We continue our series on replicating old tactics used by some of the best managers back then. Last time, we shared Carlo Ancelotti 2006 Christmas tree tactic at AC Milan. However, this time introduces José Mourinho lethal 4-3-3 tactic back in 2004-2006 at Chelsea.
We are still using the 2006 database created by @MadScientistFM – at least we got the majority of the players Mourinho used in that era with this database. Note: Please make sure you select version 20.1.0 while starting a career with the database.
FM 2020: José Mourinho Lethal 4-3-3 Tactic – Setup
Mourinho’s build-up phase back then was simple. Just like in Alex Ferguson tactic, Chelsea would go direct in their build-up. The first choice goalkeeper would often send the ball long to the opposition half. The team would then aim to win the second ball and then attack in urgency. However, unlike Ferguson’s tactic that focused more on the flanks, Mourinho’s tactic didn’t have a particular area of focus, which is why I didn’t select any area in FM20.
Moreover, Chelsea’s Mourinho were more direct in their play. They also preferred to pass into open space since they had really fast players who could run into the ball behind the opposition defence. This style made the Blues lethal on counter.
The attacking phase of the Portuguese manager was fast and deadly. They often turned defence into an attack at an instant – just like how Arsene Wenger tactic inspired the Arsenal team in 2003/2004 season. In the final third, Chelsea often shoots from a distance. Lampard and Michael Essien were so good at shooting from a distance. If such shooting opportunities didn’t come, they use the wingers or fullbacks to load in crosses into the box – again, they hard the aerial strength.
Another feature that made the Chelsea team so strong under José back then was their level of discipline. They had the ability to work as a tough collective group, which also made them strong defensively. This is why I enabled Be More Disciplined.
The team was ruthless in defending: no room for serious errors. Mourinho always liked his team to stay behind the ball when out of possession. This was how Chelsea positioned themselves before pressing intensely (that’s why the pressing intensity is set more urgent) once the opposition approached their half.
Furthermore, Mourinho used a low block with a narrow defensive width. This provided the defensive compactness, which enhanced his defending strategy. Fortunately, in FM20, this low block strategy worked excellently well in version 20.1.0 with the 2006 database.
José Mourinho Role Selections Back Then
Nothing much to talk about here. Just that Petr Cech was never a sweeper-keeper under Mourinho.
Defenders: BPD-D and CD-D
John Terry and Carvalho were the main centre backs for José. However, Terry was more of a ball-playing defender. He had confidence when with the ball. And he had a certain passing range that can find attacking teammates in the final third.
Carvalho was more of a traditional central defender. He was more physical rather than technical. In general, Carvalho was a solid defender in Chelsea’s backline. Moreover, both defenders had that anticipation to sweep up through balls.
Fullbacks: WB-S and FB-S
William Gallas was the left fullback under Mourinho back then, but the arrival of Ashley Cole made José use the wingback role more often. However, Cole was very good at venturing forward to support forward play and he had the acceleration and pace needed. Plus, his crossing ability is superb. In FM20, Cole is better as a supporting wingback.
For Ferreira, he was mainly the traditional fullback but had the instruction to get forward when necessary.
Defensive Midfielder: DM-D
The inclusion of a defensive midfielder was what made Mourinho’s side a very difficult side to face. The job of this player was highly effective. Claude Makélélé was the main man here. He was the destroyer in the midfield – a very vibrant and difficult midfield to come against. The French defensive midfielder was aggressive, experienced, intelligent and highly challenging. I still think he was the backbone of Chelsea’s defence back then.
Central Midfielders: DLP-S and BBM-S
These two positions mostly featured Lampard and Michael Essien. Lampard and Joe Cole were the only playmakers in the squad. Jose Mourinho used them to his advantage. Both players had that vision and passing accuracy to pick a runner or switch play.
The Box-to-Box Midfielder, Essien, was the aggressive midfielder the central midfield area. Essien and Makelele often did the same thing when it comes to defending. Though, Essien advanced more when it comes to attacking.
In other words, the shooting power of Lampard and Essien was a big deal for Chelsea. They scored a lot of goals from a distance. Mourinho liked that, which made him bring in another powerful shooter, Michael Ballack in the 2006/2007 campaign.
Arjen Robben (replacing Damien Duff) played on the left side as a traditional attacking winger. As a left-footer, this role benefited him. At the right side, Joe Cole was the attacking advanced playmaker. Sometimes, Robben would exchange positions with Joe Cole, while Joe would tuck inside and focus on his playmaking duties. However, Wright Phillips was the right attacking winger.
In FM20, I found playing both Joe Cole and Wright Phillips as W-A more efficient.
Top Nine: CF-A
Didier Drogba was the perfect fit for Mourinho in their glory era. Drogba had all the qualities of a complete striker, plus he was deadly and hungry for goals. His aerial strength made things difficult for defenders.
In the 2006 database, the presence of Shevchenko made things uneasy for me in choosing the main top nine. Shevchenko wasn’t present in Chelsea’s glory seasons. But, he was more effective than Drogba as a CF in the database.
In the mentality aspect, I always used a positive mentality in Home and Away games. I never saw a reason to use other mentalities. Chelsea were deadly for me under a positive mentality. Unless in the rare case I get a red card, I switch to defensive mentality.
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