Why Alfred Schreuder would be the perfect Ten Hag replacement

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After working under some of the most exceptional managers in his time as an assistant coach, Alfred Schreuder has been making headlines at Club Brugge this season, and now looks prepared to take over the helm at Ajax FC. Schreuder has learned from some of the best in the game, most notably Julian Nagelsmann, Erik Ten Hag and Ronald Koeman. Working under those modern day legends, Schreuder has established his own unique style of play, catching the attention of a club with a massive history in Ajax. Here is a tactical analysis of Screuder’s Club Brugge, in preparation for his potential return to the Netherlands.


Schreuder has mixed around his tactics and formations this season, primarily operating in either a 3-5-2 or 4-3-3 formation. Either way, it’s a midfield three that Schreuder clearly prefers, which would suit him well at Ajax FC. The Dutch manager’s flexibility not only extends to his formational switching by the game, but also to his rotation of personnel and use of players in several different positions. Almost Graham Potter-esque, the likes of Charles De Ketelaere, Noa Lang and Denis Odoi have operated in several different roles this season, and you never quite know what you’re going to get when Club Bruges set up. Within this flexible system and style of play, some key principles always remain.

Key Style Of Play Principals:

  • Playing out from the back
  • Short passing, high tempo, possession-based football
  • Man-oriented pressing in most situations
  • Using a target forward who can hold up the ball and get others to run in behind


The above is an example of how Schreuder’s teams like to build up from the back. As we can see, the wingbacks typically go as wide as the touchline, which allows for greater ability to play through the centre of the pitch. Aiding in this approach, the two outside centre-halves spread wide to stretch the field all the more, and the defensive midfielder drops in at the top of the build-up diamond. As often seen in a modern day 4-3-3, the team often play with a false nine. When deploying a 3-5-2, the other striker can then run in behind, as the false nine drifts toward the ball. Either way, Schreuder encourages a quick and intense build-up-play, which includes hard off-the-ball work to create space.

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Meanwhile, outside of the general phase of play from the back, Club Brugge enjoy a “gegenpressing” system, looking to win back possession immediately after losing the ball. If Schreuder were to move to Ajax this summer, you can be certain that Ten Hag’s “press and possess” mentality would persist. They have the players in place to utilize both a false nine or a target man, and continue Schreuder’s ideals around meticulous build-up play and intense pressing from the front. All ends up, Alfred Schreuder seems like a logical Ten Hag replacement, and could very well end up at Ajax this summer.

So there it is! Why Alfred Schreuder would be the perfect Ten Hag replacement. Be sure to check out more of our tactical analyses, and follow on social media to never miss an update. Thank you for reading and see you soon!

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How not to defend set-pieces (ft. HFX Wanderers & Cavalry)

I can’t remember another game in my lifetime where four goals, in fact – 100% of the goals, came from set-pieces. I love analyzing team structures and shapes in traditional match analyses, and I could tell you all about Cavalry’s almost 3-3-1-3-esque build-up or Halifax’s stern 4-3-1-2 press. But ultimately, this game was decided by free kicks and corners. While that may be seen by some as “boring”, on this occasion, all four of the goals resulted off the back of both tactical and psychological mistakes, more than worth breaking down in detail. So with that, here is our Match Analysis of Halifax’s 2-2 draw with Cavalry, and our case study on how not to defend set-pieces.

Four tactical discussion points from Matchday 6 in the CANPL

Due to time restrictions, I’ve been unable to get my usual tactical review of the weekend that was in the Canadian Premier League up and running. But the league still delivered in its sixth round of fixtures, with plenty of intriguing tactical adaptations taking form. So with that, here is what you need to know about the sixth round of fixtures, ahead of Matchday 7.

Picking the 2021-22 PFA Team of the Year

It’s that time of year! In this week’s Tactical Thinker, we asked you to name your PFA Team of the Year, as though you were one of the pros making the difficult selection. After a countless number of responses, we compile the top eleven players as voted by our own stack of pros – you, the readers. Here is our PFA Team of the Year, from the TMS community.

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