Benefits of a High Block Press Strategy

  • Provides short counter attacking distances to goal upon a regain of possession.
  • Creates extended passing connections for opposition when attempting to build/play out from the back.
  • Can limit opponent’s opportunities to start their attack and retain possession.

Number 9 ‘drawing back’

  • Through our striker ‘drawing back’, this creates space in front from which the opposition Goalkeeper is encouraged to pass short and often out wide to one of his 2 centre backs.
  • If our striker stands to one side, this may discourage the Goalkeeper passing to the centre back on that side making his pass more predictable and easier to anticipate.

Speed and Angle Of Approach:

  • As the ball is passed out to a centre back, our striker works fast and angles his approach to stop the pass back to the Goalkeeper and also discourage the switch across to the opposite side centre back.
  • He needs to ensure that he slows down when approaching the player in possession, gets low and side on so that he can see inside the pitch as well as the ball.

Midfield Positioning:

  • Our midfielder on the ball side should attempt to step in front of the opponent’s wide player to screen the potential pass down the line.
  • The midfielder on the opposite side of the pitch shuffles across to provide compactness and short distances to our central midfielder, closing the centre of the pitch and leaving the opposite vertical channel empty.
  • Our centre midfielder pushes up and slides across the pitch looking to screen possible opposition passes in their centre midfielder or striker.

Centre Back Positioning:

  • Our centre backs push up the pitch to ensure reduced distances with our midfield. The defender on the opposite side to the ball now comes ball side again leaving the furthest vertical channel empty.

Goalkeeper:

  • Should adopt a high start position in case of a long aerial ball over the top our defence from which he will be able to deal with.

Pressing Triggers:

  • Under-hit pass
  • Over-hit pass
  • Poor 1st touch (either caught between feet or bouncing away from opponent)
  • Eyes down to ball (therefore cannot see a passing option)
  • Facing own goal (cannot turn and play forwards)
  • Near touch line (has a lack of space)

In all these examples, we should be able to press aggressively and all those not directly involved in the press should push up to condense play even more.

Main Principles:

  1. Close the centre
  2. Overload the wing

Summary:

  • Collective unit shift to compact play around the ball area.
  • Cut off opponent’s passing lanes (block and screen).
  • Multiple pressure on the ball where possible (front, side, behind and beside).
  • 1v1 defending – read the trigger(s) to press.
  • Try to win possession through a tackle, interception, spoil or block.