Jump to content

Strategy & Tactical Handbook by Loversleaper


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 128
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

EXPLAINING MY STRATEGY POINT OF VIEW

 

My general preferred style of football is to be more attacking/creative, but this doesn’t mean that I will throw all caution into the wind (so to say) and be suicidal tactically. As a Tactical Manager I will be more methodic in my approach (initially) and this generally lasts until the point where my opponents will "go on the run" and attempt to stop my team at all costs. This can be interpreted as being a more of a personal preference game plan, but still, I would argue that it can be incredible effective (by being more ‘in the driving seat’). That said, if you prefer to be more of a Mourinho type of manager than a Guardiola type of manager, you can still have plenty of success no doubt. In the game there are plenty of tools that can assist you in achieving your goals. Duties can help out a lot here. For example if you want to play more of a (natural) counter-attacking style of football then you can use more support duties. But I have experienced that there does come a time (from time to time) where you really need to throw men forward to break down your opponent by using more attacking mentalities - or you want to bring everyone back and fight for your life.

 

The reason behind my strategy theory (using the entire strategy ladder)  is that after seeing countless games (highlights) and behaviours of strategies, you kind of get a picture of what is going on tactically during games. For example, let’s say your opponent is sitting very deep in their own half and your team (strategy-wise) is not putting the opponent under enough pressure, what can happen is that you give the opponent time on the ball until they manoeuvre their Support/Attack duty player(s) into a dangerous position and they create a quality chance. Or another example is that you are too daring/risky in your overall team mentality (strategy) which enables your opponent to run rings around your team’s pressure settings. These are two general scenarios that can really hurt your team and that’s why I will chop and change a little (strategy-wise) to avoid/combat this reality more effectively. Finding the balance is a great way to overachieve which is the goal of any manager/team out there.

 

Some of the things I look at before I chose my starting strategy for my upcoming match:

 

Opposition Manager: It can always open an interesting topic for your game plan/strategy by getting to know a little about your opponent. Does he ‘sit back and protect leads’? Does he like to counter-attack? Does he rely on ‘set-pieces’? Does he like passing/attacking football?

These are some of the aspects that I can use to my advantage in terms of match training or eventual strategy choice before or during a match. For example, if your Opponent Manager likes to ’sit back and protect leads’ you might experience that during a match that your team is in control but then your opponent scores a ‘lucky’ goal and then things die down (match highlights/stats). This could be because the opposition has retreated in an attempt to sit lower than your team’s pressing line and try to control the game from there. Typically, an example scenario would be that both teams are playing/using a Balanced Strategy, but then team that takes the leads switches to a Cautious strategy to initiate deeper counter attacks (where they will have more time to create quality chances if they are not put under pressure). Of course this type of scenario could happen all the way up or down the Strategy ladder, but usually a message will pop up (during the match) telling you that the opponent has gone more attacking or sitting more back. If I feel my team has total control of the match then I probably won’t change strategy (which is the case a lot) - but it can depend on how I see things unfolding (red cards / injuries / match highlights / match stats). Making these tough decisions are part of being the manager. Close scores late on in matches will most likely cause your opponent to make strategy changes.

 

Expected to win/lose: Usually opponents that are expected to beat your team will play more daring/risky and opponents who are expected to lose to your team will be more cautious/defensive. How much I can attack or should defend can be influenced by how tough/weak the opponent is compared to my team.

 

Opposition Strategies: Knowing what my opponent’s expected starting strategy is, can also be a very important aspect in giving me a good idea of what I can (eventually) expect from this upcoming match. Sometimes you can totally disregard what the opponent is attempting with their strategy outlook because your team might possess enough quality that you can simply play your own game. But other times it can be really advantageous to tackle the match in a sensible way (strategy/tactically sound) if you want to get a good result. Tackling the opponents’ strategies, for me, is the corner stone of being the Tactical Manager…

 

 

ASPECTS I LOOK AT WHEN BUILDING TACTICS/STRATEGIES

 

Choosing formations is more of a personal preference (any of them can work just as good as any other in my  mind). You have top heavy formations and bottom heavy formations which can open options in your tactical outlook. You can use these different formations to emphasise (more) on areas you want to enhance, so, you can play around with this aspect as you see fit and it can be quite fun to implement as well. One thing that I have noticed with formations in regards to roles is that it pays off not to have too many players occupying (running into) the same spaces on the pitch. Roles have ‘traits’ (or behaviours), so this means that these players might move in a way where you want to create space for them to manoeuvre in (to be more successful in the role’s natural behaviour). Striker partnership roles are also important if I want to get the most out of them (and maybe the team). Having too many players doing the same thing brings about a ‘randomness’ that I try to avoid. For example, having too many players attempting ‘risky passes’ and not having enough options up front can cause my team to throw a bunch of unnecessary balls away (thus losing possession) -  and could cause players to underperform (bad match ratings).

 

Formations (re: player positions within the formation) can open up opportunities in regards to which roles could be successful or might struggle a little. As an example, if I want to use a Shadow Striker role (forward run instruction), I will prefer to use him in a 3-4-1-2 formation or a 4-3-1-2 formation as the Shadow Striker will run ‘between’ the front 2 - instead of, for example, in 4-4-1-1 type of formations where the Shadow Striker runs directly into the (lone/middle) Striker in front of him. This is just an example, but going deeper into this frame of mind of mine regarding roles, then roles like Box-to-Box/Mezzala/Roaming Playmakers all have traits/behaviours that I will try to give ‘formational space’ - in an attempt to compliment their traits/behaviours.

 

Therefor, roles are something that I will give a little thought towards and from what I see/experience, sound tactics/strategies with good player Role choices can create certain/desired attacking/possession game plans. For example, some player roles attempt ‘risky passes’ - but are there enough options for this to work? For me, there is no real advantage of having a lone striker (without players in the Attacking Mid/advanced Winger positions) for example with the ‘try through ball’ trait when he has no one around him to capitalise on them - the lone striker will most likely receive poor match ratings in this type of scenario. Or for players that don’t play ‘risky passes’, are there enough players behind him and to the direct sides of him to have enough options to pass towards? If you look at the roles’ traits/behaviours, then you can create a setup for these players so that you get the most out of them.

 

I also take into consideration the general game plan in passing and distribution. For example, hoofing a ball up to a lone striker might not be the best game plan, although he might be strong in the air and win most of his headers, his won headers will end up in the opponents possession and your striker will most likely end up with very poor match ratings. I know this is common sense but looking at this general aspect might help in determining which roles can and will compliment other roles. If your team generally seems to disregard your overall passing/distribution plan, then I find it boils down to the options that is laid out for the team in terms of roles/positions/behaviours/movement/options. Striking a balance within your team (taking these issues described) is the key to all sound tactics.

 

Team instructions is also an area I feel is very important, some team instructions compliment the strategy more than others - in other words, some team instructions are more defensive minded and other team instructions are more attacking minded so fitting these into the different strategies can make the strategy more effective.

 

Set plays are also an area I put a small effort into as this reality can effect how well your players do in terms of ratings. Having players in positions that don’t compliment their stats can cause a player to underperform. Underperforming players can and will cause your team problems for sure, so my advice is just to run through set-piece instructions and see what is going on generally.

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

BUILDING TACTICS/STRATEGIES

 

 

When I have chosen a formational outlook, then I will give the different strategies Team Instructions that hopefully will compliment the mentality of the Strategy. This will be a ‘general’ implementation because it’s not all ‘set in stone’ (so to say), I can change the general ‘rules’ because some formations can open up different aspects. For example, play through the middle + narrow (width) I generally see as a more defensive team instruction because for poorer teams this can help success rates of passes completed - but a naturally ‘narrow’ formation might need this instruction to become more successful even though you are playing a more attacking mentality strategy.

 

Very Defensive:

Distribution long kicks over the opposition defence + slow pace down

Much lower engagement line + much lower defensive line

Tight marking

Get stuck in

Very narrow

Play through the middle

Be more disciplined

Hit early crosses

Play for set-pieces

Regroup

Hold shape

Waste time whenever possible

 

 

Defensive:

Distribution long kicks + slow pace down

Lower engagement line + lower defensive line

Tight marking

Get stuck in

Narrow

Play through the middle

Be more disciplined

Hit early crosses

Play for set-pieces

Regroup

Counter

Waste time frequently

 

Cautious:

Distribution long throws or short kicks directed at full-backs

Tight marking

Counter

Play out of defence*

 

Balanced:

Distribution long throws or short kicks directed at full backs

Tight marking

Counter

Play out of defence*

Work ball into box*

Waste time sometimes

 

Positive:

Distribution short kicks directed at centre-backs and full backs

Higher engagement line + higher defensive line

Counter press

Be more expressive

Play out of defence*

Work ball into box*

 

Attacking:

Distribution roll it out directed at centre-backs and full backs

Higher engagement line + higher defensive line

Trigger press more often

Prevent Short GK distribution

Counter press

Play out of defence*

Work ball into box*

Be more expressive

Overlap (both sides)

Higher tempo

Wide

 

Very Attacking:

Distribute quickly

Much higher engagement line + much higher defensive line

Trigger press much more often

Prevent short GK distribution

Pass into space

Run at defence

Be more expressive

Overlap (both sides)

Extremely high tempo

Extremely wide

 

 

The * by instructions (play out of defence and work ball into box) is to outline that these instructions are more optional, but I showed where I would place them as a ‘guideline’. These instructions help in creating a more possession style of game play. You can easily play a more counter attacking type of game play where possession is not a priority if you prefer. There are many type of managers - the Guardiolas, the Mourinhos, the Simeones, the Klopps, the Contes, the Tuchels, the Tiki-Takas, the Gegens, and on and on… - so there is plenty of room to attempt to create a style you want to play and doing that might require a deviation from the ‘loose rules’ I showed above. But this above model is a simple and sound way of looking at team instructions and work pretty well in my experience. Generally my teams perform very well (especially in the conceding goals department). We can take a look at some of the other types of game styles later on in the thread.
 

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

THE STRATEGIES

 

As mentioned above, I break the strategies down into 3 categories

 

The Defensive Strategies :

 

Very Defensive - for me, this tactic is very useful for the last 5-15 minutes of a match (home or away) when I really want to hang onto a result.

 

Duties:

GK(De) or SwK(De)

5-6 Defend

3-4 Support

0-1 Attack

 

 

Defensive - I use this as an away from home tactic where I am up against very good opposition where my team is heavily expected to lose. The Relegation-Battler’s preferred away tactic/strategy. Get ready for a long tough battle, match stats won’t always be pretty but if you use the right instructions then match highlights should show good defending sequences - and you can pull off a good result from time to time.

 

Duties:

GK(De) or SwK(De)

5-6 Defend

3-4 Support

0-1 Attack

 

 

The Middle Strategies :

 

Cautious - I use this tactic as an away tactic if I am slight underdog but have chance of hurting my opponent as the quality between the teams might not be that big. If you have quick players in certain areas you can really cause damage. Your team will sit back, but since your team will have more players on Support Duty (than Defensive strategies) then your team will attack more which can be an advantage. On the flip side it can cause your team problems (by opening up too much) so it’s important to get the game situation right. Rarely used as a home tactic, but if you are in a David against Goliath scenario, you might want to consider this option.

 

Duties:

GK(De) or SwK(De)

3-4 Defend

4-5 Support

2-3 Attack

 

 

Balanced - the classic 50/50 tactic in regards to attack and defend mentalities. For me I use this as a home tactic where I am an underdog against my opponent or as a slight favourite playing away from home.

 

Duties:

GK(De) or SwK(De)

3-4 Defend

4-5 Support

2-3 Attack

 

 

Positive - the more advanced ‘middle’ strategy. For me it’s a good home tactic where the quality between my team and the opponent are similar in overall strength/reputation - but the home advantage gives my team the little edge. Away from home I will opt to go with this strategy if my team is a lot stronger in quality than the opponent and/or my team is largely expected to win

 

Duties:

GK(De) or SwK(De)

3-4 Defend

4-5 Support

2-3 Attack

 

 

 

The Attack Strategies :

 

 

Attacking - my preferred home tactic/strategy if my team are large/overwhelming favourites and expected to win. The Master-Class preferred home strategy.

 

Duties:

GK(De) or SwK(Su)

3-4 Defend

1-2 Support

5-6 Attack

 

 

Very Attacking - if I want/need to grab a late goal then this is the tactic I will use in the last 5-15 minutes of a match (home or away).

 

Duties:

GK(De) or SwK(At)

3-4 Defend

1-2 Support

5-6 Attack

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

HOW I PLAY

 

Even though there is some kind of reality in that you can ‘mirror’ your opponent’s strategy where Balanced is the middle pillar and if your opponent goes up on the ladder then you go down it or if they go down the ladder then you go up… but it’s not always that simple because there will be several factors that can weigh in… also during matches - and that can open up other possibilities. For me, it really pays off making the right decisions before or during the match. And in no way at all, is any of this too difficult to get to grips with. There are not endless possibilities that will occur in front of you - so if you do feel like that this is the case, then it’s usually because (in a way) you are throwing caution into the wind (so to say) and games will look more random or might appear to be impossible to tackle.

 

A real life example is that there was a famous team that made it a club DNA to start the press around 2/3rds up the pitch. They didn’t care if the opponents would pass around the back because their gameplay was to wait until opponent eventually moved the ball up the pitch. They would then try to press/win the ball from the opponent around that part of the pitch (re: 2/3rds) and try to hit them on the counter - trying to exploiting the space left on the last 3rd part of the pitch (which they did quite effectively). This tactical strategy worked very good in many instances but gradually it had it’s limitations. When Opponents grabbed a lucky goal on a set-piece, a counter or capitalising on a mistake, then the DNA strategy kind of fell short as the opposition would sit really deep and play the ball endlessly around. Of course this caused the ‘famous’ team to adapt a more aggressive style of the football game and shake things up from time to time. Still, the tactical outlook worked in certain match situations of course. Regardless, I find that in the long run, it really can make a huge difference if you know how (and when) to react/change.

 

The Master-Class Manager:

 

On Home pitch as favourites I don’t really worry too much about the opponent and what plans they might have. Master-Class Managers will very rarely NOT be home favourites so generally I just want to Attack. Against other Master-Class opponents I might want to be slightly more cautious strategy-wise (not always the case) by playing a Positive Strategy (so that I can combat a capable counter-attacking opponent more effectively). Positive Strategies that generally uses more support duties will (kind of) create a ‘net’ where you can more effectively catch the opponent’s counter and then exploit the gaps that the opponents leave during their attempts to run forward. On the flip side, I find that Positive strategies doesn’t always have enough in them (mentality / pressing / duty) to effectively break down an extremely stubborn/defensive/disciplined opposition.

 

Away from home, Master-Class teams will (also) mostly be favourites to win. So, in this situation I prefer to use a Positive Strategy - throwing out the ‘net’ to catch an opponent that most likely will try to counter-attack on their home pitch against a superior opponent. For close odds matches, I probably will chose a Balanced Strategy and from there I can move slightly up or down the strategy ladder (but only if deemed necessary***). Against other good opponents where my team is considered to be an underdog to win the match, then I will most likely play a counter-attacking Cautious Strategy.

 

Tips: It’s a good idea to have a Very Attacking Strategy somewhere close by (drop down menu > load) during matches so late on (in the match around the 80th minute mark +/-) you can ‘throw everything forward’ just in case you have trouble breaking down an opponent (Home or Away) and you really need a result.

 

The 3 main focus tactics:

Attacking

Postive

Cautious

 

 

The Relegation-Battler:

 

On Home pitch as favourites to win I will use a Positive strategy for sure. I find that Relegation candidate teams really rarely possess enough player quality to handle Attacking Strategy settings (maybe that rare occasion where you are vastly superior compared to your opponent, then you could attempt it and see how your team handles it). Most of your opponents will try to be more daring in their attempt to counter-attack you. Because Relegation-Battlers generally have a poor (club) reputation and/or are poor in terms of team/player quality compared to the league, opponents will evaluate that they have a good chance of being more risky (strategy-wise) and pulling it off. As an underdog (large or small) on home pitch I will use a Balanced Strategy to start with and see how things pan out - I could move up or down (the strategy ladder) depending on how it’s looking (red cards / injuries / match highlights / match stats). The slight tactical/strategy change might backfire but then at least I start to see what I am looking at (tactically)and maybe learn something from it at least . If I am up against a vastly superior opponent, as an example lets say my team is in the lower leagues and you are up against a real class opponent much higher up or that type of scenario, then I might start with a Cautious strategy - but it kind of depends on how important that particular game actually is and what I could (possibly) get out of those type of scenarios down the road. This can be a learning process…

 

Away from home its usually Defensive Strategy, because more times than not, my team will not be favourites to win the match. My team (most likely) will be on the back foot during the match no matter what or how I play. Playing Defensive requires a little thought in regards to how you will eventually attack/create a chance - because you don’t want to leave your team exposed to an attacking forward running/thinking opponent team too often. If my team has or acquired some quality players and your next opponent is not that great compared to your team, I might attempt to play a counter-attacking Cautious Strategy - but (as a Relegation-Battler) I choose my moments carefully. Result form or other general knowledge of the opponent might give me a chance to attempt more daring strategies without getting punished too much.

 

Tips: Have a Very Defensive Strategy close by (drop down menu > load) to hold onto those valuable points (Home or Away)

 

The 3 main focus tactics:

Positive

Balanced

Defensive

 

 

 

The Tactician:

 

If my club/team is not one of the above, then as The Tactician Manager I will be playing a combination of the two managers above (take a look at THE STRATEGIES section above for some ideas). Usually, I will initially stick around the ‘middle’ strategies unless result form suggests otherwise. Football Manager is a dynamic game, and in that I mean the opponent can chop and change how they play against you (strategy-wise)… changing/evolving… however you chose to see it. Result form/team quality can make an impact during a season, so knowing when you can switch things around a little can really pay off. It can potentially open a scenario where your team vastly overachieves. I can easily start a season as a Relegation battler, but then with some good player signings and added good result form, this can enable me to adopt more of a Tactician style of strategy play. Half way through the season if I manage to make even more good signings and have more good result form (which brings my team to the top places in the league), then I might adopt a more Master-Class type of strategy use. Since the game is dynamic, it’s a good idea to be dynamic too.

 

 

Cup Ties and Neutral Pitches:

 

Cups (domestic or continental) also have their own kind of reputation reality (* and predictions) so at the beginning of any save your team will (most likely) fair quite poorly regardless of your League reputation (and predictions)- but this goes for your opponents as well. So tactically I tend to stick in the ‘middle’ range strategies as a starting point.

 

In cup matches at home as favourites to win then I will naturally play a Positive Strategy. As underdog then I will go with Balanced unless I am clearly up against a giant where I might go with a counter-attacking Cautious Strategy.

 

In cup matches away from home as underdogs to win the match, I will always try a counter-attacking Cautious Strategy as a starting point to try to get something out of the match. As favourites away from home I usually start out with a Balanced Strategy and see how things go (maybe slightly change by moving up or down the strategy ladder).

 

On neutral pitches like cup finals or major championships (like the World Cup) then no team really has the home advantage. In these circumstances I will go with a Positive Strategy as a favourite to win the match and use a counter-attacking Cautious Strategy as the underdog. Balanced is handy to go slightly more attacking or defending during the match because finals can prove to be a real test (as it should be).

 

Tips: good idea to change things around if necessary and have those two (extreme) ends of the strategy ladder (re: Very Attacking or Very Defensive) somewhere accessible just in case late on in games…

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

It's great to have this topic here again @Loversleaper. You made this game become interesting and enjoyable for me when I was close to give up in the past, and I'm sure you´ll be able to do it again with your thread, Thank you very much sir, I have missed you for so long! Really looking forward to seeing your tactical examples.

Edited by tote
Link to post
Share on other sites

228140362_Screenshot2022-02-22at21_57_02.thumb.png.57400bca9f2980366b473c23f883c376.png

 

 

This is an example of the first tactic I would create when I have chosen a formation. This is a pretty easy simple system to start out with and a good type of tactic to just get going. Not many special roles included, although on the wings I like to switch things up little. Combinations like having an Inverted Winger and a normal Winger / or Inverted Winger and an Inside Forward / or normal Winger and an Inside Forward - are ways you can mix up your attack. The lone striker that has the wingers in advanced positions can easily have 'try risky pass' trait in their role. How this works is the lone striker is on support and drops a little deeper and tries to thread balls through to the wingers (on attack duty) that break through our wide and the striker will move forward and perhaps get the ball returned when he gets into a dangerous position.

 

Other options is to stick a Ball Playing Defender in there. I tend to stick him on the right side of defence just because the Advanced Playmaker (who also has risky passes) on the left side of central midfield. With risky passes, I tend to try to keep the total of 2 players trying risky passes in a formation. If I go one more (to 3) risky pass players, then I would keep it to one in each chain (defence, midfield and attack), but that would be the threshold for me. I would still have a good look at stats/highlights to see if it's feasible. Although I think it's important to have risky passes in my team, I still prefer to play a possession (and sometimes safer) game so I will definitely keep a little eye on it because over doing it can really cause some problems - especially if your team (strategy) is sitting deep.

 

Striker roles that should work in this formation: 

 

Complete Forward (Su) : roam rom position + hold up on ball + risky passes + dribble more + move into channels

Deep Lying Forward (Su) : hold + risky + channels

False 9 (Su) : dribble + risky

 

The key here is the 'risky passes'. This set-up is a little inspired by the Klopp style - with the Firmino, Mane and Salah front trio. If you don't have one of those three above striker types then:

 

Target Forward (Su) : hold + dribble less

Pressing Forward (Su) : hold + close down more + tackle harder

 

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

1209284735_Screenshot2022-02-22at21_57_45.thumb.png.1b568bbfeeffd2e6d07046ad15b9a026.png

 

 

Positive Strategies are slightly more attacking than Balanced. Here if you want I guess you can use Wing Backs (Su) instead of Full Backs (Su) but I prefer Full Backs because they keep my defence more tight and as a result, I find I tend to concede less. Wing Backs 'open' up the game a bit (by running/sitting more wide) but I think it's up to the manager to try things out and see what works best, or just go with your preference. There are advantages and disadvantages and I think it's all part of the learning curve. I tend to keep things simple - see how it works (reference point) before I try some of the other options (and see how that works in comparison to the original reference point). To be honest, in my experience, using the strategy ladder is the most important aspect to get grips with - so everything in-between is kind of a visual bonus or an attempt to create a style football that seems to work well...

Link to post
Share on other sites

447967839_Screenshot2022-02-22at21_58_12.thumb.png.8cb49c20503846ee79a936c4375d7947.png

 

 

I know in the screenshot I have 2 normal wingers and of course if you don't have any other options then this works fine. But if we are taking Klopp's Liverpool as an example, with Mane and Salah on the wings then you can decide who is the Inverted Winger and who is the Inside Forward because this is how I prefer to play this formation. The Wing Backs (At) run wide and cross from the byline in combination with the IW and IF can really offer something if you are trying to open a very deep/tight/stubborn opponent. You can throw in a Complete Wing Back (At) but again, as I have mentioned before, I tend to try not have too many players with the same traits. Complete Wing Backs (At) have roam from position trait and here I would also recommend a maximum of 2 players with the trait. Wouldn't really chose this option when playing deep/defensive type of game as a player roaming from position against a better opponent can maybe cause problems. I tend to prioritise keeping the mindset of the strategy I'm using - concentrate on defending settings/traits when defending and attacking settings/traits when attacking. Keeping it tight and in position with not too many risks when defending and being more creative, open and risky when attacking...

 

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

327932815_Screenshot2022-02-22at21_58_46.thumb.png.42cff9917d188048ae4d830b282ec926.png

 

 

This is how I will try to throw 'everything' forward late on in games to try and force a result. It's not a guarantee it will work but it can. I tend to find, though, that playing Attacking and Very Attacking formations rely more on teams who are gelled. It feels like the more your team players are familiar with the formations/strategy and with the other teams members - then the better the chance is of pulling it off. That's why you might feel like it's not totally working earlier on in seasons/careers.

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

1361495937_Screenshot2022-02-22at21_59_20.thumb.png.83d4785aff4ea567b924fbcc4e5e0a57.png

 

 

So, from the Balanced starting strategy I went first up the ladder - here I will be going down. Cautious is still in the 'middle' category because, even though it's naturally deeper (than Balanced), there are still quite a few players on support duties. Support duty players will run forward from time to time (mixed forward runs) so that means they will be 'out of position' every so often. Naturally, this could cause your team some problems if your opponent is (deemed) much better (more quality) because they will punish those openings. In the underdog role (to win the match), I tend to really take the scenario into consideration because either you go for it and feel you have a chance of pulling it off or you have nothing really to lose like you might experience in a cup tie away from home where there are not any points to lose. If you have a good/fast/technical team (like the Master-Class teams or top teams in the league) then in those rare occasions where you might be underdog, then this is definitely what I would choose in terms of strategy.

 

As I mentioned further up in the thread somewhere, then using formations that are top heavy (players are positioned in more advanced positions) or bottom heavy (players are positioned in more backward positions) can compliment the strategy. It's not a must, but I find it works quite well. I still use wingers on attack duty so the frequently get forward to assist in the counter-attacking setting. Because the wingers are on attack then you can pull off the lone striker having a risky pass trait, but it can prove to be difficult (especially if he is not holding up ball effectively or have the trait). When the striker is all alone like in the 4-1-4-1 system, then the role that I think suits best is the Pressing forward (Su). That's why when I chose formations, I think about what type of players I will be looking for if I want to have them suit the formation or do things the other way around and chose a formation that will suit the team. Wingers can easily be inverted if you want them. Here in this formation/strategy I would at least have 1 inverted winger just to get some variety in attacking plays. Really top teams can better pull off having a Ball Playing Defender, but I am kind of reserved on the issue if I feel my team is simply not good enough for the situation. 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

2062424137_Screenshot2022-02-22at21_59_34.thumb.png.b306253a466611c5b33d5020608b2b03.png

 

Going into the Defensive category in strategies, then this a tactic that follows more of the other strategies (shorter passing and playing out from the back). Now, normally I won't play out from the back (and short) in most of the other formations (on Defensive Strategy) but some rules are meant to be broken. With the 1 lone striker, hoofing the ball up to him will cause us to play a horrible game for sure and bad ratings will follow - I tend to try to avoid this as much as I can because it could effect happiness. So, I had to compromise and try a pretty risky game plan. Either it goes well, where I can control possession and play some good football... or... lose possession to an opponent team that turns my team into a shooting tent. So, here I would advise a good talented, technical and hopefully quick team.   

 

Both the wingers are Inverted (and I have manually added the ‘forward runs’ instruction) and that's on purpose because I feel that it really helps to get this specific formation to at least create something. When you are playing defensive, you want some kind of attacking plan where, still, you don't have too many players out of position - because if you didn't care in the first place about that then you could easily shift up the Cautious. Playing defensive means you are in for a long hard match and with some form of attacking setup, you might pull off a result. I play narrow to assist in pass competition in some hope to control some of the game. Against a wide/attacking opponent, it might give my team a little more time on the ball before the pressure comes and it might give my support players a chance to get into a dangerous position. I use Counter as well, but it will be with less players than the Cautious Strategy because naturally Defensive has less players on support or attack duties.

 

The game plan is fairly simple here, inverted wingers will not be sitting too wide (as normal wingers) and with the play through the middle instruction, I hope to overload the middle against my wider opponent and string some passes together that might create something. The forward role for this situation would most likely be a Pressing Forward unless I don't have another option, but hold up ball (and effectively) is a preferred trait. This formation relies pretty heavily on players that are effective in their traits and good on the ball. It's easier to play defensive with some of the other formations and with a two man strike team, for example, can give you better options that require less quality/effectiveness to offer some kind of attacking presence.

 

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

2127865744_Screenshot2022-02-22at21_59_52.thumb.png.6eb1092c06f156f0521accc3fa9fa772.png

 

This is the 'get everyone back and fight for your life' tactic type that I would use. No real attacking plan here. Only purpose is to defend in numbers, hoof the ball over the opponent's back line and then stay back. You can easily use the Pressing Forward on defend duty if you want, but I feel it helps a little to have a few players on support so someone at least runs a little with the ball (further up the pitch) and hopefully find a way to waste more time. I only really use this tactic if my team seems to come under serious pressure and the opponent really looks dangerous to get back into the game and I really need the result. Rare, but when it scenario does pop up then at least I have a plan ready...

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

There's so many questions in my head... In the very attacking strategy, you choose "pass into space", but how you can find space when your LOE and DL is so high. Just a question... And you choose the overlap thing but with a an extremely high tempo, how you wingbacks can overlap... This is not for criticism, but just to try to understand how it can possible. 

Thanks

Edited by coach vahid
Link to post
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, coach vahid said:

There's so many questions in my head... In the very attacking strategy, you choose "pass into space", but how you can find space when your LOE and DL is so high. Just a question... And you choose the overlap thing but with a an extremely high tempo, how you wingbacks can overlap... This is not for criticism, but just to try to understand how it can possible. 

Thanks


High d-lines, more pressing, high tempo and creativity have always been tools that can unlock really defensive opponents. Breaking down opponents’ stubborn defensive/tight formations sometimes require more extreme measures

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

57 minutes ago, poma said:

Would this work with a back 3 aswell? Like 3-4-3, 3-5-2 or 3-4-2-1 (wingbacks) on all ;)

For me always, using sound strategies in conjunction with the upcoming match scenario is the foremost element for long term success. So in that sense, any formation (with coherent roles/duties) should work just fine.

 

I am definitely going show some 3 at the back formations I think are interesting because a long the way I really hope to give some visual pictures of how I use roles

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

1672454869_Screenshot2022-03-05at17_02_45.thumb.png.e7372d96664299e9b630c1bb1ccbf1a0.png

 

 

Different formations can offer optional tactical instructions/outlooks and roles. Here for example in this 3-5-2 type formation, I have decided on using the Mezzala role. He has space in front of him (and to the side as well) because this role allows the player to 'roam' around. This (creating space) is a simple way I look at it to get the most out of those type of roles. 'Roaming' is an instruction I try to give only a few players (highest 2) and try to spread them away from each other - simply so my team doesn't get too vulnerable (in one area of the pitch) by leaving huge gaps that my opponent can exploit. In more defensive strategies I will most likely avoid 'roaming' players all together. If you don't have a good Mezzala, then you can easily go with a Box-to-Box midfielder. If you have a striker that has the Roaming trait and you want to use a Complete Wing Back (who also has the Roaming trait) then I would personally just use a plain and simple Center Mid in that ‘slot’.

 

With the Complete Wing Back on the left, I have chosen a Ball Winning Midfielder to be kind of close. I am hoping that he will try to 'clean up' after the Roaming wide player. Depends on what players I have, it could be that my players suit the other side of the pitch in regards to roles, but I do kind of try to balance my team out with roles that pair up in a way that I take their movement into consideration.
 

The strike force has a good balance in my opinion. They don't have similar instructions so in that way, I feel it gives my attacking movement some diversity (which tends to react well in the game). There are other (strike force) options of course, but this one suits the formation and the other roles quite well. Also in regards to 'risky' players trait, here you can see I kept that down to 2 players (and in different areas of the pitch). 

 

This also opens up for another aspect I would like to illustrate and that is that you can use formations to become more attacking or more defensive structurally (without changing Strategy). For example, let's say you are satisfied with the (starting) Strategy type you have chosen and you don't want to go too defensive (or too attacking) too early Strategy-wise by changing the entire Mentality set-up (for example going from Balanced to Cautious or Positive). I will sometimes simply change the formation a little to become more bottom heavy or more top heavy (and maybe a few role changes).
 

Below is an alternative Balanced formation :

 

1513913382_Screenshot2022-03-05at17_03_31.thumb.png.260088a62ba045719e465471fc3c9146.png 

 

 

As you can see, same type of strategy as shown at the top of this post - it’s just more defensive minded in structure. I might use this type of tactical formation to neutralise a good opponent Attacking Midfielder by using a player in the Defensive Midfield slot. In this case I chose the Anchor Man who takes little 'risks' so in this formation he has plenty of playing options around him > three defenders behind him and two out wide so he doesn't run out of passing options.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

1892518252_Screenshot2022-03-05at17_04_56.thumb.png.96f6b6796b99d98997c98d54960667b3.png

 

 

This is how my Attacking (strategy) version of the formation would basically look like. Below I will post the All Out Attack version (which I generally will use in the last 10 minutes to get back into a game) but here opens another formation that I might use in the Attacking Strategy (or further down the strategy ladder).

 

 

1497702359_Screenshot2022-03-06at01_42_03.thumb.png.2982596f1eccce1be4d38e7290a3dd52.png

 

 

Here to make the Shadow Striker role function well (and 'compliment' the traits this role uses) I have decided to change the strike force roles. I do this to create the diversity in role ‘traits’ that I feel create more sound tactical movement. I can use this formation further down the strategy ladder (as mentioned above) but that's kind of up to you as the manager. There are advantages and disadvantages with every formation. These tactics (shown) are more in line with how I imagine a manager like Conte would implement his tactical play. But, again, I want to show how I tend to play around with ideas/structures.

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

485678655_Screenshot2022-03-05at17_06_30.thumb.png.b3b6cce69fea2ecd0c2d4489828a0702.png

 

When I go more Defensively mentality-wise, I tend to use more bottom heavy formations. Less 'risky' and less 'roaming' is something I try to implement to be more defensively sound. Risky players trying to out-smart a talented pressing opponent might lose you the ball more frequently which (for me) is not always the best option when I am trying to get a result. Also having a player roaming around out of position might leave my defensive stance quite vulnerable. These are choices I might make during a match, starting more defensive structurally but then maybe making slight formation changes and use more daring player roles while still keeping the starting Strategy choice intact.
 

As mentioned above, let's say you feel like you made a good choice (for your starting strategy) but somehow you are not that lucky. Stats are good so you feel like you have a chance but for some reason you are not breaking through. A formation change and role change might be the better option rather than moving up the strategy ladder. I tend to be careful moving too much on the strategy ladder because I don't want to be in a position where my opponent is simply running around my team's pressing settings. Being too daring with your mentality can really punish your team if your team doesn't possess the required quality compared to your opponent.

 

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
On 23/02/2022 at 11:19, poma said:

Would this work with a back 3 aswell? Like 3-4-3, 3-5-2 or 3-4-2-1 (wingbacks) on all ;)

551757946_Screenshot2022-03-05at18_53_18.thumb.png.085001b718c6a9f5365b8151c8084292.png

 

This is how I would basically set up a Chelsea type of tactic. Of course this is the Balanced version and would use the principals (team instructions / strategies / duties) as described in the thread...

 

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

It is great to see you back. You changed the way I played the game a number of years ago. I have made many successful tactics over the years following your strategy ladder principle and had some very enjoyable saves along the way. Thank you.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, coach vahid said:

I would like to know your vision on a classic 442 in the new tactical creator. 


The classic 4-4-2 is a tactic I actually rarely use although I have created some versions of the formation. I think one of the most important points to make the formation successful is to have a good strike force partnership. We can take a look at some of the Managers that use the 4-4-2 and see if we can build something 👍

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

346326803_Screenshot2022-03-07at22_34_19.thumb.png.f34450b3b7aa267d9f0b0930065d948d.png

 

 

Easiest way I think to start out with the 4-4-2 is to start out like in this screenshot above. I left the team instructions blank but (of course) I would fill all of those into the strategies like illustrated in the thread. In the Defensive Strategy I would change the Wingers to Support Duty (and add Forward Runs instruction) and in the Very Defensive Strategy I might opt to use Defensive Wingers. The Left Center Midfielder and the two Full Backs should simply follow the Team's overall Mentality - easiest way to do that is just to have them on Automatic Duty. Probably best to start with Direct Passing, especially if you are in the lower leagues, and here you test out how the team mentality (strategies) works in conjunction with the match scenarios. And then evolve your game plan from there. Like below :

 

 

373191262_Screenshot2022-03-07at22_58_12.thumb.png.7119c45ab17fa71f22ebc3204d7dab45.png

 

Here you are naturally more advanced compared to the first screenshot and having talented players is more necessary in my experience. Ultimately, I feel the 4-4-2 needs a good strike force partnership to be successful and here are some of my thoughts:

 

Target Man (At) + False 9 (Su)

Advanced Forward (At) + False 9 (Su)

Poacher (At) + Complete Forward (Su)

Trequartista (At) + Pressing Forward (Su)

Trequartista (At) + Target Man (Su)

Advanced Forward (At) + Complete Forward (Su)

Poacher (At) + False 9 (Su)

Pressing Forward (At) + False 9 (Su)

Pressing Forward (At) + Complete Forward (Su)

 

These partnerships above, for me, have the best options in regards to penetrating opposition defences. Taking more risks (passes) and dribble more are good ways to unlock your opponents. Movement (channels and/or roaming) and the Hold Up Ball add also good aspects to your attacking game-plan. So generally, good variety here in these combinations. When pairing up my strike force I tend to avoid the two players up front having the same type of 'Role' traits, like both taking more risks (passes), holding up on the ball, roaming and dribbling mainly. In my experience, the best way to get around this is if the one striker has a 'role trait' and the other has learned the trait in training (so it's more of a 'natural trait'). If I were to have both with a same 'Role Trait', then I would personally limit it to both of the strikers having the 'move into channels' role trait.

 

Other Combinations:

 

Advanced Forward (At) + Deep Lying Forward (Su)

Pressing Forward (At) + Deep Lying Forward (Su)

Poacher (At) + Deep Lying Forward (Su)

Poacher (At) + Target Man (Su)

Poacher (At) + Pressing Forward (Su)

Pressing Forward (At) + Target Man (Su)

 

These partnerships all lack the Dribble More trait, some of them lack some movement and/or taking risks (passes). So these partnerships might struggle to penetrate the opposition - but I'm not saying that they can't work. With these type of strike force partnerships, then either I would try to create a Wing Play type of game where I focus the play more down the flanks - or - I would simply try to have one (or more) of the strikers to learn some of these (missing) traits through training so they have them 'naturally'. How my team is penetrating/unlocking my opponent's defensive stance is something I will always take a good look at to make sure I am getting the most out of my options...

 

 

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

There are other ways to play the 4-4-2. I remember a while back I made my personal version of how I thought Atletico Madrid played in the initial period under Simeone. He used Koke as a wide midfielder but he was clearly a type of play maker because he really could run the show back then. Simeone has changed his tactics recently which I have mixed feelings about, but here is how I saw Atletico Madrid played back then :

 

983782798_Screenshot2022-03-08at18_42_43.thumb.png.dd5754040130a4bd8aaf00e459ba4193.png

 

 

I'm not sure which FM it was, but for sure it was a good 4-6 years ago, I did try a save where I played like this and it was quite effective and a lot of fun. It was just a little hard at times to maintain because with injuries, suspensions and adequate player material limited my team to always play like this so I had an alternative Simeone 4-4-1-1 that went along with it (I will post it just for fun). I tried it a little in this version and still its totally feasible. In the team instructions I used my 'loose rule book' from the thread because it's what I am familiar with, but having said that - I think you can easily adopt other ways to play. Like if you look at Simeone's profile it states that he likes to play a Fluid Counter Attack Style. He relies on Set Pieces, plays Standard (passing) and tends not to prevent crosses. I created, back in the day, lots of different managerial styles by studying the Managers a little and trying to adopt them into the tactics. You can still do that so here would be an example of (maybe) how Diego Simeone might set up his tactic :

 

1983696552_Screenshot2022-03-07at22_42_45.thumb.png.86eedd6f75673ec614a3550792e0edf7.png

 

 

If you see the pre-match reports on the opponent and how they use roles and strategies against you - then you quickly realise that even though they might "prefer" a certain Strategy, they won't necessarily play that strategy against you. They move up and down on the Strategy Ladder, but maybe they keep the team settings to some extent. The screenshot above is kind of a mixture of the settings in Fluid Counter Attack and Simeone's personal tendencies. How effective it will be eventually can be tested and tried - but alas, I only have 2 arms and a few hours a day so... But I can say that the few tests I did with my own team instruction preferences did do quite well and saw sequences of game play that I haven't seen before with other formations (it was with Inter and they have a strong team so I can't provide a deeper insight).  

 

 

 

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember using also that version of the 4-4-2 with st etienne, it was same time, and had a great time using them.. Recently i tried Wigan in league one and took them to a top10 place in championship ,using your guide as template, i used a 4-4-2 attack at home, and cautious away. I  won league one easy. then championship with a very bad squad i used balanced, defensive and positive, but used a 4- 2dm 2 wingers and 2 strikers, having to rely on free transfers and loanees... Thank you so much for making it fun again, i really appreciate it

Edited by Kung
spelling
Link to post
Share on other sites

hi @Loversleaper!!! i'm trying your "philosophy" to see how it works. I tried it with man united in premier, now with empoli in serie a, just to see all different mentalities. Just something keeps tickling in my head: basically you use same instructions for every possible formation (4312, 442, 433 etc.) with every team? i mean in positive mentality empoli and man united  have the same team instructions correct?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, gennamitico said:

hi @Loversleaper!!! i'm trying your "philosophy" to see how it works. I tried it with man united in premier, now with empoli in serie a, just to see all different mentalities. Just something keeps tickling in my head: basically you use same instructions for every possible formation (4312, 442, 433 etc.) with every team? i mean in positive mentality empoli and man united  have the same team instructions correct?


In the thread I made a guideline with Team Instructions, a base platform. If I design a Positive Strategy I could easily use them for any team in reality, when to use the Positive Strategy is actually more important in my mind than what exact team instructions I use. 
 

I might pass into space instead of working the ball into the box, it all depends (a lot of the time) how you want your team to play. Do you want to rely on set pieces because you have a good set piece set up? All these things are trial and error.

 

If I were to give some advice, then it’s easy to follow the team instruction guidelines for the different strategies and then I would try to find out which strategies work best in upcoming fixture 👍 

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

9 minuti fa, Loversleaper ha scritto:


In the thread I made a guideline with Team Instructions, a base platform. If I design a Positive Strategy I could easily use them for any team in reality, when to use the Positive Strategy is actually more important in my mind than what exact team instructions I use. 
 

I might pass into space instead of working the ball into the box, it all depends (a lot of the time) how you want your team to play. Do you want to rely on set pieces because you have a good set piece set up? All these things are trial and error.

 

If I were to give some advice, then it’s easy to follow the team instruction guidelines for the different strategies and then I would try to find out which strategies work best in upcoming fixture 👍

ok it is more clear now thank you!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, gennamitico said:

ok it is more clear now thank you!!


On a personal note, I try to dominate possession. I tend to use shorter passing plus playing out of defense and working the ball into the box to create that type of football with any team I choose (from Balanced Strategy and up the strategy ladder*). But having said that - I have tried a Mourinho (direct) type of football game by playing more cynical with low possession and it worked out well too.  

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great thread, I really like your thoughts and this is my preferred way of playing the tactical side of the game. In my current save I've taken the job at QPR in 2026, they're down in league 1, the board want promotion, despite a poor previous season where they finished lower mid table. Using your guide, I decided to start the season playing on positive mentality at home (as I saw most opponent were expected to play on balanced or cautious) and on balanced in some tricky away games. Things are going very well, at the end of January I am 10 points clear of second place, now almost every opponent play on cautious or defensive and I start every game on attacking. Top work!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

 

 

 

So far I have shown my idea of a Guardiola type 4-3-3/4-1-4-1 ... a Conte type 3-5-2 ... a Tuchel type 3-4-3 ... a Simeone type 4-4-2 and the alternative 4-4-1-1 ... and now onto my version of a Mourinho type 4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1

 

2113660438_Screenshot2022-04-06at11_10_49.thumb.png.ad27a3332fd1e14dfb25b19c37001deb.png

 

 

Two versions of the Balanced you can chose between as your base tactic - I would have them both just to have them and chose what might be best during the season. 

 

 

1609120576_Screenshot2022-04-06at11_11_25.thumb.png.4cd9aa3ee98ad33565cfadacf634900f.png

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Loversleaper
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Loversleaper changed the title to Strategy & Tactical Handbook by Loversleaper

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

This site uses cookies - We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.