This graphic looks at counter attacks in the Premier League in the 2018-19 season. On the bottom we can see ‘successful counter attacks against’. This refers to how many times a team conceded a successful counter attack against themselves. Thus, teams on the right conceded less and teams on the left conceded more. On the left we can see ‘successful counter attacks for’. This shows how many successful counter attacks teams performed. Both metrics are in accordance to per 90 valuations.
I have purposely split the counter attacks of both Mourinho’s and Solskjær’s United. This is because they were drastically different. In Mourinho’s case, he would emphasise being pro-active in anticipated possession losses. Thus, he would rarely attack with more than five or six players. Thus, when United lost possession there were enough players in defensive positions who would aid in dealing with the transition. However, Solskjær’s case was different. He would emphasise offensive numbers in a bid to dominate teams. Thus, he would attack with five or six players. Thus, his teams would be more successful in countering but less successful in preventing successful counters against them. On the other hand, Mourinho’s United did not concede many successful counter attacks, however, they did not succeed in countering themselves. Rather, they ranked 12th in the Premier League for successful counters whilst Solskjær’s United ranked 4th.
Moving forward, Solskjær has to find the balance in countering successfully whilst being pro-active enough to prevent counter attacks against them. Look at the right-hand corner of the graphic. Manchester City, Liverpool and Wolves were the three best teams in transition as they were able to counter attack well whilst also prevent counter attacks against them.
This is the target.