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Pragmatic Football - Bringing Mourinho-inspired 4-2-3-1 to FM22


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I guess not all pragmatic football is dark arts for example the Holland 1988 team was a pragmatic side managed by Rinus Michels, that being said out of all the times Holland could have won this was a very fortunate run and could have been knocked out. But Van Basten turned up and the rest is history...

Edited by De Nile
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3 hours ago, De Nile said:

I guess not all pragmatic football is dark arts for example the Holland 1988 team was a pragmatic side managed by Rinus Michels, that being said out of all the times Holland could have won this was a very fortunate run and could have been knocked out. But Van Basten turned up and the rest is history...

Exactly! You can have pragmatic football without resorting to "darker" side of sport. It is really more about timing your attacks and putting more attention into defending in well-organized compressed shape. And that's exactly what I am hoping to showcase with this project.

Edited by crusadertsar
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I'm hoping to have time tonight to post a deeper analysis of my tactic and some results. In December of first season and very happy with it. So far the highlights have been 3-1 thumping of Ajax and 1-0 hard-fought victory over Manchester United in Champions League. Advanced to Knockout rounds. I am playing as Villareal and with no major transfer activity this season. Except for one loan. Amad Diallo from Man United, who has taken on the Cristiano Ronaldo role for me (although inversed, on the right wing) :D

 

Amad Diallo Manchester United 050221.jpg

Edited by crusadertsar
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43 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

I'm hoping to have time tonight to post a deeper analysis of my tactic and some results. In December of first season and very happy with it. So far the highlights have been 3-1 thumping of Ajax and 1-0 hard-fought victory over Manchester United in Champions League. Advanced to Knockout rounds. I am playing as Villareal and with no major transfer activity this season. Except for one loan. Amad Diallo from Man United, who has taken on the Cristiano Ronaldo role for me (although inverses, on the right wing) :D

 

Amad Diallo Manchester United 050221.jpg

Just when I thought I'd go to bed early tonight.  Can't wait to read it.

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Great article as always crusaderstar! :D I tried a tactic with similar principles and similar roles with my beloved Roma in FM 21, and we won 4:0 :D 
12 vs 7 shots against them, all of our shots were at least half chances, and Juve's opportunities were mostly long shots from more than 30 meters.
Very clinical and at times beautiful football.
It's strange for possesion/attacking oriented manager as i am to watch a game where we don't dominate with 20+ shots and 60% + possession :D

The only concern is how we're going to play against smaller teams, guess i'll sometimes need to up the defensive line a notch if we can't score a goal?
i will report my findings, 'till then here is my iteration of Special Football:
 

Screenshot_2.png

Edited by marko82
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5 hours ago, marko82 said:

Great article as always crusaderstar! :D I tried a tactic with similar principles and similar roles with my beloved Roma in FM 21, and we won 4:0 :D 
12 vs 7 shots against them, all of our shots were at least half chances, and Juve's opportunities were mostly long shots from more than 30 meters.
Very clinical and at times beautiful football.
It's strange for possesion/attacking oriented manager as i am to watch a game where we don't dominate with 20+ shots and 60% + possession :D

The only concern is how we're going to play against smaller teams, guess i'll sometimes need to up the defensive line a notch if we can't score a goal?
i will report my findings, 'till then here is my iteration of Special Football:
 

Screenshot_2.png

Nice! AS Roma would have been my choice for this experiment too. They are managed by the Special One in real life afterall and are a nearly perfect for this style of tactic. Hard-working and defensively-strong midfield coupled with fast creative forwards. Great result against Juve also. Bonus points for not conceding a single goal :applause: Proves that you don't need aggressive mentality and uber-pressing and a gazillion team instructions to be successful in this game. Sometimes a few key instructions and smart defending can win the day. 

Now as promised some results and a few analytical takeaways from this recent tactical tribute to Mourinho. Gotten to mid-season winter break with Villareal so as good point to pause and assess the tactic as any. Was hoping to get this out last night but then decided to take a bit more time to include some nicer screenshots.

Results

@john1

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As you can see we had a strong start but then had a little dip in form around late November. It was a result of match congestion coinciding with a few injuries to some of my First Team players on International duty. I was forced to largely play my B squad for that Sevilla goal-fest. We were actually losing 4-1 in first period and then managed to pull three back in the second after a quick adjustment in tactics. Went a bit more attacking (with switch to Positive Mentality and taking away "build up from the back" instruction and giving Attack duty to my Segundo Volante). It was a valiant effort but sadly it was not enough.

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A few lessons learned is that playing the B team against a stronger team like Sevilla is not a good idea. Also my two aging centrbacks Iborra and Albiol are starting to show their age (in their pace and acceleration especially) and are not to be trusted for big games. Almost all of Sevilla's goals came as a result of inside forward's Lucas Ocampos' quick runs in behind our defence. Our two veterans in defence just couldn't handle him. 

Nevertheless, we are still in 6th position with only 10 points behind the La Liga leader Valencia.

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As you can see the 2nd half of the season is going to be pretty intense and Villareal will be facing stiff competion from at least 6 other teams. Talk about a close title race. Fortunately, we also have one extra game in hand. And the next match happens to be against Barcelona! So that is definitely going to be one hell of an important game :eek:

Statistically speaking, we are not doing that much worse than the former La Liga champions. In some areas we are even better. So the match could really swing either way. Tactical preparation will be key for this one. I especially don't want to make the same mistakes as I did against Sevilla.

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On the continental stage, there actually quite a lot of things to be happy about. The first victory of the season against last year's Champions League title-holder Chelsea gave us a great boost for the rest of the campaign. We are through into the Knockout rounds! Initially, I thought it was going to be a tough group, seeing how we were drawn up against Man United and Ajax (pretty much our equal in terms of player quality). And even Rangers gave us a little bit of trouble in the beginning. But 3 victories, 1 draw and 1 loss got us through. 

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The next challenge will be Liverpool. I am actually really looking forward to that much as I expect it to be real test of my defensive system. 

Quick Statistical Takeaways

Despite that one embarrassing loss against Sevilla, defending has been the biggest tactical positive takeaway so far this season. 

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We defend very well for the most part and concede less than one goal per match. So far we conceded 16 goals in all of our 17 La Liga matches (and 8 clean sheets). This puts us in 3rd place overall in the league in terms of conceded goals. Only behind leader Valencia (10) and Barcelona. 5 of those 16  goals came from set pieces which I have been struggling with for my whole time with FM22. 

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Above is another look at Villareal's overall defensive efficiency. In summary, we are generally where I expected us to be given the style of football I am trying to recreate. And this is only after half a season. So I am very optimistic for how this tactic will work once my team is completely fluent with it. 

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In terms of our attack, we are no slouches either. We managed to score 29 goals in 17 matches and tied for 6th place with two other teams.

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The big surprise this year, has actually been Celta de Vigo who are sitting in 4th with, only 5 goals behind leader Real Madrid. They are 19th in the league table! With only 13 points so far they are in serious risk of relegation. This would be crushing for the historic Galician club. Their first relegation from top-tier Spanish football in 10 years. 

So as you can it has been a really interesting start to my 1st season in La Liga. Kind of shows you why Spain has always been my favourite country to play in Football Manager. The level of competition and challenge La Liga presents is not really matched by any other top-tier division in European football. And then you also have an actual Reserve team which can play in an actual competitive league . Villareal's Reserve team is lucky enough to start in Spanish First Division (2nd level of competition in the league pyramid). So basically, I do not need to loan out my young prospects for them to get good playing experience. They can get plenty of experience and playing time while playing for Villarreal CF B. And at the same time they can take advantage of our superior training facilities. 

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Villareal CF B Reserve Team has been doing very well indeed. 2nd in First Division with 16 games played and 5 clean sheets. The team is using the exact same tactics as Villareal's senior team, so that is another good sign for our system overall.

Transfer Business

Not much to say on this topic. I did not make any permanent transfers. Mostly using the starting Villareal squad. They are more than good enough and very suitable for this style of football, which is the reason why I chose this club in the first place. Also, I prefer to do more of a youth development challenge with this club, given the exceptional quality of their facilities (improved shortly after taking over the club).

One notable exception has been the long term loan (2 seasons) of Man United's teenage star, Amad Diallo.

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His development has taken a sharp rise in recent weeks which earned him more playing time. So far he chipped in with 6 goals and 4 assists. Some of those have happened in key matches, especially in Europe. Notable examples being his game winning goal in our 3-1 victory against Ajax in Europe and a key assist in the 1-0 victory against his home team, Man United :D

Amad is starting to look as Villareal's version of Cristiano Ronaldo. Playing in the right IF(A) role, he suits our team's style perfectly creative, quick and most importantly hard working. And he just turned 19 years old! I am very happy with this loan to say the least. 

So that is it for now. Now I will try to play more to finish this season as positively as it began. This save is slowly turning into one of my favourite saves of FM22. It has been most fun I have had with the game so far so expect more updates on this little project. Adios mis amigos y amigas :cool:

TO BE CONTINUED ... 

Edited by crusadertsar
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2 hours ago, gokalpcakir1 said:

When will the part about PIs come?

 

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Patience grasshopper :lol:

Here you go! Was just editing the image to make a nice graphic. Enjoy!

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I was thinking hard about putting a more attacking fullback on the left such fullback(a) or wingback(a) but hesitated about unbalacing that side. We already have Segundo Volante making penetrating late runs. Adding "get forward" PI to left IW(s) might be a good idea. But then we might risk losing our overload on that side. So far it's been working rather well in attracting opposition to the left flank and making more space for the striker and inside forward on the right. Sometimes it's best not to mess too much with the winning formula. Don't try to fix something that's not really broken haha.

Also here is another view from my data hub. As you can see I have been using the same formation all this time with only little instruction tweaks here and there (the latest collection of team instructions can be seen in the image above). In my experience, in FM22 getting your players familiar (and tactically fluent) in the formation is more important than ever before in any of the previous FMs. And making them play one single formation the whole season is arguably the best way to familiarize them and get the tactic firing at full cylinders. 

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Edited by crusadertsar
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Also as you see in the image above, 22 out of 40 of our goal assists have come from through balls. It's nice to see more goals scored through balls. I don't think they are as difficult to achieve as many claim on these forums. FM22 is not just about crossing. Central, direct passing can be quite effective provided you got the right system.

 

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2 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

Went a bit more attacking (with switch to Positive Mentality and taking away "build up from the back" instruction and giving Attack duty to my Segundo Volante

Is this the only tactical adjustment u made to the tactic?  Can you detail Amy other adjustments based on the situations you faced.

 

2 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

actical preparation will be key for this one

Can you provide more insight on how you do taxctical preparation for matches.  In depth would be great at this.

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I'm using this with Udinese in fm 21 and as you probably know - in Italy you fave a whole bunch of 3 at the back formations.  

 

Any advice on tactical adjustments to make for these stubborn defenses? 

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@crusadertsar I have a question about your selection of Juan Foyth in the segundo volante role. Foyth to me looks like a defensive midfielder. He looks to be missing some attributes to fulfill the segundo volante role (finishing, long shots, concentration, decisions). I get the first two as he doesn’t necessarily need to be a goal scorer but I would have expected a “Shoots Less Often” instruction added to compensate the lower attributes (I had to wait until you showed the player instructions to ask the question, sorry). Probably more concerning to me would be the low decisions and to a lesser extent the concentration. As the volante tracks forward and back without seeing the player I’d be concerned he would be out of position at times due to these mental attributes lacking. So, why Foyth? Or maybe, why Foyth as a segundo volante?

 

A bit of a minor follow up - do you use a left footed player on the left wing? The cross aim instruction leads me to think you are. 
 

 

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I must say it was odd to see you so critical of another member’s 4231 which had a similar distribution of attack and support duties and then shortly adopt a similar style for an upcoming thread. Did you see the light? :D respect for giving it a go though.

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1 hour ago, milestobudapest said:

I must say it was odd to see you so critical of another member’s 4231 which had a similar distribution of attack and support duties and then shortly adopt a similar style for an upcoming thread. Did you see the light? :D respect for giving it a go though.

Yeah, @ThomasHK1979 deserves a citation imo, especially given the (now deleted) comments (still visible in quotes) from OP about the double pivot.

Poor form. Unfortunate.

Edited by Prolix
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@milestobudapest and @Prolix guys if you have nothing constructive to contribute then why post baseless accusations in someone's thread? You know what is poor form? Heckling someone and derailing their thread with baseless slandering accusations like that. When in truth I did nothing like you suggest and copied no-one. Just because we happened to have a few similar roles? Was he doing a Mourinho-inspired mid-block tactic? 

That was really uncalled for. Particularly when its not even true and is honestly unfair and unprovoked slander. Which I was really surprised to see in this community. How did I copy somebody when I presented a system that I have been working on since FM21? I backed that up with a link to my old thread but I guess you didn't read that before making accusations. My formation and roles and duties look nothing like his. I use specific PIs and instructions to create specific type of football. Does he mention Mourinho or pragmatic football in his thread? Does he have the same distribution of duties or instructions. Does he even explain why he is using those specific roles? Or any of his roles for that matter? We share one role in midfield (Segundo Volante) and if you looked closer and actually read my analysis then you would have seen that I actually play a holding-type player there and not a typical runner. Same for my regista. I am trying to use a different approach to create a dynamic midblock. Which had nothing to do with that other thread. Can someone not use 4-2-3-1 with two DMs and Balanced mentality  without being called a copycat just because someone else used 4-2-3-1 DM with Balanced mentality? There are only so many mentalities, instructions and roles in the games. Might as well accuse me of copying a plug-and-play tactic from the download section of this forum. I'm sure there are a couple that use similar instructions and roles, no? The whole logic behind my system is based on inspiration of certain type of play-style and team and has nothing to do with any other thread or tactic. So if you could please retract your comments because they add nothing to the discussion here and are honestly derailing it without any proof or reason. 

You can read this post I wrote on May 8, 2021 and you can clearly see that back then I was already talking about a Mourinho-style 4-2-3-1 with a double pivot in DM strata with deep playmaker (regista) and ball-winner (segundo volante/dynamic ball-winner role that I now finally settled on with Foyth). I am not just randomly plopping down roles because I saw them working in another's thread. If you knew me then you would know that I don't work or write like that. I start with a concept or a historical inspiration and then I try to model it in the game. Why do I even bother taking all the time to write my tactical updates and detailed analysis when I could just use someone's plug-play tactic and just write one page stating here is my world-beater tactic, it's awesome, try it! Trust me it works I just don't know why or how. 

Edited by crusadertsar
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25 minutes ago, crusadertsar said:

@milestobudapest and @Prolix guys if you have nothing constructive to contribute then why post baseless accusations in someone's thread? That was really uncalled for. Particularly when its not even true and is honestly unfair and unprovoked slander. Which I was really surprised to see in this community. How did I copy somebody when I presented a system that I have been working on since FM21? My formation and roles and duties look nothing like his. I use specific PIs and instructions to create specific type of football. Does he mention Mourinho or pragmatic football in his thread? Does he have the same distribution of duties or instructions. Does he explain why he is using those specific roles? We share one role in midfield (Segundo Volante) and if you looked closer and actually read my analysis then you would have seen that I actually play a holding-type player there. Same for my regista. I am trying to use a different approach to create a dynamic midblock. Which had nothing to do with that other thread. Can someone not use 4-2-3-1 with two DMs and Balanced mentality be called a copycat? There are only so many roles in the games. The whole logic behind my system as laid out here is nothing like in that other thread. So if you could please retract your comments because they nothing to add to the discussion here and are honestly derailing it without any proof or reason. 

100% - i had to go back and look at the thread to see what these two were talking about.  Completely baseless accusations.  some people are just ignorant and the best way to deal with them is to simply ignore them.

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Ok I am going to "unhide" the comments, because I believe in keeping things transparent.

Now, lets deal with the crux of the matter. 

If someone takes the same roles and duties from a formation I've made in the past and then gone on to do a video or a stream claiming it as their own, will I get upset? Of course not. There are ultimately going to be a finite number of combinations for any formation to play sensibly, and to go around claiming someone should give credit is wrong. That is speaking for myself.  To go into another person's thread to heckle them is also wrong.  Here the OP of the thread has created a thread where the goal is to help others see how the combinations in his tactic work, and that is the goal of this forum - to share and help.   There will be countless systems that ultimately share similarities, and that is eventually going to happen.  I make double dm systems all the time with RPM/VOL, VOL/VOL, DM/VOL, DLP/VOL, VOL/RGA, should i go out and claim credit for all of them?   I won't do it cos it will make me look childish.

So please confine yourselves to discussing the merits of the system that the OP has created.  The next person to start heckling will get an infraction from the mods.

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i think you guys completely missed the point. They were not criticizing the fact that he is using similar roles or a 4-2-3-1DM. It is about @crusadertsars statement that a double pivot without a holding player can’t work.

So to link it back up to the topic, it would properbly be nice to know for people how the RGA can somewhat be your „holding“ player or if there are PPM‘s / specific player profiles in place to change the behavior of the original roles.

I also really like the view that’s given here on pragmatic football and how a very creative and fluid approach can lead to efficiency. 

Good read :thup:

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On 28/01/2022 at 12:20, De Nile said:

I guess not all pragmatic football is dark arts for example the Holland 1988 team was a pragmatic side managed by Rinus Michels, that being said out of all the times Holland could have won this was a very fortunate run and could have been knocked out. But Van Basten turned up and the rest is history...

Added bonus was having a backbone of the 1988 EC1 winner, a team which excelled in going through against all odds.

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@crusadertsar having followed a couple of your threads before, this is exactly what I am looking for! have just been promoted to La Liga with Real Valladolid (owned by the original Ronaldo) and was looking for a 4-2-3-1 that was defensively secure but allowed me to unleash my attackers - have some interesting players but a very youthful squad having cleared out all the old players. Had attempted a version of this but lost both my opening games 1-0 so will give this a whirl and report back.  This is what my line-up will look like, and a few intersting players also in the squad (Shoretire and Reinier I have loaned in):

 

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Mini Update #1: Double Pivot - Regista Role Analysis

Ultimately, my goal with all of my tactics is to achieve "balance" in terms of roles, duties and instructions. When I create a more aggressive attacking tactic such as a Total Football one, I tend to couple more risk-taking mentality such like Positive (or even Attacking in my more recent experiments) with some pretty "conservative" roles. In this case I tend to use a lot of support duties and players holding up the ball. When combined with the more adventurous team mentality and instructions the overall effect is a team that plays better as a collective whole. This allows me to use higher defensive line and line of engagement and even the most aggressive pressing without worrying that my players will be running all over the place. Their similar support duties and instructions to hold position will ensure that they stay together asvone unit even as they press high up the pitch. 

When recreating a "defensive" mid-block system such as the one in this thread, the approach has to be a little different. I start with more conservative "Balanced" team mentality and less aggressive defending instructions. Then naturally the roles (especially for the playmaker) have to be a little more adventurous to compensate.

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I don't increase my line of engagement or defensive line because I want players to engage the opposition players in their defensive positioning. Defensive positioning means that as you see the roles in your tactics screen that is how they will defend. This of course changes the moment you increase your line of engagement and/defensive line. My combination of Regista and Segundo Volante would run the risk of getting out of position and wandering too far from their designated defensive positions if I was playing with aggressive pressing, higher defensive line and line of engagement (your typical Geggenpress instructions). Or if I increased my team mentality to Positive. I am not looking to create a Geggenpress tactic and I want my midfielders to defend in their starting positions to contribute to the tactic's overall defensive solidity. So that is why I will would not touch the defensive line and line of engagement sliders in my tactic.

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On the other hand I want my players to be decisive and relentless in defending the area in front of our defence. Thus using "tighter marking" and "more often" pressing makes sense. Sometimes I will even tell them to "get stuck in" but this is situational. I would use it in those games where I feel we are being dominated by an opponent that is trying to press us hard or is having too much control of the ball. 

So having explained my reasoning behind the defending instructions, the other important factor are the roles. And this part will hopefully address @CARRERA question about the rational behind my choice of regista as the non-traditional holding midfielder. I find that for my team Parejo still plays the holding role well just not in the way or role we would expect.

There is specific reason why I chose the Regista/Segundo Volanted combination as opposed to something like DLP(S)/BWM(S) or DLP(S)/DM(S). First of all, I probably would not have played with a regista if I did not have a player like Dani Parejo. It might have been a bit too adventurous for what I am trying to achieve. But the unique combination of traits that Dani possess makes this role work perfectly. That is because Dani does not play like a typical regista. That is dribbling forward with the ball and generally roaming around looking for open spaces to pass into. 

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As you can see he does not have that many assists. That is because he does not get forward enough to actually be the first assister on goals. Occasionally he will get a nice long hollywood pass to the forwards but those are rare. Instead he gets many key passes during games as he gets heavily involved in the initial build-up that leads to the goal. 

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In a typical match example (our victory against Rangers in Champions League) you can see that most of Parejo's passing are coming from his position in the midfield. Eventhough his role has "roaming" selected and without any holding instructions, he very much plays like a deeplying holding playmaker for us. Except, what I prefer in choosing a regista over a DLP(S) is that the role is hard-coded to operate with more risk taking. Think of it as difference between your typical AP(A) versus Trequartista. Treq is another type of playmaker who is told to operate with full creative freedom. In my opinion Regista is like a Trequartisa in deeper midfield. But again coming back to Dani Parejo what separates him from other similar players are his traits. He has "comes deep to get the ball", "dictate tempo", "stop play" and "dwell on ball". All of these temper the more risky tendencies of his role and make him take more time on the ball and be more patient with his passing. Also with "comes deep" he links with our defence and right fullback better so I am not afraid of him leaving his post and opening up space for opposition to exploit on that side. Essentially if I were to play a player like Parejo with any other playmaker role be it DLP or Roaming Playmaker, the combination of the traits and his individual mentality due to the support duty (Balanced) would probably make his play a bit too conservative and predictable. No, for this I need a role with more creative spark and Regista gives us just that :)

Added Note: @bosque @Coachvahid If I did not have a player with Parejo's traits? Then I would use a non-playmaker role like Segundo Volante (Support) with some added PIs, specifically "take more risks" and "shoot less often". I really like SV and I see him as more defence-minded midfielder due to his starting position and hard-coded behavior and movement (late runs, shuttling between defence and attack). Simple generic Defensive Midfielder does not have this unfortunately. And I wouldn't like Roaming Playmaker for this role because I find they spend way too much time roaming upfield and trying to make an impact on the attack. Sort of like a hybrid of a more aggressive BBM and Mezzala(Support). While SW is just like a deeplying BBM but without roaming (hence more disciplined and focused on defending). Even though regista has the roaming ticked on too I believe he does so less than RPM (afterall its in the name ). I intend to write more on SV soon so hopefully that will answer more how I envision my double pivot. 

Coming Next: Segundo Volante

Edited by crusadertsar
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Wow, some people are total arse on here. I have not seen any of @crusadertsarpost on criticising people's tactic etc etc, it just his opinions. 

Loving the analyst of Parejo's passing against Rangers.

Edited by john1
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10 minutes ago, john1 said:

Wow, some people are total arse on here. I have not seen any of @crusadertsarpost on criticising people's tactic etc etc, it just his opinions. 

Loving the analyst of Parejo's passing against Rangers.

Thanks mate :) Also I hope I was a little more clear on the unique role that Parejo plays in my system. The intention was to really make the most "risk taking" holding midfielder without using a typical holding roles or any extra PIs. The traits are key here.

Now will have to make sure that his successor learns them soon as Dani us getting on in age.

Edited by crusadertsar
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Interesting topic and approach. Question: how do you look at the role of team mentality?

I noticed there are roughly two schools of thought on team mentality. One school views mentality as something representing a "philosophy". It affects almost everything, and a 4231 on defensive mentality is radically different from 4231 on positive mentality. The mentality is used to implement a certain style.

The other school, treats mentality as switch to adjust "risk taking", especially Rashidi often explains it that way. So mentality can be switched during the match according to the needs of the game and the strength of the opponent.

In your approach, is the Balanced mentality a requirement to implement your "philosophy" or a "pragmatic" setting to be changed according to the needs of a match?

 

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Not too bad. It change... 

You wrote about the regista and Dani Parejo, but if you don't have this sort of players, great technique and mental, what roles you could choose for your double pivot. Is it the attributes or the roles the most important? 

Thanks. 

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On the Dani Parejo role, what would you do if you have a creative player who can play in DM but doesn't have those traits? Lets say a Dani Parejo without the traits :D What role would you give him?

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2 hours ago, Gianni Brera said:

Interesting topic and approach. Question: how do you look at the role of team mentality?

I noticed there are roughly two schools of thought on team mentality. One school views mentality as something representing a "philosophy". It affects almost everything, and a 4231 on defensive mentality is radically different from 4231 on positive mentality. The mentality is used to implement a certain style.

The other school, treats mentality as switch to adjust "risk taking", especially Rashidi often explains it that way. So mentality can be switched during the match according to the needs of the game and the strength of the opponent.

In your approach, is the Balanced mentality a requirement to implement your "philosophy" or a "pragmatic" setting to be changed according to the needs of a match?

 

I definitely belong to the "risk taking switch" school. So basically I will start all games with Balanced mentality and then if things go to plan and we score a goal or two, I will leave it like that. On the other hand if I notice that the other side is really parking the bus against us and we are not able to penetrate their defences then I start making little adjustments. The first usually being switching the overall mentality to Positive and making a few duty changes (switching the segundo volante to attack duty or make my left wingback more attacking). I also drop some team instructions (like work from the back that I mentioned before). Sometimes subbing out a player who is not doing well (rating below 6.5) and putting in a fresh replacement can work wonders in changing the dynamic of the match. Having that one impact sub can be key. Serge Aurier plays that role for us as a more attacking segundo volante (due to his traits). But more on that in the segundo volanted update. 

I never reduce my mentality to Defensive when defending a lead against a superior team. In my personal experience that is the fastest way to concede that last minute goal. For one main reason. When you switch team mentality to one that the team has not practiced in will cause the drop in tactical familiarity (little bar in the top right corner of tactics screen), causing them to play even worse than on Balanced and increasing their chance of errors even further. While this is okay when going from Balanced to Positive because you are still 0-0 and even getting a tie would not be a total disaster, When you are winning by one goal and switch to Defensive mentality in last minutes of the game and the opponent goes on the final overload assault, the result could be quite devestating. What I usually do in these situations is make strategic changes to some of the roles - change my left wingback into a more defensive, less risk-taking role like fullback (support) or wingback (defend). Or drop my line of engagement one slot lower to make the team (and as result our defence more compressed and harder to break down). Or I could add some team instructions like "hold shape", "play more disciplined" or "waste time". 

So there you go I hope that answered some of your questions @Gianni Brera and @ta11zx . @ta11zx In one of my future updates I plan to also address your earlier question about what I do to prepare for some specific games with concrete examples from the upcoming Liverpool, Barca (stronger opponents) matches and Vallecano (underdog). But before that I'm writing Segundo Volante mini-update to answer @nick1408 earlier question. Cheers! :) 

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4 hours ago, jdubsnz said:

@crusadertsar having followed a couple of your threads before, this is exactly what I am looking for! have just been promoted to La Liga with Real Valladolid (owned by the original Ronaldo) and was looking for a 4-2-3-1 that was defensively secure but allowed me to unleash my attackers - have some interesting players but a very youthful squad having cleared out all the old players. Had attempted a version of this but lost both my opening games 1-0 so will give this a whirl and report back.  This is what my line-up will look like, and a few intersting players also in the squad (Shoretire and Reinier I have loaned in):

 

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Cracking team! Shola Shoretire especially. One of my favourite starting wonderkids. I think he would be perfect on the left as your IW. Has the required combination of both creativity and attacking ability to excel in that role. Good luck with the save mate! 

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1 hour ago, crusadertsar said:

I definitely belong to the "risk taking switch" school. So basically I will start all games with Balanced mentality and then if things go to plan and we score a goal or two, I will leave it like that. On the other hand if I notice that the other side is really parking the bus against us and we are not able to penetrate their defences then I start making little adjustments. The first usually being switching the overall mentality to Positive and making a few duty changes (switching the segundo volante to attack duty or make my left wingback more attacking). I also drop some team instructions (like work from the back that I mentioned before). Sometimes subbing out a player who is not doing well (rating below 6.5) and putting in a fresh replacement can work wonders in changing the dynamic of the match. Having that one impact sub can be key. Serge Aurier plays that role for us as a more attacking segundo volante (due to his traits). But more on that in the segundo volanted update. 

I never reduce my mentality to Defensive when defending a lead against a superior team. In my personal experience that is the quickest way to get that last minute goal. For one main reason. When you switch team mentality to one that the team has not practiced in will cause the drop in tactical familiarity (little bar in the top right corner of tactics screen), causing them to play even worse than on Balanced and increasing their chance of errors even further. While this is okay when going from Balanced to Positive because you are still 0-0 and even getting a tie would not be a total disaster, When you are winning by one goal and switch to Defensive mentality in last minutes of the game and the opponent goes on the final overload assault, the result could be quite devestating. What I usually do in these situations is make strategic changes to some of the roles - change my left wingback into a more defensive, less risk-taking role like fullback (support) or wingback (defend). Or drop my line of engagement one slot lower to make the team (and as result our defence more compressed and harder to break down). Or I could add some team instructions like "hold shape", "play more disciplined" or "waste time". 

So there you go I hope that answered some of your questions @Gianni Brera and @ta11zx . @ta11zx In one of my future updates I plan to also address your earlier question about what I do to prepare for some specific games with concrete examples from the upcoming Liverpool, Barca (stronger opponent) matches and Vallecano (underdog). But before that I'm writing Segundo Volante mini-update to answer @nick1408 earlier question. Cheers! :) 

Thank you for your answer. In my personal experience too, switching to the Defensive mentality to protect a lead often works counterproductive. Slowing down the pace of the game, be more disciplined, waste time etc often do that job better than any team mentality adjustments.

That is why I am personally convinced that mentality is perhaps more of a "philosophy" that requires training and preparation for the players to execute on the pitch. Then again, the in-game description of the team mentalities does suggest its a setting intended to be adjusted to the needs of the match.

I will continue to follow your thread. Thanks for posting!

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1 hour ago, mikcheck said:

@crusadertsarwhat about your average possession numbers? Nice job btw

Thanks! Here you go. Actually, I was surprised when I checked because I guess we are not doing that bad overall. Even though possession is really not the goal of my tactic. Still better than average team and we excel at winning the ball it seems. 

?imw=5000&imh=5000&ima=fit&impolicy=Lett

?imw=5000&imh=5000&ima=fit&impolicy=Lett

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Mini-Update #2: Double Pivot - Segundo Volante Role Analysis

To address @nick1408's earlier question, I indeed chose Foyth to be my 1st choice Segundo Volunte for primarily his defensive attributes. His long-shots are not really important to me because I don't expect him to be one of my goal-scorers. I thought about adding "shoot less" PI but I haven't because I have not noticed him being wasteful during matches. Usually he is smart enough to pass the ball on to his more creative partner Parejo. Adding trait "looks to pass rather than attempting to score" would be a nice bonus in further making sure that your segundo volante is not wasteful and instead focuses on feeding your regista. Unfortunately you cannot teach this to a player who has not learned to play in central midfield (it is just not available from drop down menu when choosing trainable traits). But what I am teaching Foyth instead is "refrain from taking long-shots". But to come back on my reasoning for choosing Foyth. It actually comes down to what I believe is the true essence of the role. Segundo Volanted on Support duty is truly a defensive power-house in your DM strata. I think there are some misconceptions where people think this is role is more of an aggressive deep runner in the mold of CM(A) or Mezzala. Maybe this can be true when you use a SV with Attack duty or playing a player with a specific set of traits. Like one with "get forward whenever possible" and "gets into opposition area". 

SV.png.66e233a375cea45ed62fe813dc2539ab.png

According to the in-game description SV(Support) is not an inherently attack-oriented role. Instead it is a primarily defensive one and can be compared to a more defensively-responsible deep Box-to-Box Midfielder. In fact I prefer the Segundo Volante to a B2B Midfielder because SV does not come with the hard-coded "roam from position" instruction. He also starts from deeper strata so naturally his defensive positioning will be more defensive than your typical central midfield Box-to-Box player. Yet during possession a good SV will cover much of the area that B2B would, as he shuttles between defence and attacking midfield. He will generally look to support his more creative partner (such regista) as well as picking opportunities to arrive late in the opposition penalty area, much like B2B midfielder. The late runs are more  rare for Support Duty SV and will only happen during a clear counter-attacking opportunity when the opposition is already overwhelmed with dealing with your forwards. At such times you will often see your SV lingering just outside. For the most part he will content himself with patrolling your own half and being a general nuisance in the side of your opponent. Think of him as a more dynamic/smarter Ball-winning midfielder. That is if you choose the right player for the role.

I'm firmly in the school of thought that believes that player attributes play a huge part in how the player will act on the field. Even outside of their assigned roles. A striker who has exceptional teamwork and workrate attributes will still take more time to help his teammates during attacks, even if he is assigned a Poacher role. Same for other roles. A central midfielder with appropriate attack-oriented attributes such as great off the ball, dribbling and long-shots will make dangerous runs and score beautiful goals occasionally even if he is assigned holding CM(Defence) role. 

The role is only as good as the player that play it. So it is with the Segundo Volante. At Villareal I'm lucky enough to have three distinct players to choose from for this role. Of course, sometimes it leads to selection/rotation headaches but the overall tactical flexibility it gives is worth it. 

foyth2.png.be9edd9d75fb0740449a9ae49e2b23b7.png

Of course, my first choice is still Juan Foyth. He actually checks off all of the key (green) attributes like Stamina, Positioning, Work Rate, Tackling, Marking and Passing. And role's the less important, preferred attributes (blue) are not that bad for the most part. Foyth still needs to work on things like Concentration and Decisions but lower attributes there will not prevent him from doing his primary job which is to support and win back possession and patrol your midfield. If you want your SV to be that dangerous spark plug in your attacks then of course you will want to play him on Attack Duty. Then according to in-game description he will look to get further forward and frequently look to arrive late in opposition's penalty area and more importantly attempt more shots on goal. And of course you will need a more suitable player for this more demanding version of the role. 

foyth3.png.3b07189c5e4d2b9e4a5761556c77d439.png

When set on Attack Duty, the requirements of the role change as well. Now more attacking attributes like Anticipation, Long Shots and Finishing (hidden by the panel) become key for the role. The role overall will act very differently. Instead focusing primarily on cover and support, now his forward runs become very frequent. With the right player SV(Attack) could even become one of your primary goal-scorers. 

serge.png.d04db403824912ef3734d18d1b23e5d4.png

In the image above, you see my 2nd choice for the Segundo Volante role. It is retrained wingback and one-time Spurs reject, Serge Aurier. I have used him more as an impact sub in my current season but he is still an important player because he offers some things that Foyth does not when playing in this role. Primarily I send Aurier on in the 2nd half of the match when we are having trouble breaking down a stubborn defence. Even without adjusting his duty (from support to attack) his traits ensure that he will try to get forward and assert himself in the final third. Which is the reason why I would not play him as my regular. Defence is just not his main focus even when starting in the DM strata. I tend to think of him as our battering ram to break down that pesky parked bus. So far he chipped in with 2 goals during his 8 sub appearances. So not a bad return overall. As you can see he possess some of the required attributes for the more attacking responsibilities of the Attack version of SV. 

coq.png.e028ee84821681d8c791404d6e7ca92b.png

Then finally, our 3rd SV choice is none other than Francis Coquelin. A very versatile player who might not excel at any single role but will be just what you need during that sudden injury crisis. It's kind of why I kept him on so far (especially with Foyth playing part-time as our centreback). The 30 year-old French veteran has seemingly been around with me for what feels like ages. In the context of Football Manager at least. I have managed him on my teams since FM2014 (my very first FM :D), across 9 versions of FM and at least 5-6 different long-term saves. Francis has been a part of all those stories. At Villareal he offers some stability and reliability in the SV role. He is not as attack-focused like Aurier but still has some nice technical and mental attributes to do well on support duty. Maybe in some situations better than Foyth. At least until the young Argentenian grows more in the role. Coquelin also possess the trait of "looking to pass rather than shooting" which is quite useful for a more defence/support-oriented SV. For that reason he might stay on my team for a little bit longer. Or maybe not :( As I was writing this, we just got a rather nice offer for him from Tottenham. 

transfer.png.5881f81597bb47207f8ef2bffebb7036.png

Over 25 million euros?! It is quite tempting :eek: What do you guys think I should do? Keep my FM legend or cash in? Decisions, decisions ... 

000a263b-800.jpg

TO BE CONTINUED ... 

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5 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

Cracking team! Shola Shoretire especially. One of my favourite starting wonderkids. I think he would be perfect on the left as your IW. Has the required combination of both creativity and attacking ability to excel in that role. Good luck with the save mate! 

It hasn't started well! 3 games in and I've had a draw, a loss and a win. We just seem to offer nothing in attack.  I'm not sure if I have the right players for the double pivot. loaned in Patino and he got a goal on debut, but as you can see from the stats we have been very average:

 

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Really loving this thread so far! I've been wanting to adopt a consistent philosophy in my management for a while now, and always find myself getting pulled in different directions by all the fantastic discussions on this forum.

I really like the idea of balance here and it feels like this is a great starting point for a consistent philosophy that could be used at teams of different levels in the game.

I'm going to try to implement the formation, instructions and roles discussed here in a save with Wolves once the transfer update comes out (as it will hopefully see some updates to Jose Sa's attiributes - he is criminally underrated in the current database!) While I wait for the update, I would love to know more about what kind of movements you are looking to see from your striker, and whether you would ever consider using different roles for him or the AMC?

The reason I ask is that Wolves have 2 slightly different strikers in Raul Jimenez and Fabio Silva. Raul is an ideal fit for the pressing forward role but also has the skills to get involved in the build up play as well. Fabio is also well rounded, not particularly excelling in any one area but slightly leaning more towards a supportive striker. This is emphasised by the only trait he has - comes deep to get ball.

My current plan would be to play Raul as a PF(A) or possibly even a CF(A) with the AM(S) sitting in the hole behind him. I would then train a second version of the tactic to utilise Fabio as a DLF(S) or CF(S), with a more attacking runner in the AMC slot (either a Shadow Striker or AM(A). Apart from these changes, the tactics would be the same. I would then have slightly different attacking patterns available to utilise depending on how the game was going/weaknesses in the opposition formation etc. The Fabio tactic feels like one that could be particularly useful in breaking down a stubborn defence that's sitting deep.

I'll be giving it a try and reporting back regardless, but I would be interested to hear your thoughts on:

1. The expectations you have for your striker's movements?

2. Whether training the modified version of the tactic for Fabio is necessary? (You mention how different players can play the same role differently based on their traits and attributes, so I could still utilise Fabio as a PF(A), but I would worry that his trait would lead to him and the Am(s) occupying each other's space)

Once again, great work on this thread, really enjoyed it and looking forward to further updates!

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6 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

Mini-Update #2: Double Pivot - Segundo Volante Role Analysis

To address @nick1408's earlier question, I indeed chose Foyth to be my 1st choice Segundo Volunte for primarily his defensive attributes. His long-shots are not really important to me because I don't expect him to be one of my goal-scorers. I though about adding "shoot less" PI but I haven't because I have not noticed him being wasteful during matches. Usually he is smart enough to pass the ball on to his more creative partner Parejo. Adding trait "looks to pass rather than attempting to score" would be a nice bonus in further making sure that your segundo volante is not wasteful and instead focuses on feeding your regista. Unfortunately you cannot teach this to a player who has not learned to play in central midfield (it is just not available from drop down menu when choosing trainable traits). But what I am teaching Foyth instead is "refrain from taking long-shots". But to come back on my reasoning for choosing Foyth. It actually comes down to what I believe is the true essence of the role. Segundo Volanted on Support duty is truly a defensive power-house in your DM strata. I think there are some misconceptions where people think this is role is more of an aggressive deep runner in the mold of CM(A) or Mezzala. Maybe this can be true when you use a SV with Attack duty or playing a player with a specific set of traits. Like one with "get forward whenever possible" and "gets into opposition area". 

SV.png.66e233a375cea45ed62fe813dc2539ab.png

According to the in-game description SV(Support) is not an inherently attack-oriented role. Instead it is a primarily defensive one and can be compared to a more defensively-responsible deep Box-to-Box Midfielder. In fact I prefer the Segundo Volante to a B2B Midfielder because SV does not come with the hard-coded "roam from position" instruction. He also starts from deeper strata so naturally his defensive positioning will be more defensive than your typical central midfield Box-to-Box player. Yet during possession a good SV will cover much of the area that B2B would, as he shuttles between defence and attacking midfield. He will generally look to support his more creative partner (such regista) as well as picking opportunities to arrive late in the opposition penalty area, much like B2B midfielder. The late runs are more  rare for Support Duty SV and will only happen during a clear counter-attacking opportunity when the opposition is already overwhelmed with dealing with your forwards. At such times you will often see your SV lingering just outside. For the most part he will content himself with patrolling your own half and being a general nuisance in the side of your opponent. Think of him as a more dynamic/smarter Ball-winning midfielder. That is if you choose the right player for the role.

I'm firmly in the school of thought that believes that player attributes play a huge part in how the player will act on the field. Even outside of their assigned roles. A striker who has exceptional teamwork and workrate attributes will still take more time to help his teammates during attacks, even if he is assigned a Poacher role. Same for other roles. A central midfielder with appropriate attack-oriented attributes such as great off the ball, dribbling and long-shots will make dangerous runs and score beautiful goals occasionally even if he is assigned holding CM(Defence) role. 

The role is only as good as the player that play it. So it is with the Segundo Volante. At Villareal I'm lucky enough to have three distinct players to choose from for this role. Of course, sometimes it leads to selection/rotation headaches but the overall tactical flexibility it gives is worth it. 

foyth2.png.be9edd9d75fb0740449a9ae49e2b23b7.png

Of course, my first choice is still Juan Foyth. He actually checks off all of the key (green) attributes like Stamina, Positioning, Work Rate, Tackling, Marking and Passing. And role's the less important, preferred attributes (blue) are not that bad for the most part. Foyth still needs to work on things like Concentration and Decisions but lower attributes there will not prevent him from doing his primary job which is to support and win back possession and patrol your midfield. If you want your SV to be that dangerous spark plug in your attacks then of course you will want to play him on Attack Duty. Then according to in-game description he will look to get further forward and frequently look to arrive late in opposition's penalty area and more importantly attempt more shots on goal. And of course you will need a more suitable player for this more demanding version of the role. 

foyth3.png.3b07189c5e4d2b9e4a5761556c77d439.png

When set on Attack Duty, the requirements of the role change as well. Now more attacking attributes like Anticipation, Long Shots and Finishing (hidden by the panel) become key for the role. The role overall will act very differently. Instead focusing primarily on cover and support, now his forward runs become very frequent. With the right player SV(Attack) could even become one of your primary goal-scorers. 

serge.png.d04db403824912ef3734d18d1b23e5d4.png

In the image above, you see my 2nd choice for the Segundo Volante role. It is retrained wingback and one-time Spurs reject, Serge Aurier. I have used him more as an impact sub in my current season but he is still an important player because he offers some things that Foyth does not when playing in this role. Primarily I send Aurier on in the 2nd half of the match when we are having trouble breaking down a stubborn defence. Even without adjusting his duty (from support to attack) his traits ensure that he will try to get forward and assert himself in the final third. Which is the reason why I would not play him as my regular. Defence is just not his main focus even when starting in the DM strata. I tend to think of him as our battering ram to break down that pesky parked bus. So far he chipped in with 2 goals during his 8 sub appearances. So not a bad return overall. As you can see he possess some of the required attributes for the more attacking responsibilities of the Attack version of SV. 

coq.png.e028ee84821681d8c791404d6e7ca92b.png

Then finally, our 3rd SV choice is none other than old Francis Coquelin. A very versatile player who might not excel at any single role but will be just what you need during that sudden injury crisis. It's kind of why I kept him on so far (especially with Foyth playing part-time as our centreback). The 30 year-old French veteran has seemingly been around with me for what feels like ages. In the context of Football Manager at least. I have managed him on my teams since FM2014 (my very first FM :D), across 9 versions of FM and at least 5-6 different long-term saves. Francis has been a part of all those stories. At Villareal he offers some stability and reliability in the SV role. He is not as attack-focused like Aurier but still has some nice technical and mental attributes to do well on support duty. Maybe in some situations better than Foyth. At least until the young Argentenian grows more in the role. Coquelin also possess the trait of "looking to pass rather than shooting" which is quite useful for a more defence/support-oriented SV. For that reason he might stay on my team for a little bit longer. Or maybe not :( As I was writing this, we just got a rather nice offer for him from Tottenham. 

transfer.png.5881f81597bb47207f8ef2bffebb7036.png

Over 25 million euros?! It is quite tempting :eek: What do you guys think I should do? Keep my FM legend or cash in? Decisions, decisions ... 

000a263b-800.jpg

TO BE CONTINUED ... 

Fantastic Post - i have had some incredible results using this tactic with Udinese in FM 21.  

What would you say is your Squads DNA for this tactic?  Some say Jose M didnt like high flair players but then Di maria and Ronaldo thrived under his system.  Would love to hear your take. 

I will post some results i had soon after making tactical tweaks in game - they do wonders.
 

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Big fan of the Regista/SV combo and have been using it for years. It works really well in FM22 after having a drop off for a few years but I tend to use it in a possession based tactic rather than this type. Interesting to see it working.

One other point I will make is that I am currently engaged in trying to get a Catenaccio style working and my possession numbers and passes are a lot higher than I thought they would be but I'm putting that down to ME quirks.

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Great stuff to read. Maybe I can implement this with Dortmund.

Witsel as the Regista, Bellingham as the SV, Reus as IF on the right, Reina as AM, T.Hazard/Brandt as IW and some Norwegian as PF😁.

The only problem is have is that the board want to play attacking😅😆

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@jdubsnz Looking at those results, I don't think you did that bad. Actually it's probably on pace if not a little better than expected. Keep in mind that you are a recently promoted team. As I mentioned before Mourinho-style tactic is not really made for underdog. As none of the teams he managed could be considered that. You need very specific players. Very strong (both defensively and technically) well-rounded midfielders to guard the midfield and progress the ball. They are especially important since you only have two there. Also in attack you will need wingers with bags of speed, like minimum 16-17 Acceleration for top league. And you will need a lot of flair and creativity in your AMC position to sprinkle in some tactical unpredictability and make up for the more conservative nature of the tactic. At both Porto and Real Madrid Mourinho tended to put his Fantasista-type player (I'll write more on that role in future updates) there. Players like Dico or Ozil. Judging from the screens you posted earlier your team might not have such game-changing player yet. And the others still need to improve. They are young and have great potential to develop though.

But on the positive side, those results are actually rather good considering you don't have the ideal squad for the style. Firstly, your xG was not that far from the opposition in your loss and draw. And you had a decent amount of shots and possession. Your loss came against Valencia who are surprisingly one of the best teams in virtual La Liga this year. They are built for crossing-focused direct football which seems to be a tad overpowered in this version of the game. They are actually first in my save in January with 41 points and ahead of Real Madrid. I lost against them in my own save. The draw came from Vigo which is also a decent mid-level team who have some great aging attackers (Iago Aspas can be a major threat!). Anyway, those must have been two tough matches so don't feel too bad :) you are actually doing great!

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@NoSaissNoParty Thanks! I'm happy to see you trying to implement a similar system. Having two rather different strikers can actually be a great tactical advantage. Do this way you could use one depending on the situation or the opposition you are facing. At Villareal I too have two main choices in Gerard Moreno (more technical, complete striker) and Paco Alcacer who is more of a poacher type. So they obviously have different movement patterns due to their attributes and traits. I also change up their duty. Paco play as PF(a) while Moreno I sometimes switch to PF(s) to even further take advantage of his better passing, teamwork and vision. Then depanding on opposition their movement and behavior will vary. I tend to prefer playing Paco when facing a stronger opponent who will press us more. There will be more chances for him to find space behind them with his great Off the Ball and Anticipation. Then with more defensive opponents who like to pack their midfield and/or defence I like Moreno's ability to pick out a pass better, getting his teammates involved and creating overloads needed to break such sides down. For such matches I might even drop the tempo down one slot to make sure that we better probe the opponent for openings and pass around until opposition makes an error and opportunity presents itself. Pushing their defence back with a more out-and-out striker like Paco might backfire.

I think in your case your Paco could be Raul Jimenez (who has better finishing and more physical presence in the penalty area and ability to get on the end of those crosses) and your Moreno - Fabio. Hope this helps :)

P.S. And I wouldn't really train a modified version of the tactic for each striker. All it take is one role or duty change. Also when using PF(s) it might be a good idea to play more of a shadow striker type in AMC (player with appropriate traits and attributes to play off the shoulder of the striker) but I would still keep AMC's duty as support due to that roles deeper defensive positioning.

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4 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

@jdubsnz Looking at those results, I don't think you did that bad. Actually it's probably on pace if not a little better than expected. Keep in mind that you are a recently promoted team. As I mentioned before Mourinho-style tactic is not really made for underdog. As none of the teams he managed could be considered that. You need very specific players. Very strong (both defensively and technically) well-rounded midfielders to guard the midfield and progress the ball. They are especially important since you only have two there. Also in attack you will need wingers with bags of speed, like minimum 16-17 Acceleration for top league. And you will need a lot of flair and creativity in your AMC position to sprinkle in some tactical unpredictability and make up for the more conservative nature of the tactic. At both Porto and Real Madrid Mourinho tended to put his Fantasista-type player (I'll write more on that role in future updates) there. Players like Dico or Ozil. Judging from the screens you posted earlier your team might not have such game-changing player yet. And the others still need to improve. They are young and have great potential to develop though.

But on the positive side, those results are actually rather good considering you don't have the ideal squad for the style. Firstly, your xG was not that far from the opposition in your loss and draw. And you had a decent amount of shots and possession. Your loss came against Valencia who are surprisingly one of the best teams in virtual La Liga this year. They are built for crossing-focused direct football which seems to be a tad overpowered in this version of the game. They are actually first in my save in January with 41 points and ahead of Real Madrid. I lost against them in my own save. The draw came from Vigo which is also a decent mid-level team who have some great aging attackers (Iago Aspas can be a major threat!). Anyway, those must have been two tough matches so don't feel too bad :) you are actually doing great!

cheers @crusadertsarfor the feedback. I was thinking the same thing in terms of maturity of players - I think they need another season to develop before implementing this tactic.  I will go back to something similar to what got me promoted and revisit this in a bit.  Good luck in your save!

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I have been using a similar system as well. Reading the article made me realize why it worked. :lol:
 image.png.9d58b7077fa9b5fa1f2e1718995a75e1.png

I use a volante and regista as well when my first team plays, but the kids tend to dribble a bit more than desired and lose the ball.

 

Formation is very defensively solid, and with the right personnel, works wonders.
 image.png.5e3be04dfbfa9e72c62a1cd5520c8381.png

 

My save is into it's 10th year now, and with the squad assembled, the formation is a joy to watch image.png.69fa9e336d2da32b3679a5a61e411cc6.png

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