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Everything TOTAL Football (From Cruyff's 343 to Guardiola's Overloads) - UPDATED April 9, 2021


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2 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

You mean for months that look like this:

image.png.b3976dbce32c34e0f6547b02640ac560.png

I mean seriously?  We are playing 9 games in the month of December..  my training schedule looks like this LOL.. I couldn't find the training option to pray for no injuries.. so I figured triple recovery sessions was the best I could do:

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Haha yes, that's kind of what I meant but a lot of training schedules I've seen (including the in-game ones) are broken down into: 

- 1 Match

- 2 Match

Or do you just tend to adjust your main schedule on the fly based on your fixture list? 

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1 minute ago, retrodude09 said:

Haha yes, that's kind of what I meant but a lot of training schedules I've seen (including the in-game ones) are broken down into: 

- 1 Match

- 2 Match

Or do you just tend to adjust your main schedule on the fly based on your fixture list? 

I'm like you I have a 2 match training schedule but honestly I find myself hardly ever using it.  I mean you are literally talking about 1 day in which you can get any real training in besides the standard match prep and recovery you need to do so I find myself just manually doing the schedule.  So I always try to work tactical sessions, chance creation, chance conversion, transition press and restrict in, but honestly I find this is when I do the set piece work so attacking corners, defending corners, occasional free kicks that kind of stuff.  I will also try to work sessions in if I get any complaints from the players.. so Kai Havertz was complaining about technical attacking sessions so I worked a few in during those busy times to appease him a bit.

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9 minutos atrás, Kharza_FM disse:

You mean for months that look like this:

image.png.b3976dbce32c34e0f6547b02640ac560.png

I mean seriously?  We are playing 9 games in the month of December..  my training schedule looks like this LOL.. I couldn't find the training option to pray for no injuries.. so I figured triple recovery sessions was the best I could do:

image.png.e80a13282284fb65f3983d9b5024678a.png

 

Being serious though I'd mix in some set piece sessions.. so attacking/defending corners, set piece deliveries.. stuff that gives you next match boosts.

One thing that i forget (for the lesson be complete):

individual training. What is your approach?

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3 minutes ago, PequenoGenio said:

One thing that i forget (for the lesson be complete):

individual training. What is your approach?

Yikes.. that is a topic in itself.  Let's do this.. I plan on doing a post after I get through the month of December in my Chelsea save and part of that was going to be focusing on what I've been doing with the 11 U18 players I've been focused on developing in my U18 squad.  I'll talk through my thoughts about each player and how I've worked on their development so far and what I plan on tweaking based on the results so far.  That should help that discussion since we have actual players to talk about.

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Agora, Kharza_FM disse:

Yikes.. that is a topic in itself.  Let's do this.. I plan on doing a post after I get through the month of December in my Chelsea save and part of that was going to be focusing on what I've been doing with the 11 U18 players I've been focused on developing in my U18 squad.  I'll talk through my thoughts about each player and how I've worked on their development so far and what I plan on tweaking based on the results so far.  That should help that discussion since we have actual players to talk about.

Thanks again.. I will be back soon to this topic to more learning sessions

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Fantastic posts @Kharza_FM, Mentality explained perfectly. :thup:

9 hours ago, Kharza_FM said:

In my case I only wanted to raise the individual mentalities of the CMs and lower in my shape so I went Positive with Focus play through the middle TI.

Just a note on this, I don't think Focus Play still works this way in FM21 (Mentalities seem to no longer change).

  • Earlier FMs = Focus Play encourages attacking runs (increased Mentalities)
  • FM21 = Focus Play encourages passing focus (consequently also affects positioning, since players will look to play through that area more often)

Perhaps something to note, if there will be a Mentality Calculator for FM21. @fmFutbolManager

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2 horas atrás, Zemahh disse:

Fantastic posts @Kharza_FM, Mentality explained perfectly. :thup:

Just a note on this, I don't think Focus Play still works this way in FM21 (Mentalities seem to no longer change).

  • Earlier FMs = Focus Play encourages attacking runs (increased Mentalities)
  • FM21 = Focus Play encourages passing focus (consequently also affects positioning, since players will look to play through that area more often)

Perhaps something to note, if there will be a Mentality Calculator for FM21. @fmFutbolManager

When i was creating the tactic i notice that but maybe is one change "behind the cortain" lika @Kharza_FM said

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Just now, PequenoGenio said:

When i was creating the tactic i notice that but maybe is one change "behind the cortain" lika @Kharza_FM said

Nope I think @Zemahh is correct it looks like this was changed in FM 21 and probably went with the change with how the instruction works around directing where you build up.  I did some testing this morning and I agree that it doesn't seem to change mentality anymore.  Looks like another blow for fine grain control of individual mentality.. I wish we could just go to a system where we can directly control the mentality of our players.

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The Portuguese translation is misleading as it says "it encourages a more intense offensive mentality through the central of the field" and the english one talks about the passing itself.

___________________________

So let's put this togheter again and see if makes sense to you...

spacer.png spacer.png

 

Let me see if I can explain myself well: with this formation and mentalities we have a very cohesive triangle that protects our defense (the two CDs and the DM).  I could put the DM on support but it will create a even more gap between CD and DM due the team mentality.

As the full-backs are in a higher mentality, they will risk more on the foward movement giving the necessary support to the CM by creating more triangles to do the "pass and move" (as I said yesterday the CML is more "adventurous" than the CMR, which behaves more like a B2B. Then in the final third we have varied movement and varied risk which makes the attack slightly more unpredictable.

This is it? Does it make sense to you? :) 

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19 hours ago, Kharza_FM said:

Alright one more quick update and I'll stop hijacking the thread so much!

We started the campaign off in much better shape than Frank did going the first 8 games without conceding a single goal and looking the part as a title contender.

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The first mini hiccup in our season was the away game against Arsenal.. I figured this was a good time to try out my counter system since Arsenal was tied at the top of the table with us at the time and also unbeaten.  Yes needless to say I think I got those tactics wrong..

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If giving up such an early goal wasn't bad enough.. Cesar went bonkers with a two-footed challenge and got sent off with a straight red card.  This really put us in a tight spot and my decision based on the personnel I had on the field and available to me on the bench was to switch to a back 3 with Pulisic and Ziyech as WBs (I know right?!).. well that worked a treat when Ziyech played a great ball over the top that Werner ran on to and calmly chipped the keeper to tie the game 1-1.  At that point we shut up shop and saw the game out to steal the point.

The next big challenge we faced was this ridiculous schedule of 3 games in 6 days.. I mean WTF!!  And if that wasn't bad enough the second game was home in the Champions League against Real Madrid and then 3 days later AWAY against Man City in the league.  I was like what the heck am I going to do here.. well time to see if some of these young pups are ready for the big time.

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Lewis Bate from our U18 squad got the start and we brought a bright young CB Nnamdi Collins off the bench to give him his debut as well. 

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Bate was very tidy on the ball and generated many of the good chances and combined extremely well on the left side with Emerson.   As you can see from the above xG as well we totally deserved to run out winners of the match and didn't really live up to our "aggressive, clinical" rating:

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Disappointing result but considering the almost full rotation of the squad due to these crazy fixture congestions I can't really complain all that much.. result is a result!

I wasn't really concerned about the Madrid game since it was at the bridge and we put out our first choice side who got a good 1-0 result and probably could have had a few more.  In general though the game was a pretty dour affair and just like in real life Madrid had absolutely no threats going forward (even after signing Di Maria from PSG during the transfer window).

That brings us to the big away tie vs. Man City.. the measure of positional play.. against the master himself.  I was torn what to do here.. my natural instinct was to play on the counter.. sit deep, work hard, and hit them on the break when they opened up.  The problem was that really didn't work so well against Arsenal and the system I have needs much more work before it's ready for prime time.  So true to my stated intention I match Klopp Heavy Metal Football with Brazilian Flair!

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Minor tweaks to the system sure.. but the tactical genius was the player selection.  I prioritized players that could physical challenge for the ball, work hard, but when they won the ball they would keep it and play our intelligent brand of creative fluid soccer and by word did it work!  Kante, Kovacic, and Jorginho BOSSED the game and our approach starved Aguero from even being in the game (he ended up with a 6.1 rating!).  The only dangerous person on the field for Man City was Sterling and that was just because of his dribbling skill.  But if you notice that was the one tactical innovation that I employed from FM 21 locker.. FORCE OPPOSITION OUTSIDE.  There was no cutting to the middle and wrecking havoc on our defensive shape.. and every time he did someone in the midfield kicked him in the shins!

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It was a tense affair and our momentum was building as the game went on.. and then with the spark of brilliance in the 85th minute.. sub Callum Hudson-Odoi runs on to a beautiful through ball played into the box by Reece James and buries it to give us the 1-0 win and that was all she wrote and sends us to the top of the table!

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This game was the glimmer of hope that I was looking for in building our vision for how the club will be playing in the future.  Proper defending combined with a fluid possession oriented attack.

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0 shots On Target AND we had the ball for 57% of the time.. against Man City and the master no less!

 

Tactical Insight

Ok so fun story to tell for sure but let's break down what we can learn from this..

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So we need to remember that Football Manager at the end of the day is a simulation engine and it is the numbers that drive most of what we see out on the pitch.  I have built the above view that I should lovingly call the "Jose Guide to Counter Attacking".  If you want to be wicked hard to breakdown defensively.. get a view like that with as much "blue numbers" as possible.  7 rock solid defenders with 1 technical hold up striker + 2 fast creative wingers.. this has always been the typical makeup I use to create that heavy metal counter attack system.  For me the evolution/revolution was the fact that this group could ALSO keep the ball..

image.thumb.png.2998be0308f45712977761a68da457da.png

Just as many "blue numbers" under our key attacking DNA as well (8 players with flair over 11 too with just our keeper and CBs not there).  Solid technicals and really strong off the ball movement.  Work Rate + Acceleration + Off the Ball = brilliant fluid attack.. Bravery + Concentration + Positioning + Work Rate = solid tough to breakdown defense!  Consider WHO you are playing in your system not just what your system is designed to do from player roles and duties.

could you put in the individual instructions? or is there only instruction for the cms?

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So quick update and then I said I'd explore individual player training with a focus on the U18 squad..

So we did end up coming back to reality during the very congested month of December and could only manage 4 wins 3 draws and 2 losses - definitely not ideal and we definitely struggled scoring goals.  While we overperformed on our xG rating prior to December we definitely underperformed it during this run of 9 games in addition to conceding more goals.

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Definitely something to analyze and see what changes we can make tactically to get a might more clinical in front of goal.  I saw this trend begin to appear during the 1-1 draw with Sheff Utd on 11/28/2020 but with the fixture congestion we just didn't have time to explore tweaks.  You can see in the one Southampton game I did try out a 3-4-1-2 but quickly changed out at half time as we struggled early.  Definitely more analysis under the hood that needs to be performed.

The 1-0 loss to Brighton pretty much sums up the trend of our play during December..

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U18s

So we are fully into the season now and I've always found that Jan 1st is a good time to assess our training programs and where we are at with player development.  Since we are slammed with fixtures on the first team and really haven't trained much over the last month or two it probably makes more sense to deep dive into our U18s.  The thing I try to do is find those couple of fixtures that are either cup matches or against lesser opponents to give opportunities to our stronger U18s and fringe first team players that primarily are playing U23 matches.  Fortunately because we went unbeaten in the first 4 matches of our Champions league group that we did even get a chance to introduce some younger players into the squad during our last two matches earning a good home win against Dynamo Kyiv but also dropping the tough away fixture at Basaksehir (who actually qualified above Real Madrid in our group with that win.. maybe not a bad loss after all LOL!).

image.thumb.png.3a61d44547079b6887a103436507226a.png

 

So back to that Dynamo Kyiv game it allowed us to get good looks at 3 of our younger players.. 2 U18 players Central Midfielder Lewis Bate and Fullback Valentino Livramento in addition to giving our promising U23 fullback Henry Lawrence some important Champions League minutes.  Both Bate and Lawrence performed well and Bate definitely stood out during the match with simple passing and sound decisions.  Let's take a look at those players in particular..

Lewis Bate

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So Lewis is a player I'm pretty excited about and have prioritized trying to give some senior minutes to help boost his development.  Nothing better than some solid mentals and technicals with outstanding Vision, Work Rate, Natural Fitness to start with and he definitely looks the part to be a solid midfielder for the club.  So the first thing I do with a player is analyze them against our Club DNA to see what they need to work on.  Also of note is that the colors I use for attributes actually mean something and are designed so you can get a quick glance at the player -

Blue = 15+ and means they are "done" and good for senior squad level

Green = 11-14 and means they are decent for senior squad level

Orange = 7-10 and means they need development before that player can be considered for senior squad level

So let's look at Lewis and how he stacks up against our Club DNA - highlighted Valentino Livramento here as well

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So decent mentals.. needs some work on Decisions, defending stats definitely need work (and this right here is the first indication of the individual training program this player will receive.. I see low concentration, positioning, and tackling for a central midfielder and it screams to me Ball Winning Midfielder individual training, attacking stats are ok.. that is a shame he has such low flair and with that attribute being so hard to raise (it's one of the attributes I use to determine prospects and players to actually work on developing because it is so hard to raise) he's never going to be a true creative genius but as we can see from his Work Rate being "done" he will give us a hardworking shift.  First read on this player is that he has the potential to be a good hard working midfielder that has some steel with 12 bravery and with some development on the defensive side of the game and some focus on Off the Ball could give us a nice type of player we can bring on in the later stages of a match to give us the shift seeing out the game when we have the lead.  So let's look at the training program we have him on and the progress he has made so far:

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So pretty straight forward training plan to me.. Ball Winning Midfielder + Attacking Movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off the Ball) - hits all the key areas we discussed with intense focus and this is pretty much the plan that Lewis will be on for the entire season.  He's also going to need to advance out of the U18s at the end of the season - although I'm worried about a loan move because of his Balanced personality and 13 Determination.  He will need some mentoring for sure so I'm thinking we advance him to the first team next season, get him in a good central midfielder mentoring group and give him plenty of U23 matches with the occasional first team appearance when we can.  Once his personality solidifies better we can consider moving him to one of our affiliates on loan for further development.

So quick aside on mentoring.. I know plenty of people (and used to be one of these people) that will move this type of player to the first team and then make available for U18 matches.  Here is the problem with that method.. they follow the senior squad training program.  So in our case I'm training the U18s differently than the first team because I want them to focus on growing their physical attributes + some core DNA mentals during their stay at the U18s.  This also gets them familiar with our style of play AND more importantly matches their game and training schedules.  So in the case of them following senior squad training they will have a training schedule that doesn't sync with the U18 games you are making them available for.  I have since changed my perspective on mentoring and now look at it more around those players not being mentored until they arrive at the senior squad.  Not quite sure how this is going to turn out but I'm committed to doing that during this save.  So while the standard advice to date has been always mentor players as young as possible.. I've decided that I focus on their core development while with the U18s and don't start the mentoring process until they get promoted to the senior squad.  Now I will make exceptions to this rule for wonderkids and they won't follow this progression.

So let's discuss how our team training and individual training as intersected for the development of this player.  So we have Lewis's individual training program and additional focus.. we are trying to follow this training schedule as much as possible at the team level:

image.thumb.png.037419caf04cce4fc487060425e8a21c.png

Using the wonderful FM 21 training schedule spreadsheet we can see that we expect the following focus of attributes based on the above training schedule:

image.png.436dfd670efe99769b2a71f274f30b0e.png

So let's look at a quick chart of the attribute focus including all training and bolded the key attributes we identified above that Lewis needed to work on..

DNA
Team Training
Individual Training
Focus Training
Teamwork
X
X
 
Anticipation
X
X
X
Decisions
X
 
X
Composure
 
 
 
Vision
 
 
 
Bravery
 
X
 
Concentration
 
X
 
Positioning
X
X
 
Tackling
X
X
 
Work Rate
X
X
 
Flair
 
 
 
Acceleration
X
 
 
Off the Ball
X
 
X
First Touch
 
 
 
Passing
X
 
 
Technique
 
 
 

 

So how are our results so far?

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So I highlighted our Core DNA and we can see that we are making good progress on those core attributes.  We also see from our Physicals that we are seeing nice increases in Agility, Balance (those two attributes are great for midfielders as well because it lets them hold the ball when they are under pressure), and Jumping Reach.  Definitely excellent progress across the board with our Physicals which is the training focus we have gone all in for team training.  Very happy with the results we are seeing so far with Lewis's development and don't think we really need to change anything outside of making sure we still try and find opportunities for him to play senior team minutes.

Valentino Livramento

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So taking a look at Valentino he has some different needs.. let's focus on his strengths first.. very quick, excellent work rate and natural fitness and solid mentals for an 18 year old.  Definitely has some weaknesses but nothing really glaring but he needs improvement in both technicals and defending stats.  So this is when you need a more well rounded training schedule.. hence the Full-Back (Attack) role training.  This should round him out as a solid fullback and since we would like to get him more senior team opportunities we add an additional focus around passing (we are a possession oriented system after all and if he can't pass he can't play!).  So let's check his progress to date:

image.thumb.png.9d3ba821abf46b1b9008140f8158eccc.png

So this has me concerned.. not much improvement so far.  This could be a sign that he needs more and better opportunities with the possible promotion out of the U18s being in the cards.  The last thing you want to do is stifle a player's progression at 18 years old.. so definitely something I need to dive into and explore further.  So my concern around promoting to the senior team and switching training schedules might have to be put on hold for this player.  I really don't have any U23s to speak of so I haven't even set that team's training up yet because there is nobody actually in that squad (just senior squad players made available for U23s).  I might need to consider doing that same thing for Valentino in the very near future.  Affiliate loan is even less likely because of his Balanced personality and only 9 Determination.  Red flag for sure and something I will focus on in the coming days.

 

So hopefully that helps a bit with the way I think about player development with two good examples of positive development and a player to be concerned about.

 

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Edited by Kharza_FM
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16 minutes ago, lipebtavares said:

could you put in the individual instructions? or is there only instruction for the cms?

Only the CMs have any real PIs.. the front 3 and the 2 CMs all have shoot less often but that is it

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On 01/12/2020 at 15:01, Kharza_FM said:

@yonko downloaded the demo so we will see.. chopping at the bit to start a proper youth academy save with my beloved Chelsea and they young talent they have!

Not a bad first experience.. holy cow is the match day interface different though!  This created some decent looking football..

 

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Hey bud, after playing for awhile now, what changes if any have you made to this tactic?

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5 hours ago, 04texag said:

Hey bud, after playing for awhile now, what changes if any have you made to this tactic?

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So January and Feb have treated us a little better but this fixture congestion is just ridiculous.. we are literally playing a game every 3 days and it's been rough on keeping a consistent team selection or really getting a chance to work on any new tactics.  So I mentioned on a recent update about our attack and defense were both starting to suffer so I had a deep dive into previous matches and I identified the following issues:

  1. Not enough production from our #9
  2. Defensive shape during midfield transitions was really poor

So let's break down the #9 position..

As we had mentioned we previously had a mix of Kai Havertz and Tammy Abraham playing as an F9 in our shape and I just didn't feel like he was giving us enough in the attack.  Let's take a look at their performance so far:

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You don't say.. LOL!

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So this forced me to really think about what I wanted out of that #9 position in the system.  I definitely want my #9 to drop deep during build up and assist in connecting the play, but I also need them running in behind and getting on the end of moves.  To that end I like a striker with the PPMs "Comes Deep to Get Ball" and "Gets Into Opposition Area" as it helps to create the movement patterns I'm looking for.  I can't really show it here but I use the analytical movement map feature to watch the movement of my players in relation to others and you can also find this under the "Player" movement option so you can just watch their individual movement on the pitch during the game.. very helpful for looking at how active your players are and especially good for analyzing movement of the #9.

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So what I noticed is that while I felt the #9 was dropping deep to connect the play it was really struggling on getting on the end of moves and more importantly looking to stretch and break in behind when we look to counter.  I was also feeling that I wanted to get a true finisher back into that role because we needed to increase our goal output so I started to tinker a bit.  So striker role selection was always a real struggle for me and it wasn't really until I started using the movement feature above that I got a good sense of which role performs which movement and could then match it up with what I wanted out of my #9.  So what do I want this role to perform in my system:

  1. Drop deep and link up play during build out and midfield consolidation
  2. Get on the end of moves and score goals
  3. Look to stretch the backline and break in behind during counter moves
  4. Movement into channels

I also felt that I needed to increase the mentality of my striker to bring back a bit of that aggressive feel of a true #9 as well.  This meant that I had picked out going with an attacking duty to get that mentality boost so this pretty much ruled out the F9 moving forward.  So what am I left with?

Poacher - won't drop deep

Pressing Forward/Advanced Forward - again won't really drop deep and connect the play

DLF-A - yep this is an option.. hardcoded "Hold Up Ball", "Take More Risks", "Move Into Channels".. ok this is more like it and a potential option

CF-A - another potential.. hardcoded "Hold Up Ball", "Dribble More", "Take More Risks", "Get Further Forward", "Move Into Channels", "Roam From Position"

TM-A - maybe.. hardcoded "Hold Up Ball", "Dribble Less", "Get Further Forward".. yeah not a fan of the dribble less and this role has a natural ball attraction tendency meaning our teammates sometimes will force the ball into him.. also outside of Giroud who I don't plan on starting over my other options I don't really have a striker that can physically hold the ball up.. I need more technical options

T-A - another potential option.. hardcoded "Dribble More", "Take More Risks", "Move Into Channels", "Roam From Position", "Ease Off Tackles" - ok the ease off tackles isn't ideal for us but if you put the right player in that role they will still press and give you a decent defensive shift.  Again I like to think of this role as the more technical version of a target man so definitely a role to consider.

So out of my options I think DLF-A, CF-A, and T-A are the 3 options we have to choose from.. so the next thing we do is use them in a game on full match highlights and see which role seems to fit better for our system.. yes I really just go with a bit of trial and error.

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CF-A was not the right choice and the movement patterns just didn't gel with the rest of our team.  My next choice was the Trequartista.. not only is it one of my favorite roles in the game it is also a really good option for a single striker and I had felt it would work out pretty well in our system.  The reason I didn't select it first was because I didn't think Timo Werner had the right mentals for the role yet (only 10 Decisions and 13 Anticipation).. remember I wanted to get back to a natural finisher and that was't Kai Havertz (he has great mentals and stats for the role). 

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Yep even though we started with a 4231 we switched it back to the 433 wide with our #9 in the T-A role.  So that looked a treat and I was happy with our performance that game but as you can see in the QPR game I had to rotate Tammy Abraham into the line up and I wanted to see if he could perform in that role in our system and he did getting a nice finish and generally playing well connecting the play.

Our second tactical tweak came in that Man Utd game and that was to fix our midfield transitions.. one of the issues I noticed is that our approach was to kick our fullbacks high and wide and by pushing our central midfielders forward as well this really left us with our DLP-D and 2 CBs.  This wasn't so bad when we had consolidated possession in the attacking half of the field but I noticed if we lost the ball in the midfield against a team that aggressively counter attacked.. say like a SPURS!.. we were REALLY open and it was a tough shift for the DLP-D to cover.. this caused our CBs to be pulled out of position and just caused all kinds of havoc.  So I wanted to tweak the system to be a bit more safe when building up in the middle third.  Simple fix in my mind..

  1. Change the RB and LB to FB-S roles and add the sit narrow and get forward instructions
  2. Change the AML and AMR to IW-S with stay wider and get forward instructions
  3. Remove any overlap left or right instructions

End result is both sides are Positive/Positive and our fullbacks will still look to overlap but from narrower positions and not until we have consolidated possession into the attacking half of the field.

This leaves us with:

image.png.b518eda2c5da3c624cfe559c49d24f76.png

Decent system and definitely improved.. the problem though from what you can see above is that our first choice lineup doesn't include Kai Havertz...

And wait.. I thought you said you ruled out the Complete Forward role.. what the heck is up with these games?

image.thumb.png.31b122b58590164490d6b9b64c02ec20.png

And what the heck system got Timo Werner 2 hat tricks in a row!

I will leave you with a taste of the current work in progress... in true Jogo Bonito fashion a 1958 Brazilian inspiration!

image.png.90b76bcb90d19c3f7826c584b53aab03.png

More on that later when I've had time to refine the system.. 

image.thumb.png.6adb910878ef381204a4ece25d87447c.png

 

Edited by Kharza_FM
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19 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

image.png.c12c44f47a8a5655f27b74e51bf48328.png

So January and Feb have treated us a little better but this fixture congestion is just ridiculous.. we are literally playing a game every 3 days and it's been rough on keeping a consistent team selection or really getting a chance to work on any new tactics.  So I mentioned on a recent update about our attack and defense were both starting to suffer so I had a deep dive into previous matches and I identified the following issues:

  1. Not enough production from our #9
  2. Defensive shape during midfield transitions was really poor

So let's break down the #9 position..

As we had mentioned we previously had a mix of Kai Havertz and Tammy Abraham playing as an F9 in our shape and I just didn't feel like he was giving us enough in the attack.  Let's take a look at their performance so far:

image.png.02b02be37ebf87ca12de11cafe949414.pngimage.png.aa89fcb06e4702f14b24814656d8270e.png

You don't say.. LOL!

image.thumb.png.1d5169225dd26d95ed4f92902036d922.png

So this forced me to really think about what I wanted out of that #9 position in the system.  I definitely want my #9 to drop deep during build up and assist in connecting the play, but I also need them running in behind and getting on the end of moves.  To that end I like a striker with the PPMs "Comes Deep to Get Ball" and "Gets Into Opposition Area" as it helps to create the movement patterns I'm looking for.  I can't really show it here but I use the analytical movement map feature to watch the movement of my players in relation to others and you can also find this under the "Player" movement option so you can just watch their individual movement on the pitch during the game.. very helpful for looking at how active your players are and especially good for analyzing movement of the #9.

image.thumb.png.466f9b38698aa69365827f81560a0f67.png

So what I noticed is that while I felt the #9 was dropping deep to connect the play it was really struggling on getting on the end of moves and more importantly looking to stretch and break in behind when we look to counter.  I was also feeling that I wanted to get a true finisher back into that role because we needed to increase our goal output so I started to tinker a bit.  So striker role selection was always a real struggle for me and it wasn't really until I started using the movement feature above that I got a good sense of which role performs which movement and could then match it up with what I wanted out of my #9.  So what do I want this role to perform in my system:

  1. Drop deep and link up play during build out and midfield consolidation
  2. Get on the end of moves and score goals
  3. Look to stretch the backline and break in behind during counter moves
  4. Movement into channels

I also felt that I needed to increase the mentality of my striker to bring back a bit of that aggressive feel of a true #9 as well.  This meant that I had picked out going with an attacking duty to get that mentality boost so this pretty much ruled out the F9 moving forward.  So what am I left with?

Poacher - won't drop deep

Pressing Forward/Advanced Forward - again won't really drop deep and connect the play

DLF-A - yep this is an option.. hardcoded "Hold Up Ball", "Take More Risks", "Move Into Channels".. ok this is more like it and a potential option

CF-A - another potential.. hardcoded "Hold Up Ball", "Dribble More", "Take More Risks", "Get Further Forward", "Move Into Channels", "Roam From Position"

TM-A - maybe.. hardcoded "Hold Up Ball", "Dribble Less", "Get Further Forward".. yeah not a fan of the dribble less and this role has a natural ball attraction tendency meaning our teammates sometimes will force the ball into him.. also outside of Giroud who I don't plan on starting over my other options I don't really have a striker that can physically hold the ball up.. I need more technical options

T-A - another potential option.. hardcoded "Dribble More", "Take More Risks", "Move Into Channels", "Roam From Position", "Ease Off Tackles" - ok the ease off tackles isn't ideal for us but if you put the right player in that role they will still press and give you a decent defensive shift.  Again I like to think of this role as the more technical version of a target man so definitely a role to consider.

So out of my options I think DLF-A, CF-A, and T-A are the 3 options we have to choose from.. so the next thing we do is use them in a game on full match highlights and see which role seems to fit better for our system.. yes I really just go with a bit of trial and error.

image.png.4f0a96448eb0deb718190837c224c6fc.png

CF-A was not the right choice and the movement patterns just didn't gel with the rest of our team.  My next choice was the Trequartista.. not only is it one of my favorite roles in the game it is also a really good option for a single striker and I had felt it would work out pretty well in our system.  The reason I didn't select it first was because I didn't think Timo Werner had the right mentals for the role yet (only 10 Decisions and 13 Anticipation).. remember I wanted to get back to a natural finisher and that was't Kai Havertz (he has great mentals and stats for the role). 

image.thumb.png.bf6c72f90832a3adaaa2598af52ab622.png

Yep even though we started with a 4231 we switched it back to the 433 wide with our #9 in the T-A role.  So that looked a treat and I was happy with our performance that game but as you can see in the QPR game I had to rotate Tammy Abraham into the line up and I wanted to see if he could perform in that role in our system and he did getting a nice finish and generally playing well connecting the play.

Our second tactical tweak came in that Man Utd game and that was to fix our midfield transitions.. one of the issues I noticed is that our approach was to kick our fullbacks high and wide and by pushing our central midfielders forward as well this really left us with our DLP-D and 2 CBs.  This wasn't so bad when we had consolidated possession in the attacking half of the field but I noticed if we lost the ball in the midfield against a team that aggressively counter attacked.. say like a SPURS!.. we were REALLY open and it was a tough shift for the DLP-D to cover.. this caused our CBs to be pulled out of position and just caused all kinds of havoc.  So I wanted to tweak the system to be a bit more safe when building up in the middle third.  Simple fix in my mind..

  1. Change the RB and LB to FB-S roles and add the sit narrow and get forward instructions
  2. Change the AML and AMR to IW-S with stay wider and get forward instructions
  3. Remove any overlap left or right instructions

End result is both sides are Positive/Positive and our fullbacks will still look to overlap but from narrower positions and not until we have consolidated possession into the attacking half of the field.

This leaves us with:

image.png.b518eda2c5da3c624cfe559c49d24f76.png

Decent system and definitely improved.. the problem though from what you can see above is that our first choice lineup doesn't include Kai Havertz...

And wait.. I thought you said you ruled out the Complete Forward role.. what the heck is up with these games?

image.thumb.png.31b122b58590164490d6b9b64c02ec20.png

And what the heck system got Timo Werner 2 hat tricks in a row!

I will leave you with a taste of the current work in progress... in true Jogo Bonito fashion a 1958 Brazilian inspiration!

image.png.90b76bcb90d19c3f7826c584b53aab03.png

More on that later when I've had time to refine the system.. 

image.thumb.png.6adb910878ef381204a4ece25d87447c.png

 

Great stuff. I too am experimenting with a similar setup but changed some TIs. I too found the F9 not working well enough. I don't have the right player for it. I haven't played yet today but my plans bwere to start with trying the DLFa. I think with Ciro this could work great. 

Also, how come the change from IFs to IWs? Less attacking and more diagonal movements, but some other reason?

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Just now, 04texag said:

Also, how come the change from IFs to IWs? Less attacking and more diagonal movements, but some other reason?

  1. Less attacking and I wanted to tone down the mentality of my wide players from attacking to positive
  2. IWs keep their width longer before they cut inside so it helps with the transition of wide responsibilities from them to the fullback - a bit better interplay between them and the FB and let's the fullback sit narrow a little longer (i.e. better defensive positioning during transitions but still have attacking width)
  3. Subtle one that links to the above.. IWs stay wider.. this creates more room centrally for the Treq and CMs to operate in (notice the Focus Play on the Middle instruction.. this is me wanting my boys to look centrally to bring the defense to the middle then kick it out wide where the IWs and FBs can create 2v1s)
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5 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

Subtle one that links to the above.. IWs stay wider.. this creates more room centrally for the Treq and CMs to operate in (notice the Focus Play on the Middle instruction.. this is me wanting my boys to look centrally to bring the defense to the middle then kick it out wide where the IWs and FBs can create 2v1s)

So I've been taking a slightly different approach to get that type of play, choosing NOT to focus play through the middle for the moment, instead playing narrow width. I'm liking the movements with that, as we do wall passes. And I also have underlaps on both sides. 

image.png.8dbb3533b12e5b18f64cb48c719d00ae.png

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9 hours ago, 04texag said:

So I've been taking a slightly different approach to get that type of play, choosing NOT to focus play through the middle for the moment, instead playing narrow width. I'm liking the movements with that, as we do wall passes. And I also have underlaps on both sides. 

image.png.8dbb3533b12e5b18f64cb48c719d00ae.png

Appreciate the inspiration!

image.png.234b5190dc61608cd162ba16127278fe.png

So we had a tough 1-0 loss to Man U in the EFL Cup Final and we again failed to be clinical in front of goal even though we generated a ton of good chances.. so I took @04texag's post as inspiration and did a little tweak in regards to team shape in attack:

image.png.791868158014b2296ff223997c2497c6.png

Went very narrow, removed the focus middle instruction and overlapped just on the right side (didn't want to lower mentality of both our IW's and since I play Pulisic on the left side I wanted him to stay on a higher mentality).  Worked a treat and we again dominated Man City at home this time and more importantly we turn around the Champions league knockout first leg with a commanding 4-0 win at home to send us into the quarterfinals.  Oh yeah.. the Man City win sent us top of the table in the league as well!

image.png.a8d28e1b9241143e6f26f767ed0220de.png

image.png.a545e8aa6095ed552f07b724f1279e25.png

image.png.7a50a8e549cfa7af5467cf3eef219daa.png

The lower mentality for the AMR role seemed to really help Ziyech and it gave him a bit more time to pick out those killer balls with his left foot.. he was on fire and scored a wunderstrike coming in on that left foot to give us that important first goal.  5 key passes, 2 clear cut chances created, 9/10 tackles, 7 interceptions.. not a bad day at the office!

image.thumb.png.f71ca8bad1658506ddfc2500d4a46cf4.png

Cheers @04texag!

 

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8 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

I'm taking this as an Americanism. What do you mean?

1-2, give and go.. pass and move

Player has a defender in front and passes to a teammate and moves forward past the defender and the teammate plays the ball first time into their run

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11 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

I'm taking this as an Americanism. What do you mean?

I actually picked this up from @Rashidi It's when the flanks receive then pass the ball back to the middle, then back again, moving up the pitch.

40 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

Appreciate the inspiration!

image.png.234b5190dc61608cd162ba16127278fe.png

So we had a tough 1-0 loss to Man U in the EFL Cup Final and we again failed to be clinical in front of goal even though we generated a ton of good chances.. so I took @04texag's post as inspiration and did a little tweak in regards to team shape in attack:

image.png.791868158014b2296ff223997c2497c6.png

Went very narrow, removed the focus middle instruction and overlapped just on the right side (didn't want to lower mentality of both our IW's and since I play Pulisic on the left side I wanted him to stay on a higher mentality).  Worked a treat and we again dominated Man City at home this time and more importantly we turn around the Champions league knockout first leg with a commanding 4-0 win at home to send us into the quarterfinals.  Oh yeah.. the Man City win sent us top of the table in the league as well!

image.png.a8d28e1b9241143e6f26f767ed0220de.png

image.png.a545e8aa6095ed552f07b724f1279e25.png

image.png.7a50a8e549cfa7af5467cf3eef219daa.png

The lower mentality for the AMR role seemed to really help Ziyech and it gave him a bit more time to pick out those killer balls with his left foot.. he was on fire and scored a wunderstrike coming in on that left foot to give us that important first goal.  5 key passes, 2 clear cut chances created, 9/10 tackles, 7 interceptions.. not a bad day at the office!

image.thumb.png.f71ca8bad1658506ddfc2500d4a46cf4.png

Cheers @04texag!

 

 

That's awesome! Glad you saw some sweet results. I would also try the underlap at some point. Especially on Mount's side, but my CMs players are really high quality attackers.

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4 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

1-2, give and go.. pass and move

Player has a defender in front and passes to a teammate and moves forward past the defender and the teammate plays the ball first time into their run

Ya, what he said, but typically i think of the outside to inside passes as they do this.

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2 minutes ago, 04texag said:

Ya, what he said, but typically i think of the outside to inside passes as they do this.

Yeah it can be anywhere on the pitch though.. especially when you teach this to younger players the idea is to use a teammate and passing to beat a defender instead of your individual 1v1 skills.  It's pretty much the Play 1-2s PPM in the game and it is pretty much the first PPM I train and make sure everyone of my players has outside of CBs.  It's one of the core PPMs for a possession based system too.  The concept comes from passing the ball off the wall and moving to get the return.. your teammate is the "wall" you are passing off of to get past the defender.  In the states we have this wonderful tradition of playing indoor "soccer" on carpet covered hockey rinks.. and the kids regularly pass it off the wall to themselves to beat a defender.. it drives me crazy because there are no walls to play with in the real game :brock:

Edited by Kharza_FM
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@04texag @Kharza_FM Ok yeah, even as I was typing I expected the answer to be a "one-two". I thought it might be a basketball term or something.

On 16/11/2020 at 14:55, zlatanera said:

@04texag So what you were specifically talking about, would be quite similar to the way Luca Pellegrini lays it off to Kluivert then cuts in for the return in that highlight? Yeah, any tactic producing a lot of that sort of movement is cool.

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31 minutes ago, zlatanera said:

@04texag @Kharza_FM Ok yeah, even as I was typing I expected the answer to be a "one-two". I thought it might be a basketball term or something.

@04texag So what you were specifically talking about, would be quite similar to the way Luca Pellegrini lays it off to Kluivert then cuts in for the return in that highlight? Yeah, any tactic producing a lot of that sort of movement is cool.

Yep you got it. Very narrow helps to do that and underlaps can help as well to get the ball back to advancing midfielders.

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So strong run through really difficult periods trying to train and properly rest players.  The games every 3-4 days has been killing the squad and even though we have stayed relatively injury free (just shorter term niggles) we have lost Jorginho for the rest of the season.  This has really put a strain on our midfielders and I've already noted that we need more options in midfield in the offseason.. we have 1-2 on loan to take a look at and Lewis Bate who looks comfortable with the first team squad.  So here is where things stand..

image.png.c8ef55167e78bbf1e75244944d992f58.png

So outside of a real disappointment in the Champions league against Barca in what I felt was a match up we should have won.. Hakim Ziyech got sent off early in the first leg and even though we created a ton of chances at home we just couldn't find that 1 more goal to put us through on away goals (story of our season.. missed chances!).  As you see we did bring home some hardware with a nice PK shootout victory over Arsenal after they equalized late on in regulation.  Our youth team also did well in bringing home the UEFA Youth League over Real Madrid U19s.

image.png.70fa59bef6d89ec25a162d591a328007.png

image.png.a349a5a5943c3291481b0cfb010a8a33.pngimage.png.bd7a5a3c244f990e8691bfa28cfbc8e2.png

 

Man City do us a great favor by beating Man U and this puts us 4 points up with Man U having a game in hand..

image.png.91f09556ae51024892eb95699479542d.png

Puts us in a good position to control our own destiny but we are finally experiencing the intensity of this campaign..

image.png.c1151d83effcabdff11a1043a47c9412.png

Ugh.. Reece James has been nothing but sensational this season and our midfield is exhausted and under even more strain with Jorginho injuried.  Timo has come up jaded as well and needs a rest.. all this with us facing Liverpool at home and then the crucial away tie against Man Utd (setting up a pretty nice fairy tale story last game of the season isn't it.. and who says SI doesn't script things!).  So what do you do?  Well even though we are playing at home I take the pragmatic look at things and realize that even if we lose and Man Utd win it still comes down to the final match against Man Utd.. so I decide to give our key players the rest and rotate the squad for the Liverpool game and the boys respond in spades!

image.png.5469693e2844151732da314fcecc1a43.png

The boys pull out a great 3-3 draw with our man Lewis Bate hitting a wonderstruck in the 93rd minute to absolutely STEAL the point!  And it sets up the all important Premier League final against Manchester United at Old Trafford for the hardware!

image.png.b44db82569260d4be6d5f7596cc9b35e.png

Away at Man Utd.. struggling for fitness.. with a key central midfielder out..1 game for the title.. how would you set your team up?

 

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5 hours ago, Kharza_FM said:

Away at Man Utd.. struggling for fitness.. with a key central midfielder out..1 game for the title.. how would you set your team up?

In reality you would play for the draw, and just hope VAR doesn't give Bruno a penalty :lol:

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6 hours ago, Kharza_FM said:

So strong run through really difficult periods trying to train and properly rest players.  The games every 3-4 days has been killing the squad and even though we have stayed relatively injury free (just shorter term niggles) we have lost Jorginho for the rest of the season.  This has really put a strain on our midfielders and I've already noted that we need more options in midfield in the offseason.. we have 1-2 on loan to take a look at and Lewis Bate who looks comfortable with the first team squad.  So here is where things stand..

image.png.c8ef55167e78bbf1e75244944d992f58.png

So outside of a real disappointment in the Champions league against Barca in what I felt was a match up we should have won.. Hakim Ziyech got sent off early in the first leg and even though we created a ton of chances at home we just couldn't find that 1 more goal to put us through on away goals (story of our season.. missed chances!).  As you see we did bring home some hardware with a nice PK shootout victory over Arsenal after they equalized late on in regulation.  Our youth team also did well in bringing home the UEFA Youth League over Real Madrid U19s.

image.png.70fa59bef6d89ec25a162d591a328007.png

image.png.a349a5a5943c3291481b0cfb010a8a33.pngimage.png.bd7a5a3c244f990e8691bfa28cfbc8e2.png

 

Man City do us a great favor by beating Man U and this puts us 4 points up with Man U having a game in hand..

image.png.91f09556ae51024892eb95699479542d.png

Puts us in a good position to control our own destiny but we are finally experiencing the intensity of this campaign..

image.png.c1151d83effcabdff11a1043a47c9412.png

Ugh.. Reece James has been nothing but sensational this season and our midfield is exhausted and under even more strain with Jorginho injuried.  Timo has come up jaded as well and needs a rest.. all this with us facing Liverpool at home and then the crucial away tie against Man Utd (setting up a pretty nice fairy tale story last game of the season isn't it.. and who says SI doesn't script things!).  So what do you do?  Well even though we are playing at home I take the pragmatic look at things and realize that even if we lose and Man Utd win it still comes down to the final match against Man Utd.. so I decide to give our key players the rest and rotate the squad for the Liverpool game and the boys respond in spades!

image.png.5469693e2844151732da314fcecc1a43.png

The boys pull out a great 3-3 draw with our man Lewis Bate hitting a wonderstruck in the 93rd minute to absolutely STEAL the point!  And it sets up the all important Premier League final against Manchester United at Old Trafford for the hardware!

image.png.b44db82569260d4be6d5f7596cc9b35e.png

Away at Man Utd.. struggling for fitness.. with a key central midfielder out..1 game for the title.. how would you set your team up?

 

How'd the final game go?

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16 hours ago, 04texag said:

How'd the final game go?

Win or go home.. no room for a tie.

image.png.b477fbd09597e10c33b27734ce0464fb.png

image.png.64eeeeb7398dd28f65e1a09b70ff2175.png

So I had to coach a real game and drive my daughter to training so entirely too much time to think about the this game.. in the end it was my daughter with the inspiration.. "Just like this weekend Bruno Fernandes makes them tick.. mark him out of the game".  #prouddad

So that got me thinking.. let's go for it.. full throttle heavy metal brazilian football either the boys are ready for it or they won't win the title.  So I didn't sit deep.. I didn't take it easy.. I went full high press heavy metal football and had Timo Werner literally man mark Bruno Fernandes (who was playing a DLP role instead of higher up the pitch).  Looks like the boys agreed with the approach prior to kick off..

image.png.9a755051f3a8bfe463e76cdc28709a9d.png

Game plan worked a treat and in the 21st minute all the boys hard work was rewarded with the perfect type of goal we are looking for in our approach.  Again probably need to give @04texag some props here because if you see the positioning of this goal I think it is a direct result of the suggestion to go more narrow.. check this goal out:

image.png.f3bb6313b7fac957d6d97cfe9a98f7d8.png

We win the ball in the midfield and Kante quickly passes to Havertz (CML position) who finds Werner in the gap.. he one touches it to Ziyech in the AMR position and immediately spins and gets the one touch return from Ziyech and buries it into the corner.  1-0 Chelsea.. GET IN BOYS!  From there it was anything but relaxing.. we kept the high press on until half time and pretty much throttled their attack but Jose kept whispering to me that it was time to shut up shop and defend.  Good advice and that is exactly what I decided to do.  Dropped our line of engagement to standard and our defensive line to high and invited them to break us down.. Havertz the creator subbed out for our new midfield destroyer Andreas Christian and outside of one scary moment by Rashford in which he beat 3 defenders (I thought for sure this is another SI Man Utd fan boy scripting routine) and fired a laser which Mendy coolio tipped over the bar for a corner.. and the boys hold on to clinch the title 1-0 doing the double in the process!

image.thumb.png.9029d5ff3f9df78832f358c83d44df67.png

Proud of the boys but that has to be the most exhausting season of FM I've ever played!  That fixture congestion was absolutely insane and I'm ready to go on holiday (for real!)!

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15 minutes ago, Kharza_FM said:

Win or go home.. no room for a tie.

image.png.b477fbd09597e10c33b27734ce0464fb.png

image.png.64eeeeb7398dd28f65e1a09b70ff2175.png

So I had to coach a real game and drive my daughter to training so entirely too much time to think about the this game.. in the end it was my daughter with the inspiration.. "Just like this weekend Bruno Fernandes makes them tick.. mark him out of the game".  #prouddad

So that got me thinking.. let's go for it.. full throttle heavy metal brazilian football either the boys are ready for it or they won't win the title.  So I didn't sit deep.. I didn't take it easy.. I went full high press heavy metal football and had Timo Werner literally man mark Bruno Fernandes (who was playing a DLP role instead of higher up the pitch).  Looks like the boys agreed with the approach prior to kick off..

image.png.9a755051f3a8bfe463e76cdc28709a9d.png

Game plan worked a treat and in the 21st minute all the boys hard work was rewarded with the perfect type of goal we are looking for in our approach.  Again probably need to give @04texag some props here because if you see the positioning of this goal I think it is a direct result of the suggestion to go more narrow.. check this goal out:

image.png.f3bb6313b7fac957d6d97cfe9a98f7d8.png

We win the ball in the midfield and Kante quickly passes to Havertz (CML position) who finds Werner in the gap.. he one touches it to Ziyech in the AMR position and immediately spins and gets the one touch return from Ziyech and buries it into the corner.  1-0 Chelsea.. GET IN BOYS!  From there it was anything but relaxing.. we kept the high press on until half time and pretty much throttled their attack but Jose kept whispering to me that it was time to shut up shop and defend.  Good advice and that is exactly what I decided to do.  Dropped our line of engagement to standard and our defensive line to high and invited them to break us down.. Havertz the creator subbed out for our new midfield destroyer Andreas Christian and outside of one scary moment by Rashford in which he beat 3 defenders (I thought for sure this is another SI Man Utd fan boy scripting routine) and fired a laser which Mendy coolio tipped over the bar for a corner.. and the boys hold on to clinch the title 1-0 doing the double in the process!

image.thumb.png.9029d5ff3f9df78832f358c83d44df67.png

Proud of the boys but that has to be the most exhausting season of FM I've ever played!  That fixture congestion was absolutely insane and I'm ready to go on holiday (for real!)!

That's awesome! Last game title wins are super exciting and nerve wracking. My end of season 2 Lazio title was down to the last game, but not head to head, so this was even sweeter for you. 

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@crusadertsar @04texag - wanted to share this with you in case you haven't seen it yet - 

If we consider what Marcelo is saying and apply it to our youth development approach I think it guides us in how we can properly identify the tactical roles and positions to train our players in to make it possible to execute any tactical formation we might want.. very much the next level of the "1 more man at the back" idea.. So a left CB would be trained to be able to play LB, CB, DM and looking at attack I would add inversion so attackers would be trained as ST, AMR, AML, AMC and a RB would be trained RB/RWB, MR, DM, CB.  I think it adds a rather interesting template approach to player development.  I still think the attributes and training are part of your tactical style (like he mentions in the video as well!).  Brilliant session and Marcelo is such a brilliant mind (and as you can see in this video SUCH a good teacher).

 

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@Kharza_FM Hey thanks for sharing that man. Very true attribute training is totally part of developing a Tactical system. I find that especially true with Total Football. Marcelo is famous for stressing the need of highly technical basically midfielders playing in CB and IWB roles. Think Arturo Vidal back in the day when he played in Chilean national team under Marcelo.

This is definitely something I will be trying to implement in my next Total Football save.

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@Kharza_FM ya, there is a lot to be said for training positional variability. It's one of the big things I'm trying to do in my Club DNA save, getting youngsters game and training time in multiple positions so that we can play fluid and swap players around as needed. It's very difficult to do well though, as it is a lot of micromanaging, especially if your club roster size starts to grow as you acquire more talent. Right now, I'm mainly managing these things for my top prospects, but that list has grown quite large now.

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This is the follow up to my last Overloads Guide posted on here. And here is the link in case you want to see the zoomed pictures in its original formating: https://dictatethegame.com/overloads-part-2-harnessing-cautious-mentality-in-fm21/

The following continues my guide on creating Possession-style tactics. My hope is that by putting it in a more systematic way, this process can be made easier. Creating Tiki-Taka or Total Football (The Holy Grail for us FM possession freaks!) tactics is never easy. Hopefully some of the tools and tips presented in this and previous articles, can make this process more intuitive and transparent. So read on if you want to learn how to create your very own Total Football tactics in FM21!

 

Previously...

Important Note Before Reading

As an important note, keep in mind that my method is not the only way to create Possession football in the game. It is only one alternative. And it is one that is working well for me. But not to say that you cannot have an effective Possession tactic with a Positive team mentality. In fact that worked very well for me in the past and probably still does in FM21.

I'm going to argue that Possession-style football in FM works very well on lower Team Mentalities (specifically Cautious). By its very nature, Possession football is all about keeping the ball away from your opponent. To take a real life example, Guardiola's tactics have always been about slow build-up and probing your opponent, not all-out attack. Although Pep's approach to possession changed somewhat from days of Tiki Taka to its current Man City iteration. In order to suit the expectations of his current League, his style might have gotten flashier and more reliant on physicality. Yet the central tenet of exercising control over the ball, and hence your opponent, always remained.

Possession = Ultimate Control

Possession = ultimate control. That is control in patiently waiting until the right moment to strike. The time when you can make that lethal jab into the exposed area of weakness. Furthermore, playing possession-style to its fullest blurs the line between defensive and attacking football. In the sense that Possession football is both of those things. By maintaining control over your opponent you are playing the best attacking football possible. But also the best defensive football, since you leave little time for your opponent to craft their own attacking plays. Johan Cruyff would even say that the ultimate goal of all possession is to take control of space on the pitch.

CGxUzQzWQAAvwJL.jpg Chain-smoking Cruyff - one who always played on the edge.

Possession, Best Form of Defence

You could even say that Barca's Tiki Taka was more of a defensive strategy than Italian Catennacio. To put things in context, lets compare Possession Football with the two styles famed for their defensive approach. In theory, possession football should be just as hard to break down as Catennacio or Park the Bus. Except Parking the Bus is an "Off the Ball" defensive strategy and Catennacio is a counter-attacking strategy. Whereas Possession Football is an "On the Ball" defensive strategy. You defend by keeping the ball away from your opponent. Again, complete control = complete defence.

But while Possession tactics can be great at stifling your opponent's play, they are far from defensive. Quite the opposite. Keeping the ball away from opposition is the realm of top-level technical teams. It is not for the underdog, sitting deep and hoofing the ball. No, in possession football you play with the highest defensive line to both control the ball in the opposition half and to defend there. But one false move or missed pass can spell disaster. It's definitely not for the faint of heart. Because successful possession football requires readiness to play on the edge and use your available tools to their very extreme.

In the game too, one can use seemingly Cautious team mentality, to generate both attack and defence. It is all a matter of smart role and instruction selection.

Dreaming of Possession with Intent

I have to admit I had a few problems with my Possession tactical systems in FM20. Overloads weren't working as envisioned. Scoring goals was another one. Simply, I did not have the easiest time breaking down defensive underdog sides parking the bus against us. Playing as Benfica, Portuguese football giant, probably did not help. But at the same time we had no problem maintaining possession and keeping clean sheets. In fact I think we set some kind of record with only 14 goals conceded during a regular season.

So you might ask, if I had so much trouble breaking down opponents before, why choose Conservative Team mentality now? Wouldn't that accentuate the problem even further? The most obvious answer is that it might have been the case in FM20 where playing possession football on anything below Positive seemed like a recipe for frustration. But in FM21 there have been a few significant changes in Match Engine. As I tried to show in my last article, changes to focus play have made overloads a viable strategy again. But for them to work effectively there is even more need to take team and individual player mentality into consideration.

From my observations it appears that in FM21 the effect of individual mentality on the overall tactic has been accentuated. The result of this has become most apparent in possession-focused tactics. Things like defenders endlessly passing the ball between each other and the goalkeeper have been largely toned down. And players operating on higher mentalities (from the team mentality) are just that much more likely to act decisively or creatively. This is most apparent when playing with roles like Sweeper Keeper or Ball-playing Defenders who are essential to high-pressing possession systems. They all appear to work better in FM21. Designated playmakers too tend to perform better. They actually move and pass in the direction of your Play Focus now! Number 10 Playmaker in AMC position is actually viable now.

What We Can Learn from Team Mentality

What this all means is that your choice of Team Mentality for your play style is more important than ever. Also for players to work well within your system, you need to pay even greater attention to their individual mentalities. Because even before you decide on the team instructions, numerous tactical details can be conveyed by team and individual mentalities.

In a way Team Mentality is somewhat irrelevant if we speak of it in isolation from individual mentality. When you select Cautious or Attacking mentality for the whole team, all you are doing is setting a general trend for your players to follow.

Each player will try to the best of their ability to approach the team mentality and play with more or less risk according to that mentality. In its essence mentality is a risk slider that goes from the very low risk (very defensive mentality) to highest (very attacking). But when you select "Very Attacking" for the whole team, it does not mean that all your players will be playing at Very Attacking/Risky mentality. Under the tactical hood this is what the player individual mentality map looks like.

VeryA.png

This is irrespective of the overall team mentality. As you can see not everyone is on Very Attacking. Rather the individual mentality ties in with players' roles and even some team instructions (etc. Overlap). Your forwards will definitely be very direct, more prone to make forward runs and take risky low-chance passes. But the defenders will still be rather conservative even on the riskiest team mentality. Their risk-taking will be capped to a certain level because of their defensive roles. So even the most "risky" traditional defender role, Ballplaying Defender on Stopper Duty, is still only "Balanced" on Very Attacking team mentality. I say "traditional" defender in order to distinguish it from Libero (Attack). As Libero in the game is really a unique role, essentially a DM playmaker playing in the centre back position.

What I love about the Mentality system in FM21 is in how it ties in with the tactic creation. At its most basic level, when crafting a tactic I will always consider the Team Mentality first. Making the right choice here saves on a lot of tactical tweaking later. For example with Possession Football, whether Cruyff's Totaalvoetbal or Barca's TikiTaka, what's the style of football we want to see? Do you want direct attacking with lots of crosses and long-shots? Probably not. Most associate Possession-focused style with patient build up and domination of the ball. Quite the opposite of wasting ball possession on low-chance crosses and long balls. Also this puts Possession football on the more defensive side of the style spectrum. So going with Cautious, just one tier below Balanced, seems like the right choice to me.

Cautious.png

Tactical Focus Points

So the first step is setting Conservative Team Mentality. This sets the general way that I wish my team to play. For the most part. The next step is looking at the roles and their individual mentalities to set the Focus Points in the formations. These will be my more creative players who I want to play at higher mentality to direct the flow of the ball. There are two important concepts to remember here. Players with similar individual mentalities (or very close ones) will tend to play closer together. And secondly, to reiterate point made previously, players at higher mentalities will make riskier decisions. This is number one reason why on more Attacking team mentalities you don't want too many players with Attack Duty. This will not only make your play too direct and wasteful but also create a big gap between your attack and midfield/defence.

Even before we look at individual mentalities, you will want to define the focal points in your tactic. That is players who will be involved in dictating the play and directing the ball movement. They also be the ones who will take most risks to take advantage of any space opened for attacks. In my tactic these players are outlined here. Usually you will want these to be your best players, since they will be taking the most risks.

Focus.png Disregard "Conservative". Meant to write "Cautious".

As you can see most of the players in defence and midfield operate on relatively similar mentalities. Its their job to keep defensive shape and build the overloads. For this you want a patient, relatively conservative approach. Except for my striker, AMC and playmaker in midfield. I want them to operate on higher individual mentalities to create passing lanes between them. Also they need to be ready to take advantage of any attacking opportunities. That is also the case with my Left CWB(A) - the Deep Shadow Striker role discussed in the previous part of the guide. There I used the example of Chelsea's Pulisic but your choices are many, depending on your club. For instance La Real's Ander Barrenetxea has the potential to be moulded into a perfect Deep Shadow Striker for my system.

Ander-1024x485.png

The advantage of putting players into groups depending on their mentality is in how passing length and decision-making can be differentiated between them. So the players told to play more conservatively will take more time on the ball. They will also pass shorter and stick closer to others with similar mentality. This will help create the overloads. The ones with higher mentality will also stick closer to those on same mentality during attack but will make more risky decisions like changing tempo and passing the ball long to the other flank. They will also exploit the space liberated by the overloads.

I said "overloads" above because it is indeed possible to create more than one. This is why I want to introduce a slightly different system in this article. To show you that overloads are possible with a variety of formations. Including one made famous by Johan Cruyff himself. But first lets look closer at the formation I hinted at in the last article.

Real Sociedad Experience

Here I'm going to use a club different from the one in Part1. It's to show that Overloads can be created with clubs of different level. And not just the world-class ones. Sorry to disappoint any Chelsea fans reading this after Part 1.

Tactic1.png

I just couldn't resist the temptation to go back to Real Sociedad, the club where my Total Football experiment started in FM20. La Real has always been an interesting choice in FM due to its unique history. But in the last few FM versions they have become my go-to favourite starting place for any possession-based tactics. While it's not Barcelona or Man City, Sociedad still managed to amass a ton of young technical talent well-suited for Total Football. They also have two modern archetypal Total Footballers, the Two Mikels.

Above all, I am excited to find all the pieces needed for my "Overload and Isolate" Tactic already present in their squad. My key role, focus points that I wrote about previously. The midfielder dictator in the form of one of the Mikels, Mikel Oyarzabal. David Silva - my creative fantasista at the head of the formation. Then the offensive workhorse to lead the line in the guise of Portu the Shadow Striker. And of course, Barrenetxea the Deep Shadow Striker. In order to suit my players I changed Pressing Forward-Trequartista partnership but the dynamic should still remain the same. In the Trequartista-Shadow Striker duo we still have one very hard working attacker paired with one very creative one.

default.jpg

And on the topic of highly creative players. I have to applaud Sociedad's acquisition of David Silva, the most underrated technical wizard of the modern era. It was easily one of the reasons that made the Spanish club into my essential Total Football side in FM21. In my opinion he is the Michael Laudrup of our generation, possessing the same elegant touch and as equally criminally underappreciated as the best Danish footballer of all time.

Cruyff-Laudrup-1024x701.jpg

I am still in the middle of testing the tactic with my new club. So far in the preseason, it creates the desired overloads but the long-term consistency must be tested. If there is enough interest then I will put out more updates on this Total Football experiment, besides my main Non-League Legends series. For now, I would love to hear what you think of the tactic. You can download it from this link: https://ufile.io/tyuqc472

3-4-3 and Cruyff's Gambit

I was criticized for playing three at the back, but that’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard. What we needed was to fill the middle of the pitch with players where we needed it most. I much prefer to win 5-4 than 1-0.

Johan Cruyff

The genius of Johan Cruyff has always been in his way of thinking outside the box. In his time he was the true outsider in the game which was starting to get stale and predictable. So in the way of all geniuses, he decided to rewrite the rule book.

You have what the opposition don’t, and therefore they can’t score. The person that moves decides where the ball goes, and if you move well, you can change opponents’ pressure into your advantage. The ball goes where you want it.

You guessed it. Cruyff, again

When Cruyff started using 3-4-3, he rewrote the book on football defending. Or on NOT defending to be exact. For when you are dominating possession (as Cruyff's Barca did through the 90s and later in early 2000s under his protégé Guardiola) who needs to defend in the traditional sense. Supremacy in Possession has become Barcelona's trademark ever since. But that association did not exist 30 years ago. We have Johan Cruyff to thank for that. And while many agree that Barca is now famous for dominating the ball, few realize that Cruyff started this possession revolution with a wacky formation using only one traditional centre back.

Cruyff-Tactics-1-New-1024x577.jpg

So as a little bonus, I present to you the "B Side" tactic to my main Overloads tactic discussed above. Johan Cruyff's 3-4-3.

Cruyff343.png

Download: https://ufile.io/xdlvbvlb

Definitely not one for the faint of heart. You will need a very technical side, capable of dominating possession a la Cruyff's Barca, to implement it properly. And it is rather experimental at this point. I thought it up as a sort of fun experiment to push the limits of the current Match Engine. And so far it has definitely kept me on the edge of the seat, giving results like this!

Result-1024x576.png

The most impressive thing about that performance was not actually the final goal count. But the fact that we achieved it while being one man down for half of the game.

For now, I'll use it for the easier matches until my team is fully moulded into the Total Football template. Actually on the topic of training. That is most likely the next subject I will need to discuss. How important it is to set-up a suitable training system as a first step in developing a Total Football tactic. So stay tuned for that!

 

 

Edited by crusadertsar
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I remember Cleon talked about this in his TeaandBusquets blog that you can create a great Possession style tactic using  Structured or Highly Structured tactics.  Pretty neat tactic you going there, mate! I'm going to give the Cautious mentality a go. I've found my version of Real Sociedad in a non Top 5 League to experiment on tactics - Bodø/Glimt......Especially if you can still have Jens-Petter Hauge in their squad.

Edited by Vico Vito Pep
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1 hour ago, crusadertsar said:

So the first step is setting Conservative Team Mentality.

I did my entire juego de posicion tactic starting with Cautious mentality.  It really helped me create the most balanced team setup, and then like you posted above, I tailored which of my players I wanted to be more progressive and drive play. It worked great

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59 minutes ago, 04texag said:

I did my entire juego de posicion tactic starting with Cautious mentality.  It really helped me create the most balanced team setup, and then like you posted above, I tailored which of my players I wanted to be more progressive and drive play. It worked great

Thanks for reassuring me mate! it seemed to make sense to me from theoretical perspective but sometimes things don't work out exactly the same in the game. And didnt really have luck with defensive or cautious mentalities in FM20. So was a little worried. But I guess this just shows how improved FM21 is from FM20, at least from ME point. It's still early days for my system but hopefully it will work as as yours did! 

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1 minute ago, crusadertsar said:

Thanks for reassuring me mate! it seemed to make sense to me from theoretical perspective but sometimes things don't work out exactly the same in the game. And didnt really have luck with defensive or cautious mentalities in FM20. So was a little worried. But I guess this just shows how improved FM21 is from FM20, at least from ME point. It's still early days for my system but hopefully it will work as as yours did! 

Ya I was using Cautious on FM20 with good success. Hover over it and read it super carefully, it's really a very good description for that patient possession game, yet teams can flip the switch and get aggressive at just the right times. I like it.

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1 hour ago, 04texag said:

Ya I was using Cautious on FM20 with good success. Hover over it and read it super carefully, it's really a very good description for that patient possession game, yet teams can flip the switch and get aggressive at just the right times. I like it.

Oh I forgot that your thread was from FM20. Have you thought of doing something similar in FM21?

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43 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

Oh I forgot that your thread was from FM20. Have you thought of doing something similar in FM21?

I initially carried over my FM20 tactic to 21, but didn't give it enough of a go in trying to experiment and learn the new focus play settings. I should give it a spin.

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11 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

You definitely should! Juego de Posicion FM21 :D

Super stoke actually for a new tactical variant, that's much more akin to the Pep Guardiola positional play from about 2 years ago. 433 shape, and sticking more to the PP principles than he does now. A structured overall shape, but freedom within that system to roam and play fluid. After some testing, if it holds up, I'll do a nice update on it.

Hints: It also is on a balanced mentality (right now, might end up cautious) and is a flat shape.

Edited by 04texag
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4 hours ago, 04texag said:

Super stoke actually for a new tactical variant, that's much more akin to the Pep Guardiola positional play from about 2 years ago. 433 shape, and sticking more to the PP principles than he does now. A structured overall shape, but freedom within that system to roam and play fluid. After some testing, if it holds up, I'll do a nice update on it.

Hints: It also is on a balanced mentality (right now, might end up cautious) and is a flat shape.

Very interested in this!

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  • crusadertsar changed the title to Everything TOTAL Football (From Cruyff's 343 to Guardiola's Overloads) - UPDATED Dec 10, 2020
On 10/12/2020 at 11:29, Vico Vito Pep said:

I remember Cleon talked about this in his TeaandBusquets blog that you can create a great Possession style tactic using  Structured or Highly Structured tactics.  Pretty neat tactic you going there, mate! I'm going to give the Cautious mentality a go. I've found my version of Real Sociedad in a non Top 5 League to experiment on tactics - Bodø/Glimt......Especially if you can still have Jens-Petter Hauge in their squad.

@crusadertsar First time trying out your tactic as a plug-n-play, my XG was over 4.0+ 🤩😳.  I won 3-0 but honestly should’ve been 7 or 8-0. 

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3 hours ago, Vico Vito Pep said:

@crusadertsar First time trying out your tactic as a plug-n-play, my XG was over 4.0+ 🤩😳.  I won 3-0 but honestly should’ve been 7 or 8-0. 

Oh thats awesome! Hopefully it holds up. I had a rough start of the season. Losing to Real Madrid 2-0. It was close game though. Our xG was actually pretty equal. But nothing like yours. What club you're using?

And which one did you use 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-3?

Edited by crusadertsar
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  • crusadertsar changed the title to Everything TOTAL Football (From Cruyff's 343 to Guardiola's Overloads) - UPDATED April 9, 2021

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