Did you even watch the game?!I thought Mazzarri's tactics were quite clear yesterday, they worked for a bit and then a better team worked out how to get round them and we lost. I certainly don't agree that Mazzarri didn't have a plan. Here's my take on what went on:
We set up in a 4-5-1, with Holebas in front of Britos, Zarate on the right, and Niang in a freer role. Valencia attacks from deep and has put in more crosses than anyone else in the league so Holebas was in there as he is a defender who is capable of going forward so should have been able to offer more protection than Zarate who had played wide left in the previous game. Zarate was moved to the right as Blind isn't so much of threat going forward and Capoue was clearly covering when they came forward down that side. Cathcart and Britos were playing as full backs as we were quite deep when we didn't have the ball so there wasn't much space in behind to expose their lack of pace. For 20 or so minutes this worked quite well, and if Holebas had scored from his shot, people would be hailing Mazzarri's genius for playing him further forward for the first time this season. They didn't get in behind Cathcart and Britos much in this period as we were passing the ball well and were well set when they attacked.
After the opening quarter of the game, they started to press our midfielders more and we started to turn the ball over as our defence was still coming out and that's when we started to struggle. Even so, they rarely got round the outside of the two full backs, they were causing us problems with balls in between the full backs and centre backs, where the clever movement of top players like Mata and Mikhitaryan wasn't being picked up by Capoue and Cleverley (neither of whom are defensively aware enough). Holebas was also particularly lacklustre at tracking back which kind of negated the whole point of him playing there. Britos started to struggle, particularly when being pressured with the ball so at half time Holebas was moved back there and Janmaat brought on to replace him in the policing Valencia/offering an attacking threat role. We were still in the game and had done ok for the first part of the first half so we continued with the same tactics, just tweaked the personnel.
I only have two minor gripes with Mazzarri yesterday -firstly that it was too much of a gamble to play without a designated defensive midfielder. If Behrami wasn't fit then I think Doucoure should have played in there as he's better at tracking runners than Capoue and Cleverley, and they could have played slightly further forward. And secondly, I think Success should have come on instead of Okaka. Other than that, fair play to him, he tried something different in response to the particular threat we faced away at a top team, no big deal it didn't work out.