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4-4-2 Lobanovskiy Scientific Football

"[...] in my concept of football it only takes universal men, capable of doing everything." (Valeriy Lobanovskiy)

By on Feb 07, 2021   20710 views   6 comments
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Football Manager 2021 Tactics - 4-4-2 Lobanovskiy Scientific Football
The main characteristics of Lobanovskiy's tactical style derived above all from a total trust that his players placed in him and that he placed in his players and in his project, creating a great harmony among the members of his teams and consequently a great reliability.

The Colonel always put the collective in front of the individuality and imagination of individuals, the result of an iron tactical discipline.

He preferred versatile players who could cover more positions on the pitch, to be able to "create unpredictable situations for the opponents" and to change the game in his favor even during construction.

The coach based his style of play on a great athletic preparation, very high pace of play for all ninety minutes, pounding pressing, ball often played low to the ground and in a fast and precise way, except for very fast long balls towards the outside.

Trying to make the most of the restarts with very fast attacking outsiders, zone marking, excellent tactical schemes made methodically studied by their "interpreters" until they learned them by heart, which produced a quick game that is both effective and sparkling, giving with "scientific football" his own vision of football at the time considered revolutionary, so much so that the specialized press redefined his method with the names "football of the 2000s", "laboratory football" and "Lobanovskiy laboratory".


Lobanovsky's team sided with a 4-4-2 zone, with the 2 lines of 4 almost perfectly symmetrical and equidistant, which lengthen in possession and tighten in phase of non-possession, continuously "manipulating" the dimensions of the playing space both in width and depth.

In the non-possession phase the strikers alternate in the folding action, with one of the two central midfielders floating between the departments to guide the movements, while in the possession phase the line-up is configured as an "unscrupulous" 2-4-4, made possible by a very short distance between the departments, often collected in less than 30 meters.

The great technical ability and the first intention exchanges between the two strikers make the maneuvering of the attacking actions extremely quick and effective.


The construction of the game starts from the bottom, to move the ball as quickly as possible towards the outside midfield or through the play of chains with overlapping full backs.

The action then develops with precise movements, repeated almost from memory: a very fast phrasing both horizontally and vertically. During this rapid movement of the ball, aimed at finding a free partner in space, the full-backs get up on the line of the midfielders and the outside midfielders go up or converge towards the center of the game perimeter with a continuous movement, almost constituting a role of added attackers.

Similarly, when the development in the central area of ​​the field meets the opposition of the opponent deployed in man marking or pressing, the choice falls on the direct attack of the opposing defense, through the verticalization in favor of the two strikers, equipped with great ability in insertions and able to communicate perfectly with each other on the strait (the Shevchenko-Rebrov couple is a more recent example).


The defensive line is never very high and the offside tactic is never applied systematically. The great compactness and proximity between the departments makes it possible to recover most of the balls through a suffocating pressing, in order to then be able to go as quickly as possible to the conclusion, through rapid phrasing in the strait and immediate verticalizations.

The closure of the passing lines created by the constant numerical superiority in the ball area, combined with a great synchrony in the movements, obliges the opponent to often force the game and often make mistakes.


In the non-possession phase, constant pressure in the ball area is evident (man against man and systematic doubling). The action is mainly devoted to recovering the ball rather than defending space, a bit like with the more modern Gegenpress.

In this phase of the game the form is configured in a sort of 4-1-3-2 in line, with the defense positioned in his own penalty area, a midfielder who lowers himself in marking and the other midfielders (assisted by one of the two tips) placed in a slightly more advanced position, ready for the offensive transition. The other striker is entrusted with the task of lengthening the opposing team, as well as receiving the possible long ball, once he regains possession.

Defensive transitions are strongly characterized by the immediate regaining of possession. At the moment of the loss of possession, the team assumes an extremely aggressive attitude: this is the connotation that most characterizes Lobanovsky's tactical creed. This "re-aggression" towards the opposing player is carried out above all by the players who have lost possession, exploiting the numerical density created in the ball zone.


Full-backs: tackling / marking / aggression / team play / engagement / acceleration / speed / endurance
Central defenders: headers / tackles / marking / aggression / position
Midfielders: tackling / passing / aggression / team play / commitment / no ball / stamina
Wings and Forwards: Dribbling / Finishing / Aggression / Decision / Team Play / Acceleration / Speed ​​/ Endurance

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Downloads: 1905 / Size: 43.4 kB / Added: 2021-02-07
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Discussion: 4-4-2 Lobanovskiy Scientific Football

6 comments have been posted so far.

  • Giro87's avatar
    @wilcada yeah I know, when I find teams that plays in defence I use the same tactic with a lower Line of engagement and I put the pressing intensity one notch on the left...that let them play more and give some space for you to attack in ;)
  • wilcada's avatar
    @giro87 Yeah my other striker has 5 goals in those first five matches. Note: i played both Ajax (pred. 1st) and PSV (pred 2nd). Beat Ajax 3-0, psv 8-1. Based on this, i think i won't change the tactic (pressing) just based on the reputation of the opponent. I find playing against a park the bus team is difficult with this tactic and it needs some slight adjustments. But playing against tiki taka or control posession teams, this tactic works like a charm
  • Giro87's avatar
    happy to hear this! I always have both my strikers scoring 20+ in the league, exactly how was for Shevchenko and Rebrov :)
  • wilcada's avatar
    well it works amazing like this. i changed the cd cover to the right centre back but that doesn't seem to matter much. I use a pacy attacker with high flair and likes to beat offside trap as the pressing forward attack and its amazing. Im predicted 3rd, and without transfers i beat the predicted 2nd PSV team by 8-1 with 7 goals from the PR-A.

    Edit: my PF-A (luis sinisterra) is now on 16 goals in 5 matches
  • Giro87's avatar
    Tell me how it works :) I'm still working on it...I like how it works with a lower Line of engagement (it's a thing Lobanovsky used to do against stronger teams in European Cups) and also blocking the center when defending as sometimes we concede too much occasions from central lines
  • wilcada's avatar
    This tactic might just be exactly what i am searching for. I was trying to recreate Dick Advocaat's tactic but that just doesn't seem to work in FM. He plays a 433DM, applying a mid block and pressing on his own half. Its a machine in real life, but I can't seem to replicate it in fm. This tac looks good, I'm gonna try it with Feyenoord
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