply because they were techically and physically far superior than most teams in the league still are now and had far more intelligent players.