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Need some help tweaking my tactic


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Need a little help tweaking this tactic. Playing as Wolfsburg, season 4. The tactic has been fairly successful this season (2nd place Bundesliga finish and last 16 of the CL) but towards the end of the season, it felt like the AI was figuring us out a bit, so I'd like to get some ideas for improvement going forward.

The idea is to defend with a low block, then hit teams on the counter, using the DLF to hold up the ball and pass to runners. 

Offensively, we generally do well, but tend to have problems with teams that use a high press in combination with hard tackling: 

- The runners will struggle to keep the ball long enough to get into the attacking third. 

- Our long passes will get intercepted. I'm not married to direct passing- just went with it because my striker (Weghorst) is more of a target man who can pass, and we're lacking a little in flair, but do have good passing and vision. 

- If those sides also use a counter-press with a high line of engagement, we can struggle with attacking transitions, getting pinned in our own end of the pitch, and spending too much time defending. 

Defensively, I have two issues that seem to occur frequently:

- Defending crosses/headers: I think I may need to remove Force Opposition Outside. My team is pretty poor in the air, with only the CB's, DM, and DLF having good heading/jumping attributes. 

- Against some teams, my defenders will allow the opposition to pass it around/inside the box, and will sit back rather than engage the man and attempt a tackle/clearance. Not sure if it's an instruction causing this, or something else, as my midfield and defense all grade out well in marking, tackling, aggression, bravery, and strength. 

Any suggestions on changes/improvements would be much appreciated!

VFLW 433.jpg

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1 hour ago, RCCook said:

The tactic has been fairly successful this season (2nd place Bundesliga finish and last 16 of the CL) but towards the end of the season, it felt like the AI was figuring us out a bit, so I'd like to get some ideas for improvement going forward.

The idea is to defend with a low block, then hit teams on the counter

A counter-attacking style can hardly be successful any longer after your reputation has increased following good results, because opponents are now much more likely to play defensively against you. So you may need to reconsider your style of play, rather than just tweaking your current tactic. 

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3 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

A counter-attacking style can hardly be successful any longer after your reputation has increased following good results, because opponents are now much more likely to play defensively against you. So you may need to reconsider your style of play, rather than just tweaking your current tactic. 

Gotcha.

This is what I've come up with so far as a starting point- any suggestions? I'd like to keep the counter-attacking aspect to some extent, just less defensive and more pro-active attacking-wise.

 

VFLW 433.png

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This looks better in my opinion. You removed direct passing og low LOE, that's good. The roles/duties look solid. Will be interesting to see an update after a few games.

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There is only one attack duty -- the IF would be the only real goal threat here. I would at least put the MEZ on attack to benefit from the surrounding supporting roles (CAR, DLF, IW, FB).

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- Remove the Get stuck in (because such instruction suits a compact low block, which your tactic does not feature)

- Drop the tempo back to default (because that setup of roles and duties does not favor a high-tempo/fast-transition game)

- switch the mezzala's duty from support to attack (both to improve central penetration and create better interaction between him and AMR)

- change the RB's role from FB into WB (because someone needs to provide sufficient attacking width in advanced stages of attack)

These are tweaks I would definitely make first. Other potential ones can come later if needed.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, dasnooz said:

There is only one attack duty -- the IF would be the only real goal threat here. I would at least put the MEZ on attack to benefit from the surrounding supporting roles (CAR, DLF, IW, FB).

Wasn't sure whether to go with a support or attack duty, but I agree with your and ED's suggestions.

4 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

- Remove the Get stuck in (because such instruction suits a compact low block, which your tactic does not feature)

- Drop the tempo back to default (because that setup of roles and duties does not favor a high-tempo/fast-transition game)

- switch the mezzala's duty from support to attack (both to improve central penetration and create better interaction between him and AMR)

- change the RB's role from FB into WB (because someone needs to provide sufficient attacking width in advanced stages of attack)

These are tweaks I would definitely make first. Other potential ones can come later if needed.

I'd been using the high tempo as a defense against high-pressing sides, but I think we're strong enough to play through the press against most teams. 

One other thing- would a HB give me better defensive solidity than a DM? My starter there can play either role (along with DC) so I was considering that change, but not sure if it would create issues with attacking transitions since the HB drops so deep. 

Edited by RCCook
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 09/03/2021 at 03:16, Blinklys said:

This looks better in my opinion. You removed direct passing og low LOE, that's good. The roles/duties look solid. Will be interesting to see an update after a few games.

I made the changes Experienced Defender suggested, and it's working pretty well so far. 9 wins in 12 matches, and 2 of the 3 losses were to Dortmund and Man United.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I've played most of the season since my last post, and this is the current version of my tactical setup:

VFLW 433.png

Using a split block, with the front three set to close down more. We're doing well overall, but still struggling to beat teams that use a gegenpress approach. Any suggestions on how to better cope with these types of teams?

 

Edited by RCCook
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On 09/03/2021 at 16:24, RCCook said:

I'd been using the high tempo as a defense against high-pressing sides, but I think we're strong enough to play through the press against most teams. 

When players get pressure from pressing, theyll react quickly anway and look for a pass or some other action. No matter what tempo you chose. Tempo is about how fast your players make their decisions anyway, always with the target to create a goal scoring opportunity as quickly as possible.

Thats why you often see players shoot or cross needlessly often. Most likely your tempo is too high so there is no time for other players to get into position for a clever pass 

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3 minutes ago, CARRERA said:

When players get pressure from pressing, theyll react quickly anway and look for a pass or some other action. No matter what tempo you chose. Tempo is about how fast your players make their decisions anyway, always with the target to create a goal scoring opportunity as quickly as possible.

Thats why you often see players shoot or cross needlessly often. Most likely your tempo is too high so there is no time for other players to get into position for a clever pass 

I don't use the Higher Tempo instruction any longer. The main issue I'm having is with the pressing/closing down itself. My team is a bit slow, but we rate highly in most attributes that would seem to counter a high press (Strength, Balance & Work Rate in particular) so I'm trying to figure out if there's an issue with my tactic causing us to struggle against such teams, or something else.

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36 minutes ago, RCCook said:

I don't use the Higher Tempo instruction any longer. The main issue I'm having is with the pressing/closing down itself. My team is a bit slow, but we rate highly in most attributes that would seem to counter a high press (Strength, Balance & Work Rate in particular) so I'm trying to figure out if there's an issue with my tactic causing us to struggle against such teams, or something else.

well, you always have to respect, that other teams might also be capable of playing good football as your tactic generally is working fine. However what exactly makes you struggle against high pressing teams? 

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On 03/04/2021 at 13:01, CARRERA said:

well, you always have to respect, that other teams might also be capable of playing good football as your tactic generally is working fine. However what exactly makes you struggle against high pressing teams? 

Mostly the high level of closing down in the final third- it's like we'll get into the attacking third, and then just can't get anything through the AI defense. Try a through ball? Blocked. Try a cross? Blocked. Manage to get a shot off? Blocked. Get a runner open? AI defender comes out of nowhere, closes down the pass, or tackles the runner.

And there's no pattern to it- we're just as likely to encounter this against a team in the bottom half as against one like Leipzig or Bayern, who I would expect to struggle against. Honestly, though, my team does win more often than not, and we've finished in the Champions League places for 4 seasons running, so maybe I'm just letting my frustration and perfectionism get the better of me. :)

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Posted (edited)

Made a couple tweaks, but still having the same problems. Adding counterpressing has helped with winning the ball back. Also using a split block with the front three set to close down more. Any other suggestions?

What's especially frustrating is that the AI seem to have decided that attacking gegenpress is now their default tactic, and it feels like I'm playing against Bielsa's Leeds every match. Not fun.

VFLW 433.png

Edited by RCCook
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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

One other thing I've noticed- seems like a lot of the teams that give us trouble are quick, or play at a very high tempo. The high-tempo sides also give us trouble defensively, as my defenders just sit there and watch them pass it around, and they'll find a gap in my back line. Using a covering DC helps some.

Also, does the match engine take team reports/attributes into account? Because it seems like a lot of the teams that play a gegenpressing tactic shouldn't be able to, or shouldn't be effective with it. I get a team like Dortmund or Bayern being able to play that way. But some team in the relegation zone that has no pace, stamina, work rate, or tackling ability? Yet I come up against teams like that all the time. Not meaning to gripe- just doesn't seem realistic.

Edited by RCCook
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