The Serpents Kiss (1.0) (Total Defence)

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The Serpents Kiss is the title of my FM18 save with Internazionale. I have had heaps of support over the last 12 days or so on social media platforms whilst I try to build a modern day Catenaccio system. I have to admit I have found it pretty difficult to replicate Helenio Herrera’s version but I think I am now on the road to building a defensive system that will be the catalyst of a successful tactic (fingers crossed). On meeting with the chairman the minimum expectation this season is to qualify for the Champions League.

So we really need to hit the ground running which means getting a system in place asap. When I takeover a club I like to manage the reserve side along with the first team, in this case it is the Inter U20’s for at least the first season so that I can use them to tinker with my tactics without disrupting the first team’s system.

The Serpents Kiss Version 1

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As you can see I have set us up in a 4-1-4-1 shape because I think this gives us the best shape to defend. Now before I go any further I am not trying to create a tactical system that claims to break the match engine with for example 3 strikers that goes on to win every game you play, to me thats just boring and I don’t see the point. If that was the case I would just go and download one of the many tactics knocking around on the forums. What I want is a tactic that is more realistic and needs a bit of attention from time to time.

Mentality – Control 

Team Shape – Structured 

Team Instructions 

  • More Direct Passing
  • Close Down More
  • Use Tighter Marking
  • Use Offside Trap

Positions, Roles and Instructions 

  • Goalkeeper / Defend  – Distribute To Full Backs – Fewer Risky Passes
  • Full Back / Support – Mark Tighter
  • Full Back / Attack – Mark Tighter
  • Central Defender / Defender – Mark Tighter – Close Down Less
  • Central Defender / Defender – Mark Tighter – Close Down Less
  • Defensive Midfielder / Defender
  • Advanced Playmaker / Support
  • Mezzala / Support
  • Winger / Attack
  • Winger / Attack
  • Complete Forward / Attack

No Opposition Instructions 

Training Pre-Season 

Team Cohesion – Tactics

Training Season 

Balanced – Defensive Positioning

So how have we done so far using this system? Below you can see both our pre season results and our first 10 Serie A matches. Now I must point out our pre season and the first league game against FC Crotone was played out using a 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 system which was giving a lot of chances to our opponents so I knew that I had to tighten us up so I switched to the 4-1-4-1 system above. Now I know its very early days but the signs are good and I am sure I now have a solid platform to build on and please remember I am not claiming that this system is a World beating tactic it is just the start of my FM journey with Internazionale that I plan to blog about step by step good or bad.

Now lets take a look at the first 9 matches that I have used this system, the breakdown is we have won 6, drawn 2 and lost 1 whilst scoring 13 goals and conceding 5 with 6 clean sheets.

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After our opening game of the season which we lost to FC Crotone it was time to turn to the tactic that I have dubbed the Serpents Kiss.  The Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro) would be the backdrop for our game against U.S Sassuolo and a game that we really needed to win to get us up and running and win we did by a single Mauro Icardi goal coming late on in the first half. I love a good 1-0 win and a solid all round rear guard performance took us nicely in to our big match showdown in Turin against Juventus who over the years have been a big thorn in my side whilst managing in Italy. We lined up exactly like the tactic screenshot above. Juventus started well with both Dybala and Higuain spearheading the old lady’s attack but we manage to limit them to nothing more than long range efforts and come close to scoring ourselves when Brozovic headed wide from 6 yards out. We go in all square at the break with the knowledge that Juve will come out of the blocks looking to break the deadlock. I decided to change our mentality to counter attacking during the half time interval and it worked a treat in that we kept a clean sheet and came away with  creditable goalless draw which up to press is the only blank that Juve have had. I am very pleased with the draw in Turin. With an home game looming against Verona the following week I decided to give the players an extra days rest before the game to charge the batteries up after the performance against Juve. The rest day seemed to work along with a good morale throughout the squad we beat Verona 3-0 with both Candreva (2) and Brozovic hitting the back of the net.

If the result against Juventus was inspiring a trip to Bergamo knocked my duck off after Atalanta inflicted a 3-1 defeat upon us, was it time to go back to the drawing board? in short after watching the game I realised that I needed to tell my central defenders to close down less because they were getting dragged out of position. The visit of Lazio to the Meazza brought out a much better performance from us with 5 changes to our line up from the defeat in Bergamo. One of the changes was up top with Andrea Pinamonti coming in and scoring our goal in a very creditable 1-1 draw.

We followed the Lazio draw up with a fine display in a 2-0 win over Torino who recorded no shots on goal, a Total Defence performance was backed up with some very nice on the eye build up play that resulted in 2 very good team goals scored by Icardi and Perisic.  A very pleasing performance showcasing our 4-1-4-1  system, long may it continue. Inspired by the Torino performance I decided to get one more game in before going to bed and I am so glad I did because a visit to Florence to play Fiorentina produced another stunning team performance with us playing the type of football that I had imagined when putting this system together, we looked rock solid at the back and transitioned to attack with great effect. Now you might think I am crazy but I thoroughly enjoyed this 1-0 (Icardi) win and how we went about getting it ( I went to bed happy).

I was buzzing the next morning when I woke up and could not stop thinking about my save during the whole day at work. I just had to fit in another game when I got home after a long day. We hosted Spal in our next fixture and our superiority continued with 2-0 win wrapped up with 2 first half goals from our wingers Candreva and Perisic. I am bloody loving the way we are going about our business, this might not be Catenaccio but its effective (so far).

I am finishing this blog post up with a 2-1 win away at Genoa were we continued our mini winning streak, two first half goals put us in control and to be honest we never looked like conceding until Genoa got a consolation goal in the dying minutes.

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Well that concludes my debut post, I will find my feet and decide on the frequency that I will release posts, I am thinking maybe 2 or 3 a month. I am really happy with how this save is going in terms of the tactic and how the squad are adapting to it. Like I said earlier I am not trying to create a super tactic that just plugs in and wins game after game. I really can’t understand how anyone gets any enjoyment from just plugging a tactic in and winning everything going, however if that is what gives somebody enjoyment then I can’t argue with that, it’s  just not my style.

Thank you for taking a look at this post and please feel free to give me some feedback  (go easy on me though I am new to this) on anything that I have written.

 

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