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The Project 2012 (Updated for FM12)

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I've updated this with a few new bits and decided I'll have a seperate discussion thread. That way I can post all the info in here and people will be able to read it much better. I will be adding a lot more to this over the next month, I've done a lot more than I've posted already. It's just a case of finding the time to post it all up, it takes quite a while with all the images etc :)

I’ve not seen a thread like this on the forums ever. So I will try and explain how player attributes are used in game and show what attributes are used. By the end of this when it is all finished I should have highlighted how each attribute work in a game scenario just to give you a general idea. This will be a lot to read and take in, but for anyone wanting to learn how the game works then it is important you understand how the attributes work and what they do.

To start off I will just highlight a goal scored in my Aston Villa game. I will add other explanations for other areas of the pitch at some point but for now this should give you a general idea on how they work as a whole. Before I start I would also like to thank Sfraser as he had a massive amount of input into this threadJ. Also because of how the new forums don’t show pictures properly in threads I’ll just post links to the pictures until SI (hopefully) wider the forum.

While most people have a general idea of what each player attribute does it seems many users still have confusion over what stats and attributes are used during a move. Hopefully this will go a long way to clearing a lot of things up and it might make you think about tactics in a different light. It’s not easy trying to figure out which attributes are used at times as some are similar to each other. But hopefully you’ll understand what I’ve written and be able to see in the screenshots and explanations.

I’ll break the move down into three stages so it doesn’t become too confusing.

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Here goes;


Stephen Ireland the player circled in blue has attempted to do a cross field pass to Shaun Wright Phillips. This was to exploit the space down my right side due to my formation as I lack width on this side. It looks like Stephen Warnock (the yellow arrow) will struggle to get across to cover. But that isn’t strictly true as Warnock is in a good starting position to make an interception. So before anything happened the defenders
attribute was already working. Let’s remind ourselves what positioning actually means;

Positioning is the ability of a player to read a situation and position himself in the best possible position to deal with the unfolding events. Anticipation will help him in the first stage but in terms of his actual positioning, it comes down to this attribute. A higher rating will ensure the player takes up a better position.

also plays a part due to the player needing to anticipate how Shaun Wright Phillips makes his movement. Because anticipation also plays a part here is how that works;

How well a player can predict and react to an event. If a player has a high attribute here he can read the game well and react to situations quicker than others. This attribute works well with ‘Off the Ball’.

Now we have a general idea of what the first 2 attributes used do we need to look at the move a little closer. I won’t mention off the ball just yet as that is mainly an attacking attribute only as defensive players need positioning instead. They are the only 2 attributes (apart from goalkeeping attributes) that are specific to defensive or attacking players. Off the ball is for attacking players and positioning for defenders.

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Stephen Warnock manages to come across and pressure Shaun Wright Phillips. Even though SWP is the faster player when he was waiting for the pass from Stephen Ireland he was facing the wrong way. This meant that Warnock had the upper hand as he was facing the correct way due to the position he took up. This allowed him to use his a
to come across and cover.

Acceleration is how quickly a player can reach top speed (pace) from a standing start. It therefore ties in very closely with the Pace attribute.

There is in fact a fairly obvious superiority of
Anticipation, Composure, Determination and Workrate
. This is one of the reasons why Stephen Warnock got to the ball first, along with the attributes already mentioned above.

By showing a good amount of composure it allowed him to stay calm and not rush into making a tackle. Here is a reminder of what composure does.

The player’s steadiness of mind and ability, particularly with the ball. When faced with a big goalscoring chance or heavy pressure defensively, a player with high composure will be able to keep his head and more often than not make an intelligent decision which is beneficial to the team.

I also mentioned determination which is;

A commitment to succeed. A determined player will give everything in order to win. This ties in with Bravery – players with a high attribute in one of these attributes may also be high in the other as the traits necessary are similar.

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Once Warnock knew what he had to do he was very determined to get to the ball. His workrate also allowed this to happen.

This reflects the player’s mental drive to work hard. A high rating will ensure a player wants to work his socks off from start to finish, but he will need the necessary physical attributes to actually be able to pull it off. Nonetheless, it is an admirable trait to have in your team.

Then once side by side with SWP it came down to Warnock’s
making in what he should do.

The ability of a player to make a correct decision a majority of the time. This attribute is important in every position but perhaps more so for central defenders and midfielders, who will see a lot of the ball and have a number of options when in possession.

He decided to make a tackle but he could have quite easily decided to force him wide. But on this occasion he made the correct call to make the tackle. He wins the ball passes it to the striker who then comes deep and loses it. But luckily Warnock was on hand again to repeat the above as SWP looked to win the ball back.

So for me this moved worked as follows;

Positioning – Anticipation – Acceleration – Determination – Workrate – Composure – Decisions.

Sfrazer also made a good spot here in regards to this move;

Also I don't know if you noticed, but just before Warnock plays the ball to Milner, both Milner and Agbonlahor are facing in the direction that the possible move Milner refuses and the eventual move that leads to the goal comes from. That may not have any relevance whatsoever but I thought it might be worth pointing out. It could indicate just how early both players have anticipated the move. Indeed just before Warnock receives the ball after the contest between Toure and Agbonlahor, he turns to face Milner then receives the ball then dribbles infield past the poorly positioned Adrien to pass to the excellent choice of Milner. If you look at how the Aston Villa players involved in the build-up to the goal turn and move, it looks very clear to me that each move has been Anticipated well in advance and that each player has turned and looked in exactly the direction of each subsequent pass quite a few touches prior to execution.

This can be highlighted in this screenshot;


From viewing the clip several times it is clear that Warnock does consider passing to Adrien but realises he isn’t in the best position and decided to cut infield and pass to James Milner. It is hard to show the full movement of the above in just a screenshot. So I’ll also add the PKM to the end of the post so people can download it and see for themselves the events we are talking about.

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Part Two of the Move

Once Stephen Warnock wins the ball for a second time, he then comes infield and picks a pass to James Milner.


As Milner received the ball Manchester City’s defence have already begun to step up meaning I have two player’s off-side. The thing that stands out here is that Milner could play the ball through first time. Had he done so however, Agbonlahor would have been half a yard offside. Beyond the technical difficulty of the first-time pass, I see no reason to imagine that Milner would not have considered it, seeing as how he spots the next pass. Therefore in my opinion
has come into play in Milner before he even touches the ball, to make him refuse the bad pass to the offside Agbonlahor.

The attributes brought into play by receiving the pass goes like this;

Anticipation – First Touch – Composure – Technique

He anticipates he’ll receive the pass from Warnock. Then when he gets the pass his first touch is excellent. Important to the First Touch is the fact that Milner has anticipated the pass. Again turning to look at the ball and the passer before it reaches him. Had he not anticipated the pass then irrespective of his First Touch/Composure etc. the pass would have bounced off him? First touch is;

How good a player’s first touch is when receiving possession. A higher rating will ensure that the player can trap the ball quicker and put it in a useful position to then act upon. Players with lower ratings here will struggle to control the ball as adeptly and may be prone to losing the ball if closed down quickly.

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Composure then comes into the equation and allows him to not panic about receiving such a difficult ball. Technique also plays a part here;

Technique is the aesthetic quality of a player’s technical game – how refined they appear to be with the ball. A player with high technique will be more likely to pull off a tricky pass or a cross-field ball with greater ease than someone less technically able. This in turn affects a number of technical attributes – poorer technique will let a player down.

This is also an important attribute when first touch is used, they go hand in hand.


The next attribute that really sticks out is Determination. Look at how Milner attacks the game immediately after controlling the ball. That is a determined run, by a mile. There is a bit of Agility, Dribbling, Acceleration, and I would say perhaps Aggression and almost certainly Workrate involved. No doubt a bit of Composure and Technique as well, and Anticipation of the challenge of the number 7 Ireland. Overall though, Determination is written all over that move.

The two attacking player’s in this move are way offside that is why Milner makes the decision to run with the ball. His run is determined but he is also anticipating that Agbonlahor will get back on side. For this to happen Agbonlahor needed to show great determination and acceleration to be able to get back in time. Milner’s timing is crucial here because if he plays the ball now then the whole move collapses. So his decision to hold onto the ball and drive forward before picking the pass is down to his decision making and determination to see the move succeed. Another thing is this move is Teamwork;

How well the player follows tactical instructions and works for and alongside his team-mates. A team full of players with a high rating here will work better as a unit. Players with lower ratings will slack off and not ‘buy in’ to the team ethos.

Concentration played a very important role in the move as well.
The Concentration aspect of the move can be shown in how well each player anticipates each other’s movements throughout the move. As this move is early in the match, the final action in the move is a matter of split seconds between pass and run. If this was later in the match then both players might lose Concentration in the later parts of the move and mis-time or even fail to spot the final run or final pass of the move.

Concentration is;

This reflects a player’s concentration on an event-by-event basis. A high rating here will mean the player can concentrate harder for longer and be able to respond to incidents late in the game just as well as he did early on. Lower concentration will see players lose focus and perhaps become liable to mistakes at crucial times in the match.

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Part Three


It’s quite clear that Milner and Agbonlahor are working together here because of what happens next. Agbonlahor gets back onside and is on the defenders blind side. As soon as Agbonlahor is back on side he starts to move forward again. Milner then plays a worldclass ball over the top for him to run onto. For him to be able to do this he has shown good anticipation, concentration, teamwork and decision making. In fact Milner looks to be waiting for Agbonlahors runs, showing Concentration and Teamwork, and the Anticipation of the precise timing of the pass is very good. Almost perfect give or take a few milliseconds and quarter of a yard. Concentration plays a large role here in my opinion.

The Teamwork aspect of the move can been seen in how many of the components of each players movements are linked together, in how early they both start playing the move together even before the pass and the run. A low Teamwork player might only spot the run, or the pass, instead of actually moving around before hand to assist his teammate in making the move easier to pull off.

The above is vital and you need to watch the PKM and view the first goal, to get a good understanding of what happened here. No amount of pictures or explanation can describe exactly what happened like viewing the clip would show.

Agbonlahor shows good off the ball due to his movement throughout the move. He knows exactly where he should be and knows the run he needs to make. Anticipation once again is also important. Here is what off the ball does;

A player’s movement without the ball. Similar to Anticipation, this is how well a player, particularly attacking ones, can assess a situation and then move off the ball, making themselves available to receive a pass in a dangerous position.

Once he gets back on side then he uses his agility to turn and make a run onto the ball from Milner.

Agility reflects how well a player can start, stop, and move in different directions at varying levels of speed (pace). It ties in with the Pace, Acceleration, and Balance attributes as they work together in the match engine, especially when a player is running with the ball.

As you can see agility uses a lot of other player attributes and it’s them all combined what makes the difference. However for this move it doesn’t matter than Agbonlahor doesn’t possess great balance or agility because the defender is on the back foot. Due to Agbonlahor running back from an offside position he’s managed to get onto the blind side of the defender. So already he has the advantage. All he needed was for Milner to execute the ball well and he would be away. And that’s what happened.

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Once the ball comes over the top of the defender the striker already has a good 5 yards advantage and would never catch someone as fast as Agbonlahor up. He doesn’t even need a good first touch for this as he lets the ball bounce in front of him. He almost runs onto a dead ball by the time he gets on the end of it. Then he picks his corner and fires it home to make it 0-1.

So this move came about using;

Off the ball – Anticipation – Agility – Acceleration – Pace – Strength -
Composure – Decisions – Technique - Finishing

Apart from pace and acceleration, Agbonlahor is quite poor in the other attributes. But that didn’t matter this time due to him getting into a position what allowed him time and space without been under too much pressure.


The player circled in red is trying to attempt a last ditch tackle just as Gabby is about to fire the ball home. The other defender Toure is just behind Agbonlahor and from viewing the clip several times you can see he tried to out muscle Gabby off the ball. But Agbonlahor is quite strong so he just dismissed Toure’s attempt and shrugged it off. Toure had one attempt to muscle him off the ball as he was behind the attacker so couldn’t tackle him as he would have given the penalty away.

The finish was also important. Finishing is;

The player’s ability to put the ball in the back of the net when presented with a chance. A high finishing attribute will put the shot on target a majority of the time as a bare minimum but compared to a player with poorer finishing will find the places where the goalkeeper can’t save it. This is purely the ability of the player to perform an accurate shot – Composure and Decisions will also impart on the ability of a player to score consistently.

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The next bit of this guide will look at certain moments from the same game. This should allow me to pick out key things that will highlight the rest of the attributes I’ve not mentioned yet. Plus the PKM is already uploaded should people decide to watch the game.

So far I’ve mentioned;









First Touch



Off the Ball





In this screenshot it is a simple move that Fernando Gago does. He gets the ball and runs past Lee Cattermole. For this he used composure, technique, concentration, dribbling, balance, decisions, creativity and pace.

Dribbling is;

This refers to the player’s ability to dribble with the ball. This is purely his proficiency with the ball at his feet – his Pace, Acceleration, Agility, and Balance will all aid his dribbling in different circumstances, and whilst a higher dribbling attribute will also help him in different situations, dribbling alone isn’t enough to get by.

I also mentioned balance which is;

Balance reflects simply how well a player can keep his balance in situations both with and without the ball. With the ball, it refers to how balanced he is running with it and evading opponents, without it, it refers to his balance when facing a player running at him, or his stability when turning/jumping.

As the player is not instructed to run with the ball in his settings, then it is obvious his creativity played a part in the move.

This refers to a player’s vision and ability to see a potential opening, not necessarily exploit it. A player might be able to see something to take advantage of but also requires the technical proficiency to pull it off.

He saw he had a good chance of running past Lee Cattermole (due to his creativity) and then used his
attribute to decide to do it.


Then he gives the ball to Fabian Delph and drops back. For this he used passing, composure, teamwork, workrate and positioning.

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Adebayor who is circled in red is just about to receive the ball. Now if you look at my defensive midfielder you’ll see he is in a good position, especially as Adebayor is facing the wrong way. Then Adebayor starts to run towards the flank as he looks to turn and run towards my goal.


But he shows a bit too much of the ball allowing my defensive midfielder to slide in and take the ball away from him. For this Gago showed good positioning, marking, anticipation, bravery, determination, aggression, tackling, acceleration, concentration, workrate, and decisions.

We’ve already covered positioning so let’s move straight onto marking;

How well players, mainly defensive types, mark an opponent. Marking alone will see them do a good job if the attribute is high, but remember that other attributes – Strength, Off the Ball, Anticipation – will play a part in the effectiveness of the marking, as well as the comparable physical statures of the two players.

He also needed to be brave as he did a sliding tackle;

How committed and indeed, brave, a player is. Braver players will risk injury more in situations a lesser-minded player may shy away from. They’ll go in where it hurts and lay it on the line for the team.

We’ve not mentioned aggression before so here goes;

This reflects a player’s attitude in terms of playing mentality but is not necessarily a dirtiness indicator. A more aggressive player will look to involve himself in every incident and get stuck in, perhaps at the expense of a yellow card or two. A less aggressive player may shy away from situations and merely drop into his comfort zone.

And finally tackling which does exactly as it says on the tin;

How successfully the player is at winning tackles and not conceding fouls from such situations. Players with a high tackling rating will consistently win the ball cleanly and be a more capable defensive player

What we are beginning to see here is that a lot of the same attributes are used in all moves. Thing’s like decisions, anticipation, positioning and concentration seem to be more prominent than other attributes and are required for all actions a player does on the field. This is why it can hard to see how attributes work in game.

There are a lot of other factors involved in how attributes work, namely the team and individual settings you have instructed them to follow. But we will talk about the link between attributes and settings once all the attributes have been covered. This thread is just a basics understanding of what each attribute does before we move onto the more difficult stuff regarding player settings. That requires a lot more time and attention due to the sheer amount information we need to squeeze into them. But for now we’ll continue with the attributes and hopefully have this finished by the start of next week

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The other outfield attributes that I’ve not mentioned so far are;


This attribute reflects how well the player takes a corner. Taking advantage of set-pieces is important, and having a capable corner taker to put the ball into key areas is useful.


This indicates a player’s proficiency at crossing the ball from wide areas into the penalty box.


This is a player’s competence in aerial situations. Heading applies to all situations and is only about the player’s ability to head the ball well. Jumping (and to a lesser extent Strength) plays a big part in combination with heading to utilize the attribute to a greater level, as well as a player’s height.


This attribute related to how high a player can jump from a standing start.

Natural Fitness

How fit a player is as standard – his base level of fitness. It affects how many games he is likely to be able to perform to peak physical fitness in before becoming noticeably tired and susceptible to injury.


A natural talent for the creative and occasional unpredictability. A player with a lot of flair will be one of the key attacking components in any team but at the same time may need tactical restraint to get the best out of him. Flair and Creativity work well together.

The reason I’m not showing you how flair and creativity work in game just yet, is because I can discuss it more and put the point across a lot better but showing you how it works with the individual and team settings we choose. I feel it will be better served expanding on this when discussing those aspects.


Influence is the player’s ability to affect events or other players without any intentional effort. Players with high influence will be leaders on the pitch and team-mates will tend to rally around these players.

Free Kick Taking

This reflects how good at taking free kicks the player is. It applies to both direct shots at goal and deliveries into dangerous areas from wider or deeper positions. A player who is proficient in taking free kicks can be a valuable commodity – scoring five free kicks a season and adding five more assists from them can be a huge bonus.

Long Shots

This is the player’s prowess at shooting from distance – from outside the penalty area. It is largely a stand-alone attribute but pay attention to any PPMs the player may have which complement their long shots rating.

Long Throws

The ability of the player to perform a long throw, which can be taken advantage of in attacking situations.

Penalty Taking

The ability of the player from the penalty spot. A player with a high rating here will be more confident and capable from 12 yards.

These attributes are easy to see in game and are simple to understand. So there is no need to show how these work in a game situation. These are the easier attributes to see.

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Goalkeeper attributes are probably one of the harder set of attributes to see in game. I’ll go into detail about a few of them now but a lot of them will be more visible to see and understand how they work when we talk about how attributes affect what we’ve instructed a player to do.

Aerial Ability

This is a goalkeeper’s ability to deal with the ball in aerial situations – punching and catching. Goalkeepers with higher ratings here will be able to deal with these potentially tricky situations more capably. Taller goalkeepers may have an advantage as well, but that isn’t to say smaller ones will struggle.

When you see a keeper coming for an aerial ball this is what he uses. Agility, balance, strength, concentration, determination, jumping, positioning, composure and anticipation all have an effect. All these attributes are used to determine if he will get to the ball, whether he gets the ball all depends on his handling.


How securely the goalkeeper holds onto the ball when making a save or coming for a loose ball. Greater handling will be beneficial in unfavourable weather conditions, but in general a goalkeeper who doesn’t give up rebounds will be useful.

Command of Area

This affects how well the goalkeeper takes charge of his penalty area and works with his defensive line. A goalkeeper who commands his entire box (i.e. has a high rating) will be instinctive and look to take charge of situations, especially coming for crosses (therefore working in tandem with Aerial Ability). Do note, however, that a high rating only increases his penchant for coming for crosses and not necessarily claiming them all.


How well a goalkeeper communicates with his defensive line and organises the defensive side of the team. A higher rating reflects a better communicator and will allow your back five (or more) to work better together, ensuring better defensive stability.

This is vital for sorting out defensive free kicks, a higher communication will allow for the defensive wall to be set more accurate with the right number of people in it.


This attribute represents the likelihood of the goalkeeper to do the unexpected and typically act completely un-like a goalkeeper. Things like dribbling out of his area will be commonplace if the eccentricity attribute is high.

Ever seen your goalkeeper do something weird for no apparent reason? This
be the reason why.


The physical capability of a goalkeeper to kick the ball – this purely defines the distance he can reach. His Passing and Technique ratings will define how accurate his kicks are.

One on Ones

The ability of the goalkeeper to do well when faced with an opponent in a one on one situation. Higher attributes will see goalkeepers attempt to impose themselves and win the ball with confidence.

When faced with a one on one situation, anticipation, decisions, composure, concentration, balance, agility, positioning, reflexes and rushing all will all come into the equation at some stage of the move. The higher the attributes for all those then the more likely he would be to deal with the situation.


How good the goalkeeper is at making instinctive reaction saves. If he has a high reflexes rating he will be able to respond to the unpredictable with more success and be able to pull off the highlight reel saves.

Rushing Out

How good the goalkeeper is at coming off his line to react to through balls and similar situations. A goalkeeper will benefit from Pace and Acceleration here as well.

Tendency to Punch

This determines whether a goalkeeper will catch the ball when he can, or punch it clear. A higher rating reflects a tendency to punch most things clear even when it may be possible to hold onto the ball.


How good the goalkeeper’s distribution with his arms is. A higher rating will increase the accuracy of his throws, although Strength imparts on the distance he is able to reach.

Trying to show these attributes working in screenshots wouldn’t get them across well enough. So I am working on some videos to illustrate this better. But that will take a while longer, so I’ll edit the thread and add the links once finished. Might take me a while though as I’ve never done videos before.

Now I’ve covered the rest of the attributes I can move onto showing them in practise in a game and illustrate exactly what impact they have on the settings you select.

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Next we take a look at the impact that attributes have on the style of play that you choose to use.

Looking at the attributes of your players is also a good way to determine what type of football they can play. Whether you want to play defensive or attacking football the attributes are very important to determine if they can play this way. I think this is an area that is overlooked by most folks and they just tend to pick how they want to play off the top of their head. Regardless of if they have the right players available to play this way. This is why so many people struggle to find consistency in my opinion because they don’t have the correct players. So let’s take a closer look at the attributes and see what you should look for.


To play a defensive type of game it is important that your team is able to keep the shape at all times. This will make you hard to break down and mean you are well organised. When playing defensive if you don’t keep the shape it will mean you have holes in your tactics and the opposition will exploit them. Plus if you don’t keep shame then the whole philosophy is flawed to begin with. The players must be alert for the full 90 minutes and be on-the ball so to speak. Any lapse in concentration can be very costly especially late in games. It also requires you getting men back behind the ball. Remember also that someone defensive minded will be less ambitious with their passing.

Technical Attributes

Tackling – This is important for all players who will be back behind the ball.

Marking – You’ll want the player’s to be able to pick up their man and stick with him. One slip up by not marking properly and you could start to see gaps appear in your shape.

Heading – Because you’re defensive the chances are a lot of balls over the top and crosses from the wings will be a big issue. So you’ll want the defenders to be able to cope with these. Heading across the field in general will be a big bonus but it’s vital for the defence to be able to deal with aerial threats.

Mental Attributes

To be able to stay focused and keep the team shape players need to be mentally aware of problems and potential problems. So they must have good mental attributes to excel under pressure and reduce the amount of mistakes they make.

Anticipation – Player’s need to be aware of danger before it happens

Composure – The calmer the player is on the ball the less hurried his next action will be. You want people who won’t panic on the ball and give possession away cheaply. Especially when in your own half

Concentration – It’s no use having players who might switch off at any moment. You need them focused at all times.

Positioning – You want them positioned well enough to force pressure if it’s needed. This also helps the players keep the shape of the formation.

Teamwork – As the team will be playing as a defensive unit then it’s important all players are on the same page and working together.

Workrate – Players need to have a good work ethic as they’ll have lots of running about to do. You need the players to want to work hard for the result.

Physical Attributes

Acceleration – You need people to be able to be fast over short distances to cover other players. Or for them to pick up and loose balls quickly. It will also help with getting across to mark a player or to close him down.

Balance - A player who falls over easily and isn’t on his feet is out of the game.

Jumping – This will help in defensive situations. Remember this is needed for the heading attribute and works hand in hand with that.

Strength – Having a high attribute for this will ensure he can hold his own against the opposition should they get close to each other. You don’t want your players to get out muscled and knocked off the ball.

Stamina – You’ll want players who won’t get tired after 20 minutes of a game. The higher the attribute the more they can cope with high level physical activities.

Some might argue that other attributes should be on the list and that could possibly be the case. But for me these are the important ones for playing defensively. A few of you would have probably put decisions on the list and I'd agree to a certain extent. But for me playing defensively is more about getting the players to follow my own instructions I've set rather. So for this reason I omitted decisions from the list.

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A Normal Approach

A normal approach is neutral and doesn’t concentrate on one aspect more than the other. It will provide the right balance between defence and attack. Meaning the players are less likely to take risks defensively or attacking.

Technical Attributes

First Touch – You want the players to be comfortable when receiving the ball. This prevents risks if they can control the ball at first time of asking.

Passing – It’s important that the players don’t take risks and lose the ball needlessly.

Tackling - The midfielders will need decent tackling so they can win the ball back and start attacks early.

Mental Attributes

Anticipation – This attribute is important for all most everything. So it’s no surprise I think its need here again. Much for the same reasons already mentioned further up the guide.

Aggression – Having a high attribute for this will make the player more likely to get involved in an incident and get stuck in.

Composure – The calmer the player is on the ball the less hurried his next action will be. You want people who won’t panic on the ball and give possession away cheaply.

Decisions – Making the correct decision is important for any good football player. As you are playing a more neutral game its important they make the correct decision.

Teamwork – It probably feels like I am repeating a lot of attributes and that would be the right assessment. But a lot of them do tie into all aspects of the game as hopefully we are beginning to demonstrate throughout the guide. Teamwork is important in that you want the team as a unit. So anything that requires you to work as a team and not individuals will always require a high teamwork attribute throughout the team.

Physical Attributes

Stamina – This is the only attribute I’d put for this part for the same reasons as the defensive one.

Playing a normal game means teams won’t excel at one particular area of the game. They should try and be competitive in all areas equally and not be ‘really good’ at anything.

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Attacking football is all about player movement and how well you distribute the ball. You look to put pressure on the opposition and commit players forward. Then when the time is right you’ll look to carve open the defence with intelligent play and skill. While at the same time been aware of how open you are for the counter attack.

Technical Attributes

Dribbling – You want players who are comfortable with the ball at their feet and who can commit defenders. This will help create space and openings.

First Touch – Is vital ingredient for any player playing attacking football. Players who lack good first touch will miss good opportunities for running at defences or important passes.

Passing – You want people in the side who can distribute the ball well to take advantage of situation in the game. Poor distribution will lead to missed opportunities.

Technique - Technique is the aesthetic quality of a player’s technical game – how refined they appear to be with the ball. A player with high technique will be more likely to pull off a tricky pass or a cross-field ball with greater ease than someone less technically able. This in turn affects a number of technical attributes – poorer technique will let a player down.

Mental Attributes

Anticipation – You’ll want the players to anticipate the movement of others around them as well as the type of ball they might be about to receive.

Composure – This will help with how comfy a person is on the ball in hurried situations. So when under pressure from the opposition will still attempt their ‘original decision’.

Creativity – For cutting open those defences you’ll want people who are creative. Plus it will help it spotting an opening or a different type of pass.

Flair – This goes hand in hand with creativity so can’t have one without the other.

Decisions – A player should be able to make the correct decision if more than one option is available. As you’ll be attacking then making the right decision is important and will be the difference between a goal and defending a counter attack.

Off The Ball – Movement is the key to all attacking formations and play. If an attacking player has a low rating then he’ll be less likely to find a little bit of space and make the right movement to beat his marker before he receives the goal. Sometimes it can be the difference that gives you that extra yard.

Teamwork – Again this is needed to play as a unit. But if you have a few special talents in your side that might be better playing as individuals then this isn’t as important. But very few teams have that kind of luxury.

Physical Attributes

Pace – I like to play fast paced attacking football so for me pace is essential. Especially for player’s who like to drive forward and beat their man. It’s important for me that they can reach the top speed.

Acceleration – This will provide that little edge in gaining an extra yard on the opposition. This and pace are very important.

Agility – Provides the player the ability to turn fast if needed. Ideally all attacking players should be agile when playing an attacking game. As they’ll be receiving the ball a lot and sometimes might find themselves with it when they wasn’t expecting it.

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Counter Attacking

Counter attacking is a speciality and requires you to exploit space and get the ball forward fast and early. If you fail to get the ball forward quick then you’ll have wasted the opportunity.

Technical Attributes

Crossing – Whether it is from deep or the by-line, it’s a weapon that you can use to devastating effects. An early cross to an attacker can instantly put the opposition onto the back foot.

Dribbling – To take advantage of any space that appears you’ll want players who are able to bring the ball forward.

Finishing – To make the most of any move you’ll want to put it into the back of the net.

Long shots – Players sometimes find themselves with a good opportunity to shoot from distance, especially when counter attacking.

Technique – For the same reasons I mentioned in the attacking one.

Mental Attributes

Aggression – Players should want to be involved in everything. This can also help with winning the ball back early and starting quick counter attacks.

Bravery – You don’t want players who bottle it when trying to win the ball back early do you?

Off The Ball - Movement is the key to all attacking formations and play. If an attacking player has a low rating then he’ll be less likely to find a little bit of space and make the right movement to beat his marker before he receives the goal. Sometimes it can be the difference that gives you that extra yard.

Work rate - Players will need to work hard both in defence and attacking situations. They will be up and down the field all day long, so should be prepared to put in the hard graft.

Physical Attributes

Pace – I like to play fast paced attacking football so for me pace is essential. Especially for player’s who like to drive forward and beat their man. It’s important for me that they can reach the top speed. Plus the players will be back and forth all match long.

Acceleration – This will provide that little edge in gaining an extra yard on the opposition. This and pace are very important.

Stamina – As the players will be up and down a lot, they need to be fit.

Strength – Having a high attribute for this will ensure he can hold his own against the opposition should they get close to each other. You don’t want your players to get out muscled and knocked off the ball. It will also help you win the ball back.

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  • 3 months later...

To fully understand how I create a tactic based on stats you need to familiarise yourself with the Analysis tab. This in one of the most important areas of football manager for myself. It's where I spend most of my time looking over the game details and looking at certain styles of play. I did a thread about this for FM10 but it looks like it has been deleted off the forums. But luckily I had a back up elsewhere so will re post it in here now. I'll also add the new sections of the analysis tab to make it more dated for FM11. Remember I wrote this for a different project but its still relevant now and links very well to what we are discussing in here.

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How to Identify Issues

We have many stats available to us in game but how many of us actually know what they mean, or how to adapt a tactic based on them?! Well hopefully here I can explain a little bit about how I interpret them and alter tactics based on this information. A good place to start would be to take a quick look at the match stats, so here goes;

While these stats might give us a quick overview of how our team is playing, it doesn’t show a clear indication of how well. It can also be misleading if you don’t check to see how you are using these stats. By that I mean let’s take the possession as an example. It’s possible you could very well have over 70% of the possession; however the majority of that possession might be in your own half. The same can be said for the rest of the stats. Every now and then we need to take a quick look at how well we are using things like possession, what sort of shots we are doing and things like that.

Let’s take a closer look at the stats from the screenshot I posted above.

Straight away the stats jump out as been very similar and it looked like an even close game. Even though the score line doesn’t reflect that. So was the game really even, or were Manchester United unlucky? To determine this we need to look at every aspect of the match stats to determine how I won the game and why Manchester United lost.


I had 9 shots to Man Utd’s 14.

I had 5 on target to their 8.

3 off target to their 5.

I had 3 long range to their 8.

And we both had 1 each blocked.

Again it seems like Man Utd had quite a few more shots than I did. So now let’s take a look at the type of shots they had. For this we need to use the analysis page.


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The shots page is a good starting point and will give us a better idea of the type of shots I am having and from what areas. This can be a good way of identifying if players are getting into good shooting positions. If you just want to view 1 type of shot then you can use the filters under the control bit at the very top of the page. All you have to do is un tick the check boxes to filter the type of shots you want to look at.

From this page we can also find out if some players are having too many long range shots. Then we can try and correct it. Correcting long shots isn’t always easy as it can be a number of reasons why they shoots from distance. It could be down to them not having players running beyond them in good positions for the pass. Too high creative freedom. The opposition parked the bus in front of goal. Or it could even be a PPM (players preferred move) issue. It might take a while to find the actual cause but at least we can keep a track of the culprits of long shots via this page.

A few things we can try to stop long range shots if we feel a player(s) is having far too many are;

First and foremost check his PPM’s. If you feel he has a PPM which isn’t helping his game and encourages long ranged efforts then try to train him something more useful that will help your side.

We can also check their long shots slider and make sure it isn’t set to try them often. If it’s set to mixed try and put the slider on rarely to see if it improves.

Creative freedom can be a big contributor to why a player is trying too many long ranged shots. If he has a high creative freedom then he is licensed to use his own brain and play more how he wants to rather than how you instructed him to. Try lowering it and see if that helps.

If you still seem to be experiencing it after all the above then it could be a case of lack of options for the player. Try pausing the game at random intervals when attacking and try and take notice of your player’s positions. This should give you a clear idea of how many players you are committing to attacks and you might find the player who is taking long range shots doesn’t have any options around him. So he sees a long shot as the only option.

For people using the tactics creator you could utilise the shouts here to see if that helps. The option you’d want would be the ‘work ball into box’ shout. This should discourage players from shooting from distance.

If you click on the coloured circle on the football pitch to the right, then it plays that clip for that particular shot. This is extremely useful. It will always show you clips but the type of clip you see depends on which part of the stats you are looking at. For example if you're on the passing section then the clips will be passing ones and so on.

Let’s take a look at the stats from the screenshot I posted earlier and determine how the game was won and lost.


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Sheff Utd Shots

Now this page shows all my players that played and tells you the amount of shots they had, how many on target and the goals scored. This page also identifies the type of shots a player had. When you click on a player’s name on the pitch to the right this happens;


These are the shot types for Luigi Vanni. Now you can see he forced 2 saves from the keeper and put 1 wide. The areas the shots were taken from seem perfectly fine and would be where you expect your striker to be. So the shots for this player seem alright to me and I don’t see any real issues. Let’s go and look at the rest of my teams shots.


This is for my inside left forward Magaye Gueye. He only had 1 shot but he scored from it. And the position it was scored from is the sort of position you’d want an inside forward to take up.


Deniz Naki is my right inside forward. He only had 2 shots but 1 resulted in a goal. The first thing what struck me here was he scored a goal from the left side, yet he is my right inside forward. So I viewed the clip and it shows he was making a run to the SC position when my DMC picked him out with a pass. He continued the run and ended up on the left and tucked it away. It was a really well worked goal when viewing the clip. It also shows the player wasn’t out of position to start with. He just continued his run from a quick counter attack move.


These shots were for Jonathan Dos Santos who is my more attacking midfielder. Now you’ll notice it says he only had 3 shots yet shows 4 coloured circles. The blue one what shows at the bottom of the screen is a blocked shot but a defensive block not an attacking one. Therefore he blocked a shot and didn’t get his blocked. The blue circle at the top of the screen though is his shot been blocked.

I know all the shots he had were outside of the box but that is what I expect for him. This is where he’s most effective and he’s scored quite a few goals from these areas. As the number of attempts he had isn’t that high then I have no real problem with him. He’s doing exactly what I expect and want from him. If the number of attempted shots were higher and not on target then it could have been an issue and I might have instructed him to play differently.

That’s all the shots I had and I’m happy with the amount of quality there seemed to be. After all I’d rather have quality chances rather than quantity. I seemed to have shots in good areas of the pitch.

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Let’s take a look at Man Utd’s shots now.


That was Fletcher’s contribution. I’d gladly allow my keeper to save them all day long. I’m confident he’d save 9/10 of them.


A similar shot to the one above, however this one was on target.


Dzeko had a few chances so I looked at the clips to determine if they were good chances or not. It turns out that for the 2 he missed he was under massive pressure. On them all he had pressure on him. So while he got 2 on target there wasn’t much my defence could have done different. They were all positioned good and didn’t allow Dzeko space or time.


The same as above for Rooney in all honesty. He wasn’t allowed time to turn and was under pressure constant.

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Both Carrick’s efforts were free kicks.


Well he’s not going to score from there now is he?


After viewing this clip I realise I was very fortunate and Valencia should have scored. Luckily for me I have a good consistent keeper and he made the save and made it look quite easy. However this shot happened due to my left back not been in position and a quick ball over the top caught him out. This is something I need to keep an eye on in the next few games. If it is a regular occurrence then I need to change his settings and ask him to play slightly deeper. However I won’t panic and it could just be a mistake.


This attempt came from a corner and was expected really. I’m just surprised they didn’t cause more of an aerial threat throughout the game.

As you can see while Man Utd had more shots the quality of them was quite poor (especially after viewing the shot clips). Were as mine were from better positions and of better quality.

Next up the passing section.

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Passing and Possession

Next up we take a look at the passing and possession from the same game.

There is no doubt in my mind that many users of the forum put far too much emphasis on the possession stat. While it tells us how much of the ball we’ve had, it doesn’t tell us what we actually did with the possession. You can have as much possession as you want but if it’s all in your own half then you aren’t going to do much are you? It’s quite easy to dominate the possession in a game by just letting the defenders pass the ball around. But playing like this won’t win you many games if you’re not getting forward much.

In the game above I had 51% of the possession which suggest that it was an even affair, so now let’s take a look at what areas I had the possession in and what sort of passing my players did.

Action Zone’s


The battle was definite in the middle of the park which was expected. The rest of the action zones seem even considering I knew Man Utd would be a very attacking outlet and I adjusted from my normal playing style to compensate the extra attacking threat they possess.

Now let’s look a little closer at the passing my players did.

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Sheffield United’s individual passing stats


The first thing I notice is how involved my defensive midfielder Sandro is. He seemed to see a lot of the ball and judging from the clips I watched from the shots section, he was involved in the breakup of play and often was the starting point of my attacks. This is exactly what you want from a DMC. Let’s take a look at what areas he was in and making passes from.


The more green dots he has the better for this section. As you’ll see he had a few of his passes intercepted. In fact 10 in total. I’ve just looked at the clips for these interceptions and 8 out of the 10 were attempts to counter attack quickly and play a ball into the forward or wingers. I know not all of them connected but against strong opposition who I was playing on the counter attack against he did extremely well. You’ll see he was playing the ball backwards, sideways, forwards and at angles. His play is very varied and none of the intercepted passes were in defensive situations, they were all high up the pitch and not deep enough to be costly. However it’s something to keep an eye on and if it is becoming an issue and giving the possession away I can alter his passing. At the minute his passing is on mixed as I like him to try all types of passes and not be limited as I feel the defensive midfield role works better when he isn’t limited in what he is able to try. Especially with a quality player like of Sandro’s calibre.

I should also point out that the length of the yellow arrow is also the pass type he tried. The Longer the yellow arrow is, the longer the pass and vice versa. It’s not worth me going into detail about every single players passing here as it’s not necessary and you should have an idea what to look for now already.

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Manchester United’s individual passing stats


Let’s take a look here at some who didn’t have the best game for Manchester United from a passing perspective. We look at Antonio Valencia.


He seemed to have a really bad game here and only managed to complete two passes which were attacking. The others completed were either defence back passes or sideway passes. He wasn’t allowed the time to pass and was closed down heavily by my defensive players whenever he received the ball. If this was my player I’d have probably subbed him or changed his settings as he was not been utilised enough for the majority of this game. Things that could have been changed were his passing style for a start. Judging by the passing he did he was given a more direct passing approach. I’d have maybe asked him to play either a shorter or mixed game and kept an eye on it throughout the game to change it further if needed.

If he was set up as a standard winger id have maybe tried asking him to cut inside more as he was ineffective out wide. If this didn’t work you can always sub him and bring someone else on to try and make them more influential. If not then you’re basically playing with 10 men for most parts of the game.

Hopefully the above will give you a basic idea of how we can look at the passing section and determine if someone is playing well or not.

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The way my tactic is set up the crossing is always low. As my attacking wide players are set up to play as inside forwards, so are encouraged to always drift inwards. So from my point here the crossing attempted by my player’s shouldn’t be that high at all. This part of the analysis can be used for making tweaks in game and is worth always keeping an eye on in possible. Especially if you notice you’re forwards aren’t receiving the ball as you had hoped. It’s also good to find out which areas your players are crossing from.


As you can see from the screenshot above the crosses attempted are minimal and the only ones I attempt are from set pieces. That’s why Jonathan Dos Santos tried so many, but apart from that my team shouldn’t be crossing unless they have a really good opportunity to do so.

Whereas Manchester United were quite different and rely heavily on supplying crosses for their forwards. I actually managed to limit them quite successfully. Here are Man Utd’s stats and in particular Antonio Valencia.


He tried 13 crosses and only completed one. For a right winger who is the main supply for the strikers this simply is not good enough. If the supply is cut off to the strikers they will struggle to score. Man Utd play with a target man striker at all times on my games. So cutting off the supply from the wide men is half of the battle won. If you look at Valencia’s crossing positions you’ll see he was in the right areas but my defenders were all over him not allowing him time and space to get crosses off. Therefore intercepting them and making our own counter attacks.

Andersson was the left winger and he didn’t do any better. Take a look at his positions he got crosses in from.


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He was in the correct areas but wasted them. Take a look at these screenshots to see what I mean.


Andersson is the player circled and he is just about to receive the ball once Dzeko wins the header.


That screenshot shows him now he’s received the ball. But look at all the players I have back. The only option Andersson has is to cross early or run into the corner.


As you can see from this screenshot he was forced out wide by my right back, while the other players dropped back to provide cover should he cross the ball. You should also notice that if my right back got the ball back then I would have players placed to hit them on the counter attack.


Then in this screenshot you can see when he finally put the cross in it was too late as the strikers had hung back to long waiting for him to put the cross in. Not only that but my right back pressed him too much and stuck with him and forced the delayed cross. My keeper just collects the ball from this cross.

This happened all the time during the game from both sides. Again if it was my team doing this I would have looked to change it and try playing through the middle. As Manchester United's wide play just wasn’t working on this day. If they had changed and focused play through the middle I would have had to adapt also, but they didn’t.

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These stats show both offensive and defensive roles of a player. Attacking players who miss a lot of headers tends to let you know you need to pass the ball around more and attempt less crosses. To get a better idea of the type of headers a player keeps losing. Then you can click on the red circles to view them. Then you can make a better call, as to what to change.

Defensive issues with headers are trickier to sort out though. And there might not be a clear solution. If this happens then like above you need to assess what sort of headers the defensive players are losing out on. If it’s a case of your players simply not good enough in the air (this can be a common issue) then you can change things like less tight marking, deeper defensive line or ask one defender to play slightly deeper. By allowing a player to play slightly deeper by changing his mentality, you provide cover should the opposition win the header or do any kind of flicks on. This limits the damage, it’s not an ideal solution but there isn’t much you can do against someone who is good in the air and your players aren’t. You can go out and buy a defensive player who is good in the air but sooner or later he will also come up against someone better than him.

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This page is very important for defenders as it allows you to view the tackles a player does and also shows you the areas of the pitch. So you’ll be able to see if a defender is positioned where you’d want him to be, or show you if he’s been dragged out of position often. It can be useful for all players but I find it best used to keep a track of the defenders. When viewing a player and checking out his tackles he’s done in a game then you want to see more green circles than red ones. If a defensive player as too many red circles then you have massive defensive issues. I can’t stress how vital this page is for me. I can pin point players who are going for tackles and missing them. If that happens I can either ask them to tackle more ‘easy’ or ask them to close down less.

Let’s take a look at my stats;


As you can see my defensive players win most if not all of tackles they enter. You’ll also notice that Jonathan Dos Santos wins a lot even though he only has a tackling stat of 8 and is my more attack minded MC. He is instructed to do easy tackling meaning he only enters tackles he knows he can win.

I only made 2 tackles in side Manchester United’s half. This is because when I lost possession I dropped off and allowed them to attack us so I could make use of quick counter attacks. My players only attempted tackles once they were inside my half. This helps keep the squads shape and stops players been out of position or allowing them to get turned easily.


You’ll notice from the Man Utd’s stats that they were bringing their attacking players further back than me to help in defensive duties. You might also want to look at the interceptions page while viewing these. As it will show if players are missing or making interceptions in vital places.

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Runs Past Opponent

Runs past opponent can tell how you are attacking and getting past players. If you view the opposition’s page it will also tell you the areas you need to keep an eye on. Take a look at my stats;


Not very impressive are they? That’s because I’m not set up for players running with the ball and for this game had to be restrained, as player for player Manchester United were slightly better than my squad. Especially in the full back positions.

Now if we look at Manchester United’s stats;


Now you’ll see that the wide players kept having a lot of successful runs past my players. We’ll the reason for this was pace. My left back was only 16 at the time as well, so wasn’t experienced and I expected him to get beat quite a bit. However I compensated this by providing cover using my defenders and defensive midfielder. As man for man my full backs would get skinned all day long, I had to make sure I numbered up on the Man Utd wingers. And if we look further back up the post we’ll see I did just that for most of the game and made their wingers ineffective for 90 minutes.

You have to do things like that if you are faced with wingers with pace and acceleration. If I didn’t provide cover from other areas they would have tore me apart all game long.

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Set Pieces

This part is self explanatory and I'll be going into detail about it a lot more when I show you the tactic I've created and we talk about the evolution of tactics.


Scoring Chances

This is a very good way to determine what kind of areas the goal scoring chances are coming from.


Average Position

This is by far the most important one for me. It allows me to see if a player is set up positional as I'd like him to be. It also allows me to see if my defenders are too advanced, wide players too narrow.


This was by far the best new feature for FM11, the heat maps are so important. Yet nobody seems to mention them at all and I've not seen a discussion about them on here. We will be talking about them greatly in the coming weeks as I show how useful I find them for creating tactics and implementing player instructions.

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Tactic Building

With the introduction of the Tactics Creator designing tactics has never been as easy and opened the door for those who used to struggle to design a tactic. It gives you a much better chance of succeeding and getting things right. But you still have to make changes and maintain the tactic. Using the tactics creator is a good base to start from but for me it goes a lot deeper than that. So I am now going to describe how I create tactics and maintain them based on stats and visuals from what I see happening in games. We have many tools available inside the game to show us flaws and faults our tactics might have. We also have the information to solve most of them from the analysis tab. That’s why it is important that you familiarise yourself with what I posted above. It will make it a lot easier to understand what I’m banging on about if you take a few minutes to just look over it in your own games.

As I’ll be talking about my career game and not a game I’ve created to demonstrate what I’m on about, you should notice how my style changes as I progress and get stronger as a team. The team I’m using is Sheffield United (was there ever any doubt?). I don’t have any money to spend nor do I have the player’s available to play the type and style of football that I’d like to. So due to this in the first season I keep things pretty basic until I bring a few new players into the team who can play the type of football I’d like. For me I’ve discussed the first season in great detail for the past few versions of Football Manager. So I don’t feel like covering old ground again. Plus the real challenge of tactic creating will begin in season two for me. So I’ll give a brief summary of season one and then I can discuss every aspect of season two. I’ll explain why I buy certain players due to the stats they have and discuss how I’ll build a tactic around them based on the attributes they have.

No matter the size of the club or the clubs expectations this thread should be useful for all. Only the attribute numbers will be lower/higher depending on how good or bad a side you use. All the principles will still be the same regardless of what side you manage. Many people believe you can’t play attractive football at lower levels or base tactics on stats. That is not true and over the course of this project I hope I’ll be able to highlight that and show you that you can play any way you want. But to be able to do that you’ll have to understand how the game mechanics work. This is the purpose of this thread.

There are a lot of good tactic threads on the forum but very few give you a real insight into why they work and why it is successful for them. Hopefully I will be able to illustrate exactly why someone over performs or under performs. It will be a lot of work and a lot of text to read but please stick with me on this it will be worth it. I’ll also be a lot more active and update the thread a lot over the next few weeks. I’ve finally got some free time to finish this project or at least take it to the next stage and leave you with lots of things to discuss.

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I was going to do a brief summary about season one however I’ve now changed my mind. It just doesn’t fit with the rest of the thread and would be misleading as I didn’t create a tactic based on stats. That said however, I will be happy to post the results and system used should people want to know more about the first season. Just let me know in the discussion thread 

Season Two

I’ve managed to get promoted to the Premiership so this season will be every hard. Last season I had a lot of loan players (already at club when took over) so don’t actually have a big squad. So I need to strengthen all areas for less that £10 million which has proved a hard task. But I think I’ve done alright and got a squad capable of beating the drop. Here are my signings so far;



To have any kind of chance at survival you have to have a strong defence and a good goalkeeper. Trying to get a good goalkeeper on the cheap is hard to do unless you stumble across a young regen. I scouted this player a few times before I got promoted and was keeping an eye on him. He’s young and has very good stats compared to my other goalkeeper. Plus his price was cheap. He probably lacks the mental attributes but I’m sure they will improve over time.

The main reasons I got him was because he has good aerial ability and I expect teams to bombard me with crosses. Especially at the start when I am favourites to go down. Teams will be quite attacking against me the first half of the season. So it’s vital I can get someone who can cope with high ball situations.

Another reason was due to him been very good at one on ones. I’m guessing my defence will make quite a few mistakes this season, especially as it’ll be quite a new back 4 who haven’t played with each other before. So to get off to a good start I need to ensure I have the players with the right attributes so they can deal with any kind of mistakes.

These were the main two reasons I got him. And he was the best I could afford for less than £3million. I couldn’t afford much more as 33 million is a third of my transfer budget.

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This player was an absolute steal. The fact he lacks pace and acceleration won’t hinder him either.


He has all the required stat’s I need for the role I’ll give him. He cost £1.7 million, if I had the money I’d have paid a lot more than that for him if the club demanded. He is as good as any defender already in the Premier League. Absolute steal for a team like me.

He will be good at aerial threats due to his good jumping and heading. He also has the strength to be able to win the header. His work rate, teamwork and determination will be a big bonus too. He will be a great asset.

I found him by settings filters and filtering through all the players loaded in the database.

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I did buy this player to play as a defensive midfielder, but I’ve since changed my mind and will use him as a ball winning midfielder instead.


His fitness, stamina, workrate, positioning, bravery, concentration, anticipation and aggression are all very high. So he is the ideal choice for playing the ball winning midfielder role.

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I had to get another loan player in here. I got him because he is versatile but I will use him as the anchor man probably. His attributes should rise quite a bit over the season with exposure to first team football.

He is strong and has good stamina and a good workrate.

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Don’t be put off by his age; he is still capable of performing. He has good mental and physical attributes. He lacks pace and acceleration but I like the idea of letting him be the engine for the team. Kind of like a deep lying playmaker. He lacks the flair though so that could be a slight draw back. But I’ll try and see how he does.

That’s basically all my signings any I haven’t posted yet I’ll just write about them as I go along. It’ll probably be easier doing it that way round.

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Pre Season

Pre season for me is very important; it’s about getting all players’ match fit and ready for the season. Even if they are rotation or sub players, you still need to ensure you get them fit before the start of the season. This is why I always swap players at half time for all my friendly games if possible. It allows them all game time and fit for the start of the season. It’s also a good time for trying different tactics. The results are unimportant but you’ll still the plus side and negative sides of a tactic and will have a little understanding on if it works for your players.

I do have a tip though for pre season and it’s something I always do on any saved game I play. That is to always play lower reputation sides. Playing tough pre season games offer no advantage at all in my opinion. My sides always perform a lot better once the season starts if they have easy games where they can score lots of goals and build confidence. Plus by playing lower reputation sides your players won’t have to work too hard to get a result. After all pre season is all about fitness and giving player’s confidence. Well this is how I achieve it. For me it makes no sense to make my player’s work too hard in the stages before the season starts. Some might argue their player’s get fitter quicker or something but I honestly don’t believe that. For the way I play this set up is ideal and almost helps with the successful starts to a season.

Next up the tactic.......

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I’ve gone for a standard shape for now but hopefully for the start of the next season it will differ slightly and become an asymmetric shape. This is how it is currently;


That is also my preferred line up. As I’m in pre season I don’t actually alter the individual instructions until the match preparation screen for the first premiership game of the season. The reason for this is I don’t want to spend too much time and effort tailoring a tactic around some pre season fitness work. So I’d rather wait until the first game to get into the actual details of things.

Here are the Team Settings that I am using for pre season only;


I’ve not even set the correct player roles yet as I don’t believe it to be that important. Once I know who is fit and available for the first competitive league game, then I’ll decide what setting’s I’ll be using.

I’ll quickly skip through the pre season results as I didn’t change or alter anything here.

This was the result from my first friendly;


I was 3-0 down after 28 minutes in this game. The condition of the player’s was a major factor in this. But the group of player’s did well to come back and dominate the second half.

This was the second friendly result;


I expected to score a lot of goals and I did. But it was pleasing to see my front three players score 10 of them.

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The third friendly was much of the same;


All the goals were scored by the front three again.

The fourth friendly;


Not as many goals but my side was now match fit.

And finally;


I left my starting eleven on for the entire 90 minutes, as the team who played would be my starting eleven against Fulham in 10 days time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tottenham Success

Seeing as my Sheffield United game got corrupt, I had to start again. I was struggling to find the motivation to carry on. But after spending several days talking to various people in the Good Player & Team Guide Forum, I decided to give Spurs a go. One user in particular (edgar555) got me interested in seeing how he had set up his own Spurs saved game. He sent me his tactic file to have a look at and see what I thought. I was instantly impressed with what I saw. Especially the free flowing attacking football I was seeing before my eyes. I’d not seen attacking football played like this since CM03/04. After seeing the style of football that edgar555 had created it was hard not to be impressed and taken in by it. This gave me the motivation to play FM, something which I have lacked for a few weeks now.

By edgar’s own admission his tactic was shaky at the back and a bit unstable at times. So I decided to try and play a very open attacking game while trying not to concede too many goals at the opposite end. The more fluid attacking style you choose then the more open you become as you are taking big risks with committing player’s forward. It can be hard to get the right balance between defence and attack at times. But I think I’ve managed to not lose any attacking fluidity and tighten up the defence. My games are still open and teams do still get a few chances against me. But to watch a match is fascinating, there is so much going on in one game you can learn an awful lot about tactic’s and the player attributes.

So here I will share with you my success story with Tottenham Hotspurs. I am going to start backwards and tell you what I won and show you the end of season stats. Then I’ll tell you how I utilised every single player in the squad and give you their individual stats and explain exactly how I decided to give that what instructions. I’ll also share my training schedules that I used and showed massive attribute changes for a lot of player’s.

So here goes;


The league was a lot harder than it looked. I spent more time trying to perfect this tactic and play the perfect season than I have ever spent on any one saved game before. That should give you an idea of the time I put into this project.

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As you can see I had some very good wins and I score a lot. I managed to go the entire season unbeaten and won The League Cup, FA Cup and the Champions League. It was a very good first season.

The next screenshot will interest a lot of people;


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Team Setting’s

This is the shape I am using;


And these are the rest of the team settings;


Target Man supply is set to run onto Ball and the playmaker is the MCL.

The idea behind the team settings is to ensure fluid attacking football. All players have individual settings so most of the team settings are obsolete.

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For the way I want to play it is essential that I have a strong defence. So that mean’s I need to be able to rely on the goalkeeper to hold his own.


As you can see he is very good in the air so will be able to deal with any aerial threats. He’s good at one on ones and has great reflexes. He is also very good at throwing but weak at kicking. So in terms of tactical settings you want him kicking the ball as least as possible. You’d want him to throw the ball constantly if possible.


The reason his passing style is set to short is because I want him to quick throw the ball when he has it. It also means if he hasn’t got a long option to throw to he will throw to the specified defender. There isn’t really much to talk about when on about settings goalkeepers up. I’ve just set him up to utilise his throwing attribute to get the most out of that, rather than allowing him to kick the ball.

He had a very solid season as you can tell from this screenshot;


The goalkeeper is one of the more boring talking points of a tactic. Most people will set up their keeper same.

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Defender Right


Corluka is a decent strong right back. He wouldn’t be first choice for me if Kyle Walker wasn’t out on loan though. He has decent all round attributes but his strengths are without a doubt his strength, determination, composure and anticipation. A player with stats like this is easy to set up tactically because you set him up to benefit the team and the system you are playing. Rather than setting him up to use his strengths. The reason behind this choice is due to what he is good at; he doesn’t really offer anything substantial to make him play more selfish.


I’ve kept him on direct passing as I want him to move the ball forward as quick as he can. The less time he is on the ball the better. Not because he is a bad player or anything it’s more to do with the fact I want to play fluid attacking football. So this will help that cause. He will be more likely to pass the ball to a midfielder.

I gave him low creative freedom as I don’t want him to be a creative outlet. His job is simple, just defend. Plus he has poor attributes to give him a higher creative freedom. He has 5 for the flair attribute and 10 for the creative attribute. So it would be disastrous to give him anything higher that he currently has.

Tackling is set to easy as I only want him to attempt tackles he is confident he will win. The reason for this is his positioning is a bit low for the level I am playing at and his concentration his low too. His decision making isn’t that clever either. All these added together make it highly likely he would foul quite often. So to reduce giving away needless free kicks in dangerous situations and risking a possible sending off, I gave him easy tackling. This is what I call playing to a player’s strengths. He might lack high attributes for some important instructions but he can still be a very good solid player if you spend 10 minutes setting them up.


As you can see his season was very solid. In terms of an attacking outlet for my side you’ll see he offered very little. But that’s good because as I am playing a very offensive game I still need people to be able to defend and do the defensive duties. This allows my attacking players to ignore the defensive side of things and just concentrate on attacking.

The pass rate of 75% is good but it’s maybe something I can look at and see if I can increase it for season two.

His tackling ratio is quite good though for his attributes and there is no doubt that is because of the instructions I gave to him. The heading ratio is maybe something for me to take a closer look at as I would have thought he’d win more than 70% of them. But it’s not something I noticed hindering him during the season. It wasn’t until now that I noticed how low it was.

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Defender Left

My left sided defender is a lot better than my right sided one, but they are both still set up almost identical. This is for the teams balance and shape. It’s important that my defensive players defend especially the people in the wide positions like the fullbacks. I need them to be able to cope with attacks from down the wings from the opposition.


As you can see he is a totally different type of player to Corluka who played my right sided defender. He is more of an aerial presence, has better positioning and a higher work rate. He can also play the central defence role perfectly too. But I already have 3 outstanding centre backs so preferred to use him as the left back.


As you can see nothing much differs from how the right back is set up. But what are different are the stats over the course of the season. Take a look at this;


He attempted quite a few more passes compared to the right back. The reason I believe for this is the deep lying playmaker I use. As he is also on the left side, so when viewing games you often see them linking up. Something that doesn’t happen with the right back.

His tackling percentage could be better but 79% is still alright. It’s definitely something I am going to try and improve for the second season. From the above screenshot you’ll notice that he won quite a lot of headers though. 84% is a decent amount for a fullback. It is also good to have a bit of variety in the back line especially as Corluka isn’t good at heading. If both the fullbacks where weak at heading then it could have been a bigger issue than it actually was.

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Central Defender

This is Gallas;


While Gallas is good at heading he is quite poor at jumping which means his heading won’t be as good as you would expect at a quick glance. The rest of his mental attributes are okay but not that great for this level. Especially as Gallas is a player nearing retirement. But he can still do an alright job. Let’s take a look at what settings I gave him;


I gave him mixed passing as I want him to be able to attempt any kind of pass and not restrict him to just one type. This can be useful for springing quick attacks. Because Gallas has very good attributes for tackling, anticipation, determination and balance I decided to give him man marking and tight marking. Ideally his attributes for decisions, positioning, strength and agility should be a little higher. But I thought he could still do a good enough job as he in an experienced veteran.

The rest of his settings are set up to be similar to the fullbacks so all four defenders played as a unit and stuck together. This is vital if I want to stay solid and not get broken down easy.


As expected Gallas didn’t win an awful lot of his headers due to the low jumping attribute. But it didn’t matter too much as I made sure his defensive partner could make up for his weaknesses.

His passing and tackling ratio was very good though, especially the tackling part. I think anything over 80% for 50 games played is exceptional. The amount of yellow cards he picked up is remarkable too for the role he was playing. I was surprised with that stat myself; I thought it would be slightly higher. And it’s always good to see no mistakes leading to goals.

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Central Defender

This is my second central defender;


As you can see he has different stats to Gallas and has better mental attributes. Due to these better mental attributes it made me play him slightly different to Gallas. Let’s take a look;


As you can see he is slightly deeper than Gallas. I did this because if Gallas misses his header then Dawson will be able to mop any trouble up. As Gallas is the poorer player of the two then it makes more sense for me to have Gallas the further forward. Then if he does make a mistake I have the better play ready to deal with the situation. Especially as Dawson has very high decision, teamwork and work rate attributes. I always prefer to play the weaker defender higher up the pitch where he can afford to make a mistake. If Gallas was the last man and made a mistake then it can cause a lot off issues. The rest of the settings have already been explained above.


Dawson made a bad mistake at the end of the last game of season which resulted in a goal. But it was more my fault than anything. He got injured and I didn’t replace him as condition of the squad as a whole was low and I had the Champions League final 3 days after. So because the league was already won I decided to leave him on the pitch for 15 mins while injured and it resulted in a lack of speed and cost me a goal.

Apart from this 1 blip it was a good season he had. I’m more than happy with his tackling percentage and heading ratio.

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Midfielder Right Centre

You might want to check out the discussion thread to check out the screenshots of Sandro to see how much he has developed. That will help you understand why he might have low stats for something’s due to him not been developed the first half of the season.

This is how he looks at the end of season one;


He’s developing really well and his important stats are rising quite rapidly which is a good sign. The exposure to first team football is having a massive impact on his development too.

Here are the instructions I gave him;


As he is a defensive player its important he shares the same mentality as the other defensive players to ensure balance. You don’t have to do that but for the way I want to play it’s very important. You’ll understand why more when we examine a few of the games I’ve played.

He’s on mixed passing so his passing options aren’t limited. I’m allowing him to choose the type of pass depending on the situation. I find this really important for midfield players. His job is to just sit and defend. He is the anchor man of the team and his job is to support the defence and break up play as early as possible.

When he is in possession of the ball I like him to hold it up and look around at his options. Especially as he is playing next to a deep lying playmaker. While I want to attack and play fluid football it’s still good to have one player in the side that can hold up play while people run off him.

He had a solid season, he took a little while to settle into the team and it took me a good 12 games to get his position sorted properly. So this made his stats in the first 12 games pretty poor. But he pulled it back towards the end of the season. Here were his stats;


I’m more than happy with his passing completion rate. He’s been doing exactly what I expected of him and been used as a passing outlet by the playmaker if he has no other option available. His heading ratio is good too; it’s good to have at least 1 midfielder who can head the ball. Especially if he is the defensive minded player.

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Midfielder Left Centre

This was a really hard position to get right. Or should I say it was harder to fit Luca Modric into the side and get the best out of him. I think I started to get that out of him in the end but it took me until Christmas to finally settle on how he was playing.

Here are his stats;


You’ll notice he has the right stats to be very creative so I decided to let him be the playmaker and dictate the game. I don’t expect him to score that many goals or get assist. His job is far more important. I want him to just sit back and dictate the tempo of the game and pull all the strings.

Here are his settings;


A lot of you will have noticed he is slightly deeper (mentality) than the rest of my team and that is because I believe it to be better to dictate a game from deep. It is far more beneficial to dictate a game from deeper for the way I want to play. I’ve also gave him lots of creative freedom to be able to dictate and influence the game. This is also why his passing is set to mixed. If it’s set to short he’d be more inclined to do shorter passes and because he is deep this could be a problem with doing quick intelligent balls to the front players.

I don’t want him to hold the ball up because I want him to make quick snappy decisions. I already have Sandro to hold the ball up in midfield if I want that to happen. Having two player’s do the same thing would be a bit of overkill for the midfield areas.

Here are his stats from the season;


His tackling and heading ratio is very poor which is expected when you look at what attributes he has for them. So this low percentage was expected and not much I could really do about it.

The passing ratio is lower than I wanted. I wanted at least 90% completion rate. But there is no doubt my constant tampering with his settings and shifting him around in the first part of the season badly affected this. Once I’d settled on how I wanted him to play though he hardly put a foot wrong and made nearly all his passes. So in season 2 I will be interested to see how he plays a full season set up like this. I expect a better pass completion rate that’s for sure.

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