During Benfica's campaign in the Portuguese Premier League, they were able to comfortably win the league. Conceding only 9 goals! averaging just 0.26 goals a game easily the best in the division. this was not in detriment to the goals scored with a total of 61 goals being outscored by Porto.
This mentality is to control the ball and for the whole team to be fluid contributing to attacking and defending, Therefore the whole team was set to support roles apart from the shadow striker who is going to be the main goal threat and the two ball-playing defenders who can only be deployed on defend. I decided to use the Libero instead of the halfback as I wanted the added security but also the ability to step into the midfield and help create attacks with his support duty which is not available on the halfback.
There are no fullbacks or wingbacks instead wide midfielders are used a winger to help provide the width and a wide playmaker to help create and recycle possession until an opportunity presents itself. The DM supports the build-up and helps to cover for the libero adding strength to the centre of the pitch forcing teams wide preventing quick counters. The BWM aims to win the ball back and play simple passes to the DLP or AP who will look to supply the shadow striker.
A high line is deployed with a much higher line of engagement compacting the middle of the pitch with urgent pressing the aim is to force the opposition to turnover the ball by either kicking it long or trying to play down the sides. As we have no out and out striker we do not counter-press as we do not want our players to lose their shape. Be expressive is used to help the team be more imaginative and use flair to make up for the lack of a focal point.
After experimenting with different variations of the principles of this tactic it became obvious that it would be highly effective for playing fast counter-attacking football full of midfield runners.
The mentality was adjusted to be very attacking and the player roles became attacking rather than supporting. The passing and tempo were adjusted to short and much higher. The team was now instructed to counter-press as we are reducing the defensive line and line of engagement to invite teams to commit more bodies forward enabling us to counter to devasting effect.
The formation is adjusted to help us to counter the wide players have been converted into IWB that will fill the spaces vacated from the midfielder runners breaking through the lines, helping us to defend the centre of the pitch from quick counters.
Using this counter-attacking tactic Norwich finished 4th in the Premier League with 74 points and won the FA cup.