Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Five fantastic volleys

My top five cup volleys

Marco van Basten: Holland v USSR Euro 1988 final

David Platt: England v Belgium World Cup 1990

Zinedine Zidane: Real Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen 2002 Champions League final

Joe Cole: England v Sweden World Cup 2006

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Sweden v France Euro 2012


Ramires v Barcelona: My top six goals scored from an angle

David ClarkeBy David Clarke

Champions League Semi-Final 2012: Barcelona v Chelsea

Ramires is the king of technique. His goal for Chelsea against Barcelona when his team was 2-0 down with John Terry sent off was as good as you will see. An impossible situation, but the through ball to him from Frank Lampard just before half time putting him into the penalty area at an angle to the goal was perfect. His finish was sheer class.

Here’s my top six goals scored from tight angles:

Ramires, Barcelona v CHELSEA (2012)

Marco van Basten, HOLLAND v Russia (1988)

Gabriel Batistuta, FIORENTINA V Arsenal (1999)

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, CHELSEA v Manchester United (2001)

Ronaldo, REAL MADRID v LA Galaxy (2011)

Robin van Persie, ARSENAL v Barcelona (2011)

A new name in the frame for Head Coach


Dave Clarke

When a big club goes through a bad patch there is the usual talk of how the coach will be sacked and who the replacements could be. It is interesting to see the names that come up. They are usually the same names, Jose MOurinho, Gus Hiddink, Harry Redknapp, Marco van Basten, a few ex players of the team involved and Pep Guardiola.

But a new name has been added to the list – Andre Villas Boas. He’s the hottest young coach in Europe at the moment, and his record this season has been outstanding. Porto have won the league with games to spare – p26 w24 d2 l0. Villas Boas has also taken Porto to the semi-finals of the Europa League beating Spartak Moscow 10-3 on aggregate in the quarters.

He has been called Mini-Mourinho – like Mourinho he wasn’t much of a playerand was given his chance in management through Sir Bobby Robson when he was Porto manager. He hired him to work in the club’s scouting and statistics department, and then arranged work experience for him with George Burley at Ipswich Town and to take his coaching badges at Lilleshall.

When Mourinho came to Porto he promoted Villas Boas to be the club’s head of opposition scouting. When Mourinho moved to Chelsea and Internazionale, he took Villas Boas with him. “I travel to training grounds,often incognito, and then look at our opponent’s mental and physical state before drawing my conclusions and presenting a full dossier. José is obsessed with detail,” he explained his job.

In 2009 he left Mourinho to take over as manager of Academia in Portugal’s top division. He saved the team from certain relegation catching the eye of his former employers at Porto and they gave him the top job there. He plays a fast 4-3-3 formation, with a pressing and very organised style. It has brought success to Porto and put his name in the frame for a number of big clubs – Chelsea being one of them. Watch out Carlo.

Click here to see a scouting report from Villas Boas when he was at Chelsea.

Coaches should learn from each other like Ancelotti

dave clarkeChelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has released a book called The Beautiful Games of an Ordinary Genius. It’s a good read and I can recommend it to any coach who wants entertainment and some coaching advice. In the book Ancelotti reveals that his predecessor Jose Mourinho left an archive of training exercises at Stamford Bridge from which Ancelotti says he has learned a lot.

Amazing that a coach of his experience still gets ideas from reading what others have written. Maybe I’ll introduce him to Better Soccer Coaching! But the point shows we all need information to help us be more creative with our own coaching.

“It is a sign of his considerable intelligence that he does not try to do everything himself,” writes Paolo Maldini, in the foreword of the book, and Ancelotti also explains what he learned from Arrigo Sacchi, Nils Liedholm and Sven-Goran Eriksson as well as the “teeny-weeny bit” he picked up from Fabio Capello.

He himself has been a very creative coach and has ideas to share with the rest of us. Ancelotti details with pride how he devised the Christmas Tree formation and responded to Berlusconi’s

He also reveals that he has kept meticulous files on matches, and as Sacchi’s assistant, he had to note down every single kick and run of every single Italy game.

Interstingly his one big remaining ambition is to coach an African team at the World Cup because, he explained at yesterday’s launch of the English edition of his book, “they have the physical and technical skills but do not yet produce teams worthy of their potential”. That’s what Ancelotti tends to do with the teams he takes over.

He was also a good goalscorer – watch the clip below when he played for AC Milan with Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten