FM19 4-4-2 Tactic with Leverkusen, Inspired by Diego Someone’s Style

Creative Team FM19 Tactics, Tactics 11 Comments

As you may know, I am a very big fan of 4-4-2 formation. I have used it in previous football manager versions. There are managers who know how to use this power formation, but I most prefer Diego Simeone’s style. For me, he’s the best 4-4-2 master. I always like to implement his style in football manager. Here in this post, I am going to share a powerful FM19 counter attacking 4-4-2 tactic I created with the influence of Diego Simeone’s philosophy. This tactic tends to adopt Atletico Madrid’s style.

Actually, it was really a challenge for me to get a 4-4-2 tactic work so well in FM19. It was not this challenging in the previous versions of football manager. However, so far, I managed to arrive at this one; the best classic 4-4-2 tactic I have created yet in FM19. Though, I am still exploring some options in order to create another classic 4-4-2 that should be better than this one. But before then, let me present this one.

Please have in mind that this is not 100% exactly Diego Simeone’s tactic at Atletico Madrid. I had to make some changes to get it to work very well in FM19. And here, I used Bayer Leverkusen and Wolverhampton to test the strength of this tactic.

Tactic: The Classic 4-4-2 Formation

Let me just go ahead and write about the three aspects of this tactic. But first, you have to know that this tactic works with any mentality. It depends on the nature of the game and the opposition.

In Possession

I set the “in possession” section of this tactic to match Atletico’s style of play when they are with the ball. The attacking width is narrow and they usually engage in a more direct passing directness. In Simeone’s style, the team always focus play through the middle rather than the flanks. And they prefer Look-for-Underlap rather than Overlap. The tempo of ATM is sometimes standard or lower; it depends.

I enabled play-for-set-pieces because that’s part of ATM’s success. The team always try to win set pieces, and they are very good at it. Moreover, I enabled Run at Defence because it’s an advantage for counter attack, which is what this tactic does best. Be-more-disciplined influences the team to work as a robust collective group, which is seen in team Atletico Madrid.

In Transition

This section is also set in accordance to Simeone’s style. ATM like to counter press the opposition and always try to convert to counter attack once they win the ball. Their transitioning can be really quick and effective.

Out of Possession

The defensive width of ATM is always narrow, forcing the opposition to go wide. Besides that, the line of engagement and defensive line stay lower – part of the reasons why Atletico is so good in defending.

The Argentine tactician usually employs a more urgent pressing intensity. In addition, his team is aggressive in tackling. That’s why I enabled Get Stuck In.

Roles and Duties

Keeper: Sweeper Keeper (Support)

The SK role is now more common in modern football. This is because goalkeepers now help in defending and maintaining possession. Jan Oblak does this job at ATM. But I have Lukás Hradecký at Leverkusen, who’s also good at this role.

SK Instructions

Central Defence: Two Central Defenders (Both on Defend)

I prefer the Central Defender role in this tactic. But sometimes, Simeone uses the ball playing defender role at ATM. Sven Bender was my best CD in my Leverkusen save. He surprisingly made my defence well coordinated.

Side Backs: Complete Wingback (Support) and Fullback (Support)

From the left back, the complete wingback role is mostly what I think Filipe Luis plays. He loves to attack and dribbles down the flank. However, I signed Jetro Williams to do the same job for me at Bayer 04.

CWB Instructions

On the other hand, the fullback role with the support duty is also an asset for this tactic. The reason of installing a fullback here is that it defends better than any other role in the DL position in FM19. This has been the role of the well-experienced Juanfran.

FB Instructions

Central Midfield: Two Deep Lying Playmakers (Defend and Support)

This midfield setup hasn’t change in Diego’s tactic; always installing two Deep lying playmakers. You can see the same thing in FM18 Diego Simeone’s tactic.

Supporting DLP Instructions

Sometimes, in this 2019 ATM squad, Thomas Partey plays as a box-to-box midfielder while Rodri takes up the defensive deep lying playmaker. So, you can do the same thing in this tactic. Just change the supporting DLP to BBM and leave the defensive DLP as it is.

Defensive DLP Instructions

Side Midfield: Two Inverted Wingers (Support and Attack)

As I said in Simeone’s FM18 4-4-2, his side midfielders do drift inside to create chances and open up spaces for the side backs. Previously, the side midfield was occupied by the wide playmaker and inverted winger roles. This can also work in this FM19 4-4-2. But I find setting up two inverted wingers more effective.

Supporting IW
Attacking IW

Central Forward: Complete Forward (Attack) and Pressing Forward (Attack)

The Atletico Madrid boss kind of gives Griezmann the roaming deep lying forward role more often. And Diego Costa acts like the attacking pressing forward. But in FM19, the combination of DLF and PF didn’t work well for me at Leverkusen and Wolves. Therefore, I used CF instead.

CF Instructions


Diego Simeone’s marking style is mixed-marking. I also employ mixed marking in this tactic, but sometimes I use zonal marking.

The screenshot below should be very easy for you to understand if you do follow my tactics on FMtrendGames. Anyway, it’s really simple. Each position circled is the position you should man-mark, while the position labelled under each circled position is the position you should use to mark that circled position.

Challenges and the Tweaking I Made

Like I said earlier in this post, creating a good working 4-4-2 tactic is very challenging in FM19. I don’t really know why, but that’s just my experience. When I tried this tactic at Wolves and Leverkusen, it was difficult to beat 4-2-3-1 formation in both home and away games; playing against 4-4-2 proved tough also. To win an opposition on away was very tough.

Moreover, while using this tactic, we were strong defensively but getting enough goals became a bit challenging.
To get goals and win more games, I decided to try going all aggressive on the opposition. I made a tweak on this tactic to achieve that and it worked. I raised both the line of engagement and defensive line to much higher, using a positive mentality. This tweak mounted a lot of pressure on the opposition and forced them to make errors. And I usually do this tweaking at the dressing room before kick-off just to surprise the opposition. The screenshot below shows this adjustment.
With this tweak, my Wolves team was on fire when I applied it during the end of the season. We even destroyed Man City on their home ground. Could you believe we hit Arsenal 7-1? Well, I was really surprised it happened. In the screenshot below, the yellow-marked area contains the results we got when I tweaked this tactic.
When we faced Man City in FA Cup, I didn’t use this tweak. I used the original setup with a defensive mentality, then I included specific marking (as shown in the marking part of this post; see 4-1-2-3 formation).
Here I used my tweaked tactic and I didn’t employ specific marking at all.
Here I used the original setup with a defensive mentality and specific marking. Well you can say we were lucky because they missed many chances.
This also happened in my Bayer 04 save. We beat Chelsea at Euro final with this modification and gathered enough points to win the Bundesliga.



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Comments 11

  1. Please help. I downloaded this tactic in documents>Sports Interactive>Football Manager 2019>tactics but when i open tactics folder in game it doesn’t show up there, I only see tactics that i downloaded from steam workshop. What can I do?

    1. Post
      1. Yes i extracted it and put into tactics folder but in game it isn’t there. I tried with other tactics to see will it be the same but some other tactic downloaded from FM pages like fm base or fm scout shows there and everything is ok. So i don’t know what is wrong with this file…maybe something about this zipped file because when i directly Download other tactics from link i don’t have any problem…

  2. With regards to using a BBM and wpm instead of dlp support and ivw support are there any additional player instructions that need adding?

    1. Post

      Not really. Just instruct the your BBM to get forward. You can instruct him to tackle harder if you like.

      For wpm, instruct your wpm to stay narrow and get forward too. Also, instruct him to roam from positions.

  3. Fantastic site wish I had found this long before now. Far better than many other FM sites like how you breakdown each area of the tactic. Been playing this since CM97/98 and have picked up some great ideas from here, your Simeone tweak is amazing and best rendition of his 442 I’ve seen and used, added some of yours to mine and watching it all work is a buzz.
    keep it guys doing a fantastic job.

    1. Post
  4. First of all I want to thank you for your tactics this site really helped me a lot to understand football Manager.
    So you say that we can surprise any opponent if we change the system in the dressing room before the match;
    This can happen with other systems to;

    1. Post

      Hello Johnny.. We’re glad this site has helped you understand FM. That’s part of the goals we created this site.

      For your question… Yes, it can work too on other systems. But it depends on how good that system is. Like, is that system effective enough to pressurise the opponent? That’s what you should consider. It’s all about making the right decision.

  5. Great tactic, having great results using it with Doncaster Rovers. As I was searching for a solid Pochettino tactic for fm19 you guys made a great one and same here with Simeone. I’m a big fan of Tuchel and find him as an interesting manager to replicate however I have been unsuccessful with my attempts, have you considered doing a Tuchel tactic?

    1. Post

      Not really. Though his tactic is a bit tricky to understand. But you have grabbed my attention towards his tactic again. I will look into him more and try it. If it works in FM19, I will post it here. Just subscribe to stay updated. Thanks for the feedback. We appreciate.


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