Attacking phase, play vertically to finish quickly, or defensive pressure and density of players to recover the possession and transitions to attack playing out wide along the flanks…

This practice is a further “team tactics“exercise that I used during the first two weeks of “pre-season” with my U15 team.

In this exercise we are going to train some basic concepts of the possession phase and of the defending phase:

With the ball:

  • Keep the possession to move the opposing lines
  • Quick vertical play to finish
  • Escape the marker behind and sideways
  • Receive the ball between the lines
  • Quick finishing when outnumbered

Without the ball:

  • pressure and density of players to recover the possession

Transition to attack:

  • play out wide to overcome the opposition counter-pressing after ball’s recovery

14 players are placed within a quarter of a field that is divided into three parts horizontally; these are the areas through which the ball must move vertically, as the attacking team looks for the finishing phase. The exercise is therefore a 6 v 7 + goalkeeper match.

The attacking team has 3 midfielders in the first zone and 3 forwards in the second zone. The goal, after the goalkeeper kick toward the center midfielder, is to develop the possession phase through the 3 areas of the playing space, to get to the finishing phase as soon as possible.

A 3 v 2 duel, has to be fix quickly playing vertically towards the center zone; if the forward passing lanes are closed, the direction of play must be backwards to move the opposition defense lines and to look for a new space. The sequence must be finished inside the third zone, where the forwards are outnumbered, freeing from the markers and finishing quickly after receiving the ball behind the defensive line.

The defending team shapes a line of 4 at the back, 3 midfielders and the goalkeeper. The objectives are the density of players near the ball area and the pressure on the ball carrier to close the passing lanes. During transitions to attack phases, the team now in possession must try to overcome the opposition counter-pressing, playing out wide and along the opposite flank from where the ball was won back.


14 players (1 goalkeeper)



Escape the marker / Receive between the lines

Play vertically to finish / Play out wide to overcome the opposition counter-pressing

Pressure to recover the ball

cones, balls, bibs, mini goal

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