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Sebastien Bassong: How to defend against a target man

“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.

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:
Rio Ferdinand's Ultimate Defender
Sylvain Distin: Dominate your opponent
Franco Baresi: How to defend like a master
Chris Smalling: How to be the complete defender
Nemanja Vidic: Tackle any threat
Rio: The thinking man's guide to defending
Ashley Cole: How to handle every opponent