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Hey guys just looking for a little bit of advice on my tactic. This season my Watford team are just not pressing very well. I want us to be quite a direct, pressing team but it isn’t quite ticking yet. I’m 6 games in and doing ok but I’m yet to get a clean sheet and the reason is I concede a lot of set-pieces because I give so many fouls away or the opposition just knock the ball around my press with ease and create chances. Is the tactic bad, are the players just not good enough tacklers, or is it something else? I’ve tried pressing less but then I just get dominated so it feels like catch-22 in a way. Also the front 2 are passive as hell and playing through team could be achieved by a sunday league side. I want them to be the first line of defence without sacrificing threat in behind but not sure it’s achievable. Thanks 

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Edited by Jack199999999
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Well if you want those strikers to be the first line of defence, first you have to check if they have the attributes for it. Aggression, bravery, work rate, teamwork, stamina. You want these around 15 for a Premier League side. Some tackling ability is a plus. 

You say you want to play direct. But who's playing those direct passes? I don't see one role in that setup that's suitable for that. Maybe if you have the right player at WM and tell him to take more risks. Maybe. The BWM is a destroyer. The BBM and W(a) are runners. No BPD's. SK on defend. The FB is a conservative role and not known for defence-splitting passes.

Very narrow attacking width in a 442 with flank players staying wide is something that I personally don't understand. Perhaps if you used inverted wingers and had a playmaker in the middle, it could be explained away to some extent. You have none of those. Even then, the biggest strength of the 442 is superiority on the flanks, why would you want to take that away?

Drop the extremely urgent pressing. The abundance of yellow cards shouldn't surprise you if you have that on. It will have even your full-backs press like madmen and I don't think a team like Watford can pull it off. I don't know Milla, but a player like Willems at FB is a recipe for disaster if he doesn't have ample cover.

That's just a few things. What I would do is watch closely why your strikers are a non-factor when the other team has the ball? Are they isolated because no one else comes up to help the press? You see, a mid-block like yours isn't the optimal setup to make your forwards the ball-hounds you want them to be. They will track back and engage but that will sacrice a lot of their attacking threat. In a mid-block, I prefer to release the strikers on an attack duty and let the others win the ball. If you want to press higher up the pitch in numbers, you have to raise the LOE. Most importantly, watch where you win the ball and what happens immediately afterwards in your attacking transitions. Like I said, I don't see the infrastructure for direct attacks in your tactic and the balanced mentality doesn't help either.

 

Edited by Enzo_Francescoli
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28 minutes ago, Enzo_Francescoli said:

Well if you want those strikers to be the first line of defence, first you have to check if they have the attributes for it. Aggression, bravery, work rate, teamwork, stamina. You want these around 15 for a Premier League side. Some tackling ability is a plus. 

You say you want to play direct. But who's playing those direct passes? I don't see one role in that setup that's suitable for that. Maybe if you have the right player at WM and tell him to take more risks. Maybe. The BWM is a destroyer. The BBM and W(a) are runners. No BPD's. SK on defend. The FB is a conservative role and not known for defence-splitting passes.

Very narrow attacking width in a 442 with flank players staying wide is something that I personally don't understand. Perhaps if you used inverted wingers and had a playmaker in the middle, it could be explained away to some extent. You have none of those. Even then, the biggest strength of the 442 is superiority on the flanks, why would you want to take that away?

Drop the extremely urgent pressing. The abundance of yellow cards shouldn't surprise you if you have that on. It will have even your full-backs press like madmen and I don't think a team like Watford can pull it off. I don't know Milla, but a player like Willems at FB is a recipe for disaster if he doesn't have ample cover.

That's just a few things. What I would do is watch closely why your strikers are a non-factor when the other team has the ball? Are they isolated because no one else comes up to help the press? You see, a mid-block like yours isn't the optimal setup to make your forwards the ball-hounds you want them to be. They will track back and engage but that will sacrice a lot of their attacking threat. In a mid-block, I prefer to release the strikers on an attack duty and let the others win the ball. If you want to press higher up the pitch in numbers, you have to raise the LOE. Most importantly, watch where you win the ball and what happens immediately afterwards in your attacking transitions. Like I said, I don't see the infrastructure for direct attacks in your tactic and the balanced mentality doesn't help either. 

 

Thanks for your feedback, I’ll definitely implement some of it and hopefully it will improve. Just to explain my thinking the idea behind the narrow attack is because I’m going long a lot I know there will be turnover and second balls so I want players to be close together to challenge for it with the counter press.. Once we pick that up I want the winger/fullbacks to cross for the two strikers. That’s why I went BWM/B2B because I thought they’d win those loose balls from the forwards. That’s the idea anyway. I’ll drop the pressing for sure because it isn’t really working. The winger still collects wide a lot because of his role and the LB is set to stay wider and he collects in good positions, also yes the wide midfielder is told to play more risky balls, as is the B2B depending on who plays it, but I take your points and will use them to adapt the tactic. Thanks :)

Edited by Jack199999999
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In my opinion, 4-4-2 is the most ideally balanced system for a well rounded attack, due to its general superiority over the pitch. However, in my eyes at least, your 4-4-2 is quite one dimensional in that you only look to move the ball to your big men up top at 190mph.

So my greatest advice to you would be to calm down your TIs a bit in order to give your players more opportunities to express themselves on the pitch. Examples of this could be dropping pressing intensity a notch, stopping passing i to space and/or hittting early crosses all the time, only distributing quickly occasionally and so on. However, you know your players better than I do so I'd use your own discretion with this.

In my 4-4-2, which admittedly is less direct and more of a pass and move style of play, I find a more attacking central midfielder to be key in linking attack and defence. For example I've used both a CM-D/AP-A and a DLP-D/CM-A partnership to good effect. I combined this with an IWB on the attacking central midfielders side and a supportive winger a really good combination as it helped us to retain and recycle possession.

Hopefully some of this helps and if you don't understand anything I've said or want me to expand on anything then please feel free

Good luck

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11 minutes ago, OJ403 said:

In my opinion, 4-4-2 is the most ideally balanced system for a well rounded attack, due to its general superiority over the pitch. However, in my eyes at least, your 4-4-2 is quite one dimensional in that you only look to move the ball to your big men up top at 190mph.

So my greatest advice to you would be to calm down your TIs a bit in order to give your players more opportunities to express themselves on the pitch. Examples of this could be dropping pressing intensity a notch, stopping passing i to space and/or hittting early crosses all the time, only distributing quickly occasionally and so on. However, you know your players better than I do so I'd use your own discretion with this.

In my 4-4-2, which admittedly is less direct and more of a pass and move style of play, I find a more attacking central midfielder to be key in linking attack and defence. For example I've used both a CM-D/AP-A and a DLP-D/CM-A partnership to good effect. I combined this with an IWB on the attacking central midfielders side and a supportive winger a really good combination as it helped us to retain and recycle possession.

Hopefully some of this helps and if you don't understand anything I've said or want me to expand on anything then please feel free

Good luck

Thanks for the reply I totally get what you’re saying. I’ve lowered the tempo to standard and pressing intensity to more urgent now too and we’re getting better control of games so that was good advice. I might try those roles out at some point too. Between Celik, Doucoure and Deulofeu I can probably find something similar because Celik is a good passer and Doucoure loves to get forward. Thanks again :) 

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37 minutes ago, Jack199999999 said:

Thanks for the reply I totally get what you’re saying. I’ve lowered the tempo to standard and pressing intensity to more urgent now too and we’re getting better control of games so that was good advice. I might try those roles out at some point too. Between Celik, Doucoure and Deulofeu I can probably find something similar because Celik is a good passer and Doucoure loves to get forward. Thanks again :) 

Very welcome mate

I'm glad to here the tweaks seem to be working, if anything the best advice I could give to anyone on the forums is to be a little less gung-ho with all styles of play.

From my knowledge I'd agree that Doucoure and Deulofeu would suit such a partnership, but I have no knowledge of Çelik so I'll have to take your word for it. I also value mental attributes for an IWB, in particular those you'd consider for a normal full back and those you'd want from a holding midfielder.

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What you want from your players is one thing. What they are actually capable of is a different pair of shoes. In other words, if these 2 factors are not in harmony, then no tactic can work (except for plug'n'play/exploit ones, but that's something completely different).

If you are confident that a team like Watford is good enough to play with extremely urgent pressing on a high D-line (plus counter-press), then okay :onmehead:

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On 05/08/2020 at 21:33, Enzo_Francescoli said:

 

 

11 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

What you want from your players is one thing. What they are actually capable of is a different pair of shoes. In other words, if these 2 factors are not in harmony, then no tactic can work (except for plug'n'play/exploit ones, but that's something completely different).

If you are confident that a team like Watford is good enough to play with extremely urgent pressing on a high D-line (plus counter-press), then okay :onmehead:

I suppose if I was to compare it to a real life team it would be Southampton since they switched formation to the back 4. Perhaps I’ve overestimated how ambitious they are. 

Edited by Jack199999999
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If you want to play direct football with balls over the top you need few things to begin with:

  • need to invite pressure so opponent has as few players back as possible (lower lines of engagement and pressure points, come back instead of counter press, lower pressing intensity)
  • need to have players in position up front who can take the ball and have the ability to do something with it (Delofeu would be prime player for this, roles: AF, Poacher, CF-A; roles are not for Delofeu but for types of strikers you would wanna have)
  • need to have players in the back who will punt the ball forward (SK-A, NBD, BPD, DLP etc)
  • need to have proper instructions for it
    • short kicks lowers the tempo and is counterproductive to distribute quickly for starters
  • need to still have a positive mentality to have that quick, snappy transition

 

Hopefully this makes sense.

You will lose battle in the midfield and will have less possession.

Other thing is if this would work in FM. Cannot invite pressure and play direct all the time. As you get better players you can press more and more as opponents will not be as adventorous as they are now when you are bottom tier team.

 

Gegenpressing when you are not even middle tier team is not something I'd encourage. Sure, hoofball might be ugly but it's not a bad start.

 

Hopefully other, more experienced and more vocal guys can say if I'm wrong or right.

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7 hours ago, rosque said:

If you want to play direct football with balls over the top you need few things to begin with:

  • need to invite pressure so opponent has as few players back as possible (lower lines of engagement and pressure points, come back instead of counter press, lower pressing intensity)
  • need to have players in position up front who can take the ball and have the ability to do something with it (Delofeu would be prime player for this, roles: AF, Poacher, CF-A; roles are not for Delofeu but for types of strikers you would wanna have)
  • need to have players in the back who will punt the ball forward (SK-A, NBD, BPD, DLP etc)
  • need to have proper instructions for it
    • short kicks lowers the tempo and is counterproductive to distribute quickly for starters
  • need to still have a positive mentality to have that quick, snappy transition

 

Hopefully this makes sense.

You will lose battle in the midfield and will have less possession.

Other thing is if this would work in FM. Cannot invite pressure and play direct all the time. As you get better players you can press more and more as opponents will not be as adventorous as they are now when you are bottom tier team.

 

Gegenpressing when you are not even middle tier team is not something I'd encourage. Sure, hoofball might be ugly but it's not a bad start.

 

Hopefully other, more experienced and more vocal guys can say if I'm wrong or right.

Hey thanks for you advice. I liked your point of pressure points and the idea was to stay narrow and then press them on the flanks but I guess having Deulofeu/Willems there makes it tricky on my part. Very useful though thank you.

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