Both Ajax and FC Barcelona have become synonymous with the 3 P’s; Positioning, Possession and Pressure. These 3 attributes are what I have built this system around. Don’t get me wrong their are positives and negatives to the system but I feel the positives outweigh the negatives. The system is far from complete, but so far the football being produced is exactly what I want to achieve with dynamic movement and crisp passing.
I have been especially pleased with the Half Back role. I wanted to replicate Guardiola’s movement from Cruyff’s Barcelona 3-4-3 system whereby Guardiola played in a small area and mainly held his position in the centre circle, providing an outlet if we need to come backwards to start a move again. Building play from the back, the Half Back stays withdrawn centrally, and the creative players generally occupy the half-spaces, the dangerous areas at the width of the penalty area.
I have also loaded up an exact mirror of this formation which I can switch to in game to change the dynamic of the attacking phase to exploit any opportunities I see in game or to cover the opposite wing if we are being exposed by someone on a particular flank.
Cruyff’s inspired diamond is clear to see in our pass map below.
The team instructions so far are very simple with the mentality set on Standard (Balance) and team shape set to flexible as this gives me more influence on individual player mentality when assigning roles. The flexible shape also gives us more layered positioning and when in possession gives us more ball retention and opportunities for passing moves.
Below you can see the team instructions like I said are kept to a minimum which offers me more influence to each individual player by setting the player instructions.
I am still very much tweaking player instructions, so I have not posted them here because I think it’s better for anyone who wants to try this system out to give their own instructions to players which gives people chance to influence your own style.
I don’t see the point in downloading tactics to try and plug and play because there is a good chance that it won’t work for your club; plus for me anyway there is no better feeling than creating your own tactic and evolving it at your club.
This is very much the first stage in trying to get as close as possible to me creating a modern day Totaal Voetbal tactic. I will go in to more detail on a regular basis on how the tactic is evolving.
One tip that I always stand by is that when building a tactic take the time to watch your games in detail because this is the only way you will find your strength and weakness within a system. I am a believer that you can create solid tactics by taking the time to see what works for you and experimenting with player instructions.
I see far too many times people saying that this role doesn’t work with this role and so on, but that is not always the case and you can go against the grain; believe me because I have done it time after time, but you need to put the time in developing your system.
Another bug bare of mine is when somebody uses somebody else’s system and can’t get it to work then calls it shit. Yes, you can download a tactic and it works but really where is the fun in that.
I also use opposition instructions; I have close down set on the following positions : Goalkeeper, Right and Left Full Back and Wing Backs, Right and Left Wide Midfielders and Wide Attacking Midfielders.
For training I am using Fitness and Tactics in pre season then I switch to Balanced and Tactics until tactic is fluid and then once tactic is fluid I go for Balanced and Defensive Positioning.
If we go on a bad run, I then change the team training a little to see if I can shake the team up again.
For Individual training, I try to train attributes connected with the players role in the team or train a new trait. I will sometimes retrain a player a new role depending if I think it’s going to be beneficial in the long run. I am looking at training a couple of players the Libero role because long term I want to try and get as close as possible to the Ajax Totaal Voetbal philosophy has I can.