Aug 15, 2011
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Hi guys this time I introduce to you my emulation of Francesco Farioli's 4-3-3 at OG NICE.
One of the most attentive teams in this Ligue 1 is certainly OGC Nice. The reason is easy to say: the Côte d'Azur club has decided, surprisingly, to rely on the Italian coach Francesco Farioli to lead a revolutionized team in which the INEOS owners (who recently became Manchester United’s owners too), despite spending, have not invested as in previous seasons.


In possession, Nice seeks to find a free player behind the opposition's press, patiently building up attacks. The team is not averse to direct play toward the final third, exploiting the movements of offensive players, especially when the opponent presses aggressively, but key features are short build-ups by the goalkeeper, a low percentage of crosses, and a considerable number of high-press shots. Defensively, Nice excels with stats well above the Ligue 1 average in terms of chances conceded, xG, xG per shot, total and clean shots conceded, counterattack shots, and set-piece shots. The team displays effectiveness in defensive aspects, utilizing a brave yet attentive approach to trap opponents and actively regain possession.

Farioli seems to have a clear idea of his starting eleven, relying on players like Youssuf Ndayishimiye, Sanson, and Thuram to implement his intentions. Nice aims to draw opponents out of their defensive blocks, progressing with central receptions between the lines, then accelerating the passing tempo for direct attacks or wide isolations.

Key Players:

Youssuf Ndayishimiye plays a crucial role, connecting with defenders and adapting to various situations. His ability to read and interpret situations is evident, as seen in actions against PSG. Sanson serves as a mobile playmaker, linking both halves of the team and creating goal-scoring opportunities. Thuram, the most representative player, changes the tempo of the game, breaking through opponents in dribbles and counterattacks.

Offensive Challenges:

Nice's major weakness lies in converting possession dominance into goal-scoring opportunities. Despite producing a lot, they struggle to penetrate the opposing penalty area consistently. Players like Moffi, Laborde, Diop, and Boga contribute, but improvement is needed in converting possession into clear chances.

Defensive Strategy:

Nice's effectiveness without the ball is crucial, with a focus on high pressing and a tailored marking system based on opponent characteristics. The team often accepts numerical parity but compensates with aggressive forward movements, adapting well to opponents' aggressive pressing.


In Football Manager 2024, I tried to emulate Farioli’s 4-3-3 managing OG Nice by myself in all Ligue 1 2023-2024 matches. To make it faster, I chose to simulate Coupe de France (France Cup) matches.
Let’s now analyze how to emulate this tactic.
First of all, I chose a positive mentality because Farioli wants his players to adopt a positive approach to the game and to dominate the opponent.

In Possession

In possession, I want my team to patiently build from the back, with a slightly lower tempo, shorter passes and a fairly narrow attacking width. Besides, since Farioli wants his players to occupy the central area of the pitch, another instruction I’d like to use in the approach play is focus play through the middle. In the final third, OG Nice does not prefer long balls and long crosses, so I chose low crosses and work the ball into the box. To help the team to retain possession more, play for set pieces and dribble less are also useful instructions. Then I selected the instruction be more expressive because with many technical players in my squad (Boga, Bouanani, Laborde, Sanson, Thuram, Moffi) I don’t want to restrict them too much.

In transition

In transition, Farioli wants his team to be aggressive and press high the opponent once lost the ball and to launch counter-attacks after they won it back, so I chose counter and counter-press.
When our goalkeeper is in possession, we want him to take all the time he needs to think where to pass the ball, that’s why I chose the instruction to slow the pace down combined with distribute to center backs and roll it out.
If you watched OG Nice’s matches, you surely noticed that Bulka often feints the pass and retains possession, taking all the time necessary to build up the play. It’s a risky approach but very effective because the Polish goalkeeper becomes an added central defender, a sweeper, also valuable defensively as he covers the space left by one of the two central defenders, Dante or Todibo, when they move up to assist the full-backs in trouble.

Out of possession

In the out of possession phase, Farioli wants his players to press high and his defensive line to stay higher too. Obviously, to emulate this in Football Manager 2024, I selected the following instructions: high press and higher defensive line, trigger press more often, prevent short gk distribution , trap outside and step up more (to use the off-side trap).

Players roles and instructions

Bulka: Sweeper-keeper in attack, no instructions
Atal: Wing-back in support, no instructions
Todibo: Central defender-defend, no instructions
Dante: Central defender-defend, no instructions
Bard: Wing-back in support, no instructions
Youssuf: Half-back in support: pass it shorter
Sanson: Advanced playmaker in support: pass it shorter
K. Thuram: box to box midfielder in support: pass it shorter

Important note

I selected the pass it shorter instruction for all the midfielders and the two wingers because Farioli wants his players to use short passes more and with these instructions I wanted to maximize possession even more.
Morgan Sanson’s role, according to the analysis made above, should be switched to a roaming playmaker , but, after testing him both as a roaming playmaker and as an advanced playmaker in support during the season, I noticed that this role actually enables Sanson to be more helpful in retaining possession and building the play. Please feel free to switch his role to a roaming playmaker if you want to stick more to reality.

Laborde/ Bouanani: Inside forward-attack: pass it shorter

In this season we could see Laborde playing as right winger being sometimes replaced by Boga, but I wanted to test Badredine Bouanani because he is a great wonderkid in Football Manager and he played a great season with 6 goals and 4 assists in 25 matches.

Sofy Diop: Inside forward-attack: pass it shorter

Moffi: complete forward-attack: no instructions
Playing as a complete forward, Moffi often drops to link the play, waits for the ball at his feet or moves between the lines waiting for a through pass.
In this season he has become the top scorer in Ligue 1 with 28 goals, sharing the 1st place with Mbappe.

This is all for my tactic, I hope it works for you too.

All stats, tactic creation and highlights in my video on my youtube channel



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