Pep Guardiola and Xavi Hernandez are two coaches who appear reduce from the identical footballing material. Both have a need for possession football, during which their management of the ball brings opponents to their knees, however each have now been defeated by the mastery of Carlo Ancelotti.
In April 2014, Guardiola was put to the sword by Ancelotti, as his Real Madrid group exploited the counterattack in beating Bayern Munich, each on the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and the Allianz Arena. Real Madrid knocked Bayern Munich out on the semi-final stage of the Champions League because of their implementation of the counter.
With Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric working as quarter-backs, Angel di Maria, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo have been free, particularly within the 4-0 win in Munich.
Guardiola was subsequently criticised within the German press for failing to cease one thing he had predicted beforehand.
“Real Madrid are a really sturdy group, and the most effective on the counterattack,” Guardiola stated earlier than the sport.
More than seven years later, in Riyadh, it was Xavi, himself a disciple of Guardiola, who was undone by Ancelotti’s Real Madrid.
Some faces could have modified, however not all, given the inclusion of Modric and Benzema within the 2022 Real Madrid group, but the end result was nonetheless the identical.
“We knew what may occur within the transitions,” Xavi stated. “The gamers up entrance know they needed to be extra cautious with the ball, they usually weren’t.”
In Ancelotti’s footballing philosophy, there isn’t any arduous rule that his groups ought to solely play a method, because the Italian prefers to have his gamers able to modifying their fashion, in addition to having the ability to interpret differing conditions in a recreation.
An organised tactic
For Ancelotti, the counterattack is a weapon he has used wherever he has gone, and he may effectively be essentially the most ‘Spanish’ Italian coach there may be.
“We converse of the counterattack as an organised tactic,” he said in his e-book ‘My Christmas Tree’.
“The organised counterattack permits us, after profitable the ball, to make use of what must be a second of stress from the opponent to our benefit.
“This technique consists of rapidly attacking the area that is behind them with a direct go to a teammate who provides himself behind the defence.
It is an answer that is just efficient with sure right collective actions.”
- Take benefit of the pitch (within the offensive section) and all it is width
- Take the ball to the wings
- Overlap the participant carrying the ball
- Attack the line of defense with a participant in a ahead place. The timing right here is vital
- Have a participant reverse the ball in a deep place
On prime of that, Ancelotti additionally stresses the significance of the group feeling tactically and mentally comfy with the thought. And that was one thing which stood out as Real Madrid took to it like a duck to water because the received La Decima.
Looking on the targets in opposition to Barcelona, it is clear that there was a plan drawn as much as exploit the counterattack.
And at Real Madrid, Vinicus is prospering of their setting, an in type Marco Asensio is good for the tactic, and Benzema is an effective sufficient to be efficient in any system.
Perhaps this explains why Ancelotti’s Real Madrid have overwhelmed the highest six sides in LaLiga Santander, however have had points with smaller groups corresponding to Osasuna, Cadiz and Levante.