Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Play Like Juan Mata in Midfield

Encourage your players to be as creative as Juan Mata around the penalty area and teach them the importance of a well-weighted pass and a well-timed run.

Why use it

Creativity around the box is vital to ensuring the creation of scoring chances. The type and accuracy of pass are key, as is a good first touch from players receiving the ball. This session will help players perfect the timing and angles of their runs to support the playmakers.

Set up

Use an area half the size of your usual pitch. Put a normal goal at the penalty area end and place three target goals at the opposite end. We’ve used 14 players in the session.

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How to play

The team attacking the main goal has eight players in a 3-2-3 formation and the defending team has five players in a 1-2-2 formation. Attacks start from one of the small goals, taking turns to start from each one, so attacks will go down the two wings and down the middle.

The first pass must be into those areas each time. If the defenders win the ball they can try to score in the three target goals. Rotate positions regularly.

Technique

This is about exploiting areas around the penalty box with clever passes, good skills and movement from an attacking overload situation.

It involves three different attacking situations to give match-style variety.

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