Blocking passing lanes (Atlético Madrid)

A drill from Diego Simeone at Atlético Madrid.


  • improve defending by four midfielders in a flat midfield (1:4:4:2)


  • 12 players
  • 6 red en 6 blue bibs
  • enough balls
  • enough cones to mark the sections


  • red starts with the ball and tries to reach the pair on the other side
  • when they do, the ball has to go to another red attacker before the red team can score a goal
  • when blue recovers the ball, they try to score by passing to one of the blue attackers


  • increase the width of the field so it becomes more difficult for the defending midfielders
  • add an extra attacker
  • attacking midfielders are only allowed one touch in order to increase the speed
  • a maximum number of passes before the midfielders should pass to the attackers


  • depending on your formation, let the midfielders play with three
  • attackers can score after a pass by making a line dribble


  • ‘As the ball moves, the midfielders should move along
  • ‘Keep mutual distance small so the ball cannot reach to the attackers.’
  • ‘Make sure the passing lane to the attackers is closed by using cover shadows.’
  • ‘Coach/instruct each other to keep distances small.’
  • ‘In case an attacker receives a pass, drop back quickly and prevent a goal’
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Types of drills
Tactical games Individual practice
Prevent scoring Putting pressure
Age group
Under 19 Under 17 Adults Under 16 Under 15 Under 18 Under 14
13-16 9-12