Win important games

Across Europe last weekend only Barcelona’s Camp Nou attracted a bigger crowd than the 85,021 in attendance at Wembley for the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley between Sunderland and Portsmouth.

Always tight, nervous occasions this one went to penalties which were won by Portsmouth – must win games are always difficult.

Finals and important last few games of the season are arriving thick and fast now – especially in the youth leagues. Important promotion and relegation games will impact next season.

The first thing to say to your players is “win the ball”, and a great way to get them winning the ball is to work with them on sessions from my EasiCoach curriculum. Full pitch pressure to win the ball helps you coach your players in the basics of pressing and forcing mistakes in the opposition.

You should be running some Rondo-style games where players have to win the ball back quickly in overload situations. An excellent session that progresses from a Rondo to a small-sided game that focusses on winning the ball back is Lost the ball? Win it back, working in the Barcelona method to get possession from the opposition by closing down quickly.

In these crunch games, space on the pitch is at a premium and teams need to know how best to create it. Create goals from tight spaces is one of my favourite games to play to help players control the ball and keep possession under pressure.

Finally, you want a good finish to the move, play this great game Win the ball and score a goal that works on overloads and ends with a bang.

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