Defend as a unit

Getting defenders to work as a unit is a great way to stop goals going into the net at your end of the pitch. Use this session to coordinate against a strong attacking team.

Why use it

Important to get individuals to work together as a back four linking with defensive midfielders

Set up

You need balls, bibs, cones and a goal. Using half a pitch split the middle third into three zones across the pitch 20 x 20 yards each. We used 15 players in the session

How to do it

Each zone has three attackers. The defence consists of four defenders and two midfielders, distributed across the entire width of the field. Attackers try dribble across the end line. If they cant do that, they can pass to their teammates in the next field. Defenders orient themselves towards the ball, so at least two defenders and one midfielder are on the ball. The attackers are allowed to strike at goal after dribbling across the line.
Defenders and midfielders counter attack on the end lines.


The defenders should look to maintain their shape, CH’s should slide across and support the fullbacks.

Defend as a unit

    1. Attackers work in threes and must stick to their zones – defenders play as a back four with two defensive mids.
    2. Tackling players running at you, close down the space, get side on, move backwards, time the tackle, stand up.

Defend as a unit

    3. Attackers must try to dribble out of the zone into the attacking third where they can shoot at goal
    4. Attackers can link up with the other zones if they cannot dribble past the defenders
    5. If the defenders win the ball they try to dribble over the far line to score
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