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Structured Counter Attacking Help

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Hi all, 

I'm just wondering whether anyone knows of any guides/tips to playing a Leicester City type counter attack game (like against Leeds) - soaking up all the pressure and hitting on the counter attack with pacey forward players? 

I have tried Gegenpressing with my Preston team in FM21 and it was going swimmingly (8 points clear of 3rd) up until I realised in about mid-January my team were getting incredibly tired and I was having numerous injuries (we ended up 4th and going out of the play-offs with a whimper!). I am therefore looking for a new way to set my team up for the new season and the above seemed logical considering I have big centre backs to deal with the crosses coming in (if I cut off the opposition supply line and force them out wide). 

Any help would be appreciated!

I should add I'm open on a formation - ideally with wingers but I understand that may not be possible if I'm going to play narrow. 


Edited by LJH23
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3 hours ago, LJH23 said:

I should add I'm open on a formation - ideally with wingers but I understand that may not be possible if I'm going to play narrow

To "play narrow" in the sense of a narrow formation or in terms of attacking width team instruction? 

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Generally if you want to play a counter attacking game you have to consider several elements:

1. LOE will set up where your team does most of its pressing. So when we want to set up a counter attacking system we are looking to draw teams into areas where we want them to lose the ball. So a counter attacking system will generally play with a deep block.


This is a deep block with a strategy. I am setting up my team to force the opposition wide. I want them to play to my strengths, which are two defenders sitting deep.  I used this set up with Barrow so I won't revisit how I decided to set the team up, that was done here.

My goal was simple: make the opposition play down the flanks. My team tackles hard within the block and I use OIs to tight mark any lone forward or furthest placed forward in a 2 man strike formation. I also ensure that all opposition wingbacks are pressed using OIs. Reason for the last instruction - generally when fullbacks enter your third we could have issues.

When I win the ball back, my approach play is simple. I have an overlap down one flank, I use direct passing and pass into space while playing wide to encourage my players to use the width. When i play defensively narrow, I draw opposition teams there, when they lose the ball, that's where i want to start my attacks from.

Sometimes I even focus play down the right flank, move the TM to the right and the PF(A) to the left to create chances for the PF(A) to arrive unmarked near the far post as a result of us overloading play down the right flank.


This is one of my few formations that plays on counter mentality. My barrow side are not very good, and while I can opt to take more risks, we are at a part in the season where I want to avoid losing rather than go all out winning. So being more calculative with how we use the ball is preferential. And the way I have designed the system allows me to counter attack when AI generated counters develop, and they develop quite frequently.


Generally when you want to create a counterattacking system, and this is one of those rare times you will hear me say it - I use team fluidity very quickly to tell me what the rough shape of my system is. I use the terminology, then go check to see if the correct attack duties are on the pitch. The duties I want to see be more attacking in orientation are the 2 strikers and the wingback. 

The reason why my WB is counter? 2DMs are already a conservative, I can afford to unleash a player down one flank to give me options. 

I also like to use target men in counter attacking systems because they are a natural magnet for a lot of attacks that i wish to set up. There is a "cross aim target man" option for us to use in the game.



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