Busquets in control

Use this training session to coach your midfielders how to win possession by quickly closing down the opposition and pressing the player with the ball. This helps midfielders press high up the pitch and stops opponents getting time on the ball. By doing so they will force mistakes and have a better chance of gaining possession.

Set up

Set up an area of 40×30 yards with a 10-yard zone at each end split into two boxes. Also split the central area in half. We’ve used 11 players. You need balls, bibs, cones and four target goals.

How to play it

Split your players into two teams of five plus a neutral player. Each team has two defenders (one in each box) and three midfielders. Start with a normal kick off but the ball must go to both defenders before an attack can start – the defenders can pass to each other or can involve other players.
Only two midfielders from each team can be in the same half of the centre zone at any time. One opponent can enter the defending zone to press. The neutral plays for the defending team but if he wins the ball, he must finish the move with that team.


It coaches midfielders to press play by closing down quickly to win the ball in various overload scenarios. It creates lots of situations: pressing, 1v1s, 2v1s, passing, moving and shooting.

    1. Kick off in the normal way but teams must pass the ball to both of their defenders before they can attack
    2. The neutral player is on the defending team helping to press and force mistakes through overload situations

    3. Only two players from the same team can be in either half of the centre zone at any one time
    4. Here the neutral player presses and causes the defender to make a mistake and a goal is scored

    5. All players should look for opportunities to get passes away and set up chances for attackers to run at the opposition and win 1v1s
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