Create like Di Maria

A great training session to encourage goalscoring chances created from balls played into the penalty area by clever wingers like PSG’s Angel Di Maria. His play on the wings is clever as he can beat players but best of all he creates chances – this session helps encourage this style of play.

Set up

Use half your normal pitch and set up two cone gates next to the D on the line of the penalty area and a cone out wide on the corner of the area. You need two cones near the centre circle. We used 11 players.

How to play it

Three attackers make a triangle in the centre of the pitch with a wide player on each of the wide cones. Three defenders pressure play, with one on each side of the area to cover the wingers and one to pressure the passing triangle – but they cannot tackle. Two players wait.
The triangle of attackers start and pass to each player; the last player passes down the line for the winger to run onto. The other two in the triangle use this cue to run through the far gate to get into the penalty area against the defender on that side. The winger must get into the best position and cross.


Look for lots of passing and receiving but the main point of the session you want to see is a winger moving and crossing to create lots of goals. Get them to vary the kind of crosses.

    1. The session starts with combination passing between the trio of attackers. The final player sends the ball down the line for the winger.

      2. The winger must control the ball and get into a good position to cross to a team-mate

        3. Two of the trio of pa ssers must time their run to coincide with the pass down the line and get into good scoring positions

          4. Defenders don’t tackle but they can press the winger and make it harder to cross

            5.After two attacks play goes down the other side of the penalty area and the winger on that side must create chances. Do two attacks on each side, then change roles and bring on the waiting attackers

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