|(Mourinho's tactical thinking)|
It means the progress of the attack of the opposition must be halted, usually as far away from the goal as possible.
This is not always possible. Just as well, it may not be necessary to commit high up the field if the opponent is in full control of possession.
This is due to easy creating of distances between the defending team players and spaces between units (defence, midfield, and attackers).
When the opponents reach the midfield third, spaces between defenders and units must be reduced, and the angles must be narrow and correct, and the distances between defenders must be shorter.
It can never be over-emphasised, the necessity and urgency of this scenario once the attack is increased and enters the final third.
At this point, regardless of the defending tactics, man-to-man marking is mandatory, no matter the level of the game or professionalism.
At all times, defending must begin with an individual, usually one nearest the ball. Supporting defending players must anticipate the ball movement.
For a technically superior team, it may be hard to choose the moment to engage in a defending action such as a tackle or cover. This is because of the unpredictability and quick decision making of top professionals.
However, if the opponents are of inferior technical ability, all pressure, anywhere and anytime will lead to a series of errors.
The higher up the field the errors occur, the better. This is due to the fact that the next attack can be initiated closer to the target.
As a general rule, up the field, marking is zonal, meaning that the players close the spaces and do not mark man-to-man.
In the defending third, it must always be man-to-man, while in midfield, it can be a mixture of the two tactics.
In summary, the principles of defending are; deny space and time, cover your team mate, anticipate the thinking of the attacker and their movement and the movement of the ball,
intercept the ball and support among others.