ANTONIO CONTE PROFILE. Leaving out the biography of Antonio Conte, widely known by us Juventus fans also widely available online, the article will focus on the description of the tactical teams of coach salentino, as showcased in his career.
     
As widely known, the static tactic module favored by Antonio Conte is the 4-4-2, or, as commonly stated, the 4-2-4, to emphasize the interpretation to the particularly offensive role given by the two wing attackers. For those more familiar with the Calcio of series A and series B, the interpretation of the 4-2-4 of Conte is quite similar to the 4-4-2/4-2-4 of Ventura at Bari. It is said that the same Conte has included Ventura among his sources of inspiration. Certainly Ventura, arriving at Bari after Conte, has followed the tactical path groove by former captain of Juventus in the promotion of the pugliesi in Serie A.
The phase of possession of the team of Conte is rather peculiar. The action always starts from the back with the defenders. Only in cases of absolute necessity the Goalkeeper opens the game with a long throw, preferring instead to play with one of the defenders. To view this concept and show how much is sought to support one of the defenders, even at the cost of running some risk, the slide that follows shows the Siena goalkeeper, Coppola, serves the goal clearance to a central defender (Terzi) place back to the goal, at the edge of the area and with two rivals nearby. Clearly, a risky bet. At the same time Ficagna opens, even under pressure of the opponents, to receive the ball. Incidentally, all the images of the article refer to the last game played by Siena, away to Ascoli, where the team of Conte wore the yellow jersey.
 
 
The defenders, with patience, they move the ball between them, involving, if necessary, sliding the ball into the goalkeeper. This movement of the ball is even in areas of the field rather than lagging behind, thus inviting the opposing team to bring pressure to extend the useful portion of the field to play and force the opposing team to extend the area of the field within which to defend. The movement of the ball between two defenders expects the full-backs to remain on the sideline, standing up, possibly to make room for two central defenders, expanding to better play the ball to each other and extend the useful angles to play in depth.


It is not expected the integration into the line of the central midfielders that, if called directly by the defenders, most of the time play a simple role of support and circumvent the pressing, returning the ball to the line of defenders with one-two touches. No particular movement aimed at the reception free of pressure is expected for the two central midfielders who move very easily to provide support to the primary owner of the ball. The real offensive trigger of the play is not in fact the prerogative of the two central midfielders, but, in most cases, a vertical clearance and direct from the full-back to the striker.
      
The movement of the ball between defenders, patient and aims to find the usable space for play and to move the opponent’s defensive line, it is resolved with a vertical clearance to one of four offensive players made by full-back or central defender. Now here come the synchronous movements and coordinated of the four players that attack, in early action, playing virtually the same line with the winger atackers virtually on the sideline to extend the wide area of useful field to have the ball. The role and external movements of the two wingers are crucial. Almost always, the offensive play of the wingers is with the “inverted foot” (a left footed on the right and right footed to the left). Typically, players with less strength and less depth, but with more technical and with dribbling and assist ability play in band with foot inverted; players with ability to play with more depth play rather on the strong side of the foot. Various and all coded the solutions for the initiation of offensive maneuver.
       
Let’s not be limited to a few. A preferred play is the internal receipt of either external wingers who cut inside the field. In this way, the winger at the coverage area may be at play between the lines of defense and midfield players, with both central midfielders and act a bit ‘from “red herring”, attracting the pressure of the opposition midfielders not to receive the ball, but to make room for the reception of the fullbacks. Let us visually as described in the slides.


In the slide that follows the central defender is Ficagna vertically serves full right back, left-footed Brienza, who comes inside the field.
 
 
Another possible play originates from the fullback according to the movements within the scheme below.
 
 
Upon receipt of the winger in interior generally follow a set of predefined movements of the other players in attack. A widely practiced solution sees the closest Striker coming towards the ball and the faraway Striker attacking the depth behind the first Sticker and the winger on the opposite side remains largely ready to receive ball. In the action that we show below Brienza receives between the lines, Calaiò, the nearest Sticker moves inside and Caputo, the farthest Striker, attacks the depth, with Reginaldo, the winger from the weak side, who remains wide. In this particular situation is Brienza serving Calaiò that expands to Reginaldo.
 
 
The important feature of the Conte’s game is that, following the movement of the ball between defenders, such as said is extremely patient, after the initiation of vertical offensive play, the action is conducted with maximum speed and lightning-quick combinations, preferably with one-two touches. The movement without the ball is brought sharply. This clearly requires time-course of the game and tracks in an absolutely precise and synchronous manner. 
An example of this is shown in the slide that follows, with Brienza receiving inside, this time triggered by the central midfielder of the opposite side. Brienza plays from first touch to the nearest striker Calaiò, which plays a blind, also with one touch, to the deep movement of Caputo.
 
 
 
 
 
 
In the slide shown above is noted as the Action origins from back position, since, as mentioned, the team of Conte accept (willingly) to carry out the movement of the ball in field in areas close to his own penalty area, looking at this way to open up the field. 
The priming game may be provided in a play directed towards the Striker closest to the ball, which is coming in meeting the ball. Again the play can come from the central defender or fullback. The plays coming from the central defender, because the coverage area of the Striker (generally quite flat and back to the goal) is usually generating the inner tracks of the winger that help to receive the same exterior side of the passage of the Striker. The cut, behind the farthest Striker and wide stance of the winger on the weak-side inside provide solutions to the winger that is getting inside the camp. 
The receipt of the ball done by Striker from the fullback, which can occur with better angles and able to afford to play a bit more complex than just the ball behind, can trigger a movement in depth instead of the winger that can be served directly from the Striker (as in slide below) or by the central midfielder which receives the ball from the Striker.
 
 
 
 
The wingers can also get open, generally, but not limited from the fullback. In this case the play, always fast and always clean and precise movements, provides an internal passage to the Striker that comes to meet quickly to reverse the action on to the side. We see a couple of examples. In the first example, the full left-back Rossi serves in vertical Reginaldo who is receiving on the sideline. Reginaldo plays from ne touch towards Calaiò that can support the back, serving a central midfielder in front of the Goal and turning over the game.
 
 
 
 
In the second example, which highlights the synchronous movement of the Strikers, Reginaldo, wide open, it is served directly from the central defender Terzi. The winger plays of the first ball to the movement of Caputo who pretends leaving the ball in the discharge of Calaiò who gives the ball to Caputo that can expand on the exterior side to Brienza.
 
 
 
 
 
 
In this series as we have said no comprehensive of the offensive solution of the teams of Conte, we note, as mentioned above, as the action always start by defenders, often by field position rather low. It’s also clear that the central midfielders are by-passed during the decisive operation and how, in all the slides, will always remain behind the line of the ball, of the four players in support of attack. Their involvement in the offensive is limited to the facilitation of movement of the ball between defenders and, at a later time to provide support to the four Atackers, which in any case preferentially combine with one another. Only rarely you see a trigger for the transition from one offensive play of the two central midfielders, always by first touch and always played codified and automated. An example is shown in the following slides in which the central midfielder Marrone receives from the central defender Terzi and first touch plays in vertical for the Striker Caputo who comes on to he ball.
 
 
 
 
 
To complete the description of the attack movements is missing only to emphasize the interpretation of the role of the two fullbacks. The fullbacks are, widely seen, as taking an active part in the movement of the ball at the beginning of action and the vertical acceleration and maneuvering. They play mainly in support and do not overlap with continuity on the outside. When they do it generally they take advantage of the space created by the cut inside of the winger. 


When teams do not have the ball Conte’s teams normally carry a relatively high pressure done by the central midfielders, wingers and strikers.
 
 
The defensive line rises along with the rest of the team, but, on the vertical play of the opponents, the coverage of the defender who attacks the ball or the ball carrier is still quite pronounced.
 
 
The defensive line in general when it’s not trying to put their opponents in offside, but keep the team compact, ready to retreat and save time when the ball crosses the line of midfielders. The attitude of the wingers, in high pressing, means that the responsible of the doubling in support of the two full backs are the central midfielders. In the slide below you can see how to double the winger is the central midfielder Carobbio, with Reginaldo in more advanced position.
 
 
At the center of the own area we see the team of Conte, at the crosses, take “man-to-man” marking the opponents. To complete the description of the behavior on the defense when the ball to side, widely debated in season of Juventus, we see the two slides that follow the principles of the technical teams of salentino coach: the cntral midfielder (Marrone) is covering the side, central defenders remain in the area where they take “man-to-man” marking, the central midfielder of the opposite side (Carobbio) can complement the defensive line and the winger of the weak side (Reginaldo) doesn’t make the “fifth” of defense (that is because the central defenders remain inside and because of man marking, is not absolutely necessary covering and always the whole space), but remains outside the area.
 
 
 
Obviously a line up that includes the wingers so high up during the attack and that gives them high pressing movements during non-possession is especially prepared for offensive transitions, enjoying several support points above the line of the ball. The effectiveness of the defensive transition is instead assigned to the position at ball possession of the fullbacks and the central midfielders, which, as widely stated, are playing mostly in a position of support of the four offensive players.
In brief, the Football of Antonio Conte is defined as an extremely organized Football, with clear principles and movements and passing lines coded and automated. The main feature of the phase of possession is the play with one-two touches, which provides persistent movement of the ball between defenders, even in rather low field zone and accepting the risks but not to “throw away” the ball. The movement of the ball is preparatory to the creation of spaces and invites opponents to pressure to “open the field” to the offensive play. The passage of ignition of the attack phase is almost always the work of a defender who vertically serves one of four offensive players. Triggered, the four play with great speed, with particular abundance of movement, fine, clear, synchronous in space and time. The play between the four forwards is the preferred movement for the search of goals. Phases of patient movement of the ball followed by sudden acceleration, with combinations of the four frantic attackers, thanks largely to an absolute accuracy of the times and spaces of movement.
Preventing the predictable questions on the ability of current players at Juventus and those matched by Juve at the start of the transfer market is perhaps useful to outline the ideal characteristics of the players in the interpretation of Antonio Conte 4-2-4. The allocation to the defenders of long periods of ball movement and the passage of the booster stages of attack involves the need for defensive players with good technique and timing of ball games. Bonucci, in this context, which exploded in Ventura ‘s Bari is no coincidence, that is valuable defender for this system. Much less is Chiellini. Ziegler, who is very close to Juventus, has a left foot good enough to play well in Conte’s 4-2-4.
In the centre of the field, the central midfielders of Conte’s 4-2-4 have few responsibilities in the construction phase of the maneuver, while being not in ball possession cover large portions of the field horizontally. Felipe Melo has characteristics suitable for those requests, Marchisio, excellent in a midfield of three, can be adapted because of its versatility, however, sacrificing the characteristics of advanced placement in the area. A bit ‘too “mobile” appears instead to be Sissoko. Pirlo, given for very close to Juventus, it is an unnecessary luxury in a system that excludes central-midfielder of “hot” phase of the attack, which requires large portions of the field to be covered and played one-two touches to respect the times of of the movements of the four attackers. The ‘love’ for the ball of Pirlo paradoxically could lead completely turns off of the offensive movements of the offensive quartet.
Among the wingers, Krasic could play the role playing on his stronger right foot. Pepe could be part of the winger battery. In any case, there would need another two wingers (including at least one if not both, left-footed) able to play inside the field and with technique, dribbling and ability to assist.
In the attack unit, very good Quagliarella and also well Matri. Appear completely superfluous Iaquinta, Amauri and Toni, too slow, not particularly gifted in terms of game times and not be able to play fast combinations with their colleagues. Whereas to Del Piero serves at least one other Striker. And, if I had to choose, the money, in such a system, I would invest heavily for a Striker (all right, due to his speed, technique and sense of goal as Aguero) and for a winger of the highest quality. 
 
by: Fabio Barcellona source : ucellinodidelpiero.com
adapted by: Mike Prise