Sebastien Bassong: How to defend against a target man

Nullify the threat of a target man with tips from Norwich City's Cameroon international, Sebastien Bassong
“Every team in my league seems to play long ball to a big lump upfront, which is so hard to defend against. What tactics do you use?”
Stefan Duda, via email

Sebastien Bassong says:
“When you play against someone like Peter Crouch you’re never going to win the aerial battle so the best thing to do is play for the second ball.

More after the break

He will want to set up his team-mates so you have to be first to the knock-down. You have to be in contact with that player and on your toes to clear it.

The long ball is a difficult tactic to defend against because the opposition are sending the ball straight into your box.

When the ball is in your box there’s more chance you’re going to concede a goal. If you can keep the ball outside the box you’re safer.

Defending against Didier Drogba is different. He’s quicker and more powerful than Crouch. It doesn’t matter who the defender is: if a good ball comes to him, he’ll win it. 

If it’s straight on his head he’s going to flick it on; if it’s into his chest you just have to wait and see what he’ll try to do with the ball. With a player like him you have to adapt to the situation.”

For more football tips see:
Olivier Giroud: How to create and conquer
Tony Carr: Playing off the target man
How to play as a target man: A 5 point plan
How to make the opposition play the long ball game
Winning the ball off the target man
Dion Dublin: Holding the ball up
Ten-minute targetman workout
Ibrahimovic: How to play as a target man
Playing as a target man: the essentials
Graham Taylor: playing the long ball

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