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My attacking principles (as inspired by the Red Bull philosophy)


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Great write-up. Wonder what's your roles upfront? It looks like all of them are attacking, but you mention a false nine. Hopefully you will update soon :)

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22 hours ago, buachuta said:

Great write-up. Wonder what's your roles upfront? It looks like all of them are attacking, but you mention a false nine. Hopefully you will update soon :)

Thanks. :)

The focus on our attacking 'tactics' rather than the 'strategies' employed (formations, players, roles and duties) was intentional; this is because I'll frequently make changes to our 'strategy' as we come up against different opponents with different strengths, weaknesses and strategies of their own.

As outlined above, our attacking principles are to have numbers forward and to use these players in order to isolate or disrupt the opposition defenders.  We may try to isolate the opposition in 1-on-1's by stretching play and overloading down one side - for example, we may set up a 4-2-4 with a playmaker on one flank and a wide forward on the other. Alternatively, we may try to beat a more compact defence by having players who 'roam from position' or cut in from wide positions - creating space by dragging a defender from their assigned position, either horizontally or vertically.

So the tactical principles always remain the same - commit men to the attack, create space and attack vertically - but the strategy, including player roles and duties, changes depending on the opposition.  Before you can exploit your opponents weaknesses you need to identify them - as they say 'fail to prepare, prepare to fail' - and soon, I hope to write a bit more about how I scout my opponents and prepare for matches.

Edited by Silver Sweeper
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Lovely write up! Nice clips as well am a huge fan of watching the ideas play out. Great system you have taking with real life ideas and implemented it into FM not a easy task well done keep up the good work 👏🏻

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On 15/05/2021 at 13:17, Silver Sweeper said:

Over the course of a single save, I look to evolve a set of tactical principles that defines my team’s style of play but, at the same time, I’ll employ a variety of different strategies

Hiya, I can't help myself pointing this out but you're almost using the terms the wrong way around.  Strategy is the long term vision; tactics are the short term actions.

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10 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

Hiya, I can't help myself pointing this out but you're almost using the terms the wrong way around.  Strategy is the long term vision; tactics are the short term actions.

Potato, Potahto 

I took my definition from the Stevie Grieve quote in the opening post, and that still makes sense to me.  But whatever your preferred definition, my over-arching point is that I like to approach the game with a set of principles which only change subtly over several seasons.  I do, however, make tweaks to formations, player roles, duties, etc. based on my next opponent (although I'm definitely not saying that I make changes for every game!)

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I really enjoyed reading this thread; particularly the use of video and the match engine screenshots. Well done and thank you for sharing! :applause:

Like many, I have become increasingly fascinated by the 'German school' of managers currently dominating football. I'm in East Africa at the moment and there's a lot of German football shown on TV due to a football-mad population and it's a really interesting league.

Previously I had thought that the league was 'press, press, press', but there is far more too it than that. Sides do certainly press and it's extremely well organised but not necessarily high all of the time.

In the same way you identify formations being flexible, I am noticing that the playing style for someone like Nagelsman for example is more flexible than for say Klopp or Guardiola.

I notice some principles are pretty constant, such as:

  • Very collective, well-organised defensive shape
  • Often building from the back but in a more direct way than other leagues
  • Structured well-organised attacking shape

However the how high they press and how directly they attack can vary depending on the game, similarly to the way that you identify formations changing.

I am still playing FM2018 so I am able to use Team Shape so for me I would be setting my formation and using lots of Support duties to create that collective playing style and a Structured team shape to create that organisation (rather than giving individual freedom in more fluid shape). Then use different team mentalities to adapt the pressing intensity and directness on a game by game basis.

My comments are more broadly related to the likes of Nagelsmann, Tuchel, Rose, Favre and co. rather than the Red Bull style (which you seem to have nailed).

I love the 4-2-4 shape by the way :applause:did you go for 2 centre forwards and 2 inside forwards?

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On 20/05/2021 at 08:41, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:

I really enjoyed reading this thread; particularly the use of video and the match engine screenshots. Well done and thank you for sharing! :applause:

Like many, I have become increasingly fascinated by the 'German school' of managers currently dominating football. I'm in East Africa at the moment and there's a lot of German football shown on TV due to a football-mad population and it's a really interesting league.

Previously I had thought that the league was 'press, press, press', but there is far more too it than that. Sides do certainly press and it's extremely well organised but not necessarily high all of the time.

In the same way you identify formations being flexible, I am noticing that the playing style for someone like Nagelsman for example is more flexible than for say Klopp or Guardiola.

Firstly, thank you I appreciate the positive feedback. :)

Unfortunately, I no longer have a subscription to BT Sport so I don't get to watch as much German football as I'd like, but I do find the evolution of the German game over the past twenty years really interesting.  It seems like the national footballing identify has collectively moved away from disciplined sweeper systems of the late eighties and early nineties; from employing three at the back and rigid man-marking, to take on a more innovative approach generally played at a higher tempo with pressing as one of it's core values.

Ralf Rangnick was one of the managers that I looked to for inspiration when developing this tactical style.  He is considered one of the forefathers of modern German football, as well as highly instrumental in developing the Red Bull philosophy.  I too find Nagelsman's approach fascinating and I'm taking a keen interest in following his career - his next season, the first at Bayern, promises to be an exciting one.

This Guardian article by Jonathan Wilson is a short but interesting read about the evolution of the German game and it's part in shaping the 'modern game.'   It does, in part, mention the affect the pandemic had on 'pressing' sides whose approach relies on regular training sessions focussed on organised and repetitive functions.  It's fair to say that structured patterns and triggers are at the heart of pressing and (understandably) Football Manager finds it hard to replicate all of these concepts.

I have a lot of love for the Football Manager match engine but I do see the pressing game as one of it's limitations.  Pressing in football Manager is an approximation, it is mostly ball oriented and any flexibility (in application) is limited to the depth of the press, its intensity and the number of players involved.  What I've tried to do is translate some of the key ideas behind a particular style into the 'language' of Football Manager, and I think you've pretty much nailed those key ideas in your post...

On 20/05/2021 at 08:41, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:

I notice some principles are pretty constant, such as:

  • Very collective, well-organised defensive shape
  • Often building from the back but in a more direct way than other leagues
  • Structured well-organised attacking shape

 

On 20/05/2021 at 08:41, Ö-zil to the Arsenal! said:

I am still playing FM2018 so I am able to use Team Shape so for me I would be setting my formation and using lots of Support duties to create that collective playing style and a Structured team shape to create that organisation (rather than giving individual freedom in more fluid shape). Then use different team mentalities to adapt the pressing intensity and directness on a game by game basis.

My comments are more broadly related to the likes of Nagelsmann, Tuchel, Rose, Favre and co. rather than the Red Bull style (which you seem to have nailed).

I love the 4-2-4 shape by the way :applause:did you go for 2 centre forwards and 2 inside forwards?

I think balancing duties with shape in that way makes a lot of sense, and in FM21 I've certainly used mentality to help manage the intensity of the team's pressing and attack.  I guess the biggest difference between FM18 and FM21 has been the introduction of the defensive line and the line of engagement; these help to define a team's compactness and to determine the depth of the press.  For example, it may be easier in the latest iteration of the game to stick to a higher mentality yet lower the line of engagement?

I genuinely haven't used the 4-2-4 in Football Manager for several years but I've got to sat it's brought me a lot of joy - almost every foray into attack feels like it could end in a goal!  The front four has fluctuated but often consists of a staggered front two (i.e. one on an attack duty, one on support) and two inverting wingers/forwards - or sometimes a playmaker coming inside.

For those interested, this was how I set up in my last match (a 5-0 win against Hoffenheim), however, I want to stress this is not designed to be a 'plug and play' tactic (please read the opening post!)...

523074064_Screenshot2021-05-22at14_45_56.thumb.png.112741e949148b45c8430a57d7021e29.png

 

 

Edited by Silver Sweeper
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Posted (edited)
On 27/05/2021 at 21:57, halfspace3000 said:

any more updates on how this is going?

Thanks for your interest, however, the thread/topic was designed to be a one-off analysis of the tactical principles I've been applying lately and not a 'series' following the progress of my save.  I've considered expanding on how I prepare for games, how I analyse my opponent and then tweak the strategy - but this feels more suited to a thread of its own.  In truth, I can't see me adding any more to the original post here but I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.

I've also been thinking of starting a save in which I'll attempt to implement these principles at a team ill-suited to this style of play.  I'm interested to see if I can imbed a philosophy at a club the way the Red Bull corporation have at Salzburg and Leipzig.  If I do start this save, and decide to post about it, then this will be in the Careers Update forum (and I'll add a link here).

 

Edited by Silver Sweeper
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On 29/05/2021 at 08:33, Silver Sweeper said:

 In truth, I can't see me adding any more to the original post here but I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.

Thanks for the write-up SS, really interesting look at the principles of pressing. I know this isn't intended to be plug&play but I was wondering about what kind of PIs you would use for this style as it's an area that I find tough to navigate - e.g. if we're compact on defence should I ask my wide players to sit narrower, or is that overkill? Same with an SV type ball carrier/creative player, should he run with the ball more and play more risky passes? Cheers!

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5 hours ago, Captain Cabinets said:

Thanks for the write-up SS, really interesting look at the principles of pressing. I know this isn't intended to be plug&play but I was wondering about what kind of PIs you would use for this style as it's an area that I find tough to navigate - e.g. if we're compact on defence should I ask my wide players to sit narrower, or is that overkill? Same with an SV type ball carrier/creative player, should he run with the ball more and play more risky passes? Cheers!

To be honest, I rarely use player instructions preferring to shape my tactics with roles and duties.  For example,  if I'm thinking about maintaining a structured defence then I'll likely be more conservative with my choice of roles/duties (particularly if I'm playing at a higher mentality).  If I want a vertically compact defence then I'll raise my defensive line or, for a horizontally compact defence, I'll use the 'force opposition wide' team instruction.

I might use the odd PI if I want to emphasise, or dial down, a particular aspect of a player's performance but I tend to do this in game as a reaction to how the play is unfolding.  In truth, I find it too easy to 'forget' which PI's are being used!

My advice would be don't overthink it, start with a simple idea and and identify the key instructions - for example, with RBL I knew I wanted to play vertically and, to me, this meant employing a higher tempo and using a 'top heavy' formation so I would have players up field for those rapid transitions.  Select the roles/duties around the defensive and attacking shapes that you're hoping to achieve and then sit back and watch some games.  Now, ask yourself how close are you to the basic tactical idea?  Once you're happy with the 'foundation' make other changes as necessary - for example raising, or lowering, the DL and LoE; or experimenting with your pressing intensity.

I think too many FM-er's watch YouTube videos on real world tactics and then attempt to emulate this in the game by taking the analysis too literally, adding a cacophony of instructions.  Sometimes less is more :)

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1 hour ago, Silver Sweeper said:

I think too many FM-er's watch YouTube videos on real world tactics and then attempt to emulate this in the game by taking the analysis too literally, adding a cacophony of instructions.  Sometimes less is more :)

:thup: :applause:

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