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TheEasternWind

An exploration of Dynamism, Pressing and Youth Development with AC Milan

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Posted (edited)

The First AC Milan Tactic, a balanced 4312.

When I thought about the tactic for this season I wanted to find a formation that would allow for fluid play on the ball and effective pressing on the opponent's half. Additionally I wanted a formation that would allow my players to thrive and in which I could fit all my players throughout the season. My first insticnt is to select a 4231 or a 4123 but I was unhappy about the nature of my central strikers and left wingers. In a variation of the 451 where I am compressing space by having a high block I want to have a well rounded linking striker while my main goalscorers play on the wings. In AC Milan I have very creative AMLs in Bonaventura and Calhanoglu and traditional goalscoring Strikers in Rebic, Leao and Ibrahimovic. This meant that I would have to play with a central partnership upfront which raised a big issue, in order to play comfortably on the ball I need more than two ccentral midfielders.

My first idea was to go for a 3142. On paper it is a great formation that meets all my requirements: A pair of strikers, a central midfield triangle, 6 players that can press covered by an anchor and three centerbacks, and a deep diamond allowing for easy transitions from Keeper to final third. However I only have 3 centrebacks in my squad good enough for first team football and most importantly only Leo Duarte was close to the required level of play. Because of that I went for a 4312.

The 4312 allowed for the striker duo without sacrificing on our midfield presence but demanded a lot of our Wingbacks. Luckily enough our Wingbacks are confident going forward, all of them are at the very least accomplished at playing as a MR/ML and their attribute spreads favor the attacking part of the game. When it comes to workrate they may not be workaholics but they are far from being lazy.

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This here is what I regard as my best XI, There is an argument to be made in favor of Ibrahimovic over Rebic and Paquetá over Castillejo but I find that Rebic and Castillejo are performing a little better than their direct rivals and are more suited to their roles in the team. Notice than whenever Rogmanoli is not playing the Ball Playing defender becomes a second central defender, being my best playmaker in the back four he is the only one allowed that extra freedom when distributing the ball. 

Donnarumma is encouraged to step outside so as to give the backline an easy outlet when facing heavy preassure, I have decided against giving him an attacking duty because he is not that comfortable on the ball, he shouldn't make any huge mistake but a playmaker he is not.

Our DLP serves as a buoy on midfield, he offers is teammates an easy pass and doesn't have to search for spaces further into the final third so Biglia's static nature is not an issue. I am loving the carrileros, at first I feared they would not be adventurous enough but they are both performing well. 

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Calhanoglu's performance against Sampdoria is a very good example, as you can see from the heatmap and the touches he made during the game he operates as a central midfielder who moves wide to both link up with and cover for the right wingback. I used to ignore this role as too conservative and too circumstancial but I am now in love with it.

The Shadowstriker is performing below par but I think that has more to do with Paquetá and Castillejo not having the best mentals to perform this role as there is no reason for the role not to synergize with the forwards and the midfield.

The striker partnership is a very basic spearhead+second forward pairing. Both Ibrahimovic and Rebic have struggled to perform for the team but Rafael Leao is doing great both with and without the ball

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Almost 11km covered per game, 12/14 tackles won in 5 games and an impressive 92% pass completion playing in one of the most densely packed areas of the field. Add 3 goals in 5 games from him and he is easily our most important striker despite his young age.

A comfortable opening day against Verona

My very first game as AC Milan's manager had my team facing what was on paper an easy challenge in newly promoted Verona. 

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It was an auspicious start. Verona went for a deep 3421 and seemed to be playing for a draw first and foremost. I was not entirely worried about their attacking threat or even their defenisve performance but I really wanted put their backline under preassure and get some risky long passes out of them. This was not an easy task because of their 34 formation at the back but looking at their starting eleven I found out that they depended on Veloso to build up play so I deviced a pressing system that would nullify Veloso:

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The idea was quite simple, all players around Veloso would be shown onto the foot further away from Veloso and Veloso himself would be marked out of the game. The game itself was quite easy and Donnarumma had no shots to save at all but our pressing strategy work as intended?

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Veloso had the joint lowest touches on the ball out of Verona's starting XI and only completed 20 passes in 90 minutes the second lowest out of Verona's starting XI. As a comparison in Verona's 2-0 victory over Fiorentina Veloso had 183 touches on the ball and completed 90 passes in 90 minutes. I think that our pressing system was key in taking Veloso out of the game and that his poor performance was a key cause of their non existent attack.

Brescia are handed a beating

The second game of the season was a big triumph against yet another newly promoted team, Brescia. Just like Verona Brescia trusted a single player with their on the ball strategy, Sandro Tonali. Just like our game against Verona I came up with a pressing strategy with the goal of taking Tonali out of the game.

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Again I instructed my players to show Brescia away from Tonali while they marked Tonali, not allowing Brescia's players an easy pass towards their orchestrator. For the second game in a row our opponents were not capable of generating chances against us. 

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When I first checked the stats I was a little surprise because Tonali might not have had the niggest number of touches on the ball but 89 touches was among the best on the team and he completed 23 passes in total, fifth highest on Brescia's starting XI. But then I checked Brescia's best game, a 1-1 draw with Sampdoria where in 90 minutes Tonali had 221 touches on the ball that accounted for 58 passes doubling his contribution against us. Once again we were capable of nullifying a team's creative engine.

An unlucky defeat in our visit to the Olimpico Stadium

The third game of the season was an away game against Lazio, one of the strongest squads in Italy and my first real challenge. Not only are Lazio's players on a whole other level when compared to Verona and Brescia they also happen to be a tad better than my own. I was ready for my first defeat but I wanted to go down swinging. However luck was not on my side.

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It was a much closer game than I first predicted and with three of our shots hitting the woodwork I feel we were unlucky not to draw against them. There was one thing were Lazio was similar to a first two games, they had a clear playmaker in their squad, Luis Alberto. Luis Alberto is an astute attacking midfielder playing closer to our own third than Tonali and Veloso is a much better player on the ball and is surrounding by really good players in Leiva, Milinkovic-savic, Jony, Marusic and Correa. During the game a missed tackle from Musacchio resulted in a goal on the counter from Correa and a second mistake by Musacchio gave Lazio an indirect free kick that Correa headed in. A 6'5 performance is quite generous in my opinion and I think fielding him for this game could have been a mistake (ignore the BPD role on Musacchio, I changed it during the dressing room talk before the game). that being said how did we attempt to stop Luis Alberto? Were we succesful?

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MIlinkovic-savic, Leiva and Marusic are shown away from Luis Alberto while Luis Alberto himself is marked agressively, because he is not the bravest fighter on the pitch I tried to have my players challenging him with a little extra intensity. The one thing that changed was our way of funneling the ball out of the back line. Because Leiva was less technically gifted than jony and Marusic and because we had more players on central midfield I had my players showing the centrebacks onto their foot closest to the centre, towards Leiva who would then be subjected to heavy preassure.

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It was a bit of a mixed bag really, we failed to lure them into giving the ball to Lucas Leiva and they were more direct in their approach that I had anticipated with Jony and Marusic conducting the game. Luis Alberto only gave 25 passes and had a total of 77 touches. Luis Alberto also played the whole 90 minutes against sampdoria in a 2-1 victory. In that game he touched the ball 313 times and completed 78 passes including 2 assists. So we did manage to reduce his impact on the game but Lazio was a far more versatile team than Verona and Brescia and they found other ways of hurting us. Next time I face such a challenge I can't make the mistake of reducing their attacking output to a single player.

Back on the right track against Sampdoria.

Sadly I forgot to take a screenshot of my OIs against Sampdoria.

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This was the first game against a team without a clear playmaker. Instead I decided to focus on their weakes players on the ball which were their right centreback and their right fullback, this players were shown on their weak foot and pressed while I tried to have the ball funnelled towards them so that Sampdoria had to depend on their least technical players for their build up. I also had someone Mark Quagliarella throughout the game, given his great off the ball movement I thought this could be bad for us but I was happy with the results.

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Out of their starting XI Quagliarella had the least touches on the ball and could not even take a shot against us. Their right back and right centreback were indeed forced on the ball more than they would have liked and Tonelli lost possession 10 times. Our pressing was not as effective on Bereszynski who only lost possession once but overall our pressing seemed to be a success.

The game itself was nothing special, they head in a free kick and Leao solved our problems by heading in a free kick and a corner, not the greatest game for the spectators.

Harsh battle against Atalanta ends bloodless.

After our fiasco at the Olimpico I was a little troubled by the prospect of facing Atalanta, a team that had scored 10 goals in 6 games and had only failed to score against Inter a team that had only received one goal in 6 games. Could this AC Milan come unscathed against such a potent attacking force?

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Indeed we could.

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Because their goalkeeper was very onefooted and seemed liable to be preassured I showed him onto his wrong foot. Their two least technical defenders were heavily preassured, Palomino was shown on his weak foot while Djimsiti was shown away from the wingback. Their entire midfield was marked with Gómez being man-marked by Biglia. Zápata was shown to his left both his least strong foot and the foot away from goal and Ilisic was given no time for comfort for fear of his long shots.

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Our preassure seems to have been a problem for Atalanta who struggled building out of the back. Their back three and Keeper also have the most passes out of the entire team. The fact that Gómez, Ilisic and Zapata had the least touches with the exception of Tolói was good news for us and accounts for their poor performance upfront. I think that showing Palomino onto his right foot is the reason Tolói barely shaw the ball, he was their most technical centreback so this is quite the happy accident since I hadn't especifically pursued his isolation. 

In Conclusion

These first five games I have mostly focused on developing pressign strategies tailored against out opponents by using both the scout and analyst reports I have searched for both weak links and key players and then thought of a way to pose problems for them. So far so good, 10/15 points make for a projection of 76/114 points which has been good enough for Champions league football since 2014/2015. 

I will keep thinking of ways to use our pressing to good effect but I won't post again until after the winter transfer market. In the next update I will only talk about the games I find relevant in one way or another and I will talk about how the squad has been performing and about any new signing if I am given a good enough transfer budget.

 

 

Edited by TheEasternWind

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I made a thread on how to approach the tactical side of the game and this thread awsers mine, this is a great approach and an excellent read congrats

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Posted (edited)

A good enough start.

My first season in charge of AC Milan saw the team finish 5th. We were never at risk of missing european qualification and we even entered the final part of the season in Champions League Qualification spots but a string of bad results against bottom teams saw us miss the top tier of european football by 2 points. I was quite frustrated with this when I finished the season because I could easily point at the key defensive mistakes and missed chances that could have given those two points along with the money and reputation that came with Champions League football.

Looking back at the season with a clearer mind I think I can be satisfied. Juventus won the league with 94 points and only started losing games by the end of the season when no other team could mount a challenge. Napoli missed European football by a single point in a terrible season for them and Fiorentina spent more than half the season battling with relegation. Lazio, Inter and Atalanta qualified for the champions league with Roma and Sassuolo finishing 6th and 7th (Roma's victory in the Euro League takes them to the Champions League). It wasn't a massive overachievement but I have reasons to be happy.

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We were not looking to dominate possession but our pressing had us become the second team with best average possession with a 56% average only behind Atalanta (58%). In terms of goalscoring we were joint third with Atalanta scoring 68 goals in 38 games. We averaged an 88% pass completion rate despite playing in a high tempo and conceded a single penalty in 38 games. When it comes to fouls we were cleaner than I had first anticipated with "only" 395 fouls made (14th highest in the Serie A) and even if we were 4th highest for yellow cards with 93 in 38 games we only saw a red card throughout the season.

On the other hand; We conceded 49 goals, more than any other team in the top half of the league. 16 of those goals came from set pieces (1 penalty, 6 corners, 2 DFK, 7 IFK). We had the poorest shots on target ratio (43%) and the lowest number of tackles won in the league (791). Rebic was a complete failure at Milan and I can't wait for him to leave, Mussachio's mistakes cost us several points but he also delivered when required so I am not sure what to do with him. Bonaventura decided he wanted us to double his salary and agreed to go to Man Utd for free, Biglia had no intention of renewing his contract and Donnarumma wants to move to a better club (can't blame him).

I couldn't care about the Italian Cup so I fielded weaker XIs against my opponents and lost to Fiorentina in the quarter-finals. I know I said I would talk about winter transfers but just when I had reached a 30M pound deal for Filip Benkovic the Board stepped in and cancelled the deal. Now Leicester are asking for a figure around 70M pounds for him and even though he wants to leave Leicester we can not sign him. Congratulations AC Milan Board, everyone in Italy is in awe with your management. Benkovic could have played alongside Rogmanoli for many years and his aerial prowess was exactly what we needed. 

Anyway, there are some games that are worth talking about:

Our first meeting with my nemesis.

I have decide that Paulo Fonseca will be my greatest rival in this save. I am envious of his team and really like their way of playing. This year he ended up a single point behind us yet qualified for the Champions League because of his success in Europe. He believes in pressing as much as myself but is more possession oriented with the ball than I am, the Guardiola to my Klopp. When I first met him on the field I was wary of his players and his tactics and quite sure he would beat us:

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I identified two players I wanted to deal with: Zaniolo and Dzeko. Roma has quite a balanced squad so reducing them to two players was a mistake (like I had learned against Lazio) but because I had no way of dealing with every single threat I decided to focus on their deepest creator and their lone striker. Their back line was, in typical fashion, shown away from Zaniolo who was marked and shown into his weaker foot. Mkhitaryan was marked in an attempt to make them play through their wings in the final third and the wingers were lured inside despite that being their strong foot. The idea was to reduce their crosses because I envisioned the task of winning the aerial battle against Dzeko as one that was too hard for my centrebacks. Zappacosta was shown inside for this same reason and I simply did not fear the attacking output of Juan Jesus. 

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How we managed to rescue a draw from this game is beyond me, one of those lucky moments in the season that counterweight our unluckiest games. Zaniolo and Dzeko had the second and third lowest touches on the ball behind Smalling. You will notice I failed to mention Diawara, he had poor off the ball movement and was no good at finding target, he also scored twice against us. I had ignored Correa against Lazio and he made us pay dearly for it and in this game it was Diawara who proved me wrong. Dzeko had 6 shots on target, he missed two, Donnarumma saved another two and yet another two were blocked by my defenders. In the end we managed to quiet down Zaniolo and Dzeko had a bad day but we were still outperformed by Roma. Not my greatest battle plan. Calabria's late goal, a good effort that was born out of a cross from Theo Hernandez, a missed header from Fazio and an out of position Juan Jesus earned us a point we did not deserve.

Facing Goliath

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If I was intimidated by Roma you can only imagine how I felt when the time to face Juventus came. How am I suppossed to find a weakness in such a juggernaut? I made the risky decision of ignoring the wings and focused to their central play. Dybala, Pjanic and Ronaldo were marked while Higuain was closed down on throughout the match. 

In Dybala, Ronaldo and Higuain I was facing a very mobile and sneaky front three so targeting all of them was madness, If I marked the forwards Dybala would find space and tear us appart and not marking Ronaldo was suicidal so I took a gamble and marked Cristiano first and foremost. With Cristiano "dealt with" I had Calhanoglu follow Dybala around and instructed my players to close down on Higuain. In any other team Higuain would be a key problem to deal with but Juventus have such a terrifying squad that a striker like Higuain was seen as the "lesser evil". Because Cristiano can be a tad passive when he has to work for the ball I also instructed my defence to go challenge him at every opportunity regardless of the consequences.

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When you consider that this was Juventus we were squaring off against this could be seen as a good result. As was to be expected their fullbacks had the most touches on the ball and we managed to keep Pjanic relatively out of the game with "just" 95 touches on the ball. On average Pjanic makes 60 passes per 90 minutes but against us he only maanaged 33 passes, none of them creating dangerous situations. Their main creators were Danilo and Alex sandro with more than 50 passes each. most importantly they only fashioned one clear cut chance from open play, an early cross from Alex sandro. Their goals came froma  corner that Donnarumma failed to intercept and a tackle from Ronaldo who took the ball from Mussachio and left our defenders behind to beat our keeper. A poor performance from Juventus that nonetheless was enough to win at San Siro. When it was our turn to face them at San Siro we were beaten 4-1 in a very poor game from our part, I do not pin it down to my tactics but to a poor performance from my players against such a strong team. Barring the odd game we overperformed at home this season and this game was no exception.

Our first win against Fonseca.

Our second game against Roma came late in the season at a very important moment for us. We were 5th at the time and Roma was 7th but they had picked up a lot of momentum and a defeat at San Siro could have us dropping from european qualification spots especially with Sassuolo and Torino bitting at our heels. On the other hand a victory against them could place us 4th, in champions league spots.

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I made some interesting changes for the game. I packed the midfield diamond with my most creative and technically gifted players, placed Leao as my spearhead and fielded Castillejo as my second striker a role I had never used him as before. Rebic wasn't going to score and Zlatan was mercurial when it came to scoring so Leao + Castillejo was my latest try, having all my creative players on the field at the same time had the intention of creating as many chances as possible against Roma because last time we faced them we didn't really tame them. At the very least we will try to be as untamed as them, that was the big idea.

I was very surprised when I saw Roma's starting XI, Our first game saw them field what I thought was a more dangerous team. Their main danger was the front 4 so this time I ignored their backline and double pivot and focused on their AM strata which seemed to be their biggest threat. Zaniolo was the main target of our efforts, we marked him, closed him down and we showed the other midfielders away from him. This also meant that Perotti and Ünder were shown wide, on their weak foot, rather than inside like the first time. I also had my players go hard on perotti, who was their least fighting player. A much less ambitious and complex strategy than the first time around.

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We failed to tame Zaniolo compared to other times we employed a single target strategy. This could be down to Zaniolo's quality. He had 88 touches on the ball, made 23 passes (the best out of their midfield), was everywhere on the pitch, tackled our players four times never missing a tackle and intecepted 8 passes. However only one of those passes, a diagonal ball from zone 14 that found Kolarov could be called dangerous. Roma's key man was Kolarov who created all of their chances appart from the goal, a deflected corner blasted into the net by the leftback himself.

Castillejo was denied four times by Pau Lopez, Leao beat his marker to find a thorugh ball from Calhanoglu and beat the keeper and Lucas Paqueta dribbled past Juan Jesus to score the winning goal. In hindsight I should have given Castillejo more chances as a striker, he performed well finishing aside and Leao seemed to relish his role as a spearhead.

In conclusion

My first season at Milan was filled with positives and negatives, we flirted with a top four finish for quite a long time but poor defending let us down. Bonaventura and BIglia will be gone, we are finally getting rid of Rebic, Donnarumma might leave next season if we can't convince him to stay, Ibra will spend one more year with us and the board cancelled both the training ground and youth facilities upgrades. If we want to get into the top four we will need to upgrade the team, our most pressing matter is the adquisition of a quality centreback. Failing that we will need a more clinical striker. A single signing, two at most that is all I am asking for but the board doesn't seem to be on the same page. 

Next update we will look at my squad for the second season. This supposedly improved squad will be faced with the challenge of making it into the top four with the added difficulty of playing in the Europa League. What a headache. We will also look at our youth squad, both the new players who look promising and those players already at the club who have shined while playing in the youth leagues.

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Edited by TheEasternWind

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Two important signings and an impending goodbye

No sooner had the Serie A finished that I started searching for a new centreback. As I said before the board had denied me the young and talented Filip Benkovic. I was given 42M pounds to work with this season so I decided to aim for the best U23 CB that sum of money could buy us. It turned out that those players good enough were either too old to meet the club vision of signing players no older than 23 or too costly for us to afford. I even tried to take make a second move for Benkovic despite the first fiasco. Leicester were now demanding 70 to 80M pounds. Was it a hands off warning? Was it their projected value of Benkovic in its prime?

The weeks passed and Pre-season drew near. I found out that Rebic was loaned to us until for two years and I have no way of terminating the loan, I am going to give him a chance in my new tactical set up but I expect nothing from him. In the mean time AC Milan managed to lure a very special player who was unhappy at his club and refused to renew his contract:

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His wage demands were a tad high and his AC Milan rating is only 68/100 but he makes up for it with a midfield rating of 83/100 and a 82/100 forward rating. Having him come to us for free was huge. To make him even more succulent a player he can play pretty much anywhere on the opponents half. In 3 games for us he has scored twice and given three assists but I know his streak won't last for ever (if only).

I was still recovering from the high of welcoming James Rodriguez to Milan when we were graced with a second stroke of luck. It turns out that Benkovic really wanted to leave Leicester. While he was on loan at Bristol the team had finished 9th in the Premier League and Benkovic wanted to play for Europe, he pushed for a move away from Leicester and the club gave in. Leicester accepted a 35M pound offer from us and this time the Board were kind enough not to deny me a young quality centreback for a second time. 

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Filip Benkovic came to us with a 69/100 AC Milan rating just one point shy from what I want from my first team players and a 69/100 Centreback rating again just shy from the desired 70 points. I could talk about how his good personality, talent and youth mean he will soon overcome that treshold but there are two factors that make him worthy of starting for us on a regular basis. First is his aerial prowess which will help us defend and attack from set pieces and second is solid game with the ball on his feet. 

Both the Ac Milan and position ratings form a core set of attributes of what I am looking for in a player. You will notice that both James and Benkovic fail to reach the 70/100 mark for a first team player in at least one of the rating scales. However, I believe in flexibility and both these players bring other things to the team. In the case of James his sheer ability makes him a threat in the final third of the caliber that Juventus can field, plus he came for free and in the case of Benkovic his other qualities that add to his game might have been deemed secondary but they are still important.

Let us take a look at some other Key Players:

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When I first came into the club Donnarumma had a 76/100 sweeper-keeper rating. After a year of focused training he has improved and now displays an 81/100 rating. His distribution has slightly improved, +1 in Throwing, Kicking, Passing and vision, but it is still not his forte. A great keeper and perhaps our most important player. However he currently has one year left in his contract and has no intention of renewing. Will I be able to tie him to AC Milan? Losing him will be a huge blow but we do have very promising keepers for the future so saying goodbye might be a set-back but we are not doomed.

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Paquetá is a very interesting player with a 75/100 forward rating and a 77/100 midfield rating. His 62/100 AC Milan rating is a little low but his improvement in other areas and his versatility earn him another season at the club. This season I want him to get closer to that 70/100 Milan rating, at this point I doubt he will reach it but the closer he gets the better for him and for the club.

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Young Rafael Leao hasn't made as much progress in training as I would have liked. His 57/100 Milan rating doesn't really make a difference when compared to his first year at the club and his 70/100 forward rating means he has made no improvement as a striker in a whole year. This year I am going to be harder on him when it comes to training, if he fails to improve he might end up filling the coffers so that we can afford his replacement. All that said with Ibrahimovic nearing his 40s and Rebic failing to score he is our best option upfront. 

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Alessio Romagnoli will be starting most games alonside Benkovic. At 25 our captain has a Milan rating of 73/100 and a centreback rating of 75/100. He is worse than his partner on the air but he is very comfortable on the ball and a little quicker than Benkovic. He is already 25 so I am not expecting great improvements but that little extra he can still polish will be very important. 

Overall the summer transfer window has been a huge success and leaving Donnarumma's future aside I am happy with how things are going. Next update will be focusing on tactics as I move away from the 4312. 

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I'm interested to hear how you do with Rebic. I have a new save with Miland and ergo him and am half way in to my second season playing with a some-what similar setup to you and have found him to be absolutely so annoying that he is mow in the Under 20 squad.

Very rarely gets his training rating above 7.00 makes very little effort to press or do anything useful despite being a "pressing forward"

I literally cant wait till he effs off and frees up some budget space. :D

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Posted (edited)

I am having a bit of a writer's block at the moment, I have tried to write about my new tactic at least three times but I am dissatisfied with the end results (of the writing, the tactic is working great). I will try to give this save a little rest before I try to write again. Hopefully I will be able to present the new tactic before the week ends.

 

 

 

Edited by TheEasternWind

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Very good write-up. Enjoy the "sleeping giant" to top series. 

Keep it up.

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Marcelo Bielsa's 3313 arrives at Milan.

When I started this save I did not have any particular manager in mind when ccreating my tactics and went for a 4312 because of the squad at Milan and the type of football I wanted to play. This second year, during pre-season I figured out that Marcelo Bielsa was the great prophet of the kind of football I want to develop at Milan. Having followed spanish football for a long time I knew about "El loco" and his views on how football should be played but funnily  enough I only took him as inspiration after my first attempts at moving away from the 4312 failed. 

Bielsa's team can be recognised by three key elements they share: Intense pressing with a high defensive line, Inverted wingbacks and "Un enganche y tres puntas" (a hook and three spearheads). Past season we were already pressing with a high line and in James Rodriguez we have a very competent nº10, additionally the front four formation will see Castillejo and Rebic to play in more natural positions and will mask our lack of depth when it comes to true nº9s. It will also allow me to field three defenders at the same time so I can balance the playing time of every centreback in my team.

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Having three centrebacks and a deep anchoring midfielder gives us a rhombus in our own third of the field, this rhombus combines well with our sweeper-keeper and allows for clean transitions against our opponents press. A further advantage of a three man backline is the ability to quickly bring the ball from one flank to the other and the ability to give a safety pass to one of the defenders who can then begin the attack anew. 

The inverted wingbacks combine with the defensive midfielder to pass the ball around and give it mostly to the Inverted Wingers. Their main movements is from the outside to the inside but if the man upfront is inside the will overlap and move closer to the wide line. Because of the positions they occupy they are the most active players on the ball. There are times when they will attack the channel and take shots from just outside the box and because they are hard to mark they can often take these shots free from preassure.

The Inverted wingers operate wide and move inside being the main generators of goals and assists. The attacking midfielder is important for our attacking game and will often find other players in dangerous areas. The nº9 does a lot of silent work pinning the centrebacks and passing the ball to his teammates, he might not be very an assist machine but he wins a lot of balls, heads in crosses from wide and chases through balls despite not having an attack duty.

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The last two months have been very good for us we have been solid on defence and won most of our games. I am not the happiest when it comes to our goal scoring but the chances are there for my players to convert them.

If we sum up all our official games my attacking players have achieved the following figures:

Rebic: 9 goals 3 assists

Zlatan: 5 goals 1 assists

Leao: 12 goals 1 assists

Castillejo: 1 goal 5 assists

James: 5 goals 10 assists

Paquetá: 3 goals 2 assists

Calhanoglu: 3 goals 5 assists

Other goals and assists come from my Inverted Wingbacks and my centrebacks scoring from set pieces. Bennacer might only have a single goal and assist but I consider him the most important player for us aside from Donnarumma and if he ever got injured I wouldn't be able to replace him. He can both circulate the ball with precision and hold the line for us  when we lose possession.

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With half the season gone we are alive in all competitions and even retain chances to win the Serie A. We will need some luck if we want to win silverware this year but it is not unthinkable and we have a very nice safety net when it comes to qualify for the champions league.

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Very interesting thread @SixPointer, especially like your thinking process when deciding on your Milan and Position DNA. Looking forward to following this closely!

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On 27/07/2020 at 09:16, Abrahasse said:

Very interesting thread @SixPointer, especially like your thinking process when deciding on your Milan and Position DNA. Looking forward to following this closely!

I’ll be giving this a read on my flight back from work on Sunday for sure. Had a quick browse looks fantastic! 

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1 hour ago, skyline72 said:

@TheEasternWind

Do you still use the OIs on their main man when you switched over to the 3313?

I have decided against it because I only have two players who stay on central midfield when we don't have the ball so I am a little scared about telling my players to press or mark any particular opponent in view of what might happen with our shape. I guess that having such a strong presence upfront could help us when pressing teams that play from the back but I think that going for particular pressing schemes against midfielders is a big no with the 3313.

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