Berlusconi’s Dream – Tactics & Key Players

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Welcome to the Seconda Parte of Berlusconi’s Dream. In this edition we’ll discuss the tactic (yes, just one so far) that I’ve been working on during the Beta and then I’ll run you through a few of the players I’m hoping will still be around when our run for promotion commences!


The first thing you should understand about me and tactics in Football Manager is that I rarely develop my own. I’m generally far too impatient for that. Tactical success isn’t a driver of enjoyment for me in these games; I prefer the challenge and success of player development. Of course I like winning but my priority would be to see a home-grown player in the side over the satisfaction of my own tactic overcoming a difficult opponent.

Nevertheless, I’ve embarked on some tactical development through the Beta and feel confident enough with what you see above to set it as the base for my first (and last!) season in Serie C/A. The final tick in the box for me here was a 3-0 undressing of Serie A side Lecce in just the 4th friendly of my Beta pre-season in Monza. And it wasn’t luck either. We dominated possession, we created chances, we scored well-worked goals that didn’t involve 16 switches from LB to RB and, most importantly, we nullified their attack. They amassed a measly 3 total shots. We totalled 25.

Seasoned tacticians might see a bit of a risk in the formation and duties but my basis for that is the belief that we are one of the best two or three sides in the Division. Our media prediction of 2nd informs that.

With the WBs pushed up into the DM-strata, I’ve chosen a DLP-De in order to fulfill the need for a 3rd defensive player. A BWM-De in centre midfield gives me an extra defence-focussed player in the centre of the park who will move the ball quickly and shortly when he has it and will always be the first player to shut down opponent offensive moves in the middle. He also provides stability for the MEZ-At to go forward (and go forward he does!).

One of the more interesting aspects of the tactic is the starting positions of the WBs and IFs when the ball is coming out from the back. They are basically separated by a few metres, generally just on the defensive side of half-way. Typically our CBs will receive the ball from the keeper and move it short the DLP. With the angles opened up, the DLP is presented with two unmarked players around halfway to hit the ball too, on either side of the pitch. With opposition defences seemingly cautious of committing more than 1 player to intercept these guys, the WB and IF are able to dribble and pass between themselves and open up the flank for attack. If the WB has it, he attempts to cross from the byline (when I have the PI on; that is a game-by-game selection). When the IF has it, he drives in on goal opening up shooting or passing lanes with the rest of the team. It’s a bit like an early overload I suppose and it has been notable in the Beta games I’ve played to date.

The wingbacks, DLP and BWM all tire the most (ie: get to 70% condition faster than anyone else) so some sensible substitutions and load management will be important through the season.

Key Players

You can get a little insight into my preferred starting 11 from the tactic screen earlier but here I’ll go into a bit more information on each of the players that I believe will be key components. I will note that these screens are from the Beta and it’s possible that the final data update before release changes some attributes. I’ll also qualify that these folks may not even be around when I arrive on the scene on my white stallion, armour shining in the sweet Italian sunshine………yes, such is the AI that Brocchi may move these guys on. We live in hope.

NOTE: You’ll see the attribute screening in these player profiles. I’m not sold on these colours so you might notice a change later on. They are:

  • Dark Grey is <10
  • Cyan is 11>13
  • Green is 14>16
  • Fluro Green is 17+

Giuseppe Bellusci is a new signing at Monza for the 19/20 season, joining from Palermo where he made 53 appearances. At 29y/o he’s at his peak as a central defender and will be expected to start every game. I’m not a huge fan of his player traits AT ALL but he is the best defender we have by a fair margin!

Marco Fossati is an accomplished Defensive Midfielder preferring to play DLP from Centre Mid. Despite that accomplished nature, take a look at his attributes and traits! This guy is going to rock that position. My only concern is his poor tackling attribute and I’d have perhaps liked a little more natural fitness and stamina. But beggars can’t be choosers at this level. First Touch, Passing, Flair and Vision, coupled with Dictates Tempo and Tries Killer Balls Often: he’s going to be critical.

Nicola Rigoni has been a standout in the Beta pre-season games I’ve played from the MEZ-At position. What stands out about his attributes is his well-roundedness. He’s “good” across the ball but doesn’t particularly dominate any area of the game. That said, his all-round ability may well be what sets his apart. From five games, he’s scored four goals and assisted twice with an average rating of 7.96.

D’Errico is the current Captain and has amassed 129 league appearances for Monza since the 2015/16 season. He’ll play in the left-sided IF-A and has performed well, if inconsistently, in the Beta games with two goals and 2 assists in five appearances but “only” a 7.12 average rating. One of the “good not great” players in the squad, he’ll still be starter but is probably unlikely to have much of an impact beyond this season (in terms of being overmatched when we get to Serie B).

The last player I will identify is striker Mattia Finotto. I have most of my capable depth at Striker so I’m blessed with options should Mattia fail to score; with reasonable Finishing, First Touch and Composure, I’d like to think he has some shooting boots. I’m positive at his “Gets into Opposition Area” trait as well – I’d like to believe, coupled with his significant Off the Ball attribute that he’ll be in good goal scoring positions regularly. He hasn’t appeared regularly enough during Beta games for any performance indicators. One of the best physical players in the squad.

We have a good starting eleven with a few decent options in depth (Central Defence and Striker particularly) as you’d expect of one of the favourites for promotion. I’m pretty confident we otherwise have what we need for this first season (pending transfers, contract renewals and whatever other mischief Brocchi gets up to in 19/20).

Thanks again for reading. Please reach out to me on Twitter @ZeGermanFM  if you’ve any advice, questions or criticisms!

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