Mourinho's Magical Madrid v1.4 by Kyanite
Jose Mourinho without a doubt is my favourite manager of all time. He has it all, success just seems to follow him around. Ever since I began playing the Football Manager franchise, I have always loved creating real life enforced tactics into the game. In FM12 I created a successful tactic called "Le Professeur" - based on the new 4-2-3-1 Arsene Wenger attempted to adapt at the Emirates this season - which allowed me to win the TREBLE with Arsenal with ease, overcoming the likes of Manchester City & Manchester United with near to no transfers.
After returning to FM13, I was motivated to do the same. I started with the usual Barcelona tiki taka, however that just got ridiculously boring, plus many people have already imitated it. So, I looked to The Special One and recreated his killer counter-attacking 4-2-3-1 which he has adapted for years now at the Santiago Bernabeu. You could argue that any tactic would work with Real Madrid due to the strength of their players, which is true, however this tactic allowed me to pull off not the treble but the QUADRUPLE!
Now, you might be looking at the image above and be thinking what in the name of God is that? Believe it or not, it is a 4-2-3-1 formation. When played practically, there really isn't that much space between the defensive midfielder and the central midfielder except when on the ball. Defensively, the Xabi Alonso effectively becomes a defensive midfielder in a 'stopper' role. Offensively, he pushes forward to join the attack and contribute.
Next, you'll be looking at Cristiano Ronaldo's role. In real life, he contributes much more to defending and build up play. He is played on the left wing, but does his own thing and simply just tanks the whole pitch, however it is worth mentioning that he does this because he is a human and he has a brain. On FM he unfortunately lacks his own way of thought, even if I set him to a free role he still is not as effective as Ronaldo is in real life. This is down to the attributes which Sports Interactive have given him, which in my opinion are slightly at fault (such as 10 composure). So, back to the strange position I have given him in this tactic. He is the same as any inside forward on the left wing (with a ridiculous license to roam) except slightly pushed forward. I found that this gets the best out of him and puts him closer to the opposition's goal, which allows him to score goals. The fact that he is pushed forward also gives Marcelo a ton more space to make runs forward, like in real life.
Next, is Ozil. He is simply an attacking midfielder, but the reason I have moved him slightly more to the left is to stick him 'in the hole'. Nothing more, nothing less. The space in front of him is somewhere he runs into to score goals (as opposed to having Higuain blocking him). The fact that he is slightly more to the left also leaves more space for Xabi Alonso to push up into and take shots at goal from a distance (I'll talk about roles in detail later).
Long story short, this strange formation is a 4-2-3-1 and you will see that when your team are playing it. It is just a modified 4-2-3-1 to imitate Mourinho's Madrid & to get the best out of certain players by making more space.
Forgetting about the strange, yet cool formation, the football is simple. Direct counter attacking football... just how Madrid play under Mourinho in real life really. You will bombard the opposition's goal a ridiculous number of times in matches and score a lot of goals whilst remaining somewhat solid defensively.
The fear of Barcelona became a thing of the past. We faced them numerous amounts during the season (twice in the league, twice in Spanish Super Cup, once in Spanish Cup Final). We drew twice and beat them all the other times rather comfortably. In all honesty, if it wasn't for Messi being superman then they wouldn't even sniff a goal.
...and another fine example of making Barcelona look insignificant, with 10 men.
Next, I'll speak about the most significant players within this tactic. Without a doubt, the whole team are important, however you can afford to have weaker players in certain areas. Firstly, your strongest player is your inside forward playing the 'Ronaldo' role. Aim to get a good all round striker, someone who is half decent physically (strong, a bit of pace, etc) and can also finish in the 'Higuain' role. Next your advanced playmaker is also important, they are not only there to pass the ball but they are also 'in the hole' to score goals. As for your winger, you can go for a pacey Di Maria kind of player however I found Modric terrific in the role due to his superb passing and creative ability. So if you can get a pacey playmaker for the winger position, don't hesitate. The rest of the players are self explanatory, make sure your left back is physically and technically gifted as he will be pushing into the space behind your 'Ronaldo' a lot too.
This tactic will aim to get the best out of everybody.
Ronaldo - Inside Forward - 33 Goals (excl. 7 cup goals + 6 continental goals)
Higuain - Complete Forward - 22 Goals (excl. 10 cup goals + 7 continental goals)
You will get goals from the rest of your midfielders too, even your center back (Pepe) from set pieces (which I have made to mimic Real Madrid's corners in real life too).
Now, I will cut to the chase.
Keep the strategy on Attacking unless you are away from home against tough/challenging opposition where the Attacking mentality is clearly not working or too risky, switch to Counter instead. For example, against Barcelona at the Camp Nou I would use Counter however I would use Attacking at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Use the shouts Get Stuck In & Hassle Opponent. This forces your lads to get stuck in, just how Mourinho likes it. You will get red cards here and there and bookings left right and center but players putting their bodies on the line is the reason why this is solid defensively Fortunately, you'll most likely be 4 goals up by the time you have a man sent off, so not much to worry about.
Goalkeeper - Defend - Get a rock solid goalkeeper, simple. - e.g. Casillas, Hart, Neuer, Ter Stegen, Cech, etc.
Right Full Back - Automatic - Up to him whether to go forward and help out or not. Has less space to go forward due to winger. A center back who can play right back is ideal. - e.g. Ramos, Puyol, Kelly, Arbeloa, Johnson, or just a regular decent right back with good defensive attributes, etc.
Center Back - Defend - Self explanatory, get a beast defender. e.g. Pepe, Ramos, Varane, Pique, Vidic, etc.
Center Back - Defend - '' etc.
Left Full Back - Support - You need a left back who is more of a going forward full back than defensive full back. - e.g. Marcelo, Dani Alves, Coentrao, Alaba, Cole, etc.
Defensive Midfielder - Defend - Your big man who protects the defence, self explanatory again. - e.g. Khedira, Fellaini, Yaya Toure, Tiote, Bender brothers, Javi Martinez, etc.
Deep Lying Playmaker - Support - Your deep playmaker. Needs to be decent to help defensive midfielder but also possess technical ability to playmake. - e.g. Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Fabregas, etc.
Right Winger - Support - Needs to be fast for counter attacking purposes and also good all round. Decent ability to help defence. Even better if you can grab a natural playmaker who is fast like Modric. - e.g. Modric, Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez, Ben Arfa, etc.
Advanced Playmaker - Attack - Your playmaker, this guy makes the team tick. Think Ozil, simple. - e.g. Ozil, Modric, David Silva, Isco, Dzagoev, Belhanda, etc.
Complete Forward - Attack - Your big striker. Just has to be an all round world class striker. Not necessarily fast or anything like that, just has to be good at scoring goals like Higuain. - e.g. Higuain, Benzema, Ibrahimovic, Ba, etc.
Inside Forward - Attack - Your other striker, needs pace for the counter attack and will be the root of everything offensively. Think Ronaldo... think Magical. - e.g.
Ronaldo, Messi, Aguero, Bale, etc.
...and that is it. I would like to conclude by saying that I have NOT tested this tactic with a team other than Real Madrid. It is designed to mimic Mourinho's approach at Real Madrid and I personally do not expect it to work as well with other teams. It probably will work well with teams like PSG, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, Dortmund, Arsenal and the rest of other teams who have the players and quality to suit this. However this is a Real Madrid tactic. I tested it with Liverpool for a few games and the results were decent, however would be much better if they had a proper striker such as Darren Bent or somebody up front alongside Suarez in the inside forward role. Jose Mourinho has adapted his tactics to every club he has been at to suit the players the team has. Please do not stick this tactic on your league 2 team and complain it doesn't work... I wouldn't expect it to do so. Feel free to test it out though with other teams and let me know how it goes in the comments below. My next aim is to attempt and get my "Le Professeur" from FM12 to work with FM13 or to possibly try and recreate a Catenaccio Zona Mista tactic where the aim is to try and remain solid defensively and concede a small number of goals or to recreate Jose Mourinho's 4-3-1-2 at Inter Milan.
Note: I am aware that I created this tactic and tested it in FMC, this is because it is faster. The match engine is identical to that of the regular FM game mode.