Tactics and Theorems
I thought with Klopp going to Liverpool this article was worth sharing which explains gegenpressing, counter pressing or what some might just describe as an aspect of a high pressing game:


I actually thought it was a well written piece, which simplifies, but explains the different approaches of this sort of pressing game, as well as the benefits of it. I also believe it's something that Milan should be looking to adopt, or rather, re-adopt into the culture of the club.

The concept itself isn't new. Many will point to the concept stemming from Ajax and Holland from the 60s/70s, perhaps older. In that line of thought many have adopted principles from it and one of those is Arrigo Sacchi, whose Milan side best represented the ideals of Silvio Berlusconi, who wanted his Milan to control and dominate games. Ironically, he reiterated those comments today:


That is the key thing I want to identify with this post, how this idea on the game should be hand in hand with Milan and its principles. The concept itself is fine, many here will know I certainly favour a high pressing game where a team takes the game to their opponent. However, more than share an article, I wanted to identify how it relates to Milan. As Sacchi once said, it's not just winning that counts, it's how you win. While I don't think today's Milan will achieve this goal, I do agree with Silvio's vision of how the club should be looking to play, and it is from this point of view we start to embark on a project that should be the foundation of the future of the club.

I won't go into the details of how I think the club should rebuild, but what I will say is this idea of pressing is a part of our history and identity. It's what defined our greatest era and I think it should be the cornerstone of our future.

However, a comment I want to make is that I think realistically you need to apply all of the different variations of the pressing game described in the article for it to work at its optimum, or rather to ensure you are working proactively and are not susceptible to tactical weakness. This comes down to one simple concept, again defined by Sacchi, which is that the players should be positioned in relation to the ball and not the man. 

For example, using the "man-orientated" gegenpressing could be susceptible to getting stretched by opposing teams that move well, the "passing-lane" orientated gegenpressing is difficult to accomplish against highly technical sides that can move the ball quickly and so on. Point is, applying one methodology is likely to have weaknesses, so chances are you will need to adjust according to opponents to best neutralise them, or in other cases, you may have a hybrid of these approaches. That might seem incredibly hard to apply, and it is, but if the core focus of the group remains to position themselves in relation to the ball, then it's possible. Let me clarify that positioning in relation to the ball doesn't mean ignoring opponents who need to be covered, it means controlling the space around the position of the ball and not letting the opponent dictate your movement. 

The other aspect that I want to cover is this is one aspect of pressing, while at Milan we should aim for a complete game based on pressing. Sacchi for example had different forms of pressing, a full press, partial press and false press. These would need to be incorporated into the club ideas on how the game should be played.

That comes back to the project idea. The club need a culture, philosophy and guidelines for those who come in to follow. While those who come in should be given a level of freedom to express themselves, they should be people who buy into and believe the same ideals the club aspires to. Right now, that's not happening, the club when looking for players just buys almost at random (a point slifersd recently made very well in the mercato thread). 

For example, it makes me laugh when people say Balotelli is the guy who the club should point to in order to turn this season around because he's the most talented player in the squad. That's nothing short of nonsense, as technical ability aside, Balotelli falls short in every significant category to be a top player. That's also why he's not able to displace a mediocre striker in the Italy squad.

Edit: One thing I want to comment on which might appear counter intuitive to this thread and the nature in which I might often talk about the game is that in today's game, including this article I've posted, there's almost too much focus on the theoretical aspects of the game. The amount of technical and tactical resources available is actually staggering, but I often feel that some of those who talk about these aspects of the game almost discuss it with a level of arrogance, that any question can be answered by a tactical variation and discussing the other facets of the game, such as individual technical quality or the athletic qualities of players is somehow beneath their intellectual prowess.

Not to say it happens here, but sometimes I read articles and opinion pieces and I just end up thinking "what is this BS?" because the sporting elements are taken out of the sport. My point being, theories and ideas and the things posted here are pieces that imo should be taken as supplementary views on the sport as a whole.
I was thinking of Berlusconi's desire to play like Bayern and then I came across this passage from Guardiola's book

Quote:'If there isn't a sequence of 15 passes first, it's impossible to carry out the transition between defence & attack.Impossible.

'Having the ball is important if you are going for 15 consecutive passes in the middle of the field in order to maintain your shape, whilst at the same time upsetting the opposition'sorganisation. How do you disorganise them? With fast ,tight, focused passing as a part of this 15-move sequence.

You need most of your men working as a unit, although some of them will need to maintain a bit of distance from each other in order to stretch out the rival team. And whilst you make those 15 moves & organise yourselves, your opposnents are chasing you all over the park, trying to get the ball from you. In the process, without realising it, they'll have lost all organisation.

'If you lose the ball, if they get it off you, then the player who takes will probably be alone & surrounded by your players, who will then get it back easily or, at the very least ensure that the rival team cant manoeuvre quickly.It's these 15 passes that prevent your rival from making any kind of co-ordinated transition.
Differences between Sacchi’s, Klopp’s and Guardiola’s Counterpressing Concepts

Looks like an interesting article. Not had a chance to read it yet, but look forward to doing so. Thanks for sharing.
Tactical analysis of Maran's Chievo http://firstgoalscorer.net/blogs/italy/a...ns-chievo/
Haven't had a chance to read the most recent article, but did read the one comparing Sacchi, Klopp and Guardiola.

I must say that while the person who wrote the article seems knowledgeable, the article used words which were extremely arrogant and precisely the kind of thing I take issue with in a lot of modern literature on the game, the kind of stuff I mentioned in my post about counter pressing.

Describing Sacchi's approach as "crude" and "inconsistent" is specifically where I took a lot of issue. The notion that Sacchi's tactics were crude or inconsistent because they would change game plan is in my missing a massive point in what made Sacchi's team so unique. Tactically, that team was capable of adjusting to their opponents and would fundamentally change the whole tactical plan to best exploit the opponents weaknesses, but that's not inconsistency or being crude, I would go as far as saying that's the most sophisticated approach of all. After all, we've seen examples of both Guardiola's and Klopp's approaches being found out and teams hurting them, with Sacchi's Milan, they always had the ability to adjust drastically according to the opponent.

This isn't to say I don't respect what Guardiola and Klopp have achieved, I think both of them have had some of the biggest influences in the modern era of the game in almost the past decade. I also don't consider Sacchi's approach perfect, moreso I think it has an expiry date because of the intensity of the tactical shift in focus.

I think the content of the article is ok, I think what's generally said is correct (in the tactical ideas expressed), but I think the way the writer has written the piece is actually kind of disrespectful to Sacchi's achievements at Milan, both in his language describing Sacchi's ideas, but also in the way he then appears to glorify the modern tacticians. I think that's incorrect and actually misleading in that it suggests weaknesses in Sacchi's side that are frankly strengths.

The other aspect the article doesn't actually touch on is the impact of rule changes. The changes in the offside and backpass rules mean that implementation of tactics will vary now from the past. Watch Sacchi's side and Holland and the way they pressed, it was really quite different to today's game, in that those teams would effectively swarm the man on the ball safe in the knowledge that attackers caught behind would automatically be offside, which without the active man rule, was a really effective approach.

Edit: Outside a couple of posts, it seems only somedevil and I have posted here. Would be interesting to see if anyone else had thoughts to share.
Quote:Describing Sacchi's approach as "crude" and "inconsistent" is specifically where I took a lot of issue. The notion that Sacchi's tactics were crude or inconsistent because they would change game plan is in my missing a massive point in what made Sacchi's team so unique

I had a good chuckle about that. The tendency of the English writers is generally to shit upon Serie A teams. Off late us especially. I have seen this a lot all around. In articles, blog posts and English match commentary. It's just very fashionable to degrade Milan. Oh the poor once giants of Europe. I mean half the time the fact that British commentators have to mention the 05 CL final during a match is pathetic to me. 

Then of course Klopp's Borussia and Guardiola's Barca/Bayern have been darlings of everyone for the last few years so I was expecting the article to be biased towards them. At the same time, it seems ridiculous to me how little credit is given to Sacchi's Milan nowadays.
I thought the writer was from Germany or somewhere?
Decent article on how Klopp will use Gegenpressing at Liverpool

Not really about tactics, but I wanted to post a podcast. It talks a lot and in some detail about Silvio and is a generally very interesting discussion about him and the club. Listen to the second half:


edit: could have posted this in a number of threads, but I chose this one as I'm keen to keep it going and think it's a good resource to share information etc.