Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona: How Zidane outfoxed Koeman in the El Clasico

Toni Kroos-Real Madrid

Real Madrid picked up a 2-1 win over Barcelona in the El Clasico at the weekend and Zinedine Zidane managed to tactically outfox Ronald Koeman.

The Real Madrid manager exploited Barcelona’s 3-5-2 shape and his setup managed to nullify their strengths throughout the game.

Here are the three tactical approaches Zidane undertook to beat Barcelona on Sunday.

Prevent the build-up

Barcelona used the 3-5-2 system with three ball playing defenders at the back so that they can play out from the defence and control possession.

However, Zidane’s men pressed the Catalan giants relentlessly and disrupted their buildup.

The inclusion of Federico Valverde added more energy and defensive cover to the Real Madrid midfield which helped them in both phases of the game.

Cut out passing lanes

Real Madrid were aware of Barcelona’s technical qualities and that the Catalan giants would eventually find a way around they are pressing.

Therefore, they decided to congest the central midfield with bodies and stop the passing lanes when Barcelona managed to play out of the back.

This stopped Barcelona from progressing with the ball from the defence to the final third. As a result, the attackers were left with very little service upfront.

Direct attacking play

Real Madrid sacrificed their style of free-flowing attacking football in order to win the game. They resorted to a more direct approach with long balls in order to bypass the Barcelona midfield and their pressing.

Zidane used a similar approach against Liverpool where are the likes of Toni Kroos picked out the Real Madrid attackers with long balls as the Reds tried to press them.

The likes of Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba played higher up the pitch in order to create more chances for Barcelona and Real Madrid took complete advantage of that.

The Spanish outfit exploited the space behind Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold against Liverpool in a similar way.