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Thread: Barcelona's Secret To Success

  1. #1 Barcelona's Secret To Success 
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    Most football supporters know the name Simon Kuper, here is an interesting article by the award winning author over the secrets to Barcelona's success.


    I tend to agree with everything except the last point as various footballers have managed to get used to the Barcelona style of play, David Villa is not as prolific in goal scoring terms since he is now positioned out wide instead of being the main man but when you have Messi doing miracles every week you can't really argue.

    Also Pedro is a an incredible good footballer but because he is rather low key in such a great team he never gets the plaudits he deserves but I would take him for Liverpool in a millisecond.

    The original article can be seen at http://www.miostadium.com/opinions/s...soccer-success


    BARCELONA'S SECRET TO SOCCER SUCCESS

    Simon Kuper
    March 22, 2012

    We all see that Barcelona are brilliant. The only problem is understanding just how they do it. That’s where my friend Albert Capellas comes in. Whenever he and I run into each other somewhere in Europe, we talk about Barça. Not many people know the subject better. Capellas is now assistant manager at Vitesse Arnhem in Holland, but before that he was coordinator of Barcelona’s great youth academy, the Masia. He helped bring a boy named Sergio Busquets from a rough local neighbourhood to Barça. He trained Andres Iniesta and Victor Valdes in their youth teams. In all, Capellas worked nine years for his hometown club.
    During our last conversation, over espressos in an Arnhem hotel, I had several “Aha” moments. I have watched Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona umpteen times, but only now am I finally beginningto see. Guardiola’s Barcelona are great not merely because they have great players. They also have great tactics – different not just from any other team today, but also different from Barcelona teams pre-Guardiola. Barça are now so drilled on the field that in some ways they are more like an American gridiron football team than a soccer one.

    Before getting into the detail of their game, it’s crucial to understand just how much of it comes from Guardiola. When a Barcelona vice president mused to me four years ago that she’d like to see the then 37-year-old Pep be made head coach, I never imagined it would happen. Guardiola was practically a novice. The only side he had ever coached was Barça’s second team. However, people in the club who had worked with him – men like the club’s then president Joan Laporta, and the then director of football Txiki Beguiristain - had already clocked him as special. Not only did Guardiola know Barcelona’s house style inside out. He also knew how it could be improved.

    Guardiola once compared Barcelona’s style to a cathedral. Johan Cruijff, he said, as Barça’s supreme player in the 1970s and later as coach, had built the cathedral. The task of those who came afterwards was to renovate and update it. Guardiola is always looking for updates. If a random person in the street says something interesting about the game, Guardiola listens. He thinks about football all the time. He took ideas from another Dutch Barcelona manager, Louis van Gaal, but also from his years playing for Brescia and Roma in Italy, the home of defence. Yet because Guardiola has little desire to explain his ideas to the media, you end up watching Barça without a codebook.

    Cruijff was perhaps the most original thinker in football’s history, but most of his thinking was about attack. He liked to say that he didn’t mind conceding three goals, as long as Barça scored five. Well, Guardiola also wanted to score five, but he minded conceding even one. If Barcelona is a cathedral, Guardiola has added the buttresses. In Barça’s first 28 league games this season, they have let in only 22 goals. Here are some of “Pep”’s innovations, or the secrets of FC Barcelona:

    1. Pressure on the ball

    Before Barcelona played Manchester United in the Champions League final at Wembley last May, Alex Ferguson said that the way Barça pressured their opponents to win the ball back was “breathtaking”. That, he said, was Guardiola’s innovation. Ferguson admitted that United hadn’t known how to cope with it in the Champions League final in Rome in 2009. He thought it would be different at Wembley. It wasn’t.
    Barcelona start pressing (hunting for the ball) the instant they lose possession. That is the perfect time to press because the opposing player who has just won the ball is vulnerable. He has had to take his eyes off the game to make his tackle or interception, and he has expended energy. That means he is unsighted, and probably tired. He usually needs two or three seconds to regain his vision of the field. So Barcelona try to dispossess him before he can give the ball to a better-placed teammate.

    Furthermore, if the guy won the ball back in his own defence, and Barcelona can instantly win it back again, then the way to goal is often clear. This is where Lionel Messi’s genius for tackling comes in. The little man has such quick reflexes that he sometimes wins a tackle a split-second after losing one.
    The Barcelona player who lost the ball leads the hunt to regain it. But he never hunts alone. His teammates near the ball join him. If only one or two Barça players are pressing, it’s too easy for the opponent to pass around them.

    2. The “five-second rule”

    If Barça haven’t won the ball back within five seconds of losing it, they then retreat and build a compact ten-man wall. The distance between the front man in the wall (typically Messi) and their last defender (say, Carles Puyol) is only 25 to 30 metres. It’s hard for any opponent to pass their way through such a small space. The Rome final was a perfect demonstration of Barcelona’s wall: whenever United won the ball and kept it, they faced eleven precisely positioned opponents, who stood there and said, in effect: “Try and get through this.”

    It’s easy for Barcelona to be compact, both when pressing and when drawing up their wall, because their players spend most of the game very near each other. Xavi and Iniesta in particular seldom stray far from the ball. Cruijff recently told the former England manager Steve McClaren, now with FC Twente in Holland: "Do you know how Barcelona win the ball back so quickly? It's because they don't have to run back more than 10 metres as they never pass the ball more than 10 metres."

    3. More rules of pressing

    Once Barcelona have built their compact wall, they wait for the right moment to start pressing again. They don’t choose the moment on instinct. Rather, there are very precise prompts that tell them when to press. One is if an opponent controls the ball badly. If the ball bounces off his foot, he will need to look downwards to locate it, and at that moment he loses his overview of the pitch. That’s when the nearest Barcelona players start hounding him.
    There’s another set prompt for Barça to press: when the opposing player on the ball turns back towards his own goal. When he does that, he narrows his options: he can no longer pass forward, unless Barcelona give him time to turn around again. Barcelona don’t give him time. Their players instantly hound the man, forcing him to pass back, and so they gain territory.

    4. The “3-1 rule”
    If an opposing player gets the ball anywhere near Barcelona’s penalty area, then Barça go Italian. They apply what they call the “3-1 rule”: one of Barcelona’s four defenders will advance to tackle the man with the ball, and the other three defenders will assemble in a ring about two or three metres behind the tackler. That provides a double layer of protection. Guardiola picked this rule up in Italy. It’s such a simple yet effective idea that you wonder why all top teams don’t use it.

    Article Continues
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    5. No surprise

    When Barcelona win the ball, they do something unusual. Most leading teams treat the moment the ball changes hands – “turnover”, as it’s called in basketball – as decisive. At that moment, the opponents are usually out of position, and so if you can counterattack quickly, you have an excellent chance of scoring. Teams like Manchester United and Arsenal often try to score in the first three seconds after winning possession. So their player who wins the ball often tries to hit an instant splitting pass. Holland – Barcelona’s historic role models – do this too.

    But when a Barcelona player wins the ball, he doesn’t try for a splitting pass. The club’s attitude is: he has won the ball, that’s a wonderful achievement, and he doesn’t need to do anything else special. All he should do is slot the ball simply to the nearest teammate. Barcelona’s logic is that in winning the ball, the guy has typically forfeited his vision of the field. So he is the worst-placed player to hit a telling ball.

    This means that Barcelona don’t rely on the element of surprise. They take a few moments to get into formation, and then pretty much tell their opponents, “OK, here we come.” The opposition knows exactly what Barça are going to do. The difficulty is stopping it.

    The only exception to this rule is if the Barça player wins the ball near the opposition’s penalty area. Then he goes straight for goal.

    6. Possession is nine-tenths of the game

    Keeping the ball has been Barcelona’s key tactic since Cruijff’s day. Most teams don’t worry about possession. They know you can have oodles of possession and lose. But Barcelona aim to have 65 or 70 per cent of possession in a game. Last season in Spain, they averaged more than 72 per cent; so far this year, they are at about 70 per cent.
    The logic of possession is twofold. Firstly, while you have the ball, the other team can’t score. A team like Barcelona, short on good tacklers, needs to defend by keeping possession. As Guardiola has remarked, they are a “horrible” team without the ball.

    Secondly, if Barça have the ball, the other team has to chase it, and that is exhausting. When the opponents win it back, they are often so tired that they surrender it again immediately. Possession gets Barcelona into a virtuous cycle.

    Barça are so fanatical about possession that a defender like Gerald Pique will weave the most intricate passes inside his own penalty area rather than boot the ball away. In almost all other teams, the keeper at least is free to boot. In the England side, for instance, it’s typically Joe Hart who gives the ball away with a blind punt. This is a weakness of England’s game, but the English attitude seems to be that there is nothing to be done about it: keepers can’t pass. Barcelona think differently.

    Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid’s coach and Barcelona’s nemesis, has tried to exploit their devotion to passing. In the Bernabeu in December, Madrid’s forwards chased down Valdes from the game’s first kickoff, knowing he wouldn’t boot clear. The keeper miscued a pass, and Karim Benzema scored after 23 seconds. Yet Valdes kept passing, and Barcelona won 1-3. The trademark of Barcelona-raised goalkeepers – one shared only by Ajax-raised goalkeepers, like Edwin van der Sar – is that they can all play football like outfield players.

    7. The “one-second rule”

    No other football team plays the Barcelona way. That’s a strength, but it’s also a weakness. It makes it very hard for Barça to integrate outsiders into the team, because the outsiders struggle to learn the system. Barcelona had a policy of buying only “Top Ten” players – men who arguably rank among the ten best footballers on earth – yet many of them have failed in the Nou Camp. Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic did, while even David Villa, who knew Barcelona’s game from playing it with Spain, ended up on the bench before breaking his leg.

    Joan Oliver, Barcelona’s previous chief executive, explained the risk of transfers by what he called the “one-second rule”. The success of a move on the pitch is decided in less than a second. If a player needs a few extra fractions of a second to work out where his teammate is going, because he doesn’t know the other guy’s game well, the move will usually break down. A new player can therefore lose you a match in under a second.

    Pedro isn’t a great footballer, but because he was raised in the Masia he can play Barcelona’s game better than stars from outside. The boys in the Masia spend much of their childhood playing passing games, especially Cruijff’s favorite, six against three. Football, Cruijff once said, is choreography.

    Nobody else thinks like that. That’s why most of the Barcelona side is homegrown. It’s more a necessity than a choice. Still, most of the time it works pretty well.
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  3. #3  
    Hobbes. is offline Bandwagon jumper of the year
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    Brilliant article, I absolutely love analysis like this.
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    One of the best football articles I've read.

    Simple. Easy to understand. Explains Barca's system perfectly. I thought the insight on the 5 second rule was especially interesting.

    I think people really under estimate how important the defense is to Barca's success. They work harder without the ball than they do with the ball. Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets probably only sprint 10 times during a game. I bet 8 of those times is chasing the ball down. The work and intensity in their defense is incredible.
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  5. #5  
    robertretford is online now Academy prospect
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    Fantastic article, thanks for posting it. I think the following is a key point

    "Do you know how Barcelona win the ball back so quickly? It's because they don't have to run back more than 10 metres as they never pass the ball more than 10 metres."
    Last edited by robertretford; 24-3-12 at 13:12.
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    Good read, does it mean Im not a real supporter because I dont know who this Kuper is?
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    I wish our owners would copy the Barcelona model and not arsenal

    great post interesting read thank you OP
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Danny- View Post
    Good read, does it mean Im not a real supporter because I dont know who this Kuper is?
    Depends if you like reading decent sporting books that look at it from a different point of view. I can thoroughly recommend various of his works "Football against The Enemy", "Why England Loses" and "The Football Men". Award winning author in his field.
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    great article Coffee! are you singaporean? that Miostadium website originates from that part of Asia.

    But very very interesting instead. superb tactical analysis of the current World beaters.

    now, can the other teams counter them given the knowledge?

    my guess is no.....

    nobody stops Leo Messi. Barca have a great team that protects the base, keeps possession and the boy gives them the cutting edge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxynox View Post
    great article Coffee! are you singaporean? that Miostadium website originates from that part of Asia.

    But very very interesting instead. superb tactical analysis of the current World beaters.

    now, can the other teams counter them given the knowledge?

    my guess is no.....

    nobody stops Leo Messi. Barca have a great team that protects the base, keeps possession and the boy gives them the cutting edge.
    I am originally Australian but living in London these days but have family in Spain, Germany, etc. The link was just forwarded to me by a friend as he knows I like Simon Kuper but so do most people who like reading decent stuff on football.

    I should say I have visited Singapore often and have always liked it as a city, love the fantastic crabs on a warm summers day!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffeelover View Post
    I am originally Australian but living in London these days but have family in Spain, Germany, etc. The link was just forwarded to me by a friend as he knows I like Simon Kuper but so do most people who like reading decent stuff on football.

    I should say I have visited Singapore often and have always liked it as a city, love the fantastic crabs on a warm summers day!
    oh boy do we have some things in common! I now live in Singapore, have family in Surrey and spent 4 years in Brisbane during my undergrad days.

    anyway, more of these great articles from Mr Kuper please! Better still, one on the current Liverpool set up.......

    Cheers mate.
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  12. #12  
    Hobbes. is offline Bandwagon jumper of the year
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxynox View Post
    great article Coffee! are you singaporean? that Miostadium website originates from that part of Asia.

    But very very interesting instead. superb tactical analysis of the current World beaters.

    now, can the other teams counter them given the knowledge?

    my guess is no.....

    nobody stops Leo Messi. Barca have a great team that protects the base, keeps possession and the boy gives them the cutting edge.
    Lucklily we don't need to counter them at the moment. Just copy.
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    It is a interesting article but what we need now is further analysis on pro and cons and how to possible counter. Although I see from the comment/article that a great virtue of Barca is off the ball play, i.e. the pressing, 3-1, structure after 5 secs, etc... yet Guardiola says they are a “horrible” team without the ball but the article says otherwise. If you take each of the individual items one can think of a way to combat it ... but I guess doing all the combating of each would totally negate you as a team... i.e. the 3-1 rule would suggest that as an opposing team you know that one player concentrates x4 players within a limited space yet you would think that would enable attacking ploys to take advantage ... yet it cannot be so simplistic given the article says 3-1 rule is so successfully used by Italian teams as well...
    Last edited by redjonn; 24-3-12 at 13:45. Reason: spelling
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    robertretford is online now Academy prospect
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffeelover View Post
    I am originally Australian but living in London these days but have family in Spain, Germany, etc. The link was just forwarded to me by a friend as he knows I like Simon Kuper but so do most people who like reading decent stuff on football.

    I should say I have visited Singapore often and have always liked it as a city, love the fantastic crabs on a warm summers day!
    Couldn't think of anything worse.
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    LFCDynamic is offline Newcomer of the Year
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    Brilliant article indeed. Thanks for the link RossMosh
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    LFCDynamic is offline Newcomer of the Year
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    Quote Originally Posted by FUS-RO-DAH View Post
    I wish our owners would copy the Barcelona model and not arsenal

    great post interesting read thank you OP
    I wish our owners could just follow the Liverpool way of the past!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffeelover View Post
    Most football supporters know the name Simon Kuper, here is an interesting article by the award winning author over the secrets to Barcelona's success.


    I tend to agree with everything except the last point as various footballers have managed to get used to the Barcelona style of play, David Villa is not as prolific in goal scoring terms since he is now positioned out wide instead of being the main man but when you have Messi doing miracles every week you can't really argue.

    Also Pedro is a an incredible good footballer but because he is rather low key in such a great team he never gets the plaudits he deserves but I would take him for Liverpool in a millisecond.

    The original article can be seen at http://www.miostadium.com/opinions/s...soccer-success


    BARCELONA'S SECRET TO SOCCER SUCCESS

    Simon Kuper
    March 22, 2012

    We all see that Barcelona are brilliant. The only problem is understanding just how they do it. That’s where my friend Albert Capellas comes in. Whenever he and I run into each other somewhere in Europe, we talk about Barça. Not many people know the subject better. Capellas is now assistant manager at Vitesse Arnhem in Holland, but before that he was coordinator of Barcelona’s great youth academy, the Masia. He helped bring a boy named Sergio Busquets from a rough local neighbourhood to Barça. He trained Andres Iniesta and Victor Valdes in their youth teams. In all, Capellas worked nine years for his hometown club.
    During our last conversation, over espressos in an Arnhem hotel, I had several “Aha” moments. I have watched Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona umpteen times, but only now am I finally beginningto see. Guardiola’s Barcelona are great not merely because they have great players. They also have great tactics – different not just from any other team today, but also different from Barcelona teams pre-Guardiola. Barça are now so drilled on the field that in some ways they are more like an American gridiron football team than a soccer one.

    Before getting into the detail of their game, it’s crucial to understand just how much of it comes from Guardiola. When a Barcelona vice president mused to me four years ago that she’d like to see the then 37-year-old Pep be made head coach, I never imagined it would happen. Guardiola was practically a novice. The only side he had ever coached was Barça’s second team. However, people in the club who had worked with him – men like the club’s then president Joan Laporta, and the then director of football Txiki Beguiristain - had already clocked him as special. Not only did Guardiola know Barcelona’s house style inside out. He also knew how it could be improved.

    Guardiola once compared Barcelona’s style to a cathedral. Johan Cruijff, he said, as Barça’s supreme player in the 1970s and later as coach, had built the cathedral. The task of those who came afterwards was to renovate and update it. Guardiola is always looking for updates. If a random person in the street says something interesting about the game, Guardiola listens. He thinks about football all the time. He took ideas from another Dutch Barcelona manager, Louis van Gaal, but also from his years playing for Brescia and Roma in Italy, the home of defence. Yet because Guardiola has little desire to explain his ideas to the media, you end up watching Barça without a codebook.

    Cruijff was perhaps the most original thinker in football’s history, but most of his thinking was about attack. He liked to say that he didn’t mind conceding three goals, as long as Barça scored five. Well, Guardiola also wanted to score five, but he minded conceding even one. If Barcelona is a cathedral, Guardiola has added the buttresses. In Barça’s first 28 league games this season, they have let in only 22 goals. Here are some of “Pep”’s innovations, or the secrets of FC Barcelona:

    1. Pressure on the ball

    Before Barcelona played Manchester United in the Champions League final at Wembley last May, Alex Ferguson said that the way Barça pressured their opponents to win the ball back was “breathtaking”. That, he said, was Guardiola’s innovation. Ferguson admitted that United hadn’t known how to cope with it in the Champions League final in Rome in 2009. He thought it would be different at Wembley. It wasn’t.
    Barcelona start pressing (hunting for the ball) the instant they lose possession. That is the perfect time to press because the opposing player who has just won the ball is vulnerable. He has had to take his eyes off the game to make his tackle or interception, and he has expended energy. That means he is unsighted, and probably tired. He usually needs two or three seconds to regain his vision of the field. So Barcelona try to dispossess him before he can give the ball to a better-placed teammate.

    Furthermore, if the guy won the ball back in his own defence, and Barcelona can instantly win it back again, then the way to goal is often clear. This is where Lionel Messi’s genius for tackling comes in. The little man has such quick reflexes that he sometimes wins a tackle a split-second after losing one.
    The Barcelona player who lost the ball leads the hunt to regain it. But he never hunts alone. His teammates near the ball join him. If only one or two Barça players are pressing, it’s too easy for the opponent to pass around them.

    2. The “five-second rule”

    If Barça haven’t won the ball back within five seconds of losing it, they then retreat and build a compact ten-man wall. The distance between the front man in the wall (typically Messi) and their last defender (say, Carles Puyol) is only 25 to 30 metres. It’s hard for any opponent to pass their way through such a small space. The Rome final was a perfect demonstration of Barcelona’s wall: whenever United won the ball and kept it, they faced eleven precisely positioned opponents, who stood there and said, in effect: “Try and get through this.”

    It’s easy for Barcelona to be compact, both when pressing and when drawing up their wall, because their players spend most of the game very near each other. Xavi and Iniesta in particular seldom stray far from the ball. Cruijff recently told the former England manager Steve McClaren, now with FC Twente in Holland: "Do you know how Barcelona win the ball back so quickly? It's because they don't have to run back more than 10 metres as they never pass the ball more than 10 metres."

    3. More rules of pressing

    Once Barcelona have built their compact wall, they wait for the right moment to start pressing again. They don’t choose the moment on instinct. Rather, there are very precise prompts that tell them when to press. One is if an opponent controls the ball badly. If the ball bounces off his foot, he will need to look downwards to locate it, and at that moment he loses his overview of the pitch. That’s when the nearest Barcelona players start hounding him.
    There’s another set prompt for Barça to press: when the opposing player on the ball turns back towards his own goal. When he does that, he narrows his options: he can no longer pass forward, unless Barcelona give him time to turn around again. Barcelona don’t give him time. Their players instantly hound the man, forcing him to pass back, and so they gain territory.

    4. The “3-1 rule”
    If an opposing player gets the ball anywhere near Barcelona’s penalty area, then Barça go Italian. They apply what they call the “3-1 rule”: one of Barcelona’s four defenders will advance to tackle the man with the ball, and the other three defenders will assemble in a ring about two or three metres behind the tackler. That provides a double layer of protection. Guardiola picked this rule up in Italy. It’s such a simple yet effective idea that you wonder why all top teams don’t use it.

    Article Continues
    Simple. La Masia.

    When you look at what has come out of there it's amazing. The whole system is fantastic. From the education they get right through to the system and formations they use at all age groups which is exactly the same as the 1st team. And it's fantastic that Liverpool's Academy is now set-up in the same way as Barca. Pepe Reina's book gives a really good insight into what goes on in there.
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    LFCDynamic is offline Newcomer of the Year
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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudy12 View Post
    Simple. La Masia.

    When you look at what has come out of there it's amazing. The whole system is fantastic. From the education they get right through to the system and formations they use at all age groups which is exactly the same as the 1st team. And it's fantastic that Liverpool's Academy is now set-up in the same way as Barca. Pepe Reina's book gives a really good insight into what goes on in there.
    But the problem is our first team doesn't seem to be following the same philosophy. Which means our academy players will have to re adjust themselves to get into the first team. We're following 2 different philosophies for our first team and our academy!
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    robertretford is online now Academy prospect
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    Quote Originally Posted by LFCDynamic View Post
    But the problem is our first team doesn't seem to be following the same philosophy. Which means our academy players will have to re adjust themselves to get into the first team. We're following 2 different philosophies for our first team and our academy!
    At the moment we're following about 3 different philosophies for our first team alone.
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    Also even thou Ibra was scoring for fun they got rid of him, he's a donkey of a player not worthy of how barca play, contrast the 35m we spent on an old fashioned number 9 and I feel like crying inside and out.
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    We need a water carrier like Hamman, Alonso and Mascherano to steady our defensive midfield.
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    Great article.

    Why is the 1st team playing a completely different style of play to the reserves and u18s. Didn't comolli say we wanted the same sstem at all levels in the club.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LFCDynamic View Post
    But the problem is our first team doesn't seem to be following the same philosophy. Which means our academy players will have to re adjust themselves to get into the first team. We're following 2 different philosophies for our first team and our academy!
    We're not following the same philosophy because the players we have weren't brought up in that philosophy. It's going to take years to benefit from the work being done in the academy. Barca had Ronaldinho, Henry, and Eto'o and won the Champions League with those players. They definitely don't represent what is taught in Barca's academy. Again, it doesn't have to be black and white. Things are more often than not some shade of grey.

    Also don't be surprised if in the next 5-10 years, Borrell isn't our first team manager. That's assuming our academy starts producing genuine talent over the next 5+ years.
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    we dont seem to have any sort of pressing game these days. that needs to be worked on a lot.

    just when I think I know a lot about Barca's game, I read something like this and get my mind blown away.
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  25. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by LFCDynamic View Post
    But the problem is our first team doesn't seem to be following the same philosophy. Which means our academy players will have to re adjust themselves to get into the first team. We're following 2 different philosophies for our first team and our academy!
    Agree that is the only problem. Liverpool's formation changes from week to week and will change again depending on the manager. And the is also the problem of not having players to play that system.

    I guess the only way it can work is for it to be phased in. But if when you see what's waiting to come out of the academy all at the same time who knows? But the is another question as to wether using the same philosophie will work as well in the Prem as it does in La Liga remains to be answered.

    Eitherway if it produces the players that Barca produces then its safe to say they will be good enough to adust to any system.
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  26. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffeelover View Post
    Most football supporters know the name Simon Kuper, here is an interesting article by the award winning author over the secrets to Barcelona's success.


    I tend to agree with everything except the last point as various footballers have managed to get used to the Barcelona style of play, David Villa is not as prolific in goal scoring terms since he is now positioned out wide instead of being the main man but when you have Messi doing miracles every week you can't really argue.

    Also Pedro is a an incredible good footballer but because he is rather low key in such a great team he never gets the plaudits he deserves but I would take him for Liverpool in a millisecond.

    The original article can be seen at http://www.miostadium.com/opinions/s...soccer-success


    BARCELONA'S SECRET TO SOCCER SUCCESS

    Simon Kuper
    March 22, 2012

    We all see that Barcelona are brilliant. The only problem is understanding just how they do it. That’s where my friend Albert Capellas comes in. Whenever he and I run into each other somewhere in Europe, we talk about Barça. Not many people know the subject better. Capellas is now assistant manager at Vitesse Arnhem in Holland, but before that he was coordinator of Barcelona’s great youth academy, the Masia. He helped bring a boy named Sergio Busquets from a rough local neighbourhood to Barça. He trained Andres Iniesta and Victor Valdes in their youth teams. In all, Capellas worked nine years for his hometown club.
    During our last conversation, over espressos in an Arnhem hotel, I had several “Aha” moments. I have watched Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona umpteen times, but only now am I finally beginningto see. Guardiola’s Barcelona are great not merely because they have great players. They also have great tactics – different not just from any other team today, but also different from Barcelona teams pre-Guardiola. Barça are now so drilled on the field that in some ways they are more like an American gridiron football team than a soccer one.

    Before getting into the detail of their game, it’s crucial to understand just how much of it comes from Guardiola. When a Barcelona vice president mused to me four years ago that she’d like to see the then 37-year-old Pep be made head coach, I never imagined it would happen. Guardiola was practically a novice. The only side he had ever coached was Barça’s second team. However, people in the club who had worked with him – men like the club’s then president Joan Laporta, and the then director of football Txiki Beguiristain - had already clocked him as special. Not only did Guardiola know Barcelona’s house style inside out. He also knew how it could be improved.

    Guardiola once compared Barcelona’s style to a cathedral. Johan Cruijff, he said, as Barça’s supreme player in the 1970s and later as coach, had built the cathedral. The task of those who came afterwards was to renovate and update it. Guardiola is always looking for updates. If a random person in the street says something interesting about the game, Guardiola listens. He thinks about football all the time. He took ideas from another Dutch Barcelona manager, Louis van Gaal, but also from his years playing for Brescia and Roma in Italy, the home of defence. Yet because Guardiola has little desire to explain his ideas to the media, you end up watching Barça without a codebook.

    Cruijff was perhaps the most original thinker in football’s history, but most of his thinking was about attack. He liked to say that he didn’t mind conceding three goals, as long as Barça scored five. Well, Guardiola also wanted to score five, but he minded conceding even one. If Barcelona is a cathedral, Guardiola has added the buttresses. In Barça’s first 28 league games this season, they have let in only 22 goals. Here are some of “Pep”’s innovations, or the secrets of FC Barcelona:

    1. Pressure on the ball

    Before Barcelona played Manchester United in the Champions League final at Wembley last May, Alex Ferguson said that the way Barça pressured their opponents to win the ball back was “breathtaking”. That, he said, was Guardiola’s innovation. Ferguson admitted that United hadn’t known how to cope with it in the Champions League final in Rome in 2009. He thought it would be different at Wembley. It wasn’t.
    Barcelona start pressing (hunting for the ball) the instant they lose possession. That is the perfect time to press because the opposing player who has just won the ball is vulnerable. He has had to take his eyes off the game to make his tackle or interception, and he has expended energy. That means he is unsighted, and probably tired. He usually needs two or three seconds to regain his vision of the field. So Barcelona try to dispossess him before he can give the ball to a better-placed teammate.

    Furthermore, if the guy won the ball back in his own defence, and Barcelona can instantly win it back again, then the way to goal is often clear. This is where Lionel Messi’s genius for tackling comes in. The little man has such quick reflexes that he sometimes wins a tackle a split-second after losing one.
    The Barcelona player who lost the ball leads the hunt to regain it. But he never hunts alone. His teammates near the ball join him. If only one or two Barça players are pressing, it’s too easy for the opponent to pass around them.

    2. The “five-second rule”

    If Barça haven’t won the ball back within five seconds of losing it, they then retreat and build a compact ten-man wall. The distance between the front man in the wall (typically Messi) and their last defender (say, Carles Puyol) is only 25 to 30 metres. It’s hard for any opponent to pass their way through such a small space. The Rome final was a perfect demonstration of Barcelona’s wall: whenever United won the ball and kept it, they faced eleven precisely positioned opponents, who stood there and said, in effect: “Try and get through this.”

    It’s easy for Barcelona to be compact, both when pressing and when drawing up their wall, because their players spend most of the game very near each other. Xavi and Iniesta in particular seldom stray far from the ball. Cruijff recently told the former England manager Steve McClaren, now with FC Twente in Holland: "Do you know how Barcelona win the ball back so quickly? It's because they don't have to run back more than 10 metres as they never pass the ball more than 10 metres."

    3. More rules of pressing

    Once Barcelona have built their compact wall, they wait for the right moment to start pressing again. They don’t choose the moment on instinct. Rather, there are very precise prompts that tell them when to press. One is if an opponent controls the ball badly. If the ball bounces off his foot, he will need to look downwards to locate it, and at that moment he loses his overview of the pitch. That’s when the nearest Barcelona players start hounding him.
    There’s another set prompt for Barça to press: when the opposing player on the ball turns back towards his own goal. When he does that, he narrows his options: he can no longer pass forward, unless Barcelona give him time to turn around again. Barcelona don’t give him time. Their players instantly hound the man, forcing him to pass back, and so they gain territory.

    4. The “3-1 rule”
    If an opposing player gets the ball anywhere near Barcelona’s penalty area, then Barça go Italian. They apply what they call the “3-1 rule”: one of Barcelona’s four defenders will advance to tackle the man with the ball, and the other three defenders will assemble in a ring about two or three metres behind the tackler. That provides a double layer of protection. Guardiola picked this rule up in Italy. It’s such a simple yet effective idea that you wonder why all top teams don’t use it.

    Article Continues
    Cracking read. Some of the principles are beautiful. Not all translate to English Football or are possible to translate but the ideology behind what is created by Guardiola is stunning.

    Perhaps, a different blueprint is needed at Anfield, maybe we already have one but its a work in progress.

    One of the strengths of building a club on such principles is as a by-product it gives the players incredible belief even in tough moments they know this is the right way to do it this is what is expected and they always know the solution.

    Great insight
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  27. #27  
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    Great article however everyone seems to want to replicate Barcelona.

    People are forgetting that once upon a time, Liverpool defined a generation and were THE team everyone wanted to play for and see.
    We do have our own ideas and philosophies of playing football and Kenny is trying to bring them back. No one would complain if we were winning titles and playing the expansive, entertaining and attractive football we did under Kennys first reign. Kenny is trying to reinstall this back into our club.
    Last edited by BRodgers8; 9-4-12 at 13:21.
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  28. #28  
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    Brilliant read, cheers Lover of Coffee.

    Sometimes you need context like this to help realise why Barcelona are so very good.

    Until Swansea come along and knock Barca off their *********** perch, that is
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  29. #29  
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    Barcelona is not the greatest team ever. If diving and play acting to get penalties to win cups makes you the greatest team ever I'm going to start watching golf.
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  30. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by bshelton View Post
    Barcelona is not the greatest team ever. If diving and play acting to get penalties to win cups makes you the greatest team ever I'm going to start watching golf.
    All teams do it, some better than others. Just ask Andy Carroll!!
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