Starting games negatively and lack of energy

noodlehair

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It's a tactical issue.

We play back-foot, reactionary football. We have an absolutely broken 'press' that consists of one or two players at a time running at opponents because apparently that's what our coaching team thinks a press is. We have to play deep due to our £80m defender who can't run or turn. We have absolutely zero consistent attacking patterns.

If we get pressed semi-competently or can't just sit back and counter-attack we look 'negative' because the players are absolutely lost and undercoached.

We also frequently choose 'energy' players or 'good characters' over actual technically good footballers which doesn't help with the inability to beat a press, or with creativity.

It's inexcusable at this stage.
I'm pretty sure our coaching team know what a press is. If everyone else who watches football knows it's unlikely that a team of professional football coaches don't. The whole fantasy world some of our fans live in where we only lose games because Ole has the footballing knowledge of a 6 year old is exactly that, fantasy.

The problem is getting a group of players to do it effectively is quite difficult when your two centrebacks are too slow to step up and close the space, and you keep drifting back to relying on midfielders who are also either too slow or don't pay enoigh attention to the game.

If the players don't have confidence in it they aren't going to put as much effort into it because they'll be more wary of tiring themselves out. Which is what I think happens with us. The forwards kind of press half heartedly because they know the rest of the team is going to be too slow to react behind them, and that even if we do win the ball back they're highly unlikely to get it played to them quickly enough for it to matter.

Pogba, Maguire, Lindelof and Matic must spend more time per game holding onto the ball too long each than most of our opponents do as an entire team. and as a bonus we have Shaw who also likes to join in. That's half the outfield players in the team. You're not going to get an effective press with half a team of players who can't do it and can't use the ball quick enough to stop the opposition doing it to them.
 

amolbhatia50k

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Let's be honest here - We are not an attacking team and Ole is not an attacking manager. The proof is in the pudding - we are a conservative, basic counter attacking team. Everything else is just talk.
 

amolbhatia50k

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I'm pretty sure our coaching team know what a press is. If everyone else who watches football knows it's unlikely that a team of professional football coaches don't. The whole fantasy world some of our fans live in where we only lose games because Ole has the footballing knowledge of a 6 year old is exactly that, fantasy.

The problem is getting a group of players to do it effectively is quite difficult when your two centrebacks are too slow to step up and close the space, and you keep drifting back to relying on midfielders who are also either too slow or don't pay enoigh attention to the game.

If the players don't have confidence in it they aren't going to put as much effort into it because they'll be more wary of tiring themselves out. Which is what I think happens with us. The forwards kind of press half heartedly because they know the rest of the team is going to be too slow to react behind them, and that even if we do win the ball back they're highly unlikely to get it played to them quickly enough for it to matter.

Pogba, Maguire, Lindelof and Matic must spend more time per game holding onto the ball too long each than most of our opponents do as an entire team. and as a bonus we have Shaw who also likes to join in. That's half the outfield players in the team. You're not going to get an effective press with half a team of players who can't do it and can't use the ball quick enough to stop the opposition doing it to them.
That's where the manager comes in. If he wanted to play with a high defensive line and pressing system, why did he spend 80 million (!!) on a slouch? If he wanted us to be able to play out from the back, why did he sign AWB for 50 million (I actually really like him but systems and all)? If our buildup from deep areas was poor , and it's REALLY poor why did he not focus on a DM/DLP and instead signed another attacking midfielder in VDB. If Pogba can press why didn't he take a stand for the good of the club and tell the owners that he has to go for the team to progress, when he had a lot of credit on the bank?

We all want to believe that Ole wants to play this wonderful entertaining and progress attacking style of football but if he did, it would have already be happening, 2 years and 250 million after he was appointed. Heck, if a manager believes strongly in it you can see his imprint in the 1st season itself.
 

croadyman

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I'm not really seeing a lack of energy like it was when Jose was here (I think you have to give Arsenal credit for outfighting us today) and we're usually a very fast and powerful team. I am seeing a lack of ideas when up against a team that doesn't wan't to play into our hands by throwing men forward and being exposed on the counter.

I thought Arsenal and Chelsea last week were pretty harmless in the final third but their overall technique on the ball seems generally better than ours, and the coaching just looks better to be honest. I think we're a team that just loves to play as the plucky underdog and that's not a good foundation or mentality going forward.
Yeah Ole clearly doesn't have a plan B when teams don't play into our hands and let us counter attack them,that is the exact reason he should have been let go at the end of 18/19 season
 

Asger

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How many times did that happen now in the last 4 months?

It takes us ages to get into games even the ones we end up playing relatively well and winning.

We basically start every game on the back foot no matter the opponent or the formation/system.
4 months? More like 7 years!
 

manunited1919

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Klop and pep would win the league and chl with our squad. Alot of klops players werent even highly rated until they became his players. Jordan henderson went from a meme to a mainstay in england midfield and captain of a title winning and chl winning side. Thats the kind of manager we need. Poch is this. All those tottenham stars were nobodies until he made them some of the best players in the prem.

Ole isnt this type of quality. No one has improved under him. Giving him the job may have been one of the single biggest mistakes since fergie retired. I think even moyes was a better manager than he is. But itll be an even bigger mistake ifwe lose out on poch to another club.. with zidane struggling he may get picked up by real.
So please remind me, how many trophies has Poch won? If we are to replace Ole, we need a manager who has a strong, winning mentality. Sort of like Mou, but without all the side show BS he brings along.
 

amolbhatia50k

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So please remind me, how many trophies has Poch won? If we are to replace Ole, we need a manager who has a strong, winning mentality. Sort of like Mou, but without all the side show BS he brings along.
I hope we our next appointment isn't obsessed with the whole winning mentality crap. It's a good thing to have but right now more than that we need to have a vision about how we want to play football and pick the best possibly appointment to fit that (winning mentality obviously good to have). But just going for the manager with best trophy count and zero actual thought otherwise will cost us, again, as it is with LVg and Mourinho.
 

OLLY ORANGE

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Seems to be the only trick Ole knows. Sitting back snd catching teams on the break.
Playing two holding midfielders yesterday with out a quick high press is pretty negative and to pretty much change it like for like after it wasnt working is all a bit clueless.
 

mark_a

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How many times did that happen now in the last 4 months?

It takes us ages to get into games even the ones we end up playing relatively well and winning.

We basically start every game on the back foot no matter the opponent or the formation/system.
We certainly gifted Arsenal the upper hand at the weekend. We just let them dominate us, which seemed to shake our confidence & ability to play. We have the players to be on the front foot, why not do that?! Giving decent sides the chance to press us and push us back is stupid. It wasn't a great game of football, for all their dominance, it was a soft pen that won them the game, and I reckon neutrals would have been bored! (see also Chelsea game - that's filed under "Boring game", but it wouldn't be if Chelsea had won, but that's an anti-United chat for other threads ...)

The teams they fall over themselves to praise in recent years (Liverpool, City) all look comfortable once they're a goal or 2 ahead, but can all look desperate when trying to win games at 0-0. We're making a rod for our own backs starting slowly, but is it tactics, confidence or just general motivation? Sometimes we can look like we really want to win balls (e.g. PSG) and other times like it's a training match (Arsenal?).
 

Idxomer

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We're making a rod for our own backs starting slowly, but is it tactics, confidence or just general motivation? Sometimes we can look like we really want to win balls (e.g. PSG) and other times like it's a training match (Arsenal?).
That's definitely more my question, the general demeanor of the way we start games and it happens way too often with this team. I'm sure the mental aspect plays some role as the team looks at the start of most games like they have a god-given right to win without much effort.
 

Striker10

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we've only really seen it vs chelsea and arsenal. The players should play to their strengths and attack in the league
 

jamesjimmybyrondean

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It's a problem we've had for a long while. Even during Ole's initial unbeaten streak as interim. No urgency unless it's a difficult game or we concede or we lost the previous game or after half time probably due to Ole's hairdryer
 

remo

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Ole is becoming Mourinho 2.0. We play not to concede goal and hope for good break. If we score, other teams open up and we will score again on counter. Otherwise we play for 0-0. It was against Chelsea and now against Arsenal. This is all on coach.
 

poleglass red

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Arsenal were there for the taking, we were too slow in transition, too soft. Rashford, Fred and Greenwood were getting bullied and brushed off the ball much to easily. With Rashford and Greenwood we had no outlet. When you get beat sometimes you just hold your hands up and say the best team won, that wasn't one of those games. Mid balance was off, McT on the right hand side didn't work, 2nd half Pogba basically played left wing, Bruno had a bad day and Fred was getting pushed aside like a little boy at times.
 

Cheimoon

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Low energy doesn't have to be a tactical thing though. That should make the team look disjointed and cumbersome, but not necessarily low-energy. I previously thought this was about firing the players up for Ole. You see in some coaches that they don't manage to instill the killer instinct against lower opposition, only against top clubs. But if there's no energy against Chelsea and Arsenal either, then that's not it.

Maybe it has to do with training intensity? I've read that players often enter the pitch the way they finished their last training session. I.e., if you're conserving energy in training, then you won't go all-in the minute the match starts either. But then why doesn't the energy thing apply across all matches? (Not easy to find a consistent solution...)
 

drunkmonkmeth

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So please remind me, how many trophies has Poch won? If we are to replace Ole, we need a manager who has a strong, winning mentality. Sort of like Mou, but without all the side show BS he brings along.
The manager youre discribing doesnt exist for us at the moment.

Poch has won zero trophies.. but he did manage to take tottenham from fringe top 6 to 2nd place and a chl final with very little fanacial backing. He did manage to turn realitive unknowns until the best players in the prem right now. He is miles better than ole and by far thebmost realistic manager for this club at the moment. Proven in europe and the prem.
 

RUCK4444

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Was it just me or were Arsenal nothing special in that game whatsoever?

I’m sick of hearing all day how well Arse played, I thought they were bang average and the difference was just how feckin woeful we were that first half in particular.

Somebody in work today compares Partey to Viera! I thought Elneny was better than him in that game.

I thought their shape was spot on but their pressing was basic, nothing special, nothing for us to have struggled with.

I said during the game we move the ball so feckin slowly, and if you do that then a pub side can press against you never mind a PL side.

I’m more furious with this game than I was with the Spurs one.
 

romufc

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Every time we had the ball Arsenal pressed, every time they had the ball they had time on the ball.

This is the theme since lockdown, we got good counter attack goals against Villa, Brighton, Leicester, Southampton but even in those games, we could not play out the back.

Its simple, if you cannot get out your half play it long down the line for the strikers to chase, if we lose the ball at least we can press the ball higher up.

The transition from defence to attack is non existent.
 

Idxomer

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Was it just me or were Arsenal nothing special in that game whatsoever?

I’m sick of hearing all day how well Arse played, I thought they were bang average and the difference was just how feckin woeful we were that first half in particular.

Somebody in work today compares Partey to Viera! I thought Elneny was better than him in that game.

I thought their shape was spot on but their pressing was basic, nothing special, nothing for us to have struggled with.

I said during the game we move the ball so feckin slowly, and if you do that then a pub side can press against you never mind a PL side.

I’m more furious with this game than I was with the Spurs one.
They were nothing special, we made them look better than they actually are in the 1st half. Elneny and Parety had all the time on the ball and were barely tested or pressed, especially the former.
 

Idxomer

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Every time we had the ball Arsenal pressed, every time they had the ball they had time on the ball.

This is the theme since lockdown, we got good counter attack goals against Villa, Brighton, Leicester, Southampton but even in those games, we could not play out the back.

Its simple, if you cannot get out your half play it long down the line for the strikers to chase, if we lose the ball at least we can press the ball higher up.

The transition from defence to attack is non existent.
I would like to see Arsenal buildup before the penalty again @GifLord
 

romufc

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Was it just me or were Arsenal nothing special in that game whatsoever?
When was the last time in the PL at OT did a team not look like Prime Barca?

West Ham - Noble and Rice dominated us
Southampton - HojBerg and Ward Prowse dominated us
Palace - Mcarthy and Mcarthur dominated us
Spurs - Ndombole dominated us
Arsenal - Partey and Elneny dominated us

It is a big concern, for me its our defensive line which needs to push higher up the pitch so that we can close gaps.
 

Tel074

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I don't think we lacked intensity. We lacked structure. The Arsenal players passed circles around ours because they always knew where to run, where to pass. Ours didn't.
100% spot on... To drop Matic from the base of the diamond was a huge mistake for me . We saw how many times Lindelof and Maguire had the ball with no one to pass to .. McT on the right of the diamond was beyond belief especially when we have a player in VDB who plays that's position well.
It's our managers /coaches fault for
1/ starting with that line up in the diamond
2/ for refusing to change what we all saw after 10 minutes .

That Second point is for me the reason why we won't win anything under Ole .. His in game management is shocking. Of we start badly or go behind we simply dont change it . For me he's done a very good job in rebooting the club after Jose but also for me he can only take us so far on the pitch and last season is probably going to be his highlight as boss .
 

romufc

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I would like to see Arsenal buildup before the penalty again @GifLord
Absolutely dreadful that was... we didnt get a yard of their players, Willian had all day for Bellerin to make the run, Pogba was just rubbish. Where is the fight in this team?
 

bsCallout

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Its cowardly football and a disgrace that should not be tolerated any longer. Go out and defend with two holding midfielders look to give nothing away and just hope for a lucky break near the end of 90 mins
It has nothing to do with two holding midfielders. They are our two most energetic players.

Arsenal played with Partey and Elneny and it worked great for them.

Our back 4 set the tempo because we play out from the back. Unfortunately they are the slowest back line in the prem. Therefore EVERYTHING is slow.

We never play the ball in behind because we are too slow in playing it, despite having some of the fastest forwards in football. We never play it out wide quick enough and AWB and Shaw just dally and play it back. We never get it out quick enough for someone to put a ball in first time so we never see our forward attacking anything.

We don't play the odds & we definitely don't seem to play to our strengths.

I'm not against Pogba but he is a player, unlike VdB, that slows the game down too much aswell.

VdB > Pogba
Telles > Shaw
Tuanzabe > Maguire/Lindelof

That in theory should make a huge difference to our intensity and speed of play.
 

Idxomer

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Thanks but I meant the Arsenal possession before the penalty itself from around the 65th minute or so till Pogba's foul.

I saw it again now and it's about two straight minutes of Arsenal passing the ball around with basically every United player cramped in their own half.
 

OnlyTwoDaSilvas

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After the restart, the drinks break seemed to be when we got our shit together, for some reason. It's alarming that the team need to be reminded of how to play or what to do, but generally we played a lot better after the first 20 minutes in that period, it was bizarre.

Slow starts seems to transcend individual games under Ole. We started the season awfully last season, and it took title-winning form in the 2nd half of the season to claw it back. And now this season it is happening again.
 

Idxomer

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After the restart, the drinks break seemed to be when we got our shit together, for some reason. It's alarming that the team need to be reminded of how to play or what to do, but generally we played a lot better after the first 20 minutes in that period, it was bizarre.

Slow starts seems to transcend individual games under Ole. We started the season awfully last season, and it took title-winning form in the 2nd half of the season to claw it back. And now this season it is happening again.
Good catch about the drinks break, it's another proof this is something that has been happening for a while now.
 

drunkmonkmeth

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Was it just me or were Arsenal nothing special in that game whatsoever?

I’m sick of hearing all day how well Arse played, I thought they were bang average and the difference was just how feckin woeful we were that first half in particular.

Somebody in work today compares Partey to Viera! I thought Elneny was better than him in that game.

I thought their shape was spot on but their pressing was basic, nothing special, nothing for us to have struggled with.

I said during the game we move the ball so feckin slowly, and if you do that then a pub side can press against you never mind a PL side.

I’m more furious with this game than I was with the Spurs one.
They were pretty poor tbh .. we made it ease for them with our narrow line up because they played so wide with a back 3 and wing backs but still couldnt score in open play. We woulda lost 3,4 nil against a nore clinical side..

The worst part is that there was zero adjustment in the game. You could see 10minutes in this formation was going to be a problem against theirs and ole did nothing for 90minutes to change it. Even worse in thebpost match he says the issue wasnt his tactics but the players.
 

bsCallout

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Let's be honest here - We are not an attacking team and Ole is not an attacking manager. The proof is in the pudding - we are a conservative, basic counter attacking team. Everything else is just talk.
I disagree. Whether he has the ability to implement his intentions is a different matter though. He also seems to have bought the wrong players to implement it.
 

RUCK4444

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They were pretty poor tbh .. we made it ease for them with our narrow line up because they played so wide with a back 3 and wing backs but still couldnt score in open play. We woulda lost 3,4 nil against a nore clinical side..

The worst part is that there was zero adjustment in the game. You could see 10minutes in this formation was going to be a problem against theirs and ole did nothing for 90minutes to change it. Even worse in thebpost match he says the issue wasnt his tactics but the players.
Yeah agree. I was genuinely angry with Ole on this, particularly in the first half because I agree that it was plain as day it wasn't working.

No excuse for not changing that and even if he chose not to change it then at least get on the touchline and give them a kick up the arse. That first half was dreadful from top to bottom, manager and players included.
 

GlasgowCeltic

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Arsenal were poor but better, they’d obviously put a lot of work into stopping the counter knowing not a lot would be offered besides, they deserved to win. Knowing Ole would likely take too long to change anything it felt like a game where you’d need the crowd to react to a big tackle etc to inject some tempo into the players
 

croadyman

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When was the last time in the PL at OT did a team not look like Prime Barca?

West Ham - Noble and Rice dominated us
Southampton - HojBerg and Ward Prowse dominated us
Palace - Mcarthy and Mcarthur dominated us
Spurs - Ndombole dominated us
Arsenal - Partey and Elneny dominated us

It is a big concern, for me its our defensive line which needs to push higher up the pitch so that we can close gaps.
Jesus just imagine if we are adding WBA's midfield to that soon too
 

eire-red

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There seems to be a huge amount of fear in this team. Fear of losing, fear of giving the ball away, giving chances away. It's like Ole wants the perfect game, and is trying to be too clever with his formations, tactics etc. and trying to win games 1/2 nil like that Chelsea team of 04-06.

Ole has some tough choices. Pogba, not good enough. Shaw, start playing forward or you don't play at all. Maguire and Lindelof need to release the ball quicker, Rashford needs to attack the space from minute 1-90. Midfield need to move the ball quicker, we need width on the right. Intent, courage, intensity, desire. You can't buy that in the market.

Now you can't say we don't have quality players. Rashford, Martial, Bruno, van de Beek etc. But fear seems to be crippling this team. But I'd rather see us go down swinging, losing 3-2 to Arsenal than play that tentative nonsense we watched Sunday. Because if you play with a purpose every game, more often than not we should win. In Europe, we can afford to be more calculating and tactical as you come up against a greater variety of systems, coaches, players.

In the PL, everyone knows your weakness, your danger men, your style. The football is so physical and intense, you just can't start games in second gear like we have been, trying to 'feel' our way into games. We're not positive enough, that needs to change. It's like we're too scared to really go for it, cause if we concede that first goal it's almost as if all that negativity and doubt seeps into every player.

Rewind 15 years ago and if we concede the first goal at OT, the opposition is almost apologetic, and expecting an onslaught. The only time we seem to play well is when our backs are against the wall, and we have no option but to go for every game, like last season trying to claw our way into top 4. That needs go change, we need that mentality and hunger every game.
 

VeevaVee

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We've been like this for years, and go through bouts of starting with energy, or at least finding it 20 mins in to a match, and clearly reap the rewards whenever this happens. But then we lose it for long stints too. I have no idea how it could be fixed.
 

croadyman

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We've been like this for years, and go through bouts of starting with energy, or at least finding it 20 mins in to a match, and clearly reap the rewards whenever this happens. But then we lose it for long stints too. I have no idea how it could be fixed.
Someone who can coach a high energy style might be a good start with that
 

Forevergiggs1

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Did we have any patterns at all attacking or otherwise today? The midfield looked clueless and the defense spent ages not knowing what to do with the ball. It's not just a reactionary football but also our reactions seem always half a second late which makes all the difference at this level.
Lindelofs reactions the last half hour I think said all that needs to be said. Everytime him or Maquire got the ball they were looking for forward passes but no one in the midfield were showing. It seems they haven't been shown a basic rule in football on how to make space for themselves. There's no plan B when plan A doesn't work.
 

noodlehair

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That's where the manager comes in. If he wanted to play with a high defensive line and pressing system, why did he spend 80 million (!!) on a slouch? If he wanted us to be able to play out from the back, why did he sign AWB for 50 million (I actually really like him but systems and all)? If our buildup from deep areas was poor , and it's REALLY poor why did he not focus on a DM/DLP and instead signed another attacking midfielder in VDB. If Pogba can press why didn't he take a stand for the good of the club and tell the owners that he has to go for the team to progress, when he had a lot of credit on the bank?

We all want to believe that Ole wants to play this wonderful entertaining and progress attacking style of football but if he did, it would have already be happening, 2 years and 250 million after he was appointed. Heck, if a manager believes strongly in it you can see his imprint in the 1st season itself.
I've never been fully sure where I stand on Ole to be honest. I've been happy to support him on the basis that he's very likable and we have been improving and signing good players, but not fully convinced either way that he knows or doesn't know how to get us to the level we need to aim for.

The problem is that you are right. How we want to play and the players we pick to do it make absolutely no sense. Not just in terms of our tactics but even in terms of understanding how our opponents play. We constantly pick Matic or Pogba, or often both, against teams who we know for a fact will press us and press our centrebacks. I mean with Pogba, maybe the first few times you can say he's capable of dealing with it better, but at this point you know all he is going to do is give the ball away. Matic has never been capable since we signed him of competing with a pressing side. He ends up either sitting as deep as the centrebacks, or having players just run off him all game. He was literally like this for over a year at Chelsea before we even signed him. We have other players yet revert to these two over and over in situations and set ups where it is beyond obvious that it will not work. Then we shift them around the team and sub other players off to avoid removing them. I'm beyond lost at this point. Even this season we've tried playing them as a midfield two against pressing sides. Not even a third midfielder to compensate for their shortcomings, which just makes it 100% clear that our manager does not understand his own players.

I often don't understand what our tactics are. We half press teams, half sit off. I know the counter attacking method is frowned upon on here for some reason but I don't see any problem with it when you have players like Rashford and Fernandes...but we don't really play counter attacking football apart from when the better sides force us to. If you want to press higher up and play a similar style to Liverpool's earlier time under Klopp where it's very direct/error punishing football, we have players who are very suited to that both in midfield and attack, and we have seen that on occasions, but we don't pick them, or do but then drop them again even when it works.

I honestly don't know what the plan is at this point. I think if I was a player I would be disallusioned as well as there seems to be no consistency with the standards we look for. Fred got subbed off the other day for playing 2 bad passes in a row. Pogba stayed on despite playing probably 20 bad passes in a row. Then gets brought on a few days later to do the exact same thing. Tuanzebe get subbed off after 1 bad half but Maguire it almost seems like the worse it gets for him the more determined Ole is to stick by him. Matic just doesn't seem to have a level he can drop to where we'll stop playing him. Having standards that are the same for everyone and rewarding players who meet them is actually pretty simple and also pretty important, and we are the only one of the bigger sides who don't do this. We almost seem to be trying to give players the incentive to do better by rewarding the ones who do the worst.

It makes you wonder who's really calling the shots as when Jose started trying to impose standards on certain players it coincided with the club effectively turning their back on him.
 

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Euro 2016 sweepstake winner
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Jun 9, 2012
Messages
19,399
Location
Yorkshire
You can’t excuse the performances. I like what Ole has done as a man manager but every game we lack something.