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Struggling to convert chances - Tika taka 4-3-2-1

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Looking for advice on my tika taka AC Milan tactic.  It has been successful in terms of possession retention, passing accuracy and shot creation but struggles with converting goal scoring chances.  Last season I averaged 60% possession, 90% passing and about 20 shots a game while my defence averaged the least shots against per game but I often had games where I would have 20 shots to their 2 or 3 and end up losing or drawing.  

I've often had to rely on set-pieces and long shots and I don't think I create enough high quality chances in open play but I'm not sure how to fix the issue.

Any help would be much appreciated, thanks.


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You are looking to narrowly play through the middle, but have no one in the middle actually making forward runs. Who are you actually expecting to create and score the chances? 

No one in your midfield is looking to make an impact by making vertical runs. The DLP will sit relatively deep and recycle possession and play the occasional killer ball when it is on. The BWM will move up in support and offer himself as a short-passing option for the IW, but will rarely make a penetrative run to actually pressure the defense. The CAR will look to shuffle laterally and offer support wide, but you already have a WB getting forward to cover that space, so that doesn't seem necessary. 

Your forward runs are coming mainly from your IF and AF, who will end up isolated, and can be neutered by a deep, narrow defence (and you're playing into this with narrow play through the middle). Your wingbacks, the right one in particular, will also make forward runs, but typically to get around the side for a cross. You will have the IF and AF and maybe the IW in the box, which doesn't sound like a target rich environment for crosses.

Using an AF as a lone striker in a 4-3-3 is a bit awkward, as he will often end up isolated regardless. Especially in a possession-system, where you usually want a striker that drops deep to overload midfield and open lanes of attack for the wide forwards. An AF can work in a possession-system, by pushing back the defensive line to open space in the hole (this is especially useful in a 4-2-3-1 where the 10 is your main creator), but you have no one really looking to occupy that space.

You have both central defenders set to BDP, and a SK on attack, all of which are happy to take more risks. I would be unsurprised if this means a fair bit of your ball progression is long balls to the IF and AF. That's fine in and of itself, but with no vertical runners in midfield, they will be isolated and either dribble themselves into trouble, or stop play waiting for someone to pass back to.

Your players are also given more creative freedom (be more expressive). I find this to work very well when combined with work into box and a dynamic midfield. However, I suspect that with your set-up it simply allows your IF and AF to dribble even more into trouble, while the midfield becomes more inclined to take potshots from range.

It is unsurprising that you manage 60 % possession and 90 % passing accuracy with shorter passing, lower tempo, fairly narrow and play out of defence, hold shape, an entirely support-minded midfield, as well as aggressive pressing. You are basically asking your players to work super-hard to win the ball, and then just slowly pass it around in midfield. 

Honestly, my humble advice would be to start with a fresh pallet, and think about how you want your players to move and combine. Leave team instructions at a minimum, and focus on the player roles and how they interact. Think about how you want to create chances, rather than how high your possession % is. 

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3 hours ago, x07harda said:

I've often had to rely on set-pieces and long shots and I don't think I create enough high quality chances in open play but I'm not sure how to fix the issue.

You've got yourself a swarm tactic, high lines, heavy pressing, counter pressing, you're suffocating the opposition in their defensive third.

It's more gengen than tiki-taka 

Then when you do let them out, you're asking your team to slow things down & attack with less urgency allowing the opposition to get back into shape, so you allow them to drop off & become difficult to break down

I guess you end up camping around their area quite a lot, that's probably why you're scoring from set pieces & not so much from open play.

It's all a bit conflicting. I'd do one or the other, a gengen with a higher tempo & forget about possession or pull back the lines & play a less aggressive possession or pass & move based tactic 

Depending on which you choose, you'll probably have to change a few roles. Like a lone Advanced Forward is more suited to a higher tempo, counter system where a lone DLF is useful in a possession based game and he'd pair great with your IF(A). Your CMs are a bit tame too, a CAR(S) usually covers for the more attacking wingback (like Henderson used to for TAA). A BMW is absolutely fine but I'd want a creative partner or a runner for him rather than CAR who's going to look to go wide . A DLPS(S) will get quite far forward & only enhance camping, having him on Defend gives your team a nice deeper option when your team camp & need a safe pass  


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48 minutos atrás, bosque disse:

What instructions allow this style?

Never forget that a specific style needs players with attributes to suit it. If you have them, no problem - I imagine this should not be a problem in AC Milan, for example. However if your players´ attributes do not suit a specific style, it may be better if you play with none or just a few instructions. In this case they would work as tactical orientations/directions, and not necessarily as a specific style/way of play.

You see, one thing is ask your team to Pass Shorter and use More Urgent Pressing to control the ball more and allow your opponents less time on it. A different thing is to completely play on your opponents´ half, with a very high pressing and trying to recover the ball as soon as you lost it, and when you do, you ask your team to attack fast, not using long balls and through the middle. The first one looks to be a "tactical direction/orientation", the second one looks more a "style of play" to me.

Edited by Tsuru
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