After retiring at the end of the last season, Thiago Motta has now become the Under-19 Paris Saint-Germain’s coach. He is responsible for preparing young people who will become the backbone of the main team.
In an interview with Gazzetta Dello Sport last week, the former Italian player spoke about his transition to a coaching career, as well as the philosophy of tactics that he will embrace. As a former defensive midfielder, it was not surprising when he mentioned that he would create a team with a tight formation in its defense.
Having an anti-mainstream formation, Motta chose not to mention the standard formations such as 4-4-2, 4-3-3, or 5-3-2. Instead, Motta called his formations as 2-7-2, which many people immediately welcomed with controversial opinions.
Many people interpreted all 11 players would act as outfield players in the Motta formation. This assumption was even uttered by Motta’s own mouth. “I put goalkeepers in seven (players) in the middle,” Motta said.
“For me, the attacker is the first defender, meanwhile the goalkeeper is the first attacking player. The game starts from the goalkeeper with his feet by pressing the attackers so that they can take the ball back,” he continued.
Some media even predicted who are the goalkeepers deserved to play the role of a midfielder. Manuel Neuer was clearly in the top list.
It’s just that, many circles, even popular media, interpreted the 2-7-2 version of Motta not in the most correct version. English-language media do not translate Motta’s words with precision and moreover, Indonesian media.
According to Andy Nurhadi, a Sufi on Panditfootball, the media have omitted an important sentence in Motta’s explanation. Here’s an original copy of Motta’s words in Italian:
“Comptant de droite a gauche, ce serait un 2-7-2. Le gardien, the same as the sept du milieu les terrain. Pour moi, l’attaquant est le premier défenseur et le gardien le premier attaquant. Le gardien est le premier à commu l’Aaction en jouant à fair et les attaquants les premiers à faire pression pour récupérer le ballon. “
In Indonesian, this explanation will mean:
“Counting from right to left, (formation) it will be 2-7-2. I put the goalkeeper in seven (players) in the middle. For me, the attacker is the first defender and the goalkeeper is the first attacking player. The game starts from the goalkeeper with his feet and pressing the attackers will take the ball back. “
So it’s clear. Motta’s 2-7-2 is a formation that “counts from right to left”, not from back to front as for how a formation is usually counted to be. Whether it was deliberately omitted so that it seemed to cause a sensation or indeed the media failed to capture Motta’s message correctly, this condition certainly explained many things.
If simulated, mainstream formations such as 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 5-3-2, 3-5-2, 3-4-3, or other formations that were usually applied on the console games can indeed be interpreted as 2-7-2, only if they were calculated from right to left.
Most importantly, Motta’s 2-7-2 version has already been said to have “two wingers on the right” and “two players on the left wing”. Apparently, what Motta meant could actually be a formation by placing two wingers, such as 4-4-2, or 4-2-3-1.
So, it never crossed Motta’s mind to make the goalkeeper plays as a midfielder…