Attackers press in transition

When it comes to winning the ball back attackers, who are mainly there to score goals, are as central to the plan as any defensive player on the pitch.

It is their job to win the ball back as high up the pitch as possible, gaining possession in dangerous areas where the opposition are most vulnerable.

Under intense pressure the opposition are forced into making mistakes in ball possession or forced to make a bad pass that gifts the ball back to your team,

It is a key tactic for teams like Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp. He wants more than just forward play from his offensive-minded midfielders. He wants work-rate and discipline, players who will press the opposition but also do the dirty work and track back when out of possession.

Klopp’s policy is always to defend from the front, meaning his wide midfielders – or wide attackers, as they are high up the pitch in a 4-3-3 – need to press the opposition hard when possession is lost in the final third. Be that closing down the fullbacks or unsettling the deep-lying opposition midfielders with the ball, the aim is to overturn possession and transform defence into attack.

That will not always possible, but by closing down the opposition quickly it at least gives the side’s defenders time to get back into position.

Try these activities to get your players defending from the front:

Often when the ball is lost in attacking positions the attackers give up on it and leave it to the midfielders or defenders to win it back further down the pitch. Delay from the front will help players learn how to regain the ball by forcing mistakes and rushing defenders into making poor passes.

If you can get your forwards to work together when they have lost the ball the team will win the ball back nearer the opponent’s goal and have a greater chance to score. 3v3 defend from the front works on the team’s attacking shape before looking to pressure for the ball.

One of the ways to get your players to stop counter attacks when they lose the ball in attack is to get players who are ahead of the ball to recover behind it. Front press is all about forming a defensive unit that can press opponents when they have the ball and the team is attacking.

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