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Otto-replay : Pfister knows best

Otto Pfister, famous german coach who was coaching in many countries in Africa and Asia in particular, will regularly analyse games on mycujoo in different leagues, pointing the good and the bad of the teams from a tactical standpoint. For his first analysis, Pfister decodes Albirex Niigata from the Singapore Premier League during their game against Home United.

Otto Pfister knows best

The coach

Otto Pfister is a German coach who spent the longest time of his career abroad. Voted Africa's Manager of the Year in 1992, Pfister has coached Burkina Faso, Zaire, Cameroon, Ghana with which he participated to the African Cup of Nations, Togo which he lead to the World Cup in 2006, Ghana U-17 with which he won the FIFA U-17 World Cup. He was also coach in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Trinidad-and-Tobago, Tunisia... He is currently coach of the Afghanistan national team.

The team

Founded in 2004, Albirex Niigata Singapore is a satellite from a Japanese club and has the particularity to play in the Singapore Premier League with almost only Japanese players (except two players this season). Extremely successful, they won the championship in 2016 and 2017, as well as the Cup and the League Cup. This season, the club is dominating the League again. Still unbeaten, they have 19 wins for 2 draws, 63 goals scored and 13 conceded.

The game

Home United FC 1-1 Albirex Niigata FC - 12/08/2018
Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League

The analysis

“Albirex Niigata had the best players in every position, there is no doubt about that. And they had the ball possession, probably around 65% overall. But ball possession is not all. If you don’t score, it is actually useless. Home United has a very defensive conception of the game. So in such situation, you have to play more on the sides, which Niigata did not do enough, they played far too many balls in the center. The problem for Niigata is that their transition from defense to attack was very slow, far too slow. So the team was better, but the domination was completely sterile.

There was no tempo in the midfield. The dribbling was not efficient because they could not change the tempo, the pace of the game. Then they were one-sided, especially in the first half, they were attacking on the left side only. Their left winger, Kenya Takahashi, got a lot of balls but he did not know what to do with it, because he did not have enough support, there was no overlapping. So as they were struggling with the animation, too many times they were trying with long balls, and the Home United defense could catch these very easily.

The goal Albirex Niigata conceded was also very symptomatic : first of all there was no pressure, not even a marking on the midfield who gave the pass, so he could put his ball through easily. Secondly there’s been no communication between the two central defenders. It was a two against two situation, and the consequence is that none of the central defenders covered the other one.

And it is a shame because one very positive thing about Niigata team is precisely their very strong defensive organisation. They were systematically two or three players behind the ball, chasing the Home United players. With very few tactical adjustments, this team could be really strong.

I don’t really know why the game was so slow, but I remember when we played against Singapore a few months ago with Afghanistan, I thought they were a bit naive from a tactical standpoint. When you have better players than your opponent at practically every position, you have to be much more effective.”

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