Pressing and counter attacks

This session explores the reality that pressing is never only individual action. It also looks at the importance of the first sprint and quick reactions, and appraises the activity of all players in forcing an opponent into an error.

Why use it

This session is about collective pressing and the actions that occur in first and second phases, namely first impulse of pressing and chasing the ball moving on to closing passes and through-balls

Set up

You need balls, bibs, cones, two small goals and a large goal. Use half your normal pitch setting up two 10×10 yard boxes in the centre like the diagram. We used 11 players in the session.

How to do it

In each 10×10-yard box there will be an overload either in favour of whites or reds. Reds start in possession with one or two touches. After 10 passes they can transfer the ball to floater A (who can turn and shoot) or score directly in a mini-goal. Stationed white players must try to stop the pass to floater A and the mini-goals. If a red player scores, his team keeps possession; if not, whites start the next phase. If whites have intercepted they can pass down the pitch to floater B and join the attack on the main goal. Reds try to stop both passes (to floaters B and the backpass).


The key coaching points here are well-weighted passes, the speed of runs and a good overall tempo.

Press and counter

    1. Reds have possession in the central 10×10 boxes
    2. After 10 successful passes they can transfer the ball to floater A
    3. Or reds can shoot directly into the mini-goals if space for the pass is blocked

Counter attacking from a press

    4. Whites intercept a pass and immediately counter attack
    5. The ball is transferred to the striker who comes off the mannequin. He can set up play or choose to turn and shoot himself
    6. Whites break out of the box and support the striker’s attack
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