Summer is officially here! It’s that time of the year again when people rush to the gym to get in shape for all the water activities. While people ought to exercise all year round, let’s not forget the lonely gentleman up there and give him a round of applause for doing push up planking to strengthen the inner core. Such intensity training requires high level of discipline and a lot of practice.
The same attributes apply to football too, especially when it comes to pressing. Like many other football tactics, it does the team wonder if you practice it well. Otherwise, it can cost loads. Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte proved to the world that you need not dominate possession to win a game if you exercise counter-attack well; however, it is no surprise that winning a game means scoring more goals than your opponent and you need to have possession of the ball. But what to do when you lose possession?
André Villas-Boas is a strong believer of playing high block football. At Chelsea, he experimented this approach and demanded defenders to maintain a high defensive line so that they could push as advanced as possible when possession was lost. The problem with this was that opponents easily exploited the space behind the defenders and put them out of position, resulting in huge defeat against Arsenal and Manchester United. Villas-Boas’ wrong assessment on the approach cost him his job as Chelsea manager and was sacked only after 8 months in regime.
While Villas-Boas’ high block tactics did not click with Chelsea, the following managers’ pressing philosophy has brought their clubs to the next level.