Zinchenko on how to play as an inverted full-back


Zinchenko on how to play as an inverted full-back

After completing an impressive first season at the club, Oleksandr Zinchenko sat down with Adrian Clarke to shed some light on his unique role in our team, as well as many other interesting tactical points from the campaign.

The Ukrainian has caught the eye with his ability to seemingly play two positions at once, as he mixes his left-back duties with also getting involved in central midfield. Due to his success combining the two, the inverted left-back role has become one of the most talked about tactical points across the Premier League.

With that in mind, Adrian was keen to find out how Alex manages to achieve that task, who revealed: “You have to look at your opponent, which is obviously my right winger, and see where he stays and who he is marking. Then you need to find the space and try to play forward.

“The main thing when you’re in central midfield is to know what’s going on behind your back, and you need to know what you’re doing with the ball before you receive it. That’s why I try to move my neck as much and as often as I can and just analyse what’s going on behind me and what’s going on on the pitch. 

“A lot of managers used to teach me that the vision of a football player is that if you see the pitch [narrow], you are in the second league. If you see the pitch [wider], it’s the first league, and then [wider again] is Premier League, and [as wide as possible] it’s Champions League, so you need to see the whole picture.”

During their tactical talk, the pair also discussed how our pressing has advanced this season, Alex’s ability to split defences with passes when he moves centrally, as well the in-depth details behind some of the key moments in our big games.

One such moment was Alex’s first goal for the club against Aston Villa, when he drilled the ball home from the edge of the box after collecting a Martin Odegaard corner. However, he was keen to pass the credit on to the coaching staff, highlighting once again how the smallest details make the biggest difference.

“That goal was because of our set-pieces coach Nicolas Jover,” Alex admitted. “In the first half, I just stayed at the back for every corner and at half-time in the dressing room, he came to me and said: ‘Alex, look there is a lot of space in these areas, now on the corners on the right side, you just have to go over there and we’ll play short and be ready to shoot.’ Obviously on the first corner on the right we scored the goal, and it was because of him.”

Find out much more behind the secrets of Alex’s and our success this term by pressing play on the video above.

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