Defend as a back three – team

Working as a team you defence can keep a two-man attack with the addition of wingers at bay with a back three, that coaches the players to work together to cover all the angles of attack.

Why use it

This should be run after the Ball Watching session. The addition of the pass gives the defenders more to think about. No longer have they got the simple 3v2 overload in their favour.

Set up

Set up a 30×30-yard area with a goal at one end and five-yard crossing alleys on the sides. We used 12 players including a goalkeeper.

How to do it

Split your players into six attackers, three defenders, two wide players and a goalkeeper. The attackers work in pairs and each pair has two attacks against the three defenders. As each pair finish, the next pair go quickly putting the defence under maximum pressure.
The defenders must try to stop the pass to the wide players or get into a position to block the cross, but they cannot go into the wide zone. Wide players have two touches to cross or pass. Change the defenders after each pair of attackers has had two attacks.


This is good for defending technique and making decisions to either press early to stop the pass to the wide players or to press the wide players and defend tight to stop any attacks.

Defend with a back three

    1. The game starts with the pairs of attackers taking on the defenders
    2. The defenders must make decisions about when to try to block the pass out wide or to block the cross

Back three tactics

    3. Here the attacking pair has played the ball wide and must get into position to block
    4. As one defender goes to block the cross, the other two must now cope with the attacking pair in a 2v2

back three defending

    5. The covering player does well and heads the ball away before it can be a danger in the penalty area

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