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Teams can overwhelm their opponents with very intense attacking play that is unrelenting and delivers a knockout blow to any team that gets in their way.


Bielsa.jpgWhen teams play forwards quickly with great intensity using creative play to generate goal-scoring chances they are very hard to defend against.When Marcelo Bielsa (above) first came to the Premier League with Leeds United teams were put under pressure from the word go by the intensity of the attack and that reaped rewards for the team.

To put it into coaching terms this is all about playing forwards at speed, knowing what they are doing and using individual and team creativity to score goals.

Basically they need to react and to play the game quicker than their opponents. Intensity has to include every single one of your players because when things go wrong they have to put in the effort to get back to defend their goal.

In attack they are relying on players running with the ball into dangerous areas, dribbling and winning the 1v1s, playing one-twos and most importantly keeping hold of the ball which keeps opponents under pressure.

When I am coaching intensity of play I want my fullback to be thinking about linking with my striker, the furthest player away and how to do that. A direct long pass would be the ideal but it may be better to link my wingers and midfielders and get to the striker that way – these should be the thoughts in my players' heads.

And of course this brings in scanning to see where the space, team mates and opponents are and players opening their bodies up to the play.

Attacking Play.jpg

Attacking in the final third

I imagine a lot of coaches will be pleased with the way their teams get the ball out of defence, through the midfield but then get frustrated when they become one-dimensional as they approach the penalty area of the opposition.

It was Manchester City's Pep Guardiola who said “I can get them to the penalty area but from their it is up to them to create and score goals.”

You rely on your teams' creativity in those areas but often in match situations this does not happen.So in training I like to create match specific scenarios that challenge players with things like overloads, 1v1, 2v1 timing of runs, shooting from long and close range.

Key to this is getting players to make the right decisions that result in overload situations in different areas of the field.

I like to work in the vertical channels on the pitch, where to move to that results in overloads or pulls defences out of shape.