2022-23 Pre-Season Match: Innovation! What is the Ten Hag style seen against Liverpool?

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Hi I’m Masa United.

The 2022-23 season has finally begun. United, who are on pre-season tour, face Liverpool in Thailand. The pre-season has begun. United scored three goals in the first half with goals from Sancho, Fred and Martial, and then added another goal in the second half with Peristoli’s goal to beat Liverpool 4-0.

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Highlights: United v Liverpool
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This time, we will take a look at the style (game model) of the Ten Hag coach that we saw in this match!I tried to summarize the difference from last season and what I am trying to plant, so please refer to it! In addition, in the second half, we are reviewing the evaluation of the participating players with points.

The following items are included.

(1) First half ~ Tactical changes from last season ~

Ten Hag made the starting line-up for the first half a regular class. Captain Maguire was missing due to injury and ace Ronaldo was the best of the moment except that he was late to join the team. In the first half, Sancho, Fred and Martial all scored goals to give Liverpool a 3-0 lead. Liverpool, on the other hand, have mostly used young players, with the exception of regular classes such as Firmino, Henderson and Diaz. In the 35th minute, eight players were replaced, and players were recruited with an emphasis on assessing their abilities and adjusting their condition, which is typical of the pre-season.

22-23PSM United vs Liverpool Lineup (First half)
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Attention has been focused on the new United’s way of fighting, but there are some points that caught my eye, so to summarize,

✅ Compactness of the formation
✅ Interlocking press
✅ Overtaking movement
✅ Relationship between the side-back and thewing
✅ Build-up from the back

Etc. First of all, what was clearly different was the compactness of the formation. In the case of ball holding, the back line was also kept in a high position, and it was conscious that the vertical formation would not be stretched out in time. Even in situations where the ball is not retained, the slippery line does not retreat, and the midfield and the final line are linked to the pressing of the front line. McTominay and Fred also saw the pressing up front and focused on their aims, and Lindelof was able to take good care of the falling firmino. However, as coach Ten Hag said in his comments after the match, there were quite a few mistakes in the press session. Liverpool had 11 shots on goal in the first half, but United’s press didn’t stick in the middle zone, and the backline retreated and broke into the box. Liverpool’s finishing accuracy helped him but he also created a few scoring chances.

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On the offensive side, it was a move that took advantage of the individual abilities of Martial, Sancho, Rashford and Bruno, but what was thorough in terms of play was the overtaking move. When the ball entered the attacking third, there was always a player who overtook the ball holder and jumped out. It also means taking advantage of speed, but I feel that it embodies the pass and move that are synonymous with the Ten Hague style. United’s front line has more speed than Ajax, so I have the impression that they were more dynamic. It depends on the situation, but the frequency of movements to overtake not only the front four players but also the two side backs was high. I think I’m trying to be close to the wings and make sure to repeat overlaps and inner laps. And when it comes to the quality of this run, Dalot is still the highest. In the 35th minute, he fired a shot that hit the post, but it was also a great run. There were some dangerous moments in defence (lol), but I think this area is appreciated by coach Ten Hag.

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The last is the build-up. Obviously, I became more conscious of connecting from the back (lol). The two CBs also use keeper De Gea to avoid the press. There were quite a few scenes where he simply kicked a long ball and ran away, and I could see the intention of tenaciously moving forward while skillfully involving Fred who was coming to get the ball. However, the accuracy is still a long way off, and the timing and frequency of wedge insertion are not enough, and whether it is Fred or McTominay, there seems to be a limit to the distribution of balls. This is the crux of Ten Hag tactics, so we want to welcome players like Eriksen, Frenkie de Jong and Lisandro Martinez who are good at ball play.

(2) Evaluation of players in the second half and sub-members ~

22-23PSM United vs Liverpool Line-up (Second half)

With a 3-0 lead, the team replaced 10 players other than De Gea in the second half and played with so-called sub-squads. The main theme of the squad in the second half was to appeal to the players to take the position, but Liverpool dominated the game as Liverpool brought on key players in the 61st minute of the second half. In such a situation, it was Bailly who appealed fiercely. As a last bastion, he shut out Liverpool’s attack with a defensive block. In addition, he dribbled from his own side and scored his fourth goal. Judgment, aggressiveness, calmness, strength, all of them gave a perfect performance.

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United’s debut for new signing Malacia was also a decent performance. We still have a long way to go and there were times when we didn’t catch up with Elanga in particular, but defensively we showed a lot of potential by dealing with Salah and Oxlade-Chamberlain. In particular, the speed of return is fast and proves to be as good as it is reputed. It’s going to be a high-level battle for positions with Shaw.

The 19-year-old duo of MF, Iqbal and Savage, also put in a great performance. Savage showed great talent mainly in terms of vital care and Iqbal showed exceptional talent in terms of moving the ball forward. Iqbal has been a successful player in training since becoming Ten Hag coach, but I personally think his style of play is close to that of Frenkie de Jong. Of course, the sense of scale is still not enough, but it is reminiscent of picking up the ball in the build-up situation, passing vertically and lifting on the dribble.

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The 20-year-old winger trio of Pellistri, Amad and Elanga, who scored goals in the second half, had a sense of freshness but little to show outside of the goal scenes. In particular, Elanga, who made a breakthrough last season, had a performance that was somewhat empty, lacking sharpness and the impression that the condition was not yet in place. In addition, the expected van de Beek is hardly noticeable. Having said that, I think the squad was tough, so I’d like to see them play in the regular squad.

The members of the squad in the second half had a strong personal appeal, and they were not able to fully display the style of Coach Te Hag. We had a long period of time in which we were inferior and it was difficult to hold the ball, which is crucial, but I felt that the counter-attack that took advantage of the speed of the front line and pushed it up as a whole after stealing it was quite impressive. Under Ten Hag, how the sub-squad can play and whether they can change tactically with the regular squad is a very important factor, so I would like to expect them to improve their level.

👿 Conclusion

Even though it’s a pre-season match, a comfortable 4-0 win over Liverpool is a great start. In the regular group in the first half, Martial and Sancho’s movements were sharp, suggesting that the conditions were good. Chosen as the MOTM of this match, Martial pressed aggressively in the front line, scoring his own goal from the ball stolen. Martial is famous for not defending even in front of him (lol), but he showed a remarkable dedication. The technique is perfect, but if we can continue to do this, it will be a great strength.

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As we have seen above, we were able to catch a glimpse of the Ten Hag style here and there, especially in the first half, but it is still rough and it will take time to complete, and it is certain that it will take more hard work from now on. The possession of the ball is 49% in the first half and 45% in the second half, which is not enough for Ten Hag, who is obsessed with possession. The coach’s tactics are important to dominate the game with ball play. Let’s hope that the many positives we saw in the first game of the pre-season will become more sophisticated!

22-23PSM Match Results

The next match is the second pre-season match against Melbourne Victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which kicks off at 7:05 p.m. on Friday 15 July. Come on! United!!

Thank you for reading until the end!