Discussion in 'European Football' started by Nikola, Jul 8, 2016.
Why they're practically giving it away these days.
To make things worse, Lyon and Besiktas are playing each other. I really can't see how Mourinho won't win this.
One word here, to maybe stop your more pessimistic angle - Ajax!
Before the game last night in the pre-match press conference ahead of Ajax-Copenhagen, the Copenhagen players and manager Solbakken did not mince their words. They were responding to quotes by Ajax trainer Peter Bosz like “We are tonight on the doorsteps of making the Quarter Finals in Europe, for the very first time in 13 years. It has been too long.” and Kasper Dolberg saying “We play that much better football and in a far more attractive and attacking way than our opponent tonight do”
Quotes then flowed like “There is nothing wrong with trying to play attractively, but to be attractive and to then lose is not interesting at all [referring to the 1-2 away loss here]”. Another jewel was “Ajax have this sickness of badly misplaced arrogance that pervades their club culture. They seem to think that playing nice football is where it’s at. But it’s not – it’s all about the result in modern-day football”. Solbakken then added “Ajax seem to think that they were the first club that invented playing attractive football. But what is that anyway? Passing it 1000 times a game? All passes of maybe only 5 metres? 40 yard shots at goal? Making dribbles? Playing the ball around in your own half? I find all of that boring football. We will play our own way and we will play for the result ...and then you can call that whatever you want”.
After the game Solbakken to his credit then said “I have not ever seen an Ajax team play this well, in a very very long time. Ajax played absolutely fantastic football tonight. Many of my own players were very impressed by their positional play and they never let us get into our rhythm. In second half we had to gamble a little bit, but then you saw just how good they were both individually and as a team. We had no chance tonight. They were just fantastic”.
I might even do an extended Bootroom post about Peter Bosz here (a true confidant and a real disciple of Cruyff too and very close to him too - both personally and in all footballing ethos ways as well) at some point soon. He just rocks.
Bosz arrived at Ajax this past summer, with a clear mandate to recapture sexy and attractive football and he just always plays the very clear Cruyff style way of the 4-3-3 (1-2 midfield), with savage high-pressing. At Ajax, Bosz found that he had 10 CM players on arrival and TD Marc Overmars then even decided to sign an 11th one - in superstar-in-the-making Hakim Ziyech too, by meeting his exit clause stuff. Too good of a business opportunity maybe to pass up on ...but Bosz simply had no idea why yet another CM was being added, to his already huge squad of these types. Bosz then played a huge amount of them over 2 months, with very inconsistent results on show ...before he then got very radically smart and decided to just go utterly ruthless too.
Bosz then decided (late September) that fully 8 of these CM players were simply irrelevant for him, including about 6 very established and newly full-on internationals too. The new order was to promote a veteran utility RW/RAM type (Schone) into just becoming his #6 of choice (bit like Hendo here, under Klopp). Then Ziyech would no longer play LW, but would instead shuttle (in the Gini role for him). The only player in CM (even in the entire team) to survive this instant and very savage cull was superstar and captain Davy Klaassen who just took on the Lallana role here, of the main creative attack supporter and presser in chief and the basic 4th man in attack.
Bosz has never even once ever thought about compromising here, with his set-up of choice of the 4-3-3 (1-2 midfield). At no point will he ever go down the Klopp route of maybe trying to make Emre Can work out for us, almost ad-infinitum. Bosz’s CM trio is now the ultra fixed Schone-Ziyech-Klaassen ...and no one else here. No throwback options, no sentimentality ever on-show. No possibility of any already discarded options ever-again featuring here. He will just go with the kids instead here, who know the role assignments (and perform them too) so much better.
Versus Copenhagen, captain and leader Davy Klaassen was suspended (which was huge loss on paper), but at no moment did Bosz even think about recalling (former super-talent) Riedewald to his CM stuff. Instead he just gave Donny v/d Beek a start at just 19 yo. Because he just knows how to play the game the right-way ...so he’s always a better fit then. When he needed a sub, he then went with another 2 others at 17 and 19 yo’s in Kluivert’s son Justin and Frenkie de Jong too. Bosz said “I played them, because they just do not ever give the ball away, they shield it very well and we just cannot give the ball away when in attack ourselves. Both are very clever players. We needed that.”.
Bosz was maybe forced into picking 17 y.o. Matthijs de Ligt at CB in the away game (as an emergency option) and de Ligt then even made a colossal mistake to allow a soft-headed goal against. Last night de Ligt was selected again – and now fully on merit alone (as already immense in the intervening games) ...and de Ligt was then just about completely faultless on the night too, with a simply immense performance at the back. Tonight and de Ligt has now been called up to Dutch NT. If you are good enough, you are old enough. de Ligt is also a player who was best at all levels ...but now suddenly sky-rocketing upwards and ultra-fast too. de Ligt said that he could hear nothing last night, due to the barrage of sheer noise in the stadium, then with 4 minutes to go he just caught the MOTM video-screen stuff award and then he just focused back to concentrating fully. If de Ligt does not succomb to the pressure, then his qualities are just so high here.
Kenny Tete at 21 yo also came in at RB on minute 20’ (passed over all-season by Bosz, in favour of a converted CB in Veltman here). The sheer drive and grit and determination to just succeed (at all costs too) and to fully grasp his chance here was all-on-show from Tete last night. He too was just immense and he was just about almost faultless too. That immense display also today yields another last-gasp Dutch NT call-up haha. Tete could (in interviews) never understand why he was not selected (as he was always immensely talented), and his last night response to a lucky sub-in ...was to then maybe play the best game of his entire footballing life. A game full-of verve and mesmeric RB stuff. Tete played like his very future was on-the-line (it was) and he knew it too. So, he just performed ...and did it big-time as well
He could well be the latest player to now add himself to Bosz’s footballing revolution at Ajax here. Monaco are an insanely talented and ultra-young team, as are Lyon too ...but so also are Ajax too here. Not so much boring Mourinho, haha.
Bosz has ruthlessly culled almost the entire squad here at Ajax in just a few months. Only superstar and captain Davy Klaassen has survived intact this very savage readjustment. Every other playing role has simply disappeared in just a few months. Everything else is new, young and exciting though.
Total football is maybe now back at Ajax, to maybe stay ...possibly, hopefully anyway. Ajax (like LFC) have for far too long been almost passengers on the footballing world stage. Not last night though. Ajax organized a full “Entrada” last-night, which is a 2-hour (before kick-off) football feast of non-stop fireworks and chanting. Google “Entrada Ajax Ventos” if you want to see it. About 15K supporters then met the team bus pre-match and made deafening chants. The supporters then sang and cheered all-game too, from start to finish as well ...and they were then rewarded with a full 90 minutes of ultra HQ football too, from a team of about average age of maybe 21 y.o. haha
Bosz is just boss here haha. The typical narrative in 2017 is - a win, another clean sheet and yet another ruthlessly attacking domination of the game ...with playing the kids too, haha. What more do you want?
Schalke 04 should be very worried here. So should Mourinho be too. Lyon also very good, Fekir and Lacazette etc. Haha.
I honestly admire your fondness for Ajax' way of playing, Pete, but I honestly don't think a team that young can stand up to Mourinho's seasoned veterans. Too much quality in depth and experience at top level there, defence looks stronger and Ibrahimović is every bit the catalyst for success they needed. While I don't think that they will forfeit the league (they don't have any reasons to do it like we did last season), I wouldn't be surprised if Mourinho has sincerely broadened his focus to include Europa League as priority. Five games are separating him from another trophy and Champions League qualification - which is just what he needed to strengthen his position at the club, justify even more expensive transfers and what the owners had in mind as the minimum target.
As a side note, "Entradas" look bloody great, very Eastern European-like (God help the authorities if clubs over here ever got strong enough to regularly go on good runs in European competitions!). I understand the fear of flares but I have to admit that, if consciously used, they are a great sight to behold as a part of fan choreography.
I know that it's very foolhardy to predict (I did make an impulsive 40/1 bet on Ajax to win EL a few months ago) an incredibly young team (in Ajax) to even try to get the better of Mourinho here. All normal football logic suggests that it would be almost impossible too.
But they do have clear attacking play, a very clear and coherent first-team and no square-pegs used (under Bosz). Never afraid to just play the kids either. It is pretty much very east-european stuff is the very flare-based "entrada" stuff. More like Bucharest, Zagreb, Belgrade etc than any northern European city football experience. Lots of passion and then the team maybe just plays better then, from this real support angle, on the day.
Ajax is a bit like LFC aka starved of success for so long, but unlike LFC - Ajax have always had proper players on-board. Always. Ibra is also ex-Ajax too.
Anderlecht is not even close to our league worst team. They are quite awful to be honest and the worst part is, their players doesn't seem to want to keep it tight and simple. Playing a rather open game, and funny to see lacking of skills but trying the Ronaldo step overs without fooling anyone.
Typical that we had to face 4 strong teams to win the EL yet United get to play this shower of shite. What an awful side Anderlecht are.
Anderlecht right back is really, really bad. Lack of pace, not able to pass the ball and positioning is pretty shit. Bloody hell.
They've always been a lucky bunch. Mourinho stumbles to Champions League football through no fault of his own - I wonder who they would have signed had Ibrahimović decided to move elsewhere. Next season, though, he will be a dominant force because he will buy more top class players in the summer. Typical.
Celta to beat them in the final, with Aspas scoring the winner.
You heard it here first.
I assume you put half of Anderlecht in your fantasy team as well?
The fantasy team of my heart, yes.
I've been living with the awful knowledge that I had Mane in my team for the Everton match, incidentally. I can't live with the guilt any longer, it's been eating me up, I tells you!
As a side note, Babel scored at Lyon. The last time he scored at Lyon was probably the most emotionally difficult football match I've experienced so far. I just knew it was the end of a strong Liverpool side and I kept repeating to my friends that we won't qualify for Champions League in the next ten years. Damn...
It's alright, next season Pep will also be up to speed and so will our naive manager. Then Mourinho's shelf life is about to be over. No more than 2 seasons, remember? So on his third season, United will be fighting for survival in a relegation battle. Classic Mourinho.
I think Babels on a scoring run of 5 in his last 6 games.
Saw the Ajax highlights on fullmatchesandshows and they looked awesome. Klaassen looks awesome and van de Beek unleashed a couple of thunderbolts near the top of the box. I'd take that Kluivert fella
You?! It was you?!! Whhhhyyyy
huh! I said that on page 6.
Yeah, in, like, February.
(Apologies, genuinely no memory of that being said before)
It would be lovely, though, wouldn't it?
I know. A lot of the time I joke about my selections being jinxed, but this time it was too real, you know?
Confession feels good, though.
Anderlecht is one of the poorest side in this quarterfinals, but that's not to say the rest are so much better than them. Saw the Celta and also the Ajax game earlier, both have a pretty questionable defence. If United gets through Anderlecht, they would win it. These other teams won't be able to handle Ibrahimovic, especially Ajax defence. Weak in the air and not imposing physically.
The pre-match crowd participation was out of this world. Ajax's stadium atmosphere and a young team blew Schalke off the pitch mentally and physically, 2:0 was less than they deserved. I'd like to see them against United in the semis
Watched only pieces of the frst half, there were lots of spaces for United (maybe surprising in a game like this), a bit surprised they only ended up with 1 goal.
I watched most of the game as well and thought much the same. I think Ibrahimovic, for all his goals this season, actually hinders them in other areas as he's their absolute focal point. A team like City, or us in full flow for that matter, would probably have demolished Anderlecht. Theirs was by no means a park the bus attempt.
I believe this to be true, but I dont really understand how because he is so damn good. He just makes so much time for himself. 3 of 4 times yesterday he dropped off to get the ball in a situation that you'd expect to see Firmino challenging for a header with his second touch, yet Ibra just made so much room with his touch, throw in a slight hip movement or shoulder drops etc and he just had all the space in the world to do whatever he wanted, which ended up playing equisite passes to totally open up their defense. I dont understand how someone who scores as many as he does and is so good linking up outside the box can be a hinderance, but it appears to be so. I think maybe the issue is that he just doesnt have the legs to get back into the box quickly enough if he's dropped deep to link up.
Anderlecht deserved that, had some good chances in the second half and Man Utd didn't seem to do much in that second half with the ball.
Good result anyhow means they have to put some effort into the second leg, they will win but the more effort in the better it is for us.
From a corner... Please..
I also want them to fcuk up ignominiously, but before the final. The fixture congestion and distraction effect for them is only great enough to be to our advantage up to the semis, at which point they can exit on merit
JFC, United. You suck.
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