EL CLÁSICO

Are these the tactics Real Madrid employed to win El Clásico?

AS headquarters received a package containing notes, supposedly from the hand of Zidane and his staff, analysing Barca's movement ahead of Saturday's game.
Real Madrid-Deportivo: LaLiga matchday 20

El Clásico tactics

The AS newsroom received a stack of notes that appear to be Zinedine Zidane and his technical staff’s plans ahead of Saturday’s El Clásico clash, in which Real Madrid beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

While the AS editorial team lends some credence to these notes, the rough sketchings cannot be completely verified as coming from the hand of the Los Blancos’ manager. The stationary used bears the Real Madrid letterhead, the first clue that points to their authenticity, and were sent to the newsroom hours ahead of the game kicking off.

They outline various tactical points (see images). Emphasis is placed on Barcelona’s high pressing game and the need for the Madrid players to constantly provide passing options to each other when in possession.

The importance of cutting out Barca’s supply line in the middle of park (Iniesta and Rakitic in particular) is highlighted which would force the home team to play on the flanks and thereby Carvajal and Marcelo would be enlisted to stifle Alba and Alves respectively; while Ramos and Pepe would come out to mark Messi and Neymar.

That tactical approach would require Casemiro to drop back into the defensive line of four.
Another fundamental point dealt with in the notes is how to handle Messi falling deep into midfield to get on the ball: quick adjustments would need to be made in terms of marking and the defenders would have to be watchful for Luis Suárez’s diagonal runs in behind the back line.

Nearly all of these points were accomplished during the game, as Madrid managed to cut Barca out, prevent their hosts from getting into second gear and come back from behind to win thanks to goals from Benzema and Cristiano.