Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Reactive soccer can stifle stronger opponents

dave clarkeNext week we play the team at the top of the table. Played 10, won 10, goals for 65, goals against 2. So what do we do?

Anyone in my situation can look at the example of Rangers in the Champions League this season and how their manager Walter Smith planned to contain teams like Manchester United.

Smith’s tactics back up the growing feeling that five-man defences can be useful at stifling stronger opponents and reactive counter attacking can win the game.

Rangers’ plan for achieving in the Champions League was rooted in a back five which has been set up primarily to contain. At its centre is the experienced and commanding David Weir. They faced a big task in needing to win against Manchester United or go out.

What they couldn’t do was let United score early making it much harder to win – manager Walter Smith thought his own brand of reactive soccer could possibly give the team a 1-0 win.

The other factor in the game was that United didn’t really need to win it, and so were hardly going gung ho in their search for goals. Sir Alex Ferguson went for a 4-4-2 and the relaunch of Wayne Rooney on the back of it.

The Rangers players had their jobs marked out, wide midfielders picked up full-backs, central midfielders picked up central midfielders, full-backs tracked wingers and two centre-backs had a man each, with a spare man at the back.

Manchester United struggled to break down the system and indeed it was a full-back that lured Rangers into giving away the crucial penalty, and Rooney converted from the spot.

So perhaps next week I will set my team up to play this way, and get my team to play reactive soccer.

Watch the highlights of Rangers v Manchester United below:



2 Comments so far
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It always creates an interesting challenge for a coach when your team is playing against a stronger team. Do you just hope the other team has a bad day or do you stack your defence and hope to close up the game.
My coaching philosophy has always centred around having the ball as much as possible. I always figure that when my team has the ball the other team is highly unlikely to score!!
What players do off the ball largely effects your teams’ ability to retain position. Movement into space and creating options for the player with the ball are key things for young players to learn

Comment by Steve Hall

Wow! Thank you! I continually wanted to write on my blog something like that. Can I include a portion of your post to my website%3

Comment by test

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