Diego Simeone – Defensive organization of Atlético Madrid against FC Barcelona


Diego Simeone we may say won the argentinian coach batlle in the draw 1-1 at Nou Camp against FC Barcelona’s coach Gerardo Martino in the first leg of the quarter finals of UEFA Champions League.

To achieve it, the main contribution came from his team’s defense organization.

As the great principle of the Moment of Defensive Organization (when they were without ball possession), Simeone defined for the next match: “Zonally Defensive Block at mid/low” (excepts in few situations of agressive pressing)

To reach this principle, Simeone used the following subprinciples::

1. Really close sectors (mainly defensive and middle) to remove spaces preventing oponnent to receive in a good situation.

Linhas juntas

2. All team moves to the side where the ball is


3. Permanent covering of players that are coming close to the opponent ball carrier

Cob. Defensiva

4. Creating numerical superiority in the sides when opponent has the ball in the wide areas (2×1 and 3×1)

Sup. Numérica nas linhas

5. Aggressive pressure in some game situations (to recover the ball close to the opponent goal)

5.1 When the ball is back passed to the goalkeeper (with the foot)

Pressão GR

5.2 In the goal kicks or long passes in the wide areas of opponents mid-low.

Pressão Lançamentos

6. Make use of ‘Tactical Fouls’ when team is unbalanced (only player without yellow card can commit it)

7. High defensive aggressivity  (take care in man-to-man duels)

This strategy was really well succeeded except in a big mistake made at the moment Neymar scored FC Barcelona goal. When opponent had the ball in the central vertical zone, close to the flanks, Atlético’s side backs usually went to man-to-man marking the wide midfielders, leaving space between them and the center back.

Golo - Erro


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By Pedro Mendonça

About Pedro Mendonça: Real Madrid Foundation - Football Coach/Professor. UEFA B Football Coach. Physical Education Teacher. Author of: "Tactical Periodization: A Practical Application for the Game Model of FC Bayern Munich"

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