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What tactics should we employ when we are pressed?

As a simple, very  untutoured follower of football I can grasp the basics of 4-2-4 or 3 at the back with attacking wing/full backs.

However in the situation of the game tonight,especially in the first half, when Brentford played high and pressed us all the time to prevent us playing out from the back,and seemed to nullify the wing backs, what counter tactics  should we employ to get aroiund this.It is not the first or last time that opponents will do this playing against us.

I thought rather than have the regular disputes on the Match Thread ,depending on individual views,about the excellence or conversely the complete inadequancy of the tactics we used, then we could have a sensible discussion about that here.

I suspect there are many students of the game on here who would love to give their views.It would certainly help me to enjoy the games when watching in future.

Comments

  • Hi Moorlands ,
    A couple of ways to beat the high press is to have 1 or 2 midfielders dropping back to take the ball from the keeper , say if both wing backs are  covered the centre  forward is covering the centre , there  should be spaces inbetween   , this takes confidence  and accuracy  to play through the lines ,

    The other way is to go long , preferably  to Ayew who is very good at controlling  the long ball , using the channels gives them more chance of isolating  the big central  defenders  ,

    Much better aiming for Ayew than Brewster  ,
    Teams will press early in games but not through the game because  it takes high energy to play like that ,

    These are my opinions , hope that helps
  • A few comments from me. The whole essence of the passing game is to keep possession and to draw opposition players into pressing you, so you can then bypass or break their lines of defence.

    So the press is to be welcomed, but what you have to do is create an overload of your players, move their players around (by passing and/or your players' movement) until you draw one or more out of their line. Then quickly breakout into the vacated space with forward passes through the line.

    When you get into the midfield and they are pressing, you need your front 3 making the pitch as wide as possible (something we dont do enough of) so you have the look of 2 wingers out wide and a centre forward in the middle of the pitch. This leaves the 'half spaces' (the channels between the wingers and centre forward) free for midfielders and/or wing backs to break into.

    We tend to rely too much on our wing backs overlapping outside the forward players, which is often why our crosses arent as dangerous as they could be.

    The 'half-spaces' are very dangerous areas to attack into, two examples of many examples are Ayew's goal today was fashioned through the 'half-space' channel. As was Routs second goal where the very dangerous cross from Gallagher from from the half-space channel.

    Currently we take to many toughes plus our passing and movement isnt generally quick enough in thought or action. Sometimes our players play like they have forgotten some of the basic principles of how the passing game works, imo.
    ColinNorthamptonJackaremeWebmasterbarrygarythenotrashcougarWyn
  • Thanks lads those are great insights.
    Good to read about the options rather than just see non specific comments .At least I can look for myself and form an opinion for myself.
    Cheers.
  • edited July 27
    Celina's goal against Man City was a great example of how to beat the high press. pass your way out.  It's dangerous but we have the players with the technical ability to do it. We showed last night our expertise of short passes in triangles. The other more speculative way is to go long. Obviously this is a 50/50 situation, and is why the high press works so well it gives the opponent a good chance of winning the ball back from isolated forwards. Acccuracy is the key. For every high pressing team there is space behind....players occupying that space with good movement is important. We played some really high quality passing yesterday against Brentford. There is no team in our division who can play that way. It's tough to do. We showed it against Man city. We just need our young players to be confident in their ability and develop a winning mentality. This team has the class to do it, and a manager to implement it
  • Moorlands this is exactly the question that has occupied my pathetic excuse for a nights sleep. Happy as I am about last nights result, the way their press worked for the first 20 minutes was scary. We played almost no football in that period. Not sure I've got the answers but I can highlight what I think are the main contributory problems.

    Cabango does not want the ball and he is 100% predictable when he has it. He is/ and is going to be a very effective stopper but offers nothing to a patient build up game through the back 3. VDH effectively bypassed him when they went down to 10. He has enough going for him for me to say intensive coaching on bringing the ball out is needed. Not a quick fix though.

    Not enough movement or guile from Grimes and particularly Fulton. Watch how willing Chelsea are to go back to their back 3 and then how easily they manufacture a midfield player in possession facing forwards (those two words being key). We are completely unable to do that and it comes down to a lack of movement. I have concentrated on Jay a few times when we can't beat the press and he is pretty much marking someone when he should be moving. Weirdly Jay is a dangerous player around the opposition box where he shows good movement, timing and awareness - the same skills that are completely absent when we're trying to break the press.

     With Grimes I think the main problem is that when he does get it he is not looking or thinking forwards as much as he used to. He has more ability than Jay to actually turn with the ball. But he looks scared and plays safer than he used to which means we are still hemmed in and you just know the goalie is getting to hoof it soon.

    The goalies hoof may not always be a bad thing. But we have Brewster. That boy is going to score 200 odd goals for someone. But his inability to hold the ball up means it won't be Liverpool. The quality of ball being hit at him is generally poor because it's a desperation ball but nevertheless, I would say he actually holds up and retains less than 1 in 10.

    The key is movement and ours off the ball is poor this season. We used to be a team where A passed to B and C was moving for Bs pass while A still had the ball. Now C moves after B receives the ball. I know I'll get attacked for this but I have thought all season and last night was no exception, that we are very poorly coached in terms of movement and passing combinations. But none of this can be fixed short term.

    Short term, I would say the main focus has to be beating their press and the only answer in that timescale for me has to be built around Gallagher and Ayew. As we start 1up, I would have those two thinking that their main job is their movement when our defenders have the ball, using their imaginations, coming deep and getting us out of the back still in possession. Others need coaching for this to work. Fulton needs to be prepared to run past them. Ayew needs to pass to Connor when the little Duracell bunny inevitably runs past him. Cabango needs to look up for their movement. And Brewster needs to be anticipating them so he can move appropriately. Making his relationship with his hairy arsed marker mobile and on his terms rather than the physical close in scraps he keeps losing.

    And breathe..
    JackaremeJackRaven
  • Pablo
    we also have a manager who does not endorse close passing to beat the high press and who does not like to employ wingers, preferring full backs to sit higher up the field. Both goals v Man City came from wide players given the ball,  creating space, cutting inside and bending shots into the top corner.

    We had a spell midway through the first half when we were able to take hold of the game but after Brentford had their full back red carded our possession overload saw us persist in going through the middle rather than stretching the opposition. To a certain degree it worked and resulted in a penalty and Ayew's goal but where was the imagination in making us look less predictable. 

    Every time our defence was pressed and we were forced to hit the ball long via Mulder or down the line it was invariably snapped up by the opposition resulting in runs through our static, slow turning central midfielders from Benrahma while the number of times Watkins created space for himself will once again be a major concern on Wednesday. In fact after Brewster's shot was saved by Reya on 20mins, one of the commentators said that that was only his second touch of the ball since the start of the game!

    Cooper has changed to a system that works, frustrates the opposition and I would suspect  confidence is high, but it will be more about the likes of Watkins, Benrahma not taking half chances or the high scoring Da Silva not having opportunities on goal in the opening quarter that will determine the outcome of Wednesday's match. 

    A different take on your view of the game but just remember it's all about different opinions.
    ColinNorthamptonSeaJackbarrygarythenotrashcougar
  • Pablo
    We played some really high quality passing yesterday against Brentford. Thtere is no team in our division who can play that way.  
    I admire and respect positivity in general Pablo. But this statement? I have to ask how many pints you have before a game?
    garythenotrashcougar
  • Pablo’s - your assessment of our performance and by extension the ability of the team over the course of the season is over egging it a bit wouldn’t you say? What about Leeds by way of an example who can play the way that we’ve only just started to play in earnest.
    garythenotrashcougar
  • Cabango does not want the ball and he is 100% predictable when he has it. He is/ and is going to be a very effective stopper but offers nothing to a patient build up game through the back 3. VDH effectively bypassed him when they went down to 10. He has enough going for him for me to say intensive coaching on bringing the ball out is needed. Not a quick fix though.
    van der Hoorn should be on the right of the three. You want the ball-players in the wider positions imo, even if it means putting the junior defender in the central role.

    Cabango's passing actually looks more reliable to me than Guehi's, but he's not as comfortable with it at his feet and can be slow to pick out options. Had a decent game but sometimes you want to see vdH or Joe marching into midfield when the spaces open up.
    ColinNorthampton
  • The thing is Cabango is not about airshots, balls bobbling over his foot, first touch is a pass etc. It's mental rather than physical. He is not thinking that he might be the one who takes responsibility to get us through the press. And that can and should be coached. VDH switch for now a very good shout IMO Jasper.
  • I think we might well see the return of Kyle Naughton in the second leg which will greatly help our ability to play the ball from the back.
    Brentford are at their most dangerous when they pick you off in the middle of the pitch and get in behind your midfield.
    For this reason, and with a lead to defend, we should not be trying to force anything and the percentage ball is for Brewster and especially Ayew to get hit "in the channels" with Gallagher supporting and try to move the game further away from our goal.
    The main press breaker has been a medium length chip for Bidwell to win a header - but this was totally ineffective against the strong Brentford RB.
    The more we keep the game away from Benrhama and Watkins (in particular) the happier I will be!!

  • Pablo
    We played some really high quality passing yesterday against Brentford. Thtere is no team in our division who can play that way.  
    I admire and respect positivity in general Pablo. But this statement? I have to ask how many pints you have before a game?
    i don't really care about you and your negativity. I see this general stuff of slating and not giving credit as a hereditary welsh curse. I don't drink. I am a very positive person and it has served me well over the years. I can't abide moaning. yes no team in this division is capable of our passing ability. I've watched every Championship game available this season including our own. you don't realise it and Colin too. You have a personality trait that is critical and overly so.
    You criticise Jay for lack of movement. no veracity. You criticise Grimes about him looking scared. I see no evidence. in fact he has been key and does the Leon job brilliantlly, his tackling and break-up play is particularly impressive. there's all this moaning about the football not being entertaining, well that's how itis sometimes. it's a game played between two teams with many variables. You all should know better. you talk about the past in glowing terms but were moaning about it then, only now the rose tinted nostalgia specs are on. and roberto or Brendon are like god's, monk is terrible.etc etc...all homogenised rehashed bull.
    Really it doesn't matter thankfully. I only come across this negativiity here on this forum. 
    I don't ever encounter it in my social life, I'd avoid anyone who was a moaner like the plague. Can't abide because there's horrors in the world and I'm thankful of my Western advantages.
    With respect. I have a view and it's constantly being derided for being overly positive. it isn't to me. it's closer to reality and our position in the play-offs proves it. I've yet to hear anyone praise the manager in the moaners section...ever.!you boys revel in it, you cannot give credit without some moaning caveat. 

    ...........and about Brewster? he's a young kid not the finished article...the arrogance to suggest he'll not make it at Liverpool! amazing.  He's been brilliant for us and we're extremely lucky for our managers connections to have brought him here. all these absolutes yet on a thread about sacking SC you all laid into the manager and now can't even apologise to him for being totally wrong. and others well they predicted relegation, Gary sad arrogantly he'd give the manager 10 games.

    Just think for a second. We're in the play-offs in a very very tricky marathon of a league. 46 games! a lot of good teams all vying for the top spots. to get there in the play-offs and beat Brentford squarlely and dominantly by outplaying them shows what a very good side we are. 
    Honestly you're all victims of your own inability to say I was wrong and you're still ploughing the same negative route even when it is so obvious that we now have evidence we are good.
    Thankfully our team doesn't have this same mentality.we're in the play-offs, it's been a weird wonderful ride and you all should be celebrating and showering them with praise not handing out back handed compliments.

    but you know, have it your own way. I've said my piece. none of you has the honesty to admit what i'm saying is true that you're a bellicose bunch. so be it...but don't expect me to take snide remarks about my positivity lying down, or lazy criticisms of a team I've supported for over 50 years.  
    barrygarythenotrashcougar
  • CBs could also make runs when space opens up.

    VDH and Guehi are quite good at this.

    With 3 at the back there should be cover if things break down.

    Definitely need to move the ball quicker across the line than we do though. Make it more tiring for the pressers.
  • Pablo,
    where would forums be if everybody were singing from the same Glee sheet. Why does it bother you so much when other posters have a different opinion to yourself and offer constructive criticism.  Are you that knowledgeable of the game that you can't accept other posters opinions because you feel you are always right and they are wrong?
    Perhaps I am over critical in my thoughts on football or is the excellence I look for in professional footballers wrong. Is football any different to any other occupation where comparisons and judgements are made on performances, but when genuine, accurate criticism is made you class everybody as boo-boys. C'mon.

    deekaygarythenotrashcougarJackaremeColinNorthamptonSeaJack
  • edited July 27
    Guehi has been a revelation. I hope we can keep him next season whatever the outcome of this. He can really play, an intelligent boy, reads the game really well. also that last ditch tackle against Reading was so good. Will live long in the memory. Our CB's are all technically gifted. They are all good passers of the ball, but yes the speed and one touch and bravery on the ball are all prerequisites, and also to hoof it if it needs clearing. Let's not get too pretty. sometimes you've got to use your head. I suspect the high press is the current fashionable thing to do...it's weakness is no team can keep it up for 90 mins. I daresay the strategists are working on how to exploit it...and it probably centres around the space behind it creates. I'm no great strategist though so i'm sure there are better contributors on this score 

    Jackareme
  • edited July 27
    Pablo said:
    Pablo
    We played some really high quality passing yesterday against Brentford. Thtere is no team in our division who can play that way.  
    I admire and respect positivity in general Pablo. But this statement? I have to ask how many pints you have before a game?
    i don't really care about you and your negativity. I see this general stuff of slating and not giving credit as a hereditary welsh curse. I don't drink. I am a very positive person and it has served me well over the years. I can't abide moaning. yes no team in this division is capable of our passing ability. I've watched every Championship game available this season including our own. you don't realise it and Colin too. You have a personality trait that is critical and overly so.
    You criticise Jay for lack of movement. no veracity. You criticise Grimes about him looking scared. I see no evidence. in fact he has been key and does the Leon job brilliantlly, his tackling and break-up play is particularly impressive. there's all this moaning about the football not being entertaining, well that's how itis sometimes. it's a game played between two teams with many variables. You all should know better. you talk about the past in glowing terms but were moaning about it then, only now the rose tinted nostalgia specs are on. and roberto or Brendon are like god's, monk is terrible.etc etc...all homogenised rehashed bull.
    Really it doesn't matter thankfully. I only come across this negativiity here on this forum. 
    I don't ever encounter it in my social life, I'd avoid anyone who was a moaner like the plague. Can't abide because there's horrors in the world and I'm thankful of my Western advantages.
    With respect. I have a view and it's constantly being derided for being overly positive. it isn't to me. it's closer to reality and our position in the play-offs proves it. I've yet to hear anyone praise the manager in the moaners section...ever.!you boys revel in it, you cannot give credit without some moaning caveat. 

    ...........and about Brewster? he's a young kid not the finished article...the arrogance to suggest he'll not make it at Liverpool! amazing.  He's been brilliant for us and we're extremely lucky for our managers connections to have brought him here. all these absolutes yet on a thread about sacking SC you all laid into the manager and now can't even apologise to him for being totally wrong. and others well they predicted relegation,

    Gary sad arrogantly he'd give the manager 10 games.

    Just think for a second. We're in the play-offs in a very very tricky marathon of a league. 46 games! a lot of good teams all vying for the top spots. to get there in the play-offs and beat Brentford squarlely and dominantly by outplaying them shows what a very good side we are. 
    Honestly you're all victims of your own inability to say I was wrong and you're still ploughing the same negative route even when it is so obvious that we now have evidence we are good.
    Thankfully our team doesn't have this same mentality.we're in the play-offs, it's been a weird wonderful ride and you all should be celebrating and showering them with praise not handing out back handed compliments.

    but you know, have it your own way. I've said my piece. none of you has the honesty to admit what i'm saying is true that you're a bellicose bunch. so be it...but don't expect me to take snide remarks about my positivity lying down, or lazy criticisms of a team I've supported for over 50 years.  

    Once again, I'm living rent free, in Pablo's head. So much so he's now making up stuff I'm supposed to have said. 

    Carry On Cummings.
  • Some great posts here, and coming back to why I originally set it under way, I have definitely learned a great deal about tactics.
    This will greatly increase my understanding when  watching the team  in the all white kit(and I don't mean Real Madrid or even Leeds United.)
    During bad games I suspect it could reduce my enjoyment though,but well worth the risk I think. :)
  • JackRaven said:
    A few comments from me. The whole essence of the passing game is to keep possession and to draw opposition players into pressing you, so you can then bypass or break their lines of defence.

    So the press is to be welcomed, but what you have to do is create an overload of your players, move their players around (by passing and/or your players' movement) until you draw one or more out of their line. Then quickly breakout into the vacated space with forward passes through the line.

    When you get into the midfield and they are pressing, you need your front 3 making the pitch as wide as possible (something we dont do enough of) so you have the look of 2 wingers out wide and a centre forward in the middle of the pitch. This leaves the 'half spaces' (the channels between the wingers and centre forward) free for midfielders and/or wing backs to break into.

    We tend to rely too much on our wing backs overlapping outside the forward players, which is often why our crosses arent as dangerous as they could be.

    The 'half-spaces' are very dangerous areas to attack into, two examples of many examples are Ayew's goal today was fashioned through the 'half-space' channel. As was Routs second goal where the very dangerous cross from Gallagher from from the half-space channel.

    Currently we take to many toughes plus our passing and movement isnt generally quick enough in thought or action. Sometimes our players play like they have forgotten some of the basic principles of how the passing game works, imo.

    That last paragraph is bang on the money. 

    We have spells - 15 minutes in a game here, 20 minutes there - where we prove we can do it, if we set our minds to it. 

    But all too often it's disjointed. It's Grimes, passing the ball into touch behind Bidwell last night when it should have played in front of him, into his stride. Or it's Bidwell, shanking it into touch or hitting it long into the channel ad nauseum. Or it's the keeper, starved of options in front of him, having to go long.

    I've said it before - it all comes down to the coaching and in particular the tolerance of lazy, bad habits.

    Potter, Rodgers, Laudrup and Martinez would never have stood for it. It's a wilful coaching choice. It doesn't happen by accident.
  • Hi Moorlands  ,
    They call Football the Beautiful  game , there is no wrong or right way to play it ,
    Not everyone  can play like Man City or the Champions  Liverpool  , you need the right coach and players , would be very boring if all teams played the same way ,

    I like to see the Swans play pass and move with accuracy  , and winning , I support the team , not how they play 

    Some knowledge  is good , don't  get to bogged down in tactics ,
    If you have a chance watch " Alf's Boys " the story about Alf Ramsey and winning the 1966 world cup , 
  • edited July 27
    Pablo said:
    Guehi has been a revelation. I hope we can keep him next season whatever the outcome of this. He can really play, an intelligent boy, reads the game really well. also that last ditch tackle against Reading was so good. Will live long in the memory. Our CB's are all technically gifted. They are all good passers of the ball, but yes the speed and one touch and bravery on the ball are all prerequisites, and also to hoof it if it needs clearing. Let's not get too pretty. sometimes you've got to use your head. I suspect the high press is the current fashionable thing to do...it's weakness is no team can keep it up for 90 mins. I daresay the strategists are working on how to exploit it...and it probably centres around the space behind it creates. I'm no great strategist though so i'm sure there are better contributors on this score 

    Good thoughts Pablo.
    BTW as another paid up member of the over '50 year supporter gang,( masochists all of us !!), it has given us a teflon coating, so that the cut and thrust of being a fan just bounces off into obscurity.After all we've probably seen and heard it all before over the years.
  • I suppose one way of solving the problem of tiredness over the 90 minutes due to the high press is to change shape mid game when the fatigue sets in, give yourself a breather then revert back to the shape that is in keeping with the high press. I'm not sure if this analogy works but, a bit like a virus, it would be good to mutate continually to beat the immune system of the opposition team who may have a less fluid structure and thus be caught out more easily. The positive outcome for the more fluid team is immunisation against a less agile opponent. I'm not sure how you would implement this approach on the pitch however, but of course that would be a job for those who are much more suited than me to impart that to a team of players.
  • @ColinNorthampton makes a very good point about Brentford's early press, and as its something we might see again today, its worth highlighting what they did.

    We played with 3 at the back plus Mulder as the extra man, and the conventional press would be with the opposition using their front 2 to press. However as Brentford play 4-3-3 they were pressing with all the front three players lined up across the field. that causes more pressure but isnt what caused us problems.

    If you look carefully and you can see it happening on the extended highlights. They created a second line of press of 2 players, about 5-10m behind their front three, creating a Great Big 'W' (for fans of a certain film) press with the second line concentrating on closing passing lanes and filling the front press gap when one of the front 3 chased the ball back to Mulder. Thats why Mulder struggled, the player overload was 4v5 in their favour.

    This did create some space up front for Rhian and Andre and you'll remember we had a few opportunities early on from long balls forward. Not ideal, but at least it proves there is space behind with only 4 defenders and a DMC, if you can break quickly.

    We need to have a plan for sorting out this press, and I believe its part on what SC talked about on his post match interview about some tactical chnages he had to make.

    Really if the players were focussed, our two DMs Matt and Jay or a DM and WB could create a local player overload 3v2 and breakout. That would be dangerous for them if we then pass the ball forwards quickly to feet using the half-space.
    SeaJack
  • The pressing method that JackRaven described is what made me raise the discussion originally ,overall the comments have been helpful to me at least.
    Not to say that after all these years I will still be just following the ball and be blissfully unaware of the stategic stuff. :)
    SeaJackColin_swanseaJackRaven
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