This time as requested by someone of you, I chose a less attacking tactic, a counter-attack style, I chose Mourinho's Inter 4-2-3-1 treble winning.
Well, let's now examine the 4-2-3-1 he used in the second part of season 2009-2010 (before he used a 4-3-1-2 which had many issues, the main one being the spaces left between the players that were highly exploited by the opponents, the 4-3-1-2 worked in Serie A due to the great superiority of that Inter compared to other Italian teams, but struggled a lot in Champions League, in my video you can see in one photo how Barcelona 3-4-3 destroyed that 4-3-1-2) and won the treble.
Mourinho's Inter played a structured and disciplined attacking style.
In the 4-2-3-1, they often built their attacks patiently from the back, with the full-backs pushing forward.
The midfield trio of Cambiasso, Zanetti, and Sneijder played a crucial role in linking defense to attack.
Sneijder, in the central attacking midfield role, was the creative hub, providing key passes and assists.
The lone striker, often Milito, had good hold-up play and made intelligent runs behind the opposition's defense.
Inter under Mourinho were known for their solid defensive organization.
They often transitioned into a compact and disciplined defensive shape, with the midfield two (Cambiasso and Zanetti) shielding the defense.
The back four, with experienced defenders like Lucio and Samuel, remained compact and hard to break down.
Mourinho emphasized strong man-marking and limiting space for the opponents, making it difficult for teams to penetrate their defensive lines.
Pressing and Defensive Block:
While not always pressing high up the pitch, Inter would press selectively and intensely when needed.
Mourinho's team would often defend with a mid-block, staying compact and denying the opposition space in the central areas.
The pressing would usually start in midfield, led by Cambiasso and Zanetti, with the wide players also contributing.
They were highly effective at disrupting the opponent's passing lanes and winning the ball back.
Now let's see how to emulate this tactic in Football Manager 2023.
First of all, Maicon's role. You have to identify your attacking full-back ready to push forward. In my Inter Dumfries could do it and our team will focus on the right side of the field while the left side will have support tasks. So, Dumfries is our Complete Wing-Back on attack. I instruct him to close down more.
Starting from the back, we have a trio composed of our sweeper keeper and the two central defenders. The other full-back should maintain his position, so you can opt for a "Full-Back" with Support duties. That was Zanetti's role, sometimes replaced by Chivu. I instruct him to get further forward to avoid having a too weak left side, stay wider and run wide with the ball to leave space for the left forward to cut inside.
The two defenders of that Inter were Lucio, a BPD (on defend) who could break the defensive line and move forward with the ball and Walter "The Wall" Samuel, a simple central defender who focused on defensive roles.
The two central midfielders, I chose to put them right in front of the defense, in 2009-2010 Inter Thiago Motta played on the left and covered the left flank while Cambiasso had to cover the right flank and also to drop down between the central defenders or to cover Lucio when he moved forward or right to help Maicon. Maicon in defense could not be left alone 1vs1 against the opponent, so Lucio or Cambiasso often helped him.
To emulate Cambiasso's role I believe an Half Back- Defend is the best option even if you could choose a BWM too. Thiago Motta was the one who built the play so DLP-defend.
The trio supporting the forward are from the right an Inside Forward-Attack (this is Eto's role, he often cut inside to leave space for Maicon pushing up), an Advanced playmaker-attack (Snejider) and an Inverted winger on support (Pandev) on the left , I instructed him to sit narrower to be close to the forward. Milito can be replicated as a Complete forward-attack.
Let's see the team instructions.
The mentality: even if I started with a balanced mentality, in FM 23 the risk is to give control to the opponent, so I chose a positive mentality also with strong opponents.
In possession: Passes slightly shorter, tempo slightly higher, focus on the right side, overlap right, play out of defense, hit early crosses, wide attacking width, whipped crosses.
In transition: counter-press, counter.
Out of possession: Mid-block, Mourinho did not want his team to press very high, standard defensive line (in the semifinal against Barca they even defended with 9 players all inside or just close to the box), trigger pressing more often, step up more (to help offside trap), prevent gk short passes.
With this tactic I scored 120 goals only in Serie A and many others in CL and Italian Cup, I conceded only 22 goals in Serie A (Best attack and best defense), Lautaro Martinez scored 45 goals in the season, Arnautovic playing as his replace, scored 21 goals in 21 games, Cuadrado, Calhanoglu, Marcus Thuram also scored a lot and also the defenders scored on set pieces. It is a great tactic and I hope it works for you too.
A hug from your Arrigo Sacchi