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Ironclad Concepts of Defensive Football


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About point 1, let me just warn people reading this and trying to implement it: on attacking corners, let's say you leave your wingers on the halfway line because they don't help much inside the opposition area and they are fast so good to defend counters: they will run towards their full-backs as soon as the opposition gets the ball and leave your half of the field exposed. So make sure when you set this up you have other players with the "stay back" instruction and your wingers are taking corners/inside the area/offering short option.

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My own view right now on why people struggle defending is the mentality assigned to the individual players.

Check the mentality of your players on a defend duty against those on an attack duty.  If you have some players (very)attacking whilst other are (very)defensive then you might be headed for trouble.  It is these mentalities which create positioning depth in the structure of you side. 

Having some depth may be beneficial when used with an overall positive or attacking strategy.  However at the other end of the scale, with cautious and defensive strategies, it runs the risk of being more harmful with the spread of individual mentalities across the team coming to represent gaps or holes within a leaky system. 

The way the TC mentality framework has been set up the past couple of versions is very unhelpful in this respect and that's before considering that the ME seems to be weighted against defensive play..  If you don't understand how individual mentalities are allocated or what to look for then there are traps you may blindly walk into.

Personally I don't want straight lines (all players allocated a support duty) in any tactic but at the same time I only want a modest amount of depth in my sides.  This is currently hard to create in any tactic.

In summary, it might help if SI were to take another look at the TC's mentality framework.

Edited by Robson 07
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Great piece, and galso great advice for weaker teams with some fast players.

You could rename this 'Play like Italy in the world cup' :brock:
 

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Having read this through in more detail, I'd like to ask you if you have tried these tactical settings with different setups? I have a love for playing a compact 4-4-2 in combination with this kind of style, either with 2 DMs or with 2 CMs. But many of these choices should work with many setups, and I saw a video from @Rashidinot too long ago playing a low block using a 4-2-3-1 with Nottingham Forest.

Do you think the tactical setup would increase/decrease how much effect the tactical choices will contribute? And if so, which ones?

Edited by nugatti
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@nugattiBasically they should.

 

You should consider things like:
In a compressed block tight marking could work better, because you mitigate against faster opponents by playing in a more compressed area. This makes defensive styles better. So a Standard DL and a lower or much lower line of engagement creates a compressed block that only seeks to win the ball within your own third. Once you think of defending as basically considering what your DL/LOE zone looks like then it becomes easier. And don't forget OIs are super underrated this year. I showed a match on Youtube recently where we came back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 and the only major change I did in the game was OIs

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26 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

And don't forget OIs are super underrated this year. I showed a match on Youtube recently where we came back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 and the only major change I did in the game was OIs

I can testament to this. I've definitely had games where I could visibly see my OIs making a difference, and I try to be more diligent with it than I've been before. Word of caution to everyone, though; OIs can and will be detrimental to your tactic as a whole if you don't apply them coherently. For example, if you specifically want to force opponents inside because you don't think you can defend your flanks, forcing a right footed LW onto his left foot might not actually be what you want - as that would both enable the oppositions wing play, and drag your player out of your narrow block. 

Also, I think OIs in FM21 are supposed to be sort of like the popular term 'pressing traps' - ie. instructions you can use to create specific triggers and traps for your opponents to fall into. For example, if the opposition has a player that is average in pace/acc/agility, with low bravery and concentration, you can use OIs to make your opponents pass to him more often and make it so he gets pressed ihard and tackled hard - in turn creating turnovers due to his lack of ability to withstand pressure and lack of willingness to get stuck in. 

Edited by Christopher S
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12 hours ago, Rashidi said:

@nugattiBasically they should.

 

You should consider things like:
In a compressed block tight marking could work better, because you mitigate against faster opponents by playing in a more compressed area. This makes defensive styles better. So a Standard DL and a lower or much lower line of engagement creates a compressed block that only seeks to win the ball within your own third. Once you think of defending as basically considering what your DL/LOE zone looks like then it becomes easier. And don't forget OIs are super underrated this year. I showed a match on Youtube recently where we came back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 and the only major change I did in the game was OIs

Cheers. thx for the feedback... a very thoughtful answer (as one could expect :)). But to ask you for a couple of very precise answers; Is it reasonable to expect these kinds of settings to work just as good with traditional 3-52s, 4-4-2s, 4-3-3s, 4-2-4s and 5-2-3s or other formations?

Does the effect of a lower LOE bring just as much to a formation with 1 forward as one with 3 forwards, for instance?

Edited by nugatti
typo
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11 hours ago, Christopher S said:

Also, I think OIs in FM21 are supposed to be sort of like the popular term 'pressing traps' - ie. instructions you can use to create specific triggers and traps for your opponents to fall into. For example, if the opposition has a player that is average in pace/acc/agility, with low bravery and concentration, you can use OIs to make your opponents pass to him more often and make it so he gets pressed ihard and tackled hard - in turn creating turnovers due to his lack of ability to withstand pressure and lack of willingness to get stuck in. 

This, I believe, is the whole mantra of Simeone's Atleti (combined with a world record amount of shithousery) :) 

Edited by nugatti
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23 hours ago, Christopher S said:

I can testament to this. I've definitely had games where I could visibly see my OIs making a difference, and I try to be more diligent with it than I've been before. Word of caution to everyone, though; OIs can and will be detrimental to your tactic as a whole if you don't apply them coherently. For example, if you specifically want to force opponents inside because you don't think you can defend your flanks, forcing a right footed LW onto his left foot might not actually be what you want - as that would both enable the oppositions wing play, and drag your player out of your narrow block. 

Also, I think OIs in FM21 are supposed to be sort of like the popular term 'pressing traps' - ie. instructions you can use to create specific triggers and traps for your opponents to fall into. For example, if the opposition has a player that is average in pace/acc/agility, with low bravery and concentration, you can use OIs to make your opponents pass to him more often and make it so he gets pressed ihard and tackled hard - in turn creating turnovers due to his lack of ability to withstand pressure and lack of willingness to get stuck in. 

I’ve found this thread really interesting. Recently I began a new save in the Vanarama South with Dulwich Hamlet. As a result I’ve moved away from my usual high press, possession based game to a medium-low block counter attacking system which puts defence first. 
 

In both styles I typically like to defend narrower and compress the space for the opposition to play in - this time it’s just closer to my goal. Obviously the easiest way to achieve that is by using the Force Opposition Outside TI.
 

I also use OIs in conjunction with this, however I’ve never been sure if I’m using them correctly. I ask my players to show full backs and wingers down the line (e.g. show a right back onto his right foot). Does this make sense or should I really be showing them inside where my players are ready to engage them? 
 

My defensive record is really strong so it’s not becoming an issue, it’s more a matter of understanding the use of OIs in conjunction with TIs in case things do go wrong. 

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On 30/04/2021 at 18:41, Christopher S said:

if you specifically want to force opponents inside because you don't think you can defend your flanks,

This is one OI I hardly ever play, I don't see the need to since most players seem to be decent with both feet. Instead whenever I OI there is a simple logic to them.

OI fullbacks and defenders if I am doing a Tuchel kind of press.
Show wrong foot to players who have a great long shot
Show wrong foot to creative flank players. For some players its obvious, you see them trying to whip in crosses by trying to play with the outside of the foot. Sometimes I do homework.

Tight marking on creative players and hard tackling them to give them less time on the ball. There is probably more, but it really depends on the opposition. During my livestreams you can see me sometimes use OIs, sometimes forget. And sometimes I curse myself for missing an obvious OI that needs applying. Personally I like the way OIs are working in FM21, there are more reasons to use them than before and they are super effective, but one needs to be careful with the show wrong foot ones and the tight mark ones, cos there are times to use them and times not to.

A lot of them have to do with the kinds of defensive blocks you keep, compressed blocks benefit from tight marking/hard tackling OI combos, but more expansive systems can get ripped apart with the wrong application of tight marking/pressing intensity OIs.

I remember playing a game live managing Forest against United, United took the lead, and I put on my shithousery hat, and went to town on their two central midfielders, we managed to pull back a point at old trafford as heavy underdogs. Felt good, seeing their midfielders being tackled.

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Posted (edited)

I love playing defensive football too, so I would add:

 

Score fast. Come out with high pressure, ultra attacking football and open the score in the first 20 minutes.

Shut the door. No need to setup a counter-attacking approach. Just park the bus:

 

Much lower line if engagement, lower line of defense. 

Extreme pressure. Tight marking. Stay on feet to avoid fouls.

Press and tight mark OI on almost every opposite player except for their CDs. I know, in balanced approach it's wrong to tight mark speedy opponents, but with low compact block it works.

Defensive width depends on ops formation

Waste time, much lower tempo, much shorter passing.

My formation 4-1-4-1

PFd (sometimes DLFs)

DWs BWMs BWMs DWs

HB

FBd CDd CDd FBd

 

Works very well with tall defenders in Vanarama South

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by nully29
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