Jump to content

Towards "Universal" Tactical Style - Arrigo Sacchi's Total Football


Recommended Posts

A contrarian would argue what is todays fixation with spaces and half spaces nouveau at all. When the Mighty Magars dropped a forward into midfield was this not in recognition of an unoccupied space which could be commandeered and conquered? When Herbert Chapman switched to a W-M, was it not in reaction to a change in offside rule, flogging by the Toon and recognition of space? Football has been in a constant state of evolution since inception, moreover, it's life cycle is circular, thus much of the new about today is borrowed from the past. Guardiola's use of Busquets was akin to the halfbacks of years past. The inversion of fullbacks creates a 2-3-5 in the attacking phase, was this not the default formation centuries back?

Is the age of the specialist coming to an end or is it the natural progression of the specialist to become the generalist? Harry Kane is dropping deeper, more a consequence of heightened in-game intelligence than anything else. Does the heightened intelligence not dictate to tactic? Personally, I think what has been and gone will return, completing the circle. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Catenaccio and its the later Zona Mista iteration, had a huge impact on Italian Football. To the point where this defensive, counter-attacking strategy embodied the meaning of Gioco all'italiana, Italian Game. For almost three decades, Italian giants like Inter, Juventus and AC Milan dominated Calcio with their risk-averse tactics. The success of Catenaccio's Holy Trinity managers, Helenio Herrera, Nereo Rocco and Giovanni Trapattoni, encouraged copycats with their own Scudetto dreams. At the same time, diverting from the trend and using more risky approaches was discouraged. In the end, it took a former shoe salesman with a Dutch brain and Brazilian heart, to break Catenaccio's hold and change Italian football forever. This is his story. His name - Arrigo Sacchi. And his game was Total Football.

arrigo_sacchi_with_italy_at_the_1994_world_cup_finals.jpeg.22d65cc7846f53d5b1c16658d680b216.jpeg

Shoe Salesman From Fusignano

Arrigo Sacchi was a complete outsider when he took over as manager of AC Milan in 1987. Before taking the job, he had no experiences as a professional footballer nor as a coach for a top-flight club. In fact he spend more time working in a shoe store than managing a football team, before he moved into the spotlight. However, Sacchi had a vision for the future of Italian football. A vision heavily influenced by watching and admiring the Dutch and Brazilian super teams of the past. He loved the hardworking team ethic of Total Football and the technical flair of Brazil's Jogo Bonito. Later Sacchi's tactical philosophy would combine the two schools of "beautiful" football in a unique way. A new style that would define a generation of Italian footballers as well as imprint a new identity on Calcio.

The fact that Sacchi accomplished this with no prior playing (and very little managing) experience is simply unprecedented. It truly shows what a tactical brain combined with a deep love of the game can accomplish. So maybe there is still hope for all of us armchair managers.

Sacchi famously said:

I never realised that in order to become a jockey you have to have been a horse first

DM-v6YJX0AA06N3.jpg.a34594a83544d568e3ccde25b61432cc.jpg

The Good Old Days - Arrigo Sacchi together with one his favourite players, Roberto Baggio.

Making Football Entertaining Again

Arrigo would build his reputation on going against the grain and proving his critics wrong. He took a risky, attacking system and made it work in a conservative risk-averse footballing culture. But what I love most about his revolutionary approach is in how simple it was. Using the most basic formation, 4-4-2, Sacchi was able to create some very beautiful fluid football. In the process proving once and for all that Total Football was bigger than the sum of its parts. It is not about any particular formation. Rather Total Football is all about how your players work together on the pitch.

So lately I had some difficulty in sticking to my older saves in FM21. Although tactics are mostly working, I find that I lost sight of the bigger picture. Similarly to Arrigo Sacchi I want my teams to not just win but also play entertaining football. Which is why the approach of mixing Total Football's intense pressing with Jogo Bonito's flair was such an appealing option. Arrigo Sacchi's Milan was both highly entertaining to the fans and hard to play against. And in FM21, a simple tactic created with Sacchi's principles in mind has all the makings of a super-tactic.

43371844D84F65B494CDE9596AEDCBBF39833295 (1600×900)

Within days of switching to my "universal" tactic, these are the kinds of performances I'm seeing from my Reserve team.

And my u19 team.

2E96EB701C6CD987F8CBE6DEC3E49F7671CC8C19 (1600×900)

While my Youth Under-19 has been undefeated in 37 games since they started implementing this tactic. That is one game away from a perfect season. In FM21, how well your youth teams do against lesser opposition is usually a good indicator of the effectiveness of your tactic.

So let us examine the elements that make this Arrigo Sacchi-inspired tactic tick. But first a little tactical disclaimer. This tactic is not going to be an exact replica of Sacchi's Milan by any means. Rather it's my attempt at showcasing how 4-4-2 (in attack phase at least) can be an effective and entertaining Total Football formation. And I plan to do so without getting bogged down in some of the details. Afterall Football Manager is a game and has its limitations (despite some really great recent advances in its tactical creator). 

2-4.jpg.e91342180fdd7b56acadb1d1ca53a93f.jpg

I won't bore you with the details of Arrigo Sacchi's biography and his achievements as manager. All you need to know is that he won Serie A once and Champions League twice (European Cup then), all in the space of three years. His Wikipedia article can fill you in on the rest. By far it is more important HOW he did this. He used a simple 4-4-2 (rare in Italy at the time) with a very high defensive line and intense pressing. In essence Sacchiès tactics were all about creating a natural heavy press through manipulation of space (Pep Guardiola anyone?). Essentially, Sacchi created extremely fluid football that was both very attacking and defensive depending on the phase of play. It was Total Football in all but name. Or as close as we got to that ideal, first introduced by the Dutch, in the last 50 years.

Pressing and Compactness

As I mentioned above, Sacchi's Milan played with a very high defensive line and intense pressing. This enabled them to squeeze the play into the middle of pitch, ensuring that the distance between the defence and attack was never more than 25 meters. Sacchi was obsessed with the 25 meter rule. It is mainly because he wanted his team to play in a compact block. This would allow less effort from the players to press the opposition in their own half. Also if the advanced line was broken, the second line had time to organize and act immediately to retake possession. It was really effective. The opponent simply did not have the time nor breathing room to find an effective passing option. And not many opponents could break through three successive lines of players.

Zonal Defending

The football I wanted was active also in the defensive phase, the players had to be protagonists through pressing.

Arrigo Sacchi

Sacchi's unique approach to "proactive" defending required a complete switch in how players marked their opponents. The traditional man-marking of the Catenaccio system was not a fit with the fluid way of playing that Sacchi was introducing. Both mental and theoretical paradigm shift was needed. The players had to work together as a team to defend zonally. In this Sacchi intense training method centered on teamwork and discipline won out. He even created a whole new way to train, Shadow Play without the ball, in order for his players to get more comfortable marking zones on the pitch, rather than specific players. Sacchi was able to shift his player's mental outlook from man-marking to zonal marking. His team not only had to attack fluidly as one, but also defended as one hunting pack.

https___sempremilan.com_wp-content_uploads_2020_08_47091332-1024x682.jpg.c5b2ec4c9149dabd74cf0070595336b8.jpg

 

I will be repressing this rather primitively with individual closing down instructions coupled with counter-press TI. In reality Sacchi's pressing and zonal marking was much more complex. The pressing his teams employed was not some constant mad rushing about. In fact, his Milan practiced different types of press, depending on the different times in the match.

There was partial pressing, where it was more about jockeying; there was total pressing which was more about winning the ball. [And] there was fake pressing, when we pretended to press, but, in fact, used the time to recuperate

Inverting The Pyramid, Jonathan Wilson

Unfortunately, we cannot really represent this important detail in the game. Not yet. So I will settle with the game's simpler way of representing Milan's "Total" pressing.

Offside Trap

Offside Trap was another weapon that Sacchi used strategically. Combined with the high defensive line and intense pressing it was central to his way of playing. 

Entertaining Beautiful Football

Above all alse Arrigo Sacchi wanted his team to play entertaining attacking football that was both pleasing to the eye and exciting to the fans. The pedigree of Jogo Bonito's penchant for flair mixed with the unstoppable drive of the Dutch.

So this is the final element that I am trying to represent in my "universal" tactic. I have been playing around with this tactic for almost a whole season and this is what its looking like. 

Edited by crusadertsar
Link to post
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

At first look choosing a formation for your tactic might seem like some fundamental all-defining choice. But at the end of the day the actual differences between some of the popular shapes become rather blurry and secondary to other more important tactical considerations. I think it is a trend in modern football, where it's becoming less about a defined tactical formation and more about using the full extent of the pitch. It's one of the reasons that it is becoming harder and harder to pin-point exactly what shape Pep Guardiola is using game to game. And which is also why its not so easy to recreate tactics like Pep's in FM.

I think it is a trend where we are moving towards more "universality" in football. So even something like classic 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 will look like the more offensive 4-2-3-1 when in possession or even 4-2-4. Also in the end of the day what is the real difference between 4-3-3 and 4-1-4-1 and 4-1-2-3? Again, aside from the players' initial defensive positioning, once in possession many of these shapes work rather similarly. One thing that more modern managers, like Arrigo Sacchi, Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola, learned from Total Football is that football is best when it's a dynamic game played by complete well-rounded players who are fully focused on exploiting the playing space in relation to their teammates' movement. And not as a collection of individuals sticking with their specialized roles without any thought for how other players are playing their roles. And that is why "Pairs and Combinations" is such an essential guide when first learning the game. Irrespective of the Match Engine or which version of the game you are playing. There is a very good reason why it is pinned to the top of this forum. Read it:

The roles together have to make sense first, the choice of formation is secondary. That's because the shape only brings the roles together on the pitch and that can be done in many ways. What is more important is what you do not see when choosing the formation. How will those players move and act together?

But before I get all tactical, a few things first. How do we know that we are moving away from the era of the "specialist" football to one that embraces "univerality". Look at something like the classic Number Ten playmaker role. It used to be a requirement for any successful tactic. Like Trequartista in a Catenaccio formation, a classic #10 was a necessary role. It was needed to inject creativity into an otherwise rigid formation dominated by specialist roles.

0_GettyImages-1194126428.jpg.531a5142528eaf7be85aa0da2d856325.jpg

Yet the era of the specialist is over. Now when you look at a team like Pep Guardiola's Man City, can you even pin-point who is the playmaker in any specific match? Sure there are a few players who have more creative duties but these tend to be shared between different roles depending on the flow of the game. So just as the Classic #10 is becoming a thing of the past (with players like Mezut Ozil moving into the backwoods of football), there is a great change coming to how we play, and look at, football. It is a dynamic change, a paradigm shift if you will, that has been long time coming. The Magic Magyars in 1950s and then the Dutch Total Footballers foretold this "universality" revolution. Although to be honest both Hungarians and the Dutch were super teams of their era. It was not until Arrigo Sacchi's Milan that we realized that Total Football could be played by any team, irrespective of formation. 

COMING SOON - Paradigm Shift: Arrigo Sacchi's Total Football And Creating Universal FM Tactic

I feel like from my own perspective, this is why football manager is at best an average computer game.

It cannot keep up with the complexity of actual football and it forces you to play football through the eyes of the people who developed the game. You have to think how they think and its safe to say they arent as intelligent as a real football manager.

In your Pep Guardiola example, theres simply no way of pigeon holing their players into roles.

No matter what you do, youre forced to either accept hard coded behaviours or that with the PIs possible, you still cant communicate what you want to do.

I mean, the game is as good as its likely to ever be, I totally get that. To program this stuff into the game must be a nightmare.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, FMunderachiever said:

I feel like from my own perspective, this is why football manager is at best an average computer game.

It cannot keep up with the complexity of actual football and it forces you to play football through the eyes of the people who developed the game. You have to think how they think and its safe to say they arent as intelligent as a real football manager.

In your Pep Guardiola example, theres simply no way of pigeon holing their players into roles.

No matter what you do, youre forced to either accept hard coded behaviours or that with the PIs possible, you still cant communicate what you want to do.

I mean, the game is as good as its likely to ever be, I totally get that. To program this stuff into the game must be a nightmare.

 

Totally agree. Thats why I believe that to get the most enjoyment out of this game is to try to keep it simple rather than trying to get too much out of the tactic creator. It will never be perfect and it will only lead to frustration and disappointment. And that might mean playing in a simple 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 and allow players more freedom in how they attack the space. Balance in attack and defence and while using generic roles. It can be a form of Total Football, or at least the game's version of it. Just don't expect all your players to switch positions. Or accurately recreate Pep's wingers and wingbacks. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, FMunderachiever said:

I feel like from my own perspective, this is why football manager is at best an average computer game.

It cannot keep up with the complexity of actual football and it forces you to play football through the eyes of the people who developed the game. You have to think how they think and its safe to say they arent as intelligent as a real football manager.

In your Pep Guardiola example, theres simply no way of pigeon holing their players into roles.

No matter what you do, youre forced to either accept hard coded behaviours or that with the PIs possible, you still cant communicate what you want to do.

I mean, the game is as good as its likely to ever be, I totally get that. To program this stuff into the game must be a nightmare.

 

Agreed, the game is limited, ultimately for all the hardwired algorithms and various permutations, they are algorithms and permutations. Presets designed for certain situations. The game becomes all the more limited when we decide to play within the borders and boundaries. No we cannot create overlapping centre halves in a 3-5-2, but can create quasi and pseudo variants of reality, dare one climb the boundary and enter the field beyond the fence. More than most, Guardiola is a thinker, in FM, the thinking has already been done and thus what remains is to follow a thought process. How much one follows is down to how much one adheres to the defaults. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Guv'nor said:

Agreed, the game is limited, ultimately for all the hardwired algorithms and various permutations, they are algorithms and permutations. Presets designed for certain situations. The game becomes all the more limited when we decide to play within the borders and boundaries. No we cannot create overlapping centre halves in a 3-5-2, but can create quasi and pseudo variants of reality, dare one climb the boundary and enter the field beyond the fence. More than most, Guardiola is a thinker, in FM, the thinking has already been done and thus what remains is to follow a thought process. How much one follows is down to how much one adheres to the defaults. 

Very well said :applause:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

2474930-51397310-2560-1440.jpg.7bfea9680a825720471580c89dd8428d.jpg

 

Arrigo Sacchi's Dutch connection - Frank Rijkaard, Marco Van Basten and Ruud Gullit. Were three key players in Sacchi's Milan side. And they contributed greatly to the one aspect of Sacchi's tactic that interests me the most - its Attacking Phase.

In the nutshell Sacchi always looked to creating entertaining brand of football. It was his natural reaction against the conservative Catenaccio that still dominated Serie A at the time. He took on the challenge to prove such conservative tactics wrong and score as many goals as possible in the process. In order to achieve this goal, Sacchi asked his team to focus on two things: Movement and Teamwork. They laid the groundwork for his Total Football approach. The combination of the two allowed for some trully inspiring coordinated attacks and flowing plays. Things like wide player cutting inside to allow room for an overlapping full-back might seem like a common strategy in football right now. But in the 80s it was a tactical novelty and a useful way to manipulate opposition’s defensive structure. However it required exceptional understanding of the spacial movement (Anticipation, Decisions and Off the Ball if you will) and strong commitment to Teamwork throughout the squad in order to execute it in a coordinated manner. 

picsart_08-24-11_56.41-1.jpg.55fe20f8f8fc516db49662b1892c01a4.jpg

The image above is best representative of the positioning and intelligent movement that Sacchi's Milan was famous for. A year after Sacchi took over, in 1988-89 season all the cogs in Milan's Total Football machine were in place. First there was Rijkaard, the only player whom the manager allowed some kind of specialized playmaker role. But even then Rijkaard was so much more than that. He was like a dynamo machine in Milan's midfield. A veritable jack of all trades player. The formations beating heart.

Frank-Rijkaard-e1470129021609-1024x678.jpg.3784cde635101ce1ca1f6fc4cd7b5c03.jpg

"Regarded as one of the greatest players in his position, Rijkaard was a quick, strong, complete and tenacious defensive midfielder who was praised by pundits throughout his career for his physical and athletic attributes, his work rate, positioning, his acute tactical intelligence and decision-making, as well as his outstanding consistency and ability to read the game. Due to his aggression and versatility, he was also capable of playing as a central or box-to-box midfielder, and even in a defensive role, usually in the centre. Although Rijkaard was known as strong tackler, he was surprisingly elegant for a player of his size, and also possessed good technique, passing ability, link-up play, and vision, which made him adept at starting attacking plays as a deep-lying playmaker once he won back possession; because of his technical skills and creative abilities, he was also capable of playing in more advanced roles, as an attacking midfielder or second striker. Due to his height and physical strength, he excelled in the air, and also possessed a powerful shot; furthermore, he was capable of getting forward and contributing to his team's attacking plays with goals by making late runs into the penalty area." - Wikipedia

4ZAG6XKLY2MGE7HDFI4A7HZIJU.jpg.978aaae2533ab0ce6517dd411df1753b.jpg

Frank Rijkaard and Carlo Ancelotti - the ever-present midfield pair in Sacchi's Total Football Dream Team - who would have thought that they would go on to manage some of the biggest clubs in the world.

The blockbuster signing of Frank Rjikaard in turn allowed his midfield partner Ancelotti more freedom to move away from mere central midfield defensive duties. Instead Ancelotti could now move sideways to better link up with the onrushing Maldini. Maldini was the only fullback who had more license to advance forward and was mostly tasked with providing width on the left flank. Another wonderfully well-round player. Most known for his versatility throughout his career, Maldini started out as a rightback, then moved to the left before finishing his career (as his pace declined) as one of the best centrebacks ever. It goes without saying that he excelled in both attack and defence. At his prime he was an ultimate complete wingback who defended very well but could move forward at a moment's notice.

DwTvscvV4AEjJrd.jpg.14f5c87d48306a1a7164d3515eb9c058.jpg

Paolo Maldini - that green-eyed Devil - one scary dude to go up against. 

Thus Ancelotti sort of took on the carrilero role (although again he did much more than that) which allowed Maldini to push up and act as a passing option for Colombo and Gullit. At the same time on the right flank, Donadoni would cut inside into the right half space. At other times Donadoni would be the one providing width, as Colombo moved into the left half-space. A sort of movement that is too complicated to show in FM21, so I will try to keep it simple limiting the tactic to one wide and in-field runner per side. The goal is still the same, trying to create a tactic where we use as much of the pitch as possible, as efficiently as possible. Pep would probably label it Juego de Posicion. To Arrigo Sacchi it was simply playing football. The only way that made sense. 

If Rijkaard was the heart of the formation, then Gullit was its brain.

2731176.jpg.563123337cbd53802392f51aef2beedc.jpg

Ruud Gullit was the vital cog in linking Milan’s attack midfield and defense. Once they won the ball back, they would try to pass to Gullit. To facilitate this he became adapt at dropping into the space between the lines and was able to find room to operate in no matter how compact the opposition defence was. His team-mates never had a problem in finding him open. 

"A complete and versatile player, Gullit epitomised the ethos of Total Football as he was naturally adept in several positions, and was capable of aiding his team defensively as well as offensively due to his work-rate, ball-winning abilities, and tactical intelligence in addition to his skill and physical qualities. Normally deployed as an attacking midfielder or as a second striker, he was capable of playing anywhere in midfield or along the front-line, on either wing or even in the centre, and could also play as a sweeper. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, his foremost attribute was his athleticism, as he used his strength and speed, combined with his technique, to great effect; he was also strong in the air, as he was tall, powerful, and an excellent jumper. Yet, unusually for a man of his stature, Gullit was an elegant player, who also possessed outstanding natural balance, poise, technical ability, and dribbling skills, which gave a graceful style to his game. Gullit also was noted for his intelligence, creativity, vision, and spatial abilities, qualities that helped him score goals early in his career and enabled him to play in a deeper role as a playmaker late in his days, where he was known for creating chances for teammates. Gullit thus combined physical presence with flair, mental acuity, formidable technique and natural touch, to become an iconic figure in world football." - Wikipedia entry

Despite his attacking qualities, Gullit was definately a key creative presence. Thus to compliment his amazing supporting qualities he needed a partner who was equally exceptional in his clinical finishing and eye for goal. So that the chances that Gullit couldn't finish himself, his partner would. So naturally Sacchi partnered Gullit with one of the most complete strikers of his generation, Milan's third Dutch acquisition, Marco van Basten. Van Basten was a personification of a Complete Forward:

"Regarded as one of the greatest and most complete strikers and players in the history of the sport, due to his prolific goalscoring and great skill set, Van Basten was dubbed the "Swan Of Utrecht" for his elegance and intelligent attacking play, and was known for his penchant for scoring acrobatic goals. His height and strength allowed him to excel in the air, and his technical ability and agility saw him execute spectacular strikes throughout his career, such as volleys and bicycle kicks. A fast and opportunistic striker with quick reactions and excellent movement, he often took advantage of loose balls in the penalty area due to his ability to anticipate defenders, and was capable of both controlling fast and difficult balls well with one touch, or even shooting first time. Possessing a powerful and accurate shot, and clinical, varied finishing from anywhere along the pitch, he was capable of scoring goals with either foot from inside or outside the penalty area, as well as with his head; he was also an accurate penalty kick and free-kick taker." - Wikipedia 

bike.jpg.e0ce1ad5b56981e92082f35d4776e77f.jpg

Van Basten (Ajax) executing a bicycle kick against FC Den Bosch. One of the select few to have ever scored successfully in such a manner. 

And Did I mention he was a Complete Forward?

"Although he was mainly known as a traditional attacker who operated in the penalty area as a centre-forward throughout his career, Van Basten also possessed excellent vision and distribution, in addition to his goalscoring ability, which enabled him to play in deeper, more creative positions, as a second striker, for example, and which allowed him to participate in the build-up of attacking plays and provide assists to his teammates in addition to scoring goals himself" - Wikipedia

 

 

 

Edited by crusadertsar
Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

COMING SOON - How can we achieve Sacchi's "Universality" ideal in FM21? Fast forward to 2024 and my Real Sociedad Total Football Dream Team Version 2.0 

Petit.png.0a96633bb9b358ca7ac0b6464a25a8da.png

 

Is he more of a Donadoni or Colombo? Or perhaps another player. We will see soon :D

Edited by crusadertsar
Link to post
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

COMING SOON - How can we achieve Sacchi's "Universality" ideal in FM21? Fast forward to 2024 and my Real Sociedad Total Football Dream Team Version 2.0 

Petit.png.0a96633bb9b358ca7ac0b6464a25a8da.png

 

Is he more of a Donadoni or Colombo? Or perhaps another player. We will see soon :D

Could be one of the dutchmen, Rijkaard or Gullit. :thup:

Can't wait to see where this is going, it inspired me to fire FM21 up again!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

AMC - RICARDO PEREDA, 19 y.o 

Pereda.png.f3e36b4b421e8df2b2a5489740b6589b.png

So I will start with my very own "Gullit". 19 year-old Ricardo Pereda.

A product of Real Sociedad youth academy. I might have bragged about him on here before, since I am rather proud of this particular youngster. He was the shining gem in our very first youth intake, graduating in March 2021. Since then he went on to make 53 Senior Team appearances, scoring 7 goals while assisting on 9 others. Which is not a bad return for a teenager who has been mostly used as a sub to our current AMC star, Mikel Oyarzabal.

Pereda still has a lot of growing to do, especially if he is to fill the big shoes of Gullit. But already you can see that he possess similar athletic ability (although still needs to improve his acceleration and pace) and impressive reach in the air. Also Ricardo has a lot of creativity and technical skill to excel in his link-up role while still being a dangerous attacking threat going forward. There are also signs of versatility that Gullit was famous for. As you can see Pereda's defensive attributes are rather good for AMC/Secondary Striker so that he could even slot into a midfield role. That is if I had no other more suitable choices there. And we definately do. Wait until you see my "Rikjaard" ;)

In the above image you can also see my tactic and all the necessary PIs for Pereda's role. My choice of PIs has actually been influenced by in-game Trequartista role. I tried to mix the behavior of that role with a less-aggressive individual mentality of AMC(S) role. This is because in the game both Shadow Striker and Trequartista roles operate with "Very Attacking" individual mentality, which was not ideally what I want from my "Gullit". While AMC (Support) plays with a "Positive" individual mentality which allows him to balance better his attacking tendencies with more a supporting link-up role. I also prefer it to the "Balanced" individual mentality that a typical supporting striker like False9 or DLF(S) would have here. It is not enough and sometimes makes the player too passive.

I believe the "Positive" individual mentality choice is vital in this #10 role as it allows the player to contribute more equally to attack and build-up. Exactly as you would wish your secondary, supporting striker to do. As an example, my current number one choice for AMC, Oyarzabal, has been performing really well in this role. He racked up 16 league goals and 10 assists in 32 games. And that number probably could have been even better had he not been sidelined with a 6 week-long injury towards the end of the season. So who said that AMC position cannot perform well in FM21 :cool: ?

Oya.png.9c0f6efaf3ab4c44d2dd1f19e6495850.png

Edited by crusadertsar
Link to post
Share on other sites

Returning to a point above, the difference between lookalike formations is definitely in the distribution of defensive duties ie. 4-1-4-1, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 and alike. 
 

Would argue against the 4-4-2 being the basis for universality and feel the future of football will borrow more and more from times past. Somewhere in a distant era, 10 midfielders (some defensive, some transitional and others offensive generalists) and a sweeper keeper will take the field. Nevertheless, look forward to the evolution of this thread. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

On 15/03/2021 at 00:26, crusadertsar said:

Totally agree. Thats why I believe that to get the most enjoyment out of this game is to try to keep it simple rather than trying to get too much out of the tactic creator. It will never be perfect and it will only lead to frustration and disappointment. And that might mean playing in a simple 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 and allow players more freedom in how they attack the space. Balance in attack and defence and while using generic roles. It can be a form of Total Football, or at least the game's version of it. Just don't expect all your players to switch positions. Or accurately recreate Pep's wingers and wingbacks. 

One element which I find very unrealistic in FM are the PPM's.  I can wrap my head around having to train players to remove or add certain technical traits like a long flat throw in or being able to use the outside of your foot to a high standard but I think it's a bit ridiculous to have to go to a coach who inevitably argues with you and say well this very intelligent player hasn't got a great passing range so I want him to stop playing long searching balls and keep it more simple and then spend weeks or months having him stop doing something that in reality would be a 5 mins conversation directly with the player.

A player with very average dribbling ability but great mentals who frequently turns the ball over in key areas by needlessly dribbling isn't really going to say "Sorry it's in my nature boss, have you asked Dennis Bergkamp(if you can get him to agree with you) to work 2 months with me to see if we can remove this counterintuitive habit of mine?" Granted there will be situations where low footballing iq or disruptive stubborn players(I am thinking Anelka 2010 WC) will think you're an idiot and just do whatever they think is right but that's a rarity rather than the norm

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

AMC - RICARDO PEREDA, 19 y.o 

Pereda.png.f3e36b4b421e8df2b2a5489740b6589b.png

 

 

I can't help but feel that this is the shape Arsène Wenger used in his Arsenal until Ozil and Sanchez arrived, with RvP as the CF and Fabregas as the AM.

Looking forward to what you make of this, and will probably try to use this shape (with a few different instructions) with a few different teams.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

WMs - JOSE, 17 y.o and LUDOVIC PETIT, 18 y.o

wingers.png.e1b8237e9fd2666205f256706e5e485e.png

Now this is probably the most important part of the tactic that I cannot really convey with a simple picture of the formation. The roles and the team instruction are important but sometimes the "under the hood" individual instructions and unique player traits (PPMs) can make or break a tactic.

As you can see for my wide players I chose to use two rather generic Wide Midfielders (again keeping with Sacchi's dislike for specialized players), Jose and Ludovic Petit. 

Ludovic, the player on the right, is a true workhorse of the team. Since I acquired the diminutive Frenchman from Mainz (beating our club record for highest transfer), he has developed in bounds and leaps and has been worth every penny. Unlike his "Small" name he brings A LOT to the team. And it goes beyond just goals and assists. He is not a goal machine. Nor a playmaker. His role is more subtle and yet essential. Basically he provides all the width of the right flank and is also the main source of creativity on that side. Ludovic is a complete team player - very persistent and tenacious in his pursuit of the ball. His mental strengths (Teamwork and Workrate) help with that. And once he has the ball its even harder for the opponent to steal it back (thanks to his exceptional Balance and low center of gravity). In all his attribute distribution makes him one of the best, most unique wingers I have seen in the game. He actually reminds me a lot of one my favourite players of all time. 

download.jpg.a36d82f582507d2246b265768ae10c46.jpg

Manchester-United-Legends-vs-Bayern-Munich-Legends.jpg.58d7a8857f1cc9ceb1c99d16be525dd6.jpg

 

[Park Ji-sung's] speed, off-the-ball movement, work rate and energy, which saw him deployed all over the midfield, including in the middle of the pitch, in a holding role, in a box-to-box role or on either wing, where he operated as a defensive winger, incessantly pressing the opponent players. He was also capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, or even in a more advanced role as a second striker on occasion - Wikipedia

And here is Ludovic's profile. Its up to you to judge whether you think he might become a similar type of player. I certainly believe Ludovic already possesses a lot of Park's versatility and am excited to see where he goes from here.

Petit.png.4e895ae468fddfe55ff85e18c82c5b3f.png

So it was a simple choice to put him on the right flank where I need to maintain width, win back the ball and create overloads. Ludovic's unique set of PPMs can then assure that he is quick in switching possession to the left flank where I like to position my more dangerous attacking threat. At times I have seen Ludovic drive towards goal since his intelligence makes it easier for him to assess the space for opening even if he is not the most clinical finisher. His PPMs are also the reason I why I like to keep his personal instructions simple and, except for stay wider, led him decide on the best action. 

Whereas Ludovic compensates some of his technical and physical shortcomings with his dogged workrate and teamwork, my player on the left is probably the best example of a pure natural talent. Talent which he has in loads but his personality and attitude needs a bit work (his personality is unambitious). Thus if Ludovic is my Park Ji-Sung, then 17 y.o Jose is young Cristiano Ronaldo.

Jose.png.23455708771398799acd702932bdeb98.png

Well maybe without young CR7's tears and tantrums. Jose definitely needs to learn to better channel his ambition in order to reach his full potential and become the best player he can be. 

346f267c9516a9c0.jpg.9be82b4ffc854990a2ea9faf168dd13b.jpg

Jose was my first youth academy graduate to be labelled as a "one in a generation" talent. Touted as the next Fernando Torres, this youngster broke into a First Team shortly after turning 16. And even broke a bunch or records in that first season.

jose2.png.de372c5e1daa2988599c87ef6685060e.png

From his profile he might not seem that special but keep in mind that Jose is only a 17 year old kid and still has a lot of growing up to do. Much like Cristiano when he first arrived at Old Trafford. Also similarly to CR7, Jose starts out as a lightning fast and highly technical winger. I hope that with time he can become more clinical in front of the goal much like Cristiano did. Until that happens he remains my 2nd choice for the left wing position. So far Amine Gouiri has made that role his own with a respectable 29 goal return last season. 

gouiri.png.d02644382a9fd85082b85b3301c0b0fa.png

One very important consideration is that any player that you want to play in this position ABSOLUTELY needs to possess "moves into channels" trait. Basically to be one of your potent goal producers he needs to act more like a deep raumdeuter, space investigator (or wide poacher). That is the main reason for my PI selection, so as to recreate this role. Unfortunately no other wide attacker role (other than Wide Targetman and Raumdeuter) allows "moves into channels" to be selected. Hence the need to train it as a PPM. 

So hopefully this post can show just the kind of well-round "universal" players you will need for these two important positions. As well as giving you some insight into the personalized instructions that I use to customize my two WMs. In the end I settled on using the two most generic wide attacker roles. Why you might ask? Well, unlike wingers, inverted wingers or inside forwards, it was to give the formation more defensive solidity (to start from a deeper defensive shape) and to allow the players more natural freedom in their approach. I did not like the idea of limiting them by too many hardcoded instructions (especially for dribbling and crossing). It was also to allow intelligent "Total" footballers more leeway in using the attacking space more fully to their advantage.

 

NEXT PART coming soon - My Dutch (sort of) Connection - my "Rijkaard" and "Van Basten" players

Edited by crusadertsar
Link to post
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Crazy_Ivan said:

One element which I find very unrealistic in FM are the PPM's.  I can wrap my head around having to train players to remove or add certain technical traits like a long flat throw in or being able to use the outside of your foot to a high standard but I think it's a bit ridiculous to have to go to a coach who inevitably argues with you and say well this very intelligent player hasn't got a great passing range so I want him to stop playing long searching balls and keep it more simple and then spend weeks or months having him stop doing something that in reality would be a 5 mins conversation directly with the player.

A player with very average dribbling ability but great mentals who frequently turns the ball over in key areas by needlessly dribbling isn't really going to say "Sorry it's in my nature boss, have you asked Dennis Bergkamp(if you can get him to agree with you) to work 2 months with me to see if we can remove this counterintuitive habit of mine?" Granted there will be situations where low footballing iq or disruptive stubborn players(I am thinking Anelka 2010 WC) will think you're an idiot and just do whatever they think is right but that's a rarity rather than the norm

 

I agree for the most part. It is definately one of the limitations of the game. Wish it was more flexible.

But also as I try to show in my last post, PPMs can be invaluable and one of the many tools we can use in making the tactic act exactly as we wish. For example, in helping us to get specific behaviour out of the wide players that cannot be achieved with a simple role selection. Sometimes you might want to copy the behaviour of one role to transfer it to another role in a different tactical strata. Like making your WM(Attack) act more like a Raumdeuter or Poacher operationg from a deeper position. So in my opinion player traits are really a double edged sword. Sometimes they do limit you in how you can use a player. Like having a midfielder with "comes deep to get the ball' which can be beneficial in a deep playmaker but not so much when you want to use him as a mezzala or shadow striker

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • crusadertsar changed the title to Towards "Universal" Tactical Style - ATTACK, DEFENCE, POSSESSION - Total Football and Total Balance in FM

How's your pressing in game? My tactic is very similar to yours in term of formation, roles and TIs and the main issue I have is that the wingers do not press high enough, even if I have a Higher Defensive Line and use Extremely Urgent Pressing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • crusadertsar changed the title to Towards "Universal" Tactical Style - ATTACK, DEFENCE, POSSESSION - Total Football and Total Balance
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, gam945 said:

How's your pressing in game? My tactic is very similar to yours in term of formation, roles and TIs and the main issue I have is that the wingers do not press high enough, even if I have a Higher Defensive Line and use Extremely Urgent Pressing.

Exactly like @Experienced Defender said if you want your wingers to press higher then just raise your LOE. But keep in mind that you might then want to increase your DL too. I like to operate with what I see as ideal compactness, that is standard LOE and high DL. It works well in most cases. Especially if you have hard working wingers already.

Edited by crusadertsar
Link to post
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

If you want your players (forwards) to press high(er) up the pitch, that's not about the defensive line but the line of engagement.

The Higher DL increases by default the LOE, and I don't want to lose compactness by increasing it more nor get too high up the pitch by increasing more the DL. The issue is that even though there is a lot of space ahead and they are instructed to press urgently, the wingers in the midfield strata won't press almost as high as the front 2 strikers. Hoped the attack duty and the extremely urgent pressing TI would resolve it but it doesn't seem so. 

Last recourse would be to use OIs instructing the wingers to press more the full backs/wing backs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, gam945 said:

The Higher DL increases by default the LOE, and I don't want to lose compactness by increasing it more nor get too high up the pitch by increasing more the DL. The issue is that even though there is a lot of space ahead and they are instructed to press urgently, the wingers in the midfield strata won't press almost as high as the front 2 strikers. Hoped the attack duty and the extremely urgent pressing TI would resolve it but it doesn't seem so. 

Last recourse would be to use OIs instructing the wingers to press more the full backs/wing backs.

No high DL does not increase LOE by default. Not significantly at least. If you really want your wingers to press higher you need to increase the LOE manually. But then to have ideal compactness you will need High LOE and Much Higher DL which is much more risky approach. But afterall if you want your wingers to press in opposition half then you must operate with a certain level of risk. A lot does have to do with your players. For best press you will need players in the mold of defensive wingers. Sort of like my Ludovic Petit. That is very aggressive, determined and hard working. Do you have such players?

Edited by crusadertsar
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • crusadertsar changed the title to Towards "Universal" Tactical Style - Arrigo Sacchi's Total Football
35 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

No high DL does not increase LOE by default. Not significantly at least. If you really want your wingers to press higher you need to increase the LOE manually. But then to have ideal compactness you will need High LOE and Much Higher DL which is much more risky approach. But afterall if you want your wingers to press in opposition half then you must operate with a certain level of risk. A lot does have to do with your players. For best press you will need players in the mold of defensive wingers. Sort of like my Ludovic Petit. That is very aggressive, determined and hard working. Do you have such players?

Indeed you're right, higher DL increases the LOE only by a small amount, pretty negligible. I'm in the third Italian division, so I'm far from having players at the level of your Petit lol. The only player that has great attributes, my starter winger on loan from Serie A, has 3 of Aggression...and I wonder why he doesn't press as much as I want :idiot:

Guess I'll just wait to get better players, but pressing was the only negative point I had for my tactic. Otherwise, it produces beautiful offensive phases, passing play and a lot of overloads.

Irrelevant question:

Spoiler

what skin are you using and are you playing FM21 or FM20?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

PART coming soon - My Dutch (sort of) Connection - my "Rijkaard" and "Van Basten" players

Looking forward to this, especially how you set up your segundo volante!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Really enjoying this so far. Highly resonates with the way I like to play the game. I see your players are capable of playing more than one position in your systems too - is this something that you utilise? I'm a huge fan of players being able to play more than one position, and it really adds to the "total football" feel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

THE IMPORTANCE OF VERSATILITY IN TOTAL FOOTBALL TACTICS

 

CF(A), SV and DLP - LECLERC, 18 y.o, DE BLOCK, 19 y.o ("The Belgian Duo") and MARCOS ANTONIO, 24 y.o (The Brazilian Magician)

TACTICAL VERSATILITY. The ability to play multiple positions. I think it is really essential to Total Football style. Much like Arrigo Sacchi I am a big fan of generic roles and players who can play in multiple positions in my tactics (as @LUFCspeni rightfully noticed). In most cases I prefer to use them instead of the more exotic, specialized ones. Unless I really need a specific behavior that I cannot model from a generic role. For instance, I could not avoid using the Segundo Volante because I really wanted a Box-to-Box type of midfielder in deeper position. And Segundo Volante is really unique role in the game to be hardcoded to act like this. It's also why it's been my favourite role since it first appeared in the game. While Arne De Block, whom I use in this role, is my favourite player in this squad. The young Belgian hits high on all of the key attributes that I am looking for in my total footballers - especially Bravery, Teamwork, Workrate, and Balance. And still has lots of potential to develop into a very well-rounded player. Exactly what you need in deeper midfield position. I cannot stress how important it is to use hard-working team-players with all-around good technical skills. And defensively responsible (something I hope to improve in De Block over time). So as you might guess, Arne is this formation's Rijkaard. I'm also developing him into our Half-space runner, hence the move into channels instruction. That's the only individual instruction in all the roles discussed in today's update.

Belgian.png.3d3289f216b8de0bb1747fa26ac6b747.png

In the deep midfield positions you will also want your long-distance shooting experts. Just like set-pieces it is an overlooked source of goals. De Block scored 6 such goals in our last season, and he is only 18 y.o. My other advise is having your best passer take all of your corners. Thanks to my DLP Marcos Antonio, our Central Defender Le Normand was able to score no less than 9 header goals!

LeNormand.png.6ef7c429e9ccb28faa16ee3977ebe57e.png

Certainly the best return I ever had from set pieces in any FM. And as you can see Le Normand is nothing special except being typical tall, strong CD (albeit with good Heading and Technique). I never do anything special with my set piece instructions other than manually designating all of my set piece takers. So Marcos Antonio and Oyarzabal (our two best playermakers) were two of our main crossers. And here is the man himself, our 1st choice in DLP position.

Marcos.png.86ba19d9f1e56c5bc0c824fab551e45d.png

A very good player. I like to pretend that I paid homage to Sacchi's love of Brazilian Jogo Bonito when I bought Marco. But in reality I acquired him long before this current tactic came into fruition. I also love him because he has very good positioning and decent tackling. A rarity in very creative players. Sort of my "poor man's" Marco Verratti. Luckily PSG have not noticed him yet.

I am breaking my no specialist rule with his chosen DLP role, but I have no choice here because I want two things from my midfield. 1) To connect the defence with the attack - thus SV is ideal for this and 2) to focus most of our play through the middle. And putting a playmaker in the middle of the pitch is one of the best ways to do this. But I promise, no more specialists ;)

And to prove this, here I present my most generalist, versatile player on the squad, J.P LeClerc. The other member of the Belgian Duo and my "Van Basten" role.

Striker.png.8fedcdcad96d98dd535e0c3b62eff55e.png

Jean-Paul is everything that I look for in a "Total Football" central striker in quasi-two striker formation such as my 4-4-1-1. Technique, Intelligence and Power. And it is true this Belgian is a very athletic player, easily capable of playing as a Targetman in any formation, but he is also very intelligent in his Anticipation, Vision, and Decision Making. A true work-horse in literally any position in any of the five formation strata; from attack to defence. He actually started out his career as a midfielder before moving into a libero position during u19 days (and my brief Catennaccio obsession phase :idiot: * See Footnote ) and then finally transitioning into a striker. Yet somewhat fortuitously the defence experience was probably invaluable in molding him into the player he is now. But unfortunately as much as I would like LeClerc to be my Van Basten, he still cannot do overhead kicks like Marco could.

Here we come to my other important note. This time regarding Total Football training. Perhaps it is already obvious to some of you. But one thing I noticed when training my "Total" footballers. It is key to train them in multiple, varied roles, especially ones that they might not be natural in, in order to give them a more-rounded skillset. I already gave you the example of my central striker. But also Ricardo Pereda, my current AMC star, started out his football life as a decent striker. But over time he was able to acquire more playmaking and midfield attributes by training in AMC and CM positions. 

1263850_screenshots_20201231145123_1.thumb.jpg.4a75fda7b0a5558287fbb8dffed580ff.jpg

This is what he looked like in his first season with u19 team. Decent enough striker. Although one with rather poor Off The Ball actually. Thankfully that improved. Now fast-forward three years into the present where Ricardo is slowly turning into a very versatile player capable of playing all along our midfield and attack. Can you even tell that he is an Attacking Midfielder or a Striker, or Central Midfielder from this profile?

Pereda2.png.4e8fcbdb69fb441fb64ce099afa588ab.png

 

* FOOTNOTE:

 

Edited by crusadertsar
Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

For those interested in my Total Football training method, here is the link to my more in-depth explanation of it:

Not sure if it will take you directly to the exact thread page. But in case it doesn't then its page 19. There should also be the download links to the training schedules. I use those schedules all across my saves because I generally play with a similar focus on possession-focused beautiful football. I know I am rather boring that way haha. My training schedules have not really changed, except I would add than once the tactic becomes fluent then you should probably change Match Tactics to something else like "Teamwork" training or a routine that would help you more in the upcoming match (like set-pieces for those pesky defensive side).

And wow, my original Total Football thread really got out of hand quickly :lol: . But I would still encourage you to use it if have any questions about my Total Football tactics in general or just want to shoot some ideas around. I love to see what you guys think and I still follow and check that thread regularly. 

Cheer! And thanks for humouring me and reading all of my tactical ramblings all these years  :)

Edited by crusadertsar
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have started a save with FC Viitorul in the best league in Romania, and I really want to defend in the 4-4-2 shape. This tactic allows me to do exact that combined with having a player in the AM strata. I don't have any players for the CFa role just yet, and I have gone with a PFs role (moves into channels, take fewer risks as PIs) and it works surprisingly well. I'm controlling the matches and even away against FCSB I was able to control the game with this shape and even deserved to win the game, although I lost 2-1 on a freak own goal in the 96th minute. So far I'm really enjoying it.

I have one thought, which I haven't tested out myself yet. Could the SVs become a RPM with the DLPs becoming a BWMd?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Lasson said:

I have started a save with FC Viitorul in the best league in Romania, and I really want to defend in the 4-4-2 shape. This tactic allows me to do exact that combined with having a player in the AM strata. I don't have any players for the CFa role just yet, and I have gone with a PFs role (moves into channels, take fewer risks as PIs) and it works surprisingly well. I'm controlling the matches and even away against FCSB I was able to control the game with this shape and even deserved to win the game, although I lost 2-1 on a freak own goal in the 96th minute. So far I'm really enjoying it.

I have one thought, which I haven't tested out myself yet. Could the SVs become a RPM with the DLPs becoming a BWMd?

It's definitely possible. Especially if you are operating with two hardworking players in both roles. I think the key i not so much the roles themselves but the varied behaviour and movement from each one. In double pivot midfield like this you always want one more reserved role to stay more back (my DLP) and one more aggressive half-space runner/ball carrier such as my VS or your RPM. BWM is actually perfect for the kind of hardpressing intense football that you want to create with this tactic.

Edited by crusadertsar
Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent write up as always crusadertsar!

I use a very similar system but with two CMs instead of the two DM strata positions you use. I'm in the non-leagues so dont have those wonderfully gifted players to give specialized roles to. Instead one CM will have "get further forward" instruction to give a pivot and link with a TMs in the forward line who in turn has an AF making runs ahead. It gives several diamonds for passing lanes and runners. 

With progression and more suited players will come shorter passing and more intense pressing. So far this style is clinical up front and very tight defensively for lower league style football. Even with a cautious mentality I'm sometimes seeing 8 different players getting opportunities at some point in the match. With these basic instructions a lot of freedom is given to the individuals and you really do see their PPMs standing out. 

 

Screenshot 2021-03-19 162707.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
On 19/03/2021 at 16:37, hehehemann said:

Excellent write up as always crusadertsar!

I use a very similar system but with two CMs instead of the two DM strata positions you use. I'm in the non-leagues so dont have those wonderfully gifted players to give specialized roles to. Instead one CM will have "get further forward" instruction to give a pivot and link with a TMs in the forward line who in turn has an AF making runs ahead. It gives several diamonds for passing lanes and runners. 

With progression and more suited players will come shorter passing and more intense pressing. So far this style is clinical up front and very tight defensively for lower league style football. Even with a cautious mentality I'm sometimes seeing 8 different players getting opportunities at some point in the match. With these basic instructions a lot of freedom is given to the individuals and you really do see their PPMs standing out. 

 

Screenshot 2021-03-19 162707.png

I really like the elegance of your formation. That symmetry! Similar to what I was trying to show. Even the simplest formations like 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1 can create a multitude of diamonds and passing triangles. All you have to do is set up your players, especially the pivots and runners. And you can get some really beautiful football even at lower level. I would probably go with the a simpler midfield too in mine but I find that once you have the right player it's really hard not to play him in the Segundo Volante role. Especially when he is a work-horse. I'm constantly amazed by how much space he covers per game. Its really what a true Box-to-Box role should have been. I find the B2B in CM strata expose the defence too much because they sometimes overlook their defensive duties. Not so with the SV. The initial defensive positioning really makes a difference, making sure that the player covers the maximum amount of space in both attack and defence. But like you said you need the right type of players in higher competition levels. 

Edited by crusadertsar
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, this was a game changer for me. I was already giving up on FM21 and going back to FM18 where I had some safe saves. Nothing was working for me until I tried this. I created a test save with Bayern and worked like a charm. I turned it into a 4-3-3 strikerless and it's now even better. I kept the TI and some PI and it's a beauty to watch. Also suited Barcelona perfectly. I wanted to make this 4-3-3-0 to work for a while, but it wasn't clicking. It's perfect against those parking the bus, as the SS (or T, in Barcelona) draw the central defenders away from their position. And Mezzala + Carrilero go wider while the wingers move to the center with more space.

4330.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, pauloolivieri said:

Wow, this was a game changer for me. I was already giving up on FM21 and going back to FM18 where I had some safe saves. Nothing was working for me until I tried this. I created a test save with Bayern and worked like a charm. I turned it into a 4-3-3 strikerless and it's now even better. I kept the TI and some PI and it's a beauty to watch. Also suited Barcelona perfectly. I wanted to make this 4-3-3-0 to work for a while, but it wasn't clicking. It's perfect against those parking the bus, as the SS (or T, in Barcelona) draw the central defenders away from their position. And Mezzala + Carrilero go wider while the wingers move to the center with more space.

4330.png

I'm happy that it works so well for you. But yours has sort of become a very different tactic. Still I am glad that this thread recaptured your passion for FM21 :thup:

Link to post
Share on other sites

42 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

I'm happy that it works so well for you. But yours has sort of become a very different tactic. Still I am glad that this thread recaptured your passion for FM21 :thup:

Indeed, totally different. But I made the changes over your tactic. And I'm keeping yours too mostly for home matches. As I was testing this one above on top dogs, I was facing more teams parking the bus. But with both Bayer and Barça they can be switched very easilly, don't even need to replace players :D

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Great thread, looking forward to see the complete tactic. On my side, I've used a sort of Total football 4-4-2 the last three seasons, and it got me promoted to Serie A. Really enjoyed the tactic and the way my team plays. 

image.png.238578c1a0627e15b8e9c8d70cddb3e9.png

All of my players except the two CDs and the Poacher have the Plays One-Twos PPM, and for matches against better oppositions I use to add the Be More Expressive TI and increase by one unit the Passing Directness and the Tempo.

F9 is instructed to Move Into Channels and Roam, Poacher is instructed to Roam, IWB to Shoot Less Often and finally, the FB is loaded with instructions: Take Fewer Risks, Cross Less Often, Cross From Deep, Dribble Less, Hold Position, Sit Narrower. Instructing the front two to roam really adds dynamism to the play.

I'm very happy with this tactic and still trying to perfect it, but I think I'll have to create a counter-attacking tactic to play against the big clubs in Serie A - this one might be too risky. I'm considering adding the Places Shots to my wingers, and Plays One-Twos to my Poacher but I'm really not sure about it. Also as I get more confident and I get better players, I may change the RPM-su to an AP-su.

Link to post
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Bigshow1 said:

Loved reading this. Are there any other player instructions still to talk about like the fullbacks?

Glad you like it mate. Nope all the instructions are pretty much there. Nothing special for the fullbacks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Questions: do you keep the same approach no matter the opposition you face? I'm trying to make it work with Bayern and the players seem to be getting te idea slowly (I turned the left winger into WM-S and VOL-S into VOL-A as I needed that area in front of him and behind Lewa to be filled).

Second question is how to make this work with Milan?, as Ibra is quite slow and tends to get isolated in front.

Edited by pauloolivieri
Link to post
Share on other sites

On 16/04/2021 at 12:17, pauloolivieri said:

Questions: do you keep the same approach no matter the opposition you face? I'm trying to make it work with Bayern and the players seem to be getting te idea slowly (I turned the left winger into WM-S and VOL-S into VOL-A as I needed that area in front of him and behind Lewa to be filled).

Second question is how to make this work with Milan?, as Ibra is quite slow and tends to get isolated in front.

Yes I don't generally change it. I would maybe try him as the AM(S) role. But honestly he has gotten way too slow to play anything but an Enganche or Targetman. He probably wouldn't work for this highly demanding Total Football system.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...