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Defensive Solidity with De Zerbi's 4231

De Zerbi has had success everywhere he has managed, and now we can recreate that in FM23.

By on Aug 07, 2023   18131 views   0 comments
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Downloads: 4070 / Size: 43.7 kB / Added: 2023-08-07
Football Manager 2023 Tactics - Defensive Solidity with De Zerbi's 4231
De Zerbi likes his teams to play a possession-based style of football, focusing heavily on shorter build-up from the goalkeeper.

His Sassuolo side recorded the highest possession share in Serie A in 2020/21 – when they missed out on qualification for the Europa Conference League only on goal difference – and the third-highest in 2019/20.

In the disrupted Ukrainian season of 2021/22, De Zerbi’s Shakhtar Donetsk also came out on top for possession. He has used a 4-2-3-1 structure in his most recent jobs, with the exception of a 4-3-3 at the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign, shortly after taking over at Sassuolo.

We are going to recreate this.

In possession the play focuses through the centre of the field, allowing your key playmakers to dictate play, but also allow the players to be in close proximity to each other allowing one and two-touch football to move the opposition out of position, creating space and freedom for the attacking players. Our wingbacks will be instructed to stay wide, just in case the centre of the field becomes so congested that we always have an "out ball" should we need to use it.

In transition we aim to win the ball back as quickly as possible, not allowing the opposition players time on the ball, causing mistakes and misplaced passes. When our goalkeeper receives the ball, we use our ball-playing defenders to begin our attacking phase, focussing on progressing the ball upfield with a series of intricate passing moves that create space, and disrupt the shape of the defence.

Our defensive shape aims to trap the opposition inside, as we have set up the team to play narrow it means that this area is congested with our midfield, and will not allow the opposition time and space to create clear-cut chances. We press from the front using our striker, wingers and attacking midfielder, however, the defence is allowed to sit slightly deeper and drop off when needed, avoiding being beaten by balls in behind the back line.

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Downloads: 4070 / Size: 43.7 kB / Added: 2023-08-07
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