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Defensive football, is it even playable in FM20?


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Is it just me or is it impossible to play any type of defensive football in this game? 

I mean, I've tried everything but all I see is me getting totally dominated whenever I try to play Catenaccio or any type of counter-attacking football, letting in goals like there's no tomorrow.
Even when I try to park the bus I end up seeing the AI create chance after chance to score, and guess what? The AI always gets a goal in the end, or 2, or 3, or 5...

It just seems so ridiculous to me that the only way to play football in FM 20, imo, is to play attacking. Gegenpress, attacking football and some form of tiki-taka seems to be the only way to play.

And another thing that is ridiculous is that when the AI defends you can almost go a whole game without hardly any highlights, but when you try to park the bus against the AI they get ccc almost every minute it seems. It's so frustrating. 

So, is it just me or is anyone else experiencing the same thing as me? 


 
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15 minutes ago, MrGlenn1337 said:

And another thing that is ridiculous is that when the AI defends you can almost go a whole game without hardly any highlights, but when you try to park the bus against the AI they get ccc almost every minute it seems. It's so frustrating. 

This tells you something. The AI and the user have the exact same tools. Which means either you are not defending in the same way as the AI, or you are not attacking defensive formations in the same way as the AI. 

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Defensive football is absolutely possible to play in FM, just like any other style of football, as long as the following conditions are met:

1. you know exactly why you want to play that particular style of football (your team's reputation and quality, the type of your players etc.)

2. your tactic is set up in a logical and balanced manner (taking all relevant factors into account, from your player's strengths and weaknesses to the impact that the team mentality has on all other elements of a tactic)

One of the biggest mistake that many people make is confusing a defensive (low-risk) team mentality with defensive styles of football. It's not necessary to use a low mentality in order to play defensive football.

Then you need to keep in mind that there are actually 2 different types of defensive football:

1. defensive counter-attacking football, and

2. ultra-defensive football (e.g. catenaccio or park the bus)

The key difference is this: the primary goal of counter-attacking football is to win the match, despite its essentially defensive nature; on the other hand, ultra-defensive football is primarily about avoiding a defeat (or at least avoiding a heavy defeat when the opposition is too superior). 

Now, I may agree that non-defensive tactics are a bit easier to set up than defensive ones in general. But it still does not mean that defensive football styles are "unplayable" in FM.

A bigger problem with defensive tactics is that even if a tactic is well constructed, it's probably not going to work (as effectively) in matches against other underdog teams (especially when you play at home against them). So you'll most probably need to have a (non-defensive) plan-B tactic for those instances.

P.S: If you post a screenshot of your tactic, then we will be able to tell you what is potentially wrong and how you could improve it :thup:

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6 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Defensive football is absolutely possible to play in FM, just like any other style of football, as long as the following conditions are met:

1. you know exactly why you want to play that particular style of football (your team's reputation and quality, the type of your players etc.)

2. your tactic is set up in a logical and balanced manner (taking all relevant factors into account, from your player's strengths and weaknesses to the impact that the team mentality has on all other elements of a tactic)

One of the biggest mistake that many people make is confusing a defensive (low-risk) team mentality with defensive styles of football. It's not necessary to use a low mentality in order to play defensive football.

Then you need to keep in mind that there are actually 2 different types of defensive football:

1. defensive counter-attacking football, and

2. ultra-defensive football (e.g. catenaccio or park the bus)

The key difference is this: the primary goal of counter-attacking football is to win the match, despite its essentially defensive nature; on the other hand, ultra-defensive football is primarily about avoiding a defeat (or at least avoiding a heavy defeat when the opposition is too superior). 

Now, I may agree that non-defensive tactics are a bit easier to set up than defensive ones in general. But it still does not mean that defensive football styles are "unplayable" in FM.

A bigger problem with defensive tactics is that even if a tactic is well constructed, it's probably not going to work (as effectively) in matches against other underdog teams (especially when you play at home against them). So you'll most probably need to have a (non-defensive) plan-B tactic for those instances.

P.S: If you post a screenshot of your tactic, then we will be able to tell you what is potentially wrong and how you could improve it :thup:

I usually go with "balanced" mentality when I try to be more pragmatic i order to change the style of play depending on how it's going. 

"a bit easier"? You're having a laugh.... Attacking tactics are by far easier than defensive once... Just look at the tactics that win the most titles in the game, the attacking once, and by attacking once I mean the gegenpress and tiki taka. 

Btw, it's not the underdogs that are the problem. When I try to do a Mourinho and close a game against a strong side I just end up seeing highlight after highlight and eventually the AI will score, they always do. No matter what I do. 

For an example, when I took charge of Atletico de Madrid I played home against Barcelona, not a underdog team, I then tried to do as Mou', Conte and Diego would do in those games.
Play with a defensive mentality, low block, lower LoE, defend narrow, high press(I feel like you need to press in the newer FM-games, not pressing tends to give the AI more space and will end up in a lots of goals for the AI), direct play, higher tempo, be more disciplined, waste time, play for set pieces, counter, somtimes I use counter-press, mark the best players in Barcelona.
I usually tend to have 6 players on defend, 3-4 on support and 1-2 on attack. But what ends up happening? I'll tell you. You end up seeing Barca create ccc's constantly and they will end up scoring and you'll hardly see any counter-attacks from your side at all. 

The formation I played with was 4-4-2, as Atleti does in real life. 

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You need to be very attentive the type of mentality you play as it mostly dictates the tempo and passing ratio, lower mentality means shorter passes and lower tempo which is not something A. Madrid is known for.

 

With the above said I haven´t had any success with defensive tactics either, mostly because the AI simply is more effective than I will ever be regardless of players. Inviting the AI to attack in FM 2020 is for the most part suicide.

 

I have checked many of the tactics various streamers use and no one goes defensive overall, this tends to mostly be due to the problem you mentioned. Lowering the defensive line is not a good idea, I have never gotten it to work in this  FM version... the AI regardless of team passes the ball around like Barcelona in it´s prime and boom ... 1 shot from 40 yards and you can knock on their door for the rest of the game. The AI is far better at being defensive ...

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The defensive football is really possible on fm, actually I love to play underdog. You need to understand that mentalities are not the style of football but risk level. I could definetely play attacking mentality but still being defensive, you need to look the game how goes, and pay special attention to your roles/duties. 

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The defensive line also, having it low it doesn't mean you are defending. It is key where you want to win the interception or stay at least very close to your opposing team to deny any play. If you give space to them fo course they will just keep attacking you and they will find a goal soon or later. Fm is a dynamic game, not anymore plug and play, so you need to adapt. And I believe is the most enjoyable game, in fact is the only game I play, because is not boring and I never win all games , that makes me more interested 

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5 hours ago, MrGlenn1337 said:

Play with a defensive mentality, low block, lower LoE, defend narrow, high press(I feel like you need to press in the newer FM-games, not pressing tends to give the AI more space and will end up in a lots of goals for the AI), direct play, higher tempo, be more disciplined, waste time, play for set pieces, counter, somtimes I use counter-press, mark the best players in Barcelona.

You play like this all game? No wonder you cannot get it to work. 

Defensive mentality + Low block and Low LOE = EXTREMELY back line and LOE. As in REALLY low... inviting them into your box low...

Waste time + Defensive mentality = not even dangerous so opposition can bombard with attacking duties. 

Defending narrow + low block + defensive mentality + low LOE = opposition full back can happily gallop to the corner flag and cross it into the box... time and time and time and time again. Eventually you'll concede, especially when you keep giving the ball back!

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12 hours ago, MrGlenn1337 said:

"a bit easier"? You're having a laugh.... Attacking tactics are by far easier than defensive once... Just look at the tactics that win the most titles in the game, the attacking once, and by attacking once I mean the gegenpress and tiki taka

Winning titles is a different thing. I agree that playing defensive football is far less likely to bring you trophies than a more attack-minded approach, but that's also the case in real life (Ranieri's Leicester was more of an exception than the rule). However, it does not mean that defensive tactics are unplayable or impossible to work. If you manage an underdog, winning the title is certainly not the primary goal. 

Btw, when you say "Just look at the tactics that win the most titles in the game, the attacking once, and by attacking once I mean the gegenpress and tiki taka", I am not sure if you are referring to exploit plug'n'play tactics for download or normal and sensible ones? 

12 hours ago, MrGlenn1337 said:

For an example, when I took charge of Atletico de Madrid I played home against Barcelona, not a underdog team, I then tried to do as Mou', Conte and Diego would do in those games.
Play with a defensive mentality, low block, lower LoE, defend narrow, high press(I feel like you need to press in the newer FM-games, not pressing tends to give the AI more space and will end up in a lots of goals for the AI), direct play, higher tempo, be more disciplined, waste time, play for set pieces, counter, somtimes I use counter-press, mark the best players in Barcelona.
I usually tend to have 6 players on defend, 3-4 on support and 1-2 on attack. But what ends up happening? I'll tell you. You end up seeing Barca create ccc's constantly and they will end up scoring and you'll hardly see any counter-attacks from your side at all

Well, I can see where (most probably) the problem lies. It's not because of a defensive tactic as such, but due to tactical overkill. In other words, you failed to strike the right balance. 

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20 hours ago, MrGlenn1337 said:

I usually go with "balanced" mentality when I try to be more pragmatic i order to change the style of play depending on how it's going. 

"a bit easier"? You're having a laugh.... Attacking tactics are by far easier than defensive once... Just look at the tactics that win the most titles in the game, the attacking once, and by attacking once I mean the gegenpress and tiki taka. 

Btw, it's not the underdogs that are the problem. When I try to do a Mourinho and close a game against a strong side I just end up seeing highlight after highlight and eventually the AI will score, they always do. No matter what I do. 

For an example, when I took charge of Atletico de Madrid I played home against Barcelona, not a underdog team, I then tried to do as Mou', Conte and Diego would do in those games.
Play with a defensive mentality, low block, lower LoE, defend narrow, high press(I feel like you need to press in the newer FM-games, not pressing tends to give the AI more space and will end up in a lots of goals for the AI), direct play, higher tempo, be more disciplined, waste time, play for set pieces, counter, somtimes I use counter-press, mark the best players in Barcelona.
I usually tend to have 6 players on defend, 3-4 on support and 1-2 on attack. But what ends up happening? I'll tell you. You end up seeing Barca create ccc's constantly and they will end up scoring and you'll hardly see any counter-attacks from your side at all. 

The formation I played with was 4-4-2, as Atleti does in real life. 

Pls note that Atleti 442 is not a regular 442 u find in preset tactics. they have special roles that can only be performed by really specific players for it to work. Hence I would not be surprised if u struggle with a defensive 442 formation if u set it up totally wrong since 442 isnt exactly a good defensive formation if u do not set up the player roles properly. Maybe post your screenshot tactics so others can have a look at it?

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  • 2 months later...

I just searched the forum for defensive football threads because I wanted to see what other people cosider a defenesive football on FM looks like. I thought it's something like playing tthe low block, defending narrow, being vertically compact, maybe defending narrow, not necessarily all those thing together but I thought defensive football should be based around those things in FM. But apparently it doesn't have to be any of those things because I play with positive mentality and switching on attacking when it's needed, I play high DL, high LOE, defending width is standard, but it's often said in press conferences that I like to put the defensive side and on my manager's profile it says that I prefer defensive football.

So I guess I am a defensive football specialist and I didn't even know it. :D 

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16 minutes ago, yolixeya said:

I just searched the forum for defensive football threads because I wanted to see what other people cosider a defenesive football on FM looks like. I thought it's something like playing tthe low block, defending narrow, being vertically compact, maybe defending narrow, not necessarily all those thing together but I thought defensive football should be based around those things in FM. But apparently it doesn't have to be any of those things because I play with positive mentality and switching on attacking when it's needed, I play high DL, high LOE, defending width is standard, but it's often said in press conferences that I like to put the defensive side and on my manager's profile it says that I prefer defensive football.

So I guess I am a defensive football specialist and I didn't even know it. :D 

In FM defensive football is defined by the number of goals you conceded. If you do not concede a lot of goals the game will think its defensive football. For my current journeyman save even though I am playing majority of the time offensive tactics my manager traits has prefers defensive football as the teams under my coaching do not concede a lot.

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4 minutes ago, zyfon5 said:

In FM defensive football is defined by the number of goals you conceded. If you do not concede a lot of goals the game will think its defensive football. For my current journeyman save even though I am playing majority of the time offensive tactics my manager traits has prefers defensive football as the teams under my coaching do not concede a lot.

But what happens when you don't concede a lot but also score a lot? Surely it can't say that you prefer both attacking and defensive football. I also play journeyman save and I'm in the third season with Rapid in Romania with this tactic. I conceded 37 goals in my first season with them, 20 in the second as I can remember.

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Is there a way to find out exactly what mentality + roles + instructions the AI uses when the player can't break them down and loses 1-0, 2-1 etc when only conceding a couple of chances? I think that this could be interesting to see what the game views as defensive. I know that there are some skins that show which roles are being used.. maybe there's a way to go one step further.

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You can see their mentality by checking their formation while you play the match. It will say "positive 4-1-4-1 DM wide" or "defensive 4-4-2". If it just says 4-4-2 then they are on balanced mentality. You can see the roles they mostly prefer when you scout next opposition.

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1 hour ago, yolixeya said:

You can see their mentality by checking their formation while you play the match. It will say "positive 4-1-4-1 DM wide" or "defensive 4-4-2". If it just says 4-4-2 then they are on balanced mentality. You can see the roles they mostly prefer when you scout next opposition.

oh yeah of course, forgot about that. How about team instructions? Or is the only way to judge that by watching how they play?

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I don't think you can see their team instructions other then occasional "they switched to shorter passing" or "they are trying to be more direct" you get from your Assistant Manager durin the match.

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3 hours ago, Jack722 said:

oh yeah of course, forgot about that. How about team instructions? Or is the only way to judge that by watching how they play?

Watching for sure, but you can combine the info on the 'Formations' screen with 'Analysis > Player Analysis' and filter on passing/position/heatmap to see their patterns and who/where the fulcrum of their play is.

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12 hours ago, Jack722 said:

Is there a way to find out exactly what mentality + roles + instructions the AI uses when the player can't break them down and loses 1-0, 2-1 etc when only conceding a couple of chances? I think that this could be interesting to see what the game views as defensive. I know that there are some skins that show which roles are being used.. maybe there's a way to go one step further.

Yes. Data Analyst or Scout Report plus during the match is available all of this information. No need for custom skin.

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13 hours ago, zyfon5 said:

In FM defensive football is defined by the number of goals you conceded. If you do not concede a lot of goals the game will think its defensive football. For my current journeyman save even though I am playing majority of the time offensive tactics my manager traits has prefers defensive football as the teams under my coaching do not concede a lot.

I've been qualified as favouring a "Tiki-Taka" playing style despite having 48% average possession in the first half of the season, and generally my most convincing wins came with much lower possession, like this win against Ajax.

fm_2020-06-19_00-53-31.thumb.png.c35a9de2838e84572a1bf7148686e1d7.png

The board considers I've been using a "Defensive" playing style as well because we haven't been leaking goals for a few seasons already, we "only" have conceded 11 so far in December with a 9 match unbeaten streak. The "problem" is that I'm not trying to play tiki-taka and I'm not specifically trying to play defensive football. Hell, I don't even consider my tactics to be specifically tuned one way or another! I don't even consider my tactics particularly good.

In short, FM labels are beyond pointless. :onmehead:And apparently the "key" to defensive football according to FM, at least in order to be labelled a defensive coach, is just to have sensible tactics. Which tells you nothing new nor interesting.

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1 hour ago, Xavier Lukhas said:

I've been qualified as favouring a "Tiki-Taka" playing style despite having 48% average possession in the first half of the season, and generally my most convincing wins came with much lower possession, like this win against Ajax.

fm_2020-06-19_00-53-31.thumb.png.c35a9de2838e84572a1bf7148686e1d7.png

The board considers I've been using a "Defensive" playing style as well because we haven't been leaking goals for a few seasons already, we "only" have conceded 11 so far in December with a 9 match unbeaten streak. The "problem" is that I'm not trying to play tiki-taka and I'm not specifically trying to play defensive football. Hell, I don't even consider my tactics to be specifically tuned one way or another! I don't even consider my tactics particularly good.

In short, FM labels are beyond pointless. :onmehead:And apparently the "key" to defensive football according to FM, at least in order to be labelled a defensive coach, is just to have sensible tactics. Which tells you nothing new nor interesting.

Tiki taka is different that is a tactical style. It only refers to the template of your tactics you are using. I have a gegenpress tactical style at my manager profile now even though my team is playing more on the counter because the original tactical template is a gegenpress one. On my last team the board asked to play a possession football, defensive football, high pressing and focus on set pieces all in the same season and I fulfill all of that which proves that the game only recognize pure numbers and do not differentiate the actual style of football you are playing

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Just now, zyfon5 said:

Tiki taka is different that is a tactical style. It only refers to the template of your tactics you are using. I have a gegenpress tactical style at my manager profile now even though my team is playing more on the counter because the original tactical template is a gegenpress one. On my last team the board asked to play a possession football, defensive football, high pressing and focus on set pieces all in the same season and I fulfill all of that which proves that the game only recognize pure numbers and do not differentiate the actual style of football you are playing

My template is Custom Clean Slate with Run at Defence, Narrow, Take Short Kicks and Higher D-line/LoE. I feel cheated; I should've been told earlier. :lol:

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1 minute ago, Xavier Lukhas said:

My template is Custom Clean Slate with Run at Defence, Narrow, Take Short Kicks and Higher D-line/LoE. I feel cheated; I should've been told earlier. :lol:

It is dumb in a way but I can see why SI implement in this way to avoid potential issues. Honestly I feel they should just remove all this nonsense on human managers and just limit it to AI managers. Just because my manager traits says that I prefer possession football does not mean that I am going to play possession football on every team I manage.

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Defensive football isn't entirely about mentality, its about how you use the line of engagement and defensive line to create dense packs of players.  Next step create the formation. You can create a really solid defensive system where all you do is sit back and hurl balls at the AI. I never play on much lower defensive line. 

When i set my LOE to my own half, then we only close down the opposition when they get in my defensive third. So taking a 4231 DM system for example>

I would set it up to be Direct/Wide, Hit early cross, higher tempo

Now i have set up the way i want to attack  by using the full width of the pitch, crossing from halfway and not wait for the whole team to get up in support. 

With the roles then I would expect to use a WB(D)x2 who can still overlap if i elect to use the overlap. Here though their initial positioning would at least allow us to do some midfield transitions. Whats more important is how i get the attack to function. Here I would look for width from a Winger on attack. Up top it would be good to have some kind of easy target for the team. So i go for the TM(A) and have a SS behind him. This sorts out a simple 3 man counter attacking team.

So i don't fall under too much pressure at the back, I will tell my team not play out of defence, instead I will tell my keeper to pass to fullbacks. Ideally I want him to kick for the flanks, but that I will only do if my keeper is really good at kicking. 

Now I want my transitions to be a bit more faster from back to front. So I look for other options. At the back I will go for a BPD or NCD. A BPD would be good cos he gives me the option to put one over the top when I want to use pass into space. My two DMs will need to be good at defending the area, but i also want them to be good at releasing my attacking group of players. So a DLP or a Regista would be a good option for one of them. Ideally one who tries long range passes.

Finally i settle on mentality, which now becomes incidental.

The key to creating any kind of system is just understanding how LOE and DL work in this game. Teams attack my side, i expect to win the ball in my own half before quickly transitioning down the right flank to counter. Against the AI this is easy, however against a human this kind of strategy may not really work, because humans can be irrational. :-)

 

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In FM19, I would always play a defensive style of football, and regularly succeed (defensively passive, so: regroup lower LOE etc). it also wouldn’t just be to overachieve with lower level teams, A lot of the time, I was able to win trophies playing this way, kind of like Mourinho and Simeone

I recently bought FM20, and I am struggling a lot though. When I try to play this way, I regularly get dominated by lower reputation sides, and get smashed by big teams.

I also found a website that I like that tries to replicate real life managers in FM. And I’ve noticed that they have also been struggling playing defensively in FM20. For example, Here is a replication of Mourinho. They were playing defensively passive and weren’t happy with there results, so kept everything the same, but ticked all the off the ball Gegenpressing instructions (much higher line, counterpress etc) and saw a marked improvement immediately. The same also happened in an Alex Ferguson tactic.

i found the same with my tactics, I was playing as a fast team that wasn’t very creative but was defensively solid, so tried to play on the counter, and we were getting destroyed by teams of all reputations (not just getting 0-0s against defensive teams). I also felt like I learnt a lot about counter attacking from FM19, so I was  avoiding all the common mistakes (cautios + lower dline, much less urgent pressing etc). I then did the same as the website, and bumped up all my pressing instructions, and then started winning most games, even though our team doesn’t suit being on the ball at all, and has no sweeper keeper or fast defenders.

I would be very interested if somebody would post an in depth tactical thread about being defensive in FM20, and play a season with some analysis. I know that there was a very good defensive thread recently, but it was with a low reputation team, and IIRC, he still wasn’t winning lots of games. I’d like to see a Mourinho/Simeone style of defence, that can win trophies for big teams and dark horses with consistency.

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3 hours ago, Jack722 said:

I’d like to see a Mourinho/Simeone style of defence, that can win trophies for big teams and dark horses with consistency.

Problem with defensive style and big reputation teams in FM is that AI is much happier to do nothing but sit back in hope of stealing a goalless draw than teams are in real life. The moment you're managing one of the giants you start seeing opposition on straight up Defensive mentality, two-DM formations and full-backs on Defend duty, which not only means they never commit enough men forward to allow you to attack with high-tempo transitions effectively, but if not pressed urgently enough, they end up wasting a lot of time as well with being allowed to have all the possession.

You can definitely create a defensively solid system, but if you want to actually win titles, you need more than just clean sheets. And that's where you end up shooting yourself in the foot using it with big teams, because you just can't score goals against other defensive tactics consistently.

Here's a thread that sort of documents this problem of low mentalities and AI's ability to keep possession/unwillingness to take any risks at all:

 

@Experienced Defender Hope there's nothing wrong with linking that in Tactics Discussion forum. My intention isn't to discuss the match engine per se, but it's hard not to touch on it discussing this issue.

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To the opening post.  Defend mentality isn't a switch you just flick, and voila clean sheets.  Duties and the individual mentalities they give you in conjunction with the team's mentality is what's key.

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On 21/06/2020 at 21:11, Zemahh said:

Here's a thread that sort of documents this problem of low mentalities and AI's ability to keep possession/unwillingness to take any risks at all:

Ok the discussion on this thread is about how humans can make defensive systems work ala Mourinho etc. 

Now what you did was to post a thread about how the AI sets up its own defensive tactics. The AI's defensive tactics are creating a lot of possession and this is also down to the fact that its using a specific formation with certain roles and duties. I don't want to derail the whole thread because then this will devolve. I love playing against these defensive systems, its so much fun, taking them apart. Yea sometimes I get a draw, but I love it when the AI goes with double DMs and absolutely gets hammered by me 4 nil.  Try making one of those defensive tactics yourself and play against the AI, I find it a lot harder to do.

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35 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

Ok the discussion on this thread is about how humans can make defensive systems work ala Mourinho etc.

The question was how to make a defensive system with a big team and win titles with it. That's when you have to take the AI into account, because you will be facing nothing but parked buses week in and week out, due to your reputation. Thread I linked demonstrates how easy it is for the defensive AI to keep possession if not pressed urgently enough (which it won't be, if your goal is to create a Mourinho-esque system).

You enjoying to play against defensive systems has nothing to do with that, it's one thing to face them with a normal tactic and another with a counter-attacking one—good luck counter-attacking a team that plays with a bunch of Defend duties on Defensive mentality and never commits anyone forward.

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44 minutes ago, Zemahh said:

The question was how to make a defensive system with a big team and win titles with it. That's when you have to take the AI into account, because you will be facing nothing but parked buses week in and week out, due to your reputation. Thread I linked demonstrates how easy it is for the defensive AI to keep possession if not pressed urgently enough (which it won't be, if your goal is to create a Mourinho-esque system).

You enjoying to play against defensive systems has nothing to do with that, it's one thing to face them with a normal tactic and another with a counter-attacking one—good luck counter-attacking a team that plays with a bunch of Defend duties on Defensive mentality and never commits anyone forward.

Somehow or another your only defence is to call up a thread and point to it. Fact: That has never been acknowledged as an issue.  If it was someone would have logged that as a bug. 

Defensive strategies are not only about mentality. They are about a composite set of instructions. I have played with defensive strategies countless times, using a strategy to soak pressure and hit on the break. And it works for me, and I have also dismantled defensive systems using a strategy of counter attacking football, where i leave areas of the pitch that they will exploit. I don't know if you know this or not, but defensive width can also be a counter attacking weapon.

You suggested that we need to take into account the AI, and yes I do. Sometimes I elect not to be too attacking against certain systems that are very defensive, and sometimes I do. Your definition of a normal tactic is purely subjective. 

A defensive strategy in this game starts with how you set up a block and where you want that block to be triggered. Thats it. Then you decide which areas of the pitch you want to defend and how you defend them. Thats your pressing intensity and your defensive width. Any formation can be played defensively. A 4231 can be played defensively just as much as a 532. Just because you can't counter attack against a team playing with defensive duties doesn't mean others can't.  And that is the reason why that thread wasn't logged as a bug, because obviously  there are people out there who have tested the game and maybe they disagree with you.

You cite the fact that the AI plays on a defensive mentality with defensive duties and does not want to come out. Fine, thats its strategy, however you can still draw it out playing a counter attacking strategy against it. It requires a bit more thought about how you use things like defensive width, and how you open space up around the pitch for it to move into.  And because its much harder to pull off, most people just ram it down its throat.

That's not to say there aren't issues, I do agree that the AI needs a bit more ambition with some systems. And, there are some bigger issues like players not making half turns properly or how defenders seem to do a 90 degree turn in the opposite direction from the ideal one they should be doing. That though is a different matter. I do acknowledge that the AI can be more ambitious, but I also wanted to add that it is possible to play counter attacking football against a defensive system. However its also more challenging and requires a lot more thought and design.

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54 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

You cite the fact that the AI plays on a defensive mentality with defensive duties and does not want to come out. Fine, thats its strategy, however you can still draw it out playing a counter attacking strategy against it. It requires a bit more thought about how you use things like defensive width, and how you open space up around the pitch for it to move into. 

Go ahead, create a Mourinho or Dyche inspired tactic, give it to Man United and post your end of season summary. If you can replicate a season of results like below and win the title, you will solve one of the most discussed issues in this community.

4zW7brK.png

It's all fine and well talking about "drawing teams out", but there's only so many times the AI on Cautious or Defensive mentality will actually take that bait. And that's what the linked thread is about, AI CBs and GKs comfortably completing 100 passes and rarely moving the ball over the halfway line on low mentalities. Now, sometimes you get lucky and your strikers convert one or two chances they get, but majority of the time you end up allowing the AI to waste huge chunks of time, which ends up costing you the result.

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On 21/06/2020 at 11:05, Jack722 said:

In FM19, I would always play a defensive style of football, and regularly succeed (defensively passive, so: regroup lower LOE etc). it also wouldn’t just be to overachieve with lower level teams, A lot of the time, I was able to win trophies playing this way, kind of like Mourinho and Simeone

I recently bought FM20, and I am struggling a lot though. When I try to play this way, I regularly get dominated by lower reputation sides, and get smashed by big teams.

I also found a website that I like that tries to replicate real life managers in FM. And I’ve noticed that they have also been struggling playing defensively in FM20. For example, Here is a replication of Mourinho. They were playing defensively passive and weren’t happy with there results, so kept everything the same, but ticked all the off the ball Gegenpressing instructions (much higher line, counterpress etc) and saw a marked improvement immediately. The same also happened in an Alex Ferguson tactic.

i found the same with my tactics, I was playing as a fast team that wasn’t very creative but was defensively solid, so tried to play on the counter, and we were getting destroyed by teams of all reputations (not just getting 0-0s against defensive teams). I also felt like I learnt a lot about counter attacking from FM19, so I was  avoiding all the common mistakes (cautios + lower dline, much less urgent pressing etc). I then did the same as the website, and bumped up all my pressing instructions, and then started winning most games, even though our team doesn’t suit being on the ball at all, and has no sweeper keeper or fast defenders.

I would be very interested if somebody would post an in depth tactical thread about being defensive in FM20, and play a season with some analysis. I know that there was a very good defensive thread recently, but it was with a low reputation team, and IIRC, he still wasn’t winning lots of games. I’d like to see a Mourinho/Simeone style of defence, that can win trophies for big teams and dark horses with consistency.

Unfortunateeky SI Games have favoured Gegenpress for the last, at least, 2 years. If you wanna win titles in this game you always need to play tactics with "counterpress and counter" also " high D-line and high LOE". Quite boring top be honest. 
For me the game was fun when you could play with different styles not only styles that has "gegenpress" in it. 

If you look at the likes of Conte, Mou, Simeone and Allegri they win games and titles without "counterpress". They might press high sometimes, some of 'em, but you won't see counterpressing. 

And also, the way "counterpress" works in this game needs to be change. 'Cause Heynckes had a man-man makring counter press, Pep has a rule of high "counterpress" for 3 seconds and they all differ from Klopps way to use it. 

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@MrGlenn1337 You couldn't be more wrong. The game does not favour any one style. And you don't win titles by selecting specific team instructions like counter-press. You win by creating sensible tactics that fit your team. So yeah maybe if I play as Liverpool or RB Leipzig then aggressive geggenpress is a way to go. But not for Norwich, ect. The tactic creator is not some sort of magical formula that can be beat with just any exploit plug in tactic. I'm of half a mind to prove to you that you can probably win everything with a Mourinho style 4-2-3-1 provided that you have players for it. And thus also showing that Defensive football in fact works very well in FM20. Actually maybe I'll do that. Just need a bit of time to test it.

In fact you can be very successful with a defensive tactic. I actually won Europa League in my second year with Benfica by using a Mourinho-esque 4-2-3-1(DM version) with 4 defend duties and only one attack duty role while using a balanced team mentality. Pretty defensive if you ask me. One of the teams we beat was Man United. I'll post some screenshots in my next article which will touch upon some defensive, counterattacking tactics.

Edited by crusadertsar
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13 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

@MrGlenn1337 You couldn't be more wrong. The game does not favour any one style. And you don't win titles by selecting specific team instructions like counter-press. You win by creating sensible tactics that fit your team. So yeah maybe if I play as Liverpool or RB Leipzig then aggressive geggenpress is a way to go. But not for Norwich, ect. The tactic creator is not some sort of magical formula that can be beat with just any exploit plug in tactic. I'm of half a mind to prove to you that you can probably win everything with a Mourinho style 4-2-3-1 provided that you have players for it. And thus also showing that Defensive football in fact works very well in FM20. Actually maybe I'll do that. Just need a bit of time to test it 

 It doesn't favour any style? Then how come that all the tactics with "counterpress" outperformes every other tactics not using that instructions? 

Mourinho you say. So you gonna sit back and try to counterattack? Ok. The ME won't allow you to do that. 'Cause every time you let the AI have the ball they will dominate you and evantually score a goal. PLaying with a low block or a low D-line will just let the AI do whatever they want. 

But go ahead and prove me wrong. Try and win anything without using "counterpress, high D-line and high LOE".

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1 hour ago, crusadertsar said:

@MrGlenn1337 You couldn't be more wrong. The game does not favour any one style. And you don't win titles by selecting specific team instructions like counter-press. You win by creating sensible tactics that fit your team. So yeah maybe if I play as Liverpool or RB Leipzig then aggressive geggenpress is a way to go. But not for Norwich, ect. The tactic creator is not some sort of magical formula that can be beat with just any exploit plug in tactic. I'm of half a mind to prove to you that you can probably win everything with a Mourinho style 4-2-3-1 provided that you have players for it. And thus also showing that Defensive football in fact works very well in FM20. Actually maybe I'll do that. Just need a bit of time to test it.

In fact you can be very successful with a defensive tactic. I actually won Europa League in my second year with Benfica by using a Mourinho-esque 4-2-3-1(DM version) with 4 defend duties and only one attack duty role while using a balanced team mentality. Pretty defensive if you ask me. One of the teams we beat was Man United. I'll post some screenshots in my next article which will touch upon some defensive, counterattacking tactics.

Read the physics json file from the game. Game favor gegenpress. It's pretty easy to spot that according to this file. 

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13 hours ago, MrGlenn1337 said:

 It doesn't favour any style? Then how come that all the tactics with "counterpress" outperformes every other tactics not using that instructions? 

Mourinho you say. So you gonna sit back and try to counterattack? Ok. The ME won't allow you to do that. 'Cause every time you let the AI have the ball they will dominate you and evantually score a goal. PLaying with a low block or a low D-line will just let the AI do whatever they want. 

But go ahead and prove me wrong. Try and win anything without using "counterpress, high D-line and high LOE".

I just told you I won Europa League using this tactic. And it's not exactly high-pressing possession tactic now is it.

696682C9C889DE1D40B7384451C6E6AC48B23F52 (1600×900)

It might be on positive mentality but its the roles that make it into a defensive, counter-attacking tactic. This formation also allowed me to only concede 14 goals in 34 League matches. So how can you say defensive football is not effective?

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2 hours ago, MrGlenn1337 said:

 It doesn't favour any style? Then how come that all the tactics with "counterpress" outperformes every other tactics not using that instructions? 

Mourinho you say. So you gonna sit back and try to counterattack? Ok. The ME won't allow you to do that. 'Cause every time you let the AI have the ball they will dominate you and evantually score a goal. PLaying with a low block or a low D-line will just let the AI do whatever they want. 

But go ahead and prove me wrong. Try and win anything without using "counterpress, high D-line and high LOE".

Here you go, from an old save file I had. I took over a poor Napoli side in 2028, two years of building them I won a title playing without counter pressing or high press. 

 

25 goals conceded is a little too high for my liking (four of those goals were scored by Juve in a single one off game so not representative of the tactic as a whole), but with better players I think I could get it between 15-20. The tactic worked very simply, we'd win the ball back in our half/in midfield, and break quickly due to the positive mentality and certain PPMs my DLP had (switch ball to the other flank feels like a cheat sometimes). With that PPM, the winger would usually find himself behind the opposition fullback and he'd cross to the TM (ignore the F9, that was a weird experiment) or the onrushing CM-A who has the gets into opposition area PPM. With the defensive settings we would see games out quite comfortably. Our first season in the CL since the in game starting season and we qualified from a group looking like this, again, all of those goals were scored by Real over both times they beat me, no tactic is perfect eh. United couldn't score against us. We knocked out Bayern then Chelsea beat us in the quarters, not too bad for a tactic that has average players and doesn't counter press. 

 

 

20200629041941_1.thumb.jpg.2f8507254f5ea3f062939f9b0d7015e2.jpg

 

I didn't continue this save after this point, perhaps I should and continue with the same principles and try to win another title or CL just to show you it's entirely possible to be successful without playing a high press. This tactic was achieved by reading Rashidi's posts and watching some of his streams/YT vids and getting to grips with mentality and how it's essentially a risk scale. If you set your DL to the lowest it can with minimal pressing on top of being on the defensive mentality, then no wonder you get slaughtered by bigger teams. No top level manager plays that type of football. 

20200629032208_1.jpg

20200629033044_1.jpg

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2 hours ago, Bluebird123 said:

Here you go, from an old save file I had. I took over a poor Napoli side in 2028, two years of building them I won a title playing without counter pressing or high press. 

 

25 goals conceded is a little too high for my liking (four of those goals were scored by Juve in a single one off game so not representative of the tactic as a whole), but with better players I think I could get it between 15-20. The tactic worked very simply, we'd win the ball back in our half/in midfield, and break quickly due to the positive mentality and certain PPMs my DLP had (switch ball to the other flank feels like a cheat sometimes). With that PPM, the winger would usually find himself behind the opposition fullback and he'd cross to the TM (ignore the F9, that was a weird experiment) or the onrushing CM-A who has the gets into opposition area PPM. With the defensive settings we would see games out quite comfortably. Our first season in the CL since the in game starting season and we qualified from a group looking like this, again, all of those goals were scored by Real over both times they beat me, no tactic is perfect eh. United couldn't score against us. We knocked out Bayern then Chelsea beat us in the quarters, not too bad for a tactic that has average players and doesn't counter press. 

 

 

20200629041941_1.thumb.jpg.2f8507254f5ea3f062939f9b0d7015e2.jpg

 

I didn't continue this save after this point, perhaps I should and continue with the same principles and try to win another title or CL just to show you it's entirely possible to be successful without playing a high press. This tactic was achieved by reading Rashidi's posts and watching some of his streams/YT vids and getting to grips with mentality and how it's essentially a risk scale. If you set your DL to the lowest it can with minimal pressing on top of being on the defensive mentality, then no wonder you get slaughtered by bigger teams. No top level manager plays that type of football. 

20200629032208_1.jpg

20200629033044_1.jpg

Awesome result. Could you post detailed stats? Do your players have specific PIs? What percentage of goals do you score from crosses?

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Hi,

This is my idea for a more defensive/counter attack tactic.

Screenshot_20200629-210628.thumb.jpg.0a9a5cb501c493b0414c0db9dfbd6204.jpg

Do you think that could work? Im having some doubts about my forward and wide midfielders roles, and also about the team instructions overall.

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14 hours ago, dokera said:

Awesome result. Could you post detailed stats? Do your players have specific PIs? What percentage of goals do you score from crosses?

When I'm on my PC tomorrow I'll have a look into it for you. 

 

I know the wingers both had close down more as a PI to stop teams from dominating me down the flanks, but not too sure on the rest

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45 minutes ago, Keyzer Soze said:

Hi,

This is my idea for a more defensive/counter attack tactic.

Screenshot_20200629-210628.thumb.jpg.0a9a5cb501c493b0414c0db9dfbd6204.jpg

Do you think that could work? Im having some doubts about my forward and wide midfielders roles, and also about the team instructions overall.

Roles and duties make sense :thup:

Instructions might need some tweaking, but you need to test the tactic first and see how close it is to what you want to achieve.

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7 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Roles and duties make sense :thup:

Instructions might need some tweaking, but you need to test the tactic first and see how close it is to what you want to achieve.

I've made a couple of games, and since then change somethings. 

D-Line changed to standard, because with a lower D-Line I wasn't having any ball. 

DM(d) changed to HB(d), to have a bette built up from the back 

IW(a) changed to WM(a), because the IW was loosing too much possession. 

The team is creating chances but, more in possession attacks and not so much in counter attacks (could be related with the regroup instruction?) . In fact in both games I've played I have more possession than my opponent. 

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2 minutes ago, Keyzer Soze said:

The team is creating chances but, more in possession attacks and not so much in counter attacks

Well, the formation you use (flat 4141) is actually more suited to so-called defensive possession football than a counter-attacking style. Simply because the lone striker can easily end up too isolated to be able to do anything on his own in a potential counter-attack (regardless of his role and duty). If you want a more counter-attack(ish) tactic, formations such as 442, 4411 or 4132 wide would make more sense. 

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@crusadertsar 

You're gonna prove me wrong by playing Benfica of all teams?  The only team that's a threat to you are Porto, and from what I've seen they tend to finish second or third most of the time. 

And you play "positive" when you said you would play like Mourinho. Talk about contradicting yourself, When have Mou ever let his team "play out of defence"? He wants quick transactions. When he was at Real Madrid Ramos or Xabi would hit the long balls as quick as possible, often out to the flanks, to let the front 4 use their skill to create goalscoring chances. And Mou is known for wanting his teams to "regroup" so there is no space for the opposition to use...

And Mou would most likely only use "attack" when he really needed a goal, as he is known for not taking too much risk during games. 

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14 minutes ago, MrGlenn1337 said:

@crusadertsar 

And you play "positive" when you said you would play like Mourinho. Talk about contradicting yourself, When have Mou ever let his team "play out of defence"? He wants quick transactions. When he was at Real Madrid Ramos or Xabi would hit the long balls as quick as possible, often out to the flanks, to let the front 4 use their skill to create goalscoring chances. And Mou is known for wanting his teams to "regroup" so there is no space for the opposition to use...

And Mou would most likely only use "attack" when he really needed a goal, as he is known for not taking too much risk during games. 

You still don't get it, don't you? You don't play defensive football by selecting "cautious" or "defensive" mentality. I can totally play as Mourinho on positive mentality as long as I set up the rest of my tactic in the right way.

Neither is selecting "low defensive line" or "regroup" will magically make your tactic resemble Mourinho's. It is all about how you set your roles and lines of engagements to create strategic compactness on the field to stop your opponent in your own half, win the ball back and launch a quick counter. Its about doing overloads. Its about using roles smartley and not putting everyone plus their grandmother on defend duty. I could set up half of my team on attack and the rest on support and I could probably still play a good counter-attacking football, depending on how I set my defensive line and LOE. 
In case you missed it the first time, why don't your read the following again. @Rashidi probably explains it better than me.

On 20/06/2020 at 05:15, Rashidi said:

Defensive football isn't entirely about mentality, its about how you use the line of engagement and defensive line to create dense packs of players.  Next step create the formation. You can create a really solid defensive system where all you do is sit back and hurl balls at the AI. I never play on much lower defensive line. 

When i set my LOE to my own half, then we only close down the opposition when they get in my defensive third. So taking a 4231 DM system for example>

I would set it up to be Direct/Wide, Hit early cross, higher tempo

Now i have set up the way i want to attack  by using the full width of the pitch, crossing from halfway and not wait for the whole team to get up in support. 

With the roles then I would expect to use a WB(D)x2 who can still overlap if i elect to use the overlap. Here though their initial positioning would at least allow us to do some midfield transitions. Whats more important is how i get the attack to function. Here I would look for width from a Winger on attack. Up top it would be good to have some kind of easy target for the team. So i go for the TM(A) and have a SS behind him. This sorts out a simple 3 man counter attacking team.

So i don't fall under too much pressure at the back, I will tell my team not play out of defence, instead I will tell my keeper to pass to fullbacks. Ideally I want him to kick for the flanks, but that I will only do if my keeper is really good at kicking. 

Now I want my transitions to be a bit more faster from back to front. So I look for other options. At the back I will go for a BPD or NCD. A BPD would be good cos he gives me the option to put one over the top when I want to use pass into space. My two DMs will need to be good at defending the area, but i also want them to be good at releasing my attacking group of players. So a DLP or a Regista would be a good option for one of them. Ideally one who tries long range passes.

Finally i settle on mentality, which now becomes incidental.

The key to creating any kind of system is just understanding how LOE and DL work in this game. Teams attack my side, i expect to win the ball in my own half before quickly transitioning down the right flank to counter. Against the AI this is easy, however against a human this kind of strategy may not really work, because humans can be irrational. :-)

 

 

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12 minutes ago, MrGlenn1337 said:

@crusadertsar 

You're gonna prove me wrong by playing Benfica of all teams?  The only team that's a threat to you are Porto, and from what I've seen they tend to finish second or third most of the time. 

And you play "positive" when you said you would play like Mourinho. Talk about contradicting yourself, When have Mou ever let his team "play out of defence"? He wants quick transactions. When he was at Real Madrid Ramos or Xabi would hit the long balls as quick as possible, often out to the flanks, to let the front 4 use their skill to create goalscoring chances. And Mou is known for wanting his teams to "regroup" so there is no space for the opposition to use...

And Mou would most likely only use "attack" when he really needed a goal, as he is known for not taking too much risk during games. 

There's your problem again, taking the mentality names at face value rather than understanding what it actually does, I'd argue it's a problem SI need to clear up in future versions but you've been told a few times now what it actually does and you still ignore it. 

 

About your part in bold, this is exactly what the positive mentality does, players will take more risks in their passes and your transitions are quicker, nothing about Mourinho's Real side would be on the cautious mentality, I'd even argue for that specific team they would be on the attacking mentality with two DMs and much lower LOE/DL, seriously, watch some goals from that side and their transitions were rapid, you will struggle to achieve that on cautious/defensive. 

Also my title winning tactic used regroup, but I'm sure you'll find another way to shift the goalposts and why it's not a true replication of Mourinho or whatever

 

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