Transition and Counter Attacking

Massimo Lucchesi, 2003, Reedswain Books & Videos
http://www.amazon.com/Transition-Counter-Attacking-Massimo-Lucchesi/dp/1591640539

When reading the title of the book “Transition and Counter Attacking” I was under the impression I could learn something about attacking in soccer, especially the quick counter attacking after successful pressing, how it is today often used in combination with the 4-4-2, especially in Germany. However, the book solely contains descriptions of defensive situations. It explains very simple the positions of every player, when the ball is in different zones of the field. All common systems are compared to each other,that means 4-4-2 against 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 5-3-2 a.s.o., then the next system is evaluated. Different positions on the field are discussed but also in general the majority and minority situations vertically and horizontally are analyzed to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each system, when played against another one. That sounds very interesting, because it should provide you with all information that are needed to lead a team, but it is hard to read because very repetitive. The other problem is that all the analytical work looks like paper exercises. There is no dynamic described. The positions are solely set up to block the way to the goal but even my untrained eye can easily see passing options, which would work for the attacking team, if the players would move instead of being locked in their position. Additionally to that there are also not many different situations explained , e.g. how the setup changes when the attack progresses and how to act on it defensively. For example, there should be a different way to position or to press, when the wing back plays to the winger a pass and then stays back as a passing option, compared to when he goes behind the back of the winger along the line to offer a passing option down the field or he goes inside in front of the winger forward offering some passing option in the half spaces? None of these moves and their effect on defensive behavior is considered, therefore the whole book just provides a very simplified view on the whole picture and has only limited value in real soccer life and it especially does not describe how to organize a counter attack or how to use the transition moment when getting the ball.

Biography: 0/3
History: 0/3
Background: 0/3
Tactics & Game philosophy: 3/3

Next book: Herr Guardiola (German Feb 7th)

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Pressing

Massimo Lucchesi, 2003, Reedswain Books & Videos
http://www.amazon.com/Pressing-Massimo-Lucchesi/dp/1591640520

After looking into the details of zonal play and the 4-4-2 it was time to move on to pressing in general. Lucchesi’s book starts with a description of movements of the defensive team, which we know from the zonal play, but he sets a special focus on how to prepare or cover the pressing actions of the players close to the ball. After that it is explained how pressing in the own half is carried out (midfield and defensive pressing), what is the right position of the players nearby and when to go for the ball. Furthermore the right marking of other opponent players is explained and how to back up the team mates, who are pressing. The same is done for offensive pressing. Additionally to the training exercises there are also chapters about offside, counter-attacks and the mentality, which plays a major role for successful pressing.
So in general one has to say that the topic is completely covered with the book and one can start training with a team right now. On the other hand, similar to most of the other Italian tactic books published by Reedswain I do not feel satisfied after reading it. The whole teaching approach seems to be very limited. You get told “that this is the way how the wing-back has to move and this way the full-back, these are the exercises to train that.” What is lacking is an explanation for it, an example why this is good but another position or move is bad, so that one can get an idea of the bigger picture and can use the same methodology for other situations. Lacking examples are another important point, which makes this books hard to read. If the teaching would be shown with examples from real games, again positive and negative, than it would become much more interesting. Even, if these examples are again just diagrams with arrows and dots it would provide context and it would allow to see the work in a less ideal setup then it is described in the books. So again, you will learn the basics of pressing from this book but it could be a much better read. I think, in the future I have to explore a bit outside the Reedswain portfolio to find more entertaining reads.

Biography: 0/3
History: 0/3
Background: 0/3
Tactics & Game philosophy: 3/3

Next book: The Blizzard: Issue Five (Dec 27th)