Introducing a Defending Midfield Four

This Post is the Second in a Series. Read the first: Developing Play with a Defending Back Four

Midfielder has five jobs to think about when defending:    

  1. Recover back to get goal side of the ball.  
  2. Be the pressurizing player to stop the player on the ball (win, delay or force one way).
  3. Or; Support the pressurizing player with angle, distance and communication.    
  4. Cover their own opponent so as they receive the ball they can close them down.
  5. Step into the passing lanes to prevent forward passes getting through midfield to strikers.
defending midfield four

Midfield adjusts as the ball is passed to (D). (11) Closes, (8) drops in to support, (6) and (7) squeeze across. The back four push up and across to maintain the distance between themselves and the midfield. (8) Could double up on (D) with (11) as an option. (D) passes the ball to the coach again and the ball is switched to another player and the defenders adjust again as a team to compensate. 

Wide players still static just receiving and passing. Defenders can still only intercept passes as we are working with the positioning of the defending team. If they win it with an interception they pass it to the coach and we start again.

Introduce Two Strikers and Two Central Midfielders to the Attacking Team Plus Target Goals

Tactical Design 

  1. Pressure.
  2. Support.
  3. Cover / Balance.
  4. Recover.
  5. Double Team.
  6. Track.
  7. Compactness.

Introduce two strikers and two central midfielders to the attacking team and allow all the players to go free. Coach the faults as they happen in free play, correcting the positioning of the players. When the defending team win the ball (only through an interception initially) they must pass to the targets or they can pass to the coach working the ball out where they can. The Coach can then start a new game.

  1. Once the players get used to the tactical plan allow the defenders to now tackle the opponents and win the ball back as in a game situation.
  2. The coach can pass the ball to various attacking players in different positions on the field and the defending team must try to regain possession and get the ball to a target goal and the session begins again. 
  3. This ensures the defending team has lots of repeated opportunity to practice defending because as soon as they win the ball and get it to the target the other team get the ball back and the process begins again.