“The success of defensive rigidity and rapid counter-attacks against possession football hints at another tactical evolution,” was the opening statement in a recent piece in the Guardian.
You hear a lot of people, among them, quite a few fans of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, move away from their appreciation of Tiki-taka towards, well, winning the game by any means possible. And rightly so, the frustration of a team like Barcelona who keep the ball in terms of possession without any end result is understandable. They seemed to be bored of what they once appreciated and looked forward to, which brings us to the question of whether Tiki-Taka has come to and end.
The roots of Tiki-taka or totalfootball would take us back to the times of the legendary Dutch manager of Barcelona – Johan Cryuff. The idea that he wanted to implement was simple – to keep possession of the ball through short passing and patience teaching his players the most important bit in football – trusting your mates to be there when you need them and vice versa.
In recent years, few teams have figured out a way to beat this system of beautiful football. Mourinho, in 2010, was the first person to figure this with Internazionale when they beat Barcelona by double-marking Messi and preventing Xavi from achieving a successful passing rhythm in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
But there is more to tiki-taka than that. People need to “realize” the true beauty of the concept and there are some that still do despite of their support for any specific team.
The beauty of this great footballing philosophy is that it entertains a fan of beautiful football despite of the score line. The one-two passes, the triangle, the quick moves to get away from opponents, the on-the-sport turns (what Xavi basically does in every game) to get away from a player of greater ability, the ability to have the trust of the manager to be fielded in a position which requires showing yourself constantly to your other two at any given time – all this is nothing but what can be termed as entertaining football or as one would relate in terms of money spent – earn your money’s worth in entertainment.
Yes. It’s simply a fact of life that even though you have a possession level of 70% +, that possession level does not matter when you don’t win games or neither does it matter when opponents can counter score in a matter of seconds.
Tiki-taka will never cease or give way to a counter-attacking mentality, which braces pace and the ability to grasp an opportunity. Basically, when people give you (the players on the field) a bigger responsibility than you’ve ever had, they need tobelieve you will be successful.
How can you make them believe?
You may not have the experience to deal with counter tiki-taka, for now, but you still have your dispositions based on your experience-to-date and potentially good questions to help you gain insight into what you do not know yet.
People will eventually realize the true essence of the concept more clearly.