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The Inter Treble: A Tactical Replication

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Inter’s Famous Treble Season

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"This wonderful night bestows us with the colours of our crest: black and azure against a gilded backdrop of stars. It shall be called International, because we are brothers of the world."

9 March 1908, Milan

 

After success in the post-Herrera era, the blue side of Milan started to see more success starting in 2004. Inter were awarded the 2005–06 Serie A championship retrospectively after points were stripped from Juventus and Milan due to the match-fixing scandal that year. During the following season, Inter went on a record-breaking run of 17 consecutive victories in Serie A, starting on 25 September 2006 with a 4–1 home victory over Livorno, and ending on 28 February 2007, after a 1–1 draw at home to Udinese. On 22 April 2007, Inter won their second consecutive Scudetto—and first on the field since 1989—when they defeated Siena 2–1 at Stadio Artemio FranchiItalian World Cup-winning defender Marco Materazzi scored both goals. Inter had the greatest season in their history completing a historic Treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League, becoming the sixth European club to complete the treble and the only Italian club to achieve this feat to date. The team was led by Jose Mourinho.

 

The Special One Arrives

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In 2008, Jose Mourinho moved to Serie A club Internazionale. Within three months he had won his first Italian honour, the Supercoppa Italiana, and completed the season by winning the Serie A title. In 2009–10, Inter became the first Italian club to win the treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia, and the Champions League, also the first time Inter had won the latter competition since 1965. He is one of only five coaches to have won the European Cup with two different teams, along with Ernst Happel, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Jupp Heynckes and Carlo Ancelotti. He won the first-ever FIFA World Coach of the Year Award in 2010.

 

The Players

Team.thumb.jpg.b1de19cd0caa1df079d3be70c0e3a75c.jpg

GK Julio Cesar – One of the best goalkeepers in the world in his prime, Júlio César was known for his athleticism, strength, and reflexes, as well as his agility, positional sense, shot-stopping, ability to read the game, and speed when rushing off his line. A left-footed goalkeeper, he is also known for his ball skills and distribution, as well as his penalty stopping.

(FM Role = Goalkeeper - Defense)

 

LB Javier ZanettiZanetti earned the nickname El Tractor for his stamina and tireless energetic runs up and down the wings to aid both attack and defence. He was known amongst his teammates for consistency and fitness regime, which he has credited with prolonging his career. During his last few seasons, he started in over 30 games despite being in his late 30s. As a captain for both his club and international sides, he was well-respected by both fans and the opposition for his leadership, calm demeanor and conduct both on and off the pitch; in his entire 22-year career, he only received two red cards.

(FM Role = Fullback - Support)

 

LCB Walter SamuelRegarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, Samuel was a large, quick, powerful, and aggressive centreback, who excelled in the air, both defensively, and as a goal threat on set pieces. His defensive skills, which included an excellent positional sense, an ability to read the game, as well as tough, tight marking, and hard tackling, made him extremely effective at anticipating opponents.

 (FM Role = Centerback - Defense)

 

RCB Lucio – Regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, Lúcio is a tall, large, tenacious, and physically strong defender, who excels in the air, and is known for his heavy marking of opponents, as well as his hard-tackling style of play and leadership; he is also highly regarded for his positioning, ability to read the game and his adeptness at winning back possession in one on one situations.

(FM Role = Centerback - Defense)

 

RB MaiconDue to his work-rate and stamina, Maicon is known to be capable of aiding his team both offensively and defensively, and has been used both as a full-back and as an attacking wing-back or wide midfielder. He is gifted with outstanding physical attributes, athleticism and excellent technical skills, as well as good vision, crossing ability and a powerful shot, which made him a dangerous attacking threat down the right flank in his prime.

(FM Role = Wingback - Attack) (PI: More Risky Passes)

 

CML Dejan StankovicHe captained the Serbia national team until 2011, when he announced his retirement from international football. He played as an attacking midfielder who could also play out wide on the wings, or track back in a defensive midfield role. A tenacious and hard-working player, "Deki", as he is nicknamed, was best known for his efficient, accurate passing, versatility and creativity, as well as his ability to score goals from long distance.

(FM Role = Box to Box Midfielder - Support)

 

CMR Esteban Cambiasso – is a complete, versatile, consistent, and modern footballer, who possesses acute tactical intelligence, and who is capable of playing in several midfield and defensive positions. A strong, left-footed player, he is gifted with stamina, good technique, passing range and vision, attributes which allow him to distribute the ball and create chances for teammates.  He also moved into the half spaces opened up by Maicon.

(FM Role = Carrilero - Support)

 

LW Goran Pandev – Pandev was born in Strumica, SR Macedonia, then still part of SFR Yugoslavia, and began his football career with FK Belasica, the club with which he progressed through the youth academy. He only spent one season in the local Prva Liga, however, before being signed by Serie A giants Internazionale in the summer of 2001 when he was just 18 years old.

(FM Role = Winger - Support)

 

AMC Wesley Sneijder – A creative and versatile midfielder, Sneijder has been recognized as one of the classic playmakers of the 2010s. From his impeccable placement and confirmed ability to score from free kicks, Sneijder earned the reputation as a dead-ball specialist. Because of his short stature, he is quick and strong on the ball, and his passing range is enhanced by his ambidexterity; he is also renowned for his powerful striking ability from long range, with either foot.

(FM Role = Advanced Playmaker - Support)

 

RW Samuel Eto’o – Eto'o is a fast, strong, and energetic forward, who is known for his stamina, work-rate, ability in the air, and his accurate finishing ability both with his head and feet. A powerful and prolific goalscorer with good technique, composure in front of goal, and an ability to play off other forwards, Eto'o is primarily deployed as a central striker, although during his time at Inter, under José Mourinho, he demonstrated notable tactical intelligence and versatility by playing in several other positions on the pitch.

(FM Role = Inside Forward - Attack) (PI: Shoot More Often, Sit Narrower)

 

ST Diego Milito – A quick, dynamic, and technically gifted forward, with good vision, composure, and an eye for goal, Milito was known for his offensive movements and ability in the air and was capable of finishing well with his head as well as both feet, despite being naturally right-footed. He was also an accurate penalty taker.

(FM Role = Advanced Forward - Attack)

 

Translating to Football Manager

 

Not only did Mourinho employ a hybrid 4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1, he also used a 4-3-1-2. I have taken a shot at both and found both these videos very helpful:

 

 

TEAM INSTRUCTIONS (they remain the same regardless of shape)

Insturctions.thumb.JPG.839c5b11e7a231aab1bb1d59cf617d57.JPG

 

FORMATIONS

4-3-1-2.thumb.JPG.44edf0c2fd3e3ab6e5d491bb3a703bfb.JPG4-2-3-1.thumb.JPG.d8816aba51f4e5c2e27084a3d5a7eaa4.JPG

Mentality = Counter - "Willingness to play exclusively on the counter"

Team Shape = Structured - "Superb Defensive Organization"

Team Instructions = More Direct Passing, Pass into Space, Clear Ball To Flanks, Exploit the Right Flank, Use Tighter Marking, Be More Disciplined, Much Deeper Defensive Line, High Tempo, Prevent Short GK Distribution

(All of these instructions are designed to create Mourinho's low block and rapid counter-attacking)

 

So far in early testing, this tactical recreation has the look and feel of the Mourinho treble team with EXTREMELY good defense and really makes the more of its co8unter attack chances. A lot of 1-0 and 2-0 wins with the occasional 4-0 blowout. 

I'd love to hear your feedback and how the tactic works for you. More results in testing to follow. Enjoy!

 

 

Edited by ericstpeter

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I'd say you're moving to the right direction but push the wingers back in the 4231 shape. The wingers worked hard in Mous system. I'd also say that Eto'o was a DF (d) when he played up top with Milito in a 4312. I've already taken a stab at this with moderate success so you could take a look at this for help.

 

https://community.sigames.com/topic/407846-mourinhos-20092010-inter-milan/

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For starters, team is wrong and so are descriptions. (no offense, just saying)

There were two 4-2-3-1 variations and Stanković wasn't the first option in either of them, at least not when everyone was healthy.

One variation was with Zanetti on right DM and Chivu on LB.
Primary team was with Motta on left DM and Zanetti on LB.

Chivu was basically the third CB when he played, rarely went forward.
Zanetti covered for Maicon. Cambiasso was the one initiating offense.
Lucio also went on his trademark runs from time to time.

When Motta played, he was a regista/DLP. Maybe even b2b would work.
Cambiasso covered for Maicon and Zanetti was a defensive LB.

Sneijder was more of a trequartista than AP.
He basically had a free role.

Eto'o was always on the left, Pandev on the right.
Support duty for Pandev, IF-A for Eto'o, or even raumdeuter.
But both of them always followed opposition fullbacks in defense, all the way back to their own box.

 

4-3-1-2 was used all the way up to 2010, when Pandev came in January.
Cambiasso was basically the anchor man, always covered the defensive line.
Although him and Motta switched positions occasionally.
Motta and Stanković as mezzalas or b2b, Sneijder treq, complete forward for both Eto'o and Milito, they didn't just stand in the box.
Zanetti was the LB or RCM when Chivu was LB.

 

And I wouldn't say it was a counter-attack tactic exclusively, especially during 4-3-1-2 days.
 

Edited by GunmaN1905

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Beautiful, always love to see tactical replications! 

I have to agree with Jean's suggestion, the players should be pushed back. I made a replication solely based on the Champions League run - winning Serie A wasn't too impressive, Mancini had done it a couple of times before that, the real conquest was the European Cup. 

image.thumb.png.eefb25f52bc09cbe7936ca3059fceedb.png

I believe Flexible is for me the best way to replicate Mourinho's system, and if my opposition scout is correct then FM thinks the same way. Inter's 3-1 home win to Barcelona was superb. Zanetti/Cambiasso covers Maicon, and the Eto/Pandev/Chivu roles are difficult, best way for me is to use a WM and play hard working players such as Wllian, Pulisic there who will track back. Sneijder was a true number 10 and I didn't see him being in line with the wide midfielders in the 1-0 vs Barcelona so he's pushed up. Milito is an AF for me, running behind and working the channels. Defensive sets up the low block, Close Down More helps us "Sit deep and press high", letting them come into our half, denying them space and closing them down when they inevitably go for a long-range effort. Much Higher Tempo helps us attack with high speed, and "give the ball away on purpose", More Direct Passing could be an option but they didn't always knock it up to Milito/Sneijder so I avoid that.

Keep it up, really enjoy these! 

Edited by FlairRA

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36 minutes ago, FlairRA said:

Beautiful, always love to see tactical replications! 

I have to agree with Jean's suggestion, the players should be pushed back. I made a replication solely based on the Champions League run - winning Serie A wasn't too impressive, Mancini had done it a couple of times before that, the real conquest was the European Cup. 

image.thumb.png.eefb25f52bc09cbe7936ca3059fceedb.png

I believe Flexible is for me the best way to replicate Mourinho's system, and if my opposition scout is correct then FM thinks the same way. Inter's 3-1 home win to Barcelona was superb. Zanetti/Cambiasso covers Maicon, and the Eto/Pandev/Chivu roles are difficult, best way for me is to use a WM and play hard working players such as Wllian, Pulisic there who will track back. Sneijder was a true number 10 and I didn't see him being in line with the wide midfielders in the 1-0 vs Barcelona so he's pushed up. Milito is an AF for me, running behind and working the channels. Defensive sets up the low block, Close Down More helps us "Sit deep and press high", letting them come into our half, denying them space and closing them down when they inevitably go for a long-range effort. Much Higher Tempo helps us attack with high speed, and "give the ball away on purpose", More Direct Passing could be an option but they didn't always knock it up to Milito/Sneijder so I avoid that.

Keep it up, really enjoy these! 

This is a nice attempt but you forget one thing. Maicon was a CWB (a). He was basically a RB with ample of freedom to bomb foward due to JZ or Cambiasso covering for him out on the right

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1 hour ago, Jean0987654321 said:

This is a nice attempt but you forget one thing. Maicon was a CWB (a). He was basically a RB with ample of freedom to bomb foward due to JZ or Cambiasso covering for him out on the right

Yeah I would play Maicon as a WB (A) in CL home games, he got forward plenty vs Barcelona at home even scoring but making a mistake for Pedros goal, then was extremely disciplined and strong defensively away.  I wouldn't make him a CWB (A), for the fact that him roaming from position would get out of hand for me. 

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5 hours ago, FlairRA said:

Beautiful, always love to see tactical replications! 

I have to agree with Jean's suggestion, the players should be pushed back. I made a replication solely based on the Champions League run - winning Serie A wasn't too impressive, Mancini had done it a couple of times before that, the real conquest was the European Cup. 

image.thumb.png.eefb25f52bc09cbe7936ca3059fceedb.png

I believe Flexible is for me the best way to replicate Mourinho's system, and if my opposition scout is correct then FM thinks the same way. Inter's 3-1 home win to Barcelona was superb. Zanetti/Cambiasso covers Maicon, and the Eto/Pandev/Chivu roles are difficult, best way for me is to use a WM and play hard working players such as Wllian, Pulisic there who will track back. Sneijder was a true number 10 and I didn't see him being in line with the wide midfielders in the 1-0 vs Barcelona so he's pushed up. Milito is an AF for me, running behind and working the channels. Defensive sets up the low block, Close Down More helps us "Sit deep and press high", letting them come into our half, denying them space and closing them down when they inevitably go for a long-range effort. Much Higher Tempo helps us attack with high speed, and "give the ball away on purpose", More Direct Passing could be an option but they didn't always knock it up to Milito/Sneijder so I avoid that.

Keep it up, really enjoy these! 

I love them for the same reasons, that's why I've started to do my own. I find it brings out really interesting debate as well.

You're going off written tactical analysis online, old videos (if you can find them), and your own memory (sometimes) so it really comes down to gathering a ton of opinions and piecing the puzzle together. I find that very fun.

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vVMj68.gif

One of my favorite goals, such a simple play, but so effective.
This was 3 days after Sneijder arrived, 4-3-1-2.

Look at where Zanetti was, all the way up. He played CDM in that game.
Motta and Stanković were wide central midfielders.

Sneijder is all the way on the left wing in that gif, he was AM.
Chivu, LB, nowhere to be seen and Maicon on the right wing.
Stanković staying behind because Zanetti went all the way up and Motta was the goalscorer. (Cambiasso wasn't playing.)
Milito dropping deep and assistng after Eto'o pass.

And that's the thing what I dislike the most in FM tactics.
You can't create anything resembling if X player does this, Y does that.
For example, if one midfielder goes all the way up to the box, other one should stay behind.
You can't achieve both of them doing that. They either both go up or you have to set one to a defensive role.

https://youtu.be/XIPGT3mZ2e4
https://youtu.be/6dv0f_ik-zA
https://youtu.be/mPjpNh_x4Pk

Full game videos against Milan from that season and Coppa final game against Roma, all played in 4-3-1-2.
Dismantling the fallacy of Inter being a defensive team.
The only catenaccio performance was at Camp Nou.

Outplayed Barcelona at home, outplayed Chelsea at home, played a great game at Stamford Bridge.
It was a direct style of football with 6-7 players being in the box or around it at the end of most attacks.
Couldn't find full game against Juventus, 2-0, it was one of the better 4-2-3-1 performances. Which wasn't used all that much but due to being used against Barcelona and Bayern it became the trademark.

Not having 65% possession doesn't mean you're not an offensive team.

 

 

Edited by GunmaN1905

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I feel that Lucio should be the CD (Stopper) role instead as he would charge up to win the ball back. 

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Really good thread. Good to see all the different interpretations. I enjoyed the write up in the OP, @ericstpeter.

Has anyone had a chance to play many matches with their version(s), and how have the results been?

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4 hours ago, Park said:

Really good thread. Good to see all the different interpretations. I enjoyed the write up in the OP, @ericstpeter.

Has anyone had a chance to play many matches with their version(s), and how have the results been?

In my version, I achieved 2nd with Inter in my first season. Not too bad as we were breathing down Juve's neck

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On 06/05/2018 at 04:53, Park said:

Really good thread. Good to see all the different interpretations. I enjoyed the write up in the OP, @ericstpeter.

Has anyone had a chance to play many matches with their version(s), and how have the results been?

Mine worked well with Napoli, we ended up as Italian champs

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alright so can anyone actually share their successful 4312 4231? ;)

 

thanks!

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On 03/05/2018 at 16:35, GunmaN1905 said:

vVMj68.gif

As soon as the ball is played to Motta, the plan is in action. It's terrific from Eto'o. I love the first time pass into Milito then the mad dash to open up the channel for Motta. It's a top goal and one where a GIF doesn't do it justice really because you don't get a sense of the important role Maicon played.


Chivu, LB, nowhere to be seen and Maicon on the right wing.
And that's the thing what I dislike the most in FM tactics.
You can't create anything resembling if X player does this, Y does that.

Chivu is nowhere to be seen for the reason you mentioned, Maicon is playing RW here. Very rarely do sides play with the LB at LW and the RB at RW at the same time. If one goes, the other will tuck round. Plus, even more so in this match because Milan were playing with 2 strikers so Chivu had to make it a 3v2. You can do this in FM! Maicon as a CWB(A) for example, and Chivu as a DFB or FB(D). 

 

 

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I remember the 2nd semi-final game against Barca in which Mourinho's defensive tactic was simply fantastic. The formation in that match was 4213Wide and as far as I remember, it basically was set up like this:

CFs

Ws                                 IFs

DLPs

BWMd    HB

WBd    CDd    DCBc      WBs

Defensive / Flexible

TIs - drop deeper, lower tempo, more direct passing, pass into space, be more disciplined, stick to positions

All outfield players except the striker (Milito) instructed to Mark Tighter via their PIs (Milito is actually the only player who is given some degree of tactical freedom)

AMR/IFs (Eto'o) - get further forward, sit narrower

OIs on Messi - TM always, CD always, Easy tackling. The goal was to isolate him as much as possible but without giving away dangerous free kicks and, when he manages to get the ball, he is immediately being surrounded by at least 3 Inter players and a couple more are nearby and ready to help if needed, but instead of rushing to tackle him, they just press him from all sides in order to deny him space and reduce available options. Messi thus has 3 options: either to try to dribble (usually to little or no avail) or to play a "safe" backward pass or to make a through pass to the near flank for someone to cross, but given that the penalty area is already filled with too many Inter's players, any cross can hardly be utilized. 

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*edit: I made a mistake; actually, in this particular match, Inter was using shorter passing (as far as I remember). They were looking to keep the ball as much as possible when in possession, though they rarely were in possession. More direct passing was employed only when an opportunity for a counter-attack would occur (in FM the ME would automatically trigger counters in such situations regardless of the passing TI setting).

Edited by Experienced Defender

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The thing about Mourinho during his tenure at Inter was that he was so versatile in the players and formations he used.

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