Warm-up – physical trainer 15mins, 10v10 game (two small goals) 15mins, Pattern of play 20mins, Phase of play 20mins, or Possession practice 10v10 20mins, Total 90mins
This session is based on tactical work, movement and patterns of play in the middle and attacking thirds of the field.
It uses a 4-3-2-1 formation, and a system that has always offered me great success at Milan, Chelsea and PSG. Of course, no system is perfect – each having its own distinct strengths and weaknesses – but this one links well with our playing style and philosophy.
This formation is particularly effective when constructing box-to-box passing moves – counter-attacking play that involves passing and receiving between the lines, well-timed movements and crossover runs, and the exploitation of space behind the opposition’s back line.
The session develops in the following order: game – technical/movement – phase of play – game.
At AC Milan, Chelsea and now at PSG I have frequently used a 4-3-2-1 formation
4-3-2-1 working for each other
Passing move from box to box
What do I get the players to do?
This session is split up into a number of progressive set-ups, each rehearsing different positional and tactical elements contained within the 4-3-2-1 formation.
What are the key things to look out for?
Players must concentrate on the technical and positional elements on this session if they are to make maximum use of it. They should build progressively on each element, taking through ideas and principles from each separate part of the practice.
It takes time for players to learn the fundamental parts of playing this formation, but the rewards are impressive, and all built around possession with a positive end result.
We are very fortunate at PSG to have excellent training facilities. We use two pitches every day that run parallel to each other. This allows us to set up all the exercises before the start time and then to move quickly from one to another during that session, maximising time and intensity. It’s a good way to keep the players focused.
10v10 game with two small goals
Patterns of play – technical
The next set of exercises feature one striker, two advanced midfielders and one central midfielder, on a half-pitch. Their start positions are as shown in the diagram. Movement patterns are developed gradually, as outlined below.
Blind side run
Third man run
Phase of Play Practice (10v9 plus a keeper)
Players on the attacking team of 10 look to score in the goal, while defenders must penetrate the dotted line, but only by passing to a team mate who receives the ball when already beyond that line.