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My thoughts on how to create a deep/mid block


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Thank you all for your kind feedback.

For those of you who wanted to see results, I have to disappoint you kind of.
As I have said I started the Reims save recently, which more or less means yesterday and than stopped after I went for a walk and got the idea to post my tactic here to get some feedback or provide ideas for others.

The little light of hope is my Cagliari Calcio save, which is a few days older and we are almost at the halfway point of the season. Still not an impressive number of games but I think sufficient to prove that the idea can work.

grafik.png.bbeb8ce931944e091e6b12ad191fe209.png
Image: formation(5-3-2) and tactic cagliari, changed the UI to be english now.

This is my Cagliari side, 5-3-2 with slightly more direct passing instead of shorter passing.
This are their results, we will talk about some of them now.
grafik.png.0b6595e494ff1525a1f3307295a9d516.png
Image: Calendar up until mid december. with results.

As you can see the friendly matches were not going well.

We also did not start the season that great.

  • Lost 0-1 to FC Turin -> my leftback was beaten by I think their rightback who dribbled towards goal, his shot was saved by my goalkepper but he could not hold on to it and it was a rather simple tap in for their striker.
  • Lost 0-3 to Napoli we fall behind early and that really wasn't our day.
  • A couple of wins draws and clean sheets against teams predicated to be at our level e.g. bottom half table teams.
  • A horrible 0-2 loss to Genua -> their first a cross and my central defender just lost the aerial duell, their second a cornerkick and my defender lost the aerial duell again. That can happen I am not in the year 2030 with an absolute worldbeater squad which would make every tactic work.
  • A narrow win at AS Roma -> both of their goals were from outside the penalty box but we always crawled back and finally scored three.
  • A loss to Inter, well we really expected to get shown our limits, but the deep block made the game quite close. Just to reiterate let's take a look at the match stats:
    grafik.png.11528bf883b125c1999306a654ba136e.png
    Image: stats vs Inter 10 shots to 10 shots, 6 on Target to 6 on Target
    Attacking wise we were even.
  • A 0-2 loss to Juventus, expected to lose so can't be mad. But the match stats here tell a interesting story as well
    grafik.png.806af58588b592e0ae0ee4f574c16bd5.png
    Image: stats vs Juve theit 22 shots to our 9, their 10 on target to our 7
    We almost had as many shot on target as they have had. I know our xG looks bad but we had to create chances against Chiellini and Bonucci.
    The deep-block did what it's supposed to do, frustrate them to shoot more often. Well that's all the positives from that game we lost after all.

As you may have seen we conceded a few, we are not Chelsea 2004/2005 sure but for the team we are I think it's respectable result so far.

 

So now back to Reims can the deep block work with a 4-2-3-1?
You know their tactic so here is the team, with some injuries:

grafik.png.30bc0208f34c74c30389b48f9b4ee025.png
Image: 4-2-3-1 used with Reims

Their results so far:

grafik.png.1572f474a68decf63a925ace133e32bc.png
Image: Calendar Reims results first few matches.

Rather unimpressive I know, we won against other bottom half teams, so our direct rivals.

  •  we lost 0-1 to As Saint Etienne -> they scored from a corner.
    But look at those stats:
    grafik.png.8840686bbd3a5cb656c706879ef6dd75.png
    Image: stats vs ASSE we had more shots and a higher xG.
    We  should have at least scored one.
  • A close loss to Willem II Tilburg
    Their first goal they just played really well.
    Their second goal was a wondergoal. Their Winger gets tackled by my Fullback but the ball rolls to their Fullback, who crosses it immediately to the edge of the box, where their CM even though he was pressured scores a jumped scissor kick volley(Is that the englisch word? It was not a bycicle kick).
  • The Last defeat we suffered to AS Monaco we are not close to them so that can happen. The sad part is they scored from a counter attack after we had a throw in...
    grafik.png.46bae5959baaa08e7b5d4909cdaca833.png
    Image: Stats vs Monaco they had one shot on target and scored with that.

As you can see most of the time, the deep block is able to withstand some pressure while especially the Stade Reims team seems to be capable to attack successfully as well. I think that is due to Stade Reims using shorter passing so they don't lose the ball as much on longer passes as my Cagliari side does.
Against bigger sides I always thought it looked like a game on razors edge, It was close and most of the time we could have scored as well.

Obviously the dataset I have provided is not really that impressive but I think it shows that the main idea is solid enough. It can make games tougher on the opponent than they wold have liked.
It's no suicide-gegenpress ultra attacking power tactic that wins you every game, it never should have been. I just wanted to show how I would try to build a deep/mid block that does it's job without losing all attacking intent, we still want to win games right?
 

@coach vahid why do you think it can not work? Because the screenshots are taken with a 4-2-3-1? It's more vulnerable down the flanks yes but I think so far it does fine,  I will not beat the world with that I know.

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In a classic 442, how you will set up your striker partnership? The classic dlfsu/afat? Maybe the two needs to be on attack? 

I never said that it won't working. It was more I don't care if it's not working, because i said again... It's brilliant.

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For example yes, DLF Su and AF AT.
Basically like in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1 one is the main striker, the other one should be primarily concerned with "bringing others into play". I would love to say "be more creative" but as you can see with Cagliari I have a Targetman Support, and most targetmen just lack the footballing ability to be considered creative.
Even a Trequartista next to a Poacher might work. You just have to consider that a support duty striker drops a little bit deeper and at least tries to help out in defense. While those two would  look on in awe as their teammates defend.

I always considered Falcao and Diego Costa as a Striker duo at Atleti as Poacher (Falcao) and PressingForwad Support(Costa), that can work just as well, not as creative as a DLF but more defensive workrate and more physicality.
While Griezman and Gameiro would not fit into those roles they also played as strikerpartnership for Atelti, but I could not translate you those two into a role combination right now, which I think fits them and would score some goals.

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I Know that pretty much everyone who thinks about a big striker/small striker-combination thinks about target man on support. I would recommend to try him on attack, even with an advanced forward as his partner. In my opinion you want to have his physical presence in and around the box, while still have him hold up the ball and distribute it to the players around him. In my opinion on attack he is much more clinical than on support.

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Valid point that's why I recommended for example the Targetman on attack in the 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 because he tries to score and bringing others into play.

Why did I recommend or even use a Targetman on Support in a two striker setup?
 I want one striker to be more in the hole as a passing option, if I have no number 10 behind them. On support his aim is to bring others into play and score: so his main-goal is just shifted.

So he is ideally the platform from which our counterattacks start. Doesn't need to be a Targetman almost any support striker can do that job I think.
Also as stated on support he at least does some defensive work, I am just not too happy to let two guys stay up front. Not saying that will lead to a disaster, it just is not what I want in my system.

 

grafik.png.f1543a6dce7d65e1620c4eb82a160a4c.png
Image: average postions without the ball.

I added his heatmap and all average positions without the ball. As you can see it is way easier to pass to him have him hold up the ball while the other guys start running forward.
If he stayed upfront like the main striker does, we would need to play a ~30 meter ball which is relatively difficult.
But again total valid point you could have both stay up top, to give yourself more attacking threat and a Targetman on attack will still try to help his teammates yes, just not as much.

The beauty of FM a lot of things can work given the right circumstances.

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I like this a lot, however since this is a good run of thought and not a pure guide as you stated i suggest somethings

16 hours ago, robot_9x3 said:

I think normal and bad teams do not differentiate all to much.

Some people can have problems with bad teams is because what may seem simple to a capable (normal) team isn't always equivalent for a bad team, with a bad team less is more and rarely some people can translate tactics and it works but then again it's not going to universally work for everyone. Capable teams can have less instructions to priorities the gameplan with more efficiency, but they can do well with more instructions too. So with some instructions you have to gauge can my team play with pass into space and have a average-high percentile while doing so.

High pressing make sense but extreme high pressing seems worrying, you can get away with not using high pressing if you don't use regroup better still you can tell some players to high press/man-mark and so you can create better pressing angles, split presses and traps.

Apart from that, great job. I am currently trying  maximise passive defending in a low block, so some guys low pressing and everyone smart defending.

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vor einer Stunde schrieb De Nile:

I am currently trying  maximise passive defending in a low block, so some guys low pressing and everyone smart defending.

Good luck with the passive press!
I tried doing that but apart from trying to hold out for a draw I didn't have much luck. So I will be on the look out for a passive defending explanation.
My problems were having LoE and DL as deep as they can be for me invites too much pressure, which mostly translates to a barrage of long shots.
To counter act that, I moved the DL up by doing that I faced the problem, that any decent playmaker with a decent runner can play through/above my block especially with much less closing down giving him all the time in the world.
Obviously you could use Opposition instructions and Player Instructions to fine tune the system to not just be a passive grind were you hope your goalkeeper catches the ball or the opposition misplaces a pass.

 I only got to the extreme pressing because I just saw so little possession and it felt like that grinds down my defenders so they are way more likely to commit errors + as you said the regroup helps keeping that chaos a little bit under control.

The low block can work with just standard or just more pressing, but you will have a less time with the ball because you won't try as hard to win it back and a decent opposition player can be unbothered in a dangerous position for to long(long shots, through ball, or a decent cross)
I like the regroup because I don't want my players to think "do I press now or do I get back in position?".

Regarding the bad teams, well of course if your team can't play, they can't play. No tactic should be the solution to that.

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Posted (edited)

@De Nilebrought something up I find rather interesting to think about so I did that. I have to admit a small portion of my thoughts were made up when I started.
Most of what I will explain will be obvious to most of you, but maybe it's helpfull to someone.

What is the difference between a good, a normal and a bad team.

I only make the distinction good team vs normal team.

Why did I do that? Well except for pulling the Defensive Line deeper or lowering mentality (again not too sure what to do with that) I have no option to make the bad team block even more compact.
As explained I would rather not do any of those out of fear we become to deep and long shots are a valid threat against us again.

What would be a difference between a normal and a bad team? De Nile already said it, the bad team is worse, there is a huge chance their passes go all over the place, their tackling may fail or they just don’t mark good enough. I think all of these problems are kind of solved in my idea of a deep block. Sorry if I misrepresent your argument here, that's just what I understood.
 

Let’s start with tackling and marking.

Quite simple we are in a compact block, in which we try to press really hard. Sure a player may get dribbled, maybe even a second one but at some point even the best dribblers will fail. A bad team should ideally not play top-heavy formations, to have bodies to throw around while defending.

 A player may miss his marking duties but because we are deep we are compact and we are narrow someone should be near enough to do something. We maybe concede because of a cross but we are a bad team we are not expected to win each match we should be concerned with keeping games tight so we can collect points if a better opposition has a day off.

Now to the passing, yes a bad team will have more problems to reliably break out of the deep block.
Their passing is bad, their off the ball is bad. But that’s why we are so deep.

Let me draw you a picture.

I have drawn one and decided I should not do that. So here is a screenshot from a nice helping website.

grafik.png.708d7f57def207acaa26df84d13c121c.png
Image: a rather deep block space to exploit marked. Picture created with “tactical-board dot com”

All of this orange field is space we could exploit. If our attacking threats are fast enough, it does not really matter where exactly in the space we place the ball, if we reach it first we have a chance to score.
(That’s why most bad teams operate long balls in my opinion. As well as they are not good, playing shorter passes while being pressed hard just asks for trouble)

 

Now compare that to the good team setup I have given.

grafik.png.e5cd38aacd656f6315a4fa675e99da90.png
Image: top-team midblock space to exploit marked. Picture created with “tactical-board dot com”

That team presses a little earlier, that has the effect that

1.       The opposition is not as dangerous because we don’t let them as close to our goal. But a good through ball is now a danger, being a good team we have to trust that our press is relentless enough and our defenders are up to the task.

2.       The distance towards their goal is smaller. Great we have to cover less ground to score, bad the ball has to be played way more precise.

The problem here is that ideally we are in possession again when the opposition is not as far up the field, so we have less space. But as a good team you should have players capable to place the ball where we need it.

Now a little excurse to why I want the more urgent pressing and not less when still needing the ball for a result. The site allows me to make gifs so I will try my best.

First of all why I think the extreme pressing makes sense, I believe a tactic should be balanced somehow, no not "leave every slider in the middle" balanced... But we are extreme with our Line of Engagement being the deepest it can be, unless we are the top dog team in the league.
So we have an extreme in risk aversion, letting the opposition march rather unopposed a lot of the time into our half. How do we balance that out? On the Defense-Tab we have tackling and pressing we can change. As I said I think "Get Stuck In" leads to too many stupid fouls close to goal, so that's not considered.
That leaves us with the pressing. (again even just higher pressing might be enough) so to balance one extreme I just chose another in the opposite direction. For me that works fine. When it seems logical from a footballing point of view, I just think of it as mathematics Balanced = NegativeRiskTaking + PositiveRiskTaking.
Create deep block let noone in the block have time, ideally force the opposition out.

What I often see and also fear in a deep low pressure block:
Long shots, no I will not make a gif for that, I think everyone who tried a low pressure deep block has been on a receiving end of some of those already.

A good ball carrier just walks through the block, which is mostly concerned with keeping shape instead of winning the ball.

image.gif.350fdd31165a61a53d2034a27415f032.gif
Gif: showing a 4-4-1-1 low pressure in  their third, not getting to tackle a good dribbler who than ends up in a scoring position. Created with "tactical-board dot com"

A good passer and runner who don’t need tons of space have too much time
image.gif.9ffefa3cd29cf7778916160b80f71c49.gif
Gif: showing a 4-4-1-1 low pressure in  their third, not getting pressure on their playmaker so he can play someone through. Created with "tactical-board dot com"

What I hope and think to see my high pressure block does if entered:
image.gif.0f5d8608dba7255321bdf7f4e4918578.gif
Gif: showing a 4-4-1-1 high pressure in their third, while not stopping the pass, making it more difficult and end up in a position to win the ball. Created with "tactical-board dot com"


The opposition player gets the ball inside the pressing zone, but since most people around him are man marked and those markers are now closing in on him, he only has 2 options play the ball back, out of our pressing zone (great! objective reached they are not a danger for the moment) or try to get it forward somehow.
I think regroup, even though we haven't lost the ball, helps here in getting players back into shape when their pressing range is not triggered, e.g. the ball is not in the pressing zone.
When he tries to get the ball forward my defenders should swarm however got the ball, with the midfield also trying to close him down.
It’s overly simplistic but I think it demonstrates why I am more hesitant to just apply a low block with almost no pressure. Again as De Nile pointed out: you could get such a low block working with Player-Instructions/Player-roles and Opposition-Instructions.
But at least for me that’s knowledge territory I am not comfortable in for now, maybe someone or even people like Experienced Defender, Cleon or Rashidi have something written on that?
Not that I can remember, except for a youtube video by rashidi/BustTheNet titled "Block it like Burnley" but if my memory serves me right that's not a deep low pressure block most people are after.
From my reading one of those three is my best hope in getting a good implementation and explanation on how to set up a good low pressure deep block that’s still trying to win in FM.

As I said in the extra tips I often take off the tempo and lower my pressing to standard or even lower, when I try to protect a lead, so it can work, but that's not the end all be all solution to keeping a result.

Last thoughts:
I think most people, think of that 2010-Inter side which lost 0-1 to Barca at the Camp Nou or the Chelsea side from the Gerrad-Slip game, when they hear deep-block, low pressure, at least I do. But even when I think of those sides I think my interpretation now is closer to real life than a no pressure block. Yes if Barca/Liverpool stayed out of the defensive third they where allowed to do what they wanted but inside the defensive third there was pressure to move them out again or win the ball.

 

Edited by robot_9x3
removed a doubled picture
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Thanks for your explanations.

I adopt your theory on a save but with a 433. A midfield with a DM on défend, a Box to box and a CM on attack. I untick shoot on sight because I prefer to leave this choice free and finish a game with 30 shots, it's not a mourinho-esque football in my opinion. 

Now, the question is what attributes I need to search for this configuration. 

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@coach vahid30 shots a game would be un-mourinho-ish yeah, I just wanted to look something up regarding that, I think from his Porto to his Real Madrid-time his teams always were  first or second in goals scored in their League, so not as defensive and unscoring as many people think.
I found this  https://www.statsperform.com/resource/conte-vs-mourinho/ hope it is allowed to share a link. If you don't want to click it:
It compares Mourinhos last succesful Chelsea with Contes Chelsea and that states they had ~15 to ~14 Shots per game so not few either for two "defensive coaches". Interesting read just by skipping over it.

Or do you think the defensive side of the ball is unmourinho esque/not working? unmourinho esque I would be fine with, this is not a replication. Not working, as in tactically, I would be more distraught, as for me it looks like it does what I would expect.

Again if your team can't play they can't play, you will ship goals you don't want to ship, because players are positioned wrong, miss a tackle, lose an aerial duell, don't fulfill ther marking duties. Play bad passes, have a bad first touch.

I provided examples where I turned off the first transfer window so i had no chance to bring in players, just look at what I thought would be more important and select the first eleven based on that, obviously you will rotate so you will almost never have the perfect team.

Regarding your attributes question if we stay Mourinho esque:

Goalkeeper: look at keepers Mourinho used and liked to play(sorry Casillas) Big dudes/ Jumpingreach and  Areal Reach, Command of Area and Communication as well as decent reflexes and handling, so good on the line and in handling crosses. (Cech, Courtois, Diego Lopez, Julio Cesar, Vitor Baia kind of while being smaller he was more of a sweeper keeper.)

Fullbacks: looking at his Fullabcks most of them were 1.80m or more in height, he seemed to most of the time (exception now his roma side with three at the back) have a more defensive one and one more attacking. attributes wise standard fullbacks marking, tackling and at least a decent jumping reach to challenge in the air.
Playing narrow that will happen. Think of Paulo Ferreira, Maicon, Arbeloa, William Gallas, Karsdorp, Vina, Maitland-Niles. Sure he also had Marcelo and Ashley Cole but they we more used for attack and they could at least some what challenge in the air.

Centerbacks: I think his Chelsea sides were  a clear Stopper cover Pair, Terry the Stopper, Carvalho/Cahill the Cover, his Real Madrid and Inter sides looked more like to Defend duties to me Lucio/Samuel Ramos/Pepe. So what do all of them have an at least decent aerial ability on both while one was really good so Jumping reach/Strength, good Positioning, good Tackling and Marking and probably Concentration Bravery and Decision to do the right thing when needed. So really basic stuff I think?

Defensive Midfield: Makelele while probably be the guy most people will remember. so Tackling, Positioning, Marking, Strength. Something alot of people forget is he was a Worldclass DM playing for some of the best teams in the world, his abilities on the ball were not that bad no Mesut Özil but he could play. While I like an anchorman I really do not think that would do him justice

Central Midfield: i guess your CM-A should be the Lampard role, and the B2B either Tiago or Essien. I would go for the same setup maybe even two box to box midfielders, well thats at least the skill set required for both, Run a lot, be defensive capable and have a offensive touch the CM-A obviously should have long shots and finishing you will probably want him to be somewhere scoring right?

Wingers: As Always what do you want from them pace, dribbling, flair and chance creation passing crossing vision.

Striker: i guess your Drogba/Gudjohnson: Balance Strength, some pace, finishing, heading, passing, off the ball, some first touch (Not a Lukaku at Man Utd first touch)

I don't know your team or your budget but basically your front three should all be decently quick, the striker does not need to be as quick as the wingers but quick none the less. The striker will be required to bring others into play so he should be able to keep the ball on his own (Balance/Strength/First Touch) some passing and some vision. While he also needs to score.

That's what i would focus on for a 4-3-3. But that's almost all required attributes for most roles so I doubt that was of any great help.

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@fraudiola

I think it's great that you mostly came to the same conclusions as I have, on how to set up a rather deep block.
What sticks out to me: your tactic looks really aggressive but judging by those results it's performing well.
I love that you also asses most of the goals you concede are more or less "out of nowhere", indicating that the deep block works most of the time for you as well.
It's not just a "on my computer it works" case. :lol:

But again your results are mostly wins so why change a running system? It's probably players rather than tactical issues you face?
Out of nowhere does not sound like a pattern e.g. most from the left or right or most from crosses or a case of we can't handle the counter-press and get countered ourselves. More like Centerback1 misjudged the ball and their striker was through on goal or their CM shot from 30 yards out and it went in.

I for one know I have a problem with corners and freekicks so I will work on those and maybe update here.

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2 hours ago, robot_9x3 said:

@fraudiola

I think it's great that you mostly came to the same conclusions as I have, on how to set up a rather deep block.
What sticks out to me: your tactic looks really aggressive but judging by those results it's performing well.
I love that you also asses most of the goals you concede are more or less "out of nowhere", indicating that the deep block works most of the time for you as well.
It's not just a "on my computer it works" case. :lol:

But again your results are mostly wins so why change a running system? It's probably players rather than tactical issues you face?
Out of nowhere does not sound like a pattern e.g. most from the left or right or most from crosses or a case of we can't handle the counter-press and get countered ourselves. More like Centerback1 misjudged the ball and their striker was through on goal or their CM shot from 30 yards out and it went in.

I for one know I have a problem with corners and freekicks so I will work on those and maybe update here.

made a couple upgrades and tweaks this season and now start with the tactic on the left and transition to the one on the right to "try" and shut out the game. problem is it's impossible to kill the game off. happened over and over last season. we over achieved by 9 spots, finishing 5th, but its the unsatisfying feeling of being incapable of shutting games down to keep clean sheets. even though we can strangle the game, thwart opposition attacks with ease for 10 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins, they always manage to sneak something in. 

1.JPG.827f10b780f40b02f4a08c2c6a5482a4.JPG            2.JPG.5b43256583b3126ea8fe30140429f167.JPG

new season currently, first 3 games 1-1, 0-1, 1-1 against better sides in 2/3 games and we were playing better all game, scorelines should not have been this close but we failed to convert chances and concede 1 totally random goal. first game, a random rebound, hits a couple players and ends up on a silver platter for an open goal for the other team. second game, an easy cross field diagonal long pass which should've easily been cut out by my RB, my RB for some reason just froze in place for 2 seconds which led to the goal. third game, its a low driven cross almost from the corner flag which went through by defenders and GK for a tap in at the farpost. as im typing this out, comfortably winning a 1-0 game that we're in complete control of we get a needless red card 70 mins in. the ME is basically saying "play gegen or get F'd" lol

its so pointless and unrealistic to try and see out a victory in this game this way. 

 

 

side note: i dont get the TF role in game. TF/s drops deep to help out on defence and also on attack to connect plays but i need him to get into the box so i play him on attack duty but the guy is STILL trying to connect plays instead of getting in the box for crosses. we manage to get into tons of crossing position with no TF in the box. 

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@fraudiola
On the right is your shut out the game tactic?
- extremely high tempo passing? Probably to hit them on a counter getting the second to seal the game? Doesn't that loose you the ball way to often and too quick?

As I stated in my first post my approach to seal a game is to take off the much more urgent closing down(not sure if I really should do that)
and to lower the tempo, I don't know if I did not explain my thinking behind that enough so here it is:
The tooltip reads "asks the team to take it's time with the ball and controll the game by keeping possession", so less frequent losses of the ball -> more time on the ball -> more time the opposition does not have the ball and he has to win it back, ideally causing throw ins, which we waste time on.

Again this is not the end all be all to shut up shop. I still get the odd goal when putting that on especially for long periods of time e.g. almost a full half. But that does happen in real life to doesn't it?

What I expect every opposition to do is throw men forward, more pressing, formation with more men upfront, so the longer we keep the ball the more holes they create which we can than exploit.
Normally I have a team which is at least not totally in the wrong league, skill wise, so some striker pressing who can't really defend should not really be that big of a problem right?

What I have seen though is more men forward in the first line than, so I have to defend a 5vs4 for example, especially with my 4-2-3-1 that's an issue I don't know if you DM covers good enough when the opposition goes into "Hail Mary"-mode?

But yeah I think everyone gets the odd goal where it's like
what?
how?
why?
why always me? to quote Balotelli

In one of my test saves with my deep block idea, I lost a game because of such a hail mary.
Noone around, keeper alone should collect it. Drops the ball and one of their thousand attackers gets there the quickest and scores close to the end of the game.
I sat there wondering how? Had he done nothing it would have been goal kick. But what can you do against player lapses, except for: get better players?
When you don't see it as a tactical fault so no repeating issue, you more or less have to live with it, that's football. Maybe it's the concentration/decision attribute or some hidden one which causes the frequent issues?

Regarding the Targetman, isn't that what you want from him? Come to get the ball ideally pulling a central defender with him so space is created for the IF or the Mezzala to move into? In my head playing the ball back to the CM who puts one of the other two through on goal.
I get what you mean, I also don't like that when the ball moves to the wide areas he is quite slow to get into scoring position. He ends up there eventually though...
If you don't want him to drop deep and be part of the game, why not ask him to perform another forward role, e.g. a poacher who does nothing but wait to get a through ball or a cross?

I hope not just because I recommended it?
As I said this is not really a guide, more my ideas and observations + my tastes in playing football, which I would like to discuss and get feedback on. Maybe someone who knows better reads this some day and will put me on blast for putting out this tactical nonesense.

 

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12 hours ago, robot_9x3 said:

@fraudiola
On the right is your shut out the game tactic?
- extremely high tempo passing? Probably to hit them on a counter getting the second to seal the game? Doesn't that loose you the ball way to often and too quick?

i have good passers and i still expect them to play out the back late in the game when the opposition is throwing players forward pressing and counter, instead of hoofing and giving the ball to them. ideally a few short passes to beat the counter-press then a direct ball to the TF who lays it off to one of the CMs that can play a ball behind for one of the LW/RW. i'd also like the TF to flick on a long pass directly behind to one of the LW/RW but even on very narrow they're too far wide in most cases. 

 

12 hours ago, robot_9x3 said:

Regarding the Targetman, isn't that what you want from him? Come to get the ball ideally pulling a central defender with him so space is created for the IF or the Mezzala to move into? In my head playing the ball back to the CM who puts one of the other two through on goal.
I get what you mean, I also don't like that when the ball moves to the wide areas he is quite slow to get into scoring position. He ends up there eventually though...
If you don't want him to drop deep and be part of the game, why not ask him to perform another forward role, e.g. a poacher who does nothing but wait to get a through ball or a cross?

I hope not just because I recommended it?
As I said this is not really a guide, more my ideas and observations + my tastes in playing football, which I would like to discuss and get feedback on. Maybe someone who knows better reads this some day and will put me on blast for putting out this tactical nonesense.

 

yes exactly but he either comes too deep and lingers or goes out too wide and thus we have no one to cross to. 

1.JPG.ea74e16a3a7afcbf252e1e426a83430a.JPG

TF is one of my favorite roles, probably my most used role in the past 3 FMs, but there are certain flaws in the ME that limits the role, i could go on and on on this lol

 

12 hours ago, robot_9x3 said:

But yeah I think everyone gets the odd goal where it's like
what?
how?
why?
why always me? to quote Balotelli

i think i had 20 of those last season in the league alone. 

 

 

edit: had the game locked down with 5 mins to go thinking finally, a clean sheet at last....

 

 

Edited by fraudiola
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On 13/03/2022 at 11:27, robot_9x3 said:

@De Nilebrought something up I find rather interesting to think about so I did that. I have to admit a small portion of my thoughts were made up when I started.
Most of what I will explain will be obvious to most of you, but maybe it's helpfull to someone.

What is the difference between a good, a normal and a bad team.

I only make the distinction good team vs normal team.

Why did I do that? Well except for pulling the Defensive Line deeper or lowering mentality (again not too sure what to do with that) I have no option to make the bad team block even more compact.
As explained I would rather not do any of those out of fear we become to deep and long shots are a valid threat against us again.

What would be a difference between a normal and a bad team? De Nile already said it, the bad team is worse, there is a huge chance their passes go all over the place, their tackling may fail or they just don’t mark good enough. I think all of these problems are kind of solved in my idea of a deep block. Sorry if I misrepresent your argument here, that's just what I understood.
 

Let’s start with tackling and marking.

Quite simple we are in a compact block, in which we try to press really hard. Sure a player may get dribbled, maybe even a second one but at some point even the best dribblers will fail. A bad team should ideally not play top-heavy formations, to have bodies to throw around while defending.

 A player may miss his marking duties but because we are deep we are compact and we are narrow someone should be near enough to do something. We maybe concede because of a cross but we are a bad team we are not expected to win each match we should be concerned with keeping games tight so we can collect points if a better opposition has a day off.

Now to the passing, yes a bad team will have more problems to reliably break out of the deep block.
Their passing is bad, their off the ball is bad. But that’s why we are so deep.

Let me draw you a picture.

I have drawn one and decided I should not do that. So here is a screenshot from a nice helping website.

grafik.png.708d7f57def207acaa26df84d13c121c.png
Image: a rather deep block space to exploit marked. Picture created with “tactical-board dot com”

All of this orange field is space we could exploit. If our attacking threats are fast enough, it does not really matter where exactly in the space we place the ball, if we reach it first we have a chance to score.
(That’s why most bad teams operate long balls in my opinion. As well as they are not good, playing shorter passes while being pressed hard just asks for trouble)

 

Now compare that to the good team setup I have given.

grafik.png.e5cd38aacd656f6315a4fa675e99da90.png
Image: top-team midblock space to exploit marked. Picture created with “tactical-board dot com”

That team presses a little earlier, that has the effect that

1.       The opposition is not as dangerous because we don’t let them as close to our goal. But a good through ball is now a danger, being a good team we have to trust that our press is relentless enough and our defenders are up to the task.

2.       The distance towards their goal is smaller. Great we have to cover less ground to score, bad the ball has to be played way more precise.

The problem here is that ideally we are in possession again when the opposition is not as far up the field, so we have less space. But as a good team you should have players capable to place the ball where we need it.

Now a little excurse to why I want the more urgent pressing and not less when still needing the ball for a result. The site allows me to make gifs so I will try my best.

First of all why I think the extreme pressing makes sense, I believe a tactic should be balanced somehow, no not "leave every slider in the middle" balanced... But we are extreme with our Line of Engagement being the deepest it can be, unless we are the top dog team in the league.
So we have an extreme in risk aversion, letting the opposition march rather unopposed a lot of the time into our half. How do we balance that out? On the Defense-Tab we have tackling and pressing we can change. As I said I think "Get Stuck In" leads to too many stupid fouls close to goal, so that's not considered.
That leaves us with the pressing. (again even just higher pressing might be enough) so to balance one extreme I just chose another in the opposite direction. For me that works fine. When it seems logical from a footballing point of view, I just think of it as mathematics Balanced = NegativeRiskTaking + PositiveRiskTaking.
Create deep block let noone in the block have time, ideally force the opposition out.

What I often see and also fear in a deep low pressure block:
Long shots, no I will not make a gif for that, I think everyone who tried a low pressure deep block has been on a receiving end of some of those already.

A good ball carrier just walks through the block, which is mostly concerned with keeping shape instead of winning the ball.

image.gif.350fdd31165a61a53d2034a27415f032.gif
Gif: showing a 4-4-1-1 low pressure in  their third, not getting to tackle a good dribbler who than ends up in a scoring position. Created with "tactical-board dot com"

A good passer and runner who don’t need tons of space have too much time
image.gif.9ffefa3cd29cf7778916160b80f71c49.gif
Gif: showing a 4-4-1-1 low pressure in  their third, not getting pressure on their playmaker so he can play someone through. Created with "tactical-board dot com"

What I hope and think to see my high pressure block does if entered:
image.gif.0f5d8608dba7255321bdf7f4e4918578.gif
Gif: showing a 4-4-1-1 high pressure in their third, while not stopping the pass, making it more difficult and end up in a position to win the ball. Created with "tactical-board dot com"


The opposition player gets the ball inside the pressing zone, but since most people around him are man marked and those markers are now closing in on him, he only has 2 options play the ball back, out of our pressing zone (great! objective reached they are not a danger for the moment) or try to get it forward somehow.
I think regroup, even though we haven't lost the ball, helps here in getting players back into shape when their pressing range is not triggered, e.g. the ball is not in the pressing zone.
When he tries to get the ball forward my defenders should swarm however got the ball, with the midfield also trying to close him down.
It’s overly simplistic but I think it demonstrates why I am more hesitant to just apply a low block with almost no pressure. Again as De Nile pointed out: you could get such a low block working with Player-Instructions/Player-roles and Opposition-Instructions.
But at least for me that’s knowledge territory I am not comfortable in for now, maybe someone or even people like Experienced Defender, Cleon or Rashidi have something written on that?
Not that I can remember, except for a youtube video by rashidi/BustTheNet titled "Block it like Burnley" but if my memory serves me right that's not a deep low pressure block most people are after.
From my reading one of those three is my best hope in getting a good implementation and explanation on how to set up a good low pressure deep block that’s still trying to win in FM.

As I said in the extra tips I often take off the tempo and lower my pressing to standard or even lower, when I try to protect a lead, so it can work, but that's not the end all be all solution to keeping a result.

Last thoughts:
I think most people, think of that 2010-Inter side which lost 0-1 to Barca at the Camp Nou or the Chelsea side from the Gerrad-Slip game, when they hear deep-block, low pressure, at least I do. But even when I think of those sides I think my interpretation now is closer to real life than a no pressure block. Yes if Barca/Liverpool stayed out of the defensive third they where allowed to do what they wanted but inside the defensive third there was pressure to move them out again or win the ball.

 

yeah you pretty much read my mind in a lot of these and fair play:applause:

My thought on low pressure is an example of catenaccio which is a dormant tactic in current football however in fm  a lot of people (me included) like to replicate this tactic albeit in a lot of variations. One thing which is different from simply defensive counter attacking football to catenaccio is most styles were passive they invited the team to attack and forced the opposition to break down the defensive wall and they attacked with the few players they had upfront. Of course for me personally this is where "trying" to be passive comes in as i already have a good defence and of course there is a lot of success in proactivity and pressing but this is something where i try it out and see if i could be successful with a passive defence. 

That's just what i'm doing for now  it's a just a risky way of playing. Good write up about defensive pressures.:)

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Posted (edited)

So I have played three half seasons with Cadiz in Spain, they are expected to finish 19th out of 20, so you could consider them bad. Proving that although the deep block can work, it's not a guarantee for success or an ever solid defense.

To get through these in a rather fast time I did not do much, I forbad transfers in the first window as well and had my assistant handle all Media. I also did not follow my own Player Interactions advice, I have written down already, so no real morale management.

So lets start with

Run 1

grafik.png.8761fca5f091a037a2d752141f2bffc8.png
Image: Games and results until the end of december, Run1

I just took all I have written here and set up my trusted deep block.

While we started okay, we rarely did good after that. At the end of this run we sat at 18th.

Goals and Goals Against:
We conceded 27 goals in 15 League games. That hurts.
We scored just 7 goals in 15 League games.

But the board is decently okay with our performance thus far so while we don't underperform, we also don't over perform in any regards it's the though battle we expected.

The Tactic

grafik.png.88a63fee45b49878a24e1dd615fec823.png
Image: 4-3-3 formation

What were the problems I faced omitting the "with the ball", I will talk about that later, we are primarely concerned with the deep block.

I had three players attacking my Targetman and both my Inverted Wingers but our attack was lacking. Else the block did what it should, but was under immense pressure, everyone and their grandparents thought they can beat us, they probably could judging by the results...

Run 2

Well we needed to change something. So in this run I tried to play around with mentalities a little bit.
I have to admit, how i used them and what I concluded based on that is probably a little bit clouded by how I do understand and interpret the rest of the tactics creator and its options.

I will add the Mentality part to the main article later on, so if you read through everything you may know somethings already.

What are the mentalities:

  1. Very Defensive
  2. Defensive
  3. Counter
  4. Balanced
  5. Control
  6. Attacking
  7. Very Attacking

I would group them regarding their aims as such:

  1. VeryDefensive/Defensive
  2. Counter/Balanced/Control
  3. Attacking/VeryAttacking

So what are the aims of each Group, understanding by description

  1.  VeryDefensive/Defensive: Should be used when you are likely to lose. So these aim to draw or not lose badly e.g. keep the game close enough you can get something by a lucky punch
    Differences:
    Defensive: Aims for the group goals but is more likely to attack, instead of throwing away a decent attacking chance.
    VeryDefensive: Aims for the group goals, attacks less likely as risk mitigation leads to lots of clearances.
  2. Counter/Balanced/Control: Aims for a win if possible but is fine with a draw as well, used when teams are more or less equal.
    Differences:
    Counter: more towards Defensive more concerened with keeping the draw than scoring the winner.
    Balanced: as the name suggest balances risk taking to get something out of the match with not losing it.
    Control: more towards Attacking more concerned with winning the game than taking the draw
  3. Attacking/VeryAttacking: Should be used when you are the favorite, a win is expected or more important than a draw.
    Differences:
    Attacking: Go fo the win, more risks in passing and runs to open spaces, but still try to have some defensive stability.
    Very Attacking: You need a goal and it's no difference if the opposition scores.

I mostly went with what my assistant manager suggested before the match in terms of mentality.
To be not to unfamilliar with the tactic when changing, I had all three tactic spots filled with the same tactic just on Balanced/Defensive/Attacking.
We did not really do better in overall Points collected but I think I learned a thing or two.
 

grafik.png.523fb8c941c3128d2777fb8f43f0e394.png
Image: Games and results until the end of december, Run2

Goals and Goals Against
We have conceded 17 goals in 15 League games.
We have scored 5 goals in 15 league games.

So while the goals scored could be just luck or chance, I think the decrease in goals conceded of 10 shows the right mentality approach can have an effect.
Although we did not collect more points in total.

The Tactic

grafik.png.1da05d384aa9b1f3bb2d3b6805307f8b.png
Image: 4-3-3 Formation used on Run2 Inside Forwards instead of Inverted Wingers.

Almost the same setup as before. We just changed the winger role to Inside Forwards on Support. I hoped this would give us more solidity, as I hoped on support they would help to more, while still being forwards inclined to score.
I never really saw them deeper or more involved in defense than the Inverted Wingers on Attack so that failed.
The problems here were the same as before, we were under immense pressure so now and again we had individual errors creep in as well as most teams are  better than us we can't do much.
The Board was decently happy again even though we got fewer Points compared to Run1.

Run3

As I said I learned something from Run2 so I tried to stick to the Mentality approach, even lean more into it. So again I  filled my three Tactic Spots with the same tactic only differentiated by Balanced Defensive and Attacking Mentality.

grafik.png.f66342616a0601b52087bc0333c9937f.png
Image:  Games and results until the end of december, Run3

Please let me boast for a short time, after two rather horrible half seasons this one was awesome
Goals and Goals against
We have conceded 9 goals in 15 League games (second best in the league. Best Real Madrid with 6, Third FC Barcelona with 12)
We have scored 12 goals in 15 League games. (I know not too many but considering how toothless we were before)

Most of our games we lost only with one goal, except for my arch-nemesis Granada, I don't know why I can't play them.
We have kept some clean sheets.
We have FMed the FM in some games as well.
But let me be clear this season run could have look like the other two as well. The pressure issue the other two runs had, were not solved by leading against a better team, that made them just angrier and determined to comeback.

Never the less look at all the green circles and all those cleansheets.

The Tactic

grafik.png.19ab073b80041125f4fbc2b1cf547da0.png
Image: 4-3-3 Formation used on Run3  Wingers Attack and Automatic Fullbacks

The obvious change here is we are now using just Wingers on Attack, nothing that cuts inside and clogs up the middle. I don't know if it is down to better morale (due to not getting a beating each Saturday) but I think the Wingers did a way better job tracking back and helping in defense.

The other change a little bit hidden is my Fullbacks were set from Support to Automatic.
What does that change?

If I play with Mentality Group 1( Defensive/VeryDefensive) they get a Red “Au”, indicating their duty is now Defend.
If I play on Mentality Group 2 (Counter(Balanced/Control) they get the Blue “Au”, indicating their duty is now Support.
If I play on Mentality Group 3 (Attacking/VeryAttacking) they get a Green “Au”, indicatingtheir duty is now Attack.

 

I could have set that myself because I had all three tactic spots in use. But when I did in Game Management, I could just change the mentality and they would adapt, more an "ease of use" or a "not all my spots will have the same tactic" thing, to use the Fullbacks on Automatic. Not that I did a whole lot of game management. Shame!

So all tactics were the same except for some small role changes?

Yes and No.
On the defensive side of the ball yes all instructions were the same, only the player roles changed.

With the Ball we made some more changes, but I will explain this later on, we are more concerned with the deep block, not how to attack out of it.
But just a tiny spoiler, I have written something about how a lot of bad teams play and why I think they do that, that was something I tried to mimic in Run3. Not that it was guaranteed to work as well as it did.

So what else changed? As I said in Run 2 I began to take Mentality into consideration. In Run 3 I took it even more to heart.
We are Cadiz CF, expected to finish 19th, so why not play that way? In this run I started way more games on Defensive than even in Run2 which was even more defensive since my Fullbacks changed their duty automatically.
I think that was, what did the trick in giving us even more of a defensive edge, forcing the Opposition to commit even more men forward.

Something all tactics used the same were my dead-ball/set pieces routines.
I will add this also to the main article as well as I think it is important and I omitted it. So if you read this already, no your not crazy it is the same, I am lazy.

Standards/set pieces

In all three runs I was able to generate at least some counter opportunities when using these set pieces, they are somewhat inspired from real life set pieces, Mourinhos Tottenham/As Roma and Contes Inter/Tottenham. Although I think a lot is handled the same by a lot of coaches.

Defensive Cornerkicks

grafik.png.f5c456c42f1e649ebabab0c034345918.png
Image: My defensive Cornerkick setup

  • Have the side Fullback/Winger mark the corner taker
  • Have two people with jumping reach on the edge of the 5yard box, but still central
    - If the ball is short the near center one can move there
    - If its long the long center one can move there
    - If it’s in the middle both can challenge
  • Have the fastest player at the edge of the box( he will drive counterattacks if possible)
  • Have someone mark their big guy (someone good in the air and at marking)
  • Have everyone else man mark

Why am I doing that and not leave someone up top? Well with noone up  top the opposition will send more men forward, so our runner starting from the edge of the box has to beat less men. Thats the whole Idea behind the setup, I think it performs decently well.

Attacking Cornerkicks

grafik.png.ebe9b0f00dcb03889855297d5377a1d0.png
Image: My attacking Cornerkick setup

I normally have one of my CM take the corner. I place it centrally at the 5 yard box

  • Have 1 Player stay back no matter what.
  • Have 3-4 Players stay back if needed (Positions which could become the standard taker, that’s why I assign my CMs)
  • Have 1 Player attack from outside the box
  • Have 1 Player Lurk outside(preferably can shoot and is fast)
  • Have 1 Player on the Near Post
  • Have 1 Player mark the Keeper (annoy him, also close enough to get to the ball)
  • Have 1 Player attack the long post (if the ball slips through)

It’s by far not OP or the best there is, the  most important lesson, for me at least, learned with this Cadiz side is if an Opposition throws players forward have enough man to cover them all can be vital. You obviously should design the set pieces how you want them, just keep in mind to have some one protect you back.

Defensive Freekicks

I will not post all freekicks but except for the direct shot, they all adhere to the same principle you can see here. For the direct shot I get rid of the zonal markers for more players in the wall so I have a wall of 4 people at most.
grafik.png.b8faae2d5be8e276599324a02511852a.png
Image: My defensive Freekick setup

My Freekicks work the same as the corner setup, except I have both my Centerbacks mark the 5 Yard Box near and far zone and my Striker just man mark.
Why you may ask, I tried to do the same as my defensive Corner routine for Freekicks, but Freekicks from out wide seem to be counted as crosses(?) so while my Centerback drops back, when I have a striker assigned to the 5 Yard Box he just wanders forwards when the “cross” comes in leaving the near or far post open.

Attacking Freekicks

grafik.png.c036826f2596cd21699e1222c57321d9.png
Image: My offensive Freekick setup.

As I said close to my corner routine. Just have two guys back all the time, and all possible standard taker positions as stay back if needed.

I would love to have to have 2 Players lurk outside the box. One on the right side and one more to the left, but most of the time they just hug each other or whatever they do standing on the same spot… So I decided against that.

 

The attacking changes and why I believe the previous runs were just as good as expected

Setup Run 1

In the first run I tried the exact same as I outlined here with my Stade Reims side, shorter faster passing. That did not work, because we were so bad, that we often lost the ball shortly after crossing the halfway line, or worse earlier because passing was not our main strength (nothing was really).
So we were almost und constant pressure with no relieve or real rest.Most of the time we lost the ball way to fast.

Setup Run 2

I thought short passes are suicidal for this team, how about going a little bit more direct, like my Cagliari Side more Direct, higher Tempo. That went as bad as the short passes. We still played horrible passes but longer, but we lost possession as quickly, if not quicker.
We also had no wing support, we played often with a defensive Mentality so our Support Fullbacks stayed further back. I opted for two Inside Forwards to have more drive atowards the goal, they were on support so they cut in way to early thus we had absolute no width.
And to make bad things worse even if we got the ball forwards in the congested Center we were to bad to do something with it and more often than not lost the ball in the traffic.

Setup Run 3

Well nothing works, so back to the basics. What do bad teams do? Play long balls. So I opted for even more direct passing as I did in Run2. Well we lost the ball way to quickly in Run1 and Run2 maybe we should Lower the Tempo.
As stated before somwhere I believe that a tactic has to be balanced somehow, so why not balance extreme direct passing with extreme low tempo?
Sounds counterintuitive?
My thought behind that were

  • We are in a deep block, to attack we have to move players forward so lower tempo allows us to do that. So we wait to hit the ball forward until players are forward.
  • The opposition most likely will not fall back but press us so nor harm done in taking the time.
  • Lower Tempo states it will try to retain possesion so not every ball will be kicked long 0,5 seconds after reciving it
  • With the long balls we can by pass a possible press or at least a defensive line

So my instructions were:

  • Extreme Direct
  • Extreme Low Tempo
  • Pass into Space
  • Run at Defence

We played a lot of long balls and a lot of them did not connect, but the low tempo also led to us at least having somone in the position to receive a long ball, if not my Players played it short keeping possession.
We lost against Barcelona(happens), Eibar, Granada, Levante so except for Barcelona three teams that will not press us 100% of the time. So they more ore less nullified our long ball approach, not completely but enough that we did not score and they did.

I am happy this worked although I can’t see my Reims or my Cagliari Team play this offensive approach with success, maybe I am wrong.
Please don’t take this as “this is how you have to play out of a deep block” it worked with this team in this run.


As always in FM there are lots of variables you can put together to create what you want and be successful, or achieve the exact opposite.

Edited by robot_9x3
changed: spelling
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