Get defenders to play like Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk, whose clever positioning in seemingly irretrievable situations often leads to attacks breaking down. MORE
Coach better defending
It is not easy coaching in a pandemic. But one thing I know my players like doing is to give them a task to do which involves watching a match on TV. Say it’s Charlie who plays left wingback … he’s a Chelsea fan so his task is to watch Ben Chilwell and give good things or bad things that happen when he is defending. The players love it!
It works with all your players of all age groups. The younger ones who haven’t got a position yet because they are still learning about playing the game can pick their favourite player and just give you one example of what went well.
If we concentrate on defending, you see some of the best defenders in the world on your TV screen – although you might not think so having seen some of the goals scored this season in the Premier League. But all you need to do is look at Manchester City and see how much difference having good defenders can make to your team.
Look at Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte in Manchester City’s back four they have had exceptional seasons and make great examples of how defenders play in their positions. One thing about having games this season on the TV every night is that there are plenty of options for players to watch and learn.
Here are some good defending sessions to take your players through once they have completed their task of watching the best.
Get defenders to play like Manchester City’s back four, whose clever positioning in seemingly irretrievable situations often leads to attacks breaking down. Stop the attack helps players to read situations when they are outnumbered in defence and have to try to hold up play or make a decision to win the ball.
I use this small-sided game to get my defenders reacting to situations where he is exposed to two attackers. In the game the third man must react quickly and switch from attack to defence to stop the two attackers scoring 2v1.