Because we never get to watch a team’s training session during the season, we don’t know what they’re doing in practice and whether or not those sessions have any impact on the actual matches. Thanks to Manchester City’s preseason tour of the United States, we got a chance to see the players training, and how they actually use their practice in games.
The video above from Josh Moffet, a football coach in the US, was filmed during the last training session before Saturday’s friendly against Tottenham Hotspur. It’s a standard finishing session that’s probably done by every top team, but the video highlights one thing: the players are actually drilled in training to do things in game.
For every training clip, there’s a corresponding moment in the game against Spurs where each finishing sequence is actually repeated in the match. Even though the practice is unopposed and there are dummies serving as a defensive line, the session is meant to create different patterns of passing and movement that lead to chances via short passing in the middle from multiple players, through balls from a midfielder to an attacker, and a cross to a target at the far post.
All of the sequences done in training are actually reproduced in the match, but because there are actual human beings defending them, City players have to make adjustments and improvise some movements. Still, the patterns they learned during training are there, and it’s clear that these players know exactly what to do to create finishing chances.
That’s good coaching, and Pep Guardiola is clearly a good coach. We now have video proof!