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Antonio Conte's 3-4-3 Defensive Principles

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

This week's tactical breakdown focuses on Antonio Conte's 3-4-3 pressing system at Tottenham Hotspur. There is no doubt that Conte has been one the most successful defensive coaches in recent years and Tottenham is a fascinating case study to look at the tactical changes of the team.

In the video we look at two different aspects of Conte's defensive set-up. The first is how Conte organizes the front three in the press. Traditionally in pressing systems, we see the #9 as the leader of the press, working initially to put pressure on the ball against opposition center backs. However, in Conte's system, as you can see below, the #9 (Harry Kane in this example) drops off and the wide forwards press from out-to-in and compress the space for center backs and goalkeeper. Yes, the full-backs are left free, but the wing-backs are waiting to pounce on that pass and the risk in the transition then adds doubt to the build-up.

The second aspect of Conte's pressing system that we look at in the video breakdown is probably the most important: what adaptions do Spurs make whenever their opponent's look to unbalance the pressing system? An example of this is in the picture below, where we see a back three set-up from a game this season against Sporting Lisbon. What do Tottenham do when this happens? How about if an opponent overloads the space around Harry Kane? What if they are pushed back into a block? We look at all of these situations and how Tottenham stay true to their identity and intensity.

You can watch the full breakdown in the video below. If you enjoy it, please subscribe to our YouTube page so you do not miss the next one.

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