How To Use Mezzala Effectively In Football Manager 24

The Mezzala role in Football Manager has been quite a popular one since its introduction to the game. 

Despite its increased recognition, there remains considerable ambiguity regarding the precise responsibilities associated with this midfielder role. 

The Mezzala is a dynamic central midfielder who operates as a ‘half winger’, exploiting half spaces from where he can create attacking chances. Mezzalas are effective in creating space and providing width to the play, They can also support attacking teammates while also defending high.

Some prefer them as the sole creative outlet of the team. Others use them to create overloads in the final third. 

Whichever it is, there’s no doubt about the potency of the role. And as a blog that’s literally named after the role, a comprehensive guide was well due. 

So here’s our detailed take on Mezzala— the role that every FM player loves.

What Makes A Good Mezzala

A good Mezzala has to be technically sound, while also possessing high game intelligence, stamina, and work rate. He must possess the attacking qualities to support the attack while being defensively solid to stop opposition counters. 

Mezzala, which means “half winger” in Italian, works in the middle of the field, kind of doing a mix of midfielder and winger duties. His main job is to help in the attack by running into the box and making opportunities for teammates. Alongside that, they also need to cover defensively when it’s needed.

So to play as a Mezzala, the player has to have enough stamina and work rate to cover a lot of grounds in offensive and defensive transitions. 

How To Use Mezzala in Football Manager 24

In Football Manager, Mezzalas are mostly used either as the main creative outlet of the team or as a dynamic runner in the final third. No matter the team mentality., the role holds a positive individual mentality in its approach.

As the Creator

As an effective playmaker of the team, we use Mezzala on a support duty. This will see him create devastating passes rather than making frequent runs into the channels.

For that, we need a player who possesses high passing ability, finding room for constant killer balls. He’ll have to have good first touch, technique, agility, composure, flair, and decision-making to complement his passing ability.

On support duty, the player will find himself constantly carrying the ball to support his teammates in advanced positions, requiring a high level of teamwork, work rate, and stamina.

Think about Kevin De Bruyne for Manchester City. He is the perfect example of a playmaker Mezzala. His job is to drift into the half spaces before making defense-splitting passes to forwards like Erling Haaland in a deadly position.

He will also arrive late in the opposition box to slot in chances from crosses.

Operating as the main creative outlet of the team means that a playmaker Mezzala shouldn’t be played alongside another playmaker role. 

We have to remember that even though Mezzalas do commit themselves to defensive actions, that’s mostly higher up the pitch, which is not enough against a breakthrough counterattack. 

So we need players who’ll be capable of providing cover in defensive transition. 

That can be achieved in different ways. 

Firstly, you can play a Mezzala in a three-man midfield diamond with a defensive midfielder covering him defensively, and a fellow center midfielder providing additional support. 

Or you can also opt for the following five player roles to help by holding the position, allowing him to roam from position:

  • Inverted Winger
  • Inverted Wing-back
  • Ball Playing Defender
  • Wide Center Back
  • Deep Lying Forward

Although the Inverted Winger and Deep Lying Forward can provide ample cover, you’d rather want them to charge the attacking line to receive deliveries from the player.

Instead, I like to play an Inverted wing back to sit narrow and support the midfield during the attacking phase.

As A Dynamic Runner

In this case, the Mezzala(Attack) will look to make dynamic runs into the channels, unsettling the defenders, and forcing them to make difficult decisions about whether to allow the player to make the run, or charge him down. 

And as you can guess, none of the options can be good for any defender. 

As a  runner, he will carry the ball less and instead will lurk around the final third, waiting to make runs inside the box. This can force defenders to mark him, leaving your striker wide open.

If they choose to ignore the Mezzala, he can simply punish them by receiving the ball in a dangerous position, choosing whether to shoot or find a teammate to seal the deal. 

To get the best out of him, you’ll need forwards on support duty to help him make attacking runs. Playing a deep-lying DM with a BBM can help you with that. 

You can consider Mezzala to be a more advanced version of the traditional box-to-box midfielder or orthodox segundo volante role in Football Manager. But he’ll look to drift wide and operate in the middle of the central and wide areas, making it hard to mark his movements.

Responsibilities of A Mezzala

As a player who has to cover a wide array of duties in different phases of the game, we’ve broken down Mezzala’s responsibilities into 4 different phases.

Attacking Transition

This is when the player will either charge forward with the ball on his feet and eventually drift wide, or make forward runs into wide, advanced positions to add a passing option in the opposition half.

Final Third Play

As a playmaker, the Mezzala(Support) will primarily stay in the pocket outside the box, similar to an Advanced Playmaker, and look to spray passes to find the forwards in favorable spots. 

He’ll arrive late in the box to receive crosses or move to the wing, covering for inside forwards.

On Attack Duty, the player will make charging runs into the channels past the defensive line, much like an advanced forward. He’ll play as one of the attacking outlets inside the final third.

Defensive Transition

During defensive transitions, the Mezzala will initially press high, trying to win the ball as soon as possible rather than falling back to regroup.

Defensive Duties

Once the team falls back into the defensive phase of the play, the Mezzala will maintain a balanced defensive position. 

He won’t push forward aggressively to win the ball. Neither will he drop too deep to allow pressure.

Mezzala: Player Instructions

We’ve already explained how the Mezzala plays differently on Support and Attack duty. It’s time to learn about their default instructions in Football Manager for separate duties. 

On support duty

Trigger PressLess often
Attacking WidthStay Wider
MovementGet Further Forward, Move into Channels
Freedom of MovementRoam From Position
Passing DirectnessStandard
Passing RisksStandard

On Attack Duty

Trigger PressLess often
Attacking WidthStay Wider
MovementGet Further Forward, Move into Channels
Freedom of MovementRoam From Position
Passing DirectnessStandard
Passing RisksTake More Risks

Clearly, there’s not much difference between the Attack and Support variations of the role other than their preferences when it comes to passing risks.

Attributes of A Mezzala in Football Manager

Being a huge supporting role to the team’s attack, the Mezzala must possess high technical and physical attributes to polish their movements. 

Here are the key attributes of a Mezzala on Support duty according to Football Manager 24:

  • Dribbling
  • First Touch
  • Long Shots
  • Passing
  • Tackling
  • Technique
  • Anticipation
  • Composure
  • Decisions
  • Off The Ball
  • Vision
  • Work Rate
  • Acceleration
  • Balance
  • Stamina

As we can see, the focused attributes for support duty lean more toward the playmaking side of Mezzala’s game. He is expected to provide a supportive role to the attackers, while also covering some defensive duties.

For attack duty, the focused attributes are slightly changed to put more emphasis in his attacking play.

According to Football Manager 2024, here are the key attributes of a Mezzala on Attack duty:

  • Dribbling
  • Finishing
  • First Touch
  • Long Shots
  • Passing
  • Technique
  • Anticipation
  • Composure
  • Decisions
  • Flair
  • Off the Ball
  • Vision
  • Work Rate
  • Acceleration
  • Balance
  • Stamina

The Mezzala on Attack duty is expected to make frequent attacking runs in the box from half spaces, getting in a position to take shots, or make crosses. As a result, Football Manager highlights the finishing and flair as core attributes for the duty. 

Other than the key attributes, a Mezzala must also possess a good level of the following attributes in FM 24:

  • Teamwork
  • Agility
  • Pace
  • Crossing

These attributes are complementary to the way Mezzala operates in the advanced areas of the pitch. 

Recommended Traits of A Mezzala

These are the most desirable traits one should look for in a Mezzala:

Arrives Late In Opponent’s Area

This trait increases the frequency with which a player will look to arrive late into the box when his teammates are approaching a crossing position.

A Mezzala on Support duty can capitalize on this trait by arriving late in the box during crosses. This will leave him open and unmarked inside the opponent’s penalty box.

Note: “Get Forward Whenever Possible” is a contrasting trait to “Arrives Late in Opponent’s Area”. The latter trait is suitable for the player on Support Duty.

Likes Ball Played Into Feet

This trait will make the player ask for the ball into his feet rather than into space or any other part of the body.

Receiving the ball directly to his feet allows the player to make quick playmaking actions without wasting precious seconds controlling the ball. 

Moves into Channels

This is more or less expected from the Mezzala.

Players with this trait will move into the space between the central position and a wide attacking position.

This allows the player to draw defenders out of their position, opening up gaps in the opponent’s defensive shape. It also disrupts the man-marking operation of the opponent, forcing them to close down the player from taking shots.

Tries Killer Balls Often

Players with this trait will constantly try out defense-splitting passes to find the forwards in a favorable goal-scoring position. 

This is a core trait of any playmaker who is expected to make key chances.

So expect a lot of through-ball attempts.

Gets Forward Whenever Possible

This trait is for Mezzalas on Attack Duty who are expected to make frequent runs inside the box to overcrowd the box. 

It requires a high level of stamina, work rate, and determination to constantly make runs forward. Keep that in mind. 

From the looks of it, these are sets of traits meant for advanced midfield roles

Tactics & Formations For A Mezzala

In Football Manager 2023, using a Mezzala can work well with various tactics and formations. 

One popular setup is the 4-1-4-1, having a holding midfielder and two no. 8s. 

The holding midfielder focuses on defense, while the no. 8s get more freedom. For a good balance, it’s suggested to place two Mezzalas in the no. 8 positions, one on attack duty and the other on support duty.

Other effective formations for a Mezzala include:

  • 4-3-3: This promotes an attacking mindset, with the Mezzala alongside two central midfielders. Choose the side based on the player’s favored foot.
  • 3-5-2: With three central defenders, this offers solid defense, and the Mezzala can play with two central midfielders or as an advanced midfielder.
  • 4-2-3-1: The Mezzala can pair with a deep-lying playmaker or a ball-winning midfielder, offering support for the striker and creating width for the wingers.

Mezzala: Strengths & Weaknesses

When implemented correctly, the Mezzala can be tremendously crucial for your side’s attacking threat. 

However, the role has its set of weaknesses that can be exploited at times. 

Let’s have a look at the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Mezzala role:

Strengths 

  • Creates space with agile and varied movements, supporting the attack.
  • Creates high-quality goal-scoring chances for teammates.
  • Draws defenders from their defensive shape, opening up gaps. 
  • Can adapt to different tactical setups and formations.
  • Is a goalscoring threat himself
  • Difficult to man-mark

Weaknesses

  • Requires teammates to support him and cover for him defensively.
  • Requires high stamina and work rate due to covering a lot of ground.
  • Can be isolated in a tightly compressed low-block system.

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