Week of August 23
This is a great flow chart to share with your players.
Counter Attacking (Positive Transition)
The ‘transition’ refers to the turnover of possession. If one team has possession then they open the pitch out playing with width and depth in order to retain possession and/or play forward. Upon losing possession, they then have to recover their positions to make the pitch narrow and compact. The period in between the two shapes is known as ‘the transition’. The transition can be referred to as positive or negative, the former where the team wins possession and the latter where they have just given possession away. At the very elite level, many games are decided in the transition phase. Jose Mourinho once said “the transition is the most important phase of football, it is the best time to catch someone out of position”. In the past decade, with players becoming physically stronger and more explosive coupled with the constantly improving defensive compactness, teams are generally much more difficult to break down than in years gone by. Once a team has setup their defensive organisation with relevant distance between and within units, particularly in a low block, clear cut chances are so much harder to create. As a result, the best time to attack and score goal is when the opposition are not organised; in transition. This is known as a ‘counter attack’. One third of all goals in the Champions League since 2012 have been scored from counter attacks with them also being the leading source of goals for teams who were in winning situations. The most recent International tournaments had a high prominence of countries closing down high up the pitch, aggression without the ball and condensing the lines. Countries who won games often had less possession but broke at speed after regaining high up the pitch. The types of counter attacks though can be split into the following categories:
The Direct Counter Attack (regained in middle or deep area of the pitch)
This refers to the situation of when the team has won possession and play from back to front early. This scenario will happen when there is space in behind and a forward player is making a run on the shoulder of defenders. Its most common scenario is against a possession-based team who have progressed their way up the pitch and have not narrowed off or dropped upon the turnover.
From a High Regain
This refers to a point in play when the team have been pressing high up the pitch and have regained possession. The opposition are out of shape/balance and there are spaces to exploit. In the 2010 World Cup, Germany were fantastic at this.
Here, I am citing a situation in which the team have won possession and progress their way through the pitch quickly with fast combinations and passing sequences. Its most common scenario is when a team has played through the lines and a player has opened up and drives up the pitch with the back line ahead of him with runners going in behind.