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Ivanovic explains some of the fullback basics

Paul Gilham

It's always fun to hear about tactics from a professional, especially one who's currently being coached by Jose Mourinho. Fullback is perhaps the key position in overall team cohesion, and Branislav Ivanovic has been the standout there so far as Chelsea are concerned. The Serbian has been excellent in both attack and defence this season, and although this might seem obvious to many, he points out that bombing forward can actually help out the back line:

Our first aim always has to be holding the defensive line, to keep the defensive four together.

Sometimes you can show the winger that you want to attack, that you know how to attack, so they have to focus on the defensive side of their game. This can help the team by taking their winger out of position, taking him so far away from your goal that they cannot hurt you.

However, this is another thing that depends on the opponent and the situation of the game, so I’m happy to go forward when I can, but I’m still focused on the defensive things first.


Football writers can talk as much as they want about tactics, but hearing about them from the real thing is much better than someone pounding at their keyboard from afar. What Ivanovic is talking about here is what's normally described as 'pinning back' the winger, giving them so much to worry about defensive that they're not in a good position to go forward on the counterattack.

Chelsea have used Ivanovic high up the pitch against everyone, but he's especially important to the attack against teams who concede possession to the Blues, which allows him to push up to the edge of their defensive block. Sure, their left winger might want to charge forward, but they also have to track a rampaging Serbian, and their defensive obligations tend to win out.

There are worse people to talk to about fullback tactics!

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