Were Sir Alex and Carlos Queiroz 5-10 years ahead of the game?

mariachi-19

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Watching highlights of the 07/08 season and 08/09, the idea of a fluid front three with semi set positions.

While Sir Alex envisioned a central striker with two supporting forwards on either side rather than a false 9 with flanking wide forwards, did this tactic envision where the game of football was heading before more teams adopted it?

We know that between 2009 and 2016, teams were obsessed with trying to adopt some form TikTak/high press before they all realized that unless you have three of the best players to ever play the game in your squad (plus some questions over ped's), it isn't so easy to play week in and week out.

From what I remember, it was not uncommon to have a single striker leading the line but usually with a single CF behind in those days and your wide players played as traditional wingers. But with Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez, he was able to float the idea of a multi dimensional front three that largely had freedom to attack while the three in midfield were usually 2 hardworking "water carriers" (see Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson, Gibson, Hargreaves etc) and 1 strong technical player (Scholes, Giggs, Carrick).

In Today's game, its a concept that most teams are currently to adopt with Liverpool arguably being the current example of that style because it provides balance in a game that is played at a much faster tempo and generally (due in part to the drop off in quality central defenders) defences need slightly more support to combat the speed on the break.

What says the Caf?
 

Ibi Dreams

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I think we were catching up to all the other good European teams playing a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, weren't we?
 

Pexbo

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I really don’t think they were particularly fluid in their positioning. For the most part they stuck to their given role that day and it’s maybe remembered as more fluid than it was because of the different roles they could each be relied upon. Ronaldo could play all three in an attacking role. Rooney often got shifted to a wing and given defensive responsibility and Tevez was probably the one who had the most horizontal freedom although he almost always started centrally. It’s just a question of whether he had a strike partner or not.
 

Gio

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The 4-3-3 did have a decade of reduced popularity before Barcelona and Man Utd brought it back to the fore. But we only have to go back to Lippi's Juventus in the mid-1990s to see a similar front three made up of forwards rather than wingers who were energetic pressers as part of a team-wide effort.
 

cyberman

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I think we were catching up to all the other good European teams playing a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, weren't we?
Pep used videos of our 08 team as pointers for his players when he first took over. He made Etoo analyse Rooneys performances out wide in particular.
I remember reading this for the buildup of the 09 final and it stuck with me
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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People keep saying 433, what I remember is that we used 442 most of the time in 07/08 season and sometime 4411. Both Rooney & Tevez are identical, likes to move around, flexible and works very hard on the pitch. Which benefits Ronaldo, scoring lot of goals because he found lot of spaces thanks to those two as well. This is where the word of "fluid" Ronaldo, Tevez & Rooney came from.

In 08/09, we didn't play as fluid as in 07/08 since we got Berbatov. As a result, Ronaldo goals went down drastically.

I wouldn't say we were the one who created it originally. However the concept is similar having three of attacking mind players who likes to move around and good in finding space.
 

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If You have a front three of Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez. However you play them, in whichever position, They are bound to run around everywhere. Something that people called "interchanging". Don't get me wrong, I loved the period of SAF and Queiroz the most. But I also feel like They just let the front three do what They like, the interchanging is overstated while it actually depended on the players heavily. Replace one of Rooney/Tevez with Berbatov, and Ronaldo with Nani and the team will look 5 years behind the game. Even if both Berba and Nani were excellent players by themselves.

Evra summarized this the best when He said having Rooney and Tevez were like having two pitbulls on the pitch. Even the defenders felt safe with the two up front because They won't stay still and chased the ball around, trying to win the ball back. And with Ronaldo waiting up front you just know goals are just the matter of time. But there might be other changes in the team, training and talents scouting that makes Queiroz much more important than just changing the formation to 4-3-3 or whatever that lets us play 'dynamically'. In summary, I feel like They are excellent outside of tactical decisions as well. And I hope Micky Phelan can be the Queiroz to Ole.

5-10 years ahead tactically? I don't think so... 5-10 years ahead in players quality? yes.
 
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rcoobc

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People keep saying 433, what I remember is that we used 442 most of the time in 07/08 season and sometime 4411. Both Rooney & Tevez are identical, likes to move around, flexible and works very hard on the pitch. Which benefits Ronaldo, scoring lot of goals because he found lot of spaces thanks to those two as well. This is where the word of "fluid" Ronaldo, Tevez & Rooney.

In 08/09, we didn't play as fluid as in 07/08 since we got Berbatov. As a result, Ronaldo goals went down drastically.

I wouldn't say we were the one who created it originally. However the concept is similar having three of attacking mind players who likes to move around and good in finding space.
It was definitely 4-3-3 almost the whole in Europe, and in some key matches in the league
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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It was definitely 4-3-3 almost the whole in Europe, and in some key matches in the league
I couldn't remember what we played before semi though. However, we played 4411 against Barcelona and 442 against Chelsea in final.
 

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I think we simply caught up with everyone.
I think they needed to win a 2nd CL while working together to be able to say we were ahead of the game.
 

elmo

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Sir Alex pretty much nailed all the European ties except for the finals against Barcelona during that period.

I honestly think that if we had played them earlier in a 2 legged tie, we would have managed to snuck past them as we would have played the games so much more differently.
 

Neil_Buchanan

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Sir Alex pretty much nailed all the European ties except for the finals against Barcelona during that period.

I honestly think that if we had played them earlier in a 2 legged tie, we would have managed to snuck past them as we would have played the games so much more differently.
I think so too, Fergie even said that he wouldn't set up defensively in a cup final like Chelsea, Inter etc. Despite the results I agree with him, Barca were unbelievable back then but so we're we. Definitely the second best team in the world at the time, we'd have beaten any other team in those two finals, no doubt about it.
 

POF

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Not at all. The main reason being they didn't really play 4-3-3 (it was almost always Ronaldo wide with Rooney and Tevez up front) and the other being that most teams in Europe were doing it more than 10 years earlier.

In fact, when United signed Veron in 2001 that was an attempt to add a more continental style to match other teams that played 4-3-3 and outnumbered United in midfield.

Even just looking at it from an English context, Mourinho's first title at Chelsea was won playing 4-3-3 with a central striker and 2 wide forwards in Duff and Robben.

There's nothing new or revolutionary about the current 4-3-3 trend. It's been around for years.
 

hasanejaz88

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SAF played a 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-3-1 from 01-04 as well didn't he? Up until Rooney was signed to play alongside RVN. So I don't think it was under Tevez, Ron and Rooney that he began to play that formation. The style of play was certainly more fluid because of RVN being a more natural striker and not very flexible tactically as Tevez and Rooney were.

I remember the main reason we signed Veron in 01 was to be able to play a 3 man central midfield in Europe as it was the formation other teams were playing then as well, Leverkusen played the same formation that season to. Sadly, we weren't as successful at it then, for various reasons.
 

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I know Tevez was a pain but really it was a mistake signing Berbatov and sidelining him. That affected his performance but it also took a lot of energy out of the team at a time when the hard-working front three would prove to be the future.
 

Web of Bissaka

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Watching highlights of the 07/08 season and 08/09, the idea of a fluid front three with semi set positions.
Think this has to do with..
1) SAF's ambition in trying to better his CL attempts, so he tried incorporating more and more "european" system eg. 3 man midfield, 3 on the attacks (though I don't remember this being a trend but there are teams that used it) or even players like Veron and Ruud. Also getting Queiroz as assistant is another of the plan in motion.

2) SAF's United tactical positioning flexibility, as far as I remember -- positioning is always free and flexible (at least majority of SAF's seasons). From defense, to attack, midfield and even keeper, freedom of movements and positioning are given to players. SAF wasn't strict. The front 4 of Cole, Yorke, Teddy and Ole or the midfield of Keane, Beck, Scholes and Giggs, or even before them, Ince and Cantona, even Irwin and GNev plus Schmeichel are given the license to basically "roam" at times sensibly. So this play into the fluid front three idea.

3) Cristiano Ronaldo, the young player both of them are fond of, is just not suitable in a traditional wing position RM/LM. So they adjust it into mainly 4-3-3 starting from 2004 I think or 2005, but I remember there is a constant change of formation because it just doesn't fit with many of the rest of the players. Park came in is the only first time for me the systems works wonders. The combination between Rooney, RVN and Park is just amazing.

Therein lies the problem -- two energy pressing players with only one "not-a-pressing" type of player will make it worked. So either RVN or Ronaldo. Then again, it's a huge problem though because Ronaldo is yet to mature in play and in number of goals so the system is only works well years later in 2007 while we're back to traditional 442 in 2006. One attack-only high-goalscorer (Ronaldo, RVN) + two energetic-pressing support forwards (Rooney, Tevez, Park). Interestingly, SAF went back to deep 442 or 4411 or 4231 later on isn't it once he no longer have the attack-only goalscorer type.

---


No I don't think they plan long-term. More like the system changes as situation dictates. And it's already been part of SAF's style in positioning and movement of players tactics. Interestingly as he incorporates more and more of the "european" system, near the end of his reign, it's becoming more and more rigid, lacking fluidity and absence of free-flowing football. It's generally boring with the zombie football thing. Carrick and Cleverly sit at the base or even the maintaining of structure which inhibit free movements so we start seeing players doing pointless passing the ball around as that is the only options due to the poor movements in front not being encouraged unintentionally.

That said, we sure made the fluid front 3 popular and trendy. :drool:
 

Greck

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Teams had been employing those principles in Europe for a while. We were ahead of the English game but not Europe as it really can't be understated how far behind the PL was. For example the football Pep played that one season everyone wanked over city was the first time there was a universal acceptance playing that way could win in England
 

RooneyLegend

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In 08 Giggs played the old Beckham position, as a side midfielder. It was basically the best way to set up a 4-2-3-1. With one side midfielder who adds control, and a side attacker who adds to the front line. We had the same in the 99 team with Beck's playing as a side midfielder and Giggs playing closer to the forwards.

Not really ahead of their time since alot of teams have historically set up like that(I.e Brazil 1970). What was great about our 3 predominant attacking players was how dynamic they were. They had the ability to turn the ball over and score opportunistic goals. The sort we lost the moment Berba played instead of Tevez.
 

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The 4-3-3 did have a decade of reduced popularity before Barcelona and Man Utd brought it back to the fore. But we only have to go back to Lippi's Juventus in the mid-1990s to see a similar front three made up of forwards rather than wingers who were energetic pressers as part of a team-wide effort.
La coruna was doing it before us too, 2001 I think.
 

MancunianAngels

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Fergie tried a variation of it in 2001/2002 which worked for us going forward but ultimately suffered due to a lack of a decent back 5. At that time, most of the PL played a version of 442.

VDS/Vidic/Rio gave us a solid base to work from in 2006 but a lot of teams had moved onto it by then aswell.
 

TheReligion

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Watching highlights of the 07/08 season and 08/09, the idea of a fluid front three with semi set positions.

While Sir Alex envisioned a central striker with two supporting forwards on either side rather than a false 9 with flanking wide forwards, did this tactic envision where the game of football was heading before more teams adopted it?

We know that between 2009 and 2016, teams were obsessed with trying to adopt some form TikTak/high press before they all realized that unless you have three of the best players to ever play the game in your squad (plus some questions over ped's), it isn't so easy to play week in and week out.

From what I remember, it was not uncommon to have a single striker leading the line but usually with a single CF behind in those days and your wide players played as traditional wingers. But with Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez, he was able to float the idea of a multi dimensional front three that largely had freedom to attack while the three in midfield were usually 2 hardworking "water carriers" (see Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson, Gibson, Hargreaves etc) and 1 strong technical player (Scholes, Giggs, Carrick).

In Today's game, its a concept that most teams are currently to adopt with Liverpool arguably being the current example of that style because it provides balance in a game that is played at a much faster tempo and generally (due in part to the drop off in quality central defenders) defences need slightly more support to combat the speed on the break.

What says the Caf?
Can you bump the time travelers thread in the general with this please. You're on to something.
 

Foxbatt

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I would say we missed Carlos. I read where Gary Neville said Carlos got them to practice positional play against Barca in the semi final without even the ball. I think it was his tactical views with the motivation of SAF that bought our success. Phelan is no where even close to Carlos.
 

Amir

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They weren't ahead of the game, but they kept up with it.

When Queiroz left, Fergie seemed to lose a little of that will to always change and update, and we started to drift behind.
 

Rish Sawhney

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They weren't ahead of the game, but they kept up with it.

When Queiroz left, Fergie seemed to lose a little of that will to always change and update, and we started to drift behind.
I don’t don’t think he lost the will to change but after being beaten by Barcelona twice he came to the conclusion that trying to beat them at their own game was not feasible and went incredible top heavy with the intent to just outscore everyone regardless of control of the game.

And I kinda wish we had stuck with that approach. 2012-13 was one of my favourite seasons because we had so many games where we were not the great but you just knew we’d come back and win by a goal in the end.
 

Amir

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I don’t don’t think he lost the will to change but after being beaten by Barcelona twice he came to the conclusion that trying to beat them at their own game was not feasible and went incredible top heavy with the intent to just outscore everyone regardless of control of the game.
The fact that he needed to endure that 2011 final in order to realise that is stunning by itself. The way we approached that game, as if we've learnt nothing from 2009, was crazy.

Thing is, when Fergie picked his previous assistants he was looking to innovate. Kidd, McClaren, Quieroz. After that we just seemed to settle.
 

hmchan

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The front three used by Liverpool and City nowadays isn't fluid at all. Instead, they are given very specific instructions to pop up in exact positions to execute well-trained tactics, which are very different from SAF's approach.