Inter the Game

Inter the Tactics – FM20

Inter the Game Picture of Mancini and Mourinho

Thank you for joining me again. If you missed my Inter-o you can catch it here. I can’t proceed with an Inter save on Football Manager 20 without talking a little bit about tactics. And specifically, the two main periods of success during the 111 years of the club’s history. This post will cover my thoughts of the tactics during these moments in Inters history.

Herrera’s Grande Cat.

Helenio Herrera joined Inter in 1960 from Barcelona. He brought with him is playmaker, Luis Suarez. Who had won European Footballer of the Year in the same year for his part in Barcelona’s La liga and Fairs Cup double.

Herrera would transform Inter into one of the greatest teams in Italy and Europe. He modified a 5-3-2 tactic known as the “Verrou” (“door bolt”) which created greater flexibility for counterattacks. The Verrou tactic was originally created by Austrian coach Karl Rappan. Who’s Servette team of the 1930’s played with four fixed defenders, playing a strict man to man marking system. One of those defenders was positioned just ahead of the goalkeeper as a sweeper or “verrouilleur”.

Herrera’s version was to assign four man marking defenders to the opposing attackers while and extra player was deployed as the sweeper to pick up loose balls.

Despite the defensive connotations, Helenio Herrera claimed that people had copied his tactic incorrectly. Saying, “the problem is that most people forgot to include the attacking principles that my Catenaccio included.”

His Grande Inter side were well known for their defensive strength, but they were equally renowned for their ability to score goals with few touches from fast, sudden counter attacks. This was because of Herrera’s use of attacking, overlapping full backs.

Under Herrera, Inter won three Serie A titles, two European Cups and two Intercontinental Cups.

Inter Tactic showing the primary positions of Helenio Herrera's Catenacco.
Herrera’s Cat

How would it look in Football Manager 20?

Below is my interpretation of the above tactic. The aim of this tactic would be one to press high and then break quickly and vertically. Herrera’s comment from above has been taken into consideration where we would look to have a few touches and break quickly into goal scoring situations. Note how the width would come from complete wingbacks and the quick through balls would come from either the half back or the roaming playmaker (The Luis Suarez role). Now we do not have the Sweeper role in the game (a major oversight in the game in my opinion), I feel as though the role would be better covered by a defender on cover rather than a Libero. This is because the Libero would be looking to act as a playmaker when I feel the deepest defender should be sweeping up opposition attacks not dictating play in midfield.

If you fancy trying the tactic below click on the image to download the tactic. And let us know how it works.

FM20 Tactical interpretation of Herrera's Catenacco
Herrera’s Cat

Mancini’s foundations and Mourinho’s treble of the Noughties.

In July 2004, Inter appointed former Lazio coach Roberto Mancini as head coach. He also brought with him Sinisa Mihajlovic as his assistant coach. In their first season, the team collected 72 points from 18 wins, 18 draws and only 2 losses. Along with winning the Coppa Italia and later the Supercoppa Italiana.

The following season, Inter went on a record breaking run of 17 consecutive victories in Serie A. This started with a 4 – 1 win over Livorno, and ending on 28th February 2007, after drawing 1-1 against Udinese. This would be their second consecutive Scudetto following points were striped from Juventus and Milan, retrospectively, due to match fixing during the 2005/06 season.

Mancini’s Inter would go on to win a third consecutive Scudetto in 2007/08 but due to Mancini showing a lack of loyalty he was sacked soon after announcing that he would leave the club to then change his mind. (That back fired didn’t it?).

Mancini'c 442 diamond with Ibrahimovic and Materazzi in the same side
MANCINI’S 2006/07 Title winning side

Jose Mourinho was appointed in June 2008. In his first season he would steer Inter to their fourth consecutive Scudetto and a Supercoppa Italiana. Mourinho’s Inter would then enjoy further success in 2009/20. Where Inter would beat Roma to the Scudetto by two points. They would also beat Roma 1-0 in the Coppa Italia final. And they would also succeed in the Champions League. By first defeating Barcelona in the semi-final. And then beat Bayern München 2-0 in the final with two goals from Diego Milito.

Mourinho's Title winning Diamond
Mourinho’s Title Winning Side

And Mourinho's tactical switch for the 2010 Champions League final
And Mourinho’s Champions League Final winning side

How would Mancini and Mourinho look in FM20?

First Mancini’s Diamond. I would expect the tactic to play quite narrowly with the wing backs providing the slimmest of width on a natural overlap. I would expect the two central midfielders to be workhorses and cover a lot of ground shuttling vertically and laterally in a bid to work the ball to the point in the diamond. This point would be an attacking midfielder or even an attacking playmaker who would look to carve something out of nothing for the two strikers.

If you fancy trying the tactic below click on the image to download the tactic. And let us know how it works.

An FM20 interpretation of Roberto Mancini's diamond formation

Next up is the Mourinho Champions League winning tactic (in a fashion). Here I have not gone for the traditional 4231 tactic. Where Alexis and Lautaro would be employed as wingers or inside forwards. In this concept I have utilised them as deep lying forwards with instructions to play wider and tackle harder. Once again the midfield would need work horses to play the anchor and volante roles. We also see Eriksen playing in the Sneijder role. With the instructions to roam for space to receive the ball and then pluck out a pass to one of the forwards.

If you fancy trying the tactic below click on the image to download the tactic. And let us know how it works.

An FM20 interpretation of Jose Mourinho's 2010 Champions League winning tactic

I am yet to workout whether one of these historical tactics should be the base for a new look Inter. One thing I know is I do not want to just copy what Antonio Conte has done this season. By pushing on a 3412 formation on to the side because that would be rather boring of me. I will keep digging. Where I should finally have some FM progress to write about in next update from me with Dictate the Game

Thank you for reading and Ciao for now. If you enjoyed my article why not check out other content from Dictate the Game.


Written by FM Brooklyn

I love Italian football, Pasta, Black Coffee and Football Manager.
FM20 has predominantly seen me play as Palermo Manager trying to resurrect the WM formation.
Currently working out how to get Inter the game.

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