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"We don't want possession, we want the space." (Tactic Help)


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I love possession style tactics and it is usually what I go with. For me, if I don't have > 55% possession my tactic isn't working. It is what I know and what I am comfortable with.

Something I heard sparked interest in me. I heard that José Mourinho stated, "We don't want possession, we want the space."

What kind of formation, team instructions, and roles would you use for a style that said, "We don't want possession, we want the space."

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I would have players in position in space. Such as playing an amc if the enemy have no dmc, I would have several players with roam from positions. I would have several roles like raumedeter and maybe trequeirsta, whose role in a tactic is to find space. And there other elements like hugging the line and playing wide, playing with more creative freedom, and i would also consider what would be best, playing to players feet in space, or playing the ball into space for players to run onto, I think i would probably play to feet.

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5 hours ago, Herolover said:

What kind of formation, team instructions, and roles would you use for a style that said, "We don't want possession, we want the space."

Depends very much on the purpose within said space...with a 2-nil advantage and given his overemphasis on past-dated pragmatism, one would imagine the space, in this instance, was the area within which the opponent could create opportunities. Without space, there is no opportunity. 

Against Man City, earlier in the season, Spurs employed a 6-3-1 in effect:

  1. Compact back four
  2. Deep lying wingers functioning more as wingbacks than the former
  3. A double pivot with Kane very deep, arguably deeper than any DLF dares to go.
  4. Son off centre offering the outball.

Call it a 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1, whatever, in effect they have a back six and countered with speed and a directness Barnsley would be proud of, minus the big up and under.

If the aim is to occupy the space from a defensive perspective, there's a real life example. 

4-4-2, wingbacks (on automatic) ahead of fullbacks to get the depth of Bergwin and Sissoko. Fullbacks would be best served on a No nonsense role,  sitting narrow to try and replicate the 4 CBs effect. Needless to say, the ME will still throw them forward.

2 defensively minded midfielders, one ball winning, one CM.

A DLF and Complete forward would be a good description of the Son and Kane pairing on the day.

Cautious approach, narrow defensive, forcing the opposition wide. Mid-low block, direct passing with an aggressive tempo.

Counter-press and counter but with a lower line of engagement. 

Returning to the wingbacks, maybe a cheeky little Support duty for Bergwijn. 

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5 hours ago, Herolover said:

I heard that José Mourinho stated, "We don't want possession, we want the space."

He probably means camp on the edge of your own penalty box and admire 90 metres of space between his team and the opposition goalkeeper.

Edited by Robson 07
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8 hours ago, Herolover said:

I love possession style tactics and it is usually what I go with. For me, if I don't have > 55% possession my tactic isn't working. It is what I know and what I am comfortable with.

Something I heard sparked interest in me. I heard that José Mourinho stated, "We don't want possession, we want the space."

What kind of formation, team instructions, and roles would you use for a style that said, "We don't want possession, we want the space."

Any defensive formation will need to cover the most dangerous attacking space: zone 14(the area just in front of the box) and the two half spaces and follow the principles of defending narrow which means you will need to pack a lot of numbers in the centre. You will also need to have aerially dominant centre backs so that you can deal with crosses when the opposition have no other attacking options. What formation, team instructions or roles does not matter if you can follow these principles. The players you have is also very important to fit your tactics. 

An example of a counter attacking tactic which perfectly describes the above quote: (where I overachieve with an underdog team with the lowest possession and pass completion in the league)

 

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12 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

He probably means camp on the edge of your own penalty box and admire 90 metres of space between his team and the opposition goalkeeper.

Well, no. This might be a joke, but I'll use it as a prompt to elaborate on Mourinho's statement anyhow. 

---

In simple terms, Jose Mourinho (JM) belongs to a school of thought who treats possession as a tool and nothing more. Colloquially, he's described as a pragmatist - a moniker I suspect he doesn't mind all too much. In other words, his approach to football is less about how and more about why. Tactically, that means that his game strategy is inherently based on the opponents strengths and weaknesses moreso than someone like Pep or Bielsa. Whereas those types of managers seek to impose their ideal philosophy on every single match with the highest priority, Mourinho plans to do whatever he deems to give his team the highest chance of grabbing the desired result. 

To give an example related to the OP; possession. 
JMs approach to possession is simple; if a pass isn't qualitatively and/or measurably contributing to an advantage, it's worthless. Someone like Pep would argue that passing the ball back and forth patioently is defending with the ball - after all, if your opponent doesn't have the ball, they can't score, right? However, it also significantly raises the demand of your players skill and creative ability. Ball playing defenders, sweeper keepers, playmakers and technically gifted midfielders. It's the reason why literally everyone at Man City look like, and probably could, play any position; because they have to be that good with the ball to execute the style. Conversely, this same thing is a major criticism against Pep and his style; he is famously criticized for never having managed a non world-class side. Many would argue his philosophy would crash and burn in a club without the squad and/or resources to find the right players. 

Mourinho, on the other hand, argues that if you can score a goal by making 4 passes, why make 26? If you can defend by letting the opposition pass the ball mindlessly around and pump desperate crosses onto your defenders, why not let them? Similarly, if his analysis of the team he's facing shows the opposition suffers under high pressing and/or if they can't control possession, he will aim to press high and control possession. Make no mistake; Jose Mourinho is one of the worlds finest minds when it comes to game analysis. His ability to read teams and players and pin point weaknesses, habits and trends is second to none. Some even argue he'd be better off as an assistant, like he was in Barcelona, for that exact reason. Sure, people like to scream and cry about Tottenham "just sitting back and conceding possession", but Spurs are 10th in average possession so far this season, implying that JM is more than happy to let his team control possession if the game calls for it. Hell, West Ham averages almost a full 10% lower possession than Spurs do, but I don't see anyone complaining about West Ham sitting back and not controlling games (Spurs 50% avg, West Ham 41.1% avg). If anything, West Ham is displaying exactly what JM is arguing - that by controlling space you don't need to control the ball. 

Now, over to the question at hand: "We don't want possession, we want the space."
If your team has control of possession, but there is no space available to play into to create chances, what good is possession? Conversely, if you can defend space effectively, does it really matter if the opposition is passing the ball around? We humans tend to associate proactivity with control, but reality paints a very different picture. In so many sports, and other avenues, it's perfectly normal to concede tempo/agency to set up traps and/or expose a weakness. It's lauded as clever and smart play. In football, however, there exists a prevailing opinion that winning possession means your team is objectively better and deserves to win the game. Possession has been romanticized to an absurd degree. Anyone who has played or coached football knows that finding the right space vastly outranks possession when attacking - and the same goes for denying the right spaces when defending. 

Lastly, I would like that add that I find value in both approaches. Furthermore, JMs approach isn't inherently easier, but it demands a different skillset that arguably is easier to garner from less gifted players - granted they buy into it. As most of us know, it's easier to get players to buy into the romantic idea of tika taka and total football than it is diligent denial of space and rapid counter attacking. 

Edited by Christopher S
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Just now, Experienced Defender said:

This :thup: :applause:

It's not a far reach for me to understand JM, considering I'm Norwegian and grew up during Drillo's golden period as the Norwegian NT head coach. JM is, in many ways, the modern day equivalent of Egil 'Drillo' Olsen. 

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3 hours ago, Christopher S said:

Many would argue his philosophy would crash and burn in a club without the squad and/or resources to find the right players. 

Like Bielsa's crashed and burned with Leeds? Or do you think there are specific differences between the two styles which mean that Pep's would fail with such a team as Leeds and that Bielsa's would succeed? I'd also point out that Mourinho by his actions and words very clearly wants a specific type of player as well.

Note also that Mourinho had the highest net spend of any Manchester United manager since the start of the Premier League era, and also has a net spend of ~£130mn at spurs, which iirc is far higher than Poch's was. This is not to get into an argument about various managers buying wins etc (nothing wrong with buying players IF it results in wins after all) and of course Pep has spent oodles and oodles of money. My point is just that it isn't really fair to paint it as a dichotomy where one style of football comes with a trade off that you have to spend more and the other style gets better 'value for money'. 

4 hours ago, Christopher S said:

 Sure, people like to scream and cry about Tottenham "just sitting back and conceding possession", but Spurs are 10th in average possession so far this season, implying that JM is more than happy to let his team control possession if the game calls for it. Hell, West Ham averages almost a full 10% lower possession than Spurs do, but I don't see anyone complaining about West Ham sitting back and not controlling games (Spurs 50% avg, West Ham 41.1% avg). If anything, West Ham is displaying exactly what JM is arguing - that by controlling space you don't need to control the ball. 

50% possession for a top team in a lopsided league is much lower than you'd expect, playstyle neutral, no? Even before possession football was really a thing in the UK, better teams would generally have more possession than lower teams for fairly obvious reasons- better at winning the ball, better pass accuracy, more attacking intent because they're the favourites. As you rightly point out, West Ham average 41% possession (the lowest for a 'good side' in the league) but had 63% possession against Stockport, which is exactly what you'd expect. So 50% possession for a top team in the league is lower than you would expect, possession style neutral in my opinion, and they tend to sit back when they have a lead.

There's actually a really important distinction here between West Ham and Spurs. Spurs allow 0.08xg/shot and West Ham allow 0.09xg/shot, but West Ham allow fewer shots than Spurs, 11.3 vs 12.2. I don't really understand how Spurs can be said to control space if they allow on average 12 shots a game against them. 1 extra shot allowed compared to a team which is worse player for player (certainly worse in £££ value). 

5 hours ago, Christopher S said:

If you can defend by letting the opposition pass the ball mindlessly around and pump desperate crosses onto your defenders, why not let them?

Because it leads to letting in 3 away at Dinamo? Letting the opponent shoot 21 times is probably not the best way to keep clean sheets. 

All you are doing by sitting back is transferring the risk and breakage point closer to your own goal. 

5 hours ago, Christopher S said:

Similarly, if his analysis of the team he's facing shows the opposition suffers under high pressing and/or if they can't control possession, he will aim to press high and control possession. Make no mistake; Jose Mourinho is one of the worlds finest minds when it comes to game analysis. His ability to read teams and players and pin point weaknesses, habits and trends is second to none.

A team that uses possession to defend relies on not losing the ball, and if they lose the ball, not stopping the ensuing counter attack.

A team that sits back relies on their defenders/defense oriented midfielders not making mistakes. The more you sit back, the more you expose those defenders. Both come with different risks. 

If Mourinho is the master of this pragmatism and at picking the correct game plan, why has he not identified that his defenders aren't up to the job of sitting back and defending whatever the opposition can throw at them? I think it is nonsense frankly. It might have been true when Mourinho had success with Inter Milan, but football has come a long way since then. Teams are easier to break down by good sides due to extremely well drilled patterns of attacking play. 

I've spoken about this forum before relatively recently, that Atleti are the only real outliers of good teams that play differently. But modern football unfortunately means you either dominate games if you have the ability or you will under perform relative to your position. West Ham play Moyes-ball, yes. But they have different ambitions and expectations, a different level of player.For me, Spurs are at their best when they play to their ability.

I understand that it is not very romantic, very corporate, very modern world that all these top clubs play ~relatively similar brands of football.You press, you keep possession, you lose the ball you counter press, you counter. It is kind of dull! Obviously there are differences due to certain tendencies- more or less crossing, more direct counters versus fluid through the middle. But pressing and the possession which comes with it are now established due to the results they bring. 

5 hours ago, Christopher S said:

Possession has been romanticized to an absurd degree. Anyone who has played or coached football knows that finding the right space vastly outranks possession when attacking - and the same goes for denying the right spaces when defending. 

Final comment- do you think Pep Guardiola doesn't understand the importance of space? Positional play is all about space.

I guess my main point is that an idealised version of non-possession football looks MUCH more like Simeone's Atletico than any Mourinho team of recent years. There are no established attacking patterns or plans other than giving the ball to Son and Kane and letting them do their thing. The defending is comical (Mourinho shouting 'press' at his players, as if that will achieve anything without a plan of how they will press, not that this is something you can do in FM). Mourinho is obviously incredibly knowledgeable about football, so I don't where it is going wrong, but I can't see anything out their on the pitch other than the abilities of some of their attacking players.

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But with the added emphasis on pressing and counter-pressing by teams with higher technical skill sets and greater emphasis on low blocking by teams of lesser ability, its no surprise Spurs have fallen off. Against lesser teams, they're having to move the ball around more and are far better suited to hold shape and counter. vs the More Technical sides, their defensive concentration and discipline is simply not good enough. They've been cut open time and again this season and avoided hammering by pure luck more than anything else. The NLD should've been an absolute pasting, somehow Spurs were still in the ring with 20 minutes to go.

With only 4 passes to make to create the attempt on goal vs Zagreb, they were sterile, inept and absolutely incompetent. 

I agree in passing efficiency, but would add, the whole point of Guardiola's pass-pass approach is to create different type of opening, the type FM refers to as the clear cut chance. Thats not to say Spurs don't create similar opportunities, but one would imagine there's significant difference in certain qualities about the chances created and goals scored. 

As brilliant is, or was...his 4 pass formula is staring disaster in the face. To think, the once maligned Carling Cup, now Carabao may save his season. 

 

 

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On 19/03/2021 at 11:15, Christopher S said:

In simple terms, Jose Mourinho (JM) belongs to a school of thought who treats possession as a tool and nothing more.

Yeah but style is important.  What we are seeing (again) is that when you under achieve you become open to questions on style.  Spurs are 8th in EPL, and are out of Europe.  They don't pass the ball well & play defensively, leaving the best striker in the league to feed on scraps.  

Tactically JM looks like a dinosaur who hasn't kept pace with his peers.  It's a career that seems to be in a downward spiral and it would be no surprise to see Tottenham part company with him at the end of the season.  Speaking as a Man Utd supporter he was damaging to my club and the his style of play was not befitting our heritage, it was a relief when he departed.

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On 18/03/2021 at 17:41, Herolover said:

I love possession style tactics and it is usually what I go with. For me, if I don't have > 55% possession my tactic isn't working. It is what I know and what I am comfortable with.

Something I heard sparked interest in me. I heard that José Mourinho stated, "We don't want possession, we want the space."

What kind of formation, team instructions, and roles would you use for a style that said, "We don't want possession, we want the space."

Watch the game in "full match". Try and figure the spaces the AI leaves. On FM20, AI wingers don't track full backs, so you always have space out wide. Tactic for this? Any with wingers/wide midfielders and full/wing backs (PI "get forward" or attacking duty) and wide (on attacking width). There's also the tracking of a deep midfield run. That's why MEZ-At and CM-At were particularly effective. There's also space in front of the penalty area, that's why long shots seem to have a bigger chance of goal than on real life and even players with 8 long shots score bangers.

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On 19/03/2021 at 11:15, Christopher S said:

 Possession has been romanticized to an absurd degree. Anyone who has played or coached football knows that finding the right space vastly outranks possession when attacking - and the same goes for denying the right spaces when defending.

To be fair I think the only people that still obsess over possession statistics for the sake of itself are the people who aren't thinking about the underlying principles of 'possession' football i.e. positional play. Like you said, possession is a tool which is treated with different approaches depending on the game model, and all the top coaches treat it as such. I think Spain a few years ago are a good example of how bad it can go when possession is treated as a goal in and of itself.

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17 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

Yeah but style is important.  What we are seeing (again) is that when you under achieve you become open to questions on style.  Spurs are 8th in EPL, and are out of Europe.  They don't pass the ball well & play defensively, leaving the best striker in the league to feed on scraps.  

Tactically JM looks like a dinosaur who hasn't kept pace with his peers.  It's a career that seems to be in a downward spiral and it would be no surprise to see Tottenham part company with him at the end of the season.  Speaking as a Man Utd supporter he was damaging to my club and the his style of play was not befitting our heritage, it was a relief when he departed.

Tottenhams issues exist far beyond the name, pedigree and principles of their manager. For anyone following Spurs closely, there are factors at play that changing manager will not address in the slightest. We have a squad that is lacking in key aspects crucial to playing a progressive and "positive" way. Getting Lo Celso back from injury will help to address this, but it won't fix it. Possession control, progressive passing and 'positive' play on the ball starts with the defenders - defenders that are both comfortable on the ball (both with passing and progressive ball carrying) and have the spatial awareness and tempo to cover ground when moving the line up. We lack both of those things. None of our defenders, save Reguilon, reliably execute both of those things well. Swapping a manager will not magically make Dier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Doherty or Aurier be able to run faster, gain 20 football IQ nor turn them into modern, technical defenders. And no, I'm not saying our defenders are all really bad or that we have the worst ones in the league. I'm saying they aren't well suited to a playstyle that reliably plays through the press from the back.

On top of that, Spurs are currently 6th, 3 points off 4rd place, in a season where EVERYONE except Manchester City are dropping points randomly left and right. This season barely passes as competitive when compared to a normal season. The points average in the top half is significantly worse for everyone compared to a normal season. 

Anyway, this isn't a Spurs discussion thread, so I'll leave it at that. Hopefully this isn't too off-topic as it's still related to my original post, @Experienced Defender. If needed, I'll gladly elaborate and tie this into FM and tactic creation. :)

 

Edited by Christopher S
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14 hours ago, wixxi said:

To be fair I think the only people that still obsess over possession statistics for the sake of itself are the people who aren't thinking about the underlying principles of 'possession' football i.e. positional play. Like you said, possession is a tool which is treated with different approaches depending on the game model, and all the top coaches treat it as such. I think Spain a few years ago are a good example of how bad it can go when possession is treated as a goal in and of itself.

Spot on regarding Spain, and your post in general. I think most people in the sport, and those who watch more diligently than casual/emotional fans, are able to recognize this. That doesn't stop the entire media corps and all of footballing punditry from heralding having possession as being moral winners, no matter who is actually producing chances. Case in point Villa vs Spurs yesterday, with BT, Sky and likes praising Villa throughout despite producing 0 - I repeat 0 - shots at all in the first half. They weren't even dominating possession outside of a 10 minute period in the first half, and the first 15 in the second. Possession averages were 50% - 50% in the first half, 49% - 51% in the second (favoring Spurs). It's somewhat unrelated, but the bias and forced narratives of footballing punditry has really taken a negative turn the past few years and they're not even trying to hide it anymore. 

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And then one watches Brighton and Hove play football and realises the excuses are mere odes to a crown long since gone. In its prime, Mourinhoic football was imperial, however to overlook sackings by Real and Man United, with style constantly in the dock, would need more than casuistry. The game has moved on. Even Spain's tiki taka took the knee and then there was Germany's full tumbler of Bavarian bitter, again, knee taken. All of mankind evolves. All of it. There are many a squad ahead of his lacking the qualities his has and yet, fairing better. Give Brendan Rodgers the very same squad and its limitations and the football played would be the absolute opposite. At the end of the day, this is Mourinho, this what he does. Tottenham knew what they were getting, hopefully Leicester don't bottle it and Chelsea hold firm. Its high time Mourinho's jurassic tendencies found their way back to Serie A. 

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1 hour ago, Guv'nor said:

And then one watches Brighton and Hove play football and realises the excuses are mere odes to a crown long since gone. In its prime, Mourinhoic football was imperial, however to overlook sackings by Real and Man United, with style constantly in the dock, would need more than casuistry. The game has moved on. Even Spain's tiki taka took the knee and then there was Germany's full tumbler of Bavarian bitter, again, knee taken. All of mankind evolves. All of it. There are many a squad ahead of his lacking the qualities his has and yet, fairing better. Give Brendan Rodgers the very same squad and its limitations and the football played would be the absolute opposite. At the end of the day, this is Mourinho, this what he does. Tottenham knew what they were getting, hopefully Leicester don't bottle it and Chelsea hold firm. Its high time Mourinho's jurassic tendencies found their way back to Serie A. 

I'd be surprised if he even landed a Serie A job at a club of decent stature now, but then again I'm sure one or two clubs will bite based on his successes in the further and further distant past. I hope for the sake of the fans of any top club that their owners can see he's finished at the top level

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I want to thank everyone that replied.

I think I would boil it down to this:

 

Either you defend by having the ball and when your opponent has the occasional possessionl you try and defend that attack.

or

You defend by allowing the opponent possession and having your defenders defend (hoping they do not make a mistake) and then attacking on the occasion you have the ball.

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10 hours ago, Herolover said:

I want to thank everyone that replied.

I think I would boil it down to this:

 

Either you defend by having the ball and when your opponent has the occasional possessionl you try and defend that attack.

or

You defend by allowing the opponent possession and having your defenders defend (hoping they do not make a mistake) and then attacking on the occasion you have the ball.

I'm don't think that is the best way to look at the issue. Mourinho's quote actually is more of an entree into the subject and any mention of Spurs seems to ignite passions on these boards. ;) 

Space oriented teams most often mark zonally or with a mix of man and zonal and they don't press much if at all. At most they sometimes react to cues from the other team that trigger traps and presses. This is sadly almost impossible to replicate in FM. You are correct in saying that they trying to get the other team to make a mistake rather applying constant pressure (counter pressing) to retrieve the ball. Mourinho, Simeone, Ranieri and the Russian manager Berdyev fit this model and are worth studying. Think that its noteworthy that all of their teams can struggle when allowed to have too much of the ball. 

Mauricio Sarri and Gian Piero Gasperini probably embody possession orientation better than almost anyone. Sarri uses a zonal back 4 with a more man oriented midfield while Gasperini uses pure man marking across the pitch. Both use heavy pressing and both have tend to have high possession numbers combined with vertical passing. Sacchi is a big admirer of Sarri and Mourinho said that Gasperini was the toughest person to coach against in Serie A and this was when Gasperini was coaching a very average Genoa side. 

Anyway, I've rambled on enough. I hope that that you find fun in trying to implement something new. 

-OS

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On 22/03/2021 at 01:39, Christopher S said:

Tottenhams issues exist far beyond the name, pedigree and principles of their manager. For anyone following Spurs closely, there are factors at play that changing manager will not address in the slightest. We have a squad that is lacking in key aspects crucial to playing a progressive and "positive" way. Getting Lo Celso back from injury will help to address this, but it won't fix it. Possession control, progressive passing and 'positive' play on the ball starts with the defenders - defenders that are both comfortable on the ball (both with passing and progressive ball carrying) and have the spatial awareness and tempo to cover ground when moving the line up. We lack both of those things. None of our defenders, save Reguilon, reliably execute both of those things well. Swapping a manager will not magically make Dier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Doherty or Aurier be able to run faster, gain 20 football IQ nor turn them into modern, technical defenders. And no, I'm not saying our defenders are all really bad or that we have the worst ones in the league. I'm saying they aren't well suited to a playstyle that reliably plays through the press from the back.

On top of that, Spurs are currently 6th, 3 points off 4rd place, in a season where EVERYONE except Manchester City are dropping points randomly left and right. This season barely passes as competitive when compared to a normal season. The points average in the top half is significantly worse for everyone compared to a normal season. 

Anyway, this isn't a Spurs discussion thread, so I'll leave it at that. Hopefully this isn't too off-topic as it's still related to my original post, @Experienced Defender. If needed, I'll gladly elaborate and tie this into FM and tactic creation. :)

 

I think that you nailed it on Spurs. I'm not a massive fan of the club, but enjoyed some online radio analysis of the club. The always controversial Roy Keane did make a valid point that other than Kane (and in my mind Son), they don't have anywhere near the talent that the top 3 have. You mentioned West Ham, and I think that the talent level between he two clubs is pretty similar. There are also evidently some dressing room issues and I think that the debacle v. Dinamo Zagreb might have been the result of that. 

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On 22/03/2021 at 15:25, wixxi said:

I'd be surprised if he even landed a Serie A job at a club of decent stature now, but then again I'm sure one or two clubs will bite based on his successes in the further and further distant past. I hope for the sake of the fans of any top club that their owners can see he's finished at the top level

Italian clubs change managers more often than some people change their socks. Mourinho wouldn't get a top job, but he could certainly get on with a club like Sampdoria like Ranieri has. This is probably beneath Jose thoughtcrimes and he'd likely turn to something outside of management. 

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On 19/03/2021 at 17:42, Flußkrebs said:

Like Bielsa's crashed and burned with Leeds?

Leeds are a disaster waiting to happen though. Every time I have watched them this season they have played good passing football and been smashed. I could be wrong but eventually they are going to get into a slump they cannot escape from and Bielsa will be gone. We will never know if Guardiola is capable of winning without spending money on excellent players because he will never be in this situation. He should manage the English national team; that would be a true test (this is clearly fantasy land, I know). 

Now back to the question. Possession football, at its heart, is a defensive strategy. You keep the ball so the opposition cannot possess it, and if they do not possess it they cannot score. It is a good way to defend if you have a lot of technically proficient players in midfield and up front but who are not great in defence. You can see how it is a good defensive strategy but not necessarily a good offensive one by looking at teams who tried to emulate the style. Martinez, for example. Lots of the ball, not a lot of attacking intent, decent enough at not conceding. The difference with Spain and Barcelona under Guardiola was that these teams were able to punctuate long spells of inane 3m passes with sudden, brilliant pieces of incisive and direct football. Aided by having some of the best midfielders and Messi (not having Messi is why Spain were worse at this than Barcelona). 

What does this have to do with Mourinho? Well, he is the opposite in how he treats the ball. Guardiola keeps it and thinks of possession as a way to defend. Mourinho sees possessing the ball as a means to score. Now this may sound a little crazy, but if you break it down it makes sense. I already covered keeping the ball as a way to stop the opposition having it above. I'm not saying this is always defensive and dull, but the primary reason to keep the ball is to not give the opposition chance to have it and to score. Now the opposite case. Having the ball, you try to use it to score, as directly and efficiently as possible, and worry about defending without the ball. The goal of possession is now primarily to score rather than to defend. This works best when you have space to attack, because direct football works best when there is plenty of space. This, I assume, is the heart of the quote.

I think in a post above someone mentioned that big teams tend to have more of the ball than smaller teams when they play. This to me is a separate thing. You do not have to set out with the aim of having the ball 60% of the time for that to happen. If a team is playing some variety of route one football, the other team will almost always have more possession, but it is not by design. It is one of those things that illuminates the fact that different games often require entirely different approaches. 

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6 hours ago, Oakland Stomper said:

I think that you nailed it on Spurs. I'm not a massive fan of the club, but enjoyed some online radio analysis of the club. The always controversial Roy Keane did make a valid point that other than Kane (and in my mind Son), they don't have anywhere near the talent that the top 3 have. You mentioned West Ham, and I think that the talent level between he two clubs is pretty similar. There are also evidently some dressing room issues and I think that the debacle v. Dinamo Zagreb might have been the result of that. 

Spot on. I've been arguing this exact point for months already - and man, it's an unpopular thing to say, haha.

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9 hours ago, Oakland Stomper said:

Italian clubs change managers more often than some people change their socks. Mourinho wouldn't get a top job, but he could certainly get on with a club like Sampdoria like Ranieri has. This is probably beneath Jose thoughtcrimes and he'd likely turn to something outside of management. 

Yeah, if there's any manager I wouldn't expect to drop to a level lower than what they're used to it's Mourinho :lol:

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I just found out that it would cost Spurs 40million Euros to buy out Mourinho's contract at the end of the 2020-21 season. I suspect that this will be too big a proverbial pill to swallow for a club not known for fiscal extravagance. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

How’s that for space Jose? 

For all the thesis and dissertation, when push came to shove, once again, Jose was sent packing back to Jurassic Park. Possession to score, possession of space, possession with intent to supply...possession of a p45, get out. 

Edited by Guv'nor
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