Cruyff opens Oranje tactics debate!
Johan Cruyff never walked away from a fight. Actually, he loves them. Whenever the going gets tough, JC rises to the occasion. Look at old clips of JC playing. No matter how many defenders aimed at his shins, he was too quick. And when Johan was winning trophy after trophy on the pitch in Europe for Ajax, he took on the Ajax management and the Dutch Federation for better deals, better insurance and basically installed the Dutch football union.
When Ajax didn’t want the older JC anymore, he signed at arch rival Feyenoord and made them win the double!
So, now we see the legendary number 14 embroiled in a nasty fight at Ajax ( yet again) but he will still have the time to take on the most popular and successful national team manager this side of Ernst Happel: Bert van Marwijk.
While Bert recently supported JC publically in his battle for control in Amsterdam, Cruyffie decided to take on Bert in his first column of 2012.
Cruyff uttered his doubts about Oranje. He believes that Holland will be without a hope with this tactics. “The problem with two holding midfielders is quite simple, but somehow many coaches don’t see it. The build up happens to slow. Holding midfielders always need that extra touch. Always need to have a look when they have the ball already. That takes time away. The opponent can position themselves to stop the killer pass and the forwards are all marked. Plus, having two holding midfielders means there is one less creative playmaker. It’s a double edged sword.”
Three world class players…
Cruyff explained his doubts at the World Cup in South Africa and repeats his criticism. “We need one good controller in midfiedl and two creative players on the wide midfield spots, like Barcelona does. Or Man United and Man City for that matter. This way, if the wide players have the ability to run as well, it’s much easier to control the opponent, to put pressure on the ball early and to play with forward pressure,” JC lectures.
Oranje started to play 4-2-3-1 under Marco van Basten. He was pressured by the players to play this way. “I believe this was done because our defensive line was not that strong. We didn’t have Strootman nor Nigel de Jong in those days and Sneijder, Van Persie and Robben were not yet as good and confident as they are now. We need to play our strongest defenders and that could mean Douglas. But, as I always say: the best way to keep pressure off your back four is by attacking!”
Although it’s clear that Cruyff is not a fan of Van Bommel or De Jong, he doesn’t want to give his preference for the role of center holding midfielder. “That is for the coach to decide. I don’t work with the lads so I can’t give you names. I do believe I can have an opinion on tactics, though.”
Cruyff: “Coaches use the 4-2-3-1 system to avoid risk, but with two defensive midfielders you lack a creative player and your team will fall apart in two sides. You can’t make triangles and it’s essential to have triangles to play good positioning play.”
“Look at the two friendlies against Switzerland and Germany. Both teams did something that we couldn’t handle. They had the balls to pressure us early. We immediately came into trouble. Obviously, we missed big name players, but this lesson still needs to be learned. I believe Germany and Denmark, both in our group at the EC, could play against us like this again. And if our build up is slow, the effectiveness of our creative forwards will decrease significantly. Van Persie got a lot of criticism last World Cup, and I believe it was because we played to defensively and passively. We became a counter team. Our best players are up front though. They need the ball and they need it quick. I love that fact. All nations would love to have our problem, even Germany, Italy, Spain and England. Spain has sensational midfielders but could use a Huntelaar or Van Persie. I believe we need to play our strongest team, with the best players. We need to field on holding midfielder – and we can field one who can play football too! And take the game to the opponent. Relentlessly.”
Cruyff obviously wants Oranje to play 3-4-3 / 4-3-3.
In my book, we could play Pieters – Heitinga – Douglas – Wiel.
With Heitinga moving up – like he does at Everton, creeping into the holding role – and so he could then push our holding midfielder ( yes Bert, I would bench Mark and play Strootman!) closer to our forwards.
My midfield would be Sneijder – Strootman – Van der Vaart and my forwards would listen to the names Robben – Hunter – Van Persie.
This would require quite some discipline (mainly from Van der Vaart, to cover for Van der Wiel).
I wouldn’t mind playing Strootman next to Douglas in the back four and allowing Van Bommel de midfield anchor role. But whatever the solution, I’d like Strootman in the team.
Nigel de Jong seems to have lost his place under Mancini. The former Ajax and Hamburg man does seem to lack any penetration, any creativity and initiative. He probably does a great job stopping attacks, but at Man City (and Oranje I hope) that is not longer good enough.
Rare pic of JC in the US
A fit Afellay could play anywhere in this team, while Ola John would be my ideal stand in for the mercurial Arjen Robben.
I believe Nigel might miss out on the European Tournament, and although I like Nigel, I wouldn’t be too sad about it.
For Van der Wiel’s spot, I do think Ronnie Stam deserves a call up.
I have seen him at Wigan a number of times and in their last game he was crucial in the build up to the two goals. He’s pretty good in the build up, but he struggles physically. Don’t forget, Wigan plays relegation football and that would be quite tough on any of our players. I’d like to see Van der Vaart shine at Wigan, for instance. But Stam has grit, is a great player, has speed and tenacity. I think he deserves it.
Anyway, let the conversation commence. I am in support of Cruyff. Do or die. No halfwitted attempts. Fire on all cylinders!!
Hahaha, Jason… Quite a large group of football fans in Holland think the same way. JC is starting to become a bit of a Waldorf/Statler in one. But… I think he is right. And I think he has incredible value in stirring things up .
Co Adriaanse didn’t leave Twente, Jad. He was fired.
One post before this one, it is spelled out.
I don’t think we need a history lesson here for all to know that Barcelona is the #1 side in the world because of Cruyff. Still not sold on that? Go ahead and ask Pep Guardiola himself. The most important 7 of Spain’s 11 play for Barcelona. Another Oranje blogger pointed out that Barca play 80+ games a season together that’s why they posses the telepathy to play the way they do. But I feel with the right training we can play this way as well. We have the talent. I am all for a high pressuring, defending from the front, high possession, fast attacking 4-3-3.
VdW – Heitinga – Douglas – Pieters
Sneijder – Strootman – VdV
Wijnaldum – v.Persie – O. John
Subs: Vorm, Krul, Bruma, Gouweleeuw, Martins Indi, Vormer, Leroy Fer, Schaars, Afellay, Beerens, Luuk De Jong, Huntelaar
I left out Robben assuming he’d be his usual injured self and put John in instead of Afellay because of match-fitness. The 3 CBs I have as subs are great because they can play CB & RB/LB
“Plus, having two holding midfielders means there is one less creative playmaker. It’s a double edged sword.”
I don’t think you know what the expression ‘double edged sword’ means. Cruijff is trying to say it works against you in attack in 2 ways at once double edged sword basically means ‘ieder voordeel heb z’n nadeel’.
Posted from Netherlands
@klaasvaak – i think double edged sword is correct usage. It’s an advantage for the defensive side but a disadvantage if you want to have quick creativity.
“voordeel & nadeel “
Posted from Singapore
well said jan* on co adrianse, well said….
This whole business with Labyad just leaves a very bitter, nasty taste. First he goes with the youthteam, i think it was U-19, he joined them to some qualification tournament in Slovenia only to there declare to the coach that he’s switching to Morroco… and fly back to the netherlands.. Then he gets a chance for PSV.. and after barely scratching the surface this 18 year old brat calls a bluf saying PSV can claim all they want im transfer free in the summer.. talk about being ingratefull, you get chances and support from oranje youthteams, from KNVB and PSV, and what does he do, turn his back on them all and blame them. Really.. between Maher and Labyad its blatantly obvious who’s had a better upbringing and professional attitude. MAHER !!
Labyad just lost all his credit with me, let him rot..
Posted from Netherlands
It’s the main reason I don’t watch U-19 anymore (or any of the other U-#). I think it’s a waste of my time watching young players play football for Oranje only to see them playing for some other national team when they grow up. That way, those U-tournaments are more akin to clubfootball than national team football and it takes away the whole point of it all. I don’t understand why they can’t make it so that they only choose players who they know don’t have 2 nationalities or may choose another nationality later. I think I’ve already seen waayyy too many names mentioned here who played for Oranje U-something but decided to go try out for some other national team when they get older. Not very inviting.
Posted from Netherlands
@Alex dont worry…Labyad is a hyped one he wont be like sneijder or vaart and will not become like them…Maher is clever boy and he will make it and will play for orange soon with jordy clasie
Labyad is shit why are we even staying in touch wid him when our attentions shud be somwhere else..on our brilliant upcoming wonger LUCIANO NARSINGH!!!
Heerenveen chairman: We have received offers for Oussama Assaidi and Luciano Narsingh
Posted from Bosnia And Herzegovina
Translation – voordeel and nadeel does go over to English best as double edge sword. Your strength is also your weakness. What helps in one area hurts in another.
BvM vs JC – other than to point out that asking a dutchman to shut up is truly hopeless, I’m guessing that BvM was right in 2010 and not in 2012.
1)The two holding midfielders shielded a vulnerable last line in 2010. If they had tried to play 4-3-3 they would have been blown out by Brazil or Uruguay. Also the set system clearly calmed down a legendarily fractious clubhouse.
But in the end it couldn’t beat Spain. Not using RvP at all practically, and just hacking away too much visually didn’t work either. But again I think it was really tough to beat a Spanish team which is essentially an aglomeration of 2 teams with an all star team for many.
For 2012, Kujt, MvB, and De Jong appear to have lost too much of a step. They’ll be 2 years older and it shows. Realistically de Jong and MvB just won’t get away with the ticky tack fouling they did 2 years ago too. (I don’t agree that De Jong’s kick was a mistake BTW – he took made riskily dangerous plays throughout the tourney.)
But haven’t seen too much of BvM adjusting to the new set of key players.
Posted from United States
@Samuel dont forget that we played with just 3 creative players in all games.ie Persie,roben and sneijder,when they had a bad day we lost the game thats it(Final Vs spain),
Vanbommel and dejong had a superb tournament,Dejong become notorious by doibg just one mistake ,,poor fellow become a devil like figure for an unintentinal foul.infact it was bommel who was doing more nasty fouls and with his clverness he escaped from bigpunishments.thats it anyways past is past at present bommel is slow and we have better players than him and dejong is the best protector we have.
Dejong has better lungs and he works so hard and ever running like kuyt.Bommel should be dropped
Oudegeest, De Jong is by far the best destroyer we have, and also is able to read the game very well. If we are going to play with Sneijder-Van der Vaart in midfield I can’t see any better option than De Jong to watch their backs. And talking about ages, I agree with you on VB and Kuyt but Nigel de Jong?…he will be 28 at the EC, the top age for football player, I don´t know what are you talking about.
I second Cruyf ideas about oranje and my EC would be:
Van der Wiel—-Heitinga——-Douglas———Pieters
—————-Van der Vaart——Sneijder———–
“….other than to point out that asking a dutchman to shut up is truly hopeless”
(thanks Samuel – I think my wife understands your point!)
Awesome post. It sums everything up perfectly. Thank you.
Posted from United States
And now Labyad says he’ll sign an extension for 4/5 seasons :S WTH lol
Posted from Netherlands
20. Wolfswinkel/L.de Jong
Yes Kuyt and Bommel should be benched unless they prove again they deserve to be on the starting 11.
Keko – if BVM wont listen to me I’d like him to use your ideas, I like that lineup and formation.
So i am staying at the ritz in maui as a guest of Hyundai for the PGA tournament, and last night i talked with the head of Hyundai. He told me about his relationships w Hiddink and Cruyff with respect to the World Cup and Euro planning and sponsorship.
He said JC was very tough to get along with at first but then was a good person to have a working relationship with. also, because hiddink was south korean coach and hyundai supported the team, he met with Hiddink alot and found him to be very nice and great to work with…thought it might be interesting to share this
JC is a meddlesome guys, isn’t he. Good grief. I wonder if he does Dutch and Ajax football more harm than good. He makes it hard for current coaches to do their jobs–that’s for sure.
JC may not like two holding mids–but it almost won the WC for Holland in S.Africa, and van Bommell was the team’s best player. Now, I don’t know what his form is like, whether he’s still got legs, but he was a huge asset two years ago. The coach will have some big decisions to make involving him, de jong, vdv, kyut, etc. There is the talent to win the Euro, but the mix and chemistry will have to be right. Can Robben and Van Persie play together? I for one don’t think so. Robben looks for his only glory–and does little to service RVP. RVP with the right wingers–as we’ve seen at Arsenal–is very dangerous, but he did nothing in the WC.
Watch what happens when you put Robben on the left with his leftfoot, RVP will get a lot more service then for sure. It would work somewhat similar to Walcott in reverse, it’s just that Walcott has accepted/recognized vPersie’s finishing abilities to be far superior to his own, so he’s always hoping (/looking if) he can get the ball to vPersie, whereas in Robben’s case, the difference in finishing quality is much less, so yeah, Robben is less dependent on vPersie so he won’t stop in his tracks or stall to see if he can get the ball to vPersie regardless of him being marked at the time he looks. This also has the advantage that if you can’t get the ball to vPersie anyway (just like it often happens in Arsenal), Robben’s solution (/finishing) will often be more dangerous than whatever Walcott can come up with.
So I guess it’s also sort of a double edged sword. Affelay is most comparable to Walcott in that regards, he just seems to want to score a bit more (or he’s used to playing with vPersie a bit less, hard to say, when I see him playing, it feels like he’s more geared towards scoring/dribbling for a shot in certain situations where I see Walcott looking for a way to get the ball to vPersie/get a better angle for a pass).
This could however just be a momentary situation at Arsenal cause vPersie is doing so well, so the teammates tend to look for him more because they’re all looking to him to score, whereas in Oranje it’s anybody’s guess who’s going to score the next goal, could be Sneijder, could be Hunter, could be Robben, it doesn’t matter that much, all of those have good finishing skills unlike Walcott. (ok being a little hard on Walcott there )
Posted from Netherlands
But I probably agree that Robben was too focused on himself at the last WC. I do not really attribute this solely to “looking for his own glory” though. It probably has a lot to do with nerves and not playing regularly together (of the 1st team, Robben probably has the fewest games together with the other 1st team players because of all the injuries).
This is a bit of a problem but I don’t see it nearly as sufficient reason to keep him out of the starting line-up if he’s fit. I still think best Dutch player atm is between him and vPersie, just like it was in 2010 (allthough many would probably argue Sneijder, I wouldn’t). But we’re talking form now, so I’m digressing, yeah, yeah, Sneijder’s form was better than vPersie at the WC, end of comment.
Posted from Netherlands
Totally agree with your line-up! Exactly what I was thinking
Keep it up broehtr! We’re all sending you big up sending vibes…we’re expecting a phone call when you send one of those climbs with a 1 and a 3 after the 5.
Posted from China
Wish I had this repcie for the past few summers, when we belonged to a CSA farm and I never could figure what to do with the beets. My husband and I are, unfortunately, the type of people who feel that, no matter what you do to them, beets literally taste like dirt. Every year, I’d try some new repcie and hold out hope and then….nope, still tastes like dirt! We no longer do the CSA, but this might actually inspire me to buy some beets!
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