Beat the back four

Coach your players how to capitalise on an accurate pass out of midfield with this session that is guaranteed to set up goalscoring opportunities. Midfield players can open up defences if they see the right pass, which is often to a player in space on the other side of the pitch. In a counterattacking situation defenders are on the back foot and a clever, accurate passer can pull them apart with a crossfield ball.

Set up

Set up an area of 40×30 yards. We’ve used 13 players. You need balls, bibs, cones and one normal goal.

How to play it

You need four defenders plus one recovering defender and a keeper against seven attackers. There are two five-yard wide zones where the attackers cannot be tackled.
The game starts with a pass from a midfield attacker to a forward, who passes back and the game goes live, freeing up the defender at the opposite end to the goal who can now recover. You can vary the number of defenders recovering from this position. If the defenders win the ball they score in the small goals. Play offsides.


The player who receives the pass back from the forwards has a number of passing options. Movement is vital to pulling defenders out of position and speed of play is key to creating a scoring chance before the defender has recovered.

    1. Play starts with a pass from the attacking midfielders into the attackers who play it back and the game goes live
    2. The midfield attacker can now pull the strings of his forwards and by faking to pass to the wing he opens a channel for a pass down the centre

    3. The recovering defender must try hard to get back in case the team hold up play long enough for him to make a difference
    4. The midfield attacker plays a good pass switching play to the win

    5. The winger attacks the goal but loses the ball to a defender who plays a good pass to his team-mate who scores in the small goals
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