Burnley v Boro
@plato Isn’t tying up their players close to our box one of the reasons for playing out rather than hoofing it upfield? I do think we should mix it up a bit - I think England switched to the long ball in one of the WC games to good effect.
@deleriad (and Plato & OFB, and kp & Jarkko, too) - There is, of course, a middle course which can be followed in this discussion: (1) It remains a poor choice to be passing the ball from player to be player in our penalty area** whilst (2) aiming for the most part, when outside the area, to be passing to a team-mate rather than hoofing the ball upfield unless that long pass is beyond the defender or to a team-mate.
** Let alone for the suggested 5-6 minutes, which really would be suicidal.
It might be OK for clubs like ManC, Real Madrid, Liverpool etc with world-class players
but not for us (and, even for them, not for extended periods, obviously).
What I mean by that is that, as a defender or a goalkeeper, the number one objective should be to protect your own team's goal. One way of achieving that would be to get the ball as far away as possible from that goal but hopefully, unless to deal with an emergency situation, not in a way that makes it inevitable the ball will be back in the penalty area in a few seconds' time so the situation would be repeated. Passing the ball repeatedly between defenders in the penalty area, even including the goalkeeper in those passing moves, is to create a risk that the move will break down and cause a defensive emergency. Look at the passing stats after a game, even for REALLY good teams. There might be a 95% chance of the pass being successful, and the receiving player being able to take the ball under control before passing it on. But if there is a 95% chance of success for each pass and there follows a sequence of 10 or, Heaven forbid, 20 such passes, the risk of a breakdown becomes MUCH higher at some stage in the chain.
I think sometimes a pass to a better placed defensive team-mate in the penalty area MIGHT be the right thing to do, and sometimes a pass back to the keeper might also be the best option. But the OFB and Plato posts were referring to 5-6 minute spells of such passes and I agree that such prolonged periods of play in or around our penalty area would invitably lead to our losing the ball or giving rise to dangerous defensive situations. PLAY THE PERCENTAGES! In a crisis, boot the ball out of play or upfield most of the time. If it is possible to pass to a better placed team-mate, then do that, but not 10-20 passes in a row or for several minutes. The precentages lower considerably in the event of a string of such passes, maybe made under pressure as opposing players close one down.
The upfield pass or the cross-field pass to a team-mate (Oh, for a Chris Waddle or Glen Hoddle!) or a pass over the defence or into the channel for your team-mate to run onto (Oh, for a Beardsley!) is a different thing entirely to a blind hoof up the field.
I agree that a keeper or a defender booting the ball repeatedly 50 yards upfield is not always a good move. In the keeper's case, the ball coming down from 50 feet in the air, from a punt from hand to a forward with his back to the goal and no team-mate nearby, probably means we lose the ball. Sometimes the defender wins the aerial ball, but even if our lad gets his head on it the chances are that the second man to that headed ball is a defender, and then we have lost possession again. Sometimes the ball is better played by the keeper to the side or forward (to a team-mate in each case) but that means that when the ball is in the keeper's possession, a number of team-mates should be running back or wide or into space, so as to be available for the keeper to make an easy pass or for the ball to be rolled/thrown to him. That way we KEEP possession, but hopefully to a team-mate outside the penalty area or further upfield. The aim should be to try to avoid getting rid of the ball by passing to a team-mate who will be under pressure as a result of being in a worse position than the man passing the ball to him.
Surely most youngsters at school are told things like: play to the whistle/try to avoid passing across your own goal or penalty area/if you must pass back to the keeper, try to put your pass to the side of the goal in case the keeper has a nightmare etc? Or maybe that was just ancient history?
A funny old game, football. We rely on players making these decisions in a fraction of a second. Receiving the ball in an attacking position with your back to the goal when team-mates are following up the pass is one thing, but receiving the ball in YOUR OWN penalty area with attackers closing in on you is quite another, whichever way you are facing.
As one very famous Liverpool centre-back used to say: "The opposition can't score when the ball is in Row Z".
Another "slight issue" is that a team that moves the ball quickly forward might move from defence to attack in four or five passes (not necessarily hoofs upfield) and therefore be in a position to shoot for goal. But a team which is much slower (you know the score - pass across, a cross backwards, another pass across, one a few feet forward then the ball is returned, then across before another one goes back again...) might involve 40 or 50 passes. There is a massively greater chance that one of the passes will go astray or that someone will miscontrol the ball during the course of 40 or 50 passes than if there were 4 or 5. So the reality is that the team attempting 40 or 50 passes never gets into a position to shoot at goal because the ball has been lost well before that could happen. And shots at goal are like lottery tickets - if you don't buy a ticket you can't win the lottery.
@forever-dormo There was an interesting piece recently about the first football analyst (forget his name). He used to cover matches and record passes, and so on on a bit of paper. He recently died. His main finding was that most goals were scored after a very small number of passes. Because of that he got mischaracterised as a long-ball merchant and managers used his findings to play "direct" football.
As you say, every passing move will eventually break down and the worse your players are at passing, the quicker that will happen. This is why managers like Warnock play the way they do: get a shot on goal within 4-5 passes or win a dead-ball situation by drawing a foul etc. It's the kind of football you play when you don't have good footballers but if they are decent athletes, work hard and know how to defend, it can be effective. Fans hate it and call managers who play it "dinosaurs."
Clearly we haven't been playing passes in our own area for 5-6 minutes; no team does that. Football though is, really, a simple game. If the other team has decided that they want to try and press your defenders when you have the ball you only have two options. You bet that you can turn it to your advantage by passing around them or you decide that you aren't good enough to deal with it and go long. In reality, even if you think you can pass around them, they will occasionally put you under so much pressure that your players have to be smart enough to know to give up and go long. That takes experience and the only way to get experience is to keep trying and that means you will make mistakes.
Carrick is trying to get us to play a possession game but that means we will make mistakes when a player misreads the best option. Carrick is trying to support players when they make those mistakes. Players who are still learning will also often take a safer looking backwards or sideways option.
I haven't seen the Burnley game but reports say that we set up to play on the counter and that it was largely effective. Bottom line though is that Burnley has a squad that is close to Premier league quality while we don't and this was only our 7th match under Carrick. Defeat was always on the cards. I have a certain amount of faith that Carrick is smart enough to set us up to play within our strengths while emphasising possession-based play as much as possible. I don't think he's an idealist or romantic.