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Please tell me what I’m missing as this doesn’t seem even remotely realistic


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How can I concede so many chances with a defensive tactic and relatively good team? Am I missing something? The games, performances and results are so random in 21. It feels so far from reality tbh.

how do I create so few chances? In any formation btw with Kane (regularly misses pens), Son (rarely scores), bale and lo celso. 
 

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6 minutes ago, FulchesterFred said:

How can I concede so many chances with a defensive tactic and relatively good team?

Counter pressing can surely not be seen as defensive? That's a big problem right there, imo. Your formation, roles and duties make the attempted counter pressing even worse. You're going to create gaps in transition everywhere. There are other issues, but that stands out to me as the most obvious starting point.

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6 minutes ago, FulchesterFred said:

How can I concede so many chances with a defensive tactic and relatively good team? Am I missing something?

First, just as an attacking tactic can be poorly designed or flawed in some way, so too can a defensive one. So it's not a question of whether your tactic is defensive or attacking (or whatever), but how balanced and sensibly created it is.

Secondly, the very decision to play defensive football with a top team like the Spurs is questionable, to say the least. Even if you play against another top team, it does not mean that you have to be (overly) defense-minded. 

Your tactic has some obvious flaws IMHO, so I am not surprised with the poor performance and defeat.

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45 minutes ago, HUNT3R said:

Counter pressing can surely not be seen as defensive? That's a big problem right there, imo. Your formation, roles and duties make the attempted counter pressing even worse. You're going to create gaps in transition everywhere. There are other issues, but that stands out to me as the most obvious starting point.

Please tell me. My theory is I need to counter press at some point. So keep quite a neutral DL and LOE. And press when it LOE kicks in. Btw this same formation beat City 2 games before. It ain’t that awful!

 

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Just now, FulchesterFred said:

My theory is I need to counter press at some point.

That's not what counter pressing is. It's listed under "in transition" so it'll happen as soon as you lose the ball.

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41 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

First, just as an attacking tactic can be poorly designed or flawed in some way, so too can a defensive one. So it's not a question of whether your tactic is defensive or attacking (or whatever), but how balanced and sensibly created it is.

Secondly, the very decision to play defensive football with a top team like the Spurs is questionable, to say the least. Even if you play against another top team, it does not mean that you have to be (overly) defense-minded. 

Your tactic has some obvious flaws IMHO, so I am not surprised with the poor performance and defeat.

Why wouldn’t I play defensive away do our biggest rivals whose attack is full of pace?? I refer to the above. This formation beat city only 2 games before. I’m not alone with people asking these questions. If the game is different. If it’s tougher. If it has more intricacies then I’d like to know what’s going on. I appreciate your help I really do but this version is odd IMO.

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2 minutes ago, HUNT3R said:

That's not what counter pressing is. It's listed under "in transition" so it'll happen as soon as you lose the ball.

But where is that explained by SI. there’s a lot of confused people. Surely my press is determined by LOE. If I lose the ball in the opponents box I thought my players would drop back to LOE and press from there. If the instructions conflict why does the game allow it?

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2 minutes ago, FulchesterFred said:

But where is that explained by SI.

It's under "in transition" so the explanation is right there. Your LoE and DL are settings which affect a different phase of play, so that's why they are under a different heading.

Also, the tooltip for counter pressing : Counter press will ask players to immediately apply pressure after losing possession...

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Just now, HUNT3R said:

It's under "in transition" so the explanation is right there. Your LoE and DL are settings which affect a different phase of play, so that's why they are under a different heading.

Ok. But the whole narrative needs more explanation. Not just by generous people like yourself but by those who produce the game.
im not an idiot (some might disagree) but if I’m not getting how my players will override the LOE instruction with the transition instructions then there has been a failing in the way the game is described.

and in 20 btw. I used v similar tactics and usually won. I don’t  mind losing. I do mind the huge  impacts of small decisions which seem to have suddenly descended in 21

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2 minutes ago, FulchesterFred said:

Why wouldn’t I play defensive away do our biggest rivals whose attack is full of pace??

Of course you can (and probably should) play a bit more cautiously against a strong opponent than you normally play. But that does not mean that you need to play outright defensive football (even if your tactic was much better designed, let alone otherwise). 

 

6 minutes ago, FulchesterFred said:

This formation beat city only 2 games before

Formation or tactic? They are not the same thing.

Anyway, based on what do you expect a tactic to beat an opponent only because it had previously defeated another team? 

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10 minutes ago, FulchesterFred said:

Ok. But the whole narrative needs more explanation. Not just by generous people like yourself but by those who produce the game.
im not an idiot (some might disagree) but if I’m not getting how my players will override the LOE instruction with the transition instructions then there has been a failing in the way the game is described.

The game tells you all of this. The tooltip for counter pressing tells you that they press immediately. Also, above "counter press" and "regroup" it says - "when possession has been lost".  That, including the tooltip, is quite clear, imo.

But rather on focusing on these irrelevant issues, can we get back to the tactic? While the counter pressing is a massive no-no in my book, maybe remove that and see how you do? It still seems a bit too passive if we're talking about relatively equal teams. I've been there many times over the years. If you have the quality, it's not necessary to roll over or invite too much pressure. Have a measured approach instead. I have a feeling it's a bit too conservative in general, but you may find some success in overloading the left and releasing the two goal scorers on the right? I think the removal of counter pressing will help already, imo, of course.

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6 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Of course you can (and probably should) play a bit more cautiously against a strong opponent than you normally play. But that does not mean that you need to play outright defensive football (even if your tactic was much better designed, let alone otherwise). 

 

Formation or tactic? They are not the same thing.

Anyway, based on what do you expect a tactic to beat an opponent only because it had previously defeated another team? 

Both.

ha no of course. But it shows the formation and tactic is not codswallop! Certainly shouldn’t end up with an absurd amount of shots and on target shots by your opponent. So when I get told my player instructions, tactical and formation don’t marry up I want to make it clear that sometimes it does!

FM has never really beaten me as much as this version. I like a challenge. By why is it suddenly happening? 
strange things like Kane missing 2 pens in 1 game and going 19 games without scoring. 
 

 

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4 minutes ago, HUNT3R said:

The game tells you all of this. The tooltip for counter pressing tells you that they press immediately. Also, above "counter press" and "regroup" it says - "when possession has been lost".  That, including the tooltip, is quite clear, imo.

But rather on focusing on these irrelevant issues, can we get back to the tactic? While the counter pressing is a massive no-no in my book, maybe remove that and see how you do? It still seems a bit too passive if we're talking about relatively equal teams. I've been there many times over the years. If you have the quality, it's not necessary to roll over or invite too much pressure. Have a measured approach instead. I have a feeling it's a bit too conservative in general, but you may find some success in overloading the left and releasing the two goal scorers on the right? I think the removal of counter pressing will help already, imo, of course.

Is the counter press a massive no no in a defensive formation? What is so seriously wrong with my player instructions?

The tactic probably is too conservative but that’s a record number of shots conceded and on target! Is it really that bad? If it’s too conservative I should be punished with a lack of chances. Not the sort of stats you’d see if a PL team played a non league team. My players are defensively strong and work hard. 

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Just now, FulchesterFred said:

Is the counter press a massive no no in a defensive formation?

If you're trying to be defensive (I prefer the term 'compact') then yes, it's obviously bad.

1 minute ago, FulchesterFred said:

The tactic probably is too conservative but that’s a record number of shots conceded and on target! Is it really that bad? If it’s too conservative I should be punished with a lack of chances. Not the sort of stats you’d see if a PL team played a non league team. My players are defensively strong and work hard. 

31 shots against you shows that it's a bad tactic. It seems like you're defending the tactic rather than looking for issues? I have already identified that counter pressing isn't defensive and would very likely cause you issues here. Then you also have a limited attack in that 2 (possibly 3) players on the left are trying to set up 2 attackers. That also may have issues depending on what you're facing.

Imo, again, removing counter pressing is definitely a good start. Then, if I were in your shoes, I'd look at the issues (and there will be) you face then. I think your midfield 3 is too conservative, not offering much penetration at all. I also think your DL/LoE is too negative, considering you should be on equal terms with Arsenal. Those are tweaks to make, imo, after you fix that major (again, imo) issue in the tactic first.

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11 minutes ago, afced7 said:

Out of interest what was the xg and shot count v Man City?

Can’t remember exactly and don’t have  access to stats as play FMT on iPad but low for Spurs. City had 15 or so shots with a few on target. It was a classic sucker punch match.

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12 minutes ago, HUNT3R said:

If you're trying to be defensive (I prefer the term 'compact') then yes, it's obviously bad.

31 shots against you shows that it's a bad tactic. It seems like you're defending the tactic rather than looking for issues? I have already identified that counter pressing isn't defensive and would very likely cause you issues here. Then you also have a limited attack in that 2 (possibly 3) players on the left are trying to set up 2 attackers. That also may have issues depending on what you're facing.

Imo, again, removing counter pressing is definitely a good start. Then, if I were in your shoes, I'd look at the issues (and there will be) you face then. I think your midfield 3 is too conservative, not offering much penetration at all. I also think your DL/LoE is too negative, considering you should be on equal terms with Arsenal. Those are tweaks to make, imo, after you fix that major (again, imo) issue in the tactic first.

I’ll certainly try and appreciate your advice.

is the game less forgiving this year in your opinion? Im getting some really brutal results and I usually get spurs in top 4 (I know Spurs are worse IRL). But getting some crazy stats like above. However much tweaking my plan needs this is really extreme.

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1 hour ago, FulchesterFred said:

but if I’m not getting how my players will override the LOE instruction with the transition instructions

Yes, the game lacks general explanation of principles of football.

Now, you got competent help here already, but still i just want to contribute something about the different phases of play. 

There are basicly 3 phases of play, wich every team goes through several times every match. "In possession", when your team has the ball. "Out of possession", when the other Team has the ball. Transitional phases, whenever possession is turned over from one team to the other. Transitional phases only apply for a very short period of time.

You can determin the time that your team will spend in the "in possession" and "out of possession" phase, by your overall tactical setup. You can also set up how often you actually want your team to cycle through the phases of play. "Gegenpress" for example is looking for quick cycles through the phases, while "tiki-taka" is looking to maximase the time "in possession" and therefore have to cycle fewer times through the phases of play.

So to conclude this, counterpress doesnt actually override your defensive settings, since it is an instruction for a completely different phase of play. There have been teams in the past irl, that counterpressed immediately after loosing possession and then fall back into a low / medium block if they were not successful winning back the ball.

 

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Edited by CARRERA
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11 minutes ago, CARRERA said:

Yes, the game lacks general explanation of principles of football.

Now, you got competent help here already, but still i just want to contribute something about the different phases of play. 

There are basicly 3 phases of play, wich every team goes through several times every match. "In possession", when your team has the ball. "Out of possession", when the other Team has the ball. Transitional phases, whenever possession is turned over from one team to the other. Transitional phases only apply for a very short period of time.

You can determin the time that your team will spend in the "in possession" and "out of possession" phase, by your overall tactical setup. You can also set up how often you actually want your team to cycle through the phases of play. "Gegenpress" for example is looking for quick cycles through the phases, while "tiki-taka" is looking to maximase the time "in possession" and therefore have to cycle fewer times through the phases of play.

So to conclude this, counterpress doesnt actually override your defensive settings, since it is an instruction for a completely different phase of play. There have been teams in the past irl, that counterpressed immediately after loosing possession and then fall back into a low / medium block if they were not successful winning back the ball.

Interesting and…confusing! Haha.

so I can counter press and have a lower LOE? Or does the game not allow that?

 

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15 minutes ago, FulchesterFred said:

Interesting and…confusing! Haha.

so I can counter press and have a lower LOE? Or does the game not allow that?

 

It does allow that, if it wouldnt, it wouldnt be possible. You can see that with several other instructions. Take the tackling for example. You cant instruct your players to get stuck in while staying on feet. However, you have to question yourself if a lower LOE really is what you are looking for. With that instruction, you will instruct your players to start pressing (after transitional phase) in the defensive third. This will drastically increase your time out of possession and  allows the other team to "cage you into your box" wich will apply immense preassure to your team. Also a high pressing intensity, doesnt really fit a low defensive block, simply because your players need to leave their position if they want to press and therefore will open up space for the other team to make runs and receive passes, or even shoot.

Usually, upper class teams which are considered to fall back will usually press around the midfield line (standard LOE) and will restrict space behind their defensive line (lower DL IF the other team is getting behind your defensive line with through balls). Depending on how much time you want to allow the other team in the "in possession" phase to build up their attack (and therefore open up more space behind THEIR defensive line which you can exploit then), you can slightly lower your pressing intesitiy to instruct your players to primarily keep their position, mark the attackers and cut off passing lanes.

So what i would do i your case to start thing off, is to increase the LOE by one notch and lower pressing intensity to standard and see how things work out.

Edited by CARRERA
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1 hour ago, FulchesterFred said:

Certainly shouldn’t end up with an absurd amount of shots and on target shots by your opponent

Why not? Especially when you play a low block with lower than optimal compactness while at the same time trying to be aggressive when defending (the combo of more urgent pressing, prevent GKD and counter-press). 

Not to mention tactical contradictions in your attacking phase, which can - and do - affect the defensive phase (as well as vice versa). 

And the most important part - your setup of roles and duties. Which lacks both central penetration and wide attacking support on the right flank. 

2 hours ago, FulchesterFred said:

So when I get told my player instructions, tactical and formation don’t marry up I want to make it clear that sometimes it does!

Okay, but that does not prove anything specifically. You can sometimes win a match with a bad tactic simply because the opposition (AI) tactic was even worse (just as an example, not claiming that it necessarily was the case here). 

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4 hours ago, FulchesterFred said:

How can I concede so many chances with a defensive tactic and relatively good team? Am I missing something? The games, performances and results are so random in 21. It feels so far from reality tbh.

how do I create so few chances? In any formation btw with Kane (regularly misses pens), Son (rarely scores), bale and lo celso. 
 

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I will probably start by tweaking the out of possession instructions as it seems to be the most problematic among other issues in the tactic. The tactic is using a lower engagement line with a balanced mentality which means that your team is likely to camp quite near to the box most of the time. Perhaps it might be a little too defensive especially with a team like spurs? And the 'prevent short GK distribution' instruction is also a problematic one because you only have one striker. Assume the other team does not play with only one CB, how can a lone striker prevent short GK distribution in the first place? 

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9 hours ago, FulchesterFred said:

How can I concede so many chances with a defensive tactic and relatively good team? Am I missing something?

1. If we assume that the shots were conceded roughly evenly throughout the match, it's plausible to think that even a decent team who is putting in a truly awful performance could concede 15/16 shots in the first half. The difference between IRL and (I suspect) your match against Arsenal is that a real world manager would make some big changes at halftime to stop the bleeding, whereas it sounds like you may have persisted with the same approach out of frustration. It's possible my suspicion is wrong, but in that case: what did you notice in the first half about how Arsenal were creating chances against you? What changes did you make to shut down their approach? What was the outcome?

2. (This might be controversial.) You are far from the first person to post on the forum along the lines of "why is my passive tactical approach not working? why is it easier to be successful playing aggressive/pressing tactics?" And although the usual response is to reject that implication, honestly... I think that there might be some truth to that. There are untold thousands of permutations of tactical approaches when you consider all the different roles, duties, player instructions, and team instructions at your disposal. While many of those certainly pertain to defensive behavior, I think it is inarguable that there are more nuanced/complex arrangements of settings -- and straight up just more of them -- that primarily alter how your team attacks

When "defensive specialist" coaches arrive at a club IRL, the first thing that they do is repetitively drill their players in defensive play: minutiae of where to stand, how to move as a unit, how to control space, etc. Maybe with the correct coaching staff you can do the same thing in FM by scheduling defending-heavy training plans, but I do think there's likely a limit to the effectiveness (I'm still very new to the training mechanisms). Fundamentally, it seems likely that more development time (by SI) has been spent on coding attacking behavior/animations: in a very basic sense, the game-as-a-game has to be designed to "allow" you to score (this isn't a highly detailed physics engine running a neural net AI, after all). OIs are probably the thing that lets you most directly pull levers to influence defending behavior in a more particular manner; DL+LOE+formation are rather "coarse" in my opinion (though clearly sufficient for the game to be functional).

All of this to say that more aggressive approaches are, to a point, probably more effective because they rely less on default/less detailed pre-programmed patterns. "Defend as little space as possible" requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work in real football that goes far beyond arranging player archetypes on a fictionalized playing surface; in FM, it can very easily end up being an invitation for the other team to have all the time and space to induce defensive breakdowns.

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11 hours ago, FulchesterFred said:

How can I concede so many chances with a defensive tactic and relatively good team? Am I missing something? The games, performances and results are so random in 21. It feels so far from reality tbh.

how do I create so few chances? In any formation btw with Kane (regularly misses pens), Son (rarely scores), bale and lo celso. 
 

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This isn't a defensive tactic. i will loosely translate what your team instructions have done:

In the dressing room...

"When we have the ball guys I don't want the backline to push too high, let the guys in front sort things out. Then when we lose the ball everyone drop back as deep as you can cos we want them to get as close to our goal as possible before we press. However, some of you may find this strange, but if we have just lost the ball after having possession of it, then, i want EVERYONE except the 2defenders to break formation to win the ball back." ...Coach speaks.

**everyone looks confused***

Question from the squad: But you just told us to drop as deep as we can when we lose the ball?
Coach: Yes but for the first few seconds try and win the ball back, don't worry about the defenders they should be holding the keepers hand since they are so deep.
Question from the squad: Wouldn't that leave huge gaps across the pitch for the opposition to exploit?
Coach: Erm no, isn't that how you are supposed to play defensive football?

Frankly your combination of instructions confused everyone, its just a badly thought out tactic, where you have gifted the opposition the ball with a combination of poor instructions that include, the use of counter pressing with a super low block.  You want to be defensive but for some strange reason you want the first couple of seconds of lost possession to include giving more space to the opposition. Now how do you counter press effectively when you have told the majority of the team to begin their pressing in your third?. Unless of course your goal is to try and win the ball back after losing it in midfield, which is probably the worst place to counter press.

A good defensive tactic counter attacking tactic will employ a deep or low block. However if the block is right in front of your goal then there are always going to be situations where you need to defend against the long shot.

I am just picking out the biggest flaw in your system, I am sure there are others on the forum who can't point you in the right direction. To be honest its a really poor defensive tactic thats just asking to be whipped.

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Cheers All. 
It’s strange that In previous FM versions my tactical naivety was less pronounced but in this one I’m being undone on virtually every save. You’ve all given me food for thought which is appreciated. There appears to be some disagreement about the impact and effectiveness of certain instructions.

in response to @Rashidiyh I get what you’re saying and it’s appreciated. It’s not real world though is it. IRL I’d talk to the players and explain when exactly I want them to press, when exactly drop, who to close down at which exact moment etc etc. I’d set traps through intellectually conversing with my players. But FM is a game with its own rules. You can’t talk to players about specifics. So you go by the sweeping generalisations that the game allows. So I need to understand what’s going on. In many of the preset tactics the very contradictions spoken about above exist.
 

like I say. I’ve never failed so much at FM. I’m no tactical genius but generally get it right quickly. If it has become less forgiving then the developers need to explain everything better than they currently are. Fortunately there is plenty of goodwill on forums like these.

 

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2 hours ago, FulchesterFred said:

It’s strange that In previous FM versions my tactical naivety was less pronounced but in this one I’m being undone on virtually every save

Believe or not, but I haven't changed/altered/modified my approach to tactical creation since FM19, when the current tactical creator was introduced, and I haven't seen any difference in terms of how my tactics perform throughout all versions of FM since then. What's more, I've found that with each new version the game actually gets better and easier when it comes both to tactics and the ME. 

 

2 hours ago, FulchesterFred said:

There appears to be some disagreement about the impact and effectiveness of certain instructions

The setup of roles and duties is key and it's the most important element of any tactic (regardless of the intended style of play). Instructions are of secondary importance compared to roles and duties (viewed as a whole, not in isolation). Therefore, instructions can be effective only if they are consistent both with the setup of roles and duties and between themselves. In fact, when you set the roles and duties right, you don't need more than just a couple of basic instructions (and in some cases you can have a really good tactic without even a single instruction). 

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Meanwhile, I feel as if the game (or rather series) has gotten harder (very gradually) over time, not that this is a bad thing mind you. Not because of the tactics creator though more along the following points; 1) Plug and Play or perhaps better put Set and Forget tactics aren't as effective as they used to be. It's slowly becoming more important to be a bit more flexible and responsive to your opponents tactical set up both before and during a match 2) Man Management is also becoming more important. Bad morale can hold back even a well designed tactic (just as an example).

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18 hours ago, FulchesterFred said:

Please tell me. My theory is I need to counter press at some point. So keep quite a neutral DL and LOE. And press when it LOE kicks in. Btw this same formation beat City 2 games before. It ain’t that awful!

 

Aren't you describing normal pressing, covered by the more urgent instruction?

Edited by SCCP1910
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5 hours ago, FulchesterFred said:

Cheers All. 
It’s strange that In previous FM versions my tactical naivety was less pronounced but in this one I’m being undone on virtually every save. You’ve all given me food for thought which is appreciated. There appears to be some disagreement about the impact and effectiveness of certain instructions.

in response to @Rashidiyh I get what you’re saying and it’s appreciated. It’s not real world though is it. IRL I’d talk to the players and explain when exactly I want them to press, when exactly drop, who to close down at which exact moment etc etc. I’d set traps through intellectually conversing with my players. But FM is a game with its own rules. You can’t talk to players about specifics. So you go by the sweeping generalisations that the game allows. So I need to understand what’s going on. In many of the preset tactics the very contradictions spoken about above exist.
 

like I say. I’ve never failed so much at FM. I’m no tactical genius but generally get it right quickly. If it has become less forgiving then the developers need to explain everything better than they currently are. Fortunately there is plenty of goodwill on forums like these.

 

Frankly I think your preconceived notions on how the tactical instructions work are your own undoing. I haven't changed the way Ive played since god knows how long. I believe you misunderstood how counter pressing works even in real life. You are confusing counter pressing with pressing, and these are two entirely different things.  You could on the other hand have a system of play which tells the front group to press hard whilst telling the rest to stay within their own zonal pressing instructions and you don't need to issue counter pressing. That is an instruction that affects specific players on the pitch and the UI actually tells you who will be affected.

There isn't any disagreement between the guys who have zero issues with the game, they all see the instructions work the same way. There does appear to be a disconnect between how you interpret the game and how those instructions are meant to be played out.

For example if you wanted to create a counter attacking system, you would first want to define the zone where you want to win the ball. Thats a fundamental concept in football. You wanted to try and win the ball near the edge of your penalty area, and when you win the ball you want your team to build the play out from the back and then when they get to the final third you want them to patiently probe for openings. Thats what happens when you use the play out of defence instruction with work ball into box. 

You could have for example opted to play with a standard defensive line and a standard line of engagement. Thats a pretty safe mid block where you tell the team to try and win the ball in and around the halfway line between for third and the middle of the pitch, which is where most defensive sides try and win the ball. Instead you told your team to allow the opposition to work the ball all the way to the penalty area. By the time they get there, your players won't be able to challenge for the ball, cos the moment the opposition enter the box they will need to stay on feet.

I showed your tactic to a large number of people and everyone thought you got you instructions conflicting with your desired style of play. Not a single person said it was a good tactic. The reason was simple, while the roles and duties are a bit disjointed, it was the team instructions that messed you up. Personally I wouldn't have gone with an AP/DLP together, I know it can work but you require specific things to happen in a game for that combo to light the pitch up. Why focus play through the middle when focus play on the left flank makes more sense since that is where the funky stuff is going to happen. By focusing play on the left, you get your central mids to support that side more by shifting to the left, thereby releasing more space for the right flank.

The diagonal overload is common in football, happens all the time but to exploit it you need someone to do the diagonal pass to open it up. I think you should begin first by crafting a tactic with proper team instructions. Your assertion that the presets are all wrong is also quite wrong, the presets work,  and they are a good way to craft better tactics.

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Thanks all. I like a challenge. I get your points. I still think SI are letting us down a little in presets and a comprehensive description of tactics….and I’m entitled to that opinion:-)

but all your efforts to help me understand the game better are very welcome 

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