Paulo Sousa likes very direct game. Despite his favorite formation is 1-3-4-2-1, in the Polish national team he used a smooth 1-3-5-2 based on wing-backs and three central defenders. Sousa’s style is the concentration of the game in the centre and the work of wing-backs along the entire length of the pitch.
On defense the team takes the shape 1-5-3-2 (or classic 1-4-4-2 if rival attack narrow) to go through 1-4-4-2 during the transition phase to 1-3-5-2 in attack, where wing-backs acts as wingers.
After losing the ball the team goes to counterpressing, but when it fails to quickly recover, defenders stands wide in the line and midfielders are very close to the opponent and in narrow shape to close the centre.
In the positional attack players stand very wide (almost at the sidelines) and from there try to look for a space to send direct vertical pass. The key in this phase of the game are three central defenders responsible for distributing the ball and four midfielders: two pivots playing under pressure and responsible for playmaking and two offensive midfielders operating in half-spaces. Mobile and ready for a small combination game.
The asymmetry in Sousa’s intention is that after taking the ball one of the wingers moves to the forward position, as he has to leave more space for the higher full-back who acts as a wing-back, while the other full-back becomes central defender.