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


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The following can be read here in its original formating (especially if you would like to see zoomed in pictures):
 

When I set out to recreate Maslov's style of football with Notts County, it started as a long-term project of developing an effectively simple 4-4-2. I was looking for a formation that could be successful in both lower leagues and the elite ones. For this to work the concepts of intense pressing, strategic possession and constant ball movement had to be central as they were essential in Viktor Maslov's own tactics. In many ways, Maslov's tactical ideas contained quite a bit of what later became known as Total Football. Totaalvoetbal might have developed simultaneously at Ajax but its similar focus on pressing and constant movement was unmistakable. As they say, there's more than one road to victory, and more than tactics make Total Football. You'll need Total Training to recreate this style in FM21. Total Football Training.

 

From Maslov to CR7

Few still remember today that both Gegenpressing and Total Football can chart their origin to the theories of Viktor Maslov and the style of football he implemented with Dynamo Kyiv in 1960s. Both of these famous styles are associated with modern football. And this probably makes Maslov into the father of the modern game. Or "Grandad" to be more precise as the Soviet coach was often affectionately called by his players. The nickname stuck with him possibly because of how he looked, being balding and pudgy. But Jonathan Wilson probably hit at the heart of it when he wrote that the "main reason for the name was his [Maslov] colossal wisdom, humanity and kindness".

image-51863379-640x480-555x405-1.jpg

This wisdom and humanity not only permeated "Grandad's" tactics but also how he treated players on and off the field. Viktor Maslov's teams worked well in unison because he gave them equal say in major decisions by consulting with them about his tactics. He even famously allowed his captain to overrule his substitution choices. So it is no wonder that his players had full trust in the coach who treated them as equals. According to Maslov the contribution of each player was equally important to the game plan. This stemmed from the collectivist idea that individuals could work together to create something greater than sum of its parts. This might not seem all that innovative today but it was positively revolutionary in the football world of 1950s-60s.

Maslov also modernized the manager's involvement in other aspects of football, like training. Grandad was a kind taskmaster on the training ground. Quite demanding of his players but not the authoritarian scientist that his disciple Valeriy Lobanovskyi would later become.

2328436-1024x576.jpg

Nevertheless Maslov's intense pressing tactics put supreme strain on the players' physical and mental endurance. Not surprisingly Maslov stressed intense training to help his players develop the physical and mental attributes required by his style. To help with this he took intense interest in nutrition science and modern conditioning methods. And it bore fruits! Over time his Dynamo side became famous (and feared!) for being physically superior to most of their competition. The era of a professional footballer was just beginning! Something we take for granted today seeing the level of training commitment of some players like Cristiano Ronaldo. But Maslov's players did it first with their strict diets and full-time fitness training regimes.

Maslov's Home-grown Fantasista

While his main focus was on physical conditioning, Maslov did not overlook the importance of technique and tactical astuteness. He took a cue from the Brazilian national side of the 1950s and stressed the importance of fostering the development of "luxury players" (fantasistas if you will) like elegant playmakers, a rarity outside of South America at the time. While Brazil had the playmaking genius of Didi and Pele and many others, the Soviet Union could only name two, Dinamo Moscow's Gennady Gusarov and Andriy Biba at Dynamo Kyiv.

62274-foto-808x1024.jpeg Andriy Biba, Ukrainian playmaking superstar shaking hands with Brazil's star, Pele.

He may not have been a generational talent like Pele, but Andriy Biba was still one of the greatest midfield playmakers that Ukraine (and Eastern Europe in general) has ever produced. And Maslov acknowledged Biba's talent by giving him the only "free" creative role within the otherwise hard-working, formation. In Dynamo Kiyv, Maslov designated Biba as the creative hub of the team and the only player excused from pressing duties. His main role was to create at will. A kin to the fantasista advanced playmaker within the Italian catenaccio formation of the time.

Describing his favourite player, Maslov beautifully said:

Only Biba retains full rights of democracy. He is a very clever and honest player, who would never allow himself any excess and never abuses his skills. Andriy will do exactly what is necessary. He has the right to construct the game as though he were the coach himself during the match, making decisions as to how to shape it. The others then grasp his ideas and develop them as far as they can.

I never read a better description of a playmaker, or any footballer for that matter.

Do you have a player like that on your team? This is the one on the current Dynamo squad.

Shap-1024x444.png

The next Andriy Biba? Possibly. Only time will tell.

But sorry for going off on a tangent. Let us get back to the main subject, creating a Maslov-inspired training system in FM21.

Applying it All to The Game

I like to browse the Football Manager official forums. It's where I get a lot of my ideas and inspirations for my articles. This time it is no different. On the Sports Interactive forum, I often see FM players write that they don't care about the training side of the game. Or that they rather delegate that part of the game to their assistant manager. And instead they would like to focus on the tactical side. Wait, what?! Because you see this makes no sense to me. Simply put, tactics begin with the training ground. You could spend hours in the tactic creation screen setting up your OIs and individual instructions. But at the end of the day, your training schedule needs to prioritize the attributes suited to your tactical style. And the only way to do this is by taking control of training and choosing the training routines yourself.

Three Pillars of Possession

The three pillars of Possession are Mentality, Overloads and Attributes. To create an effective Possession with Intent tactic, you will need these three elements in place. Firstly, there the team and individual mentality selection. As shown in my last article, it should always be among the first things you consider when creating any tactic. But it is especially important in Total Football and other possession-focused systems. It is simply because passing length and tempo are very important in such tactics. And those are most influenced by your team mentality. Although, it's very possible to play possession football on attacking team mentality, it requires quite a lot of specific team and individual instructions to modulate the passing and player directness. In the end why do that when you could program the same thing with much less user input?

Secondly, you need to consider where you'll overload your opponent and take advantage of the resulting gaps (isolate). That is the intent part in a possession tactic. For what is the point of possession when you do not score any goals? I covered this rather extensively in this recent article.

As shown in the article above, overloads are very possible on the flanks with a 4-2-3-1 formation. But there are many other possibilities when using other formations. For instance, you could use a more unorthodox formation like Cruyff's 3-4-3 to create effective overloads centrally. There you will overload the middle and then create 2v1 isolations on the wings.

Finally, the third and final element in Total Football tactic creation are the attributes of your players. More than other tactical styles, Total Football and possession football in general requires players with a very specific skill-set. All their attributes need to complement their ability to keep hold of the ball and pass it effectively. Essentially, you need players that are least likely to lose the ball possession during transition phase. Regaining the ball is important but it becomes less necessary if you can prevent losing it in the first place. This article will focus on setting up the training to improve the attributes needed for supreme ball control. In a way training has not changed that much in this version. So this guide could be applied effectively to both FM20 and FM21.

My Training Method - Work Hard and Rotate

In FM21 there is no such thing as training too much. And because of FM21's added focus on squad rotation (due to simulated travel fatigue), maintaining a proper 2nd team is essential. You can no longer get away with a top-heavy team with little depth. What this also means is that training can be maintained at a higher intensity for the whole season. Since you should now have half of your squad not playing matches at any given time. When not playing they can be asked to train harder.

So keeping this in mind, these are the schedules I have been working with.

Schedule for weeks with one match or less, or during late pre-season.
Match1-1-1024x396.png

In the preseason, a slightly modified version of this one could be used. Just insert another one or two physical training session into the S1 section of the schedule. Also, it was suggested to me by a friend that as your squad becomes fluent with the tactic, it is a good idea to eventually replace "Match Tactics" session with "Teamwork" one.

Training Schedule for weeks with two matches
Match2-1024x396.png

Essentially "One Match per week" schedule covers all the major training categories. Thus I can use it for the whole season, including the preseason and mid-season breaks. Basically I try to break up every training day into physical, technical and tactical parts. Your future Total Footballers should be training in these aspects of their skill-set every day, all the time. The aim of my Maslovian training method is to create very well-rounded footballers with especial focus on ball retention and smart attacking movement. This means that I picked all the training sessions that work on the attributes relevant to this.

Train3-1024x576.png

The primary attributes to train include, First Touch, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Composure, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Vision, Workrate, and Balance.

Oyarz-1024x371.png Oyarzabal, my current Mr.Total Football - a very well-rounded player with ideal attributes for Total Football style.

Notts County Example

My first season with Notts County was definitely an interesting one. We managed to win the National League (our media prediction was to finish 2nd). Yet we managed to miss out on a perfect season, due to the unfortunate dip in form towards the end.

results.png

I attribute it to the fatigue setting in towards the end of our marathon. So now there is definitely a need for a lot of changes and hard work on the training field, and in the transfer market.

And speaking of a transfer market, after a busy summer break the face of Notts County changed quite dramatically. Examining the squad overview screen, you can now see a much younger team. The time for change has come as the starting season's older dead weight has been cleared.

While most of the new faces are under 23 years of age, interestingly all of them were born after the last time that Magpies graced the highest level of the English league pyramid. At the time in 1991 it was Division One (currently Championship), the Premier League didn't exist yet.

Roster-1024x440.png

The average age of my current squad is 23. It is a very young squad but one which should benefit most from this intense type of training. At the same time, the advantage of playing at a higher level should really boost their development. Also younger players tend to do better with more intense training and develop faster before they reach their mid-twenties. And so far I've seen some evidence of this in my other concurrent save with Real Sociedad. There some of my youngsters had significant improvement in their attributes. Sometimes, in less than 3 months.

I have not been using this training long enough with Notts County to see much improvement yet. But I want to show you an example of what this training can do once you run it long enough. I picked one youngster from Sociedad save.

Attrib-1024x559.png

At Sociedad I set the training to alternate between 1Match or 2Match versions, depending on that week's match congestion. At the time of this screenshot, about three months have passed since starting the training. As you can see in the screen above, Robert Navarro is developing in leaps and bounds. It is always pleasant to see those yellow and green arrows. In three months time, he basically moved from a good U19 player to a capable substitute for the First Team. He is not alone. While a little older, Alexander Isak has also been developing very nicely.

Isak-1024x564.png

Sidenote - Injuries

There is no discussion of training without injuries. Some of you might look at my training and think that it's too grueling to maintain for the whole season. Or more importantly what is its effect on injuries? Well to tell you the truth I've been surprised by how few injuries we got. You can see in the image below, our actual injuries are about half of expected number. Also the severity of the ones we get is quite mild. The worst being about 3 weeks. In terms of player fatigue, I only had one player, Oyarzabal, getting jaded and consistently complaining. But that is definitely my fault. He is such an essential player in my system that I tend to play him in almost all games. He is our captain as well. Were I to stick more faithfully to rotating the whole squad, then this probably wouldn't be an issue.

Injuries-1024x551.png

So that is it for now! Why don't you test out this training system with your own Total Football club. Feel free to make modifications and let me know about it below.

 

 

Edited by crusadertsar
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  • crusadertsar changed the title to Everything TOTAL Football (From Cruyff's 343 to Guardiola's Overloads) - UPDATED Dec 21, 2020

I have tried the 343 tactic in a test save on Touch. Was working quiet well before the update, but after it, I found that I created far less chances. Have you experienced the same thing in your Sociedad save ? Have you found a workaround ?

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On 21/12/2020 at 23:45, crusadertsar said:
The following can be read here in its original formating (especially if you would like to see zoomed in pictures):
 

When I set out to recreate Maslov's style of football with Notts County, it started as a long-term project of developing an effectively simple 4-4-2. I was looking for a formation that could be successful in both lower leagues and the elite ones. For this to work the concepts of intense pressing, strategic possession and constant ball movement had to be central as they were essential in Viktor Maslov's own tactics. In many ways, Maslov's tactical ideas contained quite a bit of what later became known as Total Football. Totaalvoetbal might have developed simultaneously at Ajax but its similar focus on pressing and constant movement was unmistakable. As they say, there's more than one road to victory, and more than tactics make Total Football. You'll need Total Training to recreate this style in FM21. Total Football Training.

 

From Maslov to CR7

Few still remember today that both Gegenpressing and Total Football can chart their origin to the theories of Viktor Maslov and the style of football he implemented with Dynamo Kyiv in 1960s. Both of these famous styles are associated with modern football. And this probably makes Maslov into the father of the modern game. Or "Grandad" to be more precise as the Soviet coach was often affectionately called by his players. The nickname stuck with him possibly because of how he looked, being balding and pudgy. But Jonathan Wilson probably hit at the heart of it when he wrote that the "main reason for the name was his [Maslov] colossal wisdom, humanity and kindness".

image-51863379-640x480-555x405-1.jpg

This wisdom and humanity not only permeated "Grandad's" tactics but also how he treated players on and off the field. Viktor Maslov's teams worked well in unison because he gave them equal say in major decisions by consulting with them about his tactics. He even famously allowed his captain to overrule his substitution choices. So it is no wonder that his players had full trust in the coach who treated them as equals. According to Maslov the contribution of each player was equally important to the game plan. This stemmed from the collectivist idea that individuals could work together to create something greater than sum of its parts. This might not seem all that innovative today but it was positively revolutionary in the football world of 1950s-60s.

Maslov also modernized the manager's involvement in other aspects of football, like training. Grandad was a kind taskmaster on the training ground. Quite demanding of his players but not the authoritarian scientist that his disciple Valeriy Lobanovskyi would later become.

2328436-1024x576.jpg

Nevertheless Maslov's intense pressing tactics put supreme strain on the players' physical and mental endurance. Not surprisingly Maslov stressed intense training to help his players develop the physical and mental attributes required by his style. To help with this he took intense interest in nutrition science and modern conditioning methods. And it bore fruits! Over time his Dynamo side became famous (and feared!) for being physically superior to most of their competition. The era of a professional footballer was just beginning! Something we take for granted today seeing the level of training commitment of some players like Cristiano Ronaldo. But Maslov's players did it first with their strict diets and full-time fitness training regimes.

Maslov's Home-grown Fantasista

While his main focus was on physical conditioning, Maslov did not overlook the importance of technique and tactical astuteness. He took a cue from the Brazilian national side of the 1950s and stressed the importance of fostering the development of "luxury players" (fantasistas if you will) like elegant playmakers, a rarity outside of South America at the time. While Brazil had the playmaking genius of Didi and Pele and many others, the Soviet Union could only name two, Dinamo Moscow's Gennady Gusarov and Andriy Biba at Dynamo Kyiv.

62274-foto-808x1024.jpeg Andriy Biba, Ukrainian playmaking superstar shaking hands with Brazil's star, Pele.

He may not have been a generational talent like Pele, but Andriy Biba was still one of the greatest midfield playmakers that Ukraine (and Eastern Europe in general) has ever produced. And Maslov acknowledged Biba's talent by giving him the only "free" creative role within the otherwise hard-working, formation. In Dynamo Kiyv, Maslov designated Biba as the creative hub of the team and the only player excused from pressing duties. His main role was to create at will. A kin to the fantasista advanced playmaker within the Italian catenaccio formation of the time.

Describing his favourite player, Maslov beautifully said:

Only Biba retains full rights of democracy. He is a very clever and honest player, who would never allow himself any excess and never abuses his skills. Andriy will do exactly what is necessary. He has the right to construct the game as though he were the coach himself during the match, making decisions as to how to shape it. The others then grasp his ideas and develop them as far as they can.

I never read a better description of a playmaker, or any footballer for that matter.

Do you have a player like that on your team? This is the one on the current Dynamo squad.

Shap-1024x444.png

The next Andriy Biba? Possibly. Only time will tell.

But sorry for going off on a tangent. Let us get back to the main subject, creating a Maslov-inspired training system in FM21.

Applying it All to The Game

I like to browse the Football Manager official forums. It's where I get a lot of my ideas and inspirations for my articles. This time it is no different. On the Sports Interactive forum, I often see FM players write that they don't care about the training side of the game. Or that they rather delegate that part of the game to their assistant manager. And instead they would like to focus on the tactical side. Wait, what?! Because you see this makes no sense to me. Simply put, tactics begin with the training ground. You could spend hours in the tactic creation screen setting up your OIs and individual instructions. But at the end of the day, your training schedule needs to prioritize the attributes suited to your tactical style. And the only way to do this is by taking control of training and choosing the training routines yourself.

Three Pillars of Possession

The three pillars of Possession are Mentality, Overloads and Attributes. To create an effective Possession with Intent tactic, you will need these three elements in place. Firstly, there the team and individual mentality selection. As shown in my last article, it should always be among the first things you consider when creating any tactic. But it is especially important in Total Football and other possession-focused systems. It is simply because passing length and tempo are very important in such tactics. And those are most influenced by your team mentality. Although, it's very possible to play possession football on attacking team mentality, it requires quite a lot of specific team and individual instructions to modulate the passing and player directness. In the end why do that when you could program the same thing with much less user input?

Secondly, you need to consider where you'll overload your opponent and take advantage of the resulting gaps (isolate). That is the intent part in a possession tactic. For what is the point of possession when you do not score any goals? I covered this rather extensively in this recent article.

As shown in the article above, overloads are very possible on the flanks with a 4-2-3-1 formation. But there are many other possibilities when using other formations. For instance, you could use a more unorthodox formation like Cruyff's 3-4-3 to create effective overloads centrally. There you will overload the middle and then create 2v1 isolations on the wings.

Finally, the third and final element in Total Football tactic creation are the attributes of your players. More than other tactical styles, Total Football and possession football in general requires players with a very specific skill-set. All their attributes need to complement their ability to keep hold of the ball and pass it effectively. Essentially, you need players that are least likely to lose the ball possession during transition phase. Regaining the ball is important but it becomes less necessary if you can prevent losing it in the first place. This article will focus on setting up the training to improve the attributes needed for supreme ball control. In a way training has not changed that much in this version. So this guide could be applied effectively to both FM20 and FM21.

My Training Method - Work Hard and Rotate

In FM21 there is no such thing as training too much. And because of FM21's added focus on squad rotation (due to simulated travel fatigue), maintaining a proper 2nd team is essential. You can no longer get away with a top-heavy team with little depth. What this also means is that training can be maintained at a higher intensity for the whole season. Since you should now have half of your squad not playing matches at any given time. When not playing they can be asked to train harder.

So keeping this in mind, these are the schedules I have been working with.

Schedule for weeks with one match or less, or during late pre-season.
Match1-1-1024x396.png

In the preseason, a slightly modified version of this one could be used. Just insert another one or two physical training session into the S1 section of the schedule. Also, it was suggested to me by a friend that as your squad becomes fluent with the tactic, it is a good idea to eventually replace "Match Tactics" session with "Teamwork" one.

Training Schedule for weeks with two matches
Match2-1024x396.png

Essentially "One Match per week" schedule covers all the major training categories. Thus I can use it for the whole season, including the preseason and mid-season breaks. Basically I try to break up every training day into physical, technical and tactical parts. Your future Total Footballers should be training in these aspects of their skill-set every day, all the time. The aim of my Maslovian training method is to create very well-rounded footballers with especial focus on ball retention and smart attacking movement. This means that I picked all the training sessions that work on the attributes relevant to this.

Train3-1024x576.png

The primary attributes to train include, First Touch, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Composure, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Vision, Workrate, and Balance.

Oyarz-1024x371.png Oyarzabal, my current Mr.Total Football - a very well-rounded player with ideal attributes for Total Football style.

Notts County Example

My first season with Notts County was definitely an interesting one. We managed to win the National League (our media prediction was to finish 2nd). Yet we managed to miss out on a perfect season, due to the unfortunate dip in form towards the end.

results.png

I attribute it to the fatigue setting in towards the end of our marathon. So now there is definitely a need for a lot of changes and hard work on the training field, and in the transfer market.

And speaking of a transfer market, after a busy summer break the face of Notts County changed quite dramatically. Examining the squad overview screen, you can now see a much younger team. The time for change has come as the starting season's older dead weight has been cleared.

While most of the new faces are under 23 years of age, interestingly all of them were born after the last time that Magpies graced the highest level of the English league pyramid. At the time in 1991 it was Division One (currently Championship), the Premier League didn't exist yet.

Roster-1024x440.png

The average age of my current squad is 23. It is a very young squad but one which should benefit most from this intense type of training. At the same time, the advantage of playing at a higher level should really boost their development. Also younger players tend to do better with more intense training and develop faster before they reach their mid-twenties. And so far I've seen some evidence of this in my other concurrent save with Real Sociedad. There some of my youngsters had significant improvement in their attributes. Sometimes, in less than 3 months.

I have not been using this training long enough with Notts County to see much improvement yet. But I want to show you an example of what this training can do once you run it long enough. I picked one youngster from Sociedad save.

Attrib-1024x559.png

At Sociedad I set the training to alternate between 1Match or 2Match versions, depending on that week's match congestion. At the time of this screenshot, about three months have passed since starting the training. As you can see in the screen above, Robert Navarro is developing in leaps and bounds. It is always pleasant to see those yellow and green arrows. In three months time, he basically moved from a good U19 player to a capable substitute for the First Team. He is not alone. While a little older, Alexander Isak has also been developing very nicely.

Isak-1024x564.png

Sidenote - Injuries

There is no discussion of training without injuries. Some of you might look at my training and think that it's too grueling to maintain for the whole season. Or more importantly what is its effect on injuries? Well to tell you the truth I've been surprised by how few injuries we got. You can see in the image below, our actual injuries are about half of expected number. Also the severity of the ones we get is quite mild. The worst being about 3 weeks. In terms of player fatigue, I only had one player, Oyarzabal, getting jaded and consistently complaining. But that is definitely my fault. He is such an essential player in my system that I tend to play him in almost all games. He is our captain as well. Were I to stick more faithfully to rotating the whole squad, then this probably wouldn't be an issue.

Injuries-1024x551.png

So that is it for now! Why don't you test out this training system with your own Total Football club. Feel free to make modifications and let me know about it below.

 

 

Apparently the kids at La Masia love Maslov's methods - that's the highest training rating I've seen all season. This is the first week I've used the schedule in your blog.

1.png

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2 hours ago, StePratt said:

@crusadertsarReally good write up. With your training do you add any individual focus on playing roles or select attributes? 

Yes. As long as it doesn't increase their individual load too much. You need to pay attention also if they start complaining about too much individual training. When the player is not happy he does not train as well and there's more chance of drops in attributes over time. So its something that you constantly have to pay attention to, to make sure that everyone is always happy with training. 

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6 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

Yes. As long as it doesn't increase their individual load too much. You need to pay attention also if they start complaining about too much individual training. When the player is not happy he does not train as well and there's more chance of drops in attributes over time. So its something that you constantly have to pay attention to, to make sure that everyone is always happy with training. 

Brilliant stuff, loved your schedules last year. I may have missed this but you say one game or less,if you don't have a game do you schedule more sessions and if so what do you do?

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On 25/12/2020 at 16:58, seb1083 said:

I have tried the 343 tactic in a test save on Touch. Was working quiet well before the update, but after it, I found that I created far less chances. Have you experienced the same thing in your Sociedad save ? Have you found a workaround ?

I experienced this to a degree. Mostly facing more parked buses and five in the back formations. I found that perhaps somewhat counterintuitively in these cases, dropping the tempo and reducing the intensity by removing the counterpress helps us create more better chances. I see it as an advantage when another team does not want to play football against us. It simply allows us more time on the ball to craft out our plays at leisure. It helps to have runners coming from different strata of the formation like midfield and wingbacks. Off the ball attribute is especially key in these positions. Again the more well-rounded footballers you have on the team the better.

Edited by crusadertsar
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11 hours ago, Crazy_Ivan said:

Brilliant stuff, loved your schedules last year. I may have missed this but you say one game or less,if you don't have a game do you schedule more sessions and if so what do you do?

Usually i take it as a chance to add more teamwork sessions. You cannot have enough of those in a Total Football system :D In fact once the tactic is fully fluent then I would replace any Match Tactic sessions with Teamwork sessions. In general it's good to give players a bit more rest when there are no matches in the weak.

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My latest achievement using 3-4-3 Diamond with Real Sociedad. Beating Barcelona at its own game. We got the most possession and passes made of all teams in LaLiga. We are constantly hovering between 3rd and 4th spot in the league so probably won't be catching up with Real Madrid and winning the title in our first season. But the basis of the Total Football system is set and now it's just a matter of improving our players over time to suit it. Like I said before I never I thought a formation with only one centreback would be doing so well. It just shows that superior possession is the best defence sometimes. If they don't have the ball, they cannot score.

1263850_screenshots_20201227204819_1.jpg

Edited by crusadertsar
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3 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

My latest achievement using 3-4-3 Diamond with Real Sociedad. Beating Barcelona at its own game. We got the most possession and passes made of all teams in LaLiga. We are constantly hovering between 3rd and 4th spot in the league so probably won't be catching up with Real Madrid and winning the title in our first season. But the basis of the Total Football system is set and now it's just a matter of improving our players over time to suit it. Like I said before I never I thought a formation with only one centreback would be doing so well. It just shows that superior possession is the best defence sometimes. If they don't have the ball, they cannot score.

1263850_screenshots_20201227204819_1.jpg

I'm glad to see 343 working well in FM21, after my new project, this will probably be my next one.

 

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Fantastic thread, it made me pick up a copy.

I’ve  started with Utd (who aren’t entirely built for this tactic)

but I was just wondering do IWB really have to be played on the opposite flank to the strongest foot?

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13 minutes ago, Whelan102 said:

Fantastic thread, it made me pick up a copy.

I’ve  started with Utd (who aren’t entirely built for this tactic)

but I was just wondering do IWB really have to be played on the opposite flank to the strongest foot?

Thats great :) Enjoy!

While it can help, it is not necessary. A player with very good "Total Football" attributes can perform very well in the role even if playing on the same side as his dominant foot. In fact I have two players who perform great in this role. Igor Zubeldia, natural DM/BPD actually plays very well while on left flank and he is right footed. But then on the Right Flank I use Nelson Semedo who performs equally well and he is naturally Right-Footed. So both can work is what I'm trying to say. More importantly make sure they have the right attributes for the role. 

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4 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

Thats great :) Enjoy!

While it can help, it is not necessary. A player with very good "Total Football" attributes can perform very well in the role even if playing on the same side as his dominant foot. In fact I have two players who perform great in this role. Igor Zubeldia, natural DM/BPD actually plays very well while on left flank and he is right footed. But then on the Right Flank I use Nelson Semedo who performs equally well and he is naturally Right-Footed. So both can work is what I'm trying to say. More importantly make sure they have the right attributes for the role. 

At the minute I’m using AWB and Luke Shaw on there natural positions but I am looking for replacements for Shaw, yeah I’ve always used attribute search even if they can’t play that position. 

but that’s great to know, so thanks. 
 

P.S I’m looking for a few positions and in all my attribute filter searches Mikel Oyarzabal is in every single one, what a complete player. imagine him playing for Pep/Bielsa in real life. 

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1 minute ago, Whelan102 said:

At the minute I’m using AWB and Luke Shaw on there natural positions but I am looking for replacements for Shaw, yeah I’ve always used attribute search even if they can’t play that position. 

but that’s great to know, so thanks. 
 

P.S I’m looking for a few positions and in all my attribute filter searches Mikel Oyarzabal is in every single one, what a complete player. imagine him playing for Pep/Bielsa in real life. 

The way Oyarzabal is playing this season, that might become reality sooner rather than later. With Pep at least. Not sure Bielsa's Leeds would have the money to afford his services anytime soon. But we can always dream through FM. 

I actually had him at Man United in FM19 (and wrote about it in my Young Devils series ;)) and he was a hell of a player. 

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1 minute ago, crusadertsar said:

The way Oyarzabal is playing this season, that might become reality sooner rather than later. With Pep at least. Not sure Bielsa's Leeds would have the money to afford his services anytime soon. But we can always dream through FM. 

I actually had him at Man United in FM19 (and wrote about it in my Young Devils series ;)) and he was a hell of a player. 

Pep wanted to sign him just over a year ago. The knock on him was that he is slow and sociedad wanted more for him than city wanted to pay at the time. 

Now that Torres has been panning out, not sure if they will still go for him. 

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4 minutes ago, 04texag said:

Pep wanted to sign him just over a year ago. The knock on him was that he is slow and sociedad wanted more for him than city wanted to pay at the time. 

Now that Torres has been panning out, not sure if they will still go for him. 

True. For a winger he is probably too slow. And not sure why Sociedad always insisted on playing him there. His true quality comes out when part of the midfield diamond alongside another creative destroyer like Mikel Merino. 

But Man City could probably better spend money on someone like him then blowing it on another impulse buy like Torres

Edited by crusadertsar
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4 hours ago, Whelan102 said:

Fantastic thread, it made me pick up a copy.

I’ve  started with Utd (who aren’t entirely built for this tactic)

but I was just wondering do IWB really have to be played on the opposite flank to the strongest foot?

IWB's are one of those cases where the star-rating system in the game essentially lies to you, the game's code expects you to use wingbacks playing on their off-wing and set the ratings based on that, when really what you are doing is playing central midfielders that position themselves as fullbacks in defence. The footedness does not matter, look for players with midfielder-like attributes and strong ratings for decisions, positioning and acceleration.

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Well, against my better judgement I gave this one a go - those possession stats are mental. First, I got my U23s to try it (on one day's notice so no time to gain any familiarity)

And against a very strong Man City U23s it got the win and the possession was high too:

20201229161013_1.thumb.jpg.611d0ac18752ebfe87e8b2a2b81dae8c.jpg

So - ok, we have another U23 game in a few days time - try it again:

20201229161021_1.thumb.jpg.6ee2b97e5ce1215f6cdf5928f1c60683.jpg

Now - I think 7 may well have been a bit flattering given the xG and others so - with very little familiarity built - I let my 1st XI have a go. Fairly safe game at home to Sheffield United:

20201229155920_1.thumb.jpg.a649726e8564ec5b952af3b9a3834cda.jpg

Absolute battering. 

My only concern is I have 3 very good CBs and only playing one of them feels difficult but if the results stay like this...

Question though - what is it about this tactic which makes the possession so amazing? For stats like that I would expect shed loads of PIs but I haven't added any (please shout if that is wong!).

Ideally, I would lift some of these characterists and import them into my own tactic - which looks like this. Really welcome any views/thoughts/suggestions and a massive thank you and well done to @crusadertsar

20201229161658_1.thumb.jpg.62284a7644f996f3edac7ce95e606abf.jpg

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@BrickCommo23

Those are amazing results mate! Especially getting a clean sheet. You will probably see more and more of those against weaker teams like Sheffield. They just won't be able to get much of the ball to score. But watch those setpieces. They can still be deadly in this version. And naturally you also wont be winning much of those, lacking in CB department. But defending them can become problematic too with less tall players. That's why I still ideally look for a player with good Jumping for my Anchor. Like a lanky Guardiola type.

My first thought on why possession is so good and why opposition can't deal with it is simply because you're replacing two CBs with two very technical IWBs. The trick is to play really good midfielders in that role. Think Arturo Vidal at his prime.

But even regular Wingbacks can do okay in the role. Naturally they just get more involved in the buildup then CBs do, who even with good passing attribute (and instructed to build from the back) tend to hoof it sometimes.

Right now at Real Sociedad my IWBs are arguably my weakest positions since I don't have the personnel to give that role justice. Even playing Semedo (loaned in from Wolves) as my IWB is not ideal. He is a hell of a traditional Wingback but not really that great as Inverted one. You also want one that is very good defensively for obvious reason. 

I think I'm half tempted to try this tactic with Atletico Madrid because they have great choices for both IWbs in Koke and Hector Herrera.

Edited by crusadertsar
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I think I'll probably need to do a bigger update/article on the 3-4-3 specifically. To explain my ideal players needed for each role and how to really make this tactic tick. Some of the choices might be less intuitive, but playing more of a playmaker type like Joao Felix as your central striker with a great Shadow Striker like Luiz Suarez or Diego Costa behind him would be a sight to see.

In the end you probably need a really strong team to make it shine. But then it might become too boring as you win everything :lol:

Edited by crusadertsar
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Using the DNA squad view and exporting the data to Excel, I have the following breakdown of my entire squad at Barcelona (after 5 seasons in charge). The squad view contains 21 attributes, so the cap for all of these attributes is 21x20 = 420. The score is calculated as (sum of 21 attributes)*100/420 - this is basically a percentage of how perfect a player is, according to those 21 attributes. 70+ is guaranteed first team, 60-70 is a squad player (cups etc), below that the player needs more development.

e-1.png

Edited by aritra14
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On 29/12/2020 at 16:59, crusadertsar said:

I think I'll probably need to do a bigger update/article on the 3-4-3 specifically. To explain my ideal players needed for each role and how to really make this tactic tick. Some of the choices might be less intuitive, but playing more of a playmaker type like Joao Felix as your central striker with a great Shadow Striker like Luiz Suarez or Diego Costa behind him would be a sight to see.

In the end you probably need a really strong team to make it shine. But then it might become too boring as you win everything :lol:

 

Would be interested in seeing an update on your 343 Diamond. 

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Not only did we complete 814/855 passes, but also we played almost entirely in the opposition half. The anchor man completed 97% of his 193 attempted passes. 

 

A question - what would be the ideal set of PPMs for the IWBs, Mezzalas and Anchor Man?

1.png

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, aritra14 said:

Not only did we complete 814/855 passes, but also we played almost entirely in the opposition half. The anchor man completed 97% of his 193 attempted passes. 

 

A question - what would be the ideal set of PPMs for the IWBs, Mezzalas and Anchor Man?

1.png

For my Anchorman i would copy Busquets traits . Especially come deep to get ball and pass short. My Mezzalas - play one-twos mainly. 

Same with IWBs, play one-twos, maybe run through the centre. 

Mostly you want to keep it minimal when/if adding extra PPMs as it might change the balance of the tactic. Most of the time the role already have all the instructions you need hard-coded.

Especially the Mezzalas, need to be careful with PPMs. Don't want them to get up too fast, too forward. I've been even thinking of change then both to Box-to-box players do as too encourage more late runs and not clog up opposition half too early in build-up.

Edited by crusadertsar
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4 hours ago, Whelan102 said:

No Pedri,Fati or De Jong?

In season 2, De Jong went to PSG for £120 million, in season 3 Fati went to PSG for £150 million and in season 4, Pedri went to PSG for £170 million. Replaced De Jong with Camavinga (£48 mil), Fati with Diogo Jota (£40 mil) and Pedri with Pablo Fornals (£18 mil). The decrease in wage budget and transfer profit made it possible to make £900mil - £1.5bil profit per season from second year onwards, without winning any reputable competitions (2nd in La liga, quarters of UCL, maybe a domestic cup win and another final somewhere). Unless they are regens that I develop, I love money more than players.

Edited by aritra14
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That 1 CB tactic is the most fun tactic i've seen in this game. You can put DM's as inverted wing back's. Its better defensive and also in the build up phase

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Egecann said:

That 1 CB tactic is the most fun tactic i've seen in this game. You can put DM's as inverted wing back's. Its better defensive and also in the build up phase

Hmm 🤔 now that you say it. I'll need to try it out. Moving my IWBs to DM position I mean.

I managed to finish 3rd in my first season with Real Sociedad but now I'm doing a major squad rework and trying to isolate what worked the best to improve our chances for season two. And in the Champions League. Winning LaLiga with this would be a dream. Especially with Sociedad.

I never thought it would do so well and be so solid defensively.

Edited by crusadertsar
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57 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

Hmm 🤔 now that you say it. I'll need to try it out. Moving my IWBs to DM position I mean.

I managed to finish 3rd in my first season with Real Sociedad but now I'm doing a major squad rework and trying to isolate what worked the best to improve our chances for season two. And in the Champions League. Winning LaLiga with this would be a dream. Especially with Sociedad.

I never thought it would do so well and be so solid defensively.

I meant put a defensive midfielder into rb and lb. Like kante as rb etc... 

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Just now, Lasson said:

When using the formation with one CB, don’t you give away some easy chances on through balls between the CB and the IWBs?

It plays like 3 CB's. It seems exposed but it isn't :D

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12 minutes ago, Egecann said:

I meant put a defensive midfielder into rb and lb. Like kante as rb etc... 

Oh right that's what I'm trying to do. Just need get more players and get rid of my old wingbacks who were not technical or defensive enough.

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Egecann said:

It plays like 3 CB's. It seems exposed but it isn't :D

@LassonExactly. Not sure whether its because of the new ME but it works like never before and I love it. But i would only try it with a suitably strong team.

Edited by crusadertsar
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Started a new save with Valencia using your 3-4-3 tonight, made some minor tweaks to accommodate Maxi Gomez after my first few matches, with that done we beat Real Madrid with a comfortable 2-0 and then we did this to Barcelona:

360368049_ValenciavBarcelona_Review.thumb.png.8e37d118ec2fdc8809dfc4bf3b5044fd.png

At the start of January we're currently sitting 1st in the table. If we manage to beat Atletico I'd say we would be favourites to win the title.

My experience is that the lone centre back struggles against teams playing 4-4-2 where the strike pairing can easily outnumber him and against teams that have very fast strikers like Alexander Isak and Iñaki Williams who can exploit all the open space between him and the wingbacks, beat him one-on-one or just latch onto long balls on the counter. You are very vulnerable to long kicks from the opposition goalkeeper in particular.

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Ended up winning the league, beating Atletico on head-to-head results:

212785012_LaLigaSantander_Stages.thumb.png.4057c48d43694c02fadd71177ac28eea.png

Got fortunate winning the league since both Real Madrid and Barcelona had poor years and we had a lot of good luck going our way, like scoring 7 goals from direct free kicks, including a game-winner from 35 metres in the 93rd minute against Atletico in our second-to-last match that ended up sealing the title.

Still a mightily impressive season, over 80 points with this team is some achievement and the football played getting there was special too, with us finishing more than a handful of matches with over 70% possession,

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love this topic, started with Barca had a bad first season as I tried to get players I didn't out but second season much better. would love to see more posts in detail that looks at players. really great tactic though. this thread is a great read 

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12 hours ago, endadc said:

love this topic, started with Barca had a bad first season as I tried to get players I didn't out but second season much better. would love to see more posts in detail that looks at players. really great tactic though. this thread is a great read 

Oh trust me I have something in the works :)

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1 hour ago, crusadertsar said:

Oh trust me I have something in the works :)

looking forward to that, excellent work dude. 

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On 04/01/2021 at 23:33, crusadertsar said:

I've been even thinking of change then both to Box-to-box players do as too encourage more late runs and not clog up opposition half too early in build-up.

I changed the Mezzalas to CMs instead and it has been going well. I've also done the set-pieces, free kicks and corners are set such that the backline (RB,CD,DM and LB) rarely moves upfield. Throws are taken from Guido and all defensive routines have been compiled from Daljit's streams. AMR and AML take right and left corners respectively. DR and DL take right and left throws. The defensive routines assume that the anchor man is tall enough to deal with aerial threats (in my case, they are highly technical CBs). I've attached the tactic as well as the result of the latest match.

1.png

simp.fmf

Edited by aritra14
grammar
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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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