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Thread: The ABC of a football team

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    The ABC of a football team

    This is not going to be an article, rather a thought I'd like to share with you guys.

    The ABC in the title does not refer to the alphabet but to the ABC used in medicine for reviving patients.


    In medicine when you have a sick patient or a trauma case you always start with ABC which is Airway, Breathing, Circulation. First you start off with airway and make sure it is functioning properly and only when you are 100% sure then you move on to the next letter. 80%, 90% or even 99.999% doesn't cut it, only 100%. Doesn't matter how hard it is going to be or how long it is going to take, if you have a problem with airway you take care of it before moving to breathing. If a patient has a blocked airway doesn't matter how good his lungs or heart function; if the problem is not solved he is going to die.


    I think that ABC in medicine applies to football in the following order: Goalkeeper, Defense, Midfield, Attack. This should be the formula for reviving Inter. Doesn't matter if you have the best team in the world but a bad GK, you cannot be a winner. If you have a worldclass defense but mediocre midfield and attack, you can still come off a game with a point for not conceding.

    Take for instance the Livorno game. They played really well against us but it only took one stupid slip up from Bardi to decide the game. If they hadn't conceded they could have just parked the bus and walked off the game with 1 point.

    I believe that is the philosophy that Simeone at Atletico Madrid has applied; same thing we did in 2010 with Mourinho. Quality-wise we couldn't compete with likes of Chelsea, Bayern or Barca but we had something they didn't have, a worldcalss defense! History is not going to remember who played boring (although I have to admit I enjoy defensive and counter attacking football way more than stupid tiki taka or possession football and I don't find it boring at all) or who was too defensive, it is only going to remember who won the title. Arsenal way of playing doesn't win you titles, Inter of 2010 wins you the treble!

    Now with the new owner, potentially new management and new rumors I believe that is what we should focus on. Start from Handanovic then the defense, midfield and finally attack.

    Handanovic is the closest thing we have to worldclass and I think he should be untouchable unless we can afford better. Bardi doesn't cut it, potential is not enough!

    Then we can move on to defense and here is where I think a lot of our problems start. Even Mazzari himself said that we are having problems at defense. IMO, that should be our priority and we should try and fix the defense and only when we are sure that the defense is set then we can move on to fixing the midfield and attack.

    Since Campagnaro's injury our problems started. Ranocchia and Juan have been inconsistent. Juan could have an excuse because of his young age but Ranocchia? 25 years old and has had regular football for quite sometime but still without his big brother Campagnaro being next to him he cannot perform.


    Maybe its Rano's fault, maybe its Juan's or even maybe its Mazzari's but what is clear is that the defense has problems and it should be solved before anything else and it is either Mazzari's job or Thohir's to fix it.

    I apologize for the long post and thank you for reading.

    Any comments are welcome.
    Last edited by Ronaldo; 20 Nov 13 at 23:58.

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    Let me post something about primavera.

    Primaveras are pretty much on Serie C/D level. Some players can be loaned to Serie B, and be regulars. But the gap between Serie B, and Serie A is too great. Holland for example would be a league which the quality would be between Serie B and Serie A. That's why players from the dutch league find it easy to transition to top leagues. It's not a top flight league, but it's not a second flight league either. It's somewhere in between.

    I think what Serie A needs to do is form a reserve league. The subs from our team who are on the bench (Andreolli, Mudingayi) can play on the reserves. This way the primavera players can mix with senior players and get more experience.

    We gotta keep in mind primavera performances will 95% of the time not translate into Serie A performances, but we need to close that gap. That gap in quality is crucial, and playing with senior players will 100% help us close the gap, and end up with some great talents, or bargaining chips.

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    Making a reserve league would cost money though. Struggling enough as it is in Italy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pimpin View Post
    you can all go fuck your mohters, just my 2 cents.

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    Poor analysis on your part Seyedo: imho this is the order of importance of each component in a team:

    Midfield, Defence, Attack, GK

    Lets start with the player in net:

    RM had Casillas, and yet Barcelona has dominated them on a number of occasions (and yet it would be laughable for anyone to suggest Valdes's superiority over the Spanish NT starting GK); Dortmund's GK was definitely not superior to Casillas, and yet they advanced to the CL final

    Another more relevant example would be in Serie B, where the team with the best GK in the league hasn't been promoted for the last few years (Novara, Padova, Virtus Lanciano etc)

    If the defence and the midfield are shit, you will, ofc, eventually concede. A goalkeeper can only save a number of shots before letting in a goal.

    On to the defence:

    The defensive record of a team cannot be SOLELY attributed to the solidarity of the backline; keep in mind midfielders ALSO have a responsibility to defend, and last season perfectly illustrated the importance of the existence of a destroyer in the midfield

    Hence why we occasionally played well (when Cambiasso was on his game as CDM) against Tottenham and Juventus

    Not to mention our defence and even attack tbh weren't poor; Milito, Palacio, Cassano up front, and Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Zanetti, and Samuel in the back line

    Our midfield, however, was atrocious, with Gargano, Guarin, Cambiasso (he was shit for the most part of last season tbh), and Schelotto involved in the mix

    Why did our performances suddenly get MUCH better with the respective introductions of both Benassi and Kovacic?

    Why is it that strikers that can integrate themselves in the midfield and link up well with their teammates are perhaps MOST valued?

    Why is it that the ball playing CB has emerged in the modern climate of football, a defender that becomes a destroyer cum regista? Why is pure handling and goalkeeping technique not the only indicator of strong ability in this area, why the best GKs are expected to have strong passing abilities?

    The best teams in the world have the best midfields in the world. Bayern's defence had Boateng and Dante, and yet that was definitely not comparable to Chiellini - Bonucci - Barzagli, but regardless they smashed Juve twice.

    Paris Saint German has Thiago Silva and Sirigu in net, and yet they stood no chance for CL contention last year.

    Bayern had Mandzukic and Gomez up front, but surely those two weren't as effective as Benzema and Higuain; Lewandowski is another example, and surely he wasn't better than Falcao, Cavani, or Ibrahimovic

    So it goes both ways tbh; moreover this differentiation of responsibilities is a classical approach to analyzing the anatomy of a team, given the hybrid moulds of players that have emerged in the modern variant of the beautiful game

    The team should be a collective unit, and coaches like Guardiola for instance implement such a philosophy, where the CB has attacking responsibilities, and the CF has defensive responsibilities

    Pique and Thiago Silva wouldn't be considered top CBs if not for their on the ball skills;

    Only world class attackers are exceptions to the general rule however (on the paramount importance of the midfield); we would've certainly qualified for CL with Messi and Aguero in our previous squad, with Silvestre, Gargano, and Guarin in our starting lineup

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan View Post
    Making a reserve league would cost money though. Struggling enough as it is in Italy.
    It would bring more money than it would cost. All these players could be sold all over Europe. People won't pay for primavera players, but if they're in the reserves, and have played with professionals, their value would increase.

    It would also decrease the need to buy foreign players, and invest in players who have grown with the club's philosophy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pencilpal View Post
    Poor analysis on your part Seyedo: imho this is the order of importance of each component in a team:

    Midfield, Defence, Attack, GK

    Lets start with the player in net:

    RM had Casillas, and yet Barcelona has dominated them on a number of occasions (and yet it would be laughable for anyone to suggest Valdes's superiority over the Spanish NT starting GK); Dortmund's GK was definitely not superior to Casillas, and yet they advanced to the CL final

    Another more relevant example would be in Serie B, where the team with the best GK in the league hasn't been promoted for the last few years (Novara, Padova, Virtus Lanciano etc)

    If the defence and the midfield are shit, you will, ofc, eventually concede. A goalkeeper can only save a number of shots before letting in a goal.

    On to the defence:

    The defensive record of a team cannot be SOLELY attributed to the solidarity of the backline; keep in mind midfielders ALSO have a responsibility to defend, and last season perfectly illustrated the importance of the existence of a destroyer in the midfield

    Hence why we occasionally played well (when Cambiasso was on his game as CDM) against Tottenham and Juventus

    Not to mention our defence and even attack tbh weren't poor; Milito, Palacio, Cassano up front, and Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Zanetti, and Samuel in the back line

    Our midfield, however, was atrocious, with Gargano, Guarin, Cambiasso (he was shit for the most part of last season tbh), and Schelotto involved in the mix

    Why did our performances suddenly get MUCH better with the respective introductions of both Benassi and Kovacic?

    Why is it that strikers that can integrate themselves in the midfield and link up well with their teammates are perhaps MOST valued?

    Why is it that the ball playing CB has emerged in the modern climate of football, a defender that becomes a destroyer cum regista? Why is pure handling and goalkeeping technique not the only indicator of strong ability in this area, why the best GKs are expected to have strong passing abilities?

    The best teams in the world have the best midfields in the world. Bayern's defence had Boateng and Dante, and yet that was definitely not comparable to Chiellini - Bonucci - Barzagli, but regardless they smashed Juve twice.

    Paris Saint German has Thiago Silva and Sirigu in net, and yet they stood no chance for CL contention last year.

    Bayern had Mandzukic and Gomez up front, but surely those two weren't as effective as Benzema and Higuain; Lewandowski is another example, and surely he wasn't better than Falcao, Cavani, or Ibrahimovic

    So it goes both ways tbh; moreover this differentiation of responsibilities is a classical approach to analyzing the anatomy of a team, given the hybrid moulds of players that have emerged in the modern variant of the beautiful game

    The team should be a collective unit, and coaches like Guardiola for instance implement such a philosophy, where the CB has attacking responsibilities, and the CF has defensive responsibilities

    Pique and Thiago Silva wouldn't be considered top CBs if not for their on the ball skills;

    Only world class attackers are exceptions to the general rule however (on the paramount importance of the midfield); we would've certainly qualified for CL with Messi and Aguero in our previous squad, with Silvestre, Gargano, and Guarin in our starting lineup
    Good post and I understand where you are coming from. It is almost 2 am and I don't have the time to go through each point one by one but I only say this: imagine a starting line up and start removing players one at a time and compare. Removing which player affects the team the most? A team with no GK? No forward? No midfielder?

    Do this and you understand where I am coming from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seyedo View Post
    Good post and I understand where you are coming from. It is almost 2 am and I don't have the time to go through each point one by one but I only say this: imagine a starting line up and start removing players one at a time and compare. Removing which player affects the team the most? A team with no GK? No forward? No midfielder?

    Do this and you understand where I am coming from.
    Again, poor methodology of analysis. With that framework in mind, your point of view is understandable, but it changes nothing about the poor reasoning BEHIND that initial approach.

    Lets take an analogous example with the question "What mechanical component of a Formula 1 racing car is the most important?"

    Obviously the correct response to that question would be the combustion engine or maybe even the aerodynamic design of the monocoque chassis. Suspension and cooling systems are also up there.

    Using a similar paradigm employed in your analysis, your answer would be the wheels, given that the car wouldn't be able to move without them.

    But ofc this is not correct.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I've given evidence to support my stance. Here's the logic to back my opposition to your points:

    There will never be a realistic case where a team will be left without a GK, a defence etc. You can't conduct such an analysis strictly because it's an unrealistic approach to your question.

    Rather, with that logic, you could possibly come to the conclusion that the entire team should PRIORITIZE defensive responsibilities, but does it reflect on whether or not the midfield or the attack is less important than the defence (as a component of a team)?

    Absolutely not.

    If this is, in fact, what you mean to imply, then consider that successful defensive teams are an anomaly of reality. Tactics that rely on "parking the bus" are dependent on the other team making a mistake. The BEST teams are lethal in both defence and in attack. Moreover there is a definite correlation between points and possession (which I believe Browha proved in another article).

    Given the fact that ALL teams have faults, counter attacking football is successful (where the team waits to take advantage of mistakes, absorbing pressure, until the moment for an opportunistic attack arises on an undermanned defence). But the best counter attacking team will FAIL to defeat the best possession based football team.

    A perfect mix would be a team able to play both counter attacking defensive, and ultra offensive possession football (with a high backline); that kind of dynamism in a team brings the best of both worlds imo, and our 09/10 squad is an example of a team that could play this kind of football very effectively

    Ofc you need defensive solidity, and Zeman football is a testament to the idealism in the phrase "attack is the best defence"

    But keep in mind my last point, on how this is an outdated approach to the anatomy of a football team, given the nature of modern football; tiki taka and similar tactical strategies are resulting in teams where strikers, CBs, and even GKs are part of the midfield
    Last edited by pencilpal; 21 Nov 13 at 02:23.

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    Of course that example is not realistic. I only made an exaggerated example so the difference can be seen better. If you want a realistic example you can think for instance if every player is allowed one mistake per game, which player's mistake would most probably cause a goal? Of course the answer would be GK.


    Look I think it is obvious the main idea behind my post is that defending is the most imporant part of the game. But I admit I didn't express myself properly. What I meant was the defending aspect of the game. The act of not allowing the opposition to score. A lot of players even the whole team could have a defending duty. Defending being the most important part with GK being the most important in it makes GK the most important man.

    To improve this aspect you start off with GK, then defense, midfield and attack.

    Of course having worldclass players is not enough without the right coach with the right tactics the same way healthy heart and lungs need a healthy brain to function.



    It's 4 am and still I cannot sleep!!
    Last edited by Ronaldo; 21 Nov 13 at 03:23.

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    if you take a dortmund as example
    you can see how klopp start from GK+backfour as backbone for his team before he move to midfield and forward..
    ‘Whoever doesn’t love El Chino doesn’t love football!’

    jonikemot ---------> chipschups
    Quote Originally Posted by francesco View Post
    Why criticize like he was the worst player in the team?
    either people are having a high standard for inter or they just racist

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seyedo View Post
    Of course that example is not realistic. I only made an exaggerated example so the difference can be seen better. If you want a realistic example you can think for instance if every player is allowed one mistake per game, which player's mistake would most probably cause a goal? Of course the answer would be GK.
    Similarly, if every mechanical part of a car is allowed to have one mistake per race, which mistake would likely cause a crash, possibly even fatal? Of course the answer would be the wheels.



    Again, it's the same reasoning obscured in new phrasing.

    Look I think it is obvious the main idea behind my post is that defending is the most imporant part of the game. But I admit I didn't express myself properly. What I meant was the defending aspect of the game. The act of not allowing the opposition to score. A lot of players even the whole team could have a defending duty. Defending being the most important part with GK being the most important in it makes GK the most important man.
    I still disagree with this new contention tbh;

    No matter the emphasis on defensive responsibilities, consistency in the attack wins matches. Ofc when we lose possession we should be constantly pressing the opponent.

    But the preferable option would be to prevent the opponent from HAVING any chances to test our defence, and that can ONLY be accomplished with possession football.

    If you're suggesting we should play defensive counterattacking football, remember that such a style is reliant on the opponent making a mistake, as I previously noted.

    The goalkeeper is NOT the most important part of the defence. Again, my examples of Barcelona and even Dortmund vs Real justify my side. I'd argue that the midfield is the most important part tbh; even with a backline of Hummels - Silva, you would concede with last year's midfield on the pitch (e.g. Guarin, Gargano, Cambiasso).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by chipschups View Post
    if you take a dortmund as example
    you can see how klopp start from GK+backfour as backbone for his team before he move to midfield and forward..


    Without Reus, Gotze, and Gundogan, Dortmund wouldn't have reached the CL final. Those are their three most important players tbh.

    Lewandowski, Hummels, and Subotic are undoubtedly important players, but the quality of that team is in the midfield.

    Not to mention that once more, this differentiation between the defence, midfield, attack etc is a very ancient approach to the anatomy of a football team.

    - - - Updated - - -

    And what about Bayern Munich?

    The quality of that side came down to Robben, Ribery, Muller, Schweinsteiger, and Martinez; arguably Lahm and Alaba were also part of the midfield (given their advanced role on the pitch).

    Again, it comes down to the midfield.

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    same goes with bayern, they can have all world class attacker
    but they wouldnt go anywhere with butt and demichelis+van buyten as their last guardian..

    “Attack wins games, defence wins Championships”
    ‘Whoever doesn’t love El Chino doesn’t love football!’

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    Quote Originally Posted by francesco View Post
    Why criticize like he was the worst player in the team?
    either people are having a high standard for inter or they just racist

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    I already gave you an example with Livorno and Bardi, one mistake, one goal. Same thing could be seen in Inter; as soon Campagnaro got injured we started leaking goals left and right. In the past, when Samuel used to get injured we used to concede way more.

    That car example of yours doesn't apply here because a car can only win or lose, there is no draw but in football if you fail to score you still draw. You get what I mean?

    Perfect defending could at least give you a point for draw but a perfect attacking can never guarantee you anything as the opposition might score more on you.

    I believe defending is the most important part of the game but you believe otherwise and I understand your point of view. Lets just agree to disagree.

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    A football team is much more than that.
    Basically, you are talking about people, not machines, and when there are people, there is always a chance of a human mistake.
    Besides that, you have the psychological factor. Which is very very important.
    I must throw in the example of Mourinho's Inter.
    In general, you can see Mourinho's teams as super concentrated on the game, motivated, making sacrifices, covering for a team mate etc....
    And the good thing is that i can see glimpses of that in Mazzari's style too.
    This was something that was totally absent in Strama's era. Nobody was running, nobody was showing himself for a pass.

    I say that the recipe for a good team is made of:

    - chemistry between the players on and off the pitch
    - 1-2 players with Cambiasso style tactical knowledge
    - 1-2 Ibra style players who can make a difference from zero
    - the rest you can have decent players, but who put effort in every game for you as a coach (like Etoo said: he could die on the pitch for Mourinho)

    After this, you can think about other aspects also, like raising the talented young players, making money from selling players, trying different tactics, experiencing, etc, etc....

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    Quote Originally Posted by chipschups View Post
    same goes with bayern, they can have all world class attacker
    but they wouldnt go anywhere with butt and demichelis+van buyten as their last guardian..

    “Attack wins games, defence wins Championships”
    If you have a shit attack or a shit midfield, and even a shit defence, obviously you will not win championships.

    But the best result will come when the MIDFIELD is top notch quality; Barcelona doesn't have a great defence, but the quality is all in the MIDFIELD and how Messi links up with Xavi and Iniesta.

    On 2010 Bayern, their defence was shit, Olic and Klose were inconsistent as hell, and Robben was EXTREMELY selfish.

    Again, the example of our last season is quite telling tbh.
    Last edited by pencilpal; 22 Nov 13 at 04:11.

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    This is a very interesting topic, and, as always, my opinion is slightly more hipster.

    In the past, I would have agreed that focusing on the defensive side of the team is more important, no matter how disorganized and clueless your attack is, you're always going to get at least one chance per game. If you can guarantee that the opponent won't score on you, then that 1-0 is all you need to win titles.

    Now, I'm starting to think it's more complicated, I'm starting to think there's more feedback involved. It's not as easy as saying "My defence is weak, so let me get defenders/defensive midfielders/hard working forwards", or whatever the case may be. Instead, what I believe in now is that you build your team around your primary mode of attack.


    What does that mean? Well, it means that, let's say you have this very creative player, and you want to make the most of that player. What you're going to do is build your attack in a way that can benefit from this creative player's preferred method of creating chances, and you'll build your defence so there's synergy with the attack (note that when I say attack and defence, I could be referring to any position on the field, not just a front 3 or a back 4 or whatever).

    To get even more specific, let's look at the treble winning Inter after Mourinho switched to 4-2-3-1. I'll argue that the team was built around Sneijder, every player's role on the team had something to do with him, and it worked because everyone pulled in the same direction. Sneijder was kickstarting counters, so he needed his midfielders to be able to 1) win the ball and 2) get it to him quickly, enter Cambiasso and Motta. Since we were countering, our defenders needed to be able to handle a lot of pressure, hence Lucio/Samuel in the centre, and both the fullbacks were very strong defensively. The wide forwards had to be good enough defensively to help the rest of the team out, but big enough attacking threats to absorb the attention away from Sneijder so he could have freedom to create, not to mention give him options on the break. Milito's role was to open spaces and make use of them. Every player on the team was there for a reason, it doesn't mean the team was dependent on just one player for goals/chances, far from it, but it does mean that this particular player dictated the strategy. Had our playmaker been Messi instead of Sneijder, the nature of the team probably would have been very different.

    If you want to look at a poorly constructed team, Madrid under Mourinho is a pretty good example. The team attacked mainly on the break, but their defenders were all better suited to playing a high line, and they were uncomfortable with resisting any kind of sustained pressure. This meant a lack of synergy between the way the team attacked and defended.
    Last edited by wambam; 22 Nov 13 at 14:19.

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    Well, as a coach, you have the option to build your team around your players, or forcing your players to play in a system that you believe in.
    Both options need a lot of discipline and concentration.
    There is no perfect system, with discipline, tactical knowledge, physical resistance and a little bit of luck this Inter can be in the top 3 this season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pencilpal View Post
    If you have a shit attack or a shit midfield, and even a shit defence, obviously you will not win championships.

    But the best result will come when the MIDFIELD is top notch quality; Barcelona doesn't have a great defence, but the quality is all in the MIDFIELD and how Messi links up with Xavi and Iniesta.

    On 2010 Bayern, their defence was shit, Olic and Klose were inconsistent as hell, and Robben was EXTREMELY selfish.

    Again, the example of our last season is quite telling tbh.
    and barcelona for example..
    seriously they doesnt great in defence? Pique-Puyol is a world class pairing duo and perfectly fit for barca..
    even they just have valdes, but with a long time playing together thats doesnt become problem, they know each other..
    and now take one of them, and tell me whats the result..
    last year, bartra-pique againts a mighty bayern you know the rest..

    with puyol is ageing now, this defence will become a serious problem for them
    if they cant find a perfect replacement for him..
    I can guarateed with this problem barca will not win CL again even they have neymar in front or xavi in midfield
    ‘Whoever doesn’t love El Chino doesn’t love football!’

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    Quote Originally Posted by francesco View Post
    Why criticize like he was the worst player in the team?
    either people are having a high standard for inter or they just racist

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    Read my original reply to Seyedo you lazy cunt.


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    ''Synergy''
    Quote Originally Posted by Pimpin View Post
    you can all go fuck your mohters, just my 2 cents.

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    "Stoichiometry"

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