After the first leg of my champions league quarter final against barcelona i was 4-2 down but had 2 vital away goals, I knew I couldnt just sit back if I needed to make up the 2 goal defeceit but even at home taking the attacking route against barcelona can be dangerous so I figured i would give my counter attacking tactic a go but with a few changes to counter barcelonas play style.
Barcelonas two central midfielders I feel are key to their system even more so than messi as there forward running and passing are what feed messi and create all the chances barcelona make. barcelona dont play with an AMC because the two CM run into the space infront of the defence and exploit the space created by messi's running and dropping deep.
So how did I counter this threat?
Simple move the 2 DM's in my current counter attacking tactic up into the CM role and make them both Box to Box midfielders, I came to this conclusion as i figured if my CM's stayed as DM's that would be leaving 2 much space for the barcelona CM's to run into and also when i had the ball they wouldnt be high enough up the pitch to do anything except make themselves available for a backwards pass from my AMC, poacher or wingers, which isnt really a good idea against barcelona.
By making them box to box midfielders the logic was when in defence they would be dropping back to the edge of my area and screening the area from the barcelona CM's by marking their zone and therefore the player in their zone. Once the attack breaks down and I have recovered possesion they break forward to support the attack with late runs from deep which draw the barcelona CM's back into their own half covering their man, resulting in messi being left isolated up top as I had one of my DC's man marking messi and the other one in a covering role using zonal marking performing the dual roles of sweeping up and through balls into the box played into space and picking up any late runners into the box i felt i had messi locked up.
ultimately it worked and i won 7-2 6 of the goals were scored by Iker muniain in a poacher role in a game where he out messi'ed messi. but i feel if not for my two box to box midfielders it wouldnt have worked in addition to them i had an AMC as an attacking midfielder with support so that when defending he also drops deeper to help defend and as my playmaker to get the ball and initiate a quick counter attack. the 2 wingers also has a support duty and were set to stay wide to allow muniain more space around the box to do his thing, most of his goals were him getting a pass turning and running at the barcelona defence then slotting the ball past valdes
ill post some screens a highlights reel and the tactic so you guys can all have a play with it if you feel you need a good counter attacking tactic, I will say it isnt a finished tactic as i like to tinker quite a bit but since switching it from rigid to balanced i feel it is now a viable tactic so much so that i feel i might start using it as my main tactic as i feel it could be devestating against lesser teams.
ive never uploaded a tactic before but have submitted it for approval i will link it if its work its called 4-5-1 basque counter