Adopting a high back four


Half pitch


Ball, goal

No. of players

Up to 15 outfield players, 1 goalkeeper

This session is about defending as a group or unit. It looks at the relationships between players and teaches them how to use recovery moves to maximum advantage.

Recovering quickly and early lays the foundation for a sound defensive platform, something upon which all successful sides are built. At Brentford, we will work on this session on a weekly basis in order to maintain good habits.

What are the key things to look for technically/tactically?

Positioning and the back four working in unison high up the pitch are the most important parts of this session. The ability to work as a group and as a tight unit is essential in countering the attacking threat.

Defenders should be looking all the time to dispossess and make interceptions, whilst also influencing their opponents’ movements by directing attackers towards the flanks or away from areas where fellow defenders are caught out of position.


• The coach moves the ball across in four phases allowing players to rehearse positions as the angle of attacking approach changes.


• In a 6v4, attackers move the ball across the pitch looking for space.


• Defenders work as a unit to organise and tackle when the opportunity arises.

How do I progress the session?

Progress this to a 6v6 game scenario, adding two defensive midfielders. Also add a three man 20-yard target zone in front of the halfway line.

If defenders win possession, their job is to find any target player. If the ball reaches one, that player then becomes an attacker, restarting towards goal in what is now a 7v5 situation. If a pass to the target zone is intercepted, quick reorganisation of the defensive line is called for.

When the ball goes dead, the coach reserves. Play for 5-6 minutes, switching teams around when time elapses. This game can be progressed to 11v11.


• Adding midfielders creates a tight passing game.


• Possession is won, and the aim is to work the ball to a player in the target zone.


• A completed pass frees the target zone player to drive forward as an attacker in a 7v5 overload.


  • Ball movementBall movement
  • Player movementPlayer movement
  • DribbleDribble
  • Optional movementOptional movement