THE HIGH PRESS
In contrast to a number of the tactics discussed above, the high pressing game is one that is built from how you play off the ball, rather than on it. At it’s core, the high press works on the precedent that the higher up the pitch you win the ball, the short distance you have to go to get into a goal scoring position.
What results is a team that play an incredibly high line, with all ten outfield players harrying and hustling the opposition when in possession. Teams who adopt other tactics will often let the opposition hold possession in their own half, safe in the knowledge they can do little harm so far from goal. What makes the high press stand out is that this harassing of the opposition occurs no matter where the ball is.
This tactic can work well against teams who like to maintain possession. Pressing the opposition puts incredible pressure on each and every pass the opposition make. One slip up, and suddenly you’re in an advanced position with a number of your attacking players already up the pitch.
For it to work then, you need ten outfield players who press as an entire unit. It can be one of the most tiring tactics to implement for players, as they are required to get in the faces of the opposition for a full 90-minutes, but it’s rewards can be huge. Defending starts at the very top of the pitch, so select a striker who is unselfish, mobile, and doesn’t mind getting involved in the physical side of the game.
Instinctively, long-ball teams can succeed against pressing teams. Lifting long balls over the defensive line, fast players who are willing to run the channels can suddenly cut your entire press out of the game, exposing the space in-behind your team.
For a perfect exponent of the press, watch Jugen Klopp’s Liverpool team of today. For Klopp, it began with a very successful stint as Borussia Dortmund coach, where his high pressing game took the team to the Champions League final in 2012.