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Jamie's 4-2-3-1 Attacking Catenaccio with Set Pieces

There is no style of Football so notorious as Catenaccio. This FM 2019 tactic took my Dulwich side from National South to Championship, all streamed live on twitch.

By on Dec 07, 2018   197336 views   58 comments
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Football Manager 2019 Tactics - Jamie's 4-2-3-1 Attacking Catenaccio with Set Pieces

What is Catenaccio?

Catenaccio or The Chain is a tactical system in football with a strong emphasis on defence. In Italian, catenaccio means "door-bolt", which implies a highly organised and effective back-line defence focused on nullifying opponents' attacks and preventing goal-scoring opportunities.

The tactic

Influenced for my love of Italian style tactics this tactic has been incredible for me for Dulwich, starting in the National South and working my way to the Championship currently which is live streamed on This style of tactic I wouldn't use until I usually get to the Premier League but I decided to start using it from day one and bring a Italian emphasis to the club.

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Discussion: Jamie's 4-2-3-1 Attacking Catenaccio with Set Pieces

58 comments have been posted so far.

  • kamlay's avatar
    This tactics is really suit for AC Milan. So Balance and every player can contribute (assists and goals)

    I ask my assistant to handle the training an IO.

    No need to buy anyone on my first season, but I managed to sell Suso to Madrid, Laxat to Arsenal and Montolivo to WBA on January. I don't lack of Iright flank coz I have Castilejo dan Hilalovic, though My General Manager (Leonardo) bought me Mahrez on loan January.

    Higuain and Cutrone share a goal with this tactis, Rodriguez did most assists fo the team.


    And this tactics works perfectly for Milan Youth.

    So what I need to do for the next season is to find the suit player for every position for this tactis.
  • ilyes92300's avatar
    helo this tactic works with 19.3.5 ?
  • garyharry13's avatar
    Used this with Southampton, really focused on coaching current players to fit the roles and signing young players who will fit the tactics/roles as well. Incredible results which saw me finished top 4 in second season. I was sitting top for a while until a dry spell in front of goal (quite rare using this tactic but gives realism to the season).

    I feel that's certainly the way to go, tactic is good but you need players who fit the roles. I have now started a new career with my local team in Scotland league 2, will see how this tactic works with a low league team, expecting fireworks given other comments here.
  • georgeyoungday's avatar
    I have been using this tactic since you uploaded it and it's an invincible one.
  • Eivindolowski's avatar
    Does it work with keeper as sweeper-keeper?
  • Andrei Bhn's avatar
    It doesn't matter what formation they are using. Here is last. Got RB Leipzig. Match day in Euro Cup against PSV. 18th minute they had 3-0 away with 3 shots. in the end beat them by 4-3 and they had still 3 shots. I mean it can't be true. I am not looking for answers because now a get it. This game is fucked up.
  • OohAhCantona's avatar
    @AndreiBhn - Are they playing a 4-1-2-3 formation? This tactic can struggle with those early on and you can get burned by a counter attack.
  • Andrei Bhn's avatar
    Guys i need help. I am playing Sociedad and i got new good players but in some matches i have this problem. I play very good and not being able to win. And this matches are against small teams like Granada, Las Palmas, Betis. If i was playing crap would say ok is the tactic but shooting 31 shots with 13 on target i get one goal and after that that have one chance and they convert it gets me very nervous. How do you manage the situations when your team is not being able to score??? Thanks. I would post screenshots with those games but i don't know how sorry
  • OohAhCantona's avatar
    Congrats JamesFMS, you have broken FM19 with a non-exploit tactic. After (5) seasons of using this tactic with PSV, no big spending, focusing on guys who fit the tactic and setting it to be used by my Reserves & U-19, I can't stop winning.

    The 2021-22 season I won every single game aside from a 0-0 Champions League game with Manchester City. I allowed (4) goals in the Eredivisie while scoring (161), clinched the league with (10) games left to play. I also won my third straight Champions League trophy, the first one with a team that had no business being in the final.

    I think the recent update did something to the BBM as that position rarely scores anymore. The upside is the update seems to have boosted ST/IF scoring as I get the bulk of my goals from the wings and striker now. The wingers are the consistent source of goals and assists, the season above I had a ST score (36) goals across all competitions with (4) wingers scoring (20+) goals and (12+) assists. The RB/LB also add in assists so those positions continue to be important. The RB/LB rushing to the end line and crossing to their opposite winger is a really frequent source of goals.
  • EDimkA's avatar
    Hey, no OI ?

  • AdoDenHaag's avatar
    How is this tactic performing after the last update?
  • OohAhCantona's avatar
    I wouldn't call this a "defensive" tactic, but it's certainly provides solid defensive results. You just strangle the other team, and their only chances come on fast breaks. I rarely see a team work the ball in my defensive third unless I'm a lowly team facing Real Madrid / Barcelona and have no business being on the same field.

    The better suited players are for the roles the better they will perform. I'm bad at looking for stats, but usually if they have the right stats they will fit the roles. Faster central defenders help since most teams will attack you with long passes over the middle, fast WB who can cross well (they will be well suited to the role then...) are good to have as well. I've stuck lesser players in the lineup over better ones because they are more suited to the role and I get better results.

    I let my assistant do team training, but I do individual training to boost areas that will improve their suitability for the roles. If the stats are highlighted green or white for the role, I do the training that bolsters the weakest area.
  • PassPassThenShoot's avatar
    Hi guys, especially @OohAhCanton who seems to have used this tactic a lot.
    I'm planning to try this tactic but from what i see in the instruction, it's not really a defending tactic. How would you describe what you tried to accomplish with this and/or how do you construct the game ? The thing is to go to the wings with your WBs to cross while IFs cuts inside for more space ? Because it almost seems like a possession tactic on first look.
    Don't you have problems with your AM not performing too well with both wingers cuttung inside?

    Also, in order to have good training and players well suited to the tactic, what are the most importants attributes for the team to have ? I would say passing, first touch, decisions, work rate, composure, stamina. Am I right ?

    Thanks in advance if you guys take the time to give me some clarifications
  • OohAhCantona's avatar
    Don't want to spoil my de Rood-Witten story, but I think I figured out how to fix the weakness to "direct" tactics / counter attacks over the top : Balance.

    I usually just keep the attacking approach, but when I got in over my head in the Champions League I decided to try a more balanced approach. It killed off counter attack opportunities, which usually happen when I have them pinned deep and a cross or shot gets blocked / stolen and they get a run at my central defenders with no support. I had no business winning these games, but I absolutely crushed some of the biggest teams in Europe with a team that should have just been happy to be in the group stage.
  • OohAhCantona's avatar
    I dont know what the striker "problem" is, and I've tried a number of things. At first I thought it was the role, like when I favored Rashford over Lukaku in a Man United save, but when I stuck with Lukaku he came around and had a huge season. I'm currently playing a PSV save and both of their strikers are good to very good Advanced Forwards, and both of them have been scoring regularly.

    I think you just get various results based on seasons and opponents. I've had RW/LW player have a great season with a 15+ goal / 10+ assist season and then fall off the map the next year without changing much. The only consistent scorer is the BBM once you get one suited to the role and the CB on the set pieces.
  • samarkhan's avatar
    Interesting Idea, it's like hybrid of Gegenpress and Catenaccio. The absence of DM replaced by duo BPD with higher line. I think it still need slight tuning to counter opp fast counter and scoring problem w/ changing AM role to SS so when attacking the formation shift into 4-2-4. In absence of good BBM better to replace it w/ BWM (if you play narrow) or MEZ (if you play wider)
  • DannyYnwa's avatar
    This tactic is great for dominating games with having 26 shots and about 10 of them on target. The problem is not enpugh goals are scored for such numbers. Any help?
  • OohAhCantona's avatar
    I'm probably beating a dead horse here, but...

    This Tactic + BBM = Ballon d'Or

    My Dortmund file is apparently bugged so I started a new one with Manchester United. Put Pogba in the BBM slot, even though he isn't ideal there, and he won the Ballon d'Or. That makes my BBM while using this tactic exclusively 3/4 in that award, and that one miss Franck Kessié came in second.
  • zeka1993's avatar
    Alright so I just made this account to be able to write my comment on this tactic and maybe it will help out someone too.
    So I used this tactic with Inter Milan (Internazionale) for one whole (full) season so far.
    I didn't change my tactic at all the whole season (even used it for friendlies/home/away) and I didn't change anything at all , not even while in game (and didnt allow my Assistant to change
    anything either too). So I literally played it as " plug(load) and play ".

    During my 1st season with Inter, I managed to win the league (Serie A) with 101 points , 33wins 2 draws 3 defeats (scoring 103 goals / conceding 31).
    I only bought 3 players during the winter transfer market but they were only for rotaion purposes. Sold M. Icardi to Man Utd since they payed the 110 mil release clause
    during the winter transfer market. Sold some others that I didn't need but no drastic change.

    So as far as the league went this tactic was a "INCREDIBLE"!
    However my problems were in the Champions league group stage, I finished 3rd with Liverpool 1st, Porto 2nd, and Atl. Madrid 4th.
    Then I got knocked out of Europe League in the 1st knock out round by Arsenal (unlucky to get Arsenal right of the bat ) 2-2 (home) 1-0 (away).

    In the Italian Cup I beat Parma 5-0 in the 1st round of the cup.
    But then I lost to Atalanta 3-2 (I did rotate and play abit weaker players though), which was bad but Atalanta ended up all the way to the finals and lost to AS Roma.

    The Striker problem was a problem seemed to be a problem for me too, L. Martinez scored 12 goals and P. Cutrone (I bought in January, since I sold Icardi) scored only 8 goals.
    Maybe I'll get a better Stiker however I don't think it is a "smart move " since the tactic isn't great for Strikers.

    Sorry for the long comment here but it's my first and I wanted to share my 1 season (so far) experience with this TACTIC!
  • george23's avatar
    149 games unbeaten with this tactic... great tactic
  • OohAhCantona's avatar
    It's weird to see people having problems, especially @Mission001's comment... my Dortmund team that has been using this tactic for three years is an impenetrable brick wall. I've had multiple double-digit win streaks where I don't concede at all, especially with my 1st team, and even my 2nd team dominates games. The season I just finished up I set a new Bundesliga record for goals scored (104) and only allowed (10) with a single game where I gave up (4) with an injury riddled emergency backup team. My BBM (Kessié) scored (24) goals and took home his second Ballon d'Or in a row.

    I may have made the comment here before, or maybe it was another tactic, but if you make in-game tactical changes it can mess things up. I've literally had my assistant say "We should mark this guy, he's running free..." and when I accepted a few seconds later got a "This CB is out of position because he's marking the guy I told you we should mark, we shouldn't be doing that..." so I just ignore all of those.

    It also seems like this tactic is susceptible to the 4-1-4-1 variant of 4-3-3, the one with a deep holding midfielder in the center, two deep / middle lying central midfielders, two advanced wingers and a central striker. I've had also-rans using this formation make me sweat even though they have no business being on the field against me.

    @Lillitsch - No, I pile up a lot of yellows... this tactic does that. I just manually tell carded players to ease off tackles instead of waiting for my assistant to propose it. I may have a lot of yellows but they rarely (maybe once a season) turn into yellow-red.
  • roshann24's avatar
    How is this tactic performing in the new update?
  • mission001's avatar
    My problem is this formation has 0 defending intent lol, its a counter formation that doesn't defend. Its hard to win when you concede 4 goals a game. And yes, my defenders both have 15 pace,accel. You get cut apart through the middle. Or the Wing Backs get majorly caught out of position and you conced the common across the box goals. Will update when i finish my league with more details and pictures.
  • Lillitsch's avatar
    I am the only one with the Problem to geh min. 5-6 yellow cards each Game?
  • mads1084's avatar
    Okay, I must abandon this tactic.... In my second save with Everton I seem to struggle a lot too. fighting for relegation was not part of the plan. In every match I concede between 1 to 4 goals (fixed the outruns by having quick defenders, but now they just play right throug them) and my team cant get it past the keeper. Don't what i am doing wrong - in all my games i get the "struggle to find possesion in opponents half". Have about 10-15 shots on goal though, but only 1-5 on target. I have fairly good players with suitable roles in all positions. I am playing Touch version19.2.1.

    I find it odd that all of you have such great success with this tactic - how much tweeking do you do (and is it different from game to game)? would love to get some advise.

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