Burnley's training pitches - Vincent Kompany explains

If you have seen any footage of Burnley in training under Vincent Kompany, be that from the behind closed doors win over Rochdale, or from Maxwel Cornet’s instagram stories, you may have wondered what the unfamiliar markings on the pitches are.
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They are not the result of crop circles, which older readers may remember former Clarets midfielder Winston White being mockingly linked with the appearance of in the early 1990s, but they are very common now with modern training methods.

Pep Guardiola has marked out zones on the training pitches at Manchester City, where Kompany spent three years playing under the Spaniard, to drill his players in certain positional patterns of play, to make the most of space, drag the opposition out of shape, look for overloads and work the ball into the areas that hurt teams.

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He would split the pitch into five lanes, with wide areas on each flank, and, either side of a central zone, the half spaces – the area in line with the outside edge of the penalty area and six-yard box – where a midfielder or number 10 can cause problems for opponents, or wingers can cut inside.

Jay Rodriguez and Charlie Taylor in trainingJay Rodriguez and Charlie Taylor in training
Jay Rodriguez and Charlie Taylor in training

Guardiola likes his players to occupy all five lanes in the build up and in attacking play, often inverting one or both full backs into midfield to help lead to overloads in the half spaces.

Much of it is about providing a route to goal away from the congested centre of the pitch, and Kompany explained: "It's quite common now – the main thing is you line up the half spaces, the big, long vertical lines, and, for me, I like lines from outside the box to the angles of the posts, because it's where your strikers have to end up to score goals, it's where your wingers have to end up to score goals.

"We draw lines horizontally to try and look at what you call the double 18-yard line, to kind of mark where you get your central combinations done, and then there's an element of the defensive set up where you counter press and so on.

"I'm not going to bore you with that.

"Let's keep the intensity and graft and challenges and make sure this team is fully loaded for each game, half spaces can come later!”