Mariano Moreno – ‘Zonal Support and Crossing from the Wing’

Mariano Moreno: Coach Education Director, Spanish FA.

In this article we show one of his favorite practice present in UEFA Magazine – The Technician.

Videos and images created by sports software TacticalPad.


– To encourage player’s creativity, improve skills and vary passing distances.
– To encourage the player with the ball to pass to team-mates on either wing. The wide players drive forward and cross the ball to create a goalscoring opportunity.


Mariano Moreno


– Two teams of 8 v 8 (including goalkeepers).
– One goalkeeper, two defenders, two midfielders, one striker and one player in each wing section, all attacking and defending zonally.

Reduced pitch (length equal to width, approx. 68 x 68 m).

– A defender receives the ball from the goalkeeper. On the first touch, an opponent may put pressure on the player in possession. The opposition should build up pressure gradually.
– Players in the central zone should support by shaking off their markers and try to gain possession of the ball, then make at least 2 or 3 passes before seeking out a team-mate on the wing. The wide player is limited to 2 touches.
– The 2 players in each wing section (1 from each team) should shadow each other but not offer any serious opposition so that the attacking move is not obstructed.
– When a team wins or recovers the ball it carries the same technical and tactical procedures for attack and defence.

– Players in the central zone cannot enter the wing sections. They can assist by playing one-twos and receive the ball to shoot at goal, but can only enter the wing section when the coach changes the players’ roles.
– As the training is quite intensive for the wide players (they have to defend as well as attack), the coach should change these players regularly.
– The practice should be similar to a real game: it continues at a normal pace and the emphasis is on scoring goals.

Key Coaching Points:
– Players on the ball try to keep possession; if in difficulty they should pass their wide players.
– Players in the central zone should time their attacking runs to meet the crosses from the wide players.
– Each team should maintain a balance between attack and defence; if they lose the ball they have to defend effectively.
– Communication and support should be encouraged.
– The players should be swift and effective in controlling the ball, passing, crossing and shooting.



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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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