Nikolic is a master of creating atmosphere in the team. He keeps a balance between young and experienced players, tries to establish interaction between them..
A coach can motivate players to become team leaders. He does not impose his principles, he tries to communicate diplomatically with the players and staff
Nikolic qualitatively works out a structured build-up for attacks for his teams. Both at the beginning and at subsequent levels of attack the basis is the creation of triangles. They are created by working out the game structure on the ball possession.
+ An adaptive specialist who can set the game based on available resources
+ He tries to keep a balance between young and experienced players. For the experienced to teach the young
+ Well developed young players
+ Qualitatively selects roles for players that reveal their best qualities
+ Ability to communicate with the media
- Variability in positional attack (difficulties when playing with the first number against low blocks).
- The game system can shackle some personalities
- Long assimilation of ideas (and successful implementation requires certain qualities from the players)
Date of Birth
Knowledge of languages
Jul 20, 1979 (42)
UEFA Pro License
Serbian, English, Russian
Footnote: * - Points per match
Marco communicates judiciously with journalists. He expresses his thoughts intelligently, consistently and measuredly.
Nikolic avoids the topic of refereeing, concentrating on the game of his team. Prove his successes, can take a hit on himself, removing pressure from the players
He tries to analyze and focus on his decisions without shifting the blame to the circumstances.
He has a negative incident in the media due to an incorrect racist statement during the match.
Structural build-up. Starting an attack through the triangles on the flank : CB (actively involved in the circulation and advancement of the ball) – CM (often bounce diagonally underhand in half-space zones to establish control over the ball) - fullback (creates width), regular switches in the direction of possession of the ball. In higher positions, the attacker create depth, wingers or CAM look for areas between the lines. Such a start of attacks allows you to lure out the opponent’s block onto yourself and free up more space for going on the attack.
Often there are diagonal passes from the flank zones to the area of the central axis to the zone between the opponent's lines: the opponent's defense line is held back by the attackers, and the upper block is lured out due to short combinations. Or there are throws long-balls/ throughball passes counter to the backs of the defense line into the zone. Against lower and compactness blocks: stretching of defensive block horizontally, looking for zones inside the block or on the far flank after a quick switch in the attack vector (creating isolations).
In the active phase of the attack, Nikolic qualitatively puts running into blind zones (runs behind) or into the channels between the defenders. His teams are good at creating and using zones. Emphasis is placed on jerking the attackers runs behind the backs of the defense line. A gradual bringing the ball into position is trained to bring the attacker into an active position behind the backs of the defensive line. Also, the penalty area is well filled, the same practice of running in and creating a dynamic advantage. Fast vertical attacks (including transitions) are trained qualitatively: running into zones, creating and filling zones in dynamics, quick use of open space (necessary timing). This works better against opponents with a high defensive line.
Well-placed fast attacks with filling depth and creating connecting options for moving the ball forward. After the tackle, Nikolic's teams try to verticalize the game.
A pair of strikers stay in higher positions for quick transitions and can open wide, and a third player can also be added: a CAM in a diamond or a far winger. One player is responsible for the connection of the defensive block and the players running into the space (CAMor one of the pair of wingers).
At least two attack zones behind the back of the defense line and stretch it. Added to this are good second tempo inclusions that create more options for moving the ball or completing fast counters
Adaptive style based on the quality organization of the game
Russian cup, Serbian champion, Slovenian champion,
11 matches in a row
3 matches in a row
Avg. term as coach
The coach works out combinations in triplets:
⁃ in flank triangles with escalation from the flank/half-space + good filling of the penalty area.
⁃ And interactions in the upper triangle in the rhombus ST-ST-CAM => creation of depth, good rotation of positions, adjustment, creation of zones for partners.
In the active phase of the attack, closer to the final third, the coach can use different ways to moving the ball to dangerous areas:
- Moving the ball across attack width: in 4-4-2 formations, emphasis on horizontal stretching of the opponent's block, with more emphasis on flank and half-space interactions
- and depth: runs behind the back, creating zones between the lines in the central axis in a 4-4- 2 diamond pattern with an emphasis on vertical stretch. Diagonal moving the ball from the flank to the center to the zone between the lines (to the overloaded center) and going into a fast attack.
He can act as a crisis manager for a short period. He can also build longterm projects with the gradual development of his game ideas.
The scheme itself is not of great importance for the coach, it is more important for him the quality of the players and their role on the field, finding the optimal role and positions for revealing qualities. The same pattern can be interpolated differently depending on the players. At the same time, the coach within different formations adheres to certain principles of the game, which he implements and conveys to the players.
Nikolic most often uses formations: 4-4-2 diamond, 4-3-2-1, 4-4-2 narrow. The coach can choose from a different pool of formations, but does not use formations with three centre-backs.
Alternative formation 4-4-2 Diamond
Basic formation 4-4-2 (narrow)
In demand in the
Has a positive reputation
The coach is in demand both in his country and abroad, therefore, since the beginning of his career in 2008, he has not been left without work for long periods (he has not missed more than a season).
Nikolic started his coaching career early. Therefore, Nikolic already has got a solid coaching experience in different countries, although he is considered young specialist.
He took charge of the club in the middle of the season and took second place in the championship in his first season with the club. In the second season, he entered the group stage of the Europa League, was in the lead in the championship and reached the cup final, but was fired without completing the season.
Played 8 matches without defeat and was fired after a racist scandal.
He returned to the team for the 16/17 season, in which he went on the 37-match unbeaten streak and won the golden double.
In the first season he won the championship title, and the next year he won the Hungarian Cup. In the 19/20 season, after several unsuccessful matches, he was fired from his post.
In the first season, he finished second in the national championship. The following year, he won the Russian Cup and took 3rd place in the championship. At the beginning of the 21/22 season, the coach left the post by mutualagreement.
Nikolic's training is based on: concentration, tactical set-up, intensity and keeping the pace of the game.
The coach is able to gradually introduce his principles and can find a compromise structure.
At a good level he can build a positional attack structure and play as the first number, but when he builds such a game, the coach lacks variability (when he builds positional attacks), so Nikolic's teams create bad chances against compactness defensive blocks. Also it takes a lot of time to implement and develop those ideas.
His teams play better and more dangerous in counterattacks, when there is space for active running into the zones. A coach can set up such a game faster than others and achieve results due to it in certain segments and against certain opponents.
Marko builds a good structure for moving the ball forward, he can work out mechanized combinations (ball passing) with high quality. Also, the structure of the ball possession allows create zones for players according to their strengths. This structure gives freedom to some players and can partially constrain others (who create these zones).
In defense he prefers to use an active middle block. He is able to build an organized player interactions at any level of defense.
In transitions, organization and the assimilation by players of certain systemforming principles play an important role in transitions. It also helps them to correctly interpret situations on the field.
Defense with a low block is also worked out at a good level and is based on the same principles (intensive pressure on the ball, locking the opponent in the flank zones) as in the middle block. The problems remain the same: horizontal compactness (control of the zone between the fullback and the close CB, to which is added the average practice of playing in the goal against flank attacks.
The basis for Nikolic is a compact and active middle block. With more aggressive pressure on the ball closer to his own third. In such a block, the emphasis is on intensive closing of the ball (the intensity and volume of movement from the players is important: for CM and fullbacks). Active defense is set up in their own half, players must react both to the ball (tackling from the back, closing the ball) and on the movement of opponents. it is important to work out timings and situations (zones) of entering the active phase of defense and a system of marking. Also, Nikolic's teams work out the defense on the flanks with high quality, which allows them to lock the opponent in the zone. But the narrow defensive block remains vulnerable to horizontal stretch (distance between players inside the line) and leaves open and more assa lable to switch of play to the far halfspace and flank from the ball.
Niklich's teams can use high pressure situationally. They can adapt well to the opponent. In pressure, 1v1 situations are created in the ball zone. But the pressure itself is built carefully, since active defense in the middle block is more important for Nikolic's teams. Active pressing is activated by triggers (passes to the flank or back).
The general organization of Nikolic's teams is also evident in this phase of the game. A good structure allows you to create compactness in the ball area after a loss and provide several safety lines in deeper positions.
Also, Nikolic's teams use a tactical foul quite often.
! Fickle character
! Can change clubs even after a successful season, looking for new challenges.
↑ The gradual development of the game model, the search for new ideas for the quality of the players
↑ Development of young players
↑ Maintaining a good team atmosphere
- Variation in positional attack
- Strict game structure can limit
- It is difficult for a coach to work in a tight schedule, without the presence of fullfledged training cycles
+ Adaptability (can organize a team well)
+ Ability to progress players, find new roles for them
+ High-quality development of the set piece (in attack and defense)
+ Preparing for an opponent
Nikolic is a strong specialist who in his work starts from the result. The result is achieved by a balance between his own principles based on organization and adaptability to a specific situation. For exemple, he pays attantion to the lineup, training conditions and rivals' training.
Marco is not an adherent of dominant and over-attacking football. In his work, the coach likes to attack more in space, build on the weaknesses of the opponent and use the proven structures of the game in all phases.
Marko Nikolic is able to organize a team both in a short time and in the long term to gradually implement and develop his game principles