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Fast attack style and the attacking mentality


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Apologies in advance if I have no idea what I am talking about. I believe that the best way to learn is to ask questions and be corrected. I've spent about 500 hours tinkering with one of the tactics @Experienced Defender suggested with great success. Since I always play Man Utd, right when I hit a good patch of form, teams start lining up defensively against me which I don't really have an issue with since I run a possession-based tactics that relies on overloading to the right before releasing Rashford or Martial on the left. 

However, I am kinda tired of doing possession based tactics since I feel that I have a good grip over it. What I want to do is implement a fast attacking style that employs the attacking mentality. If I understand correctly, fast attacks mean that the team plays to catch the defense off guard through quick transitions ala Fergie's United, Leeds right now under Bielsa (using the Aston Villa match as reference), Bayern under Flick, etc. Please correct me if I am mixing up the terminology here or point me to the right guide that explains it all. 

Usually if I use a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-1-4-1 DM Wide formation, what happens is that the striker ends up isolated between two or three CBs and/or a DM, forcing my attackers to either dribble straight at the keeper or move into the channels to hold up the ball until support arrives. 

[Please disregard the lineups below, they change according to opposition weaknesses]

4-3-3.png.cbb1e5a596a582ecfe51a0fdff43de73.png

I sometimes switch up the RB's role depending on how my midfield needs support. 

 

4-3-3.png.cfa4b76b92cf97c896af612cf9ed7c33.png

I just slap on this 4-2-3-1 whenever I see the opposition with a 4-1-4-1 DM Wide


It's just that I can never go above Positive mentality in my possession systems. Even on lower tempo and shorter passing, I get like 5-10 long shots a game with my attacking becoming vertically compressed in the opposition's half. A lot of speculative balls also go to my IF-A who finds himself close between the RB and RCB with a midfielder over his shoulder so he can rarely get the touch that takes him away from the defenders. Solo scoring strikers [AFa, Poacher, PFa] get isolated as well even though I thought the IF-A would mean there are two up top. 

 

In a nutshell, I have a lot of pace to burn but no space to run. 

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3 hours ago, TehGoatLord said:

In a nutshell, I have a lot of pace to burn but no space to run. 

this is normal against defensive opponents, the first formation the roles isn't 2 bad but definitely could improve the second formation i can see a few problems and i would recommend looking at this thread will help you a lot 

even in attacking systems you still need the right balance up front i would recommend you swapping either your inside forward to support or your striker to support to offer more support, but be aware if you do swap your inside forward to support i wouldn't use DLF as a striker

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1st tactic looks fine to me, I haven't played with that formation much in FM20 but it's very similar to a tactic I used in FM19 until I got bored of it 

2nd tactic, I've used a 4-2-3-1 in FM20 almost exclusively. I don't play with an attacking role on either fullback, the WB(S) is about the most adventurous role I use, so watch if you're conceding via the right flank & think about changing the FB to Support

The DLF & AMC both on Attack can work, a DLF & IF on attack can work but all 3 is a bit much so experiment with changing at least one of them to Support

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7 hours ago, TehGoatLord said:

If I understand correctly, fast attacks mean that the team plays to catch the defense off guard through quick transitions

That's a counter-attacking style. Fast attacking styles also rely on fast transitions and do involve counter-attacks as an additional tactical weapon, but are more aggressive and looking to play on the front foot. Probably the best real-life example of fast attacking football today is Liverpool under Klopp. 

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8 hours ago, TehGoatLord said:

It's just that I can never go above Positive mentality in my possession systems. Even on lower tempo and shorter passing, I get like 5-10 long shots a game with my attacking becoming vertically compressed in the opposition's half. A lot of speculative balls also go to my IF-A who finds himself close between the RB and RCB with a midfielder over his shoulder so he can rarely get the touch that takes him away from the defenders. Solo scoring strikers [AFa, Poacher, PFa] get isolated as well even though I thought the IF-A would mean there are two up top. 

I think this is because on one hand your saying "take lots of risks" but then slowing down the attacks with lower tempo and/or shorter passing.  Due to the slower transitions they then get to final third and opponent is back and organized so they'll take what opportunities they see.   Considering Rashford/Martial/Chiesa etc's lack of vision its likely to be straight forward run+cross/shoot.  Whilst Fernandes has much better creative attributes he has Shoots From Distance trait so that will also contribute to long shots.  Remember to take into account direct free kicks count as long shots so 5-10 might not actually be too bad considering Fernandes + Free Kicks, unless you've already discounted them.

I would suggest doing 2 things initially:

  1. looking at deeper players who are able to play more direct and/or through balls so transitions are quicker, regardless of the mentality.  You could add PI if specific players or TI if confident in the team to do it, with say Wan B given Less Risky Passes so TI doesn't affect him.  For example the FB's don't need to have playmaker levels of passing and vision to be able to play a through ball down the line for the wide forwards but need some ability to not mess it up.
  2. adjust your defensive instructions to allow opponents to come out of there third so when you get the ball theres space for a fast transition.  the team mentality will affect these instructions so keep that in mind.
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A relatively simple change to your first tactic, that will make it more attacking, is changing the DM role into a non-playmaker role. Playmaker roles attract the ball, so having one in your DM strata increases the likelihood that your team will go back to him when he is a decent option, even if there are other similar options ahead. And, if the options ahead require riskier decision making, that'll increase the likelihood they'll just go back to the playmaker.

So, either play without a designated playmaker - leave it to your players to decide who is the best option at any time - or move your designated playmaker up the field, so that the playmaker's attraction is at least higher up the pitch.

I figured this out with my Arsenal save in trying to move to a more attacking system, and I also use a 4-1-4-1DM wide. I generally play with just a DM (usually d, sometimes support) in the #6 slot. He still recycles possession and finds important passes when necessary, and regularly gets high ratings, but doesn't suck up the ball. I now have an AP on attack as one of the #8's, but since he is often receiving the ball quite high up the pitch (often within 10 yards of the top of the penalty area) it really helps with the attacking impetus. Interestingly, I found that my best player in that position toward the end of the season (Granit Xhaka) had the PPM to 'drop deep for the ball', which I saw him do, and I think that also really helped with moving the ball up and down the field. I had mostly planned for Donny van de Beek to have that role, with his more attacking impetus ("gets into opposition area", etc) and he is fine, but so far not as good (although he isn't as integrated into the team, only had 1/2 a season)

2 other things, only one of which really applies to you: I found that not discouraging dribbling really helped my team. It freed Pepe, in particular, to just be world class (19/10 g/a in premier league, but with a late start for finding how to get him working) and really helped me be more interesting in the attack. I notice you don't currently use 'dribble less', so you are good on that front, but given how often I see people add the 'dribble less' PI to their team and then complain of a lack of attacking intent, thought I'd mention it.

The other thing is the 'shorter passing'. I do sometimes use that (or 'slightly lower tempo', rarely both), but I generally do not. I still tend to have a lot of possession (60%) in most games without any of the TIs commonly associated with possession game (nor the PIs). But, sometimes if I want to take more control, that is when I enable one of those TIs. But, point is, my attacking impetus is so much better without any of that.

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3 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

That's a counter-attacking style. Fast attacking styles also rely on fast transitions and do involve counter-attacks as an additional tactical weapon, but are more aggressive and looking to play on the front foot. Probably the best real-life example of fast attacking football today is Liverpool under Klopp. 

So it's more like finding a path to goal with the fewest passes, right? What Liverpool does is look for a quick transition and if they don't find it, they pass it to the fullbacks to cross. So I assume I'd need a Plan B if my attack breaks down. 

 

31 minutes ago, Boydo said:

Out of curiosity, what is the possession tactic that you became bored of? 

The 4-1-4-1 DM Wide one

 

 

Lots of suggestions in the thread! I will try them out and post here again if I have more questions. Thank you everyone for the input. Lotsa good insights to play around with. 

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20 minutes ago, TehGoatLord said:

So it's more like finding a path to goal with the fewest passes, right?

Not quite, because that actually would be the so-called "hoofball". So not the fewest passes possible, but definitely fewer - and more quickly exchanged - than in possession-based styles.

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I shifted to an attacking mentality with a lower block

image.png.22b29eaa135da4ac17bf73818e5b6951.png

This one has been working great for three matches.

 

In the same vein, I was thinking of something like this

image.png.79f1c8e77fab55fa24aa5f9dfdf7327d.png

Suggestions on this 4-1-2-3 would be great while I test it out. 

Edited by TehGoatLord
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15 hours ago, TehGoatLord said:

However, I am outnumbered on the transitions almost always

 

image.png.78f33135ad5d40f93e0ada9eba6b4f0c.png

TBF, you're ManU playing a low block and if that opponent there is Norwich then it makes sense. No lesser side wants to get smashed 5-0. You cannot draw out teams that are determined not to come out. They'll hope Puki and Cantwell can make something happen, while keeping the back 4 and 2 holding MFs back.

You don't need to go banzai against them, but hoping you'll get past them on the break isn't going to happen, you may need some quality patient possession to break them down... or go banzai ;-)

Edited by CaptCanuck
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If you want fast transitions you'll be looking for two key components: tall vertical shape (ie structured) and direct play

I am finding a lot of joy with my current tactic by using 2 attack duties up top, one moving into channels, the other staying central, while being careful not to place full backs on support duties and midfielders having a mixture of duties that appropriately deal with play at both ends of the pitch. And if you think about that and the old Structured shape description, that makes sense. Defenders defend, midfielders transition and divide attack and defence according to their roles, and attack attacks - and that makes vertical space. Shape still works like that, I think, but it's defined by your duties and overall mentality.

Of particular import to take advantage of these transitions is pace, acceleration, off the ball and anticipation. You want to exploit space in behind quickly so you need players to read the game well, move better than the opposition can mark/position against and move very fast.

Take a look at this for some inspiration. Not perfect in terms of roles (2 playmakers, debateable AP vs Trequartista vs AM(A), DLP(D) could be CM(D) or DLP(S)) but duties are definitely viable for fast transitions and great penetration. Underlaps are also debateable (hold up ball slows attacks) but work for me. Since you'd use it against defensive teams, you still get good ball possession despite the shortage of support duties.

20201107083200_1.jpg

Edited by Domus Clamantium
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On 06/11/2020 at 06:28, TehGoatLord said:

However, I am outnumbered on the transitions almost always

 

image.png.78f33135ad5d40f93e0ada9eba6b4f0c.png

Your setup is more a possession 4141 than a fast attacking 433 due to both wide forwards dropping plus a DM. The only player told to try risk passes often is the IF-Su and Rashford isn't good at that.  The front 3 are the only ones told to dribble often, so there's really no penetration until the front 3 get it.  A CM won't make forward runs whilst the ball is that deep, so your only runner is the ST, although one ball could take out the whole of there defence.  Put that all together its quite a safe setup of roles+duties even though your on a risk mentality.

Attacking mentality will make players take more risks, but won't make them suddenly all bomb forward and play risk passes often or dribble often.  The roles & duties are the main thing that creates the style, its just lacking a few possession PI's to be a possession system but you want a fast attacking style...

Your 442 isn't as deep a formation as 4141 DM Wide due to the front two combining with each other.  Martinez is dropping to link and is good enough to play through balls for his partner.

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On 06/11/2020 at 01:05, TehGoatLord said:

I shifted to an attacking mentality with a lower block

image.png.22b29eaa135da4ac17bf73818e5b6951.png

This one has been working great for three matches.

 

In the same vein, I was thinking of something like this

image.png.79f1c8e77fab55fa24aa5f9dfdf7327d.png

Suggestions on this 4-1-2-3 would be great while I test it out. 

So, I am currently playing a similar system to your 4-3-3 in my Arsenal save. It started as more possession oriented, and so looked similar to what you currently have, but I am also trying to make it more fast attacking (with possession as the "plan B" in a sense). So, here are some of the other changes I made (other than making the DM just a DM rather than DLP to move the ball more quickly):

  • The IF on attack, rather than support. For me, the striker is a complete forward on support to counterbalance (as I understand it, generally speaking an IF on attack does not play well with a striker on attack, although perhaps some striker roles on attack may work). While, I suppose, all that does is change who is going to push the line, I have found that a CF on support will still try to get past the defense on the transition (and I'm using Lacazette there so it isn't really due to his PPMs) but with the IF on attack, he will be more advanced to help the striker out or push the line himself
  • My CM(a) has PIs to take more risks, which helps both in transition but also when we are pinning the opposition back and need to break through. My main player there (van de Beek - stole him from you guys!) has PPMs to get into the opposition area and some others that are very offensively minded, so that may be relevant, too in terms of figuring out how involved he'll be
  • Although I keep tweaking it, so am not sure if it'll stay this way, I have my FB on the right on attack duty, or at least with PIs attached to a support duty that get him more involved in the attack quickly. For me, the right wing is inverted, so that is why it works for me - but you could still do something similar but have the FB stay narrower, etc. so that he is more focused on underlapping rather than overlapping

I am still trying to crack this ME (just picked the game up a bit ago when it was free from Epic Games and had not played FM since 2017 before) so don't take what I say with too much authority, but some ideas

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To add to my previous comment - if you want fast transitions, then you need multiple players making runs into space. Just one player isn't necessarily enough, since he can be crowded out. That is why (I think) others have been recommending more attacking mentalities (or at least one reason).

I said I have the IF on attack but the other 2 forwards on support, however my CF seems to still push the line (so is there for transitions) and my most common right winger has 'tries to beat the offside trap' PPM. So, I think given all that, I effectively have 3 attack duties without labeling them.

But, if you want to do something similar without the PIs, then I think I recall others saying that you can play an Inverted Winter and striker both on attack duties (whereas the inside forward and striker both on attack supposedly creates issues). I have not really tried this myself, but that may be an option for you - change the IF to an IW, put on attack, but keep the striker on attack as well

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13 hours ago, ozilthegunner said:

To add to my previous comment - if you want fast transitions, then you need multiple players making runs into space. Just one player isn't necessarily enough, since he can be crowded out. That is why (I think) others have been recommending more attacking mentalities (or at least one reason).

I said I have the IF on attack but the other 2 forwards on support, however my CF seems to still push the line (so is there for transitions) and my most common right winger has 'tries to beat the offside trap' PPM. So, I think given all that, I effectively have 3 attack duties without labeling them.

But, if you want to do something similar without the PIs, then I think I recall others saying that you can play an Inverted Winter and striker both on attack duties (whereas the inside forward and striker both on attack supposedly creates issues). I have not really tried this myself, but that may be an option for you - change the IF to an IW, put on attack, but keep the striker on attack as well

I have at best Lautaro to play the support striker role but I don't know how good he will be as a CF since it takes some aerial prowess to play. Doesn't hurt to try, I guess. 

 

image.png.beaf7bea9d3b6591fec8726ddc2adade.png

This is what I lucked out on trying to tinker around with the settings. My primary play being a wide ball to Chiesa who either dribbles and crosses or passes to the mez who either shoots or crosses. Shooting more often than not so I might actually see if a Carrilero is a better option out there. The striker stays focused on the right channel which creates the overload for Chiesa to move into. Once the defense shifts to the right, Rashford is 1v1 at the far post. This has become my bread and butter the last 4 matches. However, I am struggling a bit with through balls behind my defense so I might drop the line. 

 

image.png

Edited by TehGoatLord
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1 hour ago, TehGoatLord said:

However, I am struggling a bit with through balls behind my defense so I might drop the line

Perhaps dropping the mentality (to positive instead of attacking) would be a better idea, because the team mentality also affects the (relative) position of D-line. If you only drop the D-line, you will compromise vertical compactness of your defense, which is likely to create other sorts of issues, especially as you play in the top-heavy formation such as 4231.

Plus, keep in mind that defensive issues can be caused by attacking elements of a tactic. For example, you use a mezzala in the 4231 (which can work sometimes and for some teams, but is generally not recommendable) as well as the work ball into box TI (which is also potentially risky, as it can lead to your players losing the ball at an unfavorable moment and thus allow the opposition to immediately launch a quick ball over the top when your defense is unprepared to deal with it). 

Last but not least, making constant changes to your tactic - and in your case even the entire formations - is another thing you should look to avoid, because your players are never going to settle into it, which can confuse them tactically and thus adversely affect their performances.

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On 09/11/2020 at 02:36, TehGoatLord said:

I have at best Lautaro to play the support striker role but I don't know how good he will be as a CF since it takes some aerial prowess to play. Doesn't hurt to try, I guess. 

 

image.png.beaf7bea9d3b6591fec8726ddc2adade.png

This is what I lucked out on trying to tinker around with the settings. My primary play being a wide ball to Chiesa who either dribbles and crosses or passes to the mez who either shoots or crosses. Shooting more often than not so I might actually see if a Carrilero is a better option out there. The striker stays focused on the right channel which creates the overload for Chiesa to move into. Once the defense shifts to the right, Rashford is 1v1 at the far post. This has become my bread and butter the last 4 matches. However, I am struggling a bit with through balls behind my defense so I might drop the line. 

 

image.png

Yeah, I'd take off 'work ball into box'. I use that sometimes, but never start with it... It cuts against the fast attack style you want. If you are doing it because you are only getting long range shots, etc. then the better option is to up the mentality and/or widen your attack.

For me, and this doesn't always work but often does, if I find it hard to break down a low block or some such then I make my attack very wide (I use wide by default) and increase the tempo. Now the ball will get pinged around a lot quicker, potentially pulling defenders out of position.

I also think your winger on attack may be a bit problematic - He'll want to pick up the ball and run as fast as he can to the byline for a cross... I'd be worried that Rashford is too close to him to properly get on the end. Perhaps not, maybe he winds up at the near post a lot and it works, but given the asymmetric element that is one thing to consider

Finally, I agree with @Experienced Defender: I, too, was bouncing around different tactics for a bit and none quite worked but I just kept tinkering. Once I settled on a formation and general style as represented by the (nearly) constant TIs and player roles, things were much better. I still tweak a role here or there for a specific game, and of course alter the TIs during the game, but I get a lot more consistency now that my players understand our main tactical approach

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On 07/11/2020 at 08:18, Domus Clamantium said:

If you want fast transitions you'll be looking for two key components: tall vertical shape (ie structured) and direct play

I am finding a lot of joy with my current tactic by using 2 attack duties up top, one moving into channels, the other staying central, while being careful not to place full backs on support duties and midfielders having a mixture of duties that appropriately deal with play at both ends of the pitch. And if you think about that and the old Structured shape description, that makes sense. Defenders defend, midfielders transition and divide attack and defence according to their roles, and attack attacks - and that makes vertical space. Shape still works like that, I think, but it's defined by your duties and overall mentality.

Of particular import to take advantage of these transitions is pace, acceleration, off the ball and anticipation. You want to exploit space in behind quickly so you need players to read the game well, move better than the opposition can mark/position against and move very fast.

I like your post.  Just a slight cautionary note about getting stretched between the lines.  At some point you may want to consider an out and out defensive midfielder in your own line-up to guard against a big gap.:thup:

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On 16/11/2020 at 13:27, Robson 07 said:

I like your post.  Just a slight cautionary note about getting stretched between the lines.  At some point you may want to consider an out and out defensive midfielder in your own line-up to guard against a big gap.:thup:

Yep Anchor Man helps a lot.

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