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Tactical frameworks and squad building - an in depth guide to how I approach FM.


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Em 19/04/2019 em 21:40, sporadicsmiles disse:

This post is cannibalised from one I made in a different thread where someone asked me to discuss how I was set up. I will use it because it is a pretty good description of the thought that went into this tactic. I will point out that it was more iterative than it appears here. As I have noted, I have played this way for years now. Hence, I have really worked on how this tactic works, and I have adapted it over time. Also note that this is the basic way I will play, thinking about games where I expect to be able to win. There will be various things that I do in real situations during matches. These I will discuss in a later post. The purpose of this post is to show the thought process behind how to put my vision discussed in the first post into action.

We will start with the shape.

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This is the basis of everything I will do. I do not have any player roles yet, no mentality, no instructions, nothing. How did I decide on this shape? Well, I typically play as not quite top sides to start with, so I like to have a DMC to give a bit of defensive cover. I also like to push my fullbacks high up the pitch – attractive attacking football in my head means we have lots of attacking options, including fullbacks. It also may be force of habit. You could easily think of ways to make everything I discuss work in other tactical frameworks.

So, what I need to do next is to work out how I want to score goals. How will I create my attacking attractive football? As I just said, I want lots of attacking options. I want to have many players who could score goals. This should create variety, and variety is attractive in football. So how will I create my space? I will start with my striker. Where is there space around him? It is behind him. I want him to move into this space. So I will pick a DLF(S), who will move into this space.

baseDLF.png.c3c620c383f821d90a1a2fd5fbc092ac.thumb.png.5eec8db882332df881fe4dbcdca6a0cb.png

So what space is going to be created by the DLF and his movement? Hopefully, he is going to drag the central defenders out of position. The aim is to make one of the CBs follow him deeper. Alternatively, if nobody does that, he will be in a position to receive the ball. Imagine I have created a bit of space in the centre of the pitch by dragging a CB with my DLF. Who can I put into the gap I have created? Well, there are two options. I can try to put a wide player into a central position, or I can try to get a central midfielder to overlap the striker. Let’s do both. This gives me two more roles; an IF(A) and a CM(A). I will put them on opposite sides to try to exploit opposite channels (and overload the defence). Note that they could be on either side, here I illustrate how I play when I have right footed wide players.

CMIF.thumb.png.de375184e324b75a978b7ffc99392c5e.png.2a8261b34855f495e1982da827ed82ec.png

I now have two methods to score goals. They both rely on the movement of the DLF though. The DLF drops back and gets the ball. A CB either comes with him, or rushes to close him down because he has the ball in a pocket of space in a dangerous area. The DLF can then pass the ball either to the IF or the CM. These two players can then either shoot or they can support each other further in creating a change. This is another good reason to have both players overlapping. They can support each other after the DLF has done his job, with a scrabbling defence. On paper, this looks very nice.

Okay, we still have many players who do not have roles yet. What shall we do with them? Let us start with the other midfielder. He needs to be a more holding type of player since we have a movement based player next to him. What do I actually want him to do? One thing is to feed the ball to the DLF. He also needs to be able to take advantage of the space the DLF creates without passing him the ball. Or to recycle the ball if there is no chance. I have just described a playmaker to you. I usually use a DLP(S), but there is no reason an AP(S) would not work. I typically want him slightly deeper because I am always nervous about too many players being forward. This adds another way to score goals. The DLP can pass to the CM(A) or IF(A) as they run into space created by the DLF. There is also no reason the DLF cannot also make his own forward movement to get on one of these passes.

What other space have we created? Well, the IF(A) is cutting off his wing, so we have space on the left flank. Let’s put someone in that space too. That means we need an attack minding fullback, typically I use a FB(A).

FB.thumb.png.6889f8788cfb8270d0d8b8ff0de19c71.png.eff3f92f3e6a8f94fde4da9325aafe72.png

This is creating an overload on the left of my attack. The defence will hopefully have to commit players to their right to deal with this threat. If my striker drifts towards the left too, even better. More overloading, more defenders required. Why is this good? Well, if I can force the defence to drift to my left, I have created space on my right flank. Space, incidentally, which I want to put my CM(A) into. So what about the right midfielder? You could have another IF to exploit this space, but this is typically not how I play. If I flood the right of the defence as well, the opposition may not over commit to defending their right flank. So lets keep the width with a winger. On support, because I want him in space to start with (not pressed against the defensive line, he will be less dangerous there.

This creates another way to score goals straight up. Two ways, really. The first would be a cross from the left flank to the right, with the winger (who will drift in for such things), CM(A) or DLF all potentially available for a cross. Equally, a cross from the right wing to the left will find an IF(A), and possible the DLF. Sometimes even the left back gets super adventurous.

winger.thumb.png.a3b541628e253a8de5a49bbbe25f9b0a.png.32037961c8f3f70a5c2c1d7988f4f7a5.png

Who shall I pair the winger with? Well, actually, this role depends a lot on the situation. A FB(A) can also work here if I want to really overload the defence. This makes it very hard for a defending team to commit enough men to any one area. I could also use a more defensive role if I want to have additional defensive cover, a FB(D) for example. With the CM(A) bombing forward there is even scope for using an IWB to give me another body in the middle of the park (I do not do this a lot).

There are 4 more roles to assign, only one of which is interesting. What do I want the DMC to do? Well, a little of everything. He needs to be a bit of a destroyer, not letting anyone get easily past him. At the same time, he needs to hold his position to provide defensive cover at all times, because I am set up very aggressive. Finally, I want him to act as a pivot to help recycle the ball from left to right, and vice versa (in combination with the DLP). So I usually play a simple DM(S) here, and make sure a have (or buy) a player who is capable of doing all these things. It is a very demanding role.

Finally, the CBs are simple CD(S), and the goalkeeper a GK(D). I do not need them to do anything fancy. Just stop goals from being scored.

This is a long, involved post, probably the longest I will make. The conclusions to take are:

1.       I have created a tactic based only one what I want to see happen, using common sense.

2.      I have created at least 4 common ways I should score a goal. This is only counting what I do with possession, not set plays or counter attacks.

3.      You will notice I have no talked about any team instructions, player instructions, mentality, etc. I feel this is secondary to me. I will discuss it in the next post.  

Hi sporadicsmiles

may we see your league results and standings? 

cheers

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3 hours ago, Tunes10 said:

Hi sporadicsmiles

may we see your league results and standings? 

cheers

When I was writing this I was challenging for the title with Leicester, but sometime in the 2020s after building the squad in the way I wanted it. I probably do not have a screenshot of it I do not think. 

Right now I am playing a different save and exploring different things (in particular counter attacking and breaking down defensive sides) so I am not sure how much it would have a bearing on these posts. Plus the idea of this was to show how I build a solid foundation for future success. 

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  • 3 months later...

@sporadicsmiles  Thanks for the post. It was a great read. I like how you described each role you chose and how it will play. I would love more threads like this for other tactics too, to explain why they chose each position and what they expect from the player. 

I would like to ask something. I am always afraid to use 1 footed player in wide position because I think that the defender will show on his weak foot and he will destroy its play. For example, if my left winger is only able to use his Right foot, defender will show on his weak foot and he will not be able to cut inside with the ball most of the times... same thing for winger, he will struggle a lot to get into a good crossing position.

At the same time, the preset OIs for opposite wingers... what if opposite wingers can use either foot? How the OI will work there? Maybe I will just give them an easy path on one of their foot to play?

Edited by Ampalaea4
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  • 1 month later...

Fantastic post. Can't believe I've only just come across this. Thanks for taking time to do this @sporadicsmiles

I had a similar tactic except a couple of roles. You've made me realise that designing a tactic really is logical and simple at it's basics and doesn't need to be complicated. I loved the way you stripped it back and simply asked 'what do I want my team to do? How am I going to firstly create the space and then exploit it?

I really struggled even 4th season in with 2 clubs to create enough chances with the lone striker in this formation but using what you spoke about in this thread my first game my striker got a first half hat trick (albeit 1 being a penalty) but it's the first time in a long time that my player has had a hat trick so thank you!! 

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On 23/01/2020 at 18:41, Ampalaea4 said:

I would like to ask something. I am always afraid to use 1 footed player in wide position because I think that the defender will show on his weak foot and he will destroy its play. For example, if my left winger is only able to use his Right foot, defender will show on his weak foot and he will not be able to cut inside with the ball most of the times... same thing for winger, he will struggle a lot to get into a good crossing position.

Just because they show on his weaker foot does not mean they will succeed in denying him in using his strong foot all the time. I would not worry about it too much. Just make sure he has adequate support around him, so if he cannot do what he wants, he has an outlet. Having said that a two footed player is always preferable because they are more unpredictable. They can go wide and cross, or cut inside. 

On 05/03/2020 at 12:51, dan_bre_1988 said:

I had a similar tactic except a couple of roles. You've made me realise that designing a tactic really is logical and simple at it's basics and doesn't need to be complicated. I loved the way you stripped it back and simply asked 'what do I want my team to do? How am I going to firstly create the space and then exploit it?

Took me a long time to realise it too, but building a tactic is simple and logical as you say. We get presented with so many options in FM that we users like to complicate matters immediately. Or we cannot see the wood for the trees. 90% of setting up a tactic is working out what you want to do and getting the roles right. The rest is fiddling with PIs and TIs to actually make it work as you want on the pitch. 

After that the game becomes finding players who fit your style of play. I love well rounded midfielders who can slot into any of my 3 midfield roles, for example. And spotting what you need to change in certain situations (like running a CM(A) into two DMCs is probably not going to work).

On 05/03/2020 at 12:51, dan_bre_1988 said:

I really struggled even 4th season in with 2 clubs to create enough chances with the lone striker in this formation but using what you spoke about in this thread my first game my striker got a first half hat trick (albeit 1 being a penalty) but it's the first time in a long time that my player has had a hat trick so thank you!! 

I'm glad it is helpful! It is the reason I put the time into this thread. I remember when I was utterly useless with tactics. I could see what I wanted, but not how to make it work. Now it clicked for me, I wanted to try and make it click for other people. I hope you win every competition you play! May the hattricks flow. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

This thread is really great, thanks for a lot of good insights of how to manage and lead a team @sporadicsmiles, the only thing it lacks is about opposition.

You did mention

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster” 
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 

but you never mention how do you prepare for opposition, it is only about your side. Can you expand a bit about opposition?

I always play as lower league club and try to go to the top. How do you approach, lets say, one solid team you never played against before?

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3 hours ago, Zed McJack2 said:

but you never mention how do you prepare for opposition, it is only about your side. Can you expand a bit about opposition?

I will give it a go. I tend to try to understand teams from past experience, and from what I see in a match more than anything. 

There are many levels to how you can prepare for playing any given team. The most basic is just to know what to expect based on your relative standings. So if I play away to Manchester United, I know I am going to be attacked and face an aggressive side. If I play a third division side in the cup, I can expect to face a parked bus or at the best a defensive side. This is the simple, easy way to know what to expect. It will inform of what your strategy should be. I will play a more defensive direct counter attacking style against big teams. Abandon the counter press, sit deeper. I will try to work the ball more, be more attacking, get more players running and moving against a defensive side. 

You can easily get one level deeper than this just using your own experience of playing the game. There are teams you know will park the bus. Teams you know like to build from the back. Teams you know are based around counter attacks. Or teams you know play with formations you have struggled against (I hate the 3412 formations you see in Italy, for example, it is so hard to make space for attackers). There is no real advice I can give here. Either you know what a team will do or you do not. If it helps, you can keep notes of how a side plays. Including what sort of passing they use, how the keep the ball, and what their favoured type of attack is. I do not keep notes, because I can remember pretty well what teams have done against me before. A good memory is a gift that never stops giving.

The next step is to pay attention to the scout reports you get prematch. This will give you an idea of their formation, their mentality, their style. It will tell you what they do well and where there assists come from. Who is scoring their goals. How hard is it to score against them? Where can I create chances? Where are they strongest in defence? Really this is almost all you need. They are weak to crosses from the left? Well, lets try to exploit that. They score through overloads on the right? Better make sure my left back has correct support. 

Further than this, you can look at who their key players are. Either through experience of playing them, or just seeing who is playing the best. Who is creating? Who is scoring? If a team as a single creator, can you shut him down? If they get all their goals from a single player, can you stop him from getting chances? Are their defenders slow? Bad in the air? Do they have a player with low bravery? All of these are things you can think about exploiting. As a concrete example, imagine you play a team with a monster striker who scores with his head because he has excellent jumping reach, headers, and height. I may think about putting my best heading defenders on the pitch, even if they are not my strongest. At least make it challenging for him by contesting the air. If their striker is super fast and with good off the ball, I want a defender on him who is also fast and has good anticipation/positioning. 

There is also something else at play here. How much do you want to change in order to match up to a team? For myself, I would rather impose myself on that team and make them adapt to me. That may mean changes to exploit a weakness. Or changes because a typical style for my teams will not work. For example I know if I play a team with two DMCs that the DLF/CM axis is not going to be super efficient because that area is covered. So I change it. For example use a MEZ(A) and overload a flank. Or withdraw the midfield to force the DMCs to come out and leave space. This is a proactive change, for me. I am changing things based on common sense to hurt the opposition. 

When it comes to making changes specifically to nullify the opposition, I usually see this as something I will do only if I have to. If I know I cannot let their creative DLP sit and dictate play from the DM slot under little pressure. Or I know their striker will force me to really drop the DL. I do not make changes for the sake of it. At the end of the day, I want to get my team playing my football. I do not want to make so many changes every game that I am lacking my own tactical identity. Think of it like chess. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a piece to gain some activity elsewhere on the board, and to gain a decisive advantage. 

The final thing which everyone should always do is adapt to what you see on the pitch. The is by far the most important thing. You can know all about the opposition beforehand. But to quote Helmuth von Moltke the Elder; "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy". You could have had a great plan, only to realise the opposition has set up different to how you expect. Or score an early goal. Or you score an early goal. Adapting on the pitch is an absolute must.

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Great response, thanks for replying.

So the important thing here is to actually think mostly about what your team does and can do, only if you think (or see) that they cant play the way you set them up you adapt your play style to counter or exploit the opposition. Right?

This guide is really extremely good. The only thing that can improve it is to get an example and show us preparation to game against an opposition that you dont know beforehand how it plays.

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2 hours ago, Zed McJack2 said:

So the important thing here is to actually think mostly about what your team does and can do, only if you think (or see) that they cant play the way you set them up you adapt your play style to counter or exploit the opposition. Right?

 

Exactly. If I know I am not going to be able to play the way I normally play, I will make changes. The tactic I described here, for example, creates space using the movement of the DLF and the players around him. This is not so good against teams with 2 DMCs (or even 3 DC formations with a single DMC) as the defenders do not need to track him. This means no space for IF(A) and CM(A). So it is pointless to bash against this and hope it breaks down. We have to find a different way. This is one of the times I almost always change. The other is when I know I will get absolutely battered if I am too aggressive. It is all about knowing what you can do, and what you cannot do. Then if you know what the opposition should do, you can turn your weakness to a strength. This was the reason for that quote.

2 hours ago, Zed McJack2 said:

This guide is really extremely good. The only thing that can improve it is to get an example and show us preparation to game against an opposition that you dont know beforehand how it plays.

If I come across a good example in my current game play, I will certainly remember to write about it. At the moment I have been playing around with another tactic in another thread, so I am not really making changes at all, since I want to see what happens to this tactic in different situations. I am still in the "learn what we can do" phase there. I am currently just ignoring the opposition unless there is something glaring in the games that I have to deal with. 

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2 hours ago, hilmz88 said:

you see when you set them on your main tactic screen so they're set auto...when you start a match they dont show up ? are they still set though ?

I would assume so? I can honestly say I have never thought about it. 

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On 03/04/2020 at 15:13, hilmz88 said:

you see when you set them on your main tactic screen so they're set auto...when you start a match they dont show up ? are they still set though ?

Nope, you have to set them in game as well. It's clear to see when you don't and when you do.

Could just be my skin though? Not sure but I think there is a clear difference if you do and if you don't.

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36 minutes ago, Justified said:

Nope, you have to set them in game as well. It's clear to see when you don't and when you do.

Could just be my skin though? Not sure but I think there is a clear difference if you do and if you don't.

even when you click on the thing that says these instructions will apply to all players featuring in this position. when you make a sub it re sets

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There is an easy trick around it. After you've done your team talk, head to OI's, highlight all players (including subs) and click on one of the OI icons next to the player and it'll select all OI's for all positions including subs. You don't have to do anything after that.

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2 minutes ago, Justified said:

There is an easy trick around it. After you've done your team talk, head to OI's, highlight all players (including subs) and click on one of the OI icons next to the player and it'll select all OI's for all positions including subs. You don't have to do anything after that.

niceeeee

 

just need to remember . all this time i thought they were on :rolleyes:

Edited by hilmz88
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You mean after you've done the team-talk before the match starts? Did you highlight ALL the players including subs?

I've just checked in my last match and all AI subs that came on automatically got applied my pre-OI's.

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Thank you @sporadicsmiles for such a thread. Very inspiring, and for me a lot of small things to improve. I recognized myself in the prt "Building my first team" and "4 different categories of players: Key, Rotation, Emergency backups, Youngsters". This is really how I work, and I came to the same conclusion as you: I never understood why people kept complaining about unhappiness in the locker room. My players get the playing time they deserved, unless there is an exceptionnal offer on the market and I find myself with one more player than I should. The only time I may have a player unhappy is when it is one of my Key Players or decent Youngster and I refuse to sell them to PSG or any other big club.
I need to learn more to adapt to the team while in-game, this is something I do not really do because I hate FM graphics IG. Therefore, I try to go throuhg the game on high speed and showing only highlights. I shall try to analyze mroe these highlights, this could drive me somewhere already.
:thup:

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在 2020/3/31 在 PM7点42分, sporadicsmiles说:

I will give it a go. I tend to try to understand teams from past experience, and from what I see in a match more than anything. 

There are many levels to how you can prepare for playing any given team. The most basic is just to know what to expect based on your relative standings. So if I play away to Manchester United, I know I am going to be attacked and face an aggressive side. If I play a third division side in the cup, I can expect to face a parked bus or at the best a defensive side. This is the simple, easy way to know what to expect. It will inform of what your strategy should be. I will play a more defensive direct counter attacking style against big teams. Abandon the counter press, sit deeper. I will try to work the ball more, be more attacking, get more players running and moving against a defensive side. 

You can easily get one level deeper than this just using your own experience of playing the game. There are teams you know will park the bus. Teams you know like to build from the back. Teams you know are based around counter attacks. Or teams you know play with formations you have struggled against (I hate the 3412 formations you see in Italy, for example, it is so hard to make space for attackers). There is no real advice I can give here. Either you know what a team will do or you do not. If it helps, you can keep notes of how a side plays. Including what sort of passing they use, how the keep the ball, and what their favoured type of attack is. I do not keep notes, because I can remember pretty well what teams have done against me before. A good memory is a gift that never stops giving.

The next step is to pay attention to the scout reports you get prematch. This will give you an idea of their formation, their mentality, their style. It will tell you what they do well and where there assists come from. Who is scoring their goals. How hard is it to score against them? Where can I create chances? Where are they strongest in defence? Really this is almost all you need. They are weak to crosses from the left? Well, lets try to exploit that. They score through overloads on the right? Better make sure my left back has correct support. 

Further than this, you can look at who their key players are. Either through experience of playing them, or just seeing who is playing the best. Who is creating? Who is scoring? If a team as a single creator, can you shut him down? If they get all their goals from a single player, can you stop him from getting chances? Are their defenders slow? Bad in the air? Do they have a player with low bravery? All of these are things you can think about exploiting. As a concrete example, imagine you play a team with a monster striker who scores with his head because he has excellent jumping reach, headers, and height. I may think about putting my best heading defenders on the pitch, even if they are not my strongest. At least make it challenging for him by contesting the air. If their striker is super fast and with good off the ball, I want a defender on him who is also fast and has good anticipation/positioning. 

There is also something else at play here. How much do you want to change in order to match up to a team? For myself, I would rather impose myself on that team and make them adapt to me. That may mean changes to exploit a weakness. Or changes because a typical style for my teams will not work. For example I know if I play a team with two DMCs that the DLF/CM axis is not going to be super efficient because that area is covered. So I change it. For example use a MEZ(A) and overload a flank. Or withdraw the midfield to force the DMCs to come out and leave space. This is a proactive change, for me. I am changing things based on common sense to hurt the opposition. 

When it comes to making changes specifically to nullify the opposition, I usually see this as something I will do only if I have to. If I know I cannot let their creative DLP sit and dictate play from the DM slot under little pressure. Or I know their striker will force me to really drop the DL. I do not make changes for the sake of it. At the end of the day, I want to get my team playing my football. I do not want to make so many changes every game that I am lacking my own tactical identity. Think of it like chess. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a piece to gain some activity elsewhere on the board, and to gain a decisive advantage. 

The final thing which everyone should always do is adapt to what you see on the pitch. The is by far the most important thing. You can know all about the opposition beforehand. But to quote Helmuth von Moltke the Elder; "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy". You could have had a great plan, only to realise the opposition has set up different to how you expect. Or score an early goal. Or you score an early goal. Adapting on the pitch is an absolute must.

How do you determine whether to use 

Normal 3 defensive role, 5 support role and 2 attack

Attack 4 Attack role, 3 support role, 3 defensive role

Defend 4 defensive role , 4 support role, 2 attack role

 

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3 hours ago, kayyuenchinup said:

How do you determine whether to use 

Normal 3 defensive role, 5 support role and 2 attack

Attack 4 Attack role, 3 support role, 3 defensive role

Defend 4 defensive role , 4 support role, 2 attack role

I do not think in these terms at all. It is far too rigid. 

The most important thing is to understand what you want a player to do both with and without the ball. That guides their role and duty. The tactic I described in the first post of this thread has 5 attack duties in it (I think), and yet was defensively excellent. Which is because I knew what each role was supposed to do and set up accordingly. 

You should not get stuck into a mode of thinking as rigid as the one you describe here. As long as you have well thought out what each role does, and why it has the role and duty assigned, the number of each duty does not matter. 

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8 小时前, sporadicsmiles说:

I do not think in these terms at all. It is far too rigid. 

The most important thing is to understand what you want a player to do both with and without the ball. That guides their role and duty. The tactic I described in the first post of this thread has 5 attack duties in it (I think), and yet was defensively excellent. Which is because I knew what each role was supposed to do and set up accordingly. 

You should not get stuck into a mode of thinking as rigid as the one you describe here. As long as you have well thought out what each role does, and why it has the role and duty assigned, the number of each duty does not matter. 

Thank you for your article, it has changed the way I play.  

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2 hours ago, kayyuenchinup said:

Can you provide more advices on alone striker?  How to determine to use support role or attack role?  

It depends entirely on what you want him to do. In the tactic I described in detail here, my striker is supposed to help in chance creation. His movement is supposed to make space for the players around him. In particular he is supposed to create space by dragging CBs out of position so players can run in behind them. This sets him up to be a support role, because that will satisfy what I need. Of course this is not the only way to think about it. It could be, for example, you want to create space in front of the defence. Maybe you  have a skilled AMC you want to have more space to pick a pass. Then you would want an attack duty. 

A lot of this depends on what you want the striker to do. And what the players around him do. You have to think in terms of interplay. Ask yourself what the striker should do. What is his job? Where does he need to go to achieve it? If you know this, it should be obvious what he should be.

This even works when you are setting up to play on the counter. When I play direct, I use a striker on attack duty. Why? Because I want him to be forward and running into space to chase balls. In that case, an attack duty makes sense. I use the DLF(A) because I also want him to link up players when we counter. Bring in the wide players, or pass back to the midfield, or whatever is the best option. 

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Just amazing! Went to the computer just in the night and fixed some stuff because of your great writings, simple, clear and easy to implement.

I would like to read more of you, everything about this beloved game. Actually I am struggling with much unhappiness with some key players. It’s very difficult. In the longtime it’s clear how to handle (you explained it above) but in the shorttime it’s frustrating. Usually I rotate the players out and try to be successful with the rest of the squad even if the unhappy players are first choice. I noticed that in case of success and good spirit in the rest of the squad they sometimes decide to think positive again. I also try to talk them around with warnings due to their conduct.

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On 05/04/2020 at 13:21, Justified said:

There is an easy trick around it. After you've done your team talk, head to OI's, highlight all players (including subs) and click on one of the OI icons next to the player and it'll select all OI's for all positions including subs. You don't have to do anything after that.

Top tip. Thank you.

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12 hours ago, HanziZoloman said:

but in the shorttime it’s frustrating. Usually I rotate the players out and try to be successful with the rest of the squad even if the unhappy players are first choice. I noticed that in case of success and good spirit in the rest of the squad they sometimes decide to think positive again. I also try to talk them around with warnings due to their conduct.

If the player is unhappy but is playing okay, I just keep playing him. He will usually get over his unhappiness. I rarely get players who have playing time issues because I build my squad so that all my players should get the time they want. The exception is when I am joining a new club and need to build the squad how I want it. But normally players who complain about playing time do not figure in my long term plans so I am happy to sell them. 

I find with transfers a player will normally get over it when the window closes and the interest in him fades. However I am willing to recognise that every player has a price and I will sell players if I feel the offer is good enough. Sometimes you also just have to accept that you are going to lose a player. Maybe he outgrew the squad, or you know his wage demands will be too large to make a decent contract offer next time. In these cases it is best to just let the player go. Also if the player is causing lots of disruption then I will just let him go anyway. No point to have players like that. In all but the rarest cases you can replace him (and I try to make sure I have a shortlist of potential candidates for such cases). 

Contracts I have a solid plan for, so key players are on long term deals. I will not offer new contracts simply because a player asks for it if they are already tied to a long contract. The exception being if they are on a long term contract with relatively low wages (a younger player who has developed into a first team player, for instance). Then I will be more likely to negotiate, since I am paying below value for him and it is better for me to get him on a new 4 or 5 year deal with better wages. Less likely to get offers for him as his contract is worth more. I do get people moaning about contracts periodically, but if I say no I just leave it there. Either the player gets happy again and all is okay, or he stays unhappy and eventually I will deal with it. Either by selling him, or deciding if I should offer a new contract. 

If a player is playing poorly, or not putting in effort, then he will be dropped from the team. This is annoying, but normally your first team players should rarely get unhappy unless you reject transfer bids. They will generally have long, large wage contracts and get lots of game time. I find that if you drop a player for long enough, he will often drop his issue either to get back in the team, or because he says he no longer needs a deal, etc. If this is causing significant disruption, you can also just give in to the demands. One thing you have to accept (at least in my view, other people can play differently) is that you will not win all player interactions. Sometimes it is better for the squad for you to give in to a demand. Or find a suboptimal compromise. Good squad building will eliminate many of the common issues though, it is why I dedicated time to it.

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21 minutes ago, sporadicsmiles said:

Good squad building will eliminate many of the common issues though, it is why I dedicated time to it.

Thanks for your reply, that what I am trying to implement now. Luckily my Kaiserslautern squad had a perfect build up for Counter press because I already implemented some ideas from another thread. Your complete plan here is very helpful and now I am much more focused in the transfer window, on player happiness and building a match plan.
thank you 🙏🏾 

which one is the other thread of yours? 

Edited by HanziZoloman
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  • 11 months later...
On 31/03/2020 at 14:42, sporadicsmiles said:

I will give it a go. I tend to try to understand teams from past experience, and from what I see in a match more than anything. 

There are many levels to how you can prepare for playing any given team. The most basic is just to know what to expect based on your relative standings. So if I play away to Manchester United, I know I am going to be attacked and face an aggressive side. If I play a third division side in the cup, I can expect to face a parked bus or at the best a defensive side. This is the simple, easy way to know what to expect. It will inform of what your strategy should be. I will play a more defensive direct counter attacking style against big teams. Abandon the counter press, sit deeper. I will try to work the ball more, be more attacking, get more players running and moving against a defensive side. 

You can easily get one level deeper than this just using your own experience of playing the game. There are teams you know will park the bus. Teams you know like to build from the back. Teams you know are based around counter attacks. Or teams you know play with formations you have struggled against (I hate the 3412 formations you see in Italy, for example, it is so hard to make space for attackers). There is no real advice I can give here. Either you know what a team will do or you do not. If it helps, you can keep notes of how a side plays. Including what sort of passing they use, how the keep the ball, and what their favoured type of attack is. I do not keep notes, because I can remember pretty well what teams have done against me before. A good memory is a gift that never stops giving.

The next step is to pay attention to the scout reports you get prematch. This will give you an idea of their formation, their mentality, their style. It will tell you what they do well and where there assists come from. Who is scoring their goals. How hard is it to score against them? Where can I create chances? Where are they strongest in defence? Really this is almost all you need. They are weak to crosses from the left? Well, lets try to exploit that. They score through overloads on the right? Better make sure my left back has correct support. 

Further than this, you can look at who their key players are. Either through experience of playing them, or just seeing who is playing the best. Who is creating? Who is scoring? If a team as a single creator, can you shut him down? If they get all their goals from a single player, can you stop him from getting chances? Are their defenders slow? Bad in the air? Do they have a player with low bravery? All of these are things you can think about exploiting. As a concrete example, imagine you play a team with a monster striker who scores with his head because he has excellent jumping reach, headers, and height. I may think about putting my best heading defenders on the pitch, even if they are not my strongest. At least make it challenging for him by contesting the air. If their striker is super fast and with good off the ball, I want a defender on him who is also fast and has good anticipation/positioning. 

There is also something else at play here. How much do you want to change in order to match up to a team? For myself, I would rather impose myself on that team and make them adapt to me. That may mean changes to exploit a weakness. Or changes because a typical style for my teams will not work. For example I know if I play a team with two DMCs that the DLF/CM axis is not going to be super efficient because that area is covered. So I change it. For example use a MEZ(A) and overload a flank. Or withdraw the midfield to force the DMCs to come out and leave space. This is a proactive change, for me. I am changing things based on common sense to hurt the opposition. 

When it comes to making changes specifically to nullify the opposition, I usually see this as something I will do only if I have to. If I know I cannot let their creative DLP sit and dictate play from the DM slot under little pressure. Or I know their striker will force me to really drop the DL. I do not make changes for the sake of it. At the end of the day, I want to get my team playing my football. I do not want to make so many changes every game that I am lacking my own tactical identity. Think of it like chess. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a piece to gain some activity elsewhere on the board, and to gain a decisive advantage. 

The final thing which everyone should always do is adapt to what you see on the pitch. The is by far the most important thing. You can know all about the opposition beforehand. But to quote Helmuth von Moltke the Elder; "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy". You could have had a great plan, only to realise the opposition has set up different to how you expect. Or score an early goal. Or you score an early goal. Adapting on the pitch is an absolute must.

Hi, first of all, thanks very much for this very well written & informative guide, it’s been very helpful. I have a couple of questions:

1) What do you mean by ‘withdraw the midfield to force the DMs to come out’?

2) My current striker is better suited to a False 9 role, he lacks a couple of the attributes needed to play in the DLF role. I’ve seen a couple of tactics very similar to yours that utilise a F9 instead of a DLF & wondered why you chose to go with a DLF & what positives/negatives it has in your tactic in comparison to a F9. 

Thanks for in advance for any help provided!

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14 hours ago, smeagoltonez said:

My current striker is better suited to a False 9 role, he lacks a couple of the attributes needed to play in the DLF role

If your striker can play as an F9 he can most likely play as a DLF. the roles are very similar 

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5 minutes ago, DarJ said:

If your striker can play as an F9 he can most likely play as a DLF. the roles are very similar 

Yeah you're right. I should have been clearer in my original post - my striker lacks the strength required to hold the ball up. His physical attributes favour speed over strength. I think he'd get knocked off the ball if he tried to hold it up. Thanks for your reply by the way.

Jevani Brown.jpg

Edited by smeagoltonez
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14 hours ago, smeagoltonez said:

What do you mean by ‘withdraw the midfield to force the DMs to come out’?

I think he meant sitting back a bit to allow the other team to attack him that way both the fullbacks and DM come inside his own half and he has space he can exploit 

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18 minutes ago, DarJ said:

I think he meant sitting back a bit to allow the other team to attack him that way both the fullbacks and DM come inside his own half and he has space he can exploit 

Thanks! So not pressing with your forwards while playing with a deeper defensive line & line of engagement?

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16 minutes ago, smeagoltonez said:

Thanks! So not pressing with your forwards while playing with a deeper defensive line & line of engagement?

something like that but I don't know specifically how he's going to do it

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On 08/04/2021 at 21:44, smeagoltonez said:

1) What do you mean by ‘withdraw the midfield to force the DMs to come out’?

 

Here I mean instead of having my midfield pressed higher up the pitch, I would encourage players to keep the ball a little closer to my goal, with the aim of forcing their midfield to step out to challenge these players. Maybe by shifting the playmaker role to DMC, or by changing the defensive line. Or you can get creative and do things like have an IWB come inside and create an extra body in midfield, which may force the opposition to react. It is hit and miss in general though. If an opposition team does not want to come out, they won't and you have to try to find another way.

On 08/04/2021 at 21:44, smeagoltonez said:

2) My current striker is better suited to a False 9 role, he lacks a couple of the attributes needed to play in the DLF role. I’ve seen a couple of tactics very similar to yours that utilise a F9 instead of a DLF & wondered why you chose to go with a DLF & what positives/negatives it has in your tactic in comparison to a F9. 

A F9 would work just fine in the kind of setup I describe here, because that role also does all the things I need in this role. Drops deep, links with runners in behind, etc. I use a DLF for three seasons. The first is I tend to find it easier to get a DLF than a F9, especially at lower levels. The second is that I always get the impression that a F9 would drop too deep sometimes, and I do want my striker to be somewhere close to the opposition defence, just not pressing the line too hard. Thirdly, it is easier to change from DLF(S) to DLF(A) without too much thinking of whether the player can do that. This is useful when I want to be more direct, or the opposition is giving me space to attack. F9 does not have an attack option, and so if I design a tactic around a F9 it might mean I need to make a sub as well as a role change (depends on the player of course). Since I do not use the F9 role often, I am not sure on this, so maybe someone else will comment, but I also like my striker to be somewhat involved with scoring, and I would fear a F9 carries too little direct goal threat.

All that being said, if your player plays best as a F9, then do that. There is no reason why it cannot work, and a F9 with an IF(a) and CM(a) attacking behind also sounds dangerous. Although the screenshot you post I think as long as you are not looking for him to hold the ball up, but focusing on his decent vision to create, he should play both roles well.

On 09/04/2021 at 12:44, DarJ said:

I think he meant sitting back a bit to allow the other team to attack him that way both the fullbacks and DM come inside his own half and he has space he can exploit 

Just spotted this. This would also be a way to do it, but focusing on quick transitions. It was long enough ago that I wrote this that I cannot remember exactly what I had in mind, just the general ideas. I have evolved this style since FM21, so maybe I should make an update about what  I changed and why.

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I would just like to say thank you. Your approach is very nice and I think I found the balance I was looking for.

As I like the same style of play that you do and I also player with lower league teams, I am still adapting the basic tactics to fit the squad I have and to the exact way I like but the results overall seem very good, I think we are on a good way.

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3 minutes ago, Tsuru said:

I would just like to say thank you. Your approach is very nice and I think I found the balance I was looking for.

As I like the same style of play that you do and I also player with lower league teams, I am still adapting the basic tactics to fit the squad I have and to the exact way I like but the results overall seem very good, I think we are on a good way.

As long as you are taking tactics and team building hand in hand, and know what you want to achieve and why, you will have success. That is the key to the game. I hope it continues!

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On 13/04/2021 at 09:32, sporadicsmiles said:

Here I mean instead of having my midfield pressed higher up the pitch, I would encourage players to keep the ball a little closer to my goal, with the aim of forcing their midfield to step out to challenge these players. Maybe by shifting the playmaker role to DMC, or by changing the defensive line. Or you can get creative and do things like have an IWB come inside and create an extra body in midfield, which may force the opposition to react. It is hit and miss in general though. If an opposition team does not want to come out, they won't and you have to try to find another way.

A F9 would work just fine in the kind of setup I describe here, because that role also does all the things I need in this role. Drops deep, links with runners in behind, etc. I use a DLF for three seasons. The first is I tend to find it easier to get a DLF than a F9, especially at lower levels. The second is that I always get the impression that a F9 would drop too deep sometimes, and I do want my striker to be somewhere close to the opposition defence, just not pressing the line too hard. Thirdly, it is easier to change from DLF(S) to DLF(A) without too much thinking of whether the player can do that. This is useful when I want to be more direct, or the opposition is giving me space to attack. F9 does not have an attack option, and so if I design a tactic around a F9 it might mean I need to make a sub as well as a role change (depends on the player of course). Since I do not use the F9 role often, I am not sure on this, so maybe someone else will comment, but I also like my striker to be somewhat involved with scoring, and I would fear a F9 carries too little direct goal threat.

All that being said, if your player plays best as a F9, then do that. There is no reason why it cannot work, and a F9 with an IF(a) and CM(a) attacking behind also sounds dangerous. Although the screenshot you post I think as long as you are not looking for him to hold the ball up, but focusing on his decent vision to create, he should play both roles well.

Just spotted this. This would also be a way to do it, but focusing on quick transitions. It was long enough ago that I wrote this that I cannot remember exactly what I had in mind, just the general ideas. I have evolved this style since FM21, so maybe I should make an update about what  I changed and why.

I'm curious how your style has evolved, as I find this threat still one of the best! 

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12 hours ago, BadAss88 said:

I'm curious how your style has evolved, as I find this threat still one of the best! 

I'll look into trying to write something up. Takes a little bit of work to get things together in a way that is easy to convey to others when it is not something I planned to write about. But I have some ideas. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 13/04/2021 at 10:32, sporadicsmiles said:

Here I mean instead of having my midfield pressed higher up the pitch, I would encourage players to keep the ball a little closer to my goal, with the aim of forcing their midfield to step out to challenge these players. Maybe by shifting the playmaker role to DMC, or by changing the defensive line. Or you can get creative and do things like have an IWB come inside and create an extra body in midfield, which may force the opposition to react. It is hit and miss in general though. If an opposition team does not want to come out, they won't and you have to try to find another way.

A F9 would work just fine in the kind of setup I describe here, because that role also does all the things I need in this role. Drops deep, links with runners in behind, etc. I use a DLF for three seasons. The first is I tend to find it easier to get a DLF than a F9, especially at lower levels. The second is that I always get the impression that a F9 would drop too deep sometimes, and I do want my striker to be somewhere close to the opposition defence, just not pressing the line too hard. Thirdly, it is easier to change from DLF(S) to DLF(A) without too much thinking of whether the player can do that. This is useful when I want to be more direct, or the opposition is giving me space to attack. F9 does not have an attack option, and so if I design a tactic around a F9 it might mean I need to make a sub as well as a role change (depends on the player of course). Since I do not use the F9 role often, I am not sure on this, so maybe someone else will comment, but I also like my striker to be somewhat involved with scoring, and I would fear a F9 carries too little direct goal threat.

All that being said, if your player plays best as a F9, then do that. There is no reason why it cannot work, and a F9 with an IF(a) and CM(a) attacking behind also sounds dangerous. Although the screenshot you post I think as long as you are not looking for him to hold the ball up, but focusing on his decent vision to create, he should play both roles well.

Just spotted this. This would also be a way to do it, but focusing on quick transitions. It was long enough ago that I wrote this that I cannot remember exactly what I had in mind, just the general ideas. I have evolved this style since FM21, so maybe I should make an update about what  I changed and why.

 

Thank you very much for your reply & help! An update about your evolved playing style would be very welcome indeed. Thanks again!

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Le 18/04/2021 à 02:53, sporadicsmiles a dit :

I'll look into trying to write something up. Takes a little bit of work to get things together in a way that is easy to convey to others when it is not something I planned to write about. But I have some ideas. 

I'd enjoy to read you

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Le 06/05/2021 à 20:57, smeagoltonez a dit :

 

Thank you very much for your reply & help! An update about your evolved playing style would be very welcome indeed. Thanks again!

Any news ?

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