Du Malone writes: It is time to bring this series of posts, concerning the application to #FM20 of Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan tactics, to a close.

To do so I’d like to cover two remaining topics.

Team instructions

As readers of previous posts will know, I have based this project on the account of Sacchi’s tactical written by Raghunandhanan Narasimhan in Football bloody hell. I was first attracted to this account because it seemed almost to be written in FM-speak.

The phrases from Narasimhan that most informed by thinking about team instructions were the following:

  • “not until the arrival of Sacchi in the footballing scenario did zonal marking come to the fore”
  • “Sacchi had his team remain very compact making sure they did not have more than 25 metres in between the defensive line and the forwards”
  • “Not everything was a pre-planned structure or move as the players improvised greatly on the pitch”
  • “Maldini was more active going forward and offering himself as a passing option
  • “make sure the team remain compact in all phases of the game”

As a result, I decided

  • not to use man-to-man marking
  • to use a higher defensive line and a lower line of engagement
  • to regroup
  • to play expressively
  • to use overlapping on the left

I mean here that these were our default settings — not that we employed them in every minute of every game: that would have made us predictable and inflexible.

Set pieces

Typically in the past I’ve used zonal marking in open play** but have made at least some use of man-to-man marking to defend set pieces, especially free kicks. The above, however, made me switch to a wholesale zonal approach for set pieces too.

In particular I decided to adopt The Gaming Dad’s approach to corners.

After a while, however, I introduced a modification. I found that in the Bulgarian First League our opponents hardly ever took short corners, so I moved the player designed to restrict such corners to a new position, standing next to (and just outside) the ‘6NC’ defender.


That about wraps up the series.

I will I think at some point write one further post, though that will focus less on Sacchi’s tactics and more on how the process of attempting to apply those tactics has helped me to learn more about FM in general.


**Although I have occasionally deployed a ‘Shadow’, a quasi-role that I devised for man-to-man marking in certain circumstances.

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