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Nemanja Vidic: How to press high up the pitch

“Every week my team’s defence drops too deep and invites pressure. How do we push up without being caught out by the long ball?”
Justin Master, via Twitter

Nemanja Vidic says:

“The most important thing is for the midfielders to close down the opposition. If they do this, the defence can push higher up the pitch.

As soon as you clear the ball you need to push up 15-20 metres. If you’ve already pressed up when the ball reaches the feet of the opposition player he won’t have time to hit a dangerous ball.

The whole team – not just the defence – has to push up as one, otherwise you will lose your shape and discipline. If one player is slow to push up he can play the opposition onside.

There’s not one place on the pitch where you can say it’s good to hold your line, because it depends on who you are playing and the players they have.

But one thing is for certain – don’t force your backline up. Sometimes it is not possible to push up and you have to go back. If you don’t drop off you can be forced to play offside and that is risky.”

For more football tips see:
Build from the back
Rio: Playing out from the back
Nemanja Vidic: Pass under pressure
How to be a ball playing centre back
The holding role: Press space, not players
Chris Hughton: Stop the opposition's passing game
Countering a team that press high up the pitch
How to make the opposition play the long ball game