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José Mourinho's 04/05 Chelsea Tactical Philosophy

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Jose Mourinho's 04/05 Chelsea

Introduction

For many years in the Premier League, a certain formation was KING. In the very words of Mike Basset, "4-4-f@#$ing-2". That was until José Mário dos Santos Mourinho Félix came to the England during the 04/05 season. Before arriving, Mourinho had just won his first Champions League trophy as a manager with Porto. Mourinho played a 4-3-3 system that worked so well because most English teams were still fixated on playing 4-4-2, which Chelsea’s system worked brilliantly against. In the very words of the man himself, "Look, if I have a triangle in midfield – Claude Makelele behind and two others just in front – I will always have an advantage against a pure 4-4-2 where the central midfielders are side by side. That’s because I will always have an extra man. It starts with Makelele, who is between the lines. If nobody comes to him he can see the whole pitch and has time. If he gets closed down it means one of the two other central midfielders is open. If they are closed down and the other team’s wingers come inside to help, it means there is space now for us on the flank, either for our own wingers or for our full-backs. There is nothing a pure 4-4-2 can do to stop things". Essentially, a 3 vs 2 situations in central midfield.

Let's have a look at why Chelsea was so successful in 2004/05.

Resources

Tactical Principles

The System:

  • Defending well
  • Score Goals
  • Dominating play
  • Transition to Defence: immediately pressure the ball, stop the opponent getting organized into an attack. Done by hassling, closing down and challenging opponents for the ball. All passing options must be closed down by marking players and shutting off the passing options. (close down more, use tighter marking & get stuck in)
  • Transition to Attack: Get the ball moving towards the opponent's goal, as quickly as possible, before the other team has done its job of marking and closing down.
  • Resting on the Ball: Keep possession (retain possession?)

 

new_chelsea_drogba_lampard_terry_cole.thumb.jpg.dbb8c384986fde2d7a972c301dc274ab.jpg

Mourinho is famous for his 4-3-3 formation for 1st tenure at Chelsea, thanks for the illustration http://www.zonalmarking.net/ 

 

Translating into Football Manager 2018

1) Mentality and shape

As with most Special One teams, counter-attacking at pace, defending as a team, and pressing the players out wide (having forced them there with a congested midfield) are the foundations. Thus, the mentality chosen is...

Counter

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And the shape chosen is... Very Fluid. Mourinho's 04/05 players saw all of them partaking in attack and defense as a solid unit.

2) Formation

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Obviously, the 4-3-3. We'll come to player roles and instructions later.

3) Team Instructions

In the example of Mourinho, we can use team instructions to

  • hassle opponents to win back the ball (close down more, play narrower)
  • play fast counter-attacking football (higher tempo)

Tis.thumb.PNG.9547f28ac3f6edaffdae1943278d5cbd.PNG

4) Player roles and Instructions

Roles:

Goalkeeper, Defend (Cech): Cech had an aerial presence in the box, a trait which relieved the pressure of his defenders as they knew that he’d rarely succumb to a mistake. Cech was also a great shot stopper and was one of the main reasons, Chelsea only conceded 15 goals all season.

Central Defenders, Stopper and Cover (Terry & Carvalho): Carvalho would usually cover for Terry while the latter would go up the pitch to hassle opponents. John Terry was a dominant figure and a real leader in the Chelsea team, he was one of the key players as he provided leadership whilst also winning everything in the air and tackling.  Carvalho possessed great pace and a great ability to read the game which worked very well with John Terry. Carvalho also had a great passing ability which helped him find teammates further up the field.

Wing Backs, Attack (Ferreira & Cole): Both full backs would get forward to support the attacks and provide width on the flanks, they would also be expected to get crosses into the box for teammates. Defensively both players were great in 1v1 situations and stopped many crosses coming into the box.

Anchorman, Defend (Makelele): Wasn't this role made after him? Makelele played a vital role in Chelsea being as solid as they were defensive. Not only would Makelele protect his back four by making interceptions and crucial tackles, but he would also sit back when Chelsea had the ball, which allowed Frank Lampard to roam further forward which crucially led to him being a goal outlet.

Box to Box Midfielder, Support (Essien/Tiago): Tiago/Essien would support attacks in the opponents half from a deeper role, often trying to break up play and stop any potential counter attacks from happening. Essientally (see what I did there?), they were the workhorse of the team.

Central Midfielder, Attack (Lampard): Goal outlet for the team. Would provide goals and assists. An attacking BBM. He will readily surge into the final third to support the attackers.

Winger, Attack (Robben and Duff): Both these wingers were lively down the wings with tons of energy and lightning pace to beat their man on the wing. Both wingers would regularly cut inside creating space for fullbacks to overlap and get crosses into the box. (Note: You can't set Wingers to cut inside in the AML/AMR roles, so I added the PI Mark Specific Position to allow them to move inside)

Complete Forward, Support (Drogba): Didier Drogba was the definition of a complete forward in modern football, he had ridiculous strength, great movement off the ball, was quick and was a great finisher of the ball.

PIs:

Gk: Take Long Kicks, Pass to CF

WB: nil

CD (Stopper): Close down more, Tackle Harder

CD (Cover): Tackle Harder

A: Ease off tackles, mark tighter

BBM: Get further forward

CM (A): Move into channels

W(A) right side: Roam from position, Mark M (L)

W(A) left side: Roam from position, Mark M (R)

CF: Shoot less often, move into channels, pass it shorter

 

APPENDIX:

Based on the tactics request thread I created https://community.sigames.com/topic/422441-request-for-tactical-replications/ more to come in the month of December. Mourinho 04/05 tactic is requested by @Ellandroadhero so a shoutout to him. Happy FMing and hope you have a good time!

Oh yeah, and here's the link to the tactic:

https://tinyurl.com/y9qatleq

 

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Edited by goqs06

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This is interesting but a few thing, tho. The wingers were never that far up the field under Mourinho. They tracked back a LOT. So, maybe I would push them both back in the midfield-strata. Also "Retain Possesion" PI? No :D Chelsea tended to play a bit more mixed passing game. Also, Look for Overlap TI: Chelsea didn't always slow the attack looking for their FBs to bomb forward. Exploit the Middle TI: I also disagree their attacks didn't always go through the middle. Also, Stick to Position: Actually, the wingers and Lampard/Drogba had a lot of freedom to roam in attack with the wingers swapping each other and Lampard moving side and side and also making those famous late runs into the box. So, I'd get rid of those four TIs.

 

Also the Drogba role. He was far from a Complete Forward, IMO. He was more of a Defensive Forward. He was the man who hassled the CBs when they get the ball.

Edited by Jean0987654321

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Hi

I like when people want to replicate the best managers tactic but..the quest for that is to replicate really. I dont have talents for doing that but I have some questions. Do you test the tactic, do you see the same things in reality,and what about the results. Cause I can post too a tactic and say "its a real Simeone tactic" with 65% possession and 25 shots per match.

 

Edited by coach vahid

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1 hour ago, coach vahid said:

Hi

I like when people want to replicate the best managers tactic but..the quest for that is to replicate really. I dont have talents for doing that but I have some questions. Do you test the tactic, do you see the same things in reality,and what about the results. Cause I can post too a tactic and say "its a real Simeone tactic" with 65% possession and 25 shots per match.

 

@coach vahid  I do make observations IRL and from pass maps and statistics. I'm in the midst of testing and I'll publish the results soon.

I wouldn't say Simeone's sides aren't big on possession. And they don't blast too many shots too. 

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