It might happen that coaches want to control the game at the point that it’s not straightforward anymore. Above all and in my view, the game of football is a “living organism” that some coaches do not let happen naturally, like what happens in street football, where in any space creativity is found and made to be found. I see this “creative street” football in the moment of the counter-attacking of Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco.

Let’s say that a counter-attack (offensive transition) happens when there is a quick attack where a team looks to prevent the defensive set-up of the opponent. I see these words in Monaco of Leonardo Jardim. A team that defends with a lot of criteria, and that from the time in which the ball possession is recovered the players “free themselves” and become their own masters making the team become pragmatic and effective in the processes – highlighting the creativity of the players growing in this team.

What’s in common in these processes then? What makes this team that at the moment is experiencing success in Europe, different in the counter-attacking process?

For me, something that can be clearly identified is that the players identify the possibilities they have in terms of progression with the ball according to the circumstance existing at the time, immediately after the recovery of the ball possession. They perceive what they can do at the time.

Here below let’s check some examples of what happened in recent games.

The Match Analyst  monaco01Created with Wyscout “Playlist and Draw” App

The player that makes the pass sees that the pressure he is subject to (after winning the ball possession) leads to there being space behind this pressure. He passes into this space.

The Match Analyst  monaco02-1

Created with Wyscout “Playlist and Draw” App

Criteria in the positioning of the defensive block (strong protection of the central corridor) and after recovery of the possession, he looks for the space behind the pressure.

The Match Analyst  monaco03

Created with Wyscout “Playlist and Draw” App

A player that have the space and time to accurately kick the ball beyond the area where the pressure is exerted. Change in the corridor for continuation of the counter-attacking process.

The Match Analyst  monaco04 The Match Analyst  monaco05

Created with Wyscout “Playlist and Draw” App

Let’s sum up what’s in common in these counter-attacking images of Jardim’s Monaco:

  • Players relieve the ball from the densified areas (after recovery);
  • Identification/location of the preferential spaces for progression with the ball;
  • Searching for teammates in a better position (without any pressure) for continuity of the process;
  • Freedom and creativity in the counter-attacking process.

Joao Nuno Fonseca

Professional Football Match Analyst

Joao Nuno Fonseca hold an MSc in Sports Training with specialisation in Football under the guidance of the Professor Jose Guilherme. Start his professional career during University in Academica de Coimbra – 1st Division Portugal, as match analyst for the historical club. Won the Portuguese Cup in 2012 against Sporting Lisbon. Former Senior Football Match Analyst for ASPIRE Academy in Doha – Qatar and U19 Qatar National Team.