This session is about developing blind side runs in the final third in order to break the last line of defence. It’s important to practise this because goals are scored at the highest level as a result of blind side runs.
In this session, the first practice was designed to recreate the goal scored by Fabio Quagliarella of Juventus, in the Champions League match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on September 19, 2012.
Up to half pitch
Balls, mannequins, goal
Number of Players
Up to 16
Practice 1 20mins, Practices 2&3 40mins total
Game 20 mins
What do I get the players to do?
I use mannequins for each position of the passing drill, but markers will suffice. The size of the area used can be adapted to suit the standard and age of players. The drill can be used for up to 16 players without any having to queue for long periods as long as a high tempo is maintained – this is one of our key demands for players.
In a 50×30-yard area, and set up as shown, this practice involves two balls being worked at the same time. All players follow their passes, with the ball initially being moved to the right and advanced into the area towards the mannequins (1a). Central attackers, positioned near the mannequins, make blind side runs in behind the mannequin being attacked by the player on the ball, timed to receive a short pass (1b).
• The first pass is angled to the winger, who attacks inside the mannequin and advances towards the defenders (mannequins)
• The winger plays a straight pass on the outside of the centre-back for the striker to run on to using a blind side run, then passes out the other side
The receiver runs onto the pass. In a game, because the nearest centre-back is watching the inrushing winger, the first time he sees the striker’s blind side run is when the ball is played past him, by which time it’s too late to react. Work the practice on both sides.
We now move onto a half pitch. This is unopposed, with the blind side run coming from one of the players positioned on the mannequins immediately in front of the penalty box. The receiver then takes the ball into the box and shoots at goal (2). Again, each player follows his pass, and we alternate sides for each additional move.
1. On a half-pitch, the ball is fed wide then passed towards the attackers, positioned on mannequins outside the box 2. The attacker makes a blind side run to receive, moving forward into the box and firing a shot at goal
We now introduce live defenders and remove the mannequins, and allow the player who passes into the front two to join the attack in a 3v2 (3a/3b). Players now have decisions to make.
• Bringing in defenders and removing the mannequins creates a 3v2 situation
• In this instance, good defending forces the striker wide. He cuts back and chips to the winger, who has made a long blind side run, and heads home at the far post
What are the key things to look out for?
A high tempo is required throughout, with players making clever runs, with good angles of play, timing, decision-making and weight of pass, as well as providing a clinical finish.
How do I put this into a game situation?
Play on a narrowed half-pitch. Narrowing the pitch ensures players are less able to cross from wide, so encouraging blind side run situations. We can also promote these by encouraging full-backs to show inside whenever possible.
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“…fantastic… I encourage all my coaches to read it,”