Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: five man defence, Manchester United, rangers, reactive football, stronger opponents, winning
Anyone in my situation can look at the example of Rangers in the Champions League this season and how their manager Walter Smith planned to contain teams like Manchester United.
Smith’s tactics back up the growing feeling that five-man defences can be useful at stifling stronger opponents and reactive counter attacking can win the game.
Rangers’ plan for achieving in the Champions League was rooted in a back five which has been set up primarily to contain. At its centre is the experienced and commanding David Weir. They faced a big task in needing to win against Manchester United or go out.
What they couldn’t do was let United score early making it much harder to win – manager Walter Smith thought his own brand of reactive soccer could possibly give the team a 1-0 win.
The other factor in the game was that United didn’t really need to win it, and so were hardly going gung ho in their search for goals. Sir Alex Ferguson went for a 4-4-2 and the relaunch of Wayne Rooney on the back of it.
The Rangers players had their jobs marked out, wide midfielders picked up full-backs, central midfielders picked up central midfielders, full-backs tracked wingers and two centre-backs had a man each, with a spare man at the back.
Manchester United struggled to break down the system and indeed it was a full-back that lured Rangers into giving away the crucial penalty, and Rooney converted from the spot.
So perhaps next week I will set my team up to play this way, and get my team to play reactive soccer.
Watch the highlights of Rangers v Manchester United below:
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