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A Podcast about Tactics

Thanks to Christopher who on another thread recommended the Ten Hag episode of the imaginatively named football tactics podcast 'A Podcast about Tactics'. Definitely worth listening to if you're interested in either the finer details of tactics (something I'm still educating myself about) or background on ETH or hints about how we might play next season. It's on Spotify and presumably the other usual places where you can find podcasts. In this episode the regular presenter (who I don't know but pictured as having a pale complexion, with a t-shirt hanging on a skinny physique, with his face illuminated a computer screen filled with statistics presented in pizza charts) spoke to the Dutch stats enthusiast Erik Elias, who has followed ETH's career from the early days.

For the too long; won't listen crowd, here are some things that I took away from it:

1) Career building. Elias remarks that ETH has taken quite an unusually strategic pathway to the upper reaches of the game. He has been successful wherever he has gone, has never been sacked. This has meant having opportunities to move up the pyramid more directly, but instead he has chosen to focus on making moves (sometimes apparently sideways or downward ones) that prioritised gaining knowledge and experience. For example, after leading Go Ahead Eagles to its first promotion in 17 years, he might have been expected to go to a bigger club as head coach, but instead opted to coach Bayern Munich II, which enabled him to watch Guardiola's training sessions.

2) Don't assume he'll play Ajax football at United. Ten Hag has deployed different styles at different clubs, partly reflecting the different ideas and knowledge he has picked up along the way, but partly reflecting a pragmatism about how to best utilise the resources he has. He certainly has key ideas (e.g. an obsession with the details of defensive structure to prevent counterattacks, which is compared with Tuchel). But Elias he isn't wedded to a certain formation or e.g. a certain high-press ideology. Says it will be very interesting to see what he does with United, and we should be prepared for surprises based on his willingness to adapt to the realities of the players we have.

3) As such, even if you have a great manager who makes inventive tactical decisions, recruitment is key to both the kind of football we play and the ultimate success of the project. Recruitment / emergence of top players were central to making ETH's "first" Ajax side what Elias calls the best Ajax of the 21st century. Loss of certain players and e.g. the increasing immobility of Blind have contributed to the fact that this year's Ajax was a bit more tactically rigid and less inventive than the 2018-19 vintage.

4) On recruitment, Elias picks out Frenkie De Jong as one player who could had a transformative impact at ETH's United. By the way, this was recorded in May, before the FDJ rumours had picked up momentum. Here's the bombshell though. He notes that at Ajax (going back to the point of having to work within the limits of the players at your disposal) FJD was partnered in midfield by Lasse Schöne - a hardworking but limited player whose job was basically to get the ball and play simple passes to better team-mates. Elias suggests that until the United squad rebuild is complete, he could see a De Jong / Scott McTominay working very effectively. I feel quite conflicted about this. On one hand, I'd really like to see us recruit a world class DM. On the other... "DeJominay" has a certain ring about it, doesn't it?

posted on 15/6/22

comment by And... Rosso... Though its... Yeah and... That... (U17054)
posted 2 minutes ago


Ooh dat pass so scandalous
And ya know another playa gonna tackle us
See ya shakin McThong like what’s da ish
With a look in ya eye Red Devilish

Turnin circle like a truck truck truck
Passin backwards again like what what what
McThong move your butt butt butt
Uh

All Day Long
Let me see McThooooong...
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Maybe we can sign Sissoko to sing it?

posted on 15/6/22

Nice listen! I think his comments about McTomminay are fair, says he’s not good enough to be a CL knockout player but can compliment FdJ (if we get him) by playing it simple and putting the hard work in.

It’s nice to hear that EtH is flexible and with the state of this squad will most likely adapt accordingly. Fans still need to be patient with him though.

posted on 15/6/22

Posted this link a while ago from Sky Sports about ETH. Not yet listened to the podcast so not sure if it's much different:

https://www.skysports.com/football/news/15115/12584332/erik-ten-hag-to-manchester-united-his-coaching-journey-from-twente-to-ajax-via-go-ahead-eagles-explained-in-detail

posted on 15/6/22

comment by Boudewijn Pahlplatz (U15867)
posted 13 minutes ago
comment by And... Rosso... Though its... Yeah and... That... (U17054)
posted 2 minutes ago


Ooh dat pass so scandalous
And ya know another playa gonna tackle us
See ya shakin McThong like what’s da ish
With a look in ya eye Red Devilish

Turnin circle like a truck truck truck
Passin backwards again like what what what
McThong move your butt butt butt
Uh

All Day Long
Let me see McThooooong...
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Maybe we can sign Sissoko to sing it?
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Get him dressed up like Sisqo, centre circle, pre-game, season opener...

That'd be worth the signing fee alone.

posted on 15/6/22

comment by manutd1982 (U6633)
posted 27 minutes ago
Nice listen! I think his comments about McTomminay are fair, says he’s not good enough to be a CL knockout player but can compliment FdJ (if we get him) by playing it simple and putting the hard work in.

It’s nice to hear that EtH is flexible and with the state of this squad will most likely adapt accordingly. Fans still need to be patient with him though.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Substantively engaging with the OP once the thread has regressed into portmanteau midfields and with Rosso very evidently on drugs, 1982? I applaud your ambition.

I don't know about McT but it would be great to see one or two players who have been written off thrive under the combination of better individual and collective coaching.

posted on 15/6/22

comment by Boudewijn Pahlplatz (U15867)
posted 28 minutes ago
Posted this link a while ago from Sky Sports about ETH. Not yet listened to the podcast so not sure if it's much different:

https://www.skysports.com/football/news/15115/12584332/erik-ten-hag-to-manchester-united-his-coaching-journey-from-twente-to-ajax-via-go-ahead-eagles-explained-in-detail
----------------------------------------------------------------------

The podcast spends some time reviewing ETH's career to date, so there's a bit of overlap. However, it's much more focused on his tactics and tactical development as a manager. If you're interested in the latter, the podcast is well worth listening to and definitely won't seem like it's going over the same ground as the article.

posted on 15/6/22

One other thing that came out in the podcast:

Elias mentioned that ETH has managed a number of players who were free spirits, quite outspoken, not necessarily very disciplined on the pitch, but they all seem loyal to him and no major conflicts, so he suggests that whatever is happening on the training pitch is going well in terms of relationships / buy-in.

posted on 15/6/22

It was interesting hearing him going on about EtH’s strong eastern Dutch accent which people from Amsterdam would struggle to understand. My partner’s Dad was from eastern Netherlands then moved to the black country in his teens, never met him but his sister has a mental accent.

posted on 15/6/22

United are on the up, under Ten Bags

posted on 15/6/22

comment by manutd1982 (U6633)
posted 4 hours, 4 minutes ago
Nice listen! I think his comments about McTomminay are fair, says he’s not good enough to be a CL knockout player but can compliment FdJ (if we get him) by playing it simple and putting the hard work in.

It’s nice to hear that EtH is flexible and with the state of this squad will most likely adapt accordingly. Fans still need to be patient with him though.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I think he could definitely do a job if he understands what is asked of him, and he has a good engine and can be the water carrier. Most winning teams nearly always have this kind of player. A destroyer who sits and gives the ball easy, whilst knowing their limitations. I actually think it's kinda essential to have that role filled.

Putting a star in that role can limited some players as they have more to offer, and for that reason don't have the discipline to just do the basics the role requires.
Out of him and Fred I'd say the kid is better suited to it but I also accept there's plenty of players that are better at that role.

Funny as it may seem, I think united have so many underpeeforming stars in the team replacing mctom shouldn't be a priority. Effort to wage packet I bet he comes top in the United dressing room.

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