“Positional Play” – Main ideas and concepts

Pep Guardiola become the reference of the “Positional Play” when he leveled FC Barcelona to football never ever reached.

Through Juanma Lillo and Dani Fernandez we will show the main ideas and concepts behind the “Positional Play”.


The main concect of “Positional Play” is the short passing between near players followed by a longer pass to a far positioned and free player. “Find the distant and free player”. (Juanma Lillo)

Main concepts by Dani Fernandez:

1. Players organized in different lines, easing the creation of the passing lines:

1. Diferentes alturas

2. It is mandarory to have wide players to help creating internal spaces (with Wingers or Side backs):

2. Amplitude

3. The basic concept of free man .

4. The player shall not pass because he has to pass, but clearly know when tho drive the ball or to pass it.

5. Driving the ball attract the opponent, leaving “free men”  available:

3. Homem LIvre

6. The initial target is to have superiority behind the line responsible of pressing the ball keeper:

Superioridades nas Costas

7. Constant passing triangulation, playing with the 3rd man:


8. It is very important the superiority begin since the first line. So it is basic to have a defensive line that plays clean:

Sair a jogar desde trás

9. Once defense and attack play together and not separated, the offensive concept is the one guiding the game.

10. The ball possession aims to unbalance the opponent, guiding the game and determing how the game is played, forcing the opponent to play according to you not to their concepts or style.

11. The “Positional Play” allow the players and the ball to walk together.

12. The consequence is that when the team lose the ball, the players are close to it and can press the opponent to regain possession and avoids counter attacking. It is clear that the way of attacking determines the defensive style too:

Recuperar após perda

13. “Look far” (“The first one to ask it to us was Johan Cruyff, look far, find Romário” – Pep Guardiola):

Olhar longe


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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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