Learn more about Jose’s Manchester United tactics

Manchester United under Jose Mourinho have shown progression from previous seasons.  While United create a lot more chances this season, the Red Devils struggle to convert those chances. Nonetheless, the team has shown progression whilst also displaying there’s some way to go yet as United aim to reach the top once again.

Here are some aspects of Manchester United’s tactics and attacking strategies which have led to this progression which you can read in far more detail here.

  • Passive pressing
    • An approach that doesn’t involve the whole team pressing but uses a group of players to reduce probability of conceding clear cut chances, limit access to central areas and force turnovers.
    • This type of pressing under Mourinho is a way for generating quick counterattacking opportunities allowing Manchester United to attack quickly into open spaces and carve open the defence for a shot on goal.
  • Attacking Strategies
    • Players such as Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan especially help their teammates by opening spaces with their off the ball movement.  Mkhitaryan is quite adept at popping into spaces which complement whoever is on the ball and it also helps him find spaces to exploit in the box for goalscoring opportunities
    • As seen in the match against Bournemouth and other matches, Luke Shaw instead of overlapping Martial is more likely to move into central spaces and look to combine with Martial. It both advances play and means United are less exposed should they lose possession.
    • Combinations with players closest to you.  Manifests sometimes as overloads, underloads, overlapping or underlapping (ie FB making a diagonal run towards the inside of teammate rather than outside seen in an overlap)
    • Can be seen in teams confident playing in tight spaces, which can cause a real headache for the defending team
    • An effective tool in destabilising opponents, passing between the lines, especially into central spaces and maintaining possession in these areas can help to unsettle the opponent.
    • It opens up some possibilities to play in between the spaces where the opponent or defending team is seeking to shift into which can further destabilise the defence.

    • Off the ball movement
    • Left back more central in build up
    • Local combinations
    • Passing between the lines
    • Balls over the top
      • Mostly Pogba uses this strategy as his vision and execution can help unlock defences from deep.  It’s been one of the ways Pogba has created chances for Manchester United. Hopefully in the future, United can be more clinical when these passes lead to goalscoring opportunities.
  • What we expected vs Chelsea
    • It appeared Jose used a 3-4-3 base formation against Rostov as practice for the Chelsea match.  It’s quite possible in this setup, he is trying to match up with Chelsea’s players and apply more direct pressure on the ball.  However, with the early red card we will never really know!

You will be able to find regular Manchester United tactical analysis over at www.eatsleepdrinkfootball.com