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Levante - poor man's tiki taka...perhaps. Help!


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I am managing Levante in La Liga. First season we finished 9th, which is quite good. A bit above expected. We started really well, winning against Barcelona, Atl. Madrid and drawing against Real, only to have a small collapse after christmas.

The expectations are mid table, and the squad should be able to cope with that, so I am trying to build something for the future, rather than being in win now mode.

I would like to eventually evovle into a team that plays tiki taka-esque, with short passing and pressing. I decided to start small, with few instructions mainly focusing on playing short and sometimes pressing, and as mentioned it worked for a bit, but then didn't.

My main issue was dealing with defensive teams and the 532. I can see why, but not how to solve it. 

I need your help. How do I tweak this to make it a better tactic.

(I am at my work computer, so I cant post screens right now)

 

GK - GK D

DR - FB S

DL - started as a FB A, changed to WB S

DCR - BPD D

DCL - CD D

 

MCR - BWM S

MCL - CM D

 

AMR - W S

AMC - AP A

AML . IW/IF S

 

ST - PF A (sometimes AF A)

Mentality: Balanced.

 

TI's:

Shorter passing

Dribble less

Whipped/Low crosses

 

Distribute to FB's and CD's

Started off with hold shape, but later removed. Used counter against bigger teams.

 

Higher LOE

Higher DL

More urgent pressing 

(All of the above removed/dropped when playing counter)

 

For season two, I have dropped DL and LOE to standard, and removed urgent pressing.

 

First season observations on my team:

-DL/DR played poorly. Might be due to quality of players

-AML often invisible

-AMR started as IW/IF but changed to W to gain width in attack

-AMC played brilliantly no matter who played there

-ST only consistent goalcorer. Team is screwed when he has an off day

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So this is what your setup looks like:

AF/PFat

IFsu        APat         Wsu

CMde   BWMsu

WBsu   CDde  BPDde  FBsu

GKde

So you have a setup that is more suited for a style based on faster transitions, but you want to play possession-oriented football and are using possession-friendly instructions. That's the key problem - a contradiction between instructions and roles/duties. 

Therefore, you need to either reconsider your intended style of play (possession-based) or to tweak some roles and duties in order to make the setup better suited for the possession style. Decide which of the 2 options you want to implement and you'll get more specific advice :thup:

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I'm going to try to answer what seems to be your primary short-term problem: dealing with 5-defender teams. I suspect that this is a common problem this year, as the AI is arguably overly conservative, and so 5-defender teams tend to present a lot of 8-9 man box looks, particularly in Italy where the cursed 5-1-2-2 (that's 1 DM and 2 CMs) is quite popular.

So, lets try to break down why your team probably struggles against 5-back teams:

1. You have a classic quick-transition pairing in the APa and AF/PFa. When possession turns, your team will try to get the ball to the APa, who will try to play the AF/PFa in. All of this is happening centrally, where there are likely 3 CBs (unlikely to be involved in your opponent's attack at all), and possibly even a DM or CMd waiting to nip the attack in the bud. You can basically forget about countering through the centre of the pitch against 5-defender teams reliably; the numbers just don't work out to your advantage. You're going to have similar problems in possession as there is basically no space centrally against a 5-3-2.

2. You're not attacking the 5-defender team where it's weak, and that goes for both in possession and in transition. Your FBs have quite conservative roles (which I totally understand because I personally hate the way wide players play "bang it off the defender's shins" simulator in FM21, and any FB with Dribble More/Cross More Often is a serial offender in this regard), as do your wide forwards. This doesn't really make sense when trying to "kill" a 5-back team, as the wide areas are where you should expect to have space. You can try to attack them in the transition with e.g. an IFa or Wa, and you can try to attack them in possession with more aggressive DL/DR roles or Look for Overlap, and with the Focus Play Left/Right TIs.

It's not always going to work, and frankly with the state of wide play currently, 5-defender teams produce some at times unwatchable football games, but it's better than attacking 5-back teams where they're strongest, which is what you're doing right now.

As for turning this side into a possession team, I would move the playmaker role to central midfield (e.g. a DLPs or maybe just a CMs with Take More Risks), make the striker more of a creator (DLFs/CFs/F9), and have 1-2 "scorer" roles in the AM strata, e.g. IFa + AMa.

 

Edited by Sneaky Pete
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1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

So this is what your setup looks like:

AF/PFat

IFsu        APat         Wsu

CMde   BWMsu

WBsu   CDde  BPDde  FBsu

GKde

So you have a setup that is more suited for a style based on faster transitions, but you want to play possession-oriented football and are using possession-friendly instructions. That's the key problem - a contradiction between instructions and roles/duties. 

Therefore, you need to either reconsider your intended style of play (possession-based) or to tweak some roles and duties in order to make the setup better suited for the possession style. Decide which of the 2 options you want to implement and you'll get more specific advice :thup:

Ah cool. Makes sense.

I am pretty determined to keep my play style, as I am trying to make it a club culture, so altering roles and duties would be preferable.

 

18 minutes ago, Sneaky Pete said:

I'm going to try to answer what seems to be your primary short-term problem: dealing with 5-defender teams. I suspect that this is a common problem this year, as the AI is arguably overly conservative, and so 5-defender teams tend to present a lot of 8-9 man box looks, particularly in Italy where the cursed 5-1-2-2 (that's 1 DM and 2 CMs) is quite popular.

So, lets try to break down why your team probably struggles against 5-back teams:

1. You have a classic quick-transition pairing in the APa and AF/PFa. When possession turns, your team will try to get the ball to the APa, who will try to play the AF/PFa in. All of this is happening centrally, where there are likely 3 CBs (unlikely to be involved in your opponent's attack at all), and possibly even a DM or CMd waiting to nip the attack in the bud. You can basically forget about countering through the centre of the pitch against 5-defender teams reliably; the numbers just don't work out to your advantage. You're going to have similar problems in possession as there is basically no space centrally against a 5-3-2.

2. You're not attacking the 5-defender team where it's weak, and that goes for both in possession and in transition. Your FBs have quite conservative roles (which I totally understand because I personally hate the way wide players play "bang it off the defender's shins" simulator in FM21, and any FB with Dribble More/Cross More Often is a serial offender in this regard), as do your wide forwards. This doesn't really make sense when trying to "kill" a 5-back team, as the wide areas are where you should expect to have space. You can try to attack them in the transition with e.g. an IFa or Wa, and you can try to attack them in possession with more aggressive DL/DR roles or Look for Overlap, and with the Focus Play Left/Right TIs.

It's not always going to work, and frankly with the state of wide play currently, 5-defender teams produce some at times unwatchable football games, but it's better than attacking 5-back teams where they're strongest, which is what you're doing right now.

As for turning this side into a possession team, I would move the playmaker role to central midfield (e.g. a DLPs or maybe just a CMs with Take More Risks), make the striker more of a creator (DLFs/CFs/F9), and have 1-2 "scorer" roles in the AM strata, e.g. IFa + AMa.

 

Cool, thanks. I did consider a DLP, and figured that my problem was due to too much central attack.

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1 hour ago, Mr_Demus said:

I am pretty determined to keep my play style, as I am trying to make it a club culture, so altering roles and duties would be preferable

If so, here are a couple of tips:

- avoid the attacking duty for an AP if a possession-oriented style is your aim

- make sure both fullbacks are attack-minded enough to provide their wing partners with sufficient support in later stages of attack (the LB is okay, but the RB might be a bit too conservative)

If you have additional questions or would perhaps like me to give you an example of a role/duty setup, please let me know :thup:

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9 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

If so, here are a couple of tips:

- avoid the attacking duty for an AP if a possession-oriented style is your aim

- make sure both fullbacks are attack-minded enough to provide their wing partners with sufficient support in later stages of attack (the LB is okay, but the RB might be a bit too conservative)

If you have additional questions or would perhaps like me to give you an example of a role/duty setup, please let me know :thup:

I would like to see an example of a setup. Just a couple of things, that might be nice to know : If I remember correctly, my striker lacks a few skills for playing DLF, but is suited for AF or PF. CF as well I believe. 

My CM's are pretty well rounded, and can be used both for physical and creative roles. 

My defenders are pretty small, but kind of fast

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25 minutes ago, Mr_Demus said:

I would like to see an example of a setup. Just a couple of things, that might be nice to know : If I remember correctly, my striker lacks a few skills for playing DLF, but is suited for AF or PF. CF as well I believe

I can give you an example of a setup, but before that I have to ask: if your striker is not good enough for a DLF, how then can he be suited for CF (which is also a creator role and on top of that clearly more demanding than DLF)? 

i mean, if a player can play as a CF, he should definitely be able to play as a DLF as well. The opposite is not always the case though.

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Just now, Experienced Defender said:

I can give you an example of a setup, but before that I have to ask: if your striker is not good enough for a DLF, how then can he be suited for CF (which is also a creator role and on top of that clearly more demanding than DLF)? 

i mean, if a player can play as a CF, he should definitely be able to play as a DLF as well. The opposite is not always the case though.

I might remember wrongly. I am not at home, so can't check. I am sure though, that he lacked something for DLF, so he is almost certainly not suited for a CF role 

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17 minutes ago, Mr_Demus said:

I might remember wrongly. I am not at home, so can't check. I am sure though, that he lacked something for DLF, so he is almost certainly not suited for a CF role 

Okay :thup: 

 

51 minutes ago, Mr_Demus said:

My CM's are pretty well rounded, and can be used both for physical and creative roles. 

My defenders are pretty small, but kind of fast

Thanks for this useful info as well :thup:

So here is a possible setup (based on the info you provided on the type of your players):

PFat

IFsu         AMat       IWsu

DLPsu  CMde

WBsu  CDde  BPDde  FBat

GKde

Instructions-wise, I am curious about your reasoning behind the Dribble less in possession? 

Out of possession, the combo of both lines set to higher plus more urgent pressing could prove a bit too risky in a system such as 4231 (top-heavy and no DM), especially if your team is not so strong. 

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7 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Okay :thup: 

 

Thanks for this useful info as well :thup:

So here is a possible setup (based on the info you provided on the type of your players):

PFat

IFsu         AMat       IWsu

DLPsu  CMde

WBsu  CDde  BPDde  FBat

GKde

Instructions-wise, I am curious about your reasoning behind the Dribble less in possession? 

Out of possession, the combo of both lines set to higher plus more urgent pressing could prove a bit too risky in a system such as 4231 (top-heavy and no DM), especially if your team is not so strong. 

That looks like a great starting point.

I used dribble less, because to start with I had a couple of roles with hardcoded dribble more, so to put emphasis on the short passing I told them to dribble less.

Would a split block be better then? Or simply drop LOE and DL to standard?

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10 hours ago, Mr_Demus said:

I used dribble less, because to start with I had a couple of roles with hardcoded dribble more, so to put emphasis on the short passing I told them to dribble less

Okay. That makes (some) sense but can also have some negative effect in the final third (especially if your players who are hard-coded to dribble more are really good at dribbling, because you are potentially depriving them of a potentially useful mechanism of breaking down defenses ;) ). I think you should try the tactic both with and without the instruction and then decide which version works better for your team :thup: 

 

10 hours ago, Mr_Demus said:

Would a split block be better then? Or simply drop LOE and DL to standard?

i personally always prefer a split block over increasing team pressing urgency, but that's ultimately a matter of one's own preference.

Higher DL & standard LOE would be my combo of choice if a possession-oriented style is what you want, especially if you intend to use either the split block or a higher team pressing urgency. If you played in the 433DM (a.k.a. 4123 wide), setting both DL and LOE to higher (but without a split block) could also be a good idea. But in a 4231, I would rather look to avoid that, especially with an average team like yours.

As with the Dribble less, the best way is to experiment with both combos and see which one better suits your players. Simply because each team is different, so what works for one may not work for another. There is no universal recipe. 

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25 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

If you played in the 433DM (a.k.a. 4123 wide), setting both DL and LOE to higher (but without a split block) could also be a good idea.

Would be interested to hear more about when would you opt for a split press in a 4-3-3 and when would you rather have the high DL/DOE/more urgent combination instead.

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1 hour ago, Chris2509 said:

Would be interested to hear more about when would you opt for a split press in a 4-3-3 and when would you rather have the high DL/DOE/more urgent combination instead

I personally would always opt for the combo of higher DL + standard LOE + split block when I want to play an attack-minded style of football (be it possession-oriented or looking for faster transitions). 

When it comes to higher DL + higher LOE + more urgent. I personally never use such combo. In fact, I almost never use any team pressing urgency other than default, regardless of other settings. I may use more urgent only if I am looking to play counter-attacking football under a lower team mentality (e.g. cautious), in which case I'll also set up a compact low block by using standard DL and lower LOE. But then again, I prefer to play counter-attacking styles under Balanced or Positive because they allow for faster attacking transitions but without too much gung-ho and risk. 

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Posted (edited)

So this is what it looks like now.

 

spacer.png

 

I added "press more" to the three players in the AM strata.

Edited by Mr_Demus
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9 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Looks fine to me, hopefully it will work for your team :thup:

I removed the distribute to DC and FB, as it made my team very inefficient. I guess it gave opponents too much time to get back or organize. We have had way more shots after this change, and possesion has only dropped slightly, so it's a trade I'm willing to make.

 

I lost 2-0 away to Real Madrid, who are great. Won 3-0 and 2-0 in games I was supposed to win. Lost 1-2 to Betis at home which is a bummer, but okay and lost at home to a newly promoted side, but it was due to our inefficency and their efficiency.

 

DL still has poor ratings, and IF is still kind of invisible no matter who I put there. If I switched the IF and IW would I have to flip the back and CM roles as well?

 

Overall it has worked okay, but I need to figure out who to play where.

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4 hours ago, Mr_Demus said:

If I switched the IF and IW would I have to flip the back and CM roles as well?

What do you mean by "back"? Fullback or something else?

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10 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

You can try swapping the sides of all these roles, but I am not sure if that would be of any major help. 

It's because my best finisher on the wing is left footed, so ideally I would like to put him the AMR position. And I wondered if I could just swap the IF and IW or if I needed to flip the entire formation

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4 hours ago, Mr_Demus said:

It's because my best finisher on the wing is left footed, so ideally I would like to put him the AMR position. And I wondered if I could just swap the IF and IW or if I needed to flip the entire formation

I personally would flip the entire setup (i.e. all roles that are affected), but again - don't be afraid to experiment and try different things (as long as they make at least some basic sense). 

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On 06/01/2021 at 19:22, Experienced Defender said:

I personally would always opt for the combo of higher DL + standard LOE + split block when I want to play an attack-minded style of football (be it possession-oriented or looking for faster transitions)

When it comes to higher DL + higher LOE + more urgent. I personally never use such combo. In fact, I almost never use any team pressing urgency other than default, regardless of other settings. I may use more urgent only if I am looking to play counter-attacking football under a lower team mentality (e.g. cautious), in which case I'll also set up a compact low block by using standard DL and lower LOE. But then again, I prefer to play counter-attacking styles under Balanced or Positive because they allow for faster attacking transitions but without too much gung-ho and risk. 

Can you explain the reason for this please?This is where i come unstuck!!I would have thought if you were playing an attacking system/style of play you would want to win the ball as high up the pitch as possible and would therefore use a higher LOE.

Is the standard LOE so that you have more space behind the opposition defence when/if you win the ball, would you then have counter in the transition phase?

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2 hours ago, axehan1 said:

Can you explain the reason for this please?This is where i come unstuck!!I would have thought if you were playing an attacking system/style of play you would want to win the ball as high up the pitch as possible and would therefore use a higher LOE

There are 2 basic approaches. One is to use a higher (or even much higher) LOE. The other is to use standard LOE but then apply a split block, so that your forward/more advanced players would put more pressure on the opposition whereas the rest of your team keeps their defensive shape. Ultimately, it's a matter of one's own preference, I personally prefer the latter option (with standard LOE + split block) because it's more sophisticated and less risky defensively. But everyone is of course free to play however they like. 

 

2 hours ago, axehan1 said:

Is the standard LOE so that you have more space behind the opposition defence when/if you win the ball, would you then have counter in the transition phase?

Both that and better vertical defensive compactness (i.e. the distance between D-line and LOE). Because when you use a combo of higher DL and standard LOE you are more compact in defense than when you go with higher DL and Higher LOE. Simply because the distance between the 2 lines of defence is smaller, making your defensive shape more compact.

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58 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

There are 2 basic approaches. One is to use a higher (or even much higher) LOE. The other is to use standard LOE but then apply a split block, so that your forward/more advanced players would put more pressure on the opposition whereas the rest of your team keeps their defensive shape. Ultimately, it's a matter of one's own preference, I personally prefer the latter option (with standard LOE + split block) because it's more sophisticated and less risky defensively. But everyone is of course free to play however they like. 

 

Both that and better vertical defensive compactness (i.e. the distance between D-line and LOE). Because when you use a combo of higher DL and standard LOE you are more compact in defense than when you go with higher DL and Higher LOE. Simply because the distance between the 2 lines of defence is smaller, making your defensive shape more compact.

Thanks for the response,I'm on positive mentality but i can't increase the pressing intensity of my advanced players?Does that mean you instruct them to man mark opposition players? Or is there a way to increase pressing intensity?

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1 hour ago, axehan1 said:

but i can't increase the pressing intensity of my advanced players?

Probably because your team pressing is already set to more or extremely urgent (i.e. higher than default). 

 

1 hour ago, axehan1 said:

Does that mean you instruct them to man mark opposition players?

No. 

 

1 hour ago, axehan1 said:

Or is there a way to increase pressing intensity?

If the question pertains to the split block, then the answer lies in my first sentence of this post. In order to apply a split block - i.e. increase individual pressing urgency of your forward players via their PIs - your team pressing urgency has to be set to default (medium). 

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I have played with this for a while, and we had some decent results. We have been terrible for 7-8 games now though, as we lost a key player in the transfer window, and I simply couldn't attract a player of equal quality.

 

If I were to flip the midfield - move the AMC into the DMC slot, would a setup like this work in a possesion style?

SK - S

WB - S (DR)

CD - D

CD - D

WB - S (DL)

DLP - S (DMC)

 

BBM - S (MCR)

BWM - S (MCL)

 

IW - S (AMR)

IF - A (AML)

 

PF - A

 

Balanced

Shorter passing

Low crosses

 

Distibute to centre backs

 

Higher DL

 

Press more applied to AML, AMR and MCR

 

I'm worried that it is too passive in attack

 

 

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On 07/01/2021 at 01:11, Mr_Demus said:

So this is what it looks like now.

 

spacer.png

 

I added "press more" to the three players in the AM strata.

With respect to this tactic, what would be the difference between playing a DLP-S and an AP-S (with hold position TI)?

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I have ended up with this. It plays pretty well, but I have one problem. My striker is not very involved. I have played three different players in two different roles (DLF A and PF A). They are pretty suited for those roles, as they have had success in them in another setup.

 

https://imgur.com/k8nCfMw

 

Which role would be best? Should I simply play a DLF S, PF S or perhaps a CF S?

Edited by Mr_Demus
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