In their 1-1 draw at Alkmaar against AZ, John Stegeman’s men pressed efficiently and in a way that, despite not being innovational, showed smaller teams and youth coaches around the world how eleven players should press as a team.
Pressing with three forwards and man marking in a three-against-three in the central axis, PEC Zwolle demonstrated certain pressing principles:
- Pressing would be triggered by the forwards and only after a back pass towards the defenders or the goalkeeper.
- The striker would press one opposition center-back. If he cannot press the second one too, the closest winger would move centrally, sometimes orientating his body in a way that cuts the passing lane between center-back and fullback. It is the winger and not the central midfielder that pushes up to press the center-back as Stegeman seemed like he wanted to eliminate any chances that AZ would pass the ball centrally as the midfielder was leaving his initial direct opponent to reach the center-back.
- With the opposition fullback now free and the ball arriving towards him, the closest player to the ball between the PEC Zwolle fullback or central midfielder would move towards him to press.
- That would initiate a continuous change of marking of opponents by the PEC Zwolle players who proved very quick at identifying the free players at the side of the ball, quickly moving towards him. This exchange of direct opponents while also keeping the intensity levels high and their pressing efficiency intact was the most impressive thing about this performance.
Thanos Chelas nació en Grecia y es un analista de fútbol de 25 años. Trabajó como entrenador en Italia y Grecia y como analista para el equipo masculino y femenino del Ethnikos del Pireo. Ha sido también escritor de artículos de análisis táctico para diferentes sitios.