Teams should adjust their Support strategies depending on where on the field they have the ball in order to maximize the attacking principle’s effectiveness
In the defensive third, the primary objective is to safely move the ball away from the danger zone. Support strategies in this area should focus on:
Providing passing options: Central players, such as holding midfielders, can drop deeper to provide safe, short passing options, helping the team maintain possession and move the ball away from danger.
Using width: Fullbacks and wingers should position themselves wide to stretch the opposition and create space for safe passes, allowing the team to advance up the field.
Quick transitions: When the opportunity arises, players should move quickly to support the ball carrier, facilitating swift transitions from defence to attack.
In the middle third, the objective is to control possession, probe the opposition’s defensive structure, and look for gaps to exploit. Penetration strategies here include:
Triangular passing options: Players should position themselves to create triangles with the ball carrier, offering multiple passing options and facilitating ball circulation.
Supporting wide play: When the ball is in wide areas, central players should move towards the flank to provide support and create numerical advantages against the opposition’s defenders.
Intelligent off-the-ball movement: Players must move off the ball effectively, creating space for themselves and their teammates, and providing passing options for the ball carrier.
In the attacking third, the goal is to create goal-scoring opportunities by breaking down the opposition’s defensive structure. Penetration strategies in this area involve:
Close support: Players should position themselves close to the ball carrier to provide short passing options, allowing for quick combination play that can break down organized defences.
Supporting the final pass: When a teammate is about to deliver a cross or through ball, other attacking players should move into position to provide options for a potential cutback or layoff.
Maintaining attacking shape: As the team progresses into the attacking third, players must maintain a balanced attacking shape, ensuring that support is available in both central and wide areas.
By adapting Support strategies to different field zones, teams can effectively use the attacking principle to maintain possession, relieve pressure on the ball carrier, and create opportunities for attacking play throughout the match.