Martin Petrov: Get the better of your nemesis

“There’s a full-back in my league that always gets the better of me. It’s like I’ve got a mental block. How can I overcome this?”
Graham Jones, via email

Martin Petrov says:

“If you’ve already had a bad game against a certain player, of course there are moments when you’re thinking ‘OK, how am I going to make sure I beat him?’

Every player has these thoughts at some time – and that includes your opponent. He’s also thinking about facing you and what he’ll have to do when you attack him and try to get past him.

You have to think positively: if you start to think you’ll never pass him, you may as well stay in the changing room. Mix it up – try to go past him on a different side. Remember, getting past your opponent happens in a split second.

Sometimes I say something in my opponent’s ear or make a beeline for him at the start of the game, just to see how he reacts.If you pass him twice or you set up a goal then you know you’ve scared him.

That’s the best way to get into his head. If you do that then he knows that you’re a dangerous player.”

For more football tips see:
Angel Di Maria on the art of wing play
Raheem Sterling: Run your marker ragged
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Make something happen
Gareth Bale: Terrorise the defence
Lucas Moura: Dribble the Brazilian way
Accelerate and beat your man like Messi

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

FourFourTwo Staff

FourFourTwo was launched in 1994 on the back of a World Cup that England hadn’t even qualified for. It was an act of madness… but it somehow worked out. Our mission is to offer our intelligent, international audience access to the game’s biggest names, insightful analysis... and a bit of a giggle. We unashamedly love this game and we hope that our coverage reflects that.