Samapoli employs a variety of tactical formations, although his approach has long shown a desire to organise the game around a 1-4-3-3 shape. At Sevilla he doesn’t shy away from 1-4-2-3-1 or 1-3-4-3 to 1-5-4-1, but these are neither experiments nor a desire to adapt to the opposition. By changing the formation Sampaoli defends his own team’s retention of a key element of the style: moving the ball forward as fast as possible. He makes sure there are plenty of rotations and movement on the pitch, trying to play as long as possible in the opponent’s half.
He is a particularly attack-minded coach so he makes sure that Sevilla regularly move forward from as high a position on the pitch as possible. This approach based on ball possession, determines a desire to dominate his rivals and a high involvement of the whole team in the building phase.
Therefore his defensive schemes focus on aggressive pressing and fast recovering the ball in a high or, at most, medium block. He often uses outside pressing in an attempt to push and close down his opponent on one side of the pitch, then bring him into a numerical advantage there with the task of winning the ball. In the deeper variant the defensive midfielder together with the goalkeeper and the two wide positioned central defenders form a diamond structure.
In high pressing it is the offensive midfielders who initiate Sevilla’s first line of pressure, always in the direction of the first pass, while at the same time the two central midfielders move together from the second line to reduce the space available for passing through the centre.
In the offensive third, Sevilla‘s midfielders often play in different lines to create more options for passing and provide more potential movement paths for the attackers.
The offensive midfielders active in quick short passes combinations are supported by the high and wide positioned wing-backs, who play direct balls and passes from deep in the area when this option of play fails. Anyway the variety of offensive variants used by Sampaoli is greater with the only common denominator remaining deep positioning behind the line of the ball and a numerical advantage in the offensive third.