Defending in midfield

Use this game to teach your players to be strong midfielders who can win the battles in midfield and get the ball into attackers, stopping the opposition in their tracks and hitting teams quickly on the break.

Set up

Set up an area of 20×15 yards with a five-yard zone at each end of the area. We’ve used eight players. You need balls, bibs and cones.

How to play it

Put a target player in each corner of the area and play a 2v2 in the centre. The players must try to win the ball and combine to pass to one of the target players. The target player passes to the other target player at their end of the pitch, who passes to the team who had the ball. That team then tries to attack the other end. The small area means that players need good skill and movement to get success


This is a very fast session and it is hard work for the players so swap the target players with the working players at very regular intervals. You are looking for good pressing, players winning the ball and attacking quickly. Combination play is vital to the success of the session, along with quickly winning the ball back.

pressing in midfield

    1. One pair starts with the ball and they must combine to get the ball to one of the target players.
    2. The target player controls the ball and passes to the other target player in his half of the pitch

Pressing and passing

    3. The players need to get tight on each other and try to win the ball to set up their own attacks
    4. Here the team has won the ball and combined to get the ball to the target player

All players press

    5. Make sure players swap regularly because this is physically a hard game and they will tire quickly
Share this
Follow us