In the match between Seville and Villarreal, with the home team dominating the ball, Villarreal had in Manu Trigueros the player with the difficult job of maintaining possession after recovering the ball. Trigueros touched only 44 balls, but he proved to be one of the best on the pitch with the way he used his ball control and the concept of la pausa to defuse Seville’s immediate ball recovery system and order his team. Trigueros allowed Villarreal to do the most possible with the little time they had with the ball. I have selected a play to illustrate this.

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Given the initial situation, with Villarreal recovering the ball after an attack by Seville with their 8 yellow players still arranged on two lines between the penalty area and the base line, the offensive transition does not seem feasible. Manu Trigueros receives the ball with no support close by. He is alone in the centre of his own midfield and exposed to Seville’s immediate ball recovery phase.

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With a fake after his initial control, he throws Mercado off balance, and after that instead of trying a lonely run with the ball to connect with the striker Adrian he waits and with a series of fakes he also resists another press attempt by Franco Vázquez. The prolonged ball protection allows his team to spread out and take on an orderly structure.

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After passing down the wing, thereby negating Seville’s pressing, he receives the ball again in the original position at the centre of his own midfield and this time with a pausa he waits for Ben Yedder to press, allowing him to approach as much as possible in order to isolate him at the tip of the triangle with the two defenders and therefore create a situation where there is, in two simple passes, an open centre back able to play the ball with no one around him.

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After passing to the first defender, he moves immediately to receive the pass behind Seville’s midfielders to then turn and start a fast attack with his teammates who are already in the opposing team’s midfield. Thanks to the efforts made by Manu Trigueros, Villarreal went from being bunched up in front of their own goal to being able to attack Seville’s unguarded defence with 4 players.

Daniele V. Morrone
Was born in Rome in 1987. He studies economics, loves Cruyff and Guardiola “positional football” and he’s interested in the Asian football evolution. He is an author for l’Ultimo Uomo