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4-2-3-1 of Rafa Benitez for FM14

One of the most balanced and refined 4-2-3-1 in the game. Astonishing results and highly polished tactical organisation in the pitch.

By on Feb 06, 2014   171358 views   34 comments
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Downloads: 47980 / Size: 87.3 kB / Added: 2014-02-06
FM 2014 Tactics - 4-2-3-1 of Rafa Benitez for FM14
Everybody was surprised from the radical tactical transformation of Napoli. A traditional 3-man defense was transformed totally into a rapid 4-2-3-1 based on counter attacks, genuine passing game and sharp - well organised direct attacks. The boring Cavani based long ball play, replaced by a studious meticulous 4-2-3-1. The phrases "Matador Cavani", "Lavezzi fa tutto" were replaced by the admiration for "Professore Rafa".

"Rafa is probably undervalued, he has won practically everything. All the international trophies, he was regularly in the Champions League semi finals and he has won every possible continental or international competition that took part in. I think that he is at least a little bit under valued."

Prophetic words of Antonio Conte, fierce rival of every Italian Serie A coaches, in the name of Benitez he didn't show up his angry ferocious mood. He was mild and sympathetic towards the hiring of the Spaniard from controversial multi millionaire De Laurentis, who was recently charged for taxing fraud allegations.

The Liverpool era

I don't know if you believe in God or not, honestly I think that it's extremely difficult to manage better than him in Liverpool unless you are God. You cannot imagine how difficult it is to win Milan after a 3-0 lead against you when the quality of players are in the likes or Biskan, Djimi Traore, L.Garcia from injuries, Sammi Hyppia at 35 yrs old etc. All these players since their departure from Liverpool played much worse and eventually hung up their football boots unanimously without any further glory.

Not surprisingly, all the initial projects of Rafa failed massively. 4-4-2, 4-3-3 and 4-3-1-2 were disastrous. Rafa was in a need for extra midfielder. Hicks/Gillet, the disastrous Protestantic duo was unable to allocate him extra funds. Rafa, like successor of Genesis inspired 4-2-3-1 with Gerrard at AMC and Kuyt as winger. In the beginning the whole European press laughed out loudly. Haha, poor Rafa you are so desperate. Another trick from Spaniard tactician in order to save his trembling Liverpool. Temporary solution Rafa, but for how long you will make such tricks?? Brian Glanville in Daily Mirror Column after the initial application from Rafa.

What happened next is very well known. Record of points for Liverpool in Premiership, another CL final, more cups won, another semi final. Unfortunately the squad was too short to win Premiership rules/referees. Rafa was totally uncovered and unprotected and he was always under-media pressure. Rafa did this and that and why, why, why you need this and the other. The american duo was never present during the hot events... so, the end was very bitter.

Don't ask why. Just read his history briefly.
Rafa Benitez Wikipedia article

I don't think Rafa is failed or overrated.

The FM14 Tactic

My first two seasons with Roma which I tried the tactic were rock n roll concerts. I used some fluid 4-3-3 versions without having the adequate defensive mechanisms. I was very successful but the team wasn't mature enough. The first two seasons I conceded 54 and 45 goals respectively. Tragic numbers for such a defensive coach like me. In the second season I won the league easily but I couldn't sleep well. Why such an amount of goals against me? Permanent thought...

So I decided to pass on a more rational but equally progressive idea, to follow the way of Rafa. I watch him since I was 15, so it's very easy to catch up with his way of tactical thinking. We are not so far as mentalities, so the one is following the other. I tried several 4-2-3-1 before I go into the final versions which I present you now. At the same time I invested heavily - if not exclusively - in the domestic talents. Italian Players from youth ranks of AS Roma. De Rossi out - Serie A winner. So simple and so easy. De Rossi 2nd year out - 2nd consecutive double. This tactic has a simple secret.

"Shoot the ball, make the goal and then we decide which were your alternative options."

Words of Bob Paisley towards Ian Rush in a typical off the pitch argue.

So despite my good possession play, I opt to shoot, to make shoots to make goals.

That's why I make so impressive results. When you're leading 3-0 your opponent is psychologically cut off. So to score you must try making a shoot first. After taking the lead, your opponent becomes more aggressive and attacking. You make 2-0. Always compact tight, possession game, sharp lines, tight distances and compact width. 56% possession, your opponent runs more but... you score more because you shoot a lot. Otherwise possession is completely useless.

Enjoy, have fun and follow this advice:

Always ask your players for tight marking, always closing down, hard tackle, show on weaker foot.

I dont know if Rafa makes the same but actually this is me here. I kept alive the ideas of Rafa and combined them with my own way of thinking as well. The result of course is a masterpiece.

Have a great entertainment guys ;)

NOTE - I include whole matches in order to watch carefully how this tactic works. Stay tuned up.


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Downloads: 47980 / Size: 87.3 kB / Added: 2014-02-06
Roberto.Mancini's avatar
About Roberto.Mancini

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Discussion: 4-2-3-1 of Rafa Benitez for FM14

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  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    You must make some things by yourself .I cannot make your work in the club instead of you .You must focus clearly on what you need .Keep your mind concentrated and give your best on what you can improve .You have your personal judgment I suppose so you can improve the situation .Its not because of me definetely .Every tactic is not an automatic panacea which solves all the problems and works the same with every squad .You need ofcourse some alternations and some points need to be modified .
  • dark_boy's avatar
    its a nice tactics, using it on current roma squad. but I am conceding goals on set pieces and long range. Any suggestions on that? there are no players on the side post when opponent is taking corners.
    what could be the possible training for the team?
  • Dappens's avatar
  • Dappens's avatar
    Do i have too make everythin by myself or can i extract it into fm?
  • Stam's avatar
    The problem is that external download mirrors are not always safe. In this case appears to be forwarded to this bad site now. Surely not our fault that site changed; the page author could also check/change the download link. Anyway, I have moved the file to our own servers and it should work properly again.
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    Why you dont ask help from the administrator of the site and you make complains to me ?I dont manage the functional sector of this site .
  • aldyprawiranegara's avatar
    The download link won't work, keeps going to an iLivid link. What should I do?
  • jpfeehily's avatar
    The download link won't work, keeps going to an iLivid link. What should I do?
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    toluabisola if you learn some more football this tactic will be astonishing believe me .However every person has his own belief .I am not Rafa Benitez ,pay attention .
  • toluabisola's avatar
    Great tactic so far.

    I've had to adjust a few things like make the two central mid's more expensive in their play.

    But as my players get more comfortable in the new formation I'm finding that this system is allowing them to play with more flair.

    Thumbs up from me so far.
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    I think slider bars and tactical engine of cm 01-02 are perfect .In cm 01-02 you could build your tactical mentality step by step .In that version I was making all of my players very close in 4-4-2 and 3-5-2 and I dont afraid to say that I was very close to the tactics of Helenio Herrera .The only real great coach who made the proper revolution in football by assuming every modern method like :specified training ,match preperation ,scouting of opponent ,indidual orders ,team pressing ,team block and various other practics which are common now .Like extensive use of medicines/dopping ,nutritionists and so on .Michels repeatedly follow his trainings as a journalist from "Deer Telegraph" .They have give him a boarding journalist card to travel around as a football collumnist .However ,most of people are very weak to accept the truth .Michels made his 80 % under Cruyff but Helenio never associated with any player .I am forced to present some tactics that I dont follow at all .As for my very personal coaching beliefs ,I use almost exclusively 3man defence without neglecting the phases of the game .You can be fluid ,you can be rigid but two stoppers football is far tooo romantic in my eyes .Maybe its nice to apply something else ,especially as an FM user but in real life you cannot trust anymore just 2 stoppers .Unless if you are Barcelona .To be honest ,I have to use a 4 backline when I dont have 3 adequate stoppers .But again ,the first thought on my mind is how to make my team tough like betton .Simply a lot of silly people here hate 3 men defence and I am obliged to present something else .Ofcourse I have use these tactics and I consider them great ,but all of these have some potentials ,some silling .So when its about 3-5-2 ,there is no limit ,no silling .The most dynamic and flexible tactics are with 3 stoppers because you can make in the midfield everything that you want .From inside view ,when your opponent sees 5 midfielders in the half line ,has heart attack .Your opponent tremmles when he sees the likes of vidal ,pirlo,marchisio,pogba and asamoah to add him enormous pressure from every gap .So its really breathtaking to have a physical strong team who is very well organised and multileveled tactically by using multi positioned players with mixed characteristics .

    Enjoy football-have a good time . :)
  • eddow's avatar
    Roberto, as someone who is experienced with football coaching, what is your opinion of the new tactics system in fm14 compared to the one in previous fm's? Do you like it or do you prefer the slider bars?
  • Nitro810's avatar
    i forgot to mention one thing however...I got fired on my other 4 saves. even against torino, livorno and other small teams I was losing. I honestly don't know how to use the team instructions though. yesterday I played 3 or 4 games with your tactic (forgot how much I played), i won and drawn and i am in champions league. so i think it's a good tactic. we'll see
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    Just find a better president than Berlusconi ))Are you kidding me ?Even by approaching Sir Alex and Marcello Lippi your fate will not be better .You need to be very patient and determined on rebuilding this team step by step .Dont hesitate to try every tactic and to support it firmly .Even if it is 3-5-2 ,4-4-2 or 4-3-3 ,whatever .Be firm on your beliefs and take a loon in the present situation by looking up in the future .The likes of De Sciglio and El Sharaawy will help you to focus on working with young guns .Its also quite important to support your ideas by selecting a strong core of players who can help you on making your goals come true .Work hard ,believe harder .Stay on the ground and dont expect magic tactics to save your life .Develop your ideas and make a clear cut plan that you need to apply on it .
  • Nitro810's avatar
    will try it with AC Milan. so far this will be probably the 6th time I'm starting a new game :/. I'm really having trouble playing with Milan. I can't win. in my 5th save I lost against P Ferreira in the champions league best placed play I'm out of the champions league, lost the next game 5 - 2 against udinese so i quit game and deleted the saved game. I can't understand what I'm doing wrong. I tried 4-2-3-1 attack, 4-1-2-1-2, 4-2-3-1 deep, 4-1-1-3-1, 4-3-3, 3-3-2-2...every tactic. I also can't score from corners and free kicks with balotelli. at the start I sell emanuelson and buy eder alvares balante. I really need in-depth help on how to manage Milan. anyone care to help? :)
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    Regular Experiments ,constant analysis and plenty of watching top coaches and top teams .No secrets in this work .You notice all the details that you can ,you analyse the match situations and then you apply according to what kind of players you have .
  • corneille72's avatar
    Hey I tried the tactic here with juste some position swapes because my team hadn't what exactly take this tactic... After that I won and won ... That's amazing, but I'm kindda frustrated, How do you do finally to build an effective tactic ??? Because I tried and tried again and again, never find ?? Do you have a tutorial or something that you could give me to help me out ???

    Anyway great tactic !
  • ther0cking's avatar
    Thanks Roberto.Mancini, with you tactic I returned once again to enjoy FM14, i was player with my own tactic but some games my team just dont play.. now my team make goal easily and keeps possession without any problem, no matter if it's a game away or not, thanks again dude!! :D
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    Did you see the yesterday match Napoli-Ac Milan ?

    The perfect application of the current tactics .

    See the goals of Napoli here

    Thats why shoot on sight is making the difference ;)
  • Olsimall's avatar
    It works Perfectly, Well done & thanks for sharing.. this is a miracle like tactic!
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    friend ,thanks in advance for the support in the tactics .You can modify the home tactic by make it counter or balanced .So the away tactic will have a simmilar format but more balanced and rational ;)Use the home tactic in away matches against teams which are heavy and slow .Against top teams make your two mc as deep mc by keeping the same instructions and duties .Remember how Rafa eliminated Basel last year .Patient game ,normal tempo and much deeper defence .Consider that you must take the handling of coaching during the game .Modify the same tactics and put your own color ,your own ideas .Thats how you will find the solution ,I cannot help more for the very simple reason that I am not you.You know much better your team .A crucial point here is the tactical education that you give through training sessions .Personally ,I use always italian staff and my coaching philosophy is defensive minded ,with plenty of focus on tactics ,transitional play etc .

    IF YOU are patient enough make the following :Froze the full games from time to time in order to analyse by your self what is better and more functional for your club

    *for instance-note the distance of lines ,attacking/defensive blocks
    *notice the diagonal moves in the triangles ,amc/aml/sc ,dc,dmc ,aml etc .
    *pay attention on doubling pairs and appropriate triangulation moves
    *keep on mind that when you make the pitch tighter you squeeze your opponent
    *have an eye on attacking/defensive transitional phase in your LAST half .
    *Avoid the positional mistakes ,who playes where or who is outplaced or misplaced
    *focus on the distribution phase ,maybe you prefer something else
    *Note that any of your player cannot be physically or defensively adequate ,the so called black holes .

    ***FM has an integrated machine which locates every possible weakness that any team may has and spots directly there .IF you have for instance very few strikers ,they become injured in the most crucial stage of the season .If some tactic is great ,in the second round automatically become complacent .

    Best regards ,

    Enjoy the game ))
  • redx's avatar
    Being a devote Liverpool fan, you can imagine my excitement at seeing a Rafa tactic on here. So far, I've been impressed, but mostly by the home version. I'm playing with Liverpool several years into a save. When at home, I play Suarez and Dominic Berardi on the wings as IFs, and Ibrahimovic as a DF (He's quite old now), and it works fine, I think because the IFs are on attack. Away from home, I get lots of 0-0/1-1s, perhaps because the IFs are now on support. How do I counteract this? Also, how key is the DF to the tactic? None of my players seem to fit there. If it is key, are there any players you recommend for that position?

    It's a really great tactic at home. I've beaten Chesea 3-0, Man United 2-0 etc.

    PS: Are there any BWMs you'd recommend? I'm playing Allen as the DLP (he's working quite well there) and Lucas Leiva as the BWM, but I'd like to replace him.
  • Olsimall's avatar
    Can somebody help me, Which download should I pick & where do I place the Tactic in my Computer to be able to use it in-game? (Sorry, I'm a newbie.)
  • Roberto.Mancini's avatar
    I will be practic and simple because I want to help .The role of amc is delicate and compact .Bring in your mind the likes of amc and you have the answer .Bring in your eyes the moves of pogba ,vidal and marchisio and you have the response that you need .I am not strange with such questions because I had the same issues with Juventus in 4-2-3-1 of Marcello Lippi that I made here for fm scout .I am coming from the top coaching school ,the italian and according to my poor point of view the role of amc is the connecting chain in 4-2-3-1 .This player should have mixed characteristics with a tendency of energetic attack like :speed,agression,shooting,finishing and height .We are aware that most of dmc and dc are tall players so every amc will have plenty of attacking work in the opposite box .So the height is a very contributing factor among others .In Juve I had pogba,marchisio and vidal for this role ,switching to asamoah as well .If you notice my previous tactis you will take the response easily and thats why :4-2-3-1 makes diagonal unsymmetric blocks in the final third .Actually these blocks tend to be mostly attacking minded .So in Juve I had Asamoah as AML ,Giovinco AMR with opposite foot ,Tevez box striker with free role duties and Pogba AMC thanks to his speed .When Tevez was out ,Vucinic instead of him and attention :Marchisio was AMC and Pogba Vidal was the mc duo .Because you must have a pair who is harmonious in terms of height ,moves ,speed ,characteristics and ofcourse tactically .Marchisio is tall and Vucinic as well ,so the amc force is heavy .Pogba is tall and fast ,so he is helping the disadvantage in the height of Tevez .Giovinco is very fast so I take his opposite steps when Vucinic or Tevez run backwards .When I had Asamoah as AMC ,Giovinco was in the left ,Tevez was AMR and Pogba was amc .Vidal - Marchisio as mc .Because with such formation I was playing agressive defence without limiting my attacking players .The lack of speed from vucinic and tevez was covered from the triplet vidal,asamoah,pogba.Marchisio was either mc ,or vidal and asamoah were DL .Thats why I write you always about multi positioned players and characteristics .Focus on the characteristics not on the positions or formations .Football has change a lot and now I will reveal you one big secret :Thats why all the argentinian teams are so succesfull despite their financial limitations .Because they are focused on characteristics .Position is only for papers .Valencia is decreasing each year the budget 25 %since 2001 .They should be demolished by now .In the 4-4-2 of Marcello Lippi Tactics I won Chelsea 4-1 .I had in a line Asamoah-ML ,marchisio - vidal mc ,Pogba MR .Upfront Vucinic - Jorente .
  • Stam's avatar
    @Tmel: I can answer one part of your question. If you download this, you'll notice there are 2 versions of the tactic inside: 1 for home games and 1 for away.

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