Monday, 17 October 2016
The fascinating game taking place tomorrow sees two different pressing styles come up against each other.
Gegenpressing basically means the counter pressing. It is a system that means you swarm the opposition when you lose the ball to get it back as quickly as possible. It is the same system that Jurgen Klopp plays and we looked as if we struggled against it when we played them earlier in the season.
Our back line particularly looked under pressure and not as sure of themselves as they normally do even when other sides try to press as WBA did at times. How we handle that tomorrow, particularly at the back, may well determine the outcome of the game.
Pochettino uses a zonal pressing system with the side looking for specific cues such as a player in his own third facing his goal. Against Manchester City, this morphed into more of a Marcelo Bielsa pressing style, which is basically man marking.
Playing a pressing system requires not only fitness but football intelligence and thus we have had to rid ourselves of limited players. It was one of the criteria Sir Alex Ferguson looked for in players and one that we didn't used to do enough of. Not all players can take on new systems and thus underperform at unsuitable clubs. There is a lot of work that goes into closing down passing lanes effectively as part of a team.
We use lateral passing to move an opposition's defence around from side to side until a gap appears. Where we sometimes struggle against a packed defence is that we don't shift it side to side quick enough. The less time the defence have, the greater chance for a mistake and a gap to appear. When it does we need to be more clinical in taking advantage of it.