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Understanding Tempo and Passing Directness


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I feel like I struggle to set these two instructions correctly.

It's easier to see the impact of shorter vs direct passing - obviously with shorter, there's a lot of short passing, but then I'll see one of my players suddenly hoof it over the top of the defenders for my attackers. Does shorter passing make them more likely to play the shorter pass, but they'll still consider all options?

I struggle even more with Tempo and its effect in the match engine. Is this basically just how long the players pause once they receive the ball to assess their option? Does that mean higher tempo will lead to more misplayed passes and giveaways, but also potential to create more chances? I'd prefer to play a very high tempo style (because the team I'm playing as now play that way in real life, and I've had pretty good success with my other tactic playing that way), but maybe I don't have a good understanding of what attributes and what kind of players go well with a high tempo style. Am I mostly looking for Anticipation and Off the Ball? I do have a lot of players with the "Plays One-Twos" trait.

image.thumb.png.9384c3955ee7a2894f57b037ea88f99c.png

Same for roles - I'm not sure if I'm not using Advanced Playmakers right, but they've generally performed poorly in my tactics, so I switched the role to just a CM-A with "Dribble More". DLPs do a little better, but I still tend to stick to just DM or BWM for my defensive-minded player (I drop it to Defend duty vs good teams) and B2B for my support player. I have no idea what the right forward role for this tactic is - I've tried PF-A, CF-A, and AF-A, and not really loved any of them.

The whole tactic just doesn't seem to do much. What often happens is my players will pass it around a bunch, and then one of my wide players (often wing backs, sometimes wingers) will try to dribble someone and lose the ball. We have a hard time getting my attackers in good positions to run at people, and when we do, we'll put in a cross that one of my players will head at the goalie from 15 yards out. When the tactic works, it's often my wide players getting the ball way up the field and working it into the box (I turn that on more games than not, it seems to help), or we get people in the box and the ball bounces around a bit and we blast one in. We're excellent at winning second balls. But more games than not, we struggle to create scoring chances and a lot of games end 0-0, or I'll switch to a more aggressive tactic to chase a goal. But turning up to Positive or Attacking doesn't seem to help this one.

Ideally I'd like the tactic to start on Balanced so I have room to adjust it as needed in-game, and I'd like to play with 3 CMs (and no AM) because I have a nice pipeline of CM youngsters I'd like to integrate.

Edited by tigerking
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I'm thinking a bit more about how I want my team to play - I want to win the ball back as quickly as possible (and we have the work rate to do it) and bring the ball up the field quickly. I don't care if it's my wing backs or my CMs shuttling the ball, but once we get into the final third, I want a lot of movement and quick passing to try to open up the defense. My non-attacking mids are all very hard working but average technically, so most of the creativity and playmaking needs to come from my wingers and my CM-A.

Edited by tigerking
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I think you've answered some of your own questions in your original post, or perhaps more accurately you've detailed what you want to do but also why it doesn't work.

For example, you want to "win the ball back as quickly as possible and bring the ball up the field quickly" but your setup aims to win the ball high up the pitch....so you probably can't do both (because chances are you're already up the field when you win it).

That might also be what your striker issue is as well...

For example, is the aim that he runs onto through balls, or is he there to link the midfield with the attack? If you're pressing high and winning the ball quickly, you probably have the opposition pushed deep meaning you're AF doesn't have much space to run onto through balls.

Usually the key is to confirm what would you like the striker to do / how would you like him to act / how are you going to feed him and then act from there.

Have you tried a Mezzala for the CM(A) position? He will drift wide left and dovetail/interact with your IF(A) and your WB and cause overloads on that side.

 

Edited by Bruce Drundrige
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Hmm, good point. I guess the goal is to win it when we can, but I've noticed that my pressing with this tactic is way more disjointed than with the 4-2-4 I play. I would like the striker to run in behind the defense, but you're right there's probably not enough space to do that here. Maybe I could drop the line of engagement and press very hard in a mid block.

I've tried a Mezzala there before, but the problem I found is that I had too many guys wide and not enough central. But I actually do have a couple players who can play that role pretty well, so I'll give that another go.

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Pressing works where you have the numbers to do it. When you played 4-2-4 you had 4 players upfront pressing, with a much higher line of engagement, it's expected to work better than when you play a 4-3-3 (4-1-2-3).

About your doubts. There might be more experienced players who can help you more than I do, still:

- Passing Directness: exactly what you said. You tell your team to pass shorter, the average passing distance will drop, but they won't stop making long passes (whether if it's the best option, they have the PPM or the PI - for instance, you are playing a BPD, so he'll look to play long; or even if they have low composure - when pressured, they hoof the ball).

- Tempo: it's not exactly this, but think of how many touches your players take before passing/shooting/dribbling. Low tempo: they'll take their time on the ball; high tempo 1/2 touches and they pass it. High tempo will displace their team but also yours, so you must be prepared to follow on that.

 

About your tactic:

- Don't know if extremely high tempo and balanced go well together. Balanced you want to see what the game will give you, EHT you are sprinting to score...

- Play out and Distribute to Centre-Backs is often not needed. One of them is enough. If you don't mind your CBs playing it long, then keep the distribution and remove the play out TI; if you want to build from the back remove the distribution TI.

- Also your out of possession TIs seem overly aggressive for a Balanced mentality.

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The playmakers don't work in your tactic because you use the high tempo. Playmakers are normally used on a team that aims to control possession. They attract the ball and slow down the game, they don't play one, two touches and they take their time.

Edited by Bot Makel
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13 hours ago, tigerking said:

obviously with shorter, there's a lot of short passing, but then I'll see one of my players suddenly hoof it over the top of the defenders for my attackers

I would guess that one is (usually) your BPD. Am I right? 

Because BPD is a role that is hard-coded to take more passing risks. Any role that has the "Take more risks" PI will occasionally play those adventurous passes, no matter what passing length you've set. 

Another factor that affects passing directness along with the propensity for risk is the mentality. 

Tempo affects the urgency with which your players will move the ball around. It also ties in directly with your passing style/directness. Therefore, every time you increase the passing length, you automatically increase the tempo a bit (even if you haven't touch the tempo instruction at all). 

VERY IMPORTANT: Your team mentality affects all instructions including both passing and tempo, so keep that in mind as well. For example, a short passing/higher tempo combination under the attacking team mentality is different from the same combination under a lower mentality. 

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13 hours ago, tigerking said:

I want to win the ball back as quickly as possible (and we have the work rate to do it)

Work rate is okay, but what about other relevant attributes (stamina, tackling, speed, aggression, determination, bravery, teamwork etc.)? 

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4 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Work rate is okay, but what about other relevant attributes (stamina, tackling, speed, aggression, determination, bravery, teamwork etc.)? 

Pretty good in general for my attacking players, and very strong for my DM/B2B. My players aren't having individual defensive problems; sometimes they seem to just chase the ball between the other team's CBs and fullbacks a lot, but as others have pointed out I think I'm pressing too high without supporting it enough, so I'm going to drop the LoE back.

Offensively (and specifically chance creation) is where I have the biggest issues, though if my wing players are giving the ball away too much trying to dribble people I wonder if it'd make sense to set overlap on both sides. But it also still feels I've never got my attacking CM or my striker role right.

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4 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

I would guess that one is (usually) your BPD. Am I right? 

Because BPD is a role that is hard-coded to take more passing risks. Any role that has the "Take more risks" PI will occasionally play those adventurous passes, no matter what passing length you've set. 

Surprisingly, it's often my 2 defensive minded midfielders too. I've noticed that BWMs tend to hit some of the best key passes, I'd guess because they generally don't go for them much so when they do it's because the pass is available.

My BPDs are both excellent players (both top-5 players on my team), and they play well in most games. We tend to do really well against teams that press high with 1 striker; however, we have lots of issues against Gegenpressing teams with 2 strikers (3-4-1-2 and 4-4-2 in particular).

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19 hours ago, tigerking said:

image.thumb.png.9384c3955ee7a2894f57b037ea88f99c.png

 

1 hour ago, tigerking said:

Surprisingly, it's often my 2 defensive minded midfielders too. I've noticed that BWMs tend to hit some of the best key passes

Wait a minute... are we talking about the tactic from the screenshot or some other? Because you have only one DM and no BWM. 

 

1 hour ago, tigerking said:

My BPDs are both excellent players (both top-5 players on my team), and they play well in most games

Who said that they are bad? 

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4 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Wait a minute... are we talking about the tactic from the screenshot or some other? Because you have only one DM and no BWM. 

Should have clarified; in the first post I said that I've played around with the DM being a DM-S, DM-D, BWM-D, and DLP-D. But I think of the B2B and the DM as primarily both hard-working defensive-minded players (though one needs to support the attack, or else I don't have enough numbers forward). Open to role suggestions though.

 

4 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Who said that they are bad? 

No one; I was just responding to your guess that it was the BPDs ignoring the short passing instructions and sending long balls over the top. I woulda guessed that would happen when making the tactic too, but they don't waste possession.

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9 hours ago, tigerking said:

Should have clarified; in the first post I said that I've played around with the DM being a DM-S, DM-D, BWM-D, and DLP-D. But I think of the B2B and the DM as primarily both hard-working defensive-minded players (though one needs to support the attack, or else I don't have enough numbers forward). Open to role suggestions though

While I personally would make some tweaks to your setup of roles and duties, I think some of your instructions look problematic as well. For example, what's your idea behind using the Pass into space instruction? Then why extremely high tempo and/or extreme pressing urgency? Your tactic looks as though you want to lose the ball as soon as you've won it and then asking your players to win possession back as quickly as possible, but only to give it away again immediately. And all the way like that.

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Regarding the random hoofballs, your team instructions are exactly that, instructions, wether you players play them out is up to them. Teamwork & tactical familiarity play into this, the higher they are the more likely they are to stick to team plan so I wouldn't worry about it too much so long as they're mostly doing what you want. Plus a bit of unpredictability can be a good thing   :D

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17 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Your tactic looks as though you want to lose the ball as soon as you've won it and then asking your players to win possession back as quickly as possible, but only to give it away again immediately. And all the way like that.

I don't mind giving possession away if we're being proactive and able to win the ball back quickly (which is largely what my other tactic does, but it gets enough guys pressing high up the field to do that which this one doesn't).

You make a lot of great points. I've dropped the tempo to standard, replaced "Pass Into Space" with "Work Ball Into Box" and overlap so we don't give the ball away as much, and switched the defensive setup to more of a mid-block which I actually have the numbers to implement. I also switched the B2B into an AP to get another more slightly attacking-minded player in the midfield, though I'm not sure about this one. If I'm having trouble scoring or teams are sitting back, I've been switching the RB to Attack and the DM to Support. Against a good team, I might replace a CM with a BWM-S. We're still building familiarity, but the early returns are promising.

Any recommended on the new tactic? I'm still not sure what the right ST and CM roles are.

image.png.26a8cfeb38c4e09360fd09b01fa010de.png

Edited by tigerking
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5 hours ago, tigerking said:

I don't mind giving possession away if we're being proactive and able to win the ball back quickly (which is largely what my other tactic does, but it gets enough guys pressing high up the field to do that which this one doesn't).

You make a lot of great points. I've dropped the tempo to standard, replaced "Pass Into Space" with "Work Ball Into Box" and overlap so we don't give the ball away as much, and switched the defensive setup to more of a mid-block which I actually have the numbers to implement. I also switched the B2B into an AP to get another more slightly attacking-minded player in the midfield, though I'm not sure about this one. If I'm having trouble scoring or teams are sitting back, I've been switching the RB to Attack and the DM to Support. Against a good team, I might replace a CM with a BWM-S. We're still building familiarity, but the early returns are promising.

Any recommended on the new tactic? I'm still not sure what the right ST and CM roles are.

image.png.26a8cfeb38c4e09360fd09b01fa010de.png

Not sure on other bits of the tactic but since your looking at the CM currently i'll just stick to that area.

I personally haven't had success with a MEZ plus a wide forward who cuts inside, they're just standing in the same areas too often or making a run into area the other is already.  With PF-At and IF-At the left channel is likely occupied so i'd rather have the MCL more central as CM-Su or BBM-Su.  Can always add PI if needed.

If pushing both WB higher then HB could be an option.

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6 hours ago, tigerking said:

image.png.26a8cfeb38c4e09360fd09b01fa010de.png

 

6 hours ago, tigerking said:

and switched the defensive setup to more of a mid-block

You use a lower LOE, so I am not sure I would call it a "mid-block". Mid block uses standard or sometimes even higher LOE, depending on the formation. 

 

6 hours ago, tigerking said:

Any recommended on the new tactic? I'm still not sure what the right ST and CM roles are

Have you tested that new tactic, to begin with? 

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6 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Have you tested that new tactic, to begin with? 

I have played a few games with it, and as I said above early results are promising. I think the biggest problem with the tactic before was that we couldn't score by counterattacking because there wasn't enough space to, and we couldn't score through possession because the tempo was high enough that we'd give away possession before the midfielders got forward.

I'm still having a bit of issues getting numbers into the box though; we often just give away the ball in wide trying to make a silly cross. Might try setting the width a little narrower.

7 hours ago, summatsupeer said:

I personally haven't had success with a MEZ plus a wide forward who cuts inside, they're just standing in the same areas too often or making a run into area the other is already.  With PF-At and IF-At the left channel is likely occupied so i'd rather have the MCL more central as CM-Su or BBM-Su.  Can always add PI if needed.

It was originally Mez-B2B, but I found that we weren't getting creating many chances with that because (as you suggest) the Mez was a little wider than I'd like. My intention was to use Mez-AP instead of B2B-AP was to clear out a little more space for the AP, but I haven't played around with B2B-AP that much. I'll give that a shot.

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4 hours ago, tigerking said:

I'm still having a bit of issues getting numbers into the box though; we often just give away the ball in wide trying to make a silly cross. Might try setting the width a little narrower

Here is what I would suggest for a start:

- remove both overlaps

- swap the sides of the AP and mezzala and switch the mezzala's duty to attack

- change the AML into winger on attack

Like this:

PFat

Wat                                  IWsu

APsu   MEZat

You can also change 1 of your BPDs into a standard CD. And do not insist on working the ball into the box.

There are possibly a couple more tweaks you can try, but better go step by step.

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4 hours ago, tigerking said:

I'm still having a bit of issues getting numbers into the box though

Keep in mind that an AP won't attack the box necessarily either, so with your DM being a BWM(D) sitting back, he won't come into the box unless its a PPM, and the AP won't necessarily get in there as well.

I'd suggest either putting a DLP as a holder, and a BWM(S) with "get further forward" ticked, that way he will join the BBM and get into the box AND your backline will be protected by the holding DLP.

Another option is to put an AP on the flanks, maybe Binda's role in your originally posted tactic.

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On 07/10/2020 at 12:26, Experienced Defender said:

While I personally would make some tweaks to your setup of roles and duties, I think some of your instructions look problematic as well. For example, what's your idea behind using the Pass into space instruction? Then why extremely high tempo and/or extreme pressing urgency? Your tactic looks as though you want to lose the ball as soon as you've won it and then asking your players to win possession back as quickly as possible, but only to give it away again immediately. And all the way like that.

 

If i was to give a few examples:

 

1) Counter attacking opportunities. You would set the line of engagement lower to stay compact, but play a HIGHER mentality and FASTER tempo, so you can explpit fast transitions with a striker who is going to run behind the opposition defence into space

 

2) Playing to a target man. In this example i would move the line of engagement closer to the opposition goal as the target man is less mobile, but rather than use a higher mentality and faster tempo, i would want the team to retain the ball long enough for players to get up in support of the target man, but THEN look for the direct ball into him. So whilst i might raise the passing directness, the tempo and the mentality would stay more balanced (probably on balance itself).

 

3) Playing possession football. In this example, i might set the lines higher as high press suits this style, but i would really LOWER the tempo and SHORTEN the passing to ensure that we are careful and methodical on the ball and use good off the ball movement open up the opposition. Also, by lowering the tempo and length of passing we play closer together, and are in a better position to win the ball back if we do lose it.

 

Do you think these would be a fair example of how you can link tempo, passing directness and mentality into different styles?

 

 

Edited by FMunderachiever
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13 hours ago, FMunderachiever said:

 

If i was to give a few examples:

 

1) Counter attacking opportunities. You would set the line of engagement lower to stay compact, but play a HIGHER mentality and FASTER tempo, so you can explpit fast transitions with a striker who is going to run behind the opposition defence into space

 

2) Playing to a target man. In this example i would move the line of engagement closer to the opposition goal as the target man is less mobile, but rather than use a higher mentality and faster tempo, i would want the team to retain the ball long enough for players to get up in support of the target man, but THEN look for the direct ball into him. So whilst i might raise the passing directness, the tempo and the mentality would stay more balanced (probably on balance itself).

 

3) Playing possession football. In this example, i might set the lines higher as high press suits this style, but i would really LOWER the tempo and SHORTEN the passing to ensure that we are careful and methodical on the ball and use good off the ball movement open up the opposition. Also, by lowering the tempo and length of passing we play closer together, and are in a better position to win the ball back if we do lose it.

 

Do you think these would be a fair example of how you can link tempo, passing directness and mentality into different styles?

 

 

Yeah, sounds reasonable to me :thup:

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On 08/10/2020 at 05:54, tigerking said:

 

You make a lot of great points. I've dropped the tempo to standard, replaced "Pass Into Space" with "Work Ball Into Box" and overlap so we don't give the ball away as much, and switched the defensive setup to more of a mid-block

 

Out of interest, why would you drop one TI and immediately replace it with a bunch of new ones? By doing that you have no way of working out what instructions are helping or hindering.
 

In my latest save I’ve actually just changed from a 4-1-4-1 DM wide with lots of TIs, to one with only 1 in possession instruction, using roles and duties to inform the play style and in game changes of mentality to affect risk management: I put 5 past Burnley, 4 past Brighton and was defensively solid against Arsenal without doing anything other than moving from Positive back through Balanced to Cautious.

Sometimes less is more, and changing one thing is all you need.

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