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Help appreciated in dialling down my tactic

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For a few versions of FM I have used a 442 and a 5212 inspired by the great  FM tactician Bophonet's replication of Naglesmann.

They both play the football I like - , playing out the back ,fast transitions getting the ball forward quickly. not giving the opposition time on the ball.

They work well and play good football but due to fatigue need to be managed. I reduce the intensity by lowering tempo, lowering the press, reducing dl and loe, removing counter press etc.

The difficuty can be when away from home and against better opposition. Have tried dialling down and in the 442 dropping the two midfielders into the DM strata as DLP (D) and VOL (s) but thoughts from anyone as to how they could be improved away or against better teams without completely changing the philosophy would be welcome.

The two versions with similar team instructions are below.

There are a few PIs for certain individuals  to get crosses at near post, roam and direct pass.




Screenshot (2).png

Screenshot (4).png

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Difficulties away from home is most often the result of apprehension on the part of the players, which is not immediately visible in body language, but may sometimes show as anxious or nervous. You might set it to positive or attacking, but they're thinking more along the lines of cautious or defensive, and this mismatch between your expectations and theirs causes them not to take their chances, probably to a further extent than even going very defensive. You can sometimes solve this reluctance by just telling them they're not expected to win. Ease the pressure, and they'll be more inclined to go along with the mentality. A few successes like that, and they'll be more open to the concept. A few more, and they'll be perfectly happy to go on the offense away from home, and will perform just fine. You can ease the pressure a bit too much, however, and once they start playing poorly, start challenging them. " I expect a win". If they've lost a few times, you might have to restart the non-pressure regimen.

If your players have low aggression, composure, and bravery, expect them to be quite timid in hostile surroundings, especially against teams that press back hard. Red intensity, particularly "much more often" pressing is a big demand to make of them in such a circumstance. It can also cause major injuries, which can lead to collapse of bravery, which will worsen the effects over time. It's difficult when a team has an average bravery of 5 to do anything meaningful in opposition territory.

Otherwise, opposition teams tend to play more attacking at home, which means they are more likely to penetrate a weaker defense, albeit at some risk of turnover.

Now, while gegenpress is fun to watch, you kind of need to have players at the top level of the league to make a solid go of it, and unless the team is specifically tuned for it, it's not typically the best suited for mid table squads, especially in the English Premier, which has some exceedingly stiff competition in the upper reaches. Outside pretty assertive personalities, they need absolute superior stamina to pull it off (among other things). If your players are getting into the red on their match fitness meter on the regular (as is seen in the screenshot), this is very bad. It will lead to jadedness, which makes them play like utter garbage. You'd be better off playing a grey player in that slot. It can also lead to major loss of stats. You might have the best trainers in the world, but they won't stop oodles of red down arrows showing up in their training report. So, very hard pressing ultra high tempo systems, like gegenpress, can potentially have serious deleterious effects on a club that isn't really set up for it.

Now, I don't know who you've brought in since the game began, but Leeds does start off with good aggression and bravery, and very good work rate, but does rank very low on the composure scale, and has some of the worst defensive skills in the league. Lowest tackling and strength. Mediocre marking and bad positioning as well. Excellent stamina and good pace, however. This would lead me to select a tactic based around ball retention via short passing and high (not necessarily extreme) tempos, but regular pressure on the tackling, while using a tight marking system instead. Would drop back down to standard defensive line when facing direct opponents, but otherwise just drop the line of engagement to standard or lower. If you have better pace than your opponent, inviting a little pressure isn't necessarily a bad thing, and may lead to better chances in the offensive side of things.

Take stock of where you are now in the rankings in terms of stats to see how things have progressed since the start. Have your tackling and strength improved significantly since then? If not, and you're stuck on gegenpress, I might look for fresh talent, or schedule a looooooooot of sessions to improve those. I'm sure that you're winning the ball back for the counter at some points.. but it's probably just not worth it for numerous reasons if you're still even in the bottom half of the league in that regard, let alone at the bottom. If you're still very good in pace, you might want to experiment with tempo a bit. A fast team at lower tempo can often bypass defenses just as well as a higher tempo team might, but yield better chances in the process.

The low crosses with a target man is a bit peculiar, but I did see Leeds had horrifying jumping and heading ability.

Your level of tactical familiarity concerns me, and leads me to wonder if you schedule attacking movement/defensive shape and teamwork at least every other week. These yield buffs to match performance that are quite important. Match practice also very helpful for familiarity. How is team cohesion?

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Thank you very much for such a detailed response. Much food for thought in there. 

Both my familiarity and team cohesion are good. I am at the beginning of a new season. (I posted those pictures by loading the tactics into an old save file just to put them up!)

I agree that the team has some some short falls in terms of attributes to play this type of football but I do want to persevere as it is a style that I like and believe will ultimately be successful. 

Will certainly take on board the comments on handling expectations of the team away from home and lowering tempo and experimenting with the loe. 

thanks again for the comments. 

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