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Playing on the counter with Tottenham Hotspur - Advice?


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So, Mourinho has just been sacked in March during the first season, and I have taken over the job. I am trying to set up a tactic that is solid in defence and that can catch teams on the break. I would appreciate some feedback on my setup, especially the three ball playing defenders. Since they all operate on a defensive mentality I thought that playing more risky passes would reduce the chance of them hoofing it long, but I may be wrong on this. Also wondering if I should drop the AP-S into the CM-position and the CM-D into the DM position for a more solid defensive shape? 

As for the TI''s, I opted to not have any additional in possession instructions as I want to try and keep the ball when the counter is not on without being overly oriented towards keeping the ball at all costs, would pass into space be a good addition? As for the "in transition" I want the GK to pass the ball to my central defenders most of the time as that is one of the positives of playing 3 atb, while regroup will hopefully give me a solid defensive shape before we start to press and harass the opposition in our own half, trying to lure them forward. Since the formation is naturally vulnerable on the flanks I thought it was best to reduce the space in the inside channels and hoping that the central defenders can deal with any crosses coming in.

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36 minutes ago, Vizzini said:

I am trying to set up a tactic that is solid in defence and that can catch teams on the break

Playing a counter-attacking - or any defensive - style of football with a top team may easily prove futile, to begin with. Simply because most opponents are likely to play defensively against you, which means there is hardly going to be space for you to potentially take advantage of on the counter. 

But okay, let's ignore the above consideration for a moment and focus on your tactic.

First, the team mentality affects all other instructions, including tempo and passing style. You opted for a low-risk team mentality (cautious), which means that your tempo and level of passing risk will probably not be high enough for a fast-transition style such as the counter. So you should EITHER up the mentality (to Positive) OR up the tempo and passing length/directness (higher tempo + more direct passing). The Early crosses is also an instruction you may want to consider for this style of football.

Then you opted for narrow defensive width while playing in a formation that is also narrow (5231), which can put too much defensive burden on your wing-backs as the only wide players on their respective flanks. For that reason, I would switch defensive width to standard/default.

Roles and duties look okay overall, although the carrilero might prove a bit risky in a system without a DM (plus Lo Celso does not look like the right type of player for the role). So you need to be wary of this potential risk. 

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Thank you for your reply. After a horrid start with 1 point from the first two games I tweaked a couple of things and we are suddenly looking much better. I agree that some of the inital instructions were a bit of an overkill considering the cautious mentality, so I replaced "regroup" with counter-press, added "run at defence", removed "narrow" defensive width and upped the pressing to extremely urgent. I also changed the formation with a DM in front of the back three and AP in the MC-position on an attacking duty.

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After the changes we beat Newcastle and West Brom 2-0, Arsenal 3-1 and Fulham 3-0. Not the most impressive opposition, but we have looked much better in the matches since. We did loose 3-0 away to Liverpool and 0-1 away to Manchester City, but they are a much better side than us, and next season I will look to revamp the squad. Donnarumma is already coming in on a free, and by selling some of the squad players I will hopefully be able to invest in some better players to suit my system. I agree on Lo Celso not being suited particularly well to the carrielero-role, so I think I will give Harry Winks a chance instead, as he looks much better suited. Adding higher tempo and more direct passes is something I will consider, especially if I am going for a more pure counter-tactic. 

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I am not the tactics expert here, but just won a match against Man City which I am clearly underdog and hoping for a draw.  We won 2-0. 

The tactics and formation I use might give you some new ideas 

Both wingbacks are wide midfielders (auto) with "get further forward" and "tackle harder" instructions, so they will go up and down the pitch defend and attack.  

Sissoko is central midfielder (defend) with "close down more" and tackle harder" instructions, he will play like ball-winning midfielder.  

Ndombele is central midfielder (auto) with "take more risks", "dribble more" and "roam from position", he will play like roaming playemaker.  

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