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A guide to defending like a real 442


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16 hours ago, -Jef- said:

@HanziZolomanAm playing as Türkgücü München (definitely typed that, didn't copy from FM). Am only gettin Turkish youth so it's interesting. Will have no germans in the team. Only foreigners and turks.

Sounds very interesting, like basques in Bilbao. Seems like you are playing German 3rd division. The Promotion to 2nd div. is quite ambitious. 
How do you manage finances? 
I had only free players signed but the level is very much higher, had to buy some cheap players like Gottwald and Sama. I am still below average with most skills, despite that I avoid relegation battle quite well (10th) but struggling with goals.

Please tell me how you succeed in 2nd div. 

one other thing @cocoadavid and @-Jef-: how do your training schedules look like? Would be nice to see something.

My Training is favouring Conterpress and physicals and the weeks are full loaded. 
I start the week with physicals and general Role Training, followed by some pressing and engaged defending and closing creative and attacking units. Usually I have two units every day one day is a three unit day, Thursday.

Edited by HanziZoloman
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I've been trying to play with Burnley but struggling rn. Been getting hammered by teams left and right I guess its just cause they're expected to be relegated. Trying to find ways to make the team better 

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5 hours ago, Djeon36 said:

I've been trying to play with Burnley but struggling rn. Been getting hammered by teams left and right I guess its just cause they're expected to be relegated. Trying to find ways to make the team better 

Did you try this tactic with Burnley?

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30 minutes ago, HanziZoloman said:

Did you try this tactic with Burnley?

Yeah its kind of ok im trying to tweak things here and there but I think the issue is the quality of my team and the opponents I face. Burnley is a team that is expected to be relegated or fighting for it so i'm just trying to use the best I can in buying players for a very shallow squad and tweaking the tactics to get the best out of my players. 

Also for OI what do you put for strikers? 

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15 hours ago, Djeon36 said:

Also for OI what do you put for strikers? 

I use the same OI as @cocoadavid meaning no OI for strikers. The key is as far as I did understand to shut down passing ways. 
I play Braunschweig and we are also predicted for relegation battle but are able to get positive results. At the moment I am 7th in January. 
I had to train the players for tactical familiarity and to tweak a little according to my men. My strikers are set for DLFs and F9 because I don’t have a good TM. Let’s have a look at your tactic and maybe we find some issues.

I also try to implement this Sheffield Steel thing (somewhere here). That means I try to build positive personalities. Consequently I am best in Determination but in every other ability I am average or mostly below.

edit: I believe the tactic needs some time because it is very demanding for the players especially the strikers. Had scheduled more role play training units (overall/ outfield) for the strikers to become more accomplished with the roles. That had helped them and now they’re bustin the net too. 

Edited by HanziZoloman
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17 hours ago, HanziZoloman said:

I use the same OI as @cocoadavid meaning no OI for strikers. The key is as far as I did understand to shut down passing ways. 
I play Braunschweig and we are also predicted for relegation battle but are able to get positive results. At the moment I am 7th in January. 
I had to train the players for tactical familiarity and to tweak a little according to my men. My strikers are set for DLFs and F9 because I don’t have a good TM. Let’s have a look at your tactic and maybe we find some issues.

I also try to implement this Sheffield Steel thing (somewhere here). That means I try to build positive personalities. Consequently I am best in Determination but in every other ability I am average or mostly below.

edit: I believe the tactic needs some time because it is very demanding for the players especially the strikers. Had scheduled more role play training units (overall/ outfield) for the strikers to become more accomplished with the roles. That had helped them and now they’re bustin the net too. 

Ok in terms of my tactic, it is exactly the same as the one you posted on your first post the only difference is that I have B2B midfielder instead of a DLP since that seems to fit Brownhill better.

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25 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Sorry for interfering, but that's a considerable difference. Because DLP is a holding role, whereas BBM is a roaming runner. 

Ok I thought that a B2B has the same defensive responsibilities as a DLP but B2B has more license to offense. 

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On 25/05/2021 at 01:10, cocoadavid said:

Thanks!

About the central midfielders...
I can imagine many midfield combinations that could work, even a simple CMs + CMs with the right traits or PIs could work I guess. When creating the central midfield combination, I usually follow these principles:

  1. At least one of them should be instructed to hold position - to provide cover in case we lose the ball.
  2. At least one of them should be a relatively creative, good passer who can create chances or switch the ball to the other flank.
  3. At least one of them should be really hard-working.

Of course these are just suggestions.

With Valencia I have used the following combinations, in brackets their function, according to the afromentioned principles:

  • DLP (hold position + creative) + BWM (hard-working)
  • DLP (hold position + creative) + B2B (hard-working)
  • BWM (hold position + hard working) + Roaming Playmaker ( creative + hard-working)
  • BWM (hold position + hard working) + CM (creative)

Just a few examples to give ideas:

  • If you've got a creative, but slow player (eg. Dani Parejo or Xhaka), I would play him as a DLP who holds his position, and pair him with a more athletic player who could be a B2B, BWM, or even a simple CM.
  • If you've got a central midfielder who likes to run with the ball (eg. Barella or Naby Keita), I would play him as the more adventurous midfielder (B2B, Roaming Playmaker, CM, Mezzala) and I would most likely instruct the other midfielder to hold his position.

 

About the strikers...
In my Valencia save, when playing with 2 support duty strikers, one of them was always a Target Man, so I can only just guess here, but I think that a DLFs could also work. In real life I really like the role of a F9, but in FM21 I just could not get the best out of a F9 so far, but it might worth a try. And of all the strikers roles with a support duty, the Complete Forward might be the most attacking minded I think.

 

I believe this can be helpful. That’s what the thread opener says.

also it’s important to check if your player can do it and how can they do it. 
my experience is, that’s it’s more a defensive approach 

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Nice thread. Just one question. Do the OIs apply to set-pieces as well? For example, if I set the opposition CBs to be never tight marked and closed down, will they be left loose on set-pieces as well?

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3 hours ago, pats said:

Nice thread. Just one question. Do the OIs apply to set-pieces as well? For example, if I set the opposition CBs to be never tight marked and closed down, will they be left loose on set-pieces as well?

Thanks!

The OIs do not apply to set pieces.

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On 14/06/2021 at 23:05, HanziZoloman said:

one other thing @cocoadavid and @-Jef-: how do your training schedules look like? Would be nice to see something.

My Training is favouring Conterpress and physicals and the weeks are full loaded. 
I start the week with physicals and general Role Training, followed by some pressing and engaged defending and closing creative and attacking units. Usually I have two units every day one day is a three unit day, Thursday.

Hi @HanziZoloman and @Djeon36,

I think that many different approaches to training can work. I can share my approach, but bare in mind that this is just my personal preference. I like to create a training schedule that is realistic in my opinion, I have read about real life training schedules, and I created mine based on what I read and what I liked the most.


So, when I create a schedule, these are my principles. Let's assume that we start training on Monday and the matchday is Saturday.

  1. on Monday the players are not fully recovered after the last match, their condition is not 100%, therefore on Mondays I set up a training that is not physically demanding. That means I set up technical, tactical* and GK trainings.
  2. on Tuesday and Wednesday I set up the most intense trainings. This is the middle of the week, the players are already recovered and the next match is not too close, too. On these days I set up physical trainings and match practice coupled with technical and tactical trainings. (Match practice is good because it trains the attributes of the player's role.)
  3. on Thursday we start preparing for the next match, so on this day we have 1 or 2 match preparation training and 1 or 2 technical/tactical training.
  4. on Friday we only train set pieces and then have a match preview, before the match I don't want to tire the players.
  5. after the matchday: recovery and rest, maybe match review.

*I also consider attacking and defensive trainings as technical/tactical trainings.

Below an actual example:

training.thumb.PNG.3088e1439279c2d2f3e0fee6190f0f2b.PNG

Edited by cocoadavid
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5 hours ago, cocoadavid said:

  

Hi @HanziZoloman and @Djeon36,

I think that many different approaches to training can work. I can share my approach, but bare in mind that this is just my personal preference. I like to create a training schedule that is realistic in my opinion, I have read about real life training schedules, and I created mine based on what I read and what I liked the most.


So, when I create a schedule, these are my principles. Let's assume that we start training on Monday and the matchday is Saturday.

  1. on Monday the players are not fully recovered after the last match, their condition is not 100%, therefore on Mondays I set up a training that is not physically demanding. That means I set up technical, tactical* and GK trainings.
  2. on Tuesday and Wednesday I set up the most intense trainings. This is the middle of the week, the players are already recovered and the next match is not too close, too. On these days I set up physical trainings and match practice coupled with technical and tactical trainings. (Match practice is good because it trains the attributes of the player's role.)
  3. on Thursday we start preparing for the next match, so on this day we have 1 or 2 match preparation training and 1 or 2 technical/tactical training.
  4. on Friday we only train set pieces and then have a match preview, before the match I don't want to tire the players.
  5. after the matchday: recovery and rest, maybe match review.

*I also consider attacking and defensive trainings as technical/tactical trainings.

Below an actual example:

training.thumb.PNG.3088e1439279c2d2f3e0fee6190f0f2b.PNG

This is really cool. I've been using pre made scheduals and they've been working really well for me. What do you do when you play against a superior team and ure the definite underdog. Right now my next 4 games are against Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, and Arsenal. One thing i've been doing is setting at Regroup instead of Counter Press so I can be more defensive and changing the passing to be more direct so I can kind of have a direct counter attack kind of tactic. 

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12 hours ago, Djeon36 said:

This is really cool. I've been using pre made scheduals and they've been working really well for me. What do you do when you play against a superior team and ure the definite underdog. Right now my next 4 games are against Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, and Arsenal. One thing i've been doing is setting at Regroup instead of Counter Press so I can be more defensive and changing the passing to be more direct so I can kind of have a direct counter attack kind of tactic. 

Well, I didn’t had so good experience with diggin‘ in and try to sneak a counter. It’s very difficult because you need the right Players to do so, having good composure and concentration which I have not. My BPD has Composure 10 and decisions 9 and my left CD has composure 11 they’re gonna crush under pressure like dry wood. Then my box will burn like a blaze.

I try to have many support duties so that my team is a hard working unit. Also I try not to sit top deep that the pressure is a little more in the middle and not too much around my box. My passing is not too fast, because my players will be under high pressure which means simple mistakes with higher tempo. I try to have at least two ways up front, fast wingers on the sides for example and I train set pieces to sneak one. I nominate the most determined, most workrate and teamwork players to make it even harder for the opponents.

At my current save with Braunschweig and this tactic I have a very good record against the top teams. My box is crowded and theirs empty. They have more shots on goal but I have the better chances.

Edited by HanziZoloman
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Sadly I got fired for not having good enough results. I think I'll try a different team out since this team favors a more direct approach and its hard to get good results with them. But keep up the good work and this tactic is really cool!

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10 hours ago, Djeon36 said:

Sadly I got fired for not having good enough results. I think I'll try a different team out since this team favors a more direct approach and its hard to get good results with them. But keep up the good work and this tactic is really cool!

I'm sorry to hear that, I hope you'll have better luck next time with a different team!

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On 21/06/2021 at 09:33, cocoadavid said:

I'm sorry to hear that, I hope you'll have better luck next time with a different team!

#metoo


@cocoadavid how are you progressing with the Hungarians? 
With your tactic (some minor tweaks) I am doing very well in 2. Bundesliga challenging fir the top in our second year. My team is still a relegation candidate but this tactic is tough to beat. 
My BWM is not performing so good, how is yours (ratings).

Edited by HanziZoloman
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On 22/06/2021 at 08:50, HanziZoloman said:

 


@cocoadavid how are you progressing with the Hungarians? 
With your tactic (some minor tweaks) I am doing very well in 2. Bundesliga challenging fir the top in our second year. My team is still a relegation candidate but this tactic is tough to beat. 
My BWM is not performing so good, how is yours (ratings).

Hi @HanziZoloman, I'm sorry for the late reply, I was pretty busy.
I have finished my first season with Újpest, I am happy with the results, we finished 2nd in the leage, 6 points behind champions Ferencváros and 11 points above third placed Fehérvár FC. We were predicted to finish 6th (there are 12 teams in Hungarian Division I). We also reached the final of the Hungarian Cup, where we lost to Ferencváros.

An interesting stat: our team had the highest number for average possession (56%) in the league.

I'm glad to hear that you are doing well in 2. Bundesliga, it feels great that this guide was helpful!
My BWM's average rating at the end of the season was 7.03 (32 matches, 1 goal, 4 assists). He was not outstanding, but did his job decently. In terms of attributes/ability that players is one of the best in the squad. In my experience in terms of ratings a BWM is not going to be the star player of the team in a system like this.

My top perfomer was my left winger (Zoltán Stieber). Average rating 7.37 (32 matches, 7 goals, 14 assists).

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  • 1 month later...
On 16/05/2021 at 19:10, cocoadavid said:

Sections

  1. Prologue
  2. How teams in real life defend using 442
  3. Implementing the compact 442 in FM


1. Prologue

A mid-block 442 is my favourite defensive shape. I have had great successes in FM using 442 formations, most of the time using an Advanced Forward. But despite the good results, I was never fully satisfied, because our defensive shape was not as compact and as organized as I imagined, it was not how teams using 442 defended in real life. Diego Simeone and Marcelino are the masters of 442, but sometimes even Guardiola’s Man City uses a 442 defensive shape, more often than you might think. So I started experimenting, read a lot of articles and analysis, and I think I managed to create a good system that replicates a real 442 defensive shape, and now I would like to share it with you.

2. How teams in real life defend using a 442

  • Vertical and horizontal compactness is the most important part of a successful 442 defensive shape. The midfield is congested and the play is forced down the flanks.
  • Both forwards are asked to track back. Most of the time, the opposition’s central defenders are allowed to have time on the ball, and the strikers, instead of pressing the central defenders all the time, focus on blocking passing lanes to the defensive/central midfielders. But as soon as the ball goes to a full back, the pressing intensifies, forcing the full back either out wide, or forcing a pass back to the central defenders. The opponent’s central passing options can be marked tighter.
  • Balance is important: since the opposition's center backs are not under intense pressure, teams try to stay deep enough to protect space in behind in order to prevent a dangerous long ball from a ball playing defender, while simultaneously staying high enough to avoid intense pressure in dangerous areas closer to the goal.

Below a classic 442 by Marcelino's Valencia.

valencia442.png.fb3bb19ef9ed37625c15193eef640f1c.png
 

Below you can see that the forwards do not press the center backs and the full backs are left free.

no-pressure-2.jpg.35190d8194691dae9252de9720cd392e.jpg

 

Below you can see how Atletico man mark’s the central passing options.

man-marking-vs-DM-2.jpg.c92f7a8c8e537e2cccc108831374e28e.jpg

 

3. Implementing the compact 442 in FM

OPPOSITION INSTRUCTIONS

Implementing this defensive system, Opposition Instructions are crucial, so I’m going to start with this.

  • central defenders: never mark tightly, never press
  • wide players (DR/L, WBR/L, MR/L, AMR/L): always press
  • defensive midfielders and central midfielders: always mark tightly, optional: always press

This is how I set up:

OIs.thumb.PNG.387ae955a6582a2ac9849eb8905151ef.PNG

 

OUT OF POSSESSION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Compact mid-low (Lower LoE + standard DL)  or mid-high block (Standard LoE + higher DL)
  • Force Opposition Outside
  • I also encourage you to use either Get Stuck In and/or Mark Tighter, to ensure that your defending is not too passive.

 

IN TRANSITION

  • counter: you are defending in a medium or low block, and 442 formation is ideal for counter attacking, I don’t think it needs too much explanation.
  • counter press: this is optional. I want my team, and my strikers to occasionally press the opposition's central defenders, high up the pitch, and the counter press is perfect for it. In real life you can see that sometimes teams press high up the pitch, but then retreat to their solid 4-4-2 shape.  When the counter press is on, it overwrites the OIs. In my experience this instruction creates a good balance between pressing and standing off. I also instruct my team to play narrower, and a narrower shape always helps counter pressing, because more players are closer to the ball. But I don’t have this option always turned on, sometimes I turn it off or switch to regroup.

 

PLAYER DUTIES

support.PNG.9141869efdb3474c4a818b56d579863e.PNG

In order to have a really compact, real-life defensive shape in FM, both your strikers and central midfielders should be on support duties. I think it is not surprising that both of your strikers should be on support duty - in my experience a Complete Forward - Target Man combo works really well together.  I am going to explain why I avoid using defend duty on CMs.
Central midfielders with a defend duty do not stay in line with their midfield partner, and instead act more like a defensive midfielder, creating a 4-1-3-2 defensive shape, and not a 4-4-2.

Here is an example why I avoid using the defend duty on central midfielders. I changed my right central midfielder's duty to defend. He leaves his midfield partner, leaving a big open space on front of him (white circle), and this gives an opportunity for Ruben Vezo to pass the ball into a good position. If he stayed higher up the pitch, in line with his midfield parner, he could mark or immidietaly press the opposition's central midfielder.  (I am not saying that using a defend duty player in CM is bad in general, I am saying that if you would like to create a real-life-like 442 defensive shape, you should avoid it.)

cmd3_LI.jpg.27004abd7b8980f6f5c253f8b18e5144.jpg

 

As a starting point, I suggest the following distribution of duties, this has worked well for me. In the example below focus on the duties, the roles are flexible.

  • Defence: one fullback on support and the other on attack duty.
  • Midfield: attack duty for one (or both) of your wide midfielders, support duty for others.
  • Strikers: support duty for strikers.

duties.PNG.c20f7c97571c679a91127e758ffb6e4c.PNG

 

PLAYER INSTRUCTIONS
When the opposition plays with a Defensive Midfielder, I usually aks one of my strikers to mark the DM.
Other player instructions are flexible, depending on the player roles.

 

ATTACKING
This writing is focusing on defending, but I also want to say a few words about attacking with this system, because it has worked really well for me.

Since the hole shape is compact and the players are close together, I prefer a quick, short passing game with a narrower width. We can play with a quick tempo, because chances are that because of the compactness there is always a free teammate nearby, and the players do not have to think too much, they can make decisions quicker without losing the ball.

My tactic

The tactic you see below is a base, sometimes I change player roles, but never duties! I change the roles depending on my available players and the opposition. I also play around with TIs. A few examples:

  • If I want to play more urgently and put more pressure on the opposition, I change the mentality to Positive and/or defend a notch higher (mid-high block).
  • Sometimes I want to let the opposition have more time on the ball, maybe giving me more opportunity for a counter attack, therefore I turn off counter-pressing. If I want to protect a lead in the last 5 minutes, I may change to regroup.
  • If I want to waste some time and save energy for the last few minutes, because for example I am going to have an important game 2 days later, I switch the mentality to Cautious, switch off counter, max out time wasting, and instruct my GK to slow pace down.

 

tactics.PNG.a9b04ba76bb82c4295d07e726bf93235.PNG

I have the following PIs for this setup:

  • FBL: sit narrower
  • DCR: stay wider
  • WBR: stay wider
  • IWS: sit narrower, more risky passes, roam from position
  • TM: mark opposition's DM

The SK on support duty really works well. His first instinct is to pass the ball to the central defenders, but sometimes he plays the ball forward to the TM, or finds a free man on the flanks.

 

IN-GAME EXAMPLES

pure 442

pure.jpg.5bca02550b94d68acc4a843b0198c763.jpg

 

Below you can see that my strikers are marking the opposition's defensive/central midfielders, so the opposition's CB can only pass the ball to the other defenders, or he can try a risky pass, but then we might win the ball back.
442_deep.jpg.0083111e2d5259d5f2540adc1ecf4d84.jpg

 

Here we have won the ball back and are in an excellent position for a dangerous counter attack
counterr.jpg.e5c4636155db0cb002956f3fa63ebbdc.jpg

 

In possession we often have a 3-1-2-4 shape.
attackingshape.jpg.be9e7a942bfffc4edc3f8afcf1f00688.jpg


Finally a short summary to this approach:

  • never tight mark or press opposition’s centre backs
  • tigh mark opposition CM and DM
  • always press opposition’s fullbacks and wide players
  • support duty forwards
  • support duty central midfielders
  • compact mid-low or mid-high block
  • get stuck in and/or mark tighter
     

I hope this was helpful for those of you who are obsessed with 442 and I could show you another way how to approach this beautiful, sometimes underrated formation. This is not the only right way to play 442, this is just another way.

Cheers,
David

David - I can't thank you enough. Not only do your insights work. It has also taught me a lot about football tactics and defending by using team shape. For the first time, I can set up like Diego Simeone at Athletico Madrid. Bravo!!!

 

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9 hours ago, redmisty said:

David - I can't thank you enough. Not only do your insights work. It has also taught me a lot about football tactics and defending by using team shape. For the first time, I can set up like Diego Simeone at Athletico Madrid. Bravo!!!

 

Thank you so much, I'm glad to hear that!

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Thank you for this tread OP !

I'm currently on a youth academy challenge and stuck in 2. Bundesliga for too many years.

The discussions here enabled me to finetune the tactic with OIs that I never know how to approach. 

Thanks to you the save feels refreshed 😊

Edited by Lexclub
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1 hour ago, Lexclub said:

Thank you for this tread OP !

I'm currently on a youth academy challenge and stuck in 2. Bundesliga for too many years.

The discussions here enabled me to finetune the tactic with OIs that I never know how to approach. 

Thanks to you the save feels refreshed 😊

Same here! Great work!

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This is a BRILLIANT thread, great work!

I am a big fan of the 4-4-2, and use it almost exclusively. I have written a lot about here and on my blog about quick transitions and direct football using 4-4-2 (and 4-4-1-1), but I was frustrated using 2 attacking strikers. They remain so high up and never offer the kind of compactness that I like, no matter the DL and LOE settings. It never occurred to me to use two support strikers! I actually feel a bit dumb of not thinking about it, especially that our styles and systems are almost identical :lol:

Thanks to you, I will tweak and test my tactic further, and see if it improves the compactness of the 4-4-2 or not, and surely will keep you updated.

Cheers!

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On 02/08/2021 at 16:07, cocoadavid said:

Thank you so much, I'm glad to hear that!

You are welcome! One thing: my pressing forward (& also when I play him as TM) tends to "half press" the CBs, despite the OI not to press them at all. Even when the TI is Regroup, not Counter Press. Might this just be his own way of playing?

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17 hours ago, redmisty said:

You are welcome! One thing: my pressing forward (& also when I play him as TM) tends to "half press" the CBs, despite the OI not to press them at all. Even when the TI is Regroup, not Counter Press. Might this just be his own way of playing?

Behind the scenes the pressing forwards are hardcoded to always press, so there is a contradiction, and I think that is the main reason why they "half press" the opponent CBs despite telling them not to do it. Also, most of the instructions in FM are not black and white, they are more like tendencies. By that I mean that if for example someone instructs his fullback to cross less often, the fullback is still going to cross sometimes. So despite telling your player to not press the opponent at all, he still might press them, altough less urgently.

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On 05/08/2021 at 10:58, cocoadavid said:

Behind the scenes the pressing forwards are hardcoded to always press, so there is a contradiction, and I think that is the main reason why they "half press" the opponent CBs despite telling them not to do it. Also, most of the instructions in FM are not black and white, they are more like tendencies. By that I mean that if for example someone instructs his fullback to cross less often, the fullback is still going to cross sometimes. So despite telling your player to not press the opponent at all, he still might press them, altough less urgently.

just finished reading , amazing guide , keep us updated with the save :)

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On 05/08/2021 at 10:58, cocoadavid said:

Behind the scenes the pressing forwards are hardcoded to always press, so there is a contradiction, and I think that is the main reason why they "half press" the opponent CBs despite telling them not to do it. Also, most of the instructions in FM are not black and white, they are more like tendencies. By that I mean that if for example someone instructs his fullback to cross less often, the fullback is still going to cross sometimes. So despite telling your player to not press the opponent at all, he still might press them, altough less urgently.

Thankyou!

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@cocoadavid I've been playing around with this and I do like it. I like that it is a general framework rather than purporting to be a plug and play tactic. I think the key is to not over-complicate things with team instructions as the opposition instructions are extensive.

 

I wouldn't say it's a world-beating tactic/framework. What I like is it does the basics right - it defends strongly and allows some smart ball movement in offensive stages. Flexibility does allow some quite unique adjustments. I tried this with Barcelona with Messi as a DLF-Su and the other striker as either a PF-At or AF-At and it worked fine, although the PF does press the CB's more than I liked. With Red Bull Leipzig I had a TM-Su and AF-At and this allowed me to float crosses (both strikers are tall). This gave me a different avenue to goal. At Koln I have a TM-Su but am still deciding on his partner. I'm thinking a PF-De but am wary of the hardcoded movement and pressing they have.

 

The way you have spelt out the defensive aspects is fantastic. I'd love to see your ideas on attack too.

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4 hours ago, fraudiola said:

conceding loads of long shots due to 2v3 in the center. always an opposition player open and able to shoot before being closed down. 

I'm sorry to hear that! I did not face this problem at the clubs that I managed, at least not to an extent that it was outstanding. Just a couple of ideas that might help:
- You can try to use an even more compact defence, eg. higher LoE + lower DL.
- You can try to instruct your players to close down everybody, except the central defenders and GK.
- You can try to move your central midfielders to the DM strata, that way there is a bigger gap between your strikers and midfielders, but in return there is less space in front of your defence, I think that way it might be harder to shoot through the lines of defence.
- It could also be a series of bad luck, or down to personnel (like poor defensive or physical attributes). Or maybe you face formations/tactics all the time that take advantage of the shortcomings of this kind of 442.

Edited by cocoadavid
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4 hours ago, fraudiola said:

conceding loads of long shots due to 2v3 in the center. always an opposition player open and able to shoot before being closed down. 

I'm curious about what kind of players you have in central midfield, do they have the positioning and decision to know where they need to be defensively, the work rate to get there and the bravery to make the challenge when they do?

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1 hour ago, HurkaDurk69 said:

@cocoadavid Wow, amazing thread! You talk a lot about PPM/traits, are there some that you consider essential for some positions/"roles"(runner/holder in cm, etc)?

There are some traits that I prefer and there are some that I absolutely avoid. I would not say that any of those is a must-have, your tactic could work without those.
Altough there is one trait that I would consider as essential: I always try to have one striker who likes to beat the offside trap and/or gets into opposition area. Support duty strikers make less runs behind the defence, but these two traits definitely encourage them to make forward runs more often.

Holder role in CM

For the holder role in CM these are I the traits that I prefer (note that I usually have someone who is a good DLP):
- always stays back
- comes deep to get ball
- likes to switch ball to other flank (if he is a good passer)

For the holder role in CM these are the traits that I avoid:
- get forward whenever possible
- gets into opposition area
- runs with ball often

Strikers

I usually like to have a striker partnership where one of them plays with his back to the goal while the other one is more mobile and makes runs in behind, so as I have already mentioned before, likes to beat the offside trap and/or gets into opposition area. But that is just my preference, other partnerships could also work well.

There are some other traits that can be helpful, but those are absolutely up to your tactic and players. Just an example: if one of your central midfielders holds his position and always stays back, then the other one could arrive late in opponents area.
 

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20 hours ago, nick1408 said:

@cocoadavid I've been playing around with this and I do like it. I like that it is a general framework rather than purporting to be a plug and play tactic. I think the key is to not over-complicate things with team instructions as the opposition instructions are extensive.

 

I wouldn't say it's a world-beating tactic/framework. What I like is it does the basics right - it defends strongly and allows some smart ball movement in offensive stages. Flexibility does allow some quite unique adjustments. I tried this with Barcelona with Messi as a DLF-Su and the other striker as either a PF-At or AF-At and it worked fine, although the PF does press the CB's more than I liked. With Red Bull Leipzig I had a TM-Su and AF-At and this allowed me to float crosses (both strikers are tall). This gave me a different avenue to goal. At Koln I have a TM-Su but am still deciding on his partner. I'm thinking a PF-De but am wary of the hardcoded movement and pressing they have.

 

The way you have spelt out the defensive aspects is fantastic. I'd love to see your ideas on attack too.

Thanks, I really like how flexible you are with this approach, this is exactly how I intended my guide to help others.

One day I may write a longer post about attacking, I have some ideas about attacking movements, there are many possibilites, but it would definitely take some time to write that post with examples etc. But I'm happy to share my latest attacking approach.

In my recent save I used a TM - F9 combo in front, but the whole attacking movemens is built from the GK, first let me show you the tactic, and then I'm going to explain the thinking behind that.

THE TACTIC

napoli.png.1c61158e1dbab672f0a88fd27bb93149.png


FROM BACK TO FRONT

In this tactic I intend to build up my play mainly on the right side of the pitch, the TM is the key player here (altough there is also a way to goal on the left side).

  1. The GK passes the ball to my (usually right sided) BPD.
  2. Then there are usually two ways
    1. way A : the BPD passes the ball long the the TM. Then the TM, with his back to goal, passes the ball back to my running MEZ or right WM, and then they can either dribble or pass a through ball to my F9 who already makes a run behind the defence because he likes to try to beat the offside trap. Or my TM, instead of passing the ball back to the MEZ or WM, can also pass or flick the ball on to the F9 directly.
    2. way B: the BPD passes the ball to the right WM, who then drifts inside passes to the TM, who then passes to the MEZ, who then passes to the F9 or IW or FB on the left. What I like is that these passing patterns can happen really quickly.

The Attacking team mentality encourages the direct approach, encourages the F9 to make more forward runs and also encourages quicker passing.
On the left side of the pitch the F9 and IW can exchange passes and wait for the run of the overlapping fullback, or switch the play to the other flank to the running WM on the right side

 

Edited by cocoadavid
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12 hours ago, fraudiola said:

conceding loads of long shots due to 2v3 in the center. always an opposition player open and able to shoot before being closed down. 

I actually don't mind if an opposition takes a long shot (for clarity - I consider this to be a shot from outside the box). To me it indicates a lack of options further forward or a 'get out' option when there is nothing else available. Even better if the long shot comes from an acute angle. As far as I'm concerned they can shoot all day from out there as it's a low percentage shot.

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1 hour ago, nick1408 said:

I actually don't mind if an opposition takes a long shot (for clarity - I consider this to be a shot from outside the box). To me it indicates a lack of options further forward or a 'get out' option when there is nothing else available. Even better if the long shot comes from an acute angle. As far as I'm concerned they can shoot all day from out there as it's a low percentage shot.

I was concerned by having a double supporting mids that could see us caught out of possession or being susceptible to long shots. However, I found out that having a flat four midfield actually helps you block these kinds of shots. It will boil down to your defensive transitions and the midfield pair. Most of the time I am on Regroup or not choosing either of them. Counter Press is VERY dangerous in this situations, and I only use it against potato teams or when I am chasing a goal. The central pair should have proper PPMs (such as making sure the holding CM does not have the "Gets forward whenever possible" PPM), along with suitable PIs/Roles. As a rule of a thumb, I NEVER use a roaming CM in a midfield two, to help with the solidity.

===

I have adapted @cocoadavid's style to my own, basically cutting out the OIs allowing the players to be mildly aggressive against the backline, accentuated by the low LOE. The main reason behind this is that I don't want to give the opposition's CBs all the time in the world, and sometimes pressing them is imperative. Secondly, the narrow defensive width helps us block middle passing lanes naturally, without the need for any OIs.

The absolute beauty of this approach is the double CM pair. They could make or break your day. I don't want to hijack cocoa's thread, but I'd like to highlight the two rules I follow for them:

1. NEVER use a CM with a Roam from Position PI

2. Make sure you have 1 CM with Hold Position PI, one with Take More Risks PI and someone that surges forward in support.

My fav so far has been:

 CM-S (Hold Position, Take More Risks) + CM-S (No PIs) 

I used this for a full second half of a season (using a very similar setup already during the first half) with Feyenrood, to great results.

Edited by engamohd
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2 hours ago, engamohd said:

I was concerned by having a double supporting mids that could see us caught out of possession or being susceptible to long shots. However, I found out that having a flat four midfield actually helps you block these kinds of shots. It will boil down to your defensive transitions and the midfield pair. Most of the time I am on Regroup or not choosing either of them. Counter Press is VERY dangerous in this situations, and I only use it against potato teams or when I am chasing a goal. The central pair should have proper PPMs (such as making sure the holding CM does not have the "Gets forward whenever possible" PPM), along with suitable PIs/Roles. As a rule of a thumb, I NEVER use a roaming CM in a midfield two, to help with the solidity.

===

I have adapted @cocoadavid's style to my own, basically cutting out the OIs allowing the players to be mildly aggressive against the backline, accentuated by the low LOE. The main reason behind this is that I don't want to give the opposition's CBs all the time in the world, and sometimes pressing them is imperative. Secondly, the narrow defensive width helps us block middle passing lanes naturally, without the need for any OIs.

The absolute beauty of this approach is the double CM pair. They could make or break your day. I don't want to hijack cocoa's thread, but I'd like to highlight the two rules I follow for them:

1. NEVER use a CM with a Roam from Position PI

2. Make sure you have 1 CM with Hold Position PI, one with Take More Risks PI and someone that surges forward in support.

My fav so far has been:

 CM-S (Hold Position, Take More Risks) + CM-S (No PIs) 

I used this for a full second half of a season (using a very similar setup already during the first half) with Feyenrood, to great results.

whats your tactic looking like

 

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48 minutes ago, halfspace3000 said:

whats your tactic looking like

 

I am away from my laptop now, so I will type it down:

 

Balanced Mentality

GK-D

FB-S   CD-D   CD-D   FB-S

IW*-A   CM-S   CM-S   IW*-A

CF-S   TM-S

Player Instructions

MCL: Hold Position, Take More Risks

STCL: Mark DM*, Move into channels

Team Instructions

Higher Tempo, Narrow Attacking Width*, Standard Passing*, No Time Wasting*

Regroup*, Counter*, Distribute to Flanks

Narrow Defensive Width, Lower LOE*, Standard DL*, Tighter Marking, Stuck In

* - situational instructions

 

Edited by engamohd
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Just a quick update. I've stuck with the Koln game as it provided the biggest challenge. Predicted to finish down the bottom somewhere and currently 3rd. I ended up sticking with a TM and pairing him with an AF as I liked the penetration the AF provides. There are issues with the marking - the AF refuses to mark the opposition MC regardless of settings. I'm sort of putting up with that as I like the penetration the AF brings but I would rather a proper 4-4-2 defensive setup, just with an AF:

image.png.66eb2c28f79a9c879e3aa64ba9bd5831.png

In the above instance the AF charges down the CB which has allowed some easy passing options back through midfield.

image.png.419e4392d5db38ab946633f39305271f.png

image.png.5e5a95f264b4413a44d4e1ae49dc5063.png

Both the TM and AF have closed down here. The AF closed down first before the sideways pass then the TM decided to do the same. It isn't the end of the world as the TM does drop back afterwards but the AF lingers (as @cocoadavid said attacking duties would).

 

This to me is a trade off. I don't like the AF's positioning defensively but what I do like is his output:

image.thumb.png.62442b131acad148f3b22f31a5964e6b.png

Those 21 goals have him 6 goals clear in the goalkickers after 23 matches. What is more surprising to me is while he is highly rated his attributes (other than stamina and work rate) are nothing special.

 

So, onto the tactic. I didn't really change a hell of a lot in the end but I do adjust if the game is going south:

image.png.61db0dbda89568bc690416b52c9b5ea6.png

PI's:

More or less the same as @cocoadavid other than the IW being told to take more risks, sit narrower and roam. Both strikers are told to mark tighter and to mark the appropriate MC rather than a DM. if things are turning to poo I change the MR/ML to WM-At and possibly the RB to a CWB-Su if I need the extra support on the right.

I dropped counter-press as it didn't feel right as a default setting for the defensive shape. I add it back if I need a goal but by default it is off.

 

I really like what the BWM does here. I use him as a sort of BBM that is defensively a lot more aggressive and doesn't roam. By adding PPI's like Dictates Tempo he is almost like an AP or RP. For me, Skhiri has been very valuable. My backup is Jarrod Branthwaite (the CB from Everton) and he brings a difference of being a more defensive body in the midfield rather than the ball player that Skhiri is. It's sort of a horses for courses selection policy depending on what I need for a particular match.

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image.png.caa2e4371f3e74c8962b913a8c548ec4.png

And just like that I have my best win of the season. Swapped out an inform Skhiri for Branthwaite to add some extra body in the midfield and it worked a treat. Tactic was also adjusted to my it's gone to poo adjustment prior to the match as Bayern Munich are just way too good for my side.

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Question regarding the OI pressing on wide players; has anyone tried to instead of adding "press always" on wing players, add more urgent pressing to their own wing players? It seems that it theoretically has different pros and cons.

  • OI pressing seems fragile against roles like mezzala, iwb and wp, where you press in the wrong place due to fluid player roles
  • PI pressing can lead to your wide players being dragged out of position when used with for example counter-press. Might be stronger with the regroup TI selected.

any thoughts?

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9 hours ago, nick1408 said:

Just a quick update. I've stuck with the Koln game as it provided the biggest challenge. Predicted to finish down the bottom somewhere and currently 3rd. I ended up sticking with a TM and pairing him with an AF as I liked the penetration the AF provides. There are issues with the marking - the AF refuses to mark the opposition MC regardless of settings. I'm sort of putting up with that as I like the penetration the AF brings but I would rather a proper 4-4-2 defensive setup, just with an AF:

image.png.66eb2c28f79a9c879e3aa64ba9bd5831.png

In the above instance the AF charges down the CB which has allowed some easy passing options back through midfield.

image.png.419e4392d5db38ab946633f39305271f.png

image.png.5e5a95f264b4413a44d4e1ae49dc5063.png

Both the TM and AF have closed down here. The AF closed down first before the sideways pass then the TM decided to do the same. It isn't the end of the world as the TM does drop back afterwards but the AF lingers (as @cocoadavid said attacking duties would).

 

This to me is a trade off. I don't like the AF's positioning defensively but what I do like is his output:

image.thumb.png.62442b131acad148f3b22f31a5964e6b.png

Those 21 goals have him 6 goals clear in the goalkickers after 23 matches. What is more surprising to me is while he is highly rated his attributes (other than stamina and work rate) are nothing special.

 

So, onto the tactic. I didn't really change a hell of a lot in the end but I do adjust if the game is going south:

image.png.61db0dbda89568bc690416b52c9b5ea6.png

PI's:

More or less the same as @cocoadavid other than the IW being told to take more risks, sit narrower and roam. Both strikers are told to mark tighter and to mark the appropriate MC rather than a DM. if things are turning to poo I change the MR/ML to WM-At and possibly the RB to a CWB-Su if I need the extra support on the right.

I dropped counter-press as it didn't feel right as a default setting for the defensive shape. I add it back if I need a goal but by default it is off.

 

I really like what the BWM does here. I use him as a sort of BBM that is defensively a lot more aggressive and doesn't roam. By adding PPI's like Dictates Tempo he is almost like an AP or RP. For me, Skhiri has been very valuable. My backup is Jarrod Branthwaite (the CB from Everton) and he brings a difference of being a more defensive body in the midfield rather than the ball player that Skhiri is. It's sort of a horses for courses selection policy depending on what I need for a particular match.

can you try distribute to TM and see how often the GK actually does it? i use a similar tactic but the GK rarely distributes to TM 

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2 hours ago, fraudiola said:

can you try distribute to TM and see how often the GK actually does it? i use a similar tactic but the GK rarely distributes to TM 

I haven't noticed any issues with goalkeeper distribution. Did I mention it? Apologies if I did - I'm not seeing any issues.

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