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Pressing - Resistance

German Top Level Tactics

  • Tactical Principles

  • Develop the Individual

  • Develop closed Goal Kicks

  • Solutions on the wing and in the centre

  • Change in Perspective

  • Drills

Author: Steven Turek

Edited by: Peter Schreiner

Layout: Oliver Schreiner

Publisher: Institut für Jugendfußball

Pages: 60

Pictures: 53


Prologue by Steven Turek

Dear Coaching-Colleagues,


first and foremost, you as reader surely ask yourself what is meant by pressing-resistance. Therefore, a short definition: Pressing-Resistance is the ability to identify the opposing pressing, resist it and purposefully outplay it. It includes individual skills as well as team-tactical strategies. This definition gives you a first impression about the contents that will appear on the following pages.

A core element of most offensive strategies, is usually the attempt to press the opponent into motion, more precisely, into sprinting. Pressing distinguishes itself by players, creating high pressure on the ball carrier. Why don’t we consequently consider that opposing pressure in a positive way and use it for our own strategy? That’s exactly the aspect I want to discuss in “Pressing-Resistance”.

Steven Turek Pressing Resistance

„The opponent only has ten players as well. If he creates numerical advantage somewhere on the pitch, somewhere else has to be a numerical disadvantage - that’s simple logic.” - Carlo Ancelotti

If a coach considers the opposing pressing in a positive way, strategic aspects become more important, because: Behind every good pressing strategy is an idea, how the ball is supposed to be won. To counter that strategy, I developed all kinds of match solutions, which orient on common pressing strategies and specifically focus on weak spots. To focus on these weak spots, it can happen that specific types of players find themselves in unfamiliar positions on the pitch. Therewith, I purposefully want to provide suggestions and break up common thinking patterns.

I wish you the best to consider the opposing pressing positively, to outplay it and use it for an own goal!

Enjoy reading, Steven Turek

Pressing Resistance

Change of Perspective


A change of perspective switches, as it says, the angle of perspective. The current situation is not seen from a first-person perspective (red team) anymore, but rather from the perspective of the opposing team (Blue). It is of great relevance, because the anticipated ways of the opposing behavior build the foundation for ones own attacking strategies. Usually, we build up from realistic (good) defending behavior.

Soccer Tactics Pressing Resistance

Opponent presses in equal Numbers

If the opponent is not playing in slight numerical disadvantage during pressing, he is usually relying on situations in equal numbers of players. The advantages and disadvantages arise as a result equivalent to the previous ones.


Change in perspective: From the combination of tight space and the number of players, pressing situations are more easily created. Simultaneously, the equal numbers in the attacking situation lead to equal numbers in the defensive situation.

The attacking team faces the challenge to build up the play on equal numbers or quickly shift the play into the upper attacking line.

What are the opposing Center Midfielders doing?

This fundamental distinction of pressing-strategies can be observed and derived from the behavior of the opposing central midfielders. Two possible behaviors exist. Either a central midfielder pressures, while the other one secures the chain (Pressing in numerical disadvantage), or both secure their access to their equivalent opponents (pressing in equal numbers). That behavior also effects the behavior of the forward (or the other way around). If a team has very aggressive central midfielders, it is usual that the forwards orient man to man to their respective opponents, the center backs, while otherwise rather passing-lanes are covered.

When the Back Three is a Solution
Pressing Resistance why a back three



Indeed, thebuildingof a back three within the game, can bring along a variety of advantages. If one plays against an aggressively attacking team, it is not a rarity, that an opposing central midfielder (8) follows the 6, who supplements the build up. Now, a situation is created, in which a central midfielder defends wide away from his usual position, to create equal numbers. The same equal numbers are created in his back. Now, the pressing of Bluecan be outplayed by a long ball.

Detail: Attention: The difference lays in the circumstance, whether one plays with a back three from the beginning or if it is created situationally!

Optional: Drawing several Players out
Pressing Resistance Soccer Tactics



Furthermore, aggressively attacking teams may also be tempted to release their second central midfielder from their defensive compound. This can, among other varieties, be accomplished by a quick one-two combination (5 and10). Then, all mechanism of the play against the second ball come into play, as long as the upper third is aimed to by a long ball (7 and11would move into the center). The best solution is a flat pass into the attacking center, after 8 and 6are drawn out from their defensive compound.

Soccer drill Pressing resistance
3 vs 2 to 3 vs 2


Small Sided Game – Recognizing increasing Pressure

Organization: Redplays a 3 on 2 against Bluein the front square, with the aim to keep the ball in own ball-possession. If Redachieves 5 successive passes, without Bluetouching the ball, they receive one point. At any time, one blueplayer of the upper square is allowed to create equal numbers (3 vs 3). After equal numbers are created, Redis allowed to switch the square, either by a direct pass towards the other side or over the neutral player outside the fields. By doing so, they also receive one point. In case Bluewins a ball and dribbles out of the square, they receive one point.

Coaching: Red is supposed to recognize the increasing pressure and mindfully switch fields. 

Variation: Leave the neutral player off.

Game Soccer Pressing Resistance
3 Zones with movable Players


Big Training-Exercise – Recognizing Pressure

Organization: The field between both penalty boxes is divided into three zones. In the first and second zone is played a 3 vs 2 and in the last zone a 2 vs 2. Moreover, one movable player exists, who is allowed to defend in all zones (circled in blue). Redcombines towards the goal, while Bluedefends and counterattacks.

Coaching: Rot tries to recognize favorable ratio of players and head to them. Depending on where the movable player defends, possibilities emerge to include the central zone or to outplay it.


Variation: Position two movable players into the play. Now, more possibilities emerge for the blueteam to defend and press offensively. The red team is supposed to quickly play a long ball, if equal numbers are created in the first zone. If one zone is outplayed, its respective players are allowed to move up. 

Organize different ratios of players.

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