On August the 9th 2018 deadline day with an hour before the window closed Domingos Quina and his agent pulled up to the Watford training ground. The youngster was at West Ham United he also played a starring role as Portugal were crowned champions in the 2018 Under-19 European Championships, but he did not feel like he had a pathway to the first team at West Ham and wanted a move.  With a conversation with the owners, Watford decided to take a chance on Quina and it may prove to be one of the best decisions they have made as there is no doubt of the youngster’s talent. Immediately the midfielder caught the eye scoring a superb strike from 30 yards in his debut against Reading in the EFL Cup. The midfielder then went on to make 13 Premier League appearances including a fine goal in Watford’s 3-0 win over Cardiff.

This season has not been the same as the youngster has been battling through injuries and with the team’s precarious position in the league even when he has been available Watfords managers have opted for the more experienced players. However, he has still had his opportunity in some of the cup competitions. This tactical analysis/scout report will look at the midfielder highlighting the player’s strengths and weakness. The analysis will provide a detailed look at the player’s ability on the ball as a distributor.

Positioning 

One thing that is fantastic to see in the youngster is his eagerness to get involved and his desire to be on the ball as much as possible. This initially comes from his positioning. Quina will typically operate on the left side of a midfield duo. What the youngster is then good at is coming short to look for the ball. He will make this run from the middle of the pitch to a deep position within the Watford half, often coming from the middle to a wider position.

Using the example below it shows that Quina has left the area covered by three opposition players and moved out towards the full-back in order to collect the ball and then move the ball on for Watford. It is not necessary for Watford that he does this as the full-back does have time on the ball and the options to go back and round. However, because of Quina movement, it enables Watford to play at a higher tempo as he will come back looking for the ball and then move it on quickly often playing a wide or a forward pass.

 

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Looking specifically at his territorial coverage as a left centre midfielder, notice how he drifts slightly of the centre to pick up the ball not only in his half but also when attacking. This is because of his movement to get into a position where he can collect the ball and move it on. This is a great asset for Watford as it means they can move up the pitch quicker as Quina will play quick passes when on the ball.

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Simple with flair

In his first interview with the club, Quina said he likes to “do things you don’t expect” this is very evident in his style of play as even though the Portuguese midfielder will not spend much time on the ball, what he will do will be done quickly and often with a bit of skill. This can be noticed in his passing style as if he is under pressure he will play a first-time pass to the nearest available player and then move into space often with a bit of disguise on the pass. He will do this in many ways often with his body movement to send the opponent the wrong way. This could be letting the ball run across him while opening his body to fake that he is turning with the ball only to go the other way. He is effective at this as at a hight of 173cm he can use his small stature to turn instantly.

In the example below, it highlights how the midfielder likes to add a bit of skill to his game. As Roberto Pereyra is looking to move the ball inside to keep Watford’s attack flowing he plays a pass into Quina. What Quina is then looking to do is target the gap in the middle of the pitch. He has a couple of options to do this as he could try and turn on the ball or drive into the space in between the two midfielders. However, what he decides to do instead is drop his shoulder like he is about to dribble with the ball causing the midfielder to commit meaning he leaves his position. Quina then plays a first-time pass into Pereyra and moves out of the way leaving space for Pereyra to drive into the highlighted space. This is a simple move from the youngster but as he is able to do it quickly it does not give the opposition time to react.

He is effective at this as out of his 1054 passes he completes 92.9%. Also showing the youngsters positivity he will often look for the forward pass and passes in the opposite half as he has attempted 593 forward passes(91.1% success) compared to 461 backward passes (95.2%succsess) illustrating he is looking to attack teams.

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Forcing the pass

It is a credit to Quina his consistency with his passing. However, where the youngster does occasionally makes mistakes is forcing the pass too early.  Part of his playstyle is to do everything quickly and to get the ball forward as fast as possible. Nevertheless, this does mean that he forces the pass. For Quina, this will typically happen when looking for a pass to open up an opponent though on some occasions that isn’t the right selection and a simpler pass would have sufficed.

As the example shows Quina has three Watford players who are available for a pass but instead opts for an optimistic over the top ball down the line to the winger. It is encouraging that the youngster wants to try a pass like this. However, it does show a bit of inexperience as the better option would be to keep the ball and build from there. Even though it is early in the second half Watford were 3-0 up at this point of time and do not need to force anything and just control the game.  This did not happen as without the experience of Nathaniel Chalobah in the middle both Quina and Tom Dele-Bashiru slowly let Tranmere rovers back in the game. It is harsh to say that it was the midfield fault for surrendering the 3-0 advantage as on the day it was an inexperienced team. But it does highlight where Quina needs to improve.

 

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On the ball tendencies

This analysis has mentioned how Quina likes to do everything quickly and at a pace, whether it is the way he distributes the ball or when dribbling. This all starts with his tendencies on the ball. When receiving the ball no matter where he is on the pitch he is looking to move either with the ball or move the ball into space. He is able to do this because of the way he receives the ball. The youngster always has his head up and is constantly aware of his surroundings this enables him to know what he wants to do before the ball even gets to him. Even though he is comfortable receiving the ball on his left he heavily favours his right foot and will, therefore, position his body in the best way to use his right foot.

In the example below, it shows Quina picking up the ball in a tight spot with three players around him. Immediately with his first, he is looking to turn towards goal with a slight touch in a goalwards direction. However, he immediately realises he cannot do this as the midfielder has blocked this off.  As a result, he quickly adjusts with a small touch with his left foot meaning he is now facing the opposition and can then move the ball forward from here. What this shows is his technical ability to keep the ball in a tight situation and his awareness to move the ball on when being pressured.

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Dribbling ability

Domingos Quina has won 69.5% of his 128 one vs one and on average has 5.49 offensive one vs ones every 90 minutes showing it is something he relishes. However, what the midfielder is particularly effective at is carrying the ball out of a tight situation. The reason Quina is good at this is his dribbling style. The midfielder will opt of lots of little touches mainly with his right foot keeping the ball close to him. He combines this with his body movement in order to make him unpredictable. What Quina will often do is constantly make the defender question what direction he wants to go. He will do this in a couple of ways as he will either be constantly pushing the ball from side to side using both the outside and inside of his right foot, or he will use his body by dropping his shoulder or doing a stepover in the opposite direction he is wanting to go.

His dribbling ability enables him to create opportunities for himself as this example shows. As Quina receives the ball he is surrounded by three defenders. He wants to drive towards the goal in order to have a shot at goal. However, to do this he needs to move the second defender in order to move in the area he is covering. How he does this is simple but effective as his first touch with a drop of his shoulder pushes the ball slightly towards the third defender away from goal. This makes the second defender commit to putting pressure on Quina as he believes he is going away from goal, Because of this Quina can direct his second touch in the area the defender has just left. This simple body shift while holding the first defender off enables him to move the ball into space and get his shot off. This is another example of how Quina’s awareness means he already knows what he wants to do and because of the speed he can execute the move it is effective.

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Getting caught on the ball

This analysis has mentioned Quina’s ability on the ball which is fantastic. However, even though he is comfortable receiving the ball on his left foot he is not as effective as turning with the ball on his left foot. This is a risk for Watford as there are tactics an opposing team could use to try and win the ball back, and as it is something Quina is often looking to it is an area that could be targeted.

Using the example below Quina wants to turn with the ball towards goal he is aware that the player is there and therefore turns with his body having the opponent to try and knock the ball past him. However, on this occasion, the defender is aware of this and wins the ball back giving his team a chance to counter-attack. This does illustrate that at time Quina overcomplicates situations and would have been better turning holding onto the ball.

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Shooting

Partially due to his positioning and his eagerness to get involved in the middle of the pitch when Quina does get an opportunity to shoot it is from a deep position. Despite this out of his 30 shots, 40% are on target this is impressive considering 63.4% of his shots are from outside of the box. It is one of the youngster’s strengths as he has proven with a few impressive goals for Watford and Portugal.

Looking in particular at his shot distribution it is clear that Quina favours the right side of the goal, especially the top right. This is partly down to where he is shooting from and in order to beat the keeper from this distance, it does need to be in the corners. Like his playstyle, he will often opt for the more difficult dipping effect on the shot rather than a curled effort as it is more difficult for a keeper to predict, he will also favour shooting with his right foot.

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Conclusion

To conclude this tactical analysis it is clear to see that Watford have a very talented youngster on their books in Domingos Quina. The midfielder is fantastic to watch with his infectious energy combined with his flair on the ball he is defiantly one to watch. He may not have had much game time this season, largely down to injury and Watford’s league position. It is evident that Quina style of play does have a couple of mistakes, but with more experience, it is something he can reduce.

Regardless of where Watford finishes this season, it is likely that Abdoulaye Doucouré may move on. If this does happen the hornets do have options to replace Doucouré with the likes of Tom Cleverley and Chalobah coming back from injury. However, the spark of energy Quina provides should see him getting more game time.