When I was the manager of Rangers the tactics I used went on variations depending on the players at my disposal. I used 4-4-2, 4-1-3-2 and 4-3-3. But one of the tactics I sometimes used and did so against Arsenal in the Final of the League Cup, was the use of a five man midfield.
This formation allows for greater control of the midfield and can be used to dominate possession and dictate the tempo of the game. In this blog post, I will discuss the tactics of using a five man midfield in great detail, and how I used this formation to achieve success with Glasgow Rangers.
One key aspect of using a five man midfield is the central midfield trio. In my teams, I typically used a defensive midfielder, a box-to-box midfielder, and an attacking midfielder. The defensive midfielder sits in front of the defence and acts as a shield, breaking up opposing attacks and starting the team's own attacks. The box-to-box midfielder is able to cover a lot of ground and can be used to support both the defence and attack. The attacking midfielder is responsible for creating chances for the team's forwards and can also chip in with goals.
The defensive midfielder was crucial in my teams as he would be the first line of defence, he would protect the defence, and help in transition from defence to attack. He would sit deep, in front of the defence, and act as a shield. His main role would be to intercept passes, win aerial duels, and make tackles. He would also be responsible for starting counter-attacks, by playing accurate long passes to the midfielders or the forwards.
The box-to-box midfielder would be the engine of the team, he would press high, move forward and support the attack, while also tracking back to help in defence. He would be the link between defence and attack, and would be involved in both creating and scoring goals. He would be responsible for covering a lot of ground, and would be the first player to press the opponent when we lose the ball. His energy and work rate would be crucial for our team.
The attacking midfielder would be the playmaker of the team, he would create chances, score goals and dictate the tempo of the game. He would be the creative force of the team, and would be the player that would unlock the opposing defense. He would be the one that would play the key passes, take set-pieces, and be the one that would make the team tick. His vision, passing, and technical ability would be crucial for our team.
In addition to the central midfield trio, I also employed the use of two wide midfielders. These players provided width and stretched the opposing team's defence, creating space for the team's forwards to exploit. The wide midfielders were also key in transition, they would move forward and provide options on the wings, while also tracking back to help in defence. They would be responsible for providing width and stretching the opposing team's defence. They would also be responsible for putting crosses into the box, and for taking on the opposing full-backs.
Another important aspect of using a five man midfield is the use of a lone striker. This allowed for a more compact midfield, which made it difficult for the opposing team to play through. The lone striker could hold up the ball and bring others into play, or make runs in behind the defence to stretch the opposing team's backline. This allowed for a more dynamic attack and gave the opposing defence multiple options to mark. He would be the focal point of the attack, and would be the player that would finish off the chances created by the midfielders. He would also be responsible for holding the ball up, bringing others into play and making runs in behind the defence.
In my teams, I also used this formation in combination with a high press. By pressing high up the field, we were able to disrupt the opposing team's build-up play and win the ball back in advanced positions. This made it difficult for the opposing team to play through our midfield and allowed us to dictate the tempo of the game. The high press would be executed by the midfielders and the forwards, with the defensive midfielder dropping deep to provide cover. The aim of the high press would be to win the ball back as high up the field as possible, and to disrupt the opponent's build-up play.
Another tactic that I employed with this formation was using the wide midfielders to overload the flanks. By having both wide midfielders on the same side, we would be able to outnumber the opposing team's full-back and wing-back. This would create a 2v1 situation, and would allow us to create numerical superiority in the wide areas. This would also force the opposing team to shift across and create space in the central areas for our midfielders to exploit.
Improve Your GameJust 1.99 p/m
Exclusive drills and sessions, get involved today!
- 100’s of Drills
- Coach to Camera Videos
- Sessions from Pro’s
- Industry Leading Advice
In conclusion, the five man midfield formation is a highly effective tactic that allows for greater control of the midfield and can be used to dominate possession and dictate the tempo of the game. The central midfield trio, wide midfielders and the lone striker, along with a high press, were all key elements of my tactics during my tenure as the manager of Glasgow Rangers. These tactics helped us win many matches and achieve success both domestically and in Europe. The use of diagrams and tactics like high press, overload on one flank helped me to make my team play fluid and dynamic, and make it hard for the opposition to break through. I hope this blog post has provided insight into the tactics of using a five man midfield and how it can be used to achieve success on the football field.