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Tactical trends analysed in Europa League technical report

The 2019/20 UEFA Europa League technical report is now available, with in-depth technical and tactical analysis of last season's competition.

Sevilla celebrate their UEFA Europa League triumph
Sevilla celebrate their UEFA Europa League triumph Getty Images

There were familiar winners of the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League, but the way Sevilla emerged from an initial field of 213 clubs to get their hands on the trophy was the subject of debate and in-depth analysis from UEFA's technical observers, the conclusions of which have now been published in the technical report.

2019/20 Europa League technical report

Every game from the round of 16 onwards was analysed by the technical observers, with individual reports produced to fuel an ongoing discussion into the latest tactical and technical trends in the game.

The secret to Sevilla's success, thanks not only to their 73 high turnovers, is also revealed by the architect of the Andalusian club's sixth title, their coach Julen Lopetegui, in an exclusive, revelatory interview. His approach and ideas in what was an anomalous year for all, with the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting the action, are a source of coaching wisdom which is validated by the observations of UEFA's Technical Observers: Thomas Schaaf, Packie Bonner, Savvas Constantinou, Jerzy Engel, Dušan Fitzel, Stefan Majewski, Jarmo Matikainen, John Peacock and Peter Rudbæk.

Europa League technical report: Sevilla's set-piece strength

With a total of 548 goals scored, at an average of 2.78 per match – or one every 33 minutes – the way in which the 48 clubs who reached the group stage set out their stalls to succeed was the source of discussion, while the numbers were crunched to reveal what the most successful approaches were, from Sevilla's high press, through Shakhtar Donetsk's beating midfield heart to Internazionale Milano's bold build-up from the back.

Indeed, with the advent of a new rule permitting goal kicks to be played short, how each club interpreted this novel scenario produced some intriguing findings. With the aid of collective and individual heat maps, substantiated observations of individual performances and statistics, the different approaches were analysed with former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Packie Bonner highlighting its pros and cons.

In among the more predictable trends were outliers like Austrian club LASK, whose bold attacking play was rewarded, and a Manchester United side who thrived with one of the youngest teams in the competition's history.

Meanwhile, the impact of VAR, making its debut in the Europa League, and how a radical new format that culminated in eight clubs descending on Germany for a dramatic knockout conclusion, were among a variety of other aspects which went under the microscope.

2020 Europa League final highlights: Sevilla 3-2 Inter

The report, which is intended to supply coaches across the continent with useful material for their own development, will be available in three languages – English, French and German – and be made available to members of the coaching family throughout Europe.

It is hoped it can help development coaches keep up to date with the prevailing styles and strategies at the top level of the club game.

It is currently available in digital format at www.uefatechnicalreports.com.

Over the last 25 seasons, UEFA has published more than 130 technical reports on its club and national team competitions, based on input from leading coaches who have acted as technical observers.