#In possession

Attacking available space

Ramiro Amarelle, 21 Mar 2023


Attacking the space behind the opposition’s defence enables a team to create an imbalance and thus open up a shooting opportunity when faced with a high defensive line. In this exercise, players should identify the space and try to lose their marker by making runs in behind the defenders.


  • This exercise requires 6 outfield players, 1 of whom is introduced as a variation at a later stage, plus 2 goalkeepers.

  • Use the full pitch and both goals.

  • Set up the 5 outfield players in a 3v2 in one half of the pitch (as per the graphic).


  • The move is always started by the goalkeeper, who plays the ball to 1 of their 3 team‑mates with a short throw‑out. The 3 attackers must then work together to attack the space behind the opposition defenders.
  • Once the goalkeeper has started the move, the team in possession cannot use them again.
  • The 2 defending players should press as high up the pitch as possible to establish the game scenario and vacate the space behind them. If they manage to win the ball, they can go on and attempt to score.

  • Once the move comes to an end, the players walk back to their starting positions. Rotate the defenders regularly to allow them to rest.


  • Introduce the sixth outfield player as an additional defender, thus creating a 3v3 scenario.

Coaching points

  • Ask the in‑possession team players without the ball to attack the space behind the defence.

  • Try to find the player with the most space and time to give them the best possible chance of receiving and playing the ball.

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