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Tactical advice for when leading


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Hi All,

Long time lurker, first time poster. I have created a tactic which I am currently enjoying in my Telford LLM save. In this save, I was aiming to try and dominate the lower leagues through heavy possession, ala Guardiola, as normally when I do LLM saves I go for the ol’ reliable direct 442/433 narrow. I surpassed my own expectations with this, averaging over 60% possession in the conference north, with 86% pass success, most goal, least conceded, most clean sheets and going undefeated in the league. 
 

All sounds good so far. Except for one thing. We have had a habit of going 2/3-0 up early in games, sometimes in the first half. Dominating all the statistics along the way, opponent couldn’t get a sniff. Then... the second half comes. Suddenly we are not getting shots off, whilst every long ball from my opponent seems to get them in on goal. The classic ‘FM’ moments. A few of my results ended say 3-2 or 3-3 with us clinging on. I tried several different shouts, praising seems to make my team complacent, whereas encourage and demand more caused a dramatic morale drop and hastened our mini collapse. 
 

Therefore I have come to terms with the fact that I need to create a tactical variant. Either something that allows me to be slightly more direct and take advantage of the space; or something where we become very compact and shut up shop. 
 

Basically, I need your advice. Does anyone have any tips for how to best change tactics when leading? 
 

I can provide screenshots of my current tactic if required! 

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That is a super intense tactic. You are crushing them early and then your LLM team can't maintain that level of intensity for a full 90. So once the long balls over the top come, your players are too tired. Just what I'm guessing but likely the case. 

Your going to have to lower that intensity or every game make subs for that tired back line. 

I'd probably only do that heavy pressing with high DL and LOE for like half of the first half, and the first 15 of the second. For the rest you can still counter press, but I would go standard for both lines and urgent but not extreme pressing. 

 

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, 04texag said:

That is a super intense tactic. You are crushing them early and then your LLM team can't maintain that level of intensity for a full 90. So once the long balls over the top come, your players are too tired. Just what I'm guessing but likely the case. 

Your going to have to lower that intensity or every game make subs for that tired back line. 

I'd probably only do that heavy pressing with high DL and LOE for like half of the first half, and the first 15 of the second. For the rest you can still counter press, but I would go standard for both lines and urgent but not extreme pressing. 

 

 

 

 

Thank you, that would make sense! Generally I do not find fitness to be an issue, except when the fixtures start piling up. 
 

I will try this and see if it helps. However, I’m kind of a ‘no let up’ kind of guy, is there a system where I can adjust to counter and keep scoring if possible? Often these teams leave obvious gaps my current system does not exploit later on in games when they are high 

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54 minutes ago, wicksy360 said:

is there a system where I can adjust to counter and keep scoring if possible?

I would do the following. Lower DL and LOE to Standard, to draw them out to play. Put tighter marking on. Then take off focus down both flanks and dribble less, and move passing to the middle standard setting, or maybe slightly more direct. I would change the AMR away from an AP and make him a winger on s or a. Take counter press off and leave counter.

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11 minutes ago, 04texag said:

I would do the following. Lower DL and LOE to Standard, to draw them out to play. Put tighter marking on. Then take off focus down both flanks and dribble less, and move passing to the middle standard setting, or maybe slightly more direct. I would change the AMR away from an AP and make him a winger on s or a. Take counter press off and leave counter.

Thanks mate. Will give it a go and feed back. 
 

On a slightly separate note, I’m noticing little output from my CM on A, was hoping he would be a late runner and pick up a few goals, or provide the AP with a through ball option. However he isn’t doing much. Is this likely due to my player not having a PPM like ‘get further forward’, or is he an obvious issue in my tactic? I feel like he should work better than he does

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4 minutes ago, wicksy360 said:

Thanks mate. Will give it a go and feed back. 
 

On a slightly separate note, I’m noticing little output from my CM on A, was hoping he would be a late runner and pick up a few goals, or provide the AP with a through ball option. However he isn’t doing much. Is this likely due to my player not having a PPM like ‘get further forward’, or is he an obvious issue in my tactic? I feel like he should work better than he does

He might be discourage from making those runs because of the play down the flanks, that instruction encourages him to support the AP more than to push forward.  You can maybe also try upping the team mentality to positive.

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3 hours ago, wicksy360 said:

Capture.PNG

- extremely aggressive out of possession (and needlessly so, especially the get stuck in TI coupled with so high lines of defense/engagement)

- the setup of roles and duties fairly unbalanced (especially the right side - the partnership of CMat and FBat)

- up front, IF on attack and AF are not an optimal combination (although this can vary depending on the style of play)

- a contradiction between in-possession TIs and the setup of roles and duties (instructions are very much possession-oriented - except for the focus play on the flanks - but roles and duties do not really support such style of play, particularly the already mentioned right side) 

3 hours ago, wicksy360 said:

Split block so close down more and tackle harder on front 5

Split block is certainly a good idea and IMHO always better option than increased team pressing urgency. However, it makes more sense and is more effective/better utilized with a better level of compactness (i.e. DL should be 1 notch higher than LOE - so I would recommend dropping the LOE to higher instead of much higher). 

 

3 hours ago, wicksy360 said:

CB - stay wider pass shorter

ST - Dribble less pass shorter

Why "stay wider" for the CB and why "dribble less" for the AF? (although I would not use the AF as a lone striker role in your tactic anyway).

As for the "pass shorter", your team passing is already set to shorter. 

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8 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

- extremely aggressive out of possession (and needlessly so, especially the get stuck in TI coupled with so high lines of defense/engagement)

- the setup of roles and duties fairly unbalanced (especially the right side - the partnership of CMat and FBat)

- up front, IF on attack and AF are not an optimal combination (although this can vary depending on the style of play)

- a contradiction between in-possession TIs and the setup of roles and duties (instructions are very much possession-oriented - except for the focus play on the flanks - but roles and duties do not really support such style of play, particularly the already mentioned right side) 

Split block is certainly a good idea and IMHO always better option than increased team pressing urgency. However, it makes more sense and is more effective/better utilized with a better level of compactness (i.e. DL should be 1 notch higher than LOE - so I would recommend dropping the LOE to higher instead of much higher). 

 

Why "stay wider" for the CB and why "dribble less" for the AF? (although I would not use the AF as a lone striker role in your tactic anyway).

As for the "pass shorter", your team passing is already set to shorter. 

Thank you for your reply. 

All of my tactic above has come from watching games in full and testing changes to see what works, and despite the issues mentioned above they seemed to be extremely successful. As I mentioned, going unbeaten in non-league with Telford keeping 60+% possession and I also managed to go unbeaten first season with Liverpool. I agree there are clear imbalances that defy my previous FM staple knowledge, however despite that I found it to work somehow haha.

The right side I have not found to be an issue, most of tbe goals in concede actually come from the left, and to a lesser extent the centre when a hoof ball catches my team out, and the right for some reason is my safest area!

The advanced forward in this game is interesting, watching him he still seems to drop deep to pick up the ball and recycle nice and simple, but also runs behind and pushes the opponent back, allowing for my team to have more space. EVery save I have done so far he has been the leagues top scorer + gets 10 ish assists a year. No complaints at all on his front, as the team achieves high possession but he allows for some necessary penetration and punishes teams that try to press us to get the ball back.

Focus on flanks was just from watching the game being played out, we seem to create significantly more chances with this turned on, and watching the team switch play from one side to the other to create space is awesome.

CB stay wider and often the DM will drop into the gap. The stay wider also makes them more effective at closing down the gaps left when the full backs go up. Again, when watching games we conceded considerably less with this on. 

Your point about the split block and overly aggressive press makes sense, someone else mentioned above this could be my issue. I will change that for a few games and watch to see if that helps. Potentially my 'second half dropoff' could be just due to my non-league players not being the best and so becoming complacent!

 

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13 hours ago, wicksy360 said:

I tried several different shouts, praising seems to make my team complacent, whereas encourage and demand more caused a dramatic morale drop and hastened our mini collapse.

Shouts only impact Morale/Body Language, so they won't help you much in terms of being more solid. I'd also avoid overusing them; if your players' Body Language is Composed or better, there's no need to shout anything (hard to make things better, easy to make them worse).

Especially if you're managing an underdog, the AI will respond very aggressively to going down. This was easier to spot in previous FMs, where we could still see opposition Mentality, but this year they've hidden it so your best bet is keeping an eye on opposition Formation. They'll usually switch to a more attacking one, which can definitely expose you if you're still needlessly aggressive despite already being two goals up.

For example, using a high defensive line vs. an Attacking 3-4-3 that's looking to spam direct balls from deep is a disaster waiting to happen. Sometimes you can get lucky and score a couple more yourself, but you can also concede very easily and get "FM'd".

13 hours ago, wicksy360 said:

Does anyone have any tips for how to best change tactics when leading?

Personally, I always have a shut-up-shop tactic in one of my slots and it usually follows these pointers:

  • Lower Mentality (lower general risk-taking profile)
  • Dribble More/Take More Risks Roles switched to more conservative ones (e.g. Winger -> Wide Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker -> Deep Lying Playmaker, Ball Playing Defender -> Central Defender)
  • Possession-oriented formation (e.g. 4-1-4-1, 4-5-1)*
  • Possession-oriented instructions (e.g. Narrow, Shorter Passing, Dribble Less, Waste Time)

What's important, is that you don't suddenly create a defensive overkill. In order to keep possession, you still need players making forward runs, otherwise you'll be putting yourself under relentless pressure which is an extreme you should avoid (e.g. low Mentality + low block + 10 Defend Duties).

 

*Sometimes one or two players might not be fully comfortable in different positions, but that's usually not that big of a problem for last 30 minutes; I rather play a natural AML one strata lower, than keep asking him to Dribble More when my only goal is to keep possession.

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6 hours ago, wicksy360 said:

Thank you for your reply. 

All of my tactic above has come from watching games in full and testing changes to see what works, and despite the issues mentioned above they seemed to be extremely successful. As I mentioned, going unbeaten in non-league with Telford keeping 60+% possession and I also managed to go unbeaten first season with Liverpool. I agree there are clear imbalances that defy my previous FM staple knowledge, however despite that I found it to work somehow haha.

The right side I have not found to be an issue, most of tbe goals in concede actually come from the left, and to a lesser extent the centre when a hoof ball catches my team out, and the right for some reason is my safest area!

The advanced forward in this game is interesting, watching him he still seems to drop deep to pick up the ball and recycle nice and simple, but also runs behind and pushes the opponent back, allowing for my team to have more space. EVery save I have done so far he has been the leagues top scorer + gets 10 ish assists a year. No complaints at all on his front, as the team achieves high possession but he allows for some necessary penetration and punishes teams that try to press us to get the ball back.

Focus on flanks was just from watching the game being played out, we seem to create significantly more chances with this turned on, and watching the team switch play from one side to the other to create space is awesome.

CB stay wider and often the DM will drop into the gap. The stay wider also makes them more effective at closing down the gaps left when the full backs go up. Again, when watching games we conceded considerably less with this on. 

Your point about the split block and overly aggressive press makes sense, someone else mentioned above this could be my issue. I will change that for a few games and watch to see if that helps. Potentially my 'second half dropoff' could be just due to my non-league players not being the best and so becoming complacent!

 

Great then. Just ignore what I said and keep up the good work :thup:

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22 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Great then. Just ignore what I said and keep up the good work :thup:

Just re-read how I had written the previous post, and am worried that it sounds like I was just diregarding everything you said. Definitely not the case and very much appreciate your help!

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6 hours ago, wicksy360 said:

Just re-read how I had written the previous post, and am worried that it sounds like I was just diregarding everything you said. Definitely not the case and very much appreciate your help!

No worries mate, I just understood that the things I stressed as potential issues are not actually problems for you, so my suggestions are probably not useful in the particular case of your tactic. That's all :thup:

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15 hours ago, wicksy360 said:

Thank you for your reply. 

All of my tactic above has come from watching games in full and testing changes to see what works, and despite the issues mentioned above they seemed to be extremely successful. As I mentioned, going unbeaten in non-league with Telford keeping 60+% possession and I also managed to go unbeaten first season with Liverpool. I agree there are clear imbalances that defy my previous FM staple knowledge, however despite that I found it to work somehow haha.

The right side I have not found to be an issue, most of tbe goals in concede actually come from the left, and to a lesser extent the centre when a hoof ball catches my team out, and the right for some reason is my safest area!

The advanced forward in this game is interesting, watching him he still seems to drop deep to pick up the ball and recycle nice and simple, but also runs behind and pushes the opponent back, allowing for my team to have more space. EVery save I have done so far he has been the leagues top scorer + gets 10 ish assists a year. No complaints at all on his front, as the team achieves high possession but he allows for some necessary penetration and punishes teams that try to press us to get the ball back.

Focus on flanks was just from watching the game being played out, we seem to create significantly more chances with this turned on, and watching the team switch play from one side to the other to create space is awesome.

CB stay wider and often the DM will drop into the gap. The stay wider also makes them more effective at closing down the gaps left when the full backs go up. Again, when watching games we conceded considerably less with this on. 

Your point about the split block and overly aggressive press makes sense, someone else mentioned above this could be my issue. I will change that for a few games and watch to see if that helps. Potentially my 'second half dropoff' could be just due to my non-league players not being the best and so becoming complacent!

 

You are succesfull because you are using an OP Gegenpress style and the teams are defending from you, once they become aggressive u become exposed, unless u have an OP team like Liverpool.

Once u get promoted, u will get destroyed at some point by better teams that don't respect you or wait at the back, unless u change your tactic. FM21 is a lot better in 1vs1 situations finishing in goals, so u got to prevent those to happen. And playing with the D-line in the midfield any Poacher or Advance Forward who is a better athlete than your CDs, is going to eat them alive.

Experienced defender made excellent points as usual, if you are more balanced u will defend better.

Otherwise keep enjoying your goals galore, super exciting for the fans!

Edited by Sharkn20
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27 minutes ago, Sharkn20 said:

You are succesfull because you are using an OP Gegenpress style and the teams are defending from you, once they become aggressive u become exposed, unless u have an OP team like Liverpool.

Once u get promoted, u will get destroyed at some point by better teams that don't respect you or wait at the back, unless u change your tactic. 

Do not agree with this at all. I am hardly gegenpressing. Just because a tactic has a high line it doesnt make it gegenpressing - that term is just bambied around far too much, rather irritating to be honest. Low-ish mentality, moderate press settings.

Additionally, unbeaten in the league first season and won the FA trophy, reach third round of FA cup knocking out a league two and league one team. Most scored, highest xG, lowest conceded,highrst pass accuraccy, highest average possessio. etc... Additionally, the league 2 and 1 teams are far superior to me, yet we dominated the games. Not sure that calls for me to completely change my tactic haha.

33 minutes ago, Sharkn20 said:

Playing with the D-line in the midfield any Poacher or Advance Forward who is a better athlete than your CDs, is going to eat them alive.

Hence why I ensure my defenders, and the rest of my players for that matter, are bought to suit the tactic. Im not going to play a 5 pace defender with a much higher line.

 

35 minutes ago, Sharkn20 said:

Otherwise keep enjoying your goals galore, super exciting for the fans!

Not sure what you are trying to say by this either, as I said earlier we had the best defence. I think you missed the point of my post, which was not that I was having trouble defending in general, I was having trouble once I am in a large lead where the opposition teams start throwing hail marys. I wasnt trying to get a full tactical rebuild as the tactic as it is works perfectly.

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1 minute ago, 04texag said:

Did you try any of those changes for the second half? Any improvements?

I did indeed! I actually used a combination of your suggestion and Zemahhs, switching to a variant based off your suggestions around the 60 min mark if leading, then switching again to a 'shut up shop' variant after 80 mins. I stay on my base tactic if not winning to try push for a goal. Working exceptionally so far, 5 goals conceded in 15 National leagu games and 10 points clear at the top.

Thank you for your suggestions, they have helped massively! 

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13 hours ago, wicksy360 said:
14 hours ago, Sharkn20 said:

Otherwise keep enjoying your goals galore, super exciting for the fans!

Not sure what you are trying to say by this either, as I said earlier we had the best defence. I think you missed the point of my post, which was not that I was having trouble defending in genera

I think he was referring to the goals you are scoring, not conceding. So you likely misunderstood his comment (unless I did). 

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Just to give you all an update. Following advice regarding my tactic in general, I have now evolved into the attached.

As for the leading tactic, I now have a 4141 which still offers some threat but sures things up at the back.

I have now won Vanrama North (unbeaten), National (2 losses) and am currently unbeaten in League 2 15 games in. On top of that I won the FA Trophy back to back. 

Thank you all for your help!!

20201205162056_1.jpg

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