Palmeiras played only 12 official games in the season before the stoppage in football due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, it was long enough to show a solid defense and it started with excellent numbers.
One of them, even, is a record in this century. The five goals conceded in the first 12 matches of the year represent the best brand in this regard since 2001, drawing with 2019. In all other years, the team had already been leaked more times at this time of the season.
Vanderlei Luxemburgo with Palmeiras’ defending duo in the background – Photo: Cesar Greco / Ag Palmeiras
One of the hallmarks of Palmeiras’ defensive sector this year is that it has undergone few changes. Weverton, Felipe Melo and Gustavo Gómez started together in nine of the 12 games. Matías Viña has now become an absolute on the left wing since signing. On the right, Marcos Rocha only left due to an ankle injury, and Gabriel Menino fit a sequence entering the function.
In the day-to-day training at the Football Academy, assistant coach Maurício Copertino often gives special attention to the defensive sector of the team. He performs specific activities with defenders and midfielders almost daily, addressing various aspects of the function, such as positioning the body, covering, hitting, among others.
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Another factor addressed by Vanderlei Luxemburgo, who, in the view of the technical committee, makes a difference to the good performance of the defensive sector is the charge for a general commitment in marking. Both the coach and Copertino demand a lot from the players in front, as pressure marking when the opponent’s ball is out.
Until the stoppage, Palmeiras had the least leaked defense of the Paulista Championship, with four goals conceded, alongside the Novorizontino. At Libertadores, the team was leaked only once in two matches that they played.