3 Modern Approaches to pressure the opponent like the best

When we talk about putting pressure on our opponent, we can generally look at three different schools. These schools can give us a different view of the pressure we exert on the opposing team. Pressing requires a movement shared by an entire team to be effective. If a player chases the ball around the pitch regardless of any shared movement with the rest of the team the player will wear down quickly and obvious holes will open up in the defense which the attacking team will easily take advantage of.

Modern Pressure Approaches

Something that mainly characterizes these forms of press and common to all of them is the need for players to have the ability to run. Jurgen Klopp, for example, got rid of players who weren't running. Guardiola did not hesitate to sell to Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto'o Y Zlatan Ibrahimovic; Diego Simeon did not fit with the striker Mario Mandzukic due to the low rate of Croatian work.

A good pressure system It is an excellent tactical system, it allows us to have a practically iron defense. Many coaches are confused about pressure, it is not only useful for the attack phase of a team, the forms of pressure are divided into how to defend and how to attack.

Today we will talk about three different approaches to attack:

  • The scool of Guardiola (Pep Guardiola, Marcelo Bielsa, Mauricio Pochettino)
  • The school Mourinho (Jose Mourinho, Diego Simeon)
  • The school German (Jürgen Klopp, Roger Schmidt)

Guardiola School

Technically, the vision shared by this school was perfected by Marcelo Bielsa, despite this, Guardiola's vision slightly modifies Bielsa's vision.

Mainly they all use a few identifiable guidelines common to these trainers:

  • The teams they press even if the rival goalkeeper has the ball in possession.
  • It is played with a line of forward defense, limiting the space of the opposing team.
  • When you have possession of the ball, you usually play by the side bands, forcing the opponent to move from one side to the other creating gaps in the opponent's defense, which facilitates the attack.
  • Center forwards are often used unconventional way. They routinely play wider parts of the pitch and make outside-in moves to receive through balls that are played into the spaces created through the quick, lateral movement of the ball.
  • Bielsa's teams generally play more closely with just two players operating as true wingers. Bielsa often achieves this narrowness with a 3-3-3-1 formation. Although he uses the 4-2-3-1 more conventionally, Pochettino's teams are also quite narrow, as forwards tend to "bump" inside and play more on the inside than on the wings, leaving only full-backs as wide players.
  • The most important features of the system are the narrow game and the lateral movement, the relentless pursuit of the ball once the pressure has been triggered, even in the case of the rival goalkeeper, and the unconventional use of forwards. It is no coincidence that two of the most creative uses of strikers in recent years are products of this school with Pep Guardiola's false 9 at Barcelona and Pochettino's dropped number 9 at Southampton and Tottenham.
  • We require versatile players and that they are comfortable all over the field, really understanding how to move as a unit while maintaining the team's defensive form.

Mourinho Current

It seems like a contradiction to hear "José Mourinho" and "press" in the same sentence because in the popular imagination "press" and "Pep Guardiola" are basically linked. Due in large part to his own character, he is often regarded as the anti-Guardiola. Mourinho's main concern as manager is reduce risk. This basic desire to reduce risk means that Mourinho's teams give up one of the most important staples of the Guardiola and German schools: the high defensive line. While the high line can be devastating because of how it squeezes the field, it also represents the greatest vulnerability in both the Bielsa and German schools. This, of course, was the failure of Andre Villas-Boas's Chelsea and Tottenham teams. However, although Mourinho's teams play a defensive line much more deep, they press pretty aggressively in specific situations once the ball is in the defensive third.

Depending on how you analyze Simeone's tactics, he engages fewer or more players. While Mourinho has always used a lone striker system, whether in a 4-3-3 like in his early days at Porto and Chelsea or a 4-2-3-1 more recently, Simeone generally uses a two strikers and defends the famous two lines of four.

German form of pressure

In many ways, the German school is similar to Guardiola's (narrow game, high defensive line and full-field pressure) so let's focus on the differences.

  • The action of the forwards: In Guardiola's vision we prioritize lateral movement and striker action to attack and create gaps along the pitch. On the contrary, according to the German form of pressure, it pushes the ball completely vertically, so it depends on strikers who stay more focused, which is why precisely with this type of pressure the opponent steals the ball much more often, but this it is not a concern, since it simply recovers thanks to the pressure.
  • This school normally works as follows: focus on getting the ball back as fast as possible after the turnover. For them, the pressure kicks in the moment the ball is lost. However, if the opposition are able to retain possession after the first wave of pressure, it is not unusual to see German teams back off a bit and drop deeper, defending in their own half.
  • The main and most notable difference between these currents of thought is the verticality. The German school drives the ball forward and focuses on getting a shot as quickly as possible.

These three schools are quite different from each other, but they emphasize one thing very clearly in their essence, pressure allows us to dominate the game, so we must apply it to facilitate success.

Pressure continues to be one of the many other tools that we can use with players to lead them to victory. If you want to discover techniques, tricks and ways of working with these techniques and many other tools, visit our Master Trainer in Youth Football and Youth Management.

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