Real Madrid: Pressing Still Needs Some Work

Real Madrid have started their season against Sevilla with a 3-2 thrilling win in the UEFA Supercup!

Real Madrid lineup was very unfamiliar because most of the players who were playing are usually non-stater. Asensio who was absolutely phenomenal, he complimented Morata and Lucas Vasquez up front; while Kovacic, Isco and Casemiro took the midfield role. Marcelo, Ramos, Varane and Carvajal commended the defense from the back with Kiko in goal.


Real Madrid and Sevilla started the game looking to press each other whenever the other have the ball. Real Madrid started the game strong with intensity, yet they were very disoriented with their pressing in term of compactness.

I have discussed in my previous post what Vertical compactness while pressing is. Real Madrid lacked vertical compactness when they pressed against Sevilla. In order for a team to press well while keeping their vertical compactness, players need to play close to each without having to utilized each other space or zones.

Playing closer together allows a each to press well once the ball is lost because they can hunt the ball in pact. Real Madrid in particular were not playing in close proximity. Players were too far apart, especially the midfield which makes it easier to be isolated and enticed pressure.

Sevilla were able to press and cut out passing lanes without having to do too much. When Real Madrid decides to press, Sevilla would stretch out the field. Since Real Madrid pressing is isolated and unorganized, Sevilla was able to switch the ball from one side of the field to the other with relative ease.

Luka Modric

The genius of Modric was in display once he came on the pitch for Isco. He slowed the game down and started to dictate plays from deeper position. At times, he and Casemiro would switch up their position. Casemiro would move higher up the pitch while Modric drops deeper into space to receive the ball. Modric was able to connect the defense and the offense with relative ease, and was able to bypass Sevilla’s pressings!

Final Thoughts

It is absolutely pleasing to see Zidane implementing a pressing system to Real Madrid, but he still needs to work with the team. The team cannot press while the defense is too deep. It becomes unorganized and allows players to be far apart. Players also needs to play in close proximity in order to press well as a unit without giving the opposition a chance to switch play like Sevilla did.

With much needed practice, I have no doubt Real Madrid will improve!