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Win 2v1 battles

We’ve all seen a lot of great defenders during this truncated season especially Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk in the Premier League and the Champions League.

There are few defenders who can cope better under pressure, particularly when outnumbered in a 2v1 situation. He uses his positional nous, speed of thought and pace to split the two players in front of him and closes down the one with the ball. This in turn narrows the options for the opposition – and having covered the ground quickly, Van Dijk uses his timing to perfection to put in a block on the ball or make it difficult to shoot.

Try these two sessions to get your defenders winning battles when they are outnumbered:

Get defenders to play like Van Dijk, whose clever positioning in seemingly irretrievable situations often leads to attacks breaking down. Stop the attack help 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.

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