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The midfield mentality


papaguy51
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Before I start my one moan about yesterday, let me shamelessly plug my last article;

The first main concern for this writer was the space that we're still giving to teams. Continually allowing more talented players half of our territory to pass the ball around in may be a solid tactic in terms of defence, but it is far too risky for the Champions League.

Even against weaker opposition, we need to move higher up the park and impose ourselves on possession more. The old adage of: They can't score if they don't have the ball has never rung truer.

It's something that has frustrated and annoyed fans in equal measures for a number of years now. The likes of Kaka, Ronaldo, Messi, Gerrard and Lampard would thrive on the space we surrender when defending. Although we clearly don't have the players that Barcelona do, it's possible that we could and should take a leaf from their Cruyff-inspired style of play.

The attacking quartet (three forwards and most advanced midfielder) continually press opposition defenders when they're on the ball. This causes panic and leads to mistakes that allow Barca to regain possession high up the park.

Adam Owen is often heard boasting about how fit this team is, so asking them to close down for 90 minutes surely can't be that much of a problem - not to mention that the likes of Novo, Naismith and Miller are tailor-made for such a task.

http://home.rangersmedia.co.uk/index.php/a...ts-talk-tactics

Now, I didn't think this would have been a problem against Falkirk, but how wrong was I?

Every single problem that Falkirk gave us yesterday came from our midfield allowing Falkirk's players complete freedom of the park up until they were 30 yards from goal.

It's an absolutely ridiculous tactic and even the 9 year old in front of me was asking his dad why none of our players were tackling.

If he can see it, how the hell can our management not? I'm absolutely convinced it's something the players are being told to do, because it's un-natural for the likes of McCulloch and Davis not to go after the ball.

It's something that needs sorted. If we allow this sort of room to teams who combine quick passing with an end product, we will get humiliated.

Please Walter, get this sorted ASAP.

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I think it was largely to do with the fact they played a 4-5-1, and we were playing what looked a lot like a 4-3-3, they outnumbered us and when they got the ball were happy to pass it about, especially a 1-1, they looked a lot less of an urgent team. I also think after Mcculloch got that booking, he never put a tackle in... its discouraging though, to look at the posession stats and just by going by the amount of chances they could have created if they had a spark in the final 3rd... It could be worrying but we know we are capable of sucking it up and playing good football, I think we can be lucky we wont come up against arsenal in the SPL

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While watching the game yesterday, I was continually thinking "this team will get a doing in the Champions League if they play like this". :anguish:

Falkirk seemed hungry yesterday and they were giving our midfielders no time or space on the ball. At times there were 2 or even 3 of them around Davis.

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The worst thing about it was that on the three occasions where we DID actually close them down, Falkirk did make mistakes and/or foul us.

It does work Walter, honest!

Yup, a few people have said the result flattered us but if we are being honest, miller and boyd both missed a sitter while davis and miller had curling efforts go just wide... it would have been a rout

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We can get away with it against Falkirk (personally I don't see why we were so cautious, but hey ho), but in the CL we won't.

Plain and simple as that. Tell the midfield to give away three quarters of territory to the opposition and we'll finish bottom of the group.

I can see this being my 'moan' this year :(

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There was another moan in that about how narrow our defence gets at times.

The amount of space we give opposition wingers - Whittaker especially - is another recipe for disaster.

And he was fucking brutal for it yesterday!

Mind you, all this and we should still have won 7-1. Not bad :pipe:

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It becomes a problem when we face good opposition though.

Without a doubt mate.

That's what prompted me to write that article.

It was after the Man City game actually. Although we beat them, they moved the ball quickly through midfield twice and that's how they got both goals.

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Papaguy51 - sounds like you may have been listening to the BBC Scotland where they were going on about Celtic pressing well up the field and Rangers allowing teams to come on to them ?

First I dont think there should be any speculation about whether this is a management decision or not - it clearly is, we have played like that since Walter took over, if we lose the ball we drop back and defend deep and not high. Is this the best tactic for us - Walter clearly thinks so and I can see why - it helps protect the fact we have Davide Weir in our back 4 (I am a big admirer of him and he had another solid game yesterday) but if he defended higher we all know his lack of pace would cost us goals. I think we need to stick with 'our' tactics and not try to emulate anyone elses tactics - least of al theirs !

On yesterdays game I have 1 point (which may drift to 2) - I though the issue in midfield was Naismith - time and again in the first half he drifted inside remained high up the park and continually left Whittaker exposed on the right (and thier goal was due to this IMHO). He is a great player but has someway to go - however I noticed he improved this aspect in the 2nd half (someone must have had a word) - I also noticed Boyd playing deep - we all want him to do more but he aint the best at tracking back - but leaving Miller up did give pace at the front.

Flakirk did play well in spells and looked comfortable on the ball - especially as we sat off them, but they didn't really feel that threatening when the did have possesion. Good game - good result - still aspects we have to get better at - but 2 of the goals yesterday (1st and 3rd) were stunning!

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It becomes a problem when we face good opposition though.

Without a doubt mate.

That's what prompted me to write that article.

It was after the Man City game actually. Although we beat them, they moved the ball quickly through midfield twice and that's how they got both goals.

And considering we could face Arsenal, Real Madrid and Wolfsburg, this is a cause for concern. But Walter said he wasn't that happy with the performance, despite the result. So he probably knows this and will change it....I hope :anguish:

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its the defensive mid we use to protect weir that causes this

the DM is told when the opposition has the ball, he sits less than 10 yards in front of our backline, and our back line sits WAY too deep to cover eir's lack of pace

so on our 30 yard line we only have 1 centre positioned player, always outnumbered

until we replace weir we'll always play a Defensive Mid, thommo, edu, mcculloch, all of them will get that job and unfortunately thats whats gonna happen

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I haven't heard ANY radio stuff yesterday BP9 sir, I was out all day at the Meet and the actual game.

I'm just quite a saddo and get interested in tactics and stuff when I'm at the football :anguish:

You say we always played like that under Smith, but I disagree. It's something we started doing about six months ago (IMO) and I have no idea why! Against the Lyons and Stuttgarts in the CL, we were always in their faces trying to force a mistake. We were never, ever this conservative in midfield.

I don't want to emulate Celtic's tactics and I don't think that's what I'm asking for. I just want to see more effort and more pressure put on the ball or else we could get a hiding from someone who actually HAS an end product.

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I haven't heard ANY radio stuff yesterday BP9 sir, I was out all day at the Meet and the actual game.

I'm just quite a saddo and get interested in tactics and stuff when I'm at the football :anguish:

You say we always played like that under Smith, but I disagree. It's something we started doing about six months ago (IMO) and I have no idea why! Against the Lyons and Stuttgarts in the CL, we were always in their faces trying to force a mistake. We were never, ever this conservative in midfield.

I don't want to emulate Celtic's tactics and I don't think that's what I'm asking for. I just want to see more effort and more pressure put on the ball or else we could get a hiding from someone who actually HAS an end product.

you could argue that against the lyons and stuttgarts that it was fergie and thomson that done this, we still played with hemdani never going in the opposing half and it worked

davis isnt a tough tackling, snarling midfielder, neither is mendes

when thommo comes back we'll see what the midfield is like

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I haven't heard ANY radio stuff yesterday BP9 sir, I was out all day at the Meet and the actual game.

I'm just quite a saddo and get interested in tactics and stuff when I'm at the football :anguish:

You say we always played like that under Smith, but I disagree. It's something we started doing about six months ago (IMO) and I have no idea why! Against the Lyons and Stuttgarts in the CL, we were always in their faces trying to force a mistake. We were never, ever this conservative in midfield.

I don't want to emulate Celtic's tactics and I don't think that's what I'm asking for. I just want to see more effort and more pressure put on the ball or else we could get a hiding from someone who actually HAS an end product.

(Sorry about the celtic thing - I was listening to the game on way to Ibrox and they were banging on about how 'we' could learn lessons from 'them' in pressing high - and I though Bollock to that we need to play our own game not theirs).

We will just have to disagree about when this started - IHMO our main tactic, defensively, is to drop deep and nor press high, the whole season of the UEFA run was based on that (In SPL, CL and UEFA Cup) and (IMHO) in particular the Lyon game where, after scoring the first, we absorbed the pressure deep and scored 2 further goals by breaking quickly.

On the 'tactic' of dropping back: Do you not think that if we pressed higher that in the CL then Wiers lack of pace would be even MORE brutally exposed than if we drop off?

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I feel that I should maybe hold back until Edu and Thomson are back to full fitness, but I can't deny that it's an early worry for me.

And BP9, does it raise a question over Weir? Some would say the the team are 'suffering' as a whole in order to accomodate him.

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I feel that I should maybe hold back until Edu and Thomson are back to full fitness, but I can't deny that it's an early worry for me.

And BP9, does it raise a question over Weir? Some would say the the team are 'suffering' as a whole in order to accomodate him.

Yes - it does raise that question about Weir but until we get another CB we have to play with what we have and if that means playing Weir and protecting his lack of pace then that is what we have to do is it not? -

(I do also wonder whether Walter would play like that anyway even witha faster CB - he does seem to prefer tight to expansive - a trait shared by many other top managers ?)

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There was another moan in that about how narrow our defence gets at times.

The amount of space we give opposition wingers - Whittaker especially - is another recipe for disaster.

And he was fucking brutal for it yesterday!

Mind you, all this and we should still have won 7-1. Not bad :pipe:

Whittaker is increasingly guilty of that just now. His concentration levels seem to be very poor and half the time he appears to have no idea what the fuck is going on around him until it's too late and he is chasing the game.

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There was another moan in that about how narrow our defence gets at times.

The amount of space we give opposition wingers - Whittaker especially - is another recipe for disaster.

And he was fucking brutal for it yesterday!

Mind you, all this and we should still have won 7-1. Not bad :pipe:

You cant blame Whittaker for that though.

He and Naismith were asked to tuck in and provide cover, If there was pressure on the ball, the balll that was played from right to left for their goal wouldnt have been a problem.

However, He was allowed to take a few touches, look up and switch the play. Give even an average player that amount of time to pick a pass and they will punish you.

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Before I start my one moan about yesterday, let me shamelessly plug my last article;

The first main concern for this writer was the space that we're still giving to teams. Continually allowing more talented players half of our territory to pass the ball around in may be a solid tactic in terms of defence, but it is far too risky for the Champions League.

Even against weaker opposition, we need to move higher up the park and impose ourselves on possession more. The old adage of: They can't score if they don't have the ball has never rung truer.

It's something that has frustrated and annoyed fans in equal measures for a number of years now. The likes of Kaka, Ronaldo, Messi, Gerrard and Lampard would thrive on the space we surrender when defending. Although we clearly don't have the players that Barcelona do, it's possible that we could and should take a leaf from their Cruyff-inspired style of play.

The attacking quartet (three forwards and most advanced midfielder) continually press opposition defenders when they're on the ball. This causes panic and leads to mistakes that allow Barca to regain possession high up the park.

Adam Owen is often heard boasting about how fit this team is, so asking them to close down for 90 minutes surely can't be that much of a problem - not to mention that the likes of Novo, Naismith and Miller are tailor-made for such a task.

http://home.rangersmedia.co.uk/index.php/a...ts-talk-tactics

Now, I didn't think this would have been a problem against Falkirk, but how wrong was I?

Every single problem that Falkirk gave us yesterday came from our midfield allowing Falkirk's players complete freedom of the park up until they were 30 yards from goal.

It's an absolutely ridiculous tactic and even the 9 year old in front of me was asking his dad why none of our players were tackling.

If he can see it, how the hell can our management not? I'm absolutely convinced it's something the players are being told to do, because it's un-natural for the likes of McCulloch and Davis not to go after the ball.

It's something that needs sorted. If we allow this sort of room to teams who combine quick passing with an end product, we will get humiliated.

Please Walter, get this sorted ASAP.

We were poor yesterday as a team.

We had a few individual displays, but collectively we were poor.

Need to improve greatly AND revert back to the 4-3-3

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I feel that I should maybe hold back until Edu and Thomson are back to full fitness, but I can't deny that it's an early worry for me.

And BP9, does it raise a question over Weir? Some would say the the team are 'suffering' as a whole in order to accomodate him.

Yes - it does raise that question about Weir but until we get another CB we have to play with what we have and if that means playing Weir and protecting his lack of pace then that is what we have to do is it not? -

(I do also wonder whether Walter would play like that anyway even witha faster CB - he does seem to prefer tight to expansive - a trait shared by many other top managers ?)

:crab:

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We had Fleck, Naismith and to a lesser extent Davis who aren't ball winners playing in midfield. So I don't think it's surprising that we didn't press the ball. The encouraging thing was that we actually looked dangerous and lively when we broke up the park.

Early days.....

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We could have won this match 6-1.. maybe 8-1 tbh. Miller should have had 4. Falkirk have been an enigma the last few years though. Play some great football but rarely get results. I think a better barometer of where we are will be v Hearts.

We have more flexibility in formations this year -- and we miss Pedro.

Lastly, I agree with the point above wrt Naismith. He still has a lot to learn..but it looks like Walter is going to give him a serious chance to be a first team regular. Showed great pace, strength and a cool finishing touch for his goal.

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