top of page

Beating a 4-3-3 Press Tactical Breakdown

I recently put a video together of ideas in build-up to play against a 4-3-3 pressing system. With so much flexibility in defensive systems today, the game has progressed to such a point that teams are now requiring a variety of ways to beat a press. Having a team that can adapt and constantly solve pressure gives you a huge advantage, not just in the build, but also in creating and taking advantage of overloads higher up the pitch and creating goalscoring opportunities.

These new tactical videos are part of the launch of our new eBook: 'Twenty Attacking Tactical Training Session Plans' which you can get your copy here.

For the purposes of the video, I wanted to look at three variations of a 4-3-3 press against a 4-2-3-1. The first variation is a pretty traditional system where the front three of the opposition are responsible for looking after the back four in the build. To be successful from a defensive perspective, it's critical that the front three are connected and that the full-backs are in front of the wide forward. So our solutions are centered around manipulating the wide forwards (see below) and then increasing the space for the center forward to cover.

The second variation that we look at during the video is when the wide forwards in the opposition (in yellow below) press from 'out to in' and target the center backs in possession. When this is timed right, it removes the center back's ability to play the nearest full-backs and pushes them back towards their own goal, where the center forward can then press the goalkeeper. In the video, we look at a solution of finding that full-back who is not accessible initially, and then how that opens up a potential overload in the center of the pitch.

The third and final variation that we look at in the video is when one of the attacking midfielders in the opposition 'jumps out' to press the center back. Again, timing of this is key from a defensive perspective but when it is implemented successfully (and the attacking midfielder provides a cover shadow to the player that they just left) it removes options for the team in build-up and creates real issues to play through. The solution that we talk through in the video involves both manipulating the center space (which has an element of risk) or creating an option to advance one of the full-backs (which requires a range of passing from the goalkeeper).

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

This breakdown was part of the launch of our new MSC eBook: Twenty Attacking Training Sessions, designed to help coaches connect the dots between philosophy, tactical flexibility and session design. The book contains twenty full session plans that are broken down into three phases: build-up, midfield progression, and goal-scoring. Each session will contain three exercises so there are 60 exercises overall! With his experience in the professional game as a coach and an analyst, Gary Curneen has designed these sessions to help bring out intensity, tactical understanding and game-like situations, that are enjoyable for both players and staff. Click here to get your copy.

589 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page