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Dealing with a High Press, while using a possession system?

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Hi All,

I was wandering if anyone had any fundamentals that they use when playing against a high line/high press from the opposition? So if you're looking to beat the press when employing a strategy around retaining possession, what are the things that people have noticed work for them?

(I appreciate that the obvious thing would be to change to a system that tries to utilise the space in behind and playing a more direct style in order to bypass the press...)

However I'm more referring (in a possession based system) to the build up phase - from when you have possession in your own third and then transitioning into the opponent half.

For example; is it important to try and outnumber the opposition press by making sure you have enough players showing for the ball in the build up? (ie. create a 5 v 4)

Essentially what I'm asking is:

For those people that use a lower tempo possession orientated system, whether they make any changes to their system in these types of games? (ie. if you're playing away against Liverpool, who will look to press you high up the pitch)

One great bit of advise was from @Fantasista10 the other day when he said the following about using a Half Back in a 4-3-3:


 I tend to use this shape when facing a high press and/or top heavy system like a 4-2-3-1 or even a 4-4-2. This creates a 3 when playing out from the back as the HB drops in and CBs fan out

I'd never thought of using a Half-Back to specifically counter a High Press...

Just wandered if anyone else had any other gems of advise that be applied generally?

Edited by Luizinho
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Tweaking the in-transition TIs can help because they influence your teams shape when the keeper has the ball. 

Distribute to CD's drops the centre backs closer to the keeper and Distribute to FB's drops the full backs to be available for a pass. Combine the two and you can get the whole backline come deep for the ball. If you then add Play out of Defence on there, one or two of your midfielders (depending on the roles and duties) will come deep as well. So with all three, you can get six players in your own half (plus the keeper on top of that) which might help you out number a five-man press. Though do bare in mind the more players you have coming back to help with build-up, the fewer you'll have attacking the opposition. 

The goal is numerical superiority. For example, here's a goal my team scored vs United in a CL semi:

United are pressing us in a typical 4-2-3-1 shape. I'm playing a 4-3-3 with two BPDs, a DM(S), and two IWBs(S). The keeper has been told to distribute to the centre backs, but nothing else. 

When he gives the ball to our centre backs, my DM and two IWB drop down to offer support, giving us six against United's four-man press. United's four chase us around until the ball goes to the IWB. He pulls one player towards and gives it to the BPD, who now has an open channel to progress possession into midfield and take out three of United's players. We then go on to score.

If I had used Distribute to FBs, those IWB wouldn't be out wide, but closer to the penalty area. If I had PooD on top of that, the left sided CM would be closer to our box, too, meaning he might not have received the pass from my BPD. 

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I thend to look for players with high dribbling attribute and composure (for every position), this will allow the players to hold onto the ball when put under pressure, before making a pass to break the high press

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I often start with a HB for that kind of build up from the back, but I do the opposite when facing a relatively effective press from a 4-2-3-1. I switch to a DM instead (typically) to help bridge the gap between defense and midfield - you retain numerical supremacy centrally and the opposition AMC will often look to press a CB, freeing up the DM as a passing option. 

If I'm playing a system that uses Play Out Of Defense, I'll often look to turn it off in addition to or as an alternative to the above. Since this TI makes your central midfielders drop deeper, you're potentially inviting more pressure. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though, you could be using roles or TIs that present the opportunity to take advantage of the opposition pressing you higher up.

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