On FM Scout you can chat about Football Manager in real time since 2011. Here are 10 reasons to join!

Bielsa's Boys // FM20 Tactic

Attacking 4-3-3 tactic for FM20 inspired by Bielsa, with two insanely effective mezzala's and the regista at its absolute best.

By on Oct 28, 2020   76572 views   18 comments
Download Now
Downloads: 17520 / Size: 45.4 kB / Added: 2020-10-28
Football Manager 2020 Tactics - Bielsa's Boys // FM20 Tactic
“A man with new ideas is mad until he succeeds” - Marcelo Bielsa

Needless to say Bielsa has inspired many with his antics, El Loco certainly lives up to his name.

I won't give you the same spiel about his methods, madness and what not - I am fully aware of the many Bielsa inspired tactics that exist, and I'm not claiming this to be the best either, it's just damn fun to watch and play.

Simply put, Bielsa believes that players shouldn't have a set position (as demonstrated countless times throughout his career), most recently playing Tyler Roberts, a striker by nature, in the CM position alongside Klich - or even Helder Costa, an attacking winger, often being deployed in the center to maximize threat going forward. His former assistant, Pep Clotet, once said “Marcelo Bielsa tended to play the attacking players in deeper positions because a player with attacking mentality gives you consistency in the attack and improves the output of the ball.”

And that's precisely what I was going for with this tactic. Absolute attacking havoc from the middle of the park, the two mezzala's on attack pushing wide and forward while the inside forwards drifted creating chaos for the poor opposition trying to defend against this madness. To make matters worse they then have rampaging wing backs to deal with, who just love a good cross, and a tricky regista pulling strings like a puppeteer in the middle of the park.

Tested first with Leeds United, of course, we achieved a respectable 7th place finish but with some insane results:

With player performances being pretty strong for a newly promoted side:

Then came a year simming this tactic with Lille, another one of Bielsa's old boys, with degrees of success - 3rd place finish, with the mezzala's grabbing 12 goals a piece. But, in true Bielsa fashion, an end of season slump slowed them down and disappointed (with rotation and squad depth I'm sure this would not happen).

I then tried it out with Sevilla for a season, re-training Oscar as a regista with outstanding results and really pushing for the title:

Rakitic simply dominated the league in the mezzala role, and both inside forwards shone throughout:

Again, in true Bielsa form, a second half slump resulted in the final 19 games ending with 11 wins and 8 defeats, thus ending our title hopes:

But boy of boy was the play scintillating!

Currently playing a season with Arsenal and so far Xhaka is storming it as a mezzala (6 goals in 5 games), AMN is keeping Partey out of the side with his insane performances and young Charlie Patino has stepped up to make the regista spot his own (averaging 7.5 each game). Saka has 5 assists in 3 games as a LB (while Tierney was injured) and the play has been joyful to watch.

Also currently simming seasons with Leyton Orient and NEC in Holland with this tactic and both are dominating their divisions so far with players of far inferior quality.

This is the first tactic I've ever created, and it was originally based off of Knapp's 'Fire and Water' before I realised the AMC was too ineffectual. I can't guarantee you will win titles, but man will you enjoy the football on show!

Download Now
Downloads: 17520 / Size: 45.4 kB / Added: 2020-10-28
Your content on FM Scout

We are always looking for quality content creators, capable of producing insightful articles. Being published here means more exposure and recognition for you.

Do YOU have what it takes?

Discussion: Bielsa's Boys // FM20 Tactic

18 comments have been posted so far.

  • Le_Professeur's avatar
    @pleeming - third isn't so bad for a newly promoted side! But yes I agree the scorelines can be very mixed (much like Bielsa and Leeds IRL). Switching the DLF to AF should help with scoring goals, I found it more effective, and for big away games against teams like Basel you can switch the regista to a half back role. Hopefully your second season in the top flight yields a greater goal difference!
  • pleeming's avatar
    Yeah I got Winterthur promoted using the chester tactic, but all my goals came from penalties or set pieces. striker got like 4! So I used this in my first season of the Swiss top league. We got third! But! despite coming third we had a negative goal ratio. The top two teams Basel and Berne destroyed us every time eg 6-0! 6-2 etc. I had two games that finished 4-4. In one instance we were 3-0 up at half time and conceded 4 second half goals. It's supremely vulnerable on the counter. I can barely watch set plays now as the opposition seem to score, win VAR penalties or hit the cross bar on a regular basis. In my second season after almost a quarter of the season - ie having played almost every team we have 1 point. Also, we have received 3 red cards! A debutant lasted 30 minutes before a red card!
  • Leeroy9393's avatar
    Hahahaha my comment was deleted for calling out Si49, even though I didn't use one word that could be classed as aggressive or bad language
  • Richardcharlston's avatar
    Loving the Bielsa love in. MOT
  • YAMS's avatar
    I'll rephrase, star players for their level. I doubt very much this tactic would carry you through many divisions as others can.

    Anyway enough, it's a nice tactic for sure.
  • SonnyMarsh222's avatar
    @Darthfurion could you please make a bielsa tactic and upload it?
  • SonnyMarsh222's avatar
    Any tips for Brentford not working great so far, i have full tactical familiarity. Struggling to score and most my goals are from just corners. Thanks
  • Le_Professeur's avatar
    @Si49 As I mentioned below " I simply went with the choices in this tactic purely as to create a more of a rock 'n' roll, 'go and get em' tactic that Bielsa is known for - I wasn't necessarily trying to copy his exact methods - just trying to replicate his often explosive attacking team, with attacker regularly being retrained and played in the Mezzala roles."

    I agree the DLF offers more support but you are wrong about needing star players when using the AF instead. I have Mathias De Wolf and Elayis Tavsan working wonders as IF's for NEC as well as Maguire-Drew and Trae Coyle performing wonderfully at Leyton Orient (with a very average looking Lee Angol bagging 33 goals as an AF). Certainly the better players you have the more likely you are to achieve results; but I feel the AF role suits lower league teams and still keeps the essence of 'gung ho' attack that Bielsa instills in his teams.
  • YAMS's avatar
    An AF will work better against teams pressing you but it will also limit the support for the two IF's. It makes this tactic very individualistic & would rely on star players all the more. That is anti Bielsa for sure, he's all about cohesion & rotation of roles.
  • Le_Professeur's avatar
    UPDATE - I have found that switching the DLF to an AF role works even better.

    Currently testing this out with Arsenal, NEC, Leyton Orient and Dortmund. All the former have won their leagues respectively, with just Dortmund left in 1st place close to wrapping up their title too.
  • Le_Professeur's avatar
    @Darthfurion - Thank you for all the feedback! You are certainly correct with your tips, I simply went with the choices in this tactic purely as to create a more of a rock 'n' roll, 'go and get em' tactic that Bielsa is known for - I wasn't necessarily trying to copy his exact methods - just trying to replicate his often explosive attacking team, with attacker regularly being retrained and played in the Mezzala roles.

    @Mash This is my first ever tactic on FM, and likely my last until FM21 is released and I have some time to figure it out. But thank you for your comments!

    @Si49 - You are correct, I would certainly like to do 2-3 seasons with Leeds with this tactic and may try it now before the new FM is released. The whole idea of testing with multiple teams was just to show its compatibility in other leagues.
  • Mash's avatar
    @Dartfurion Can you post your version of Bielsa's tactic?
  • Mash's avatar
    very good work mr. teacher! i really appreciate your style. Do you have any other tactics, I would like to test more things from you.
  • YAMS's avatar
    @Darthfurion - Very good post.

    Your corrections are certainly much more like how Leeds Utd actually set up.
  • Darthfurion's avatar
    Very nice tactic, very close to my personal "Bielsa inspired" tactic as well.

    Just a few points:
    1) Distribute to FB's is a bit risky at times. Bielsa himself uses "Distribute to CB's"
    2) Bielsa uses a DLP on Defend or DM on Support (Philips) but he's definately not a Regista (contrary to what fans think of Philips because Pirlo rarely tacked).
    3) Bielsa doesn't use IF's, he uses Wingers predominantly that get crosses in. IF's will cross less. Although Helder Costa is Left footed, he normally plays on the right but Harrison crosses a lot from Left. Both of them are Left footed.
    4) Helder Costa is actually an Inverted Winger on the right. Read the description of Inverted Wingers.
    5) Bialsa would also employ the "Roam from Position" Instruction. But in the game, this can be very risky.
    6) Bielsa would also use "Stay On Feet" instruction. Some positions will override this, like BWM etc. But generally, he prefers player to "Stay On Feet" when tackling.

    @12laus - on the discipline section of "Out of Possession"; you should set "Stay on Feet" to reduce Red/Yellow cards. However, this is usually bad for teams with Very High Defensive lines, so you will need very fast CD/FB players to prevent counter attacks.
  • YAMS's avatar
    I'd really like to see seasons 2 & 3 with your Leeds Utd team.... I suspect you would come rather unstuck against a low block counter attack outfit which many teams in the Prem would adjust to after your first season.

    Tactics ideally require testing for more than one season with the same team in the same circumstances. This isn't a criticism of you directly but more the whole idea of miracle tactics in general.
  • Alohafatboiii's avatar
    Johan Cruyff said it best: "Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring"
  • 12laus's avatar
    Really fun tactic, scoring lots of goals, but any tips on the discipline? Seem to be picking up 5-7 yellows every single match...
FMS Chat

hey, just wanted to let you know that we have a fb style chat for our members. login or sign up to start chatting.