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Franco Baresi: How to use your head

“Buongiorno a tutti and welcome to the first of my defensive tutorials for FourFourTwo Performance.

Over the next few issues, I’m going to outline some of the key skills every defender needs to master. This month: when decision-making matters.

Positioning is very important. When marking an opponent, a defender has to be aggressive and step in when the opportunity presents itself.

Assessing your opponent’s characteristics will help you devise a plan. For instance, if you’re playing someone quick, defend deep because if they break you won’t catch them. When they get close to the box, get tight so there’s no space to run into.

You can’t always read the pass and intercept, so you have to practise tackling in training. Play one vs one against a team-mate.

To make the tackle the defender has to be determined, but wary of making a foul. Learning an attacker’s movements will help you second-guess their moves and allow you to make your move swiftly and carefully, as you’re one step ahead.

This is one of the individual skills you must learn. Now, you go practise. Ciao.”

Also see:
Franco Baresi on handling different opponents
Franco Baresi: Defending masterclass
Franco Baresi's guide to tackling
Franco Baresi: How to defend like a master