No good use of the backsMar 23, 2015
"It strikes me that more and more goals are scored from a loss of possession instead of creativity in the Eredivisie", Johan Cruyff writes in his weekly column in Dutch newspaper 'De Telegraaf'. "Like I see too often, many players are forced into situations which do not bring the best, but the worst out of them."
"I often hear that Dutch football players are not capable of defending, but how can a back play a good game while having to play as a winger? Take the way in which I once defended with Barcelona. The two backs were former wingers, small and fast. In the middle was Ronald Koeman, not fast, but someone with an excellent overview."
"Pep Guardiola, also not a real defender, was in the back close to Koeman, because of our diamond formation on the midfield. Together they possessed an outstanding short (Guardiola) and long ball (Koeman). The only assignment Guardiola had was to make sure the two outmost midfielders were no more than 15 metres apart."
"Furthermore, in this formation it was essential to play far in front of the goal. When a long ball was played over Koeman, the goalkeeper gave support in the back and with a long cross ball we trusted the speed of our backs. While the two backs and the two central players were no real defenders, our defence was as solid as a rock."
"This is what is lacking at Dutch teams. By letting the backs take part in the build-up instead of the attack itself, the midfielders and wingers on their side will be in an offside position. This will stimulate a wide pass, while the only free player in this situation will be the central defender. A huge gap will arise on the midfield and all positions on the field will break down. It is a domino effect."