Constructing a Training Session from My Days with Jose Mourinho

This session was presented at the 2017 Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic by Dave Hancock. Find out more about the Soccer Champions Coaches' Clinic.

Dave Hancock is a Performance Director, Strength Coach and Physical Therapist who has worked with some of the best athletes and coaches from around the world of sport, both in Europe and the USA. In 2006, Dave joined Chelsea FC to become their Head Physiotherapist over seeing a new $60 million training facility and in charge of all aspects of treatment, rehabilitation and injury prevention programs for the first team squad. He won the Premiership title with Chelsea in 2007, along with the FA Cup and Carling Cup and went onto the Champions League Final in 2008.

General Warm up (10 minutes)

Use the star run without the ball to allow the players to understand the pattern.

Warm up with the ball (20 minutes)


  • 15 meter by 15 meter squares x 4 - Full size pitch divided into 4 equal squares
  • 3 minutes each box.
  • 2 mins active recovery.
  • Players move onto each Circuit station built on the 4 parts of the pitch.

BOX 1: 1 player dribbles the ball into the center at pace, he/she has to exchange the ball over with another ball without knocking the other balls out of the pyramid area. He then dribbles in the star direction playing a 1:2 with the teammate on each pole. The Run is completed when he does all four corners and ends up back where he/she started. Every time he/she enters the middle, the ball must be switched over.


  • This is ball control, touch and running with the ball
  • A very Explosive Warm up for a max of 30 seconds running.

BOX 2: Player stars with the ball, runs into the middle, cuts out to the side towards a pole and plays a one:two with the teammate on the pole, brings the ball back into the triangle and performs a Cruyff, again then comes out plays a one:two and so on. Every time he/she enters the middle pyramid a Cruyff must be performed. He finished by performing a one:two  at all 4 poles and finished back where he started.


  • Ball Control
  • Turning With the Ball
  • Accurate Passing
  • Performing a Cruyff

BOX 3: The starting player with the ball moves out to the middle then cuts out to one of his teammates on a pole. He plays to a teammate on the pole, follows the pass, runs around the pole and then collects the ball from his teammate on the way back. He/she then strikes first time on any goal. He then collects a ball from another teammate on a pole and repeats the drill on one of the other poles. He does all 4 poles and finishes where he started. Players will rotate.


  • Accurate passing and one time shooting off a moving ball
  • Control in a small area
  • Speed and control with the ball

BOX 4: A player starts with the ball and cuts around two of the three mannequin's. He then angles out on his Star run and plays a one:two with his/her teammate on the pole. He drags the ball back into the middle and performs the drill again. The player works all four poles and finishes where he started.


  • Turn and cut at pace with the ball.
  • Accurate touch on the one:two pass with emphasis of turning quickly on receiving the ball.
  • Speed with the ball. Control with the ball.

Transition Drills:

x4 Small Goals

Form a 40-50 yard square around the center circle. This square is split into two sides, either side of the center circle. 3 v 2 transition. 3 players attack 2 defenders. They have an option to score on either goal. Once they score or the ball goes out they need to retreat quickly into the center circle before they can defend the two defenders coming out who now become the attackers. The new attackers need to feed the ball to their three teammates on the other side of the center circle and thus they become 3 vs 2 on the other side. The drill continues and emphasis is on the quick change over and shape of attack to defend. The goal here is to get every player behind the ball, to quickly react to a change in offense to defense. The drill is 6-8 mins with 2 mins active recovery.

Transition Drills: 

Form a 20x20 yard box around the Center Circle. 

3 v 3 possession with emphasis on fast break. This drill is how fast a defending Midfield three can transfer to an attacking Midfield. The object is for the defending team to get the ball from 3 midfield players whose object is to keep possession. Once the defending team win the ball they must play it up field to a lone center forward. The one defender who passes the ball to the center forward must stay and the other two defenders must sprint to support the center forward. Two of the players from the team who were keeping possession of the ball now must drop back to defend the goal and goalkeeper, creating a 2 vs 2 situation on goal. A full size half pitch is used for the transition attack on goal. Drill is 4 minutes with 2 minutes active recovery x 4.

Transition (Offense to Defense) on a Large Scale Pitch

The format is then introduced on a larger full pitch, full size goals on the 18 yard box to 18 yard box with 9 vs 9 players. Formation 4-3-1 for each team. Two goalkeepers.

The game now will emphasize the transition of quickly getting back and defending from when the attacking team loses the ball. Shape/Position, reaction from Offense to Defense are key components of this session. games are 10 minutes with 2 minute active recovery x 2/3.