I wasn’t going to post this, but after watching Barcelona V PSG on Tuesday I decided to. Barcelona are notoriously difficult to beat but I think the same principles apply.
On Saturday Manchester United played Chelsea in a match which had the potential to be a classic given the current league table, and the fast approaching season end. United managed to have an amazing 70% possession, managing 2 shots on target and ultimately losing 1-0.
I have no issues with the tactics Jose Mourinho deployed. He has done this type of thing for years and it was to be expected. He likes to “park the bus”. Meaning he gets 11 players behind the ball, counter attacks fast and capitalises on any mistakes made by the opposite. He’s successful, it works, but it’s incredibly boring to watch.
This post isn’t limited to the tactics within football, I think it applies to many other team sports. However this Chelsea game is a prime example of the lack of tactical imagination within football…
So United are 1-0 down we’re 80 minutes in and they’re struggling to break Chelsea down. 10% of their shots have been on target and to me it was pretty obvious nothing was going to happen unless they changed tactics. Obviously no one at United managed to pick up on this apart from Herrera who tried cheating with an ambitious dive at the end of the match (lets not get started on that one).
So my question is… Can anyone tell me why football managers are so one-dimensional in their tactics?
Why doesn’t Van Gaal just stick 6 players up front and make an effort to score an equaliser and obtain that – all important – point on their quest for 2nd place? Not only would this improve the chances of them scoring, it also makes things more interesting for football fans, especially those who have paid £100 to sit and watch nothing happen.
Mourinho deploys his trademark tactics so why does no-one try to counter it?
Yes there are cons, they’re obviously more exposed at the back but the end of the match is approaching, surely it would be better to at least attempt to get a equaliser? The worst possible scenario is that they concede another.
It makes perfect common sense to drastically change tactics in this circumstance, but I believe it could also apply at the start of the match. Imagine Burnley are playing Chelsea, lets be honest they have a small chance of winning. Would it be dog awful for the manager to play a 2–4-4 formation in the hope of messing with Mourinho’s tactics and line up?
Every single week it is so predictable with 4-4-2, 5-4-1, if we’re lucky we might be treated to a 4-3-3. Mourinho is indeed a master tactician, but no one does absolutely anything to dismantle his “bus”. Perhaps the above is a little bit too ambitious as they might get severely hammered. However I cannot for the life of me think of a good reason why any manager shouldn’t bang 6 up front in the last few minutes of a game when they’re losing by a goal (unless everything depended on goal difference or something ridiculous).
Let’s not limit things to the formation. Take a look at this piece of play from kick off. Yes ok it’s not going to work 9 times out of 10 but at least they tried something a little different. That, to me, is a tactic that could win you a game, or at least give you an edge. There is no creativity at all in the vast majority of games. It’s even more infuriating when a team are destined to lose but carry on the same regardless.
I’m a massive rugby league (RL) fan and I think the same applies there in some situations. It’s far more tactical than football but there are some situations which are very predictable.
An example of some tactical creativity in RL… You’re able to snatch the ball from a players hands if it’s one-on-one, if a team needs possession urgently then why not send individual players forward with the aim of stealing the ball?
Another rant here and I know nothing about football management other than being a Football Manager addict for a century (I actually used to employ these tactics on the game).
Does anyone agree with anything here? Or am I the only one?