This session is designed to improve player and team awareness within the game. The specific awareness we are looking to improve is how to read an opponent’s defensive block and identify the space to attack. MORE
Some modern-day formations can make it difficult to gain a true understanding of attacking principles. For that reason, working on movements and link play in the attacking third is key.
At Burnley we like to operate in a 4-4-2 formation, and we make sure our strikers understand the importance of linking and being productive. It’s difficult to get two players linking ‘naturally’, and young centre-forwards these days are often schooled in 4-3-3, so educating them to play with two up front is vital for real centre-forward understanding. What I will say though is that attacking play is easier to coach compared to other outfield areas for the obvious reason that a goal comes as a result… we hope!
This type of session will be used on an ad hoc basis but more so when new centre-forwards have been brought in.
|Use of half-pitch|
|Balls, cones, goal|
|Number of Players|
|8v8 plus keepers|
|Unopposed practices 20mins
Opposed practices 20mins
Small-sided game 20mins
At first we start without opposition players being involved. Passing patterns and combinations from full-backs and midﬁeld players form the basis of the first three practices we show in this session.
In this first phase the practice is run without opponents, as shown.
In the second phase we now utilise shorter and ‘softer’ diagonal passes, as shown.
This set-up is designed to practise reverse runs and timing of movement onto the ball, as shown.
Centre-forwards can often over-elaborate in their movements and perhaps aren’t as aware as they should be of their striking partner’s runs, so the emphasis here is on recognising good team possession with players showing sound awareness of timing and movement.
The obvious progression for all of these practices is to add in opponents and run them again (see below).
We now add in a back four whose job it is to sit tight until the ball comes near them. They do not need to advance down the pitch as we want to test attackers’ ingenuity in the final third, seeing if they use the sharp and soft diagonals, reverse and curved runs used so far.
This is 2v2 in each attacking third and 4v4 in midﬁeld. One attacker is able to overload from the central zone where midfield players are two-touch; centre-forwards, meanwhile, are ‘all in’.
The zone restrictions shown are important in helping to set up and emphasise links between centre-forwards.
We’ll also encourage passive defending at first, leading up to full defending when we can see attacking players are mastering the principles and doing well. We can also alter the size of the pitch depending on the skill level and success of the players as the practice develops.
Technically, we want to see a good first touch, with clever one- and two-touch passes. Securing and keeping possession is vital, which means, tactically, players must have an understanding and awareness of pitch geography. So they must be thinking, ‘Where am I on the pitch? Where is the ball? Where are the defenders? Where is the space?’.