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How to get the best of a number 10 for 4-2-3-1?

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Hey guys,

What would be your recommendations to get the best of a number 10 for 4-2-3-1? I want my #10 to be the brain of the team who comes deep to get the ball, run with the ball when necessary, and creates all attacks? Which TI & PT (aka PI) do you recommend? He does not need to defend, his only duty is attack. Which role & duty suit best for that kind of player? Advanced playmaker? But it does limit shooting more often. But as far as I know, this role is necessary if the ball is going to be delivered to him by his teammates. Also, I want him to be in the box for the changes created by crosses. Would like to discuss with you.



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There is no best because its all relevant to what you're creating and the roles you use throughout the side. What TI &PI works will differ and that's not even taking the player himself into account. Context is everything. However this is how I achieved it in my save in a slightly different shape to the 4231. But regardless the aim was to make the 10 the one who made the team click.


In one of the other tactical analysis piece I did earlier in the year, I was having trouble with the Trequartista and he was roaming about far too frequent and being much deeper than I had hoped. So I said I was going to change the role to an Enganche to offer me a better, more static options. The reason for this was simple, by using a Trequartista when he dropped deep or moved out wide this disjointed the entire attack because the striker was also going wide. Not only this but at times, it meant my inside forward was isolated and I couldn’t quite connect with him as much as I’d have liked. Which was a big deal considering he is to be the team’s main scorer. With this in mind I thought rather than do a normal analysis article I’d mix it up a bit and do something a bit different again. 

Meet The Enganche

The player I am using as an Enganche is Lucas Lima, he’s had quite the boost on Football Manager from FM 16 onwards compared to previous versions. He did need one though as he was quite underrated. Anyway this is him at the start of the save I currently have;


He’s equally adept at playing a central midfield role or as an attacking midfielder. As you can see above in the comparison, he is the best midfielder at the club so it makes sense to have him as the heartbeat of the team. That’s why I did start out with him being the Trequartista but because that didn’t work, he is now the Enganche. A role which suits the side much better and it also means Lucas Lima is heavily involved linking the play all together on the football field.

Let’s take a look at the attributes and see what the game highlights as being important for the Enganche.


The attributes I’ve numbered are the ones the game says he needs for the role and they’re also the attributes that the Enganche training schedule will focus on. For three of the nine attributes he already has a high attribute value for them. The others he is lacking in though. So how do I develop him? Well the answer is, he is more than likely at or very near his potential ability so I don’t expect him having much room for improvements. But this isn’t a worry as I will still train him on the basis he has some potential ability left. With this in mind here is how I set his schedule up;


Due to me not thinking he has much potential ability left then I decided to just keep it simple and not give him an additional focus because if he is at or close to full potential, then any attribute changes would come at the cost of others. So I was playing it somewhat safe. At the end of the first season my fears were confirmed and it seemed like Lucas Lima actually was at full potential because he saw a slight rise in one attribute and lost little bits from all the others to compensate as you can see in the end of the first season screenshot.


It’s not a major concern that it seems he can no longer develop but it does mean long-term I needed to find someone much better who can excel at the things I require. Luckily for me though I was handed a very gifted 15-year-old in my first youth intake. He came with the ‘best of his generation’ tag which means he is packing some potential! If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have seen me raving out him. You can find out more about him a little later on.

Lucas Lima did very well in the first season, he chipped in with a few goals and assists and did the job I expected him to. We will analyse his performance and his job in the side a little later. But for now I’ll just show you a screenshots of his development (or lack of) for the end of his second season.


As you can see he’s pretty much the same as the original screenshot. So nothing’s really changed. He had a fantastic second season though and it was much better than his first even though that was quite good. He became more of a goal threat.

Meet Paulo


Now, Mr Freitas is actually the Brazilian head researcher for Football Manager for those of you who didn’t know, you can check him out on Twitter https://twitter.com/Cynegeticus

Long-term Paulo is definitely going to be the Enganche but because he is only 15 he will have to wait almost a full year before he can make his senior debut. Due to this it means I want to play closer attention to what he’s doing for the under 20’s and reserve teams so I can make sure he isn’t overplayed. By that, I mean, from a condition standpoint as if he plays while having low condition I increase the risk of him picking injuries up and they can make development stall.

To begin with during the first year this is how I trained him;


I gave him a first touch additional focus to begin with because he can’t really be a playmaker can he if he lacks in the basics? So for the first eighteen months I gave him these focuses on a 2 month rotation;

  • First touch
  • Dribbling
  • Stamina
  • Agility
  • Passing
  • Off the Ball
  • Composure
  • Finishing

I felt these were the attributes I wanted to focus on because they’d make him a much better player long-term and are more in line with what I want the player to do rather than what the game decides are the important attributes.

By the time the next youth intake came into the club Paulo was just about to make his first team debut and he looked like this;


He’s improved quite drastically hasn’t he and still has lots more room for improvement. Here’s what he looks like at the end of the second season, just a few months later.


Again he’s seen improvements in just a short few months. So good in fact that if you look at the training section of his profile then you’ll see his schedule has now changed. The reason behind this is I feel he’s improved a lot in the past 15-18 months, much better than I was expecting. With this in mind I wanted to put him on a focus that also trained more attributes than the Enganche schedule. This is to make him better all round. This isn’t long term and will only happen for around a year but short-term it can be very valuable. Especially as he can also play in the central midfield positions.

He will be on the dribbling additional focus for the next three months and then after that, I don’t actually know what focus I will give him. I’m still debating that but I will update about his development and what I changed at a later date.

That’s the introductory over as you’ve seen the players and their attributes now and can see how they’re being developed. The next thing is to show you how the role works in the system I use. As a reminder here is the system I use;


Now let’s take a look at some of the stats Lucas Lima has got over the last two seasons.


This was the first season, as you can see he scored a few goals and had a fair few assists. His passing is a lot lower than you might expect though but there is a reason for this and I’ll touch upon that shortly.


He averaged just under two shots a game which on paper means he wasn’t selfish in terms of shots. He also did a good amount of passes, especially key ones. However his passing is lower than you’d imagine at first but that’s because of what I want the player to do. I sacrifice a little bit of possession/accurate passing for more killer balls from Lima. He has this as a player’s preferred move or a PPM for short.


This means at times he will attempt to do through balls to the players surging forward, especially the inside forward who is more often than not in free space. As long as Lucas Lima’s passing doesn’t fall below 70% then for me, it isn’t an issue. Any lower though and I’d have to seriously reconsider as it would mean an important part of the cog was being wasteful.

Season two he actually improved his goals return but didn’t quite match the 14 assists from the season before.


His goal scoring improved a lot but I think this was down to using a more mobile striker in front of him in the second season. During the first season I used a 35-year-old striker who wasn’t very mobile.


His goals were more helpful this season but his passing went down and he was bordering on the line were I’d have to decide if it was worth it or not. Although saying that, Paulo played this season and played eleven league games and averaged 80% passing for those games and he doesn’t have the PPM that Lima has. I also won’t be teaching it him as he can offer a different dimension, I’m not keen on developing like for like players.

So overall I’m happy with his performance over the last two season from a stats point of view. It’s now time to show you his role in-game.


While the Enganche role can be quite static I feel people have the wrong impression about the role. They still move wide, come deep and all that but it’s more situational and depends on the player’s attributes compared to a Trequartista who is told to roam more in search of the ball and space. So it’s not unheard of or that foreign to see a situation like this in the above screenshot. He’s intelligent enough to know where the ball is going and wants to be involved so he goes towards the touchline to receive the ball.


The main reason for showing you these set of screenshots were because of what happens next. He receives the ball here from the right-sided wingback and then he uses his PPM………

That’s his PPM at work right there. Not the best clip but it’s right at the start of the clip you can see him release the ball using his PPM.

This is a better clip though. He does these types of passes frequently and they aren’t one off’s.

In this particular match he has had four key passes, two of them being passes like  the above. Actually it’s three of the PPM type passes because one registered as an assist.


And scrolling through other games played he seems to complete these type of passes two or three times a game at least. They don’t always come off but when they do it tends to result in a shot at goal or an actual goal. So the risk of a lower passing percentage isn’t an issue really as long as he keeps pulling some of these attempted passes off.


His team mates have passed to him a total of thirty-seven times in this game, the second highest in my side. As you can see that the passes he receives favour the right side and the reason for this is because the wingback on that side is attacking and the central midfielder situation on the right side is a box to box midfielder. So the three of them are always linking up with each other.

But if we compare this to the game were I used a Trequartista instead, you can see the difference straight away.


There was still a bias to right side which is expected but the balls received by the Treq are more centrally focused and in deeper positions. This meant that my Treq was deep the start of moves a lot of time and this isolated my inside forward and didn’t really link that well with the striker either. That’s why I changed. That wasn’t the only difference though.


Those are the Treq’s passes completed and nearly all of them are diagonal passes and from slightly deeper areas. On paper these look good because he is linking play to the attack but he actually want. What was happening is he was passing it diagonally and no-one was advanced centrally enough because that was his job but he was never there. Now if we compare this to the Enganche we can see how it differs even more.


There’s not as many passes in comparison but that’s also because he is more of a goal threat than the Treq ever was. Not only this but his actual passing range is shorter than the screenshot above. That’s because he’s higher up the pitch and more involved with play in the latter stages. After all I didn’t need him to use the ball a lot I just needed him to use it wisely. Sometimes less is more, I know it sounds cliche but it really is. I’d rather have quality over quantity.

Now if we switch back to what the Enganche offers me I think this game against Corinthians is a good example to show.


This was a high pressure game where I was on the back foot compared to the first example I showed you. This was a game against the best side in Brazil and I’d lost the previous meeting between the two sides. While his positioning is deeper here for passes received that’s because the whole side was deeper as I’m unable to stamp my authority as much as usual. That’s not the only reason though. Because Corinthians are a big side they were closing me down heavily, this meant my players were looking to move the ball about more and weren’t as adventurous compared to the smaller sides we play. I think the above screenshot shows this and you can see what kind of outlet the Enganche was.

That video again highlights him using the more risky passes PPM and shows how dangerous he can be for using it to stretch the opponent and play runners in. This is also another reason why he’s an integral part of the side. By him being more central he is allowed to run play and be an outlet for others to use if they’re struggling. And when he can play balls like that, who am I to disagree with that kind of play?


Those are his completed passes during this game. Again it’s all kinds of passing and all different types of ranges. You’ll notice he was more direct in his play compared to the last game and that’s because Corinthians were every attacking so there was lots of space to get in behind of them. So a lot of these passes split the high defensive line of Corinthians and caused them issues.

I think I’ve waffled on long enough for now. But if people are interested the follow-up piece to this is  a comparison with Lima vs Paulo to show you how different both play. You’ll be able to view that in the next few days.

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In the last article I introduced you to my Enganches and showed what they did during a game. I said if people were interested I’d do an Enganche comparison for both players who play the role and show you how differently they interpret that role. So this is that article. What I’ll do is just focus on one match for now as I don’t want to ramble on for too long. So I’ll take one match from the current season I’m in (I’m only 4 games into the season anyway) for both players and show below how they differ.

I’ll not list their attributes again because they’re the same as in the previous article. The only player preferred move Lucas Lima has is tries killer balls often. Paulo doesn’t have any at all.

Try to bear in mind that the following screenshots are good for a quick overview but lack any kind of context. That will be added when we look at the analysis of players in a match and see how they play. However these statistics are good for seeing if a pattern is emerging and we can learn a bit from them. But they have no substantial meaning without actual context from a match though. So don’t let them fool you into ‘knowing’ how they play based on these statistics alone.

These are the average heat maps from both games I’ve selected to analyse.





These differ quite a bit and you’ll notice that Paulo actually plays more centrally, he seems more static in terms of his position. However these heat maps and average positions can be misleading without actual context to them, which we will touch upon in the analysis further down.

These are the passes received;





These two screenshots are interesting because it shows that Lima is being used more in the final third compared to Paulo who is being used a lot deeper. So already we are seeing a big difference with the stats and how their team mates are seemingly using them both.

These are the passes completed;





Again we see some  differences here again. The passes completed tend to mirror the heat maps above which you would expect. One big difference though is the passing ranged/length. Lima completes a lot longer passes in comparison. Paulo seems more focused on the shorter range ones. That’s why over a season he has the better passing completed percentage because it’s normally simple passes. Were as Lima will try the difficult ones time and time again. Paulo is better for a possession based game and Lima better at unlocking defences with his passing range.

And these are the key passes for both players;





Lucas Lima had the more key passes but that doesn’t necessarily mean Paulo was less effective. It might have been to do with the players who played with him, they might not have been taking the same position up as they normally might. Or it could be in fact something to do with the individual player. The only way we know for sure is to look at the game to find out.

The analysis

Let’s delve deeper into actual match analysis now and see if we can notice the differences in play.


This is where Lucas Lima positions himself in these kind of areas. They’re not always central though, it can be anywhere across the pitch but normally they all start this deep after we turn possession over and spring back into attack.


That screenshot is taken a few seconds later and you can see, that from his deep position he is now bursting forward to support attacks. This is why he was a goal threat last season and has carried the same kind of form on early the current season too. Look at all the space he has when moving forward, he’s totally unmarked.


Diogo on the left goes past his man and now Lucas Lima is inside the box and a real goal threat. In the end this move comes to very little but it shows what a goal threat Lima can be at times in this game.


In this screenshot he has just picked the ball up in the centre and he is already looking to play it first time to the on running inside forward. I’m quite narrow here because the ball has just come from the right side of the pitch deep in my own half.


If you remember originally I used a trequartista but found the inside forward was isolated and that’s why I switched. Already in the two examples so far we can see he is now more involved. The above two screenshot shows the two linking up again. Once Lima passed the ball to Diogo he is sprinting forward getting into the box again and if Diogo was more intelligent he could play him in here so he could shoot.


This time we see him appear on the left side  but he’s using the full pitch to stretch the opposition because he receives the ball then immediately looks to do a long-range pass to the other flank, which he succeeds in doing.  There’s a high chance that this is down to his PPM yet again.


Here we have him slightly to the left supporting Diogo again. However this time, he is deep compared to the attackers and supportive players in the side who have gone beyond him. When this happens it means Lucas Lima has plenty of passing options and because he attempts a whole variety of passing ranges any one of these options is a realistic one. He could decide to keep it simple or try the more difficult one and stretch play by playing it to the player on the right hand side of the pitch. It’s moments like this that make his PPM interesting and can change the course of a game with one pass. It creates space, it creates movement, both of those any good tactic should have in abundance.


It’s moments like this where you can tell he is the heartbeat of attacks in the final third. He is central to all six players here whether they be more advanced than him or if they are slightly deeper than him. He has options here both behind and in front. He also has time to turn on the ball if he wishes to.


Seconds later he releases the ball to the inside forward on the left and this instantly creates space and puts the opposition on the back one. One simple pass and he split their whole defence open. It’s nothing spectacular or tricky, it’s just a simple pass of the ball into space for an on runner to run onto.


I keep saying it but Lucas Lima’s range of passing due to him PPM is incredible at times. In this move he’s just about to receive the ball from Otavio. When he gets it, he swivels clockwise then hits a long pass into the path of the inside forward. It’s no coincidence that when Lima play the inside forward scores more goals compared to when Paulo plays. He still scores obviously but the striker becomes the main threat when Paulo plays and he seems to score more.


Look at how disjointed the opposition have become as they retreat to the left flank. By doing this they’ve actually left my Enganche and the Box to Box midfielder free to run into the space this has created. This in turn makes both these players support players because they are running from deep and unmarked. This can be very dangerous for the opposition and we in fact score from this move then the ball is played back to Lima who passes it first time to the Box to Box player who shoots and scores first time from the edge of the area.

We’ve learnt quite a bit about Lucas Lima so far, with the main two things being;

  • Links well with the inside forward.
  • He likes his longer/riskier passing ranges

The passing is down to him PPM no question about it. And linking with the inside forward is what I wanted because he is the main scorer of the team. Lucas Lima is actually the reason Gabigol scored a crazy amount of goals for my side due to these risky passes he attempts. Time and time again he plays him into space. It’s a joy to watch. So how does Paulo differ? Let’s take a look.

Paulo Freitas


Here you can see Paulo linking with the striker, Luis Henrique. Henrique plays the ball to him but Paulo checks his run and dropped deeper, following the path of the black marker on the screenshot. If Lucas Lima was doing this in the above examples he’d be looking to play the inside forward in. Paulo doesn’t though he keeps things simple.


Instead, Paulo prefers to do the simple passing game so he plays in the wingback on the right side who can drive forward into the corner. The interesting thing here is that unlike Lucas Lima Paulo is happy to wander about and stay relatively deep after passing the ball, like we can see below.


As you can see, Paulo is moving forward but not with the same intensity and conviction that we saw Lucas Lima attempt time and time again. The reason for this is Paulo is quite weak in terms of mental attributes. He’s still very young and his attributes for anticipation, concentration, off the ball, work rate and teamwork are all very low still. The player is a talent no doubt he is far from the finished product and at times like this it really shows. Lima would have already been were the black marker is on the pitch without question. Paulo will get there eventually but he still has a lot of attribute development to do before he does all the things Lucas Lima does. It doesn’t mean he can’t play the role because he clearly can but it’s worth remembering that attributes impact how the player interprets the role. Any player can play any role after all.

If you remember the received passing maps above you’ll notice that Paulo was passed the ball in deeper situations compared to Lima. I think we are seeing exactly why here in this little example.


One of the main differences between the two players is the fact Lucas Lima is more forward thinking and Paulo Freitas is still naive due to his attributes. He can often be found playing with his back to goal like the example above. This means he has limited options because he can’t pass to what he can’t see behind him, he can only realistically pass backwards. Were as Lima is more intelligent and would have taken up a better position. Just something so simple like better use of movement (off the ball) and it opens up a whole new avenue of possible options. Paulo currently doesn’t have that in his locker but it will come in time. It doesn’t mean he’s currently poor at the role far from it, it just means he plays it different.

In fact, this is one of the main reasons the striker scores more goals when he plays because he plays short simple passes. This means he passes to the box to box midfielder, right wingback and the striker more often. Were as Lima was all about hitting the inside forward with those risky passes.


Due to his limited movement because his attributes are low, he is a more static Enganche which can be a good thing at times but it can also have downsides like the above screenshot. In this one, he didn’t move much when we didn’t have possession so when we won the ball back he was the highest target up field. Now that’s not a bad thing and is one of the main things in the real-life tactic I am replicating. The attacking midfielder was for most part the highest player up the pitch, which he is. However the downside here is he doesn’t have good movement so didn’t position himself in the best possible way. Due to that he is now crowded with no passing options and nowhere to really run either.

So just from these little examples above we can already see how the role is played differently depending on which player is playing. Both have good and bad points and while it seems Paulo is a lot poorer, he actually isn’t and is a big contributor to the side. But he offers me different things like a less mobile, deeper option compared to Lima. Who is a lot more mobile and attempts the more difficult passes, were as Paulo prefers the short simple passing game.

As he develops he will improve on all these aspects though. I also think it’s a good idea to have players who offer a different take on the role because then you can make a substitution to change a game and get something different from the role. What’s the point of swapping for a player who will play the same way? I like to have a variety of options available.

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  • 1 month later...
On 04/10/2017 at 18:44, talhak said:

Hey guys,

What would be your recommendations to get the best of a number 10 for 4-2-3-1? I want my #10 to be the brain of the team who comes deep to get the ball, run with the ball when necessary, and creates all attacks? Which TI & PT (aka PI) do you recommend? He does not need to defend, his only duty is attack. Which role & duty suit best for that kind of player? Advanced playmaker? But it does limit shooting more often. But as far as I know, this role is necessary if the ball is going to be delivered to him by his teammates. Also, I want him to be in the box for the changes created by crosses. Would like to discuss with you.



@talhak try this What to choose for a No. 10 role

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On 04/10/2017 at 18:44, talhak said:

Hey guys,

What would be your recommendations to get the best of a number 10 for 4-2-3-1? I want my #10 to be the brain of the team who comes deep to get the ball, run with the ball when necessary, and creates all attacks? Which TI & PT (aka PI) do you recommend? He does not need to defend, his only duty is attack. Which role & duty suit best for that kind of player? Advanced playmaker? But it does limit shooting more often. But as far as I know, this role is necessary if the ball is going to be delivered to him by his teammates. Also, I want him to be in the box for the changes created by crosses. Would like to discuss with you.



Depends on everything around him, you want the best out of him, then you got to give him time and space to do his thing. The rest of the roles are important

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On 04/10/2017 at 06:44, talhak said:

Hey guys,

What would be your recommendations to get the best of a number 10 for 4-2-3-1? I want my #10 to be the brain of the team who comes deep to get the ball, run with the ball when necessary, and creates all attacks? Which TI & PT (aka PI) do you recommend? He does not need to defend, his only duty is attack. Which role & duty suit best for that kind of player? Advanced playmaker? But it does limit shooting more often. But as far as I know, this role is necessary if the ball is going to be delivered to him by his teammates. Also, I want him to be in the box for the changes created by crosses. Would like to discuss with you.



Depends on what type of player he is. AP and Engache move towards the ball, Treq and SS find space, and AM is customizable and not really ball oriented. If he's a good passer but isn't good at finding space you may want him to be ball oriented, in which case 1st two are great. If he has very good otb, then making him ball oriented may not be the best in which case AM and Treq are good. SS is more of a goalscorer so I doubt you'd want to use this role.

Choosing the exact role will then depend on what you see on the pitch, and the customizations you choose.

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