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  • in Concepts & Principals

    Stephen Kenny: Attacking Principles of Play

    In November 2018, the Football Association of Ireland announced the return of Mick McCarthy as head coach of the senior national team. Stephen Kenny was placed in charge of the under 21s, with a view to succeeding McCarthy after the 2020 European Championships. Ireland managed to qualify for the play-offs, where they were due to...
  • in Concepts & Principals

    Generating Forward Passing Lanes

    In order to achieve the objective of progressing the ball into the spaces close to the opponent’s goal, a central element of any game model must involve the consistent creation of forward passing lanes. As we will see, an attacking team’s basic build-up structure can help to maximise the number of quality options ahead of...
  • in Concepts & Principals

    False Implications: Moving the Opponents

    Given the relentless pace at which top level football is played nowadays, players often try to second guess their opponents. Much like a goalkeeper attempting to save a penalty, defenders regularly try to predict what their opponent’s next move will be in order to provide a reaction before it’s too late. While it’s an understandable...
  • in Concepts & Principals

    Preventing Counter-Attacks

    Quite often, coaches whose philosophies are more ‘defence-minded’ will get criticism from fans and pundits. The likes of Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez have come under such scrutiny during their careers, especially while at clubs whose supporters identify with a more offensive approach. Most football fans would like their team’s to be offensive and...
  • in Concepts & Principals

    Creating The Free Player

    A key part of Pep Guardiola’s philosophy, there are a wide range of methods through which a free player can be created in the attacking phases. The benefits of having an unmarked player in each stage of possession are clear, with retention and progression of the play becoming far more seamless. However, achieving it isn’t...
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