Andrea Pirlo.

Andrea Pirlo coach of Juventus FC during the Serie A football match between Juventus FC and UC Sampdoria at Allianz Stadium in Torino (Italy), September 20th, 2020.

Love him or hate him, this man has a lot to live up to, everybody knows how good this legend was for Italy and domestic teams. You can not hate this man, he’s as cool as you like and there isn’t much he’s ever done wrong, just look at the beard!

Future Genius? Well let’s take a look, Andrea Pirlo has recently just managed to get himself the Juventus FC job being his first job in managerial football after the Serie A giants sacked Sarri for simply being not good enough in the Champions League, which is obviously the big thing for Juventus as the moment, they’ve completely dominated the Serie A for years now and now they want to take their domestic success and try and take it into Europe. Andrea is the man for that job I fully believe, it’s like a match made in heaven.

Juventus still have the best odds to win the Italian Serie A with 5/6 compared to that of 2nd place Inter Milan with 21/10 and maybe Atalanta with 9/. Therefore the bookies still believe that Juventus can win the league despite the managerial appointment.

Andrea just released his Thesis that he had to publish in order to achieve one of his coaching qualification badges, if you would like to read the whole thing, you can read more about it here:

“My Football” By Andrea Pirlo

It really is a great read for anyone looking at a great example on how to learn about tactics and why its important to do certain things in tactics, after all football tactics is no different than chess, you need to checkmate your opponent into being able to do nothing, the pieces you use can sometimes help or sometimes hinder this.

“The founding idea of my football is based on the will of a football that is purposeful, possessive and attacking . I would like to play total and collective football, with 11 active players in the offensive and defensive phase.”

Andrea Pirlo

So straight away from this powerful sentence we can see that Pirlo wants his team to be able to play with purpose, no side passing and none of this rubbish meaningless passing a bit like Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United, with his boring side to side football, this is a massive no to Andrea, he’s also emphasising the fact he wants attacking football both in defensive phases and obviously offensive phases with everyone involved, including the goalkeeper, therefore we can see that he is a very ambitious coach, an admirer from Johan Cruyff it seems and his counter parts.

“We will therefore be looking for technical and dynamic players, giving importance one-on-one especially for external players. Through the tutorials we want to help players recognize situations and adapt to the increasingly liquid context of matches.”

Andrea Pirlo

This is an odd requirement in modern day football, as he wants players especially assigned to have the skill to take a 1on1 on and come out as the winner of the two, which for me is weird, I always thought football was about getting the players into positions where they essentially have all the time in the world to do something and nobody can touch them, so I actually like this aspect he’s looking for in some of his players. He still wants his highly technical players however but that was always to be expected by such a technical player.

Replicating his style into football manager

Now I’m not going to go over everything that Andrea has spoken about in his thesis because I would be here all day and therefore wouldn’t be able to actually get over the actual bit that everyone is interested in and thats how does and can this correlate into football manager, well firstly I would strongly recommend going to read the article piece because you may not know what I’m talking about later in this article, therefore its very important you go and read that article.

We’re obviously going to be using Juventus or Zebre as they’re called in football manager and we’re going to try and recreate what Andrea is going to be asking for his Juventus squad in the coming months to see if it will be successful or not.

Objectives of his attacking phases:

  • Construction
  • Development
  • Connection to the line

Objectives of his defensive phases:

  • Pressing
  • Defensive Provision
  • Defensive Line

Now you might be familiar with the defensive phase actions that Andrea is requesting, however the attacking phases may come as a bit of a surprise and may confuse you, I’m here to explain deeply about what we intend to do with these actions. Using football manager in game actions and analysis to show you how to do it.

Football Manager

The way I set up in football manager is going to correlate against the way Andrea set up in real life for his first game in the Serie A against Sampdoria which they won 3-0 and Cristiano Ronaldo of course scored on the opening day, no surprise there.

Oddly Andrea started with a three at the back with Ramsey in the hole with Danilo in the RCB role and Frabotta getting a start in the left back role as well as Ronaldo up front obviously, however like we said earlier, he started Cuadrado which is fascinating as Cuadrado is a team player who can work hard in some phases of the game however his speciality is obviously beating people 1v1 on the wing, which is what Andrea requested from his team, Cuadrado could become somewhat of a key player for the Juventus side.

Another noticeable weird start is winger Kulusevski up front for Juventus, maybe the formation is seen as a five at the back but deters into something of a 4-3-3 in the attacking phase which is obviously very good because Juventus will keep there defensive stability as well as allowing the three in attack to get creative.

The player with the most shots throughout the game was Cristiano Ronaldo unsurprisingly, with 10 shots, meaning Pirlo wants Ronaldo to have the biggest impact throughout the game, this is proven down below in the screenshot of the average positions.

Average Positions map against Sampdoria

Ronaldo is the highest up the pitch, as you can see it’s more of a 2-7-1, the two centre backs, everyone in midfield and then Ronaldo leading the line, this would make sense with the way Pirlo wants to play, I can imagine a few changes are still yet to be seen however.

Overload: Bait and Switch – Attacking

Pirlo employed a very smart and quite common attacking tactic where he tries to get a certain set of players overloading one side and then quickly switching to the other side, exposing the opposing fullback to a 1v1 therefore leaving it down to either pace or skill to get past the player. As you can see on the average positions map, down the right side where Rabiot and Danilo are playing, they’ve clearly been passing and building the opposition into playing and pressing into them and then quickly switching to the other side and getting a 1v1 on the cards.

This is further backed up with Aaron Ramsay’s Key Passes throughout the game he had 6 key passes meaning that he’s been getting the large majority of passes and then turning to the line and getting the ball out wide or he’s looking for the run of Cristiano Ronaldo. This is obviously backed by the assist Ramsay picked up from looking up and finding Ronaldo before Ronaldo puts the ball in the back of the net.

Key Pass – A Pass that leads to a shot.

Juventus are missing some key players that will make them so much stronger in this system when they come back, being the following:

  • De Ligt
  • Paulo Dybala
  • Alex Sandro – Can go up and down the pitch all day long therefore making Juventus’ left flank so much stronger
  • Bernardeschi – I don’t believe he’ll impact the system any better than Kulusevski or Cuadrado, but a shout none the less as he is still a quality player.

Transferring what we’ve learned into Football Manager

If you’re wondering why it says Monaco, it’s because I’m currently doing another save with Monaco showing you guys how to track your finances in football manager perfectly, helping you guys grow your success on and off the pitch, if you’re interested in checking these out:

I’ve decided to go with something a little like this, it allows us to keep an aggressive press whilst also being defensively solid at the back, we’ve also got the correct roles to create overloads on each side, this is various from Ramsay in the AM(A) role however with “Roam From Position” if he’s more on another side you’ll have him helping to create it and then you have the two playmakers in the middle.

The complete forward CF(S) will help to support the attack and build up by offering himself and making runs into the channels, whilst also creating space for the AF(A) because the main role of the AF(A) is to get in behind the defence, your typical quick striker, that’s how I always see that role.

Usually I would say DO NOT play two playmakers in the middle, however because we have the AM and the third centre half, it allows a bit more room for manoeuvre, which is good because the idea of this tactic to try and pick sides that defend quite deep, because it gives us lots of options and without a doubt Sampdoria defended deep and looked to attack because the man behind Sampdoria’s tactics was Claudio Ranieri and he won the league title in the Premier League in 2016 with Leicester from doing that exact style therefore you will see no change in the italian.

When I look at Juventus’ tactics it reminds me of Gasperini’s at Atalanta and maybe that’s going to be a very interesting battle when those two sides play in the Serie A, something to look forward to.

This is a long-term project. Don’t be afraid to play your undeveloped youth ranks, don’t go spending the big bucks just because you can, save them for a player that will make a difference, a world class footballer that will grant you consistency.

Remember that this tactic isn’t guaranteed success, there isn’t many ground breaking tactics in football manager that work with every team in every situation, that’s what makes the game so great. If you have any other suggestions for the football manager tactic from Andrea then comment below and let me know.

If you’re interested in more tactical options and theory on this site, make sure to check out these articles here, they’re amazing and great reads and I’ve learned something about the game each time I’ve read one of them:

The Vanlose Overpowered Football Manager 20 Tactic

How To Replicate Bayern Munich’s Transformation on Football Manager 20

Retro Tactics The W-M

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