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Trapattoni's Juventus 1982-1986 Emulation DOUBLE WIN TACTIC

I tried to emulate Giovanni Trapattoni's Juventus tactic, the one with Platini and Boniek. I achieved great results winning Serie A and Italy Cup with Juventus.

By on Apr 01, 2024   2134 views   0 comments
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Downloads: 279 / Added: 2024-04-01


Hi guys, this time I tried to emulate Giovanni Trapattoni's Juventus. Trapattoni worked as Juventus coach for 10 years, obviously I can't emulate all those 10 years in only one tactic. Therefore, I chose to emulate the great Juventus with Platini, Scirea and Boniek who win Serie A, UEFA Champions League and World Club Cup between 1983 and 1986.


The history of a football club is often associated in the collective memory of fans with the figure of a coach. We can think, for example, of Sacchi's Milan, Michels' Netherlands, Stein's Celtic, or Alex Ferguson's Manchester United. Coaches who have brought success to their clubs and left an indelible mark with their achievements and football philosophies, defining certain historical periods.

Even today, after many years, if we talk about Juventus, we cannot help but think of Giovanni Trapattoni. Over the more than one hundred years of history of the Turin club, many coaches have come and gone, many of whom have brought national and international trophies to the trophy cabinet. One cannot help but think of figures like Marcello Lippi, Fabio Capello, or Dino Zoff. But the list could go on. However, if we were to ask a Juventus fan or simply a football enthusiast who experienced the football era between the 1970s and 1980s, which is the strongest Juventus of all time, the vast majority would undoubtedly answer "The Juve of Trap".

Giovanni Trapattoni coached Juventus from the 1976 season to the 1986 season, then returned in 1991 to stay until 1994.

To understand what the coach from Cusano Milanino brought to the Bianconeri cause, it is worth analyzing some numbers:

Most appearances on the Juventus bench in official matches (596);
Coach with the most international trophies in Juventus history: 1 European Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup, 2 UEFA Cups, 1 Cup Winners' Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup;
He won 6 Serie A titles and 2 Coppa Italia titles domestically;
But besides being remembered by Juventus fans for the trophies lifted, Giovanni Trapattoni will remain in the hearts of all football enthusiasts for his simple ways, humility, and honesty that he conveys to the outside world. Even today, at 80 years old, it is always a pleasure to hear Trap talk about football and hear him recount anecdotes about what was probably the strongest Juventus ever... that of the 1984-1985 season, culminating in the victory of the European Cup against Liverpool on the tragic night of Heysel.
Let's analyze in detail Giovanni Trapattoni's football ideas during the historical period at Juventus, taking as an example precisely one season, that of '84-'85, which brought disappointments domestically but managed to shine and excel at the European level. Indeed, while in Italy the Serie A title went to Bagnoli's Verona and the Coppa Italia to Bersellini's Sampdoria, Juventus managed to add the UEFA Super Cup and European Cup to their trophy cabinet, reaching the peak in the following season with the conquest of the Intercontinental Cup against the Argentinians of Argentinos Juniors.


Attempting to provide numbers that can explain the game system of Trapattoni's Juventus or well-defined roles to the players is not a simple task. The coach from Cusano Milanino, especially in his first experience in Turin, always varied his tactical chessboard a lot, trying to work more on occupying spaces in the two phases rather than confining individuals in tactical situations that would have limited the enormous talent at his disposal.
If we want to try to hypothesize a basic system, we could define it as a 4-4-2 which, depending on the opponent and the players available, could vary and transform in the various moments of the season or even the match.
Analyzing the positions on the field in detail, we can notice these peculiarities:
Trapattoni used a mixed zone defense, with a line that apparently was four but could quickly transform into three and was composed as follows: a sweeper, that is, a player capable of initiating play, with a great vision of the game, technique of a midfielder, and perfect defensive reading; all these qualities were perfectly encapsulated in Gaetano Scirea. The sweeper in Trap's game was of enormous importance because he had to drop back in defensive phase to provide the right cover but move a few meters forward above the line when it was time to build up, effectively becoming the team's first midfielder in building from the back;
Next to the sweeper, a rugged defender was used, who took care of man-marking the most dangerous opponent player. It was very common to see the central defender leave the line and push into marking even up to the midfield to follow the opposing striker and try to take away space and ideas from the direct opponent. This role was filled for many years by Sergio Brio.
Completing the line, Trapattoni employed two full-backs with very different characteristics: on the left, the role was played by a player with pronounced offensive qualities, ready to push forward to support the offensive phase, with great technique and ability to score in the goal area. Antonio Cabrini was the man who best interpreted this role, adept at defending but often lethal in the final 30 meters when he had to finish or finalize the action. On the right, a more defensive player was employed, with good leg and aptitude to play across the entire flank, but who, by characteristics, could play in marking and allow the switch to a back three, giving more offensive freedom to the opposite full-back. For several seasons, this role was held by Gentile, while in 1984-85 it was Favero who filled it.
The midfield was certainly the jewel in the crown of Trapattoni's Juventus. The central area in front of the defense was the territory of a player of great strength and dynamism, capable when necessary of man-marking the opponent playmaker, not with great playmaking tasks but certainly the indispensable pivot of a mechanism that worked almost perfectly. Endowed with important aerobic capacities, he was the balance wheel that allowed Trap to simultaneously field more players with offensive characteristics. It was a role perfectly tailored for Bonini, the perfect squire to the player who was free to invent, responding to the name of Michel Platini. The Frenchman roamed a lot, he could be seen in front of the defense to take the ball in construction or fifty meters ahead to finalize. From him came the important plays, and his way of interpreting the midfielder role allowed for the inclusions of two players who would be very reductive to call wingers: Tardelli and Boniek. The former can be defined, with a term coined recently, as a box-to-box midfielder. A player capable of covering all midfield roles, adept at interception and excellent in insertions. He was often used on the right flank, a role not exactly his, but one that was performed with the usual spirit of self-sacrifice. The Pole, on the other hand, was more suited to the left-wing role, possessing extraordinary speed, he still liked to roam across the entire attacking front and not give the opposing defenders reference points. It was often seen Platini and Boniek in the role of attacking midfielders supporting the forwards. One can imagine how difficult Trapattoni's midfield was to read for opponents as roles and positions changed constantly.
The offensive phase normally consisted of a primary striker with finishing characteristics but also endowed with great speed to maximize the counterattacks devised by Trapattoni. The names that have covered this role over the years are of great caliber, but that of Paolo Rossi is surely the one that has remained in the minds of football lovers both for what he gave to Juventus and to the National Team. The work required of the striker did not involve an expenditure of energy comparable to that of a modern forward. The pressing phase was not suffocating, and on Rossi's shoulders remained almost exclusively the task of making himself dangerous in the final 16 meters and knowing how to give depth on the illuminating passes from the midfielders. In support of the more advanced striker, there was normally a more sacrificial player, who could widen and roam across the attacking front and retreat convincingly when not in possession. In the '84-'85 season, this role was often played by Briaschi. A perfect companion to enhance the characteristics of both Rossi and the two fantasistas Platini and Boniek.
A very dear prerogative to Trap was the offensive mentality. Often criticized for being defensive-minded, if we analyze the formations used by the coach and the characteristics of the individuals, we realize how many players ready to attack were fielded simultaneously and how the game leveraged attacking spaces and the subsequent occupation of offensive areas with many players. It was very common to see the opponent's area with 5-6 white players ready for the finish. Rossi, Briaschi, Tardelli, Boniek, Platini, Cabrini, and Scirea ended the season with a good personal tally of goals.


In the initial construction phase, the first solution used by Juventus was to rely on Scirea. His technical skills as a midfielder, combined with his vision of the game, allowed for clean ball distribution and secure passing lanes. It was customary at the time for the sweeper to move closer to the goalkeeper to receive the ball and, in case of high opposition pressure, exchange passes with the goalkeeper (due to the old rule on back-passes). The development of possession then found its natural outlet in Platini (or, if we go back in time, Brady). The Frenchman, despite preferring to operate a few meters forward, often dropped deeper to provide passing options to the defenders or midfielders. The possession development then had two very effective solutions:

Ball possession to search for space: It was not uncommon to see Juventus slow down the game, the rhythms would decrease, and the ball management skills of the various players in the Bianconeri squad forced opponents to move a lot, allowing Trapattoni's men to patiently find space in opposing defenses.

Quick verticalization: As an alternative to ball possession, Trapattoni's team had one of the most dangerous weapons in attacking depth immediately; thanks to the extraordinary vision of play of some players (Platini above all), the basic speed of many men in the squad, and the ability of the forwards to provide depth, the ball launched into space and the subsequent attack on the area with many players (even 5-6) caused a lot of trouble to opposing defenses. Players like Boniek, Cabrini, or Tardelli provided the opportunity to attack space on the wings and then deliver crosses, while the forwards (especially Rossi) allowed for central penetration attempts.
A tactical variant of Trapattoni's teams, but one that was used quite frequently, was the long ball played by defenders or the goalkeeper in search of the forwards and the subsequent attack on the second ball. At certain stages of the game, Trapattoni instructed his players not to overplay but to play the ball forward over the midfielders. The quality of the attacking players allowed them to exploit the final 30 meters to become dangerous while not taking too many defensive risks at the same time.

In the non-possession phase, Trapattoni's Juventus preferred to drop back and compact in their own half. Analyzing the various zones of the field, we can observe:
The forwards didn't apply too much high pressure; they only initiated a press when the opposing defenders advanced, gaining territory. However, the idea for the forwards was, once surpassed by the opponent's possession, to position themselves preemptively to seek space and exploit it once the ball was regained.
The midfielders divided their tasks: those with more offensive characteristics covered spaces, positioning themselves in conditions to be effective in regaining possession, while players with more defensive characteristics (like Bonini) were often seen marking the opposing team's most dangerous midfielders or those with more offensive traits. In case of threats from the wings, they would normally drop into the defensive line.
The defensive line typically employed a mixed zone, where the stopper always marked the opponent's most advanced attacker, often tracking him even outside his zone of competence. In Trapattoni's system, there was usually a full-back (mostly the right one) tasked with marking in the non-possession phase. As a practical example from the 1984-85 season, Brio was the stopper while Favero, who primarily acted as the right-back, was often engaged in marking the central zone on the second striker, with the sweeper pulling back a few meters for cover. This resulted in a back three formation, with the left-back having fewer marking duties.


The transitions of Giovanni Trapattoni's Juventus are strongly influenced by two factors:
The speed of the attacking players (such as Boniek, Rossi, Briaschi, or previously Virdis and later Laudrup, just to name a few) and the players who made well-timed runs a potent weapon (we're talking about the likes of Tardelli, Cabrini, Furino, Causio);
The inspired playmaking of players with exceptional technical ability and vision (primarily Platini and Brady).
Therefore, offensive transition becomes a crucial solution for Trap's teams. If we think of a classic action of Juventus in the 1980s, we can recall two symbolic moments of those years, especially the 1984-1985 season: the final of the European Cup and the final of the European Super Cup. In both cases, the illuminating pass from Platini to the principal finisher of this action, Boniek, immediately comes to mind.
Having players with pace and speed, along with individuals with polished feet and great ability in long-range passing, meant that the more space they had available, the more effective the transition could be. When we add that these counterattacks were supported by many players, it becomes clear the danger they posed in the goal area and the difficulty opponents had in reading the situation. In the eyes of many Juventus fans and Italian national team supporters, the counterattacks that saw Gaetano Scirea as a protagonist or even the finisher remain memorable.
As mentioned earlier, to make transitions even more problematic for the opposing defense, Trapattoni's men loved to have space to run into. This sometimes led the team to drop back significantly at certain moments of the game, but there were always 2-3 players ready to turn the tide of the game. This attitude might have seemed defensive, but observing the number of players with pronounced offensive qualities fielded simultaneously, it becomes clear that this approach to the game was likely prepared based on the characteristics of their players and the desire to put them in the best conditions to express themselves.

We're facing a coach who, according to many of his colleagues, has been able to see and invent game situations and tactical patterns that are still used today. He's historically labeled as "defensive," but if we analyze in detail the formations he deployed over the years, we can see how he loved to simultaneously field many offensive players ready to harm the opponent and how he always managed to find the right balance. Thanks to his way of dealing with players, he was able to receive from them the right dedication, even from players considered prima donnas, not prone to sacrifice, but who under the guidance of the Milanese coach changed their way of thinking on the field. He will remain one of the most loved and respected coaches and individuals in the history of football.


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To emulate this tactic, we start from a 4-1-3-2, but as mentioned in the tactical analyisis above, the formation is quite asymmetric and the back four defense can easily switch to a defensive trio. Gentile, the right full-back, was very good at marking and this was his main duty, he did not push forward to support the attack. Therefore, he often stayed close to the other two centre backs Brio and Scirea, creating a back 3 with Scirea, the LIbero, who was more free to move compared to the other 2 defenders. Gentile's role can be replicated as a Full-back defense and I instructed him to sit narrower to make him stay in a more central position, close down more and mark tigther. The other central defender, Sergio Brio, was a stopper, so in the game his role will be a central defender with a stopper duty. I instructed him to take fewer risks, close down more, mark tigther and most of all, to mark a specific position (one of the opponent strikers). Sergio Brio was very good at marking and his task was to mark the tallest striker of the opponents, usually in the 80s all teams had two strikers, we did not see formations with 3 strikers or with a 4-3-3 with one striker and two wingers as we see nowadays.
As I already said, Gaetano Scirea was the Libero, and when football analysts and experts talk about the libero role, they often identify this role with Gaetano Scirea, he has been one of the best liberos in all football history and surely the best in Italian football. In the game, his role is can't be nothing but Libero with a support duty, this to replicate Scirea often moving forward to help building the play like a midfielder (like a deep lying playmaker if we want to use a Football manager role). The left flank was Antonio Cabrini's domain, 1982 World Cup winner with Italy and an amazing player for his intensive style of play, he was excellent both in defense and in attack, I emulated his role like a Wing-back with support duty and instructed him to cross more often, cross from byline to replicate his great crosses, stay wider and run wide with the ball to let him exploit wider spaces, close down more and mark tigther to replicate how he did not give space to the opponents.
The midfield was surely the most intriguing part of that Juventus, a 4 men midfield with two wingers who were not real wingers, Tardelli on the right and Boniek on the left who always played more in the middile. This is why, for Tardelli's role, I chose a box to box midfielder with the instructions to stay wider, this way he can cover also spaces on the right flank that the right full-back does not cover, mark tigther, get further forward and shoot more often to replicate his movements forward and his attitude to run all over the pitch. On the other side, Boniek was not a winger, he actually played where he wanted to, following his instinct, often pushed forward and run with the ball, tried to shoot from long distance or to move into the box to receive the ball and score. His role can't be anything but a mezzala in attack and I instructed him to mark tigther, shoot more often and dribble more (this instruction does not mean that he has to risk dribbling 1-2 opponents at time, but that he will run with the ball to exploit spaces as he wants). Bonini was the defensive midfielder who covered all the spaces in front of the defense, he had to run also for Platini and Boniek, so he was the most defensive of the 4 midfielders, I emulated his role as a defensive midfielder with defensive duty. Lastly, we have Le Roi Michel Platini, a genius who did not have a fixed position in the pitch, you could find him in front of the defense receiving the ball from Scirea or the other defenders and trying long vertical passes to the strikers or short passes to other teammates to build the play, or you could find him close to the strikers as a great trequartista, a position between the lines where he could create chances for scoring. This is why I tried the Roaming playmaker for his role and it worked quite well. I did not give him any instructions but if you want you can instruct him t o move into channels and see how it works.
As for the two strikers, Bettega (or later, Briaschi) was the one who dropped down more to link the play while Paoo Pablito Rossi's duty was only to stay in the last 16 meters and score. That's why for Bettega, I chose a deep-lying forward role with a support duty, and I instructed him to stay wider, roam from position and run wide with the ball. Why run wide and stay wider? Because he did not press the opponent defenders or goalkeeper, but he stayed wider to exploit spaces during counter-attacks, amd roaming from position because he was free to search for the best position to create chances for other players, mainly for Pablito Rossi. Pablito was mainly a poacher, his duty was only to score, but as for Bettega, he did not have any pressing duty, he also was free to find the best place from where try to score or pass the ball, so I instructed him to move into channels, roam from postion and of course to shoot more often, he was the main striker afterall.

Tactic in possession

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In possession, Juventus liked to exploit wider spaces when attacking, but when building the play, due to the fact we had many players in the middle of the pitch, I chose the instruction "focus play through the middle" together with "build from the back". Scirea playing as a libero helped building from the back, Platini often joined him, Bonini was also there covering the space in front of the defense and Boniek and Tardelli also liked to play in the central area of the pitch. "Pass into spaces" is also an helpful instruction to replicate Juventus passing style, passes which were shorter with a slightly lower tempo.

Tactic in transition

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In transition, Juventus did not like gegenpressing, in fact I did not instructed the two forwards to press the opponent defenders or the goalie. Instruct our team to regroup seems to be the right choice for me to replicate Juventus's patient approach after losing the ball. When Juventus gained the ball back, they could choose if play in a patient way or launch counter-attacks, they did not stick to one plan, they could maintain possession or try long balls from the defense and the two strikers and also two of the midfielders (usually Boniek and Tardelli) tried to move forward to find spaces and wait for the ball.

Tactic out of possession

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Juventus did not defend with a high pressing line, neither with a high defensive line, it was more a combination of middle block and a standard defensive line, so that's what I chose. As for the pressing, I chose "more often" at least to ask my players to press their opponents in the midfield, while I did not choose "prevent short gk distribution". I instructed my team to trap the opponents outside to give them less passing or dribbling chances using the sideline will work as an additional defender.


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Tactic creation, analysis, stats and highlights in my youtube video here

This is all for this tactic. With this tactic I won Serie A and Italy Cup with Juventus. Of course , as always, I did not buy any player neither sold anyone so the squad is always the same from beginning to the end of the season. I scored 88 goals (best attack in Serie A) and allowed only 29 (second best defense)
I hope this tactic will work for you too.
Thanks everyone, a hug from your Tikitaka Master

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Downloads: 279 / Added: 2024-04-01
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