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4-3-3 Pressing Solutions

There is no doubt that pressing in the modern game has changed in recent years. With so much flexibility around systems and shapes on the attacking side of the game, defensive systems must now have the ability to change and adapt. In this week's MSC Breakdown we look at how a 4-3-3 system can alter their press against a variety of shapes. Successful pressing depends on a number of variables: understanding of roles and responsibilities, awareness of triggers and timing, ability to sustain high intensity work for prolonged periods of time, plus focus and concentration to read tactical scenarios as individuals and a team. As a coach, the more solutions you have prepared and shared effectively with your team, the better your chances are to sustain it during a season. In addition to the videos, we also have a special offer below if you are looking for pressing ideas on the training pitch.



Below is a YouTube breakdown detailing three exercises. If you enjoy this content, please subscribe to our MSC YouTube page.





Please find the information and breakdown for all the pressing shapes below:


Versus 4-3-3


Option A:



  • #9 moves across on the first pass to the center back, pressures at an angle and keeps the ball on one side

  • #11 or #7 hold their position in the inside channel (to block the passing lane) and, at the same time, invite the pass to the red full-back

  • Once the pass is played, #11 or #7 sprint out to press the full-back, with their teammates shifting across also to create an area of high pressure where they can win the ball 



Option B: 



  • #9 splits the center backs and invites a pass to either one

  • #11 and #7 are poised to press from out to in and take away the pass to the full-back

  • The weak side #7/11 can also come inside and take away pass to center back

  • #8 and #10 are ready to step forward as pressure shows them inside

  • #9 is also on hand to press GK or help #7/11 with their pressure to win the ball immediately




Versus 3-5-2




  • #7,9,11 all match up against their back three (but making sure the distances are correct to invite the pass) 

  • #10 and #8 match up with the opposition double sixes with the #6 marking the opposition #10 

  • Center backs mark opposition center forwards in a 2v2 situation

  • #2 and #3 start centrally to help stop an invitation into the 2v2, and then are positioned to jump out to the wing-backs





Versus 4-4-2 Box Midfield





  • #7 and #11 move to the edge of the box to cover opposition center backs

  • #9 drops back into midfield to help #6/8/10 match up against the box midfield

  • #2 and #3 start higher and positioned to jump out to opposition full-backs

  • If ball goes wide and #2 or #3 step out, then weak side must shift across to help provide a ‘plus one’ alongside centerbacks against the two center forwards




Versus 4-4-2 Traditional 




  • #9 and #10 move to the edge of the box to cover opposition center backs

  • #8 and #10 match up against the two opposition central midfielders

  • #2 and #3 start higher and positioned to jump out to opposition wide midfielders

  • #4 and #5 match up against two opposition center forwards

  • If ball goes wide and #2 or #3 step out, then weak side must shift across to help provide a ‘plus one’ alongside centerbacks against the two center forwards




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