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Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1999 4-4-2 Tactics for FM20 by RDF

RDF tries to replicate the tactic & success Sir Alex Ferguson’s 442 in 1999 brought to Manchester United for Football Manager 2020. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were very attacking & direct.

By Updated on Jun 02, 2020   55567 views   3 comments
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Downloads: 10452 / Size: 131.0 kB / Added: 2020-06-02
Football Manager 2020 Tactics - Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1999 4-4-2 Tactics for FM20 by RDF
This time, RDF will try to replicate the tactic and success Sir Alex Ferguson’s 442 in 1999 brought to Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were very attacking and direct.

Used the physical abilities from the two strikers, one winger offering width, speed and individual dribbling whilst the other created many chances with crossing and key through passes.

The two strikers were key during the season. The partnership between Cole & Yorke was often too much for defence to handle.
Cole the more advanced forward, stretching and occupying the defence, whilst Yorke had the ability to drop deep, link the midfield with attack, but also be on the end of scoring chances.

The defence was compact and solid with the defend first mentality.

The two Central Midfielders had similar jobs but the personnel made them different. Both had influence in attack and in defence.
Paul Scholes was the midfielder able to play risky passes to the offensive players, find pockets to be influential and also having the ability to shoot. Roy Keane, at the time, wasn’t afraid to get stuck in to win tackles all over the field. On the ball, he was more safe, playing the ball to keep better possession letting the more creative players take the risk.

The two Central Defenders were solid. Similar to the Central Midfield, both had similar jobs but personnel made them different.
Johnson and Stam understood each other very well. Johnson understood that Jaap Stam loved to move out of the defence line to win the ball back, so he would cover Stam whilst a Full Back also tucked inside to keep the defence solid.

The Right Fullback was the more attacking one out of the two Fullbacks. Neville made overlapping runs as the RM tucked inside of midfield. The Left Fullback was more cautious, mainly keeping his defensive shape when the team was in possession, only making a forward run when the time was right.

Ferguson played with a high tempo in possession and also had his team pressing in possession. His teams attacked through both flanks with one using his pace to beat defenders, whilst other used his creativity and overlapping fullback to unlock defences.

His central midfielders were also not afraid to make forward runs to support the attack. The main focus was to play quick forward passes to unsettle the opposition.

Possession was not a priority but had the ability to slow tempo down to hold on to a result or frustrate an opponent.

The formation may change slightly but no big significant change.

Against strong opposition he may opt for two midfielders who could win the ball. Or when he needs to grab a goal, he may switch to a midfield diamond. But the style doesn’t change. Direct, attacking football is still the focus.

In the final third, the strikers were a handful with lots of movement and nice link up play.

Ferguson’s team had a fluid/flexible system. This means a lot of movement and communication between players.

I recommend building strong relationships on the pitch. Decisions, Teamwork, Work Rate and Anticipation should be important with all players.

Main Tactic

Tactic vs tougher opponents

More attacking diamond tactic

SAF Tactics - They key attributes

FBs - To be standard full backs, good at both attacking and defending. Pace, Stamina, Positioning, Off The Ball, Marking, Anticipation Work Rate and Decisions will be key
CBs - To be standard CBs, strong in the air, good at tackling and not too slow. Heading, Bravery, Strength, Balance, Positioning, Marking, Teamwork, Concentration and Decisions will be key
LM - Standard winger, very fast and great and dribbling. Pace, Stamina, Agility, Flair, Technique, Dribbling, Off The Ball, Crossing, Work Rate and Anticipation will be key
RM - To have playmaking skills. Passing, Technique, Vision, Crossing, Anticipation, Composure, Decisions, Work Rate and Teamwork will be key
CMs - Both Box To Box type midfielders. Both to be okay at everything. Okay at Tackling, Passing, Positioning/Off The Ball. Must have good Work Rate, Team Work, Agility, Stamina, Decisions, Anticipation and Positioning/Off The Ball…Play your better Ball Winning Midfielder as the RCM
STs - Good all round strikers, your PF (s) will be the one dropping deeper so should have good creating skills. Pace, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Anticipation, Decisions, Composure, Balance, Finishing, First Touch and Technique will be key.


During the save, I used shouts to motivate my team during matches.
  • During the first 5 mins, every match i use “Encourage” to try and get a good start
  • 15-25mins, if my team are performing badly, i will use “Demand More” or “Show Some Passion”
  • I will use “Demand More” or “Show Some Passion” if performing badly in 2nd half too
  • I will use “Praise” any time in match when my team are playing good and creating chances

Tweaking Tips

  • “Work Ball Into Box” can be removed to have more shots
  • Attacking width can be changed from “Wide” to “Fairly Wide”
  • “Run At Defence” can be added to be a little more direct

Opposition Instructions


Video Analysis

SAF Tactic Testing Results

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Downloads: 10452 / Size: 131.0 kB / Added: 2020-06-02
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About RDF Tactics

RDF is an FM Scout tactic creator who just loves to experiment. His quirky personality shines through his tactics but his main goal is create tactics/content that both achieves enjoyment and results.

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Discussion: Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1999 4-4-2 Tactics for FM20 by RDF

3 comments have been posted so far.

  • redlion's avatar
    Been tryng to replicate this tactic in my save, but have'nt been as succeseful as yours.

    My MUFC side is curretly ranked with the most goals conceded from indirect free kicks in the league with 11, didn't change any of the set pieces routines from the tactic itself.

    We creat chances, the second team with most shots on goal, but the players just don't but them away. Maybe is something to do with the training that I'm not getting it right? I'm currently using the double intensity traning method you guys posted a few days ago.

    Any insight would be aprecciated, thank you and good job with the content ;) Keep it up RDF!
  • VicVDM's avatar
    Good idea, i would like sarriball Napoli and chelsea aswell. It needs time but it's a beatifull style when it works.
  • Sazzy's avatar
    Hope it’s fine to ask this here but can you create Sarri’s 4312 possession tactic at Juventus?
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