Positional Responsibilities

The positional responsibilities in a particular positional area are the tasks that must be carried out in that positional area by a team's players in order to help the team to achieve its tactical objectives.

A player's tactical role tells him how he should perform positional responsibilities.

Typically, each positional responsibility in a positional area is performed to a relatively greater extent by one or more players who are assigned a tactical role that includes appropriate component role types and instructs them to play in or near the positional area concerned.

The main positional responsibilities are:

Detailed below for each positional responsibility, where relevant, are:

Providing Cover

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

In central defence:

On the flanks:

Less Suitable Role Types

On the flanks:

Conflicting Role Types

In central attack:

Forming a Defensive Line

Forming a defensive line is a particularly important aspect of providing cover that is performed by players in defence.

A team's defensive line is a hypothetical horizontal line formed by at least two centre backs. As such, it is usually level with, or close to, the offside line and therefore it is directly affected by the team's offside line movement defensive instructions. A well formed defensive line enables the team to protect space effectively in defence and also restrict onside space more effectively due to the lack of onside space that exists between or behind the centre backs, unless a player is assigned the sweeper playing position.

To enable an effective defensive line to be formed across the defence a team typically uses at least three players in the centre back and full back playing positions, assigns level or essentially level tactical positions to all of its centre backs and assigns tactical positions to its full backs, if used, that are no deeper than those of its centre backs.

In addition, all players who are assigned centre back playing positions are typically instructed to provide cover in the attacking phases as holding players so that the team can quickly form an effective defensive line across central defence in the defensive transition phase.

The deep-dropping player attacking role type is not typically assigned to players in defence, while the man-marking defensive role type is not typically assigned to players in central defence, as they would be likely to prevent an effective defensive line from being retained throughout the defensive phases.

A team's defensive line is strongly linked to its line of restraint, which affects the pressing directness defensive instructions of the team's defenders and is explained in the Playing Style Balance guide.

Applying Defensive Pressure

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

Less Suitable Role Types

Conflicting Role Types

Moving the Ball Safely

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

In central defence:

In central midfield and central attack:

On the flanks:

Less Suitable Role Types

In central defence:

In central midfield and central attack:

On the flanks:

Conflicting Role Types

Linking Play

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

In central attack:

Less Suitable Role Types

Stretching Play

Tactical Objectives

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

Supplementary Role Types

On the flanks:

In central attack:

Less Suitable Role Types

On the flanks:

In central attack:

Conflicting Role Types

Dictating Play

Tactical Objectives

By dictating play in central midfield a player can decide the extent to which the team should attempt to penetrate space, create space, keep possession or retain solidity. By dictating play in central attack a player can more effectively create goal-scoring chances.

Tactical Risk

Importance

Players who dictate play to a greater extent (due to being assigned either of the key role types detailed below), if used, are typically treated as focal players so that they can dictate play more effectively.

A focal player is a player to whom a team focuses play to a greater extent.

Key Role Types

In central and wide attack:

Supplementary Role Types

Less Suitable Role Types

On the flanks:

Conflicting Role Types

Combinations

A player who is instructed to dictate play as a ball-playing player is likely to be more effective if, in the team’s positional structures or attacking structures, he is level with or behind a teammate who is instructed to stretch play.

Culminating Play

Tactical Objectives

Attacking Objectives > Creating a Goal-Scoring Chance > attempt at goal

Tactical Risk

Importance

Key Role Types

In central positional areas:

On the flanks:

Supplementary Role Types

On the flanks:

Conflicting Role Types

In central positional areas:

On the flanks:

Combinations

A player who is instructed to culminate play on a flank as a byline-crossing player is likely to be more effective if he is also instructed to stretch play on that flank, as this results in him moving towards the byline more frequently.