Functional attacking plan

Area

Up to half pitch

Equipment

Balls, cones, goals

No. of players

Full squad

Session time

Phases 30mins, 6v4 15mins

This session is about functional attacking play within a system, involving all players in the squad.

It’s a practice that, at its heart, looks at the key exchanges in 2v1 and other overload situations – the roles of attackers, defenders, wide players, full-backs and wingers.

The principles featured really worked for us last season during some key relegation battles, particularly illustrating for us how our front five or six – depending on the formation – got at opponents’ defensive lines.s

What do I get the players to do?

We run a practice that involves three attacks on goal per phase – a central attack, a wide attack and a ‘second ball’ shot. We’ll then re-run the phase, rotating players.

Central attack

We set up as shown on a half pitch with defenders behind the goal and pairs of attackers positioned in a channel outside the box. A defender lays the ball to one of the strikers (1a), who receives and moves forward with his team mate to form a 2v1 scenario (1b).

1a

• For the Central attack, the ball is fed out and a 2v1 situation begins

1b

• Strikers combine with quick and positive passing movement and a goal is scored

We can vary the overload situation in favour of attackers or defenders (2/3)– this might be decided by how many strikers we intend to play in the next match, or by what defensive structure the team expects to come up against.

2

• The attacking overload can be altered – here, it’s a 3v2 situation in favour of the defenders

3

• Strikers are encouraged to make maximum use of the space they have – here, the ball is dribbled to the touchline before being cut back for a goal

Wide attack

Next, an unopposed attack sees midfielders combine and play the ball out wide. Wide players develop a crossing situation using the mannequin as a guide to staying near the flank. Strikers look to score in the goal against two or three defenders. (4a).

4a

• For the Wide attack, midfielders combine in the middle and feed the ball wide, and the resulting opposed cross is attacked

‘Second ball’ shot

Immediately, the coach – positioned to the side of the goal – lays a simple ball back to the edge of the box for one of the inrushing midfielders to shoot (4b). This is designed to replicate the idea of a ‘second ball’ in a match. Defenders must rush out to press and close down.

4b

• To complete the phase of three attacks, the coach lays a ball back to one of the inrushing midfielders, who shoots at goal

What are the key things to look out for?

Strikers must work together to find a route to goal, communicating well, varying their approach play, and finding space and shooting angles. Positivity in attacking crosses is also essential.

Midfielders need to create balance in their set-up play and movement, while wingers must be inventive, quick and positive.

How do I progress the session?

We progress the session by creating a full 6v4 situation where attacks can come from any angle. Players must remain in position, practising the previously coached movements and principles.

How do I put this into a game situation?

As an opposed game, we move this into a 15-minute 11v11 match on a full pitch.

Key

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