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Teambuilding: The Road to Success by Rinus Michels.


KazKaz

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I thought I would look into how to do build a football team from the bottom up or more to the point how do you go about getting from point A to point C in the development or also know as the transition phase.... I'm a Liverpool supporter but have taken an interest in Boas since watching his Porto team last season and being linked with him in January but also know a couple of Chelsea supporters, anyway a lot of the quotes from the book were taken of the follow post:

http://www.redandwhi...?topic=225239.0 .. as I don't have a copy of the book... after reading a few posts about weather or not Chelsea are in a transition period and weather the way in which Villa Boas wants them to play tactically or if he is wrong etc etc... it got me thinking about a book I read on this exact topic -team building in football, which if Villa Boas stays at Chelsea it might be a good idea to understand considering Boas seems to want the team to play more expansive football rather than compact, counter attacking football***

*** counter attacking football isn't negative, anti football - Man United quite often play compact, counter attacking football and are very successful at it.

Anyway back to the book titled, Teambuilding: The Road to Success by Rinus Michels.

Michels became most notable for his coaching achievements, having won the European Cup with Ajax and the Spain league with Barcelona, he had four spells with the Netherlands - leading them to the World Cup final in 1974 and to win the European Championship in 1988. He credited with the invention of the major football tactic total football - with a lot of the idea's currently used by Barcelona to great effect and success. Rinus Michel's was named coach of the century by FIFA in 1999.

It's broken up into three levels:

Level 1 - Backs to the wall football

Think of Mourinho's Inter when facing Barcelona in that Champions League final.

Level 2 - Compactness, organisation, and counter-attacking football.

Defensively

When the team has the time to organise, they will fallback on their own half of the field.

  • There is limited space between the goal and the defensive line.
  • When attacking, more players are and will remain behind the ball in comparison to in front of the ball.
  • On your own half, the marking remains aggressive.
  • The spaces between the defensive, midfield, and forward lines are as limited as possible. This is a matter of creating a compact defensive block.
  • The midfield line acts as the first line of defence. This midfield line plays close to the defensive line and thus defends on their own half of the field.
  • To be able to defend under the pressure of the opponents requires good man-to-man markers and level-headed defenders.
  • To be able to defend under the pressure of the opponents, it is also required that the tactical coherence between the defenders is optimal. In the manner, you can close down the operational attacking space of the opponents.

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That sounds a lot like the sort defensive set up Mourinho used and the older players at Chelsea are familiar with.

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Building-up

  • The emphasis within the build-up of the counter-attack strategy Good ball circulation puts high demands on the quality of the positional play, the mastering of the tempo and the speed of action.
  • This demands insight to profit from the game situations. You need to have a few very fast attacking players in your team when playing the counter attack style.
  • They prefer to win the ball during the build-up of the opponents.
  • When forced to build-up from the back, a super fast transition is required, including good positional play in a fast manner and in a forward direction.

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With players like Lampard, Robben and a fully fit Essien - you had players that could take advantage of space in behind opponents back four.

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Attacking

  • Mostly, the fast target player who is good with the ball will be the basis. With the big spaces around him he remains an important target to play the ball to. He takes the pressure off his team by being able to quickly receive the long pass.
  • A characteristic is the overlapping midfielders and deep sprinting attackers who have a good sense for the tactical spaces and timing.
  • Many actions are performed at full speed, which is an added difficulty. The trick is to still get the optimal result out of the counter attack. Usually the finishing on goal is done too hastily.

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When I read 'with the big spaces around him he remains an important target to play the ball to, because he takes the pressure off his team by being able to quickly receive the long pass' the player I think of is of course Drogba of 2006-2009 and for a long time he has been the main at Chelsea because of the exact reason.

As for overlapping midfielders/deep sprinters who have a good sense for the tactical spaces and timing, that would Lampard/Robben.

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Remarks

  • Counter attack football places high demands on the team tactical and mental qualities of players.
  • Counter attack football is easier to train. For example, you are able to start earlier in building set patterns in comparison to the game making strategy.
  • When being behind the game, a counter attack team has trouble taking the initiative. Against a weaker team, the coach will have to fall back on a more attacking variation of his counter attack style of play. Most of the time this is not very well mastered. They lack the set patterns in their style of play and the specific players to perform this.

Level 3 - Domination, play-making, and circulation football

The play-making strategy.

The play-making strategy is not often seen. This style of football is risky to play and needs to have a lot of players with individual qualities. In most football cultures the coaches are scared to use it... this risky style of play demands individually a lot of football capacity. It entails that you have to operate in small spaces during the build-up and attack and defend large spaces with few players. This style of play requires a methodical process in the youth program, and also specific types of players; such as the wing forwards and defenders who get involved in the attack.

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It entails that you have to operate in small spaces during the build-up' that is why players like Mata, Suarez Silva but also Modric and Alonso types, they are price-less when playing this style of football, able to operate in the smallest spaces and have the ability to cut 4 opposition players with one pass of the ball.

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Defensive Guidelines

When losing possession in the attacking phase, the entire team has to be tactically able to defend. Preferably by keeping the opponents in their own half or by dropping back more if you do not succeed in that. This demands good positional play in tactical coherence with each other.

  • The defensive line need to push up right away towards the midfielders. In general you defend far away from your own goal.
  • There are 3 or 4 players in the defensive line. The 4th defender will play as a free defender and pushes into the midfield. Defensively this means that you have an extra player to put pressure on the opponent.
  • The 3-man defensive line must be sharp while defending the spaces and they must be fast.
  • The keeper acts as a sweeper when a counter attack team unexpectedly plays a long ball through.
  • The midfield line must have controlling players with tactical insight and discipline who will remain behind the ball during the attack.
  • No player may get passed in his zone. This is especially a point of attention for the defensively vulnerable forwards.
  • Players who can regain the ball are indispensable.

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That is Villa Boas' type of defensive line he is trying implement at Chelsea currently.

The 4th defender that pushes into midfield was something Carvalho did very well and Luiz is guilty of trying to do it too much at the minute.

As for 'the midfield line must have controlling players with tactical insight and discipline...' is something -without a fully fit Essien- that's lacking.

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Building Up

The team must master the 'ball circulation' component to be able to determine the correct moment to start the attack. However, ball circulation is a means, not a goal in itself! To carry the play on the opponents half of the field places high demands of the build-up. There is not much time and space to work in and you have to deal with high defensive pressure. Fast combinations and excellent positional play are a must. Circulation football! To lose possession close to the middle line when building-up is almost 'suicidal' in this risky style of football. One touch passing is also a must in the building-up team function of this strategy. This demands additional tactical insight from the players as situations quickly have to be surveyed. Each player has to anticipate even more. To carry the play means that one time you choose to play in a high tempo and the next time you use delaying tactics to slow the play down. A play-making team must take full advantage of the space and must have defenders who can quickly change the point of attack, wing forwards who remain on the outside for example.

  • The transition from defence to build-up must be executed very quickly. The team tactical manpower in the centre of the field(central defenders, midfielders and striker) is of great importance.
  • During the build up, the tactical coherence between the central defenders who must be thinking of playing the ball forward, the attacking midfielders and the central striker is very precise work.
  • When possession is lost, it starts in the opposite direction. Good ball circulation puts high demands on the quality of the positional play, the mastering of the tempo and the speed of action.

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When I read 'good ball circulation puts high demands on the quality of the positional play, the mastering of the tempo and the speed of action.' it puts it into perspective how tough it is to turn a team that is used to playing aggressive, compact, counter attacking football (with success) to a team who plays a completely different way over night... ohh and with players who don't have the individual qualities needed for it to work.

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The type of qualities needed in your attacking players are:

  • Physical strength
  • The ability to cross 'with feeling', particularly when running at speed
  • Strong technique
  • The ability to switch positions (strikers and wide players)
  • Intelligent running and correct use of space
  • Strong tactical discipline in your 'wide' players

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Mata ticks most of those boxes but maybe needs to work on his physical strength.

Sturridge has the potential to be this type of attacking player.

Torres of 2006-2009 would easily tick all the boxes.

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One last thing I've been thinking..... about the assistant manager's position..

Both dated 29th June 2011.

'former Chelsea midfielder Roberto Di Matteo will return to the club as assistant to new manager Andre Villas-Boas.' ----- and also ----- 'On the 29th June 2011 it was announced that Holland would become assistant first team coach at Chelsea under new manager André Villas-Boas.'

It seems that he only brought Daniel Sousa - head opposition scout, came with him from Porto.... but it's fair to say we all know how big a influence and ultimately role an assistant manager can play, maybe Vitor Pereira was a big factor in Porto's success last season or at least bigger than most thought... could it be a communication thing between Villa Boas' and his two assistance's possibly? It could be another factor as to why Villa Boas is looking anything but the manager he was last season with Porto.

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  • The defensive line need to push up right away towards the midfielders. In general you defend far away from your own goal.
  • There are 3 or 4 players in the defensive line. The 4th defender will play as a free defender and pushes into the midfield. Defensively this means that you have an extra player to put pressure on the opponent.
  • The 3-man defensive line must be sharp while defending the spaces and they must be fast.

I'd also add to that they need to be extremely confident in the system -in this case a high defensive line- and the role in which they play with in it, every single one of the players -from the Goalkeeper to the Striker... the reason I say this is that in possession the whole team has to spread out across the pitch -making it bigger, when you lose possession the back four will get exposed if your midfielders and forwards don't constantly press your opponents, pushing them back into their own half... if you play a high defensive line when you lose possession every player must be willing to work their socks for each other with the aim of winning the ball back as high up the pitch as possible and that is not ever taking into the fact you must have players with qualities that are needed in the first place.

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