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Struggling in Scunthorpe (442)


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I had high hopes for the season 2024-25 - thought we would finally smash the league with relative ease. However, after New Year, we have completely lost it, currently sitting 18th.

results.jpg.8c5ab3afe916cfe1a7ce5b777f258a59.jpg

Each and every computer team are suddenly playing like Guardiola's prime Barcelona, or in FM terms, Ö-zil to the Arsenal's Benfica. During defensive transitions, our players are looking like lobotomy patients, switching off at crucial moments and gifting easy goals night in night out. All players losing headers and 1v1 battles 100-0, defenders playing Gerrard-esque backpasses, opponent players with long shots 3 scoring from long range - you name it. We are also, of course, leading the infamous statistic of most penalties conceded.

Been watching on full match the first 15 minutes and on comprehensive highlights after that. Despite that, I have no idea what to fix. For example, against Port Vale at home I went for narrow defensive width + higher defensive line since they played with a 3-4-1-2 formation and their AMC had all the time and space in the world. Didn't work - final score 1-4.

port.jpg.6230237925063fc670ba7c7c9d89eccc.jpg.

 

On the other hand, in the Stevenage match our attacking play was surprisingly good. We started playing only after gifting them 3 easy goals though.

stevenage.jpg.2d9230638ba9a6102dcbcf30d6f66ce1.jpg

 

 

Tactically, balance is what I am aiming for. On paper, at least, it doesn't come more balanced than this:

tacticc.thumb.jpg.6c88d440c4602da06b45d4b5dc151b0d.jpg

  • Overlap on the left, classic wing play on the right
  • DLF dropping deep, AF fully focusing on scoring goals (leading the league with 22 goals in 32 matches so far)
  • DLP holding and spraying passes, BBM working hard during all phases of play
  • No team instructions, 1 PI (left back staying wider)
  • And yes, I am aware there is no defend duty in midfield. That's because I want to defend in a rigid 442 shape rather than 4-1-3-2 wide diamond which seemed to happen with a defend duty player:

 

Please help me save my job at my beloved Scunthorpe!

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I think for a 442,that's a great set up.

I tried to implent a simple 442 too.

The winger on attack have tendency to keep the ball and go to the line before attempt a pass. And it's a waste of time in transition. Maybe you should try a WM on attack.

The Fb on attack is little more neutral, especially on balanced. Maybe a positive mentality will help him to take more risk or ,on balanced mentality using a Wingback on attack.

Did you try the much less urgent pressing? It will help your team to be more compact especially on a 442.

Don't forget that opponents learnt how you play. No more surprise. So you need to adjust your mentality,on positive or even attack mentality when you are favourite.

And of course attributes, you need to have very good players on midfield, mentals, physicals.

Good Luck.

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18 minutes ago, coach vahid said:

Don't forget that opponents learnt how you play

No, they don't.

The AI is quite capable of adapting based on your performance over the course of a season, or even during a match, but that is very different to learning how you play.

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il y a 33 minutes, herne79 a dit :

No, they don't.

The AI is quite capable of adapting based on your performance over the course of a season, or even during a match, but that is very different to learning how you play.

Hum...You understand what I mean...

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You see, I don´t see any glaring issues with the roles/duties and I like the Balanced mentality. I also think the 4-4-2 is very good as a formation.

It happened with me many times before - although my tactics were good, overall balanced and I had players for it, something was never working completely. We always used to start the seasons very well but finish them with lots of difficulties. What I was doing wrong?

I really think that FM has evolved a lot on the strategical side but we still fail to see it. I really believe we need to be more strategical and less tactical managers. Not every opponent will play the same way, no match will be the same and we need to create ways to adapt, even if it is a simple one.

This topic helped me a lot developing a tactical system and adapting my strategy and I cannot play with just one simple tactic anymore. Read it carefully and maybe it can inspire you too:

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, coach vahid said:

I think for a 442,that's a great set up.

I tried to implent a simple 442 too.

The winger on attack have tendency to keep the ball and go to the line before attempt a pass. And it's a waste of time in transition. Maybe you should try a WM on attack.

The Fb on attack is little more neutral, especially on balanced. Maybe a positive mentality will help him to take more risk or ,on balanced mentality using a Wingback on attack.

Did you try the much less urgent pressing? It will help your team to be more compact especially on a 442.

Don't forget that opponents learnt how you play. No more surprise. So you need to adjust your mentality,on positive or even attack mentality when you are favourite.

And of course attributes, you need to have very good players on midfield, mentals, physicals.

Good Luck.

 

Our right winger, Liam Kerrigan, has been excellent so far, averaging a 7.31 rating. However, that's a great point that he often tries to do everything by himself, making us a bit one-dimensional. And his crossing isn't the best either, so let's try him as a WM-A. Considering his PPMs, he could be something of a hybrid between WM and Winger:

winger.thumb.jpg.44e33a1dd1303eff9b81d48aeab43444.jpg

 

I've been trying Positive and even Attacking Mentality when chasing games, usually to little or no avail. Actually I started the Salford game (0-3 at home) with Positive, but nothing really worked in that match. I've been unsure about using the Wing Back role because my left backs aren't exactly world beaters:

leftbacks.thumb.jpg.6af619c7adfdbab9e81cfd02c60cb980.jpg

 

And yes I believe you are right that WB-A will provide more urgent overlaps with Balanced mentality, so let's do that as well.

These are my first-choice midfielders. Thomason plays DLP, Beautyman BBM:

dlp.thumb.jpg.f9f90cea83dfac466dd42664aba554d6.jpg

bbm.thumb.jpg.c2079b919578d2240edaf4f9f60466b6.jpg

I had high hopes for Thomason in particular, but he has been extremely disappointing in his DLP role.

I believe it was Rashidi who once said that he never touches the Closing Down team instruction? Sounds quite extreme to drop that to Much Less Urgent. Is it advisable to drop the Line of Engagement, and/or Defensive Line as well, if I drop the Closing Down?

Thanks for the advice, let's see how it goes!

Edited by axelmuller
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Roles and Duties look fine to me. Can you post a Team Report and tell us something about your Boards and Media Expectations?

Also I was wondering, why your team isn't familar with the tactic yet, eventhough its half way through the season. An whats the litte "!" indicating at your central defender. Are there some PPM's conflicting with the Roles instructions?

 

image.png.5f0b38fd2f1869329f4be7f125fdf3af.png

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1 hour ago, Tsuru said:

You see, I don´t see any glaring issues with the roles/duties and I like the Balanced mentality. I also think the 4-4-2 is very good as a formation.

It happened with me many times before - although my tactics were good, overall balanced and I had players for it, something was never working completely. We always used to start the seasons very well but finish them with lots of difficulties. What I was doing wrong?

I really think that FM has evolved a lot on the strategical side but we still fail to see it. I really believe we need to be more strategical and less tactical managers. Not every opponent will play the same way, no match will be the same and we need to create ways to adapt, even if it is a simple one.

This topic helped me a lot developing a tactical system and adapting my strategy and I cannot play with just one simple tactic anymore. Read it carefully and maybe it can inspire you too:

 

I always believed that you should keep it simple instead of making drastic changes depending on the opposition. Cleon in particular used to say that small changes win matches:

If that isn't the case anymore, then I have a lot more to learn than I initially thought!

 

41 minutes ago, CARRERA said:

Roles and Duties look fine to me. Can you post a Team Report and tell us something about your Boards and Media Expectations?

Also I was wondering, why your team isn't familar with the tactic yet, eventhough its half way through the season. An whats the litte "!" indicating at your central defender. Are there some PPM's conflicting with the Roles instructions?

 

image.png.5f0b38fd2f1869329f4be7f125fdf3af.png

 

Board expectation: Mid-table
Media prediction: 14th
(!) means Smith is needing a rest
What do you mean by Team Report, where can I get that?

Familiarity:

familiarity.jpg.ad824eae0d437f0449fb164ab0bccf30.jpg

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49 minutes ago, axelmuller said:

What do you mean by Team Report, where can I get that?

image.thumb.png.4e675c1b2751128039cadc6f1de98c14.png

50 minutes ago, axelmuller said:

(!) means Smith is needing a rest

Are there more players that need a rest on a regular basis? Tired players do perform pretty bad.

50 minutes ago, axelmuller said:

familiarity.jpg.ad824eae0d437f0449fb164ab0bccf30.jpg

Don't you train your players in their roles and duty? If they are fully familar with your tactic, they will usually perform better. You can set that up on the Individual Training Tab. If you hover over a player, the game will tell you that a familiarity negatively affects the teams overall tactical cohesion

image.png.ad261834a8151aca090b324f0a587399.png

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2 hours ago, CARRERA said:

image.thumb.png.4e675c1b2751128039cadc6f1de98c14.png

Are there more players that need a rest on a regular basis? Tired players do perform pretty bad.

Don't you train your players in their roles and duty? If they are fully familar with your tactic, they will usually perform better. You can set that up on the Individual Training Tab. If you hover over a player, the game will tell you that a familiarity negatively affects the teams overall tactical cohesion

image.png.ad261834a8151aca090b324f0a587399.png

 

 

Assistant Report:

report.thumb.png.ff8b0b89bee076e93f5004d9afe762de.png

 

None of them need rest on a regular basis, only happens sometimes when there is a fixture congestion. I usually train strikers as Complete Forwards, midfielders as Roaming Playmakers, fullbacks as Complete Wingbacks, central defenders as Ball Playing Defenders, etc.

 

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@axelmuller Sorry Mate, I can’t spot anything inherently wrong. Neither in the Reports, nor your Tactic. The only valid point would be to increase the play familiarity.

But sometimes it’s just bad luck that makes you end up in a loosing streak. Keep up the motivation by talking to your players and maybe the problem will solve itself after some time.

Another idea would be of course to try another style of football, but if I understood you correctly you want to stay with a rather conservative 4-4-2

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15 horas atrás, axelmuller disse:

I always believed that you should keep it simple instead of making drastic changes depending on the opposition. Cleon in particular used to say that small changes win matches:

One of the most interesting things about football is that you can win using many different ways and strategies.

You see, I also read Cleon´s guide and I did try to use his method, but it never worked well for me. So I did try other ways...until I found the suggestion of playing with different strategies depending on match expectations/opponents. I have three ready tactics and I switch among them - it is that simple. Normally it is one "attack", one "counter" and one "park the bus".

Is the opponent weaker/almost same level than me? I start with "attack" and change to counter if things are not going well, if I score a goal etc. If I got a really good lead I change to park the bus.

Is the opponent stronger than me? I start with "counter" and see how things are going.

Is the opponent much stronger than me? I start with "park the bus" and I pray for a draw. If the game is still on a draw at the end of the match I change to "attack" and try a "smash and grab" victory.

Normally all three tactics have the same formation and kind of similar roles/duties, so the change is simple and easy. 

For me that is much, much more simple than trying to play the same way against very different opponents.

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OP, what you're experiencing is pretty much what I see with every save I've had on FM22. Its so frustrating and seems to be completely unrealistic.

I start off well and am obviously happy to accept that the AI will eventually start to see me as more of a threat if that success continues. What you'd expect to see in that situation is teams dropping back and defending more which does happen. However, in some games you'll also see opposition starting to play like absolute world beaters and my players suddenly can't complete 5 yard passes.

I also get that bad patches happen with teams IRL but I also think the game is too prone to putting you through long losing streaks. On the PC version, I imagine it's easier to get out of them with morale boosting team talks/player chats but I play Touch on the Switch which leaves me with fewer options. I can only call a team meeting if my Ass Man suggests one.

 

 

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I'm also a fan of cocoadavid's 442 guide and have built tactics using it. With that in mind my questions are:

How good are the players youre asking to fill the DLP role? Its a ball magnet role and so will be expected to contribute to play a lot more. If he isn't picking out brilliant passes then its potentially just slowing attacking play.

What style of football are you actually hoping to play? With the overlap on the left and a dlp it sort of feels like a patient build up whereas the 442 is better for quick counter attacks.

442 should be compact, what about adding either high def line or low LoE?

 

I'd personally make the following changes and see what the result are:

  • change DLP -> CM(s) with hold position (makeshift DLP without being a ball magnet)
  • add hold position to full back on the right (left full back is leaving defence so a 3rd player should remain)
  • add counter and low LoE tactical instructions
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On 29/07/2022 at 01:44, CARRERA said:

@axelmuller Sorry Mate, I can’t spot anything inherently wrong. Neither in the Reports, nor your Tactic. The only valid point would be to increase the play familiarity.

But sometimes it’s just bad luck that makes you end up in a loosing streak. Keep up the motivation by talking to your players and maybe the problem will solve itself after some time.

Another idea would be of course to try another style of football, but if I understood you correctly you want to stay with a rather conservative 4-4-2

No worries. Conservative football isn't really what I'm aiming for - the ultimate goal is to play with a proactive possession-based approach, some sort of Sacchi-ball if you will. With this particular squad it would be suicidal, that's why I'm going for a more generic approach at this point.

 

On 29/07/2022 at 12:50, Tsuru said:

One of the most interesting things about football is that you can win using many different ways and strategies.

You see, I also read Cleon´s guide and I did try to use his method, but it never worked well for me. So I did try other ways...until I found the suggestion of playing with different strategies depending on match expectations/opponents. I have three ready tactics and I switch among them - it is that simple. Normally it is one "attack", one "counter" and one "park the bus".

Is the opponent weaker/almost same level than me? I start with "attack" and change to counter if things are not going well, if I score a goal etc. If I got a really good lead I change to park the bus.

Is the opponent stronger than me? I start with "counter" and see how things are going.

Is the opponent much stronger than me? I start with "park the bus" and I pray for a draw. If the game is still on a draw at the end of the match I change to "attack" and try a "smash and grab" victory.

Normally all three tactics have the same formation and kind of similar roles/duties, so the change is simple and easy. 

For me that is much, much more simple than trying to play the same way against very different opponents.

I see, and there is clearly some sound logic behind that thinking.

After I get the basics right, and a solid base to build from, it would be probably useful to have a more positive approach up my sleeve. Something in the lines of this:

 

Alongside a more counter-based system:

 

No idea how to set them up at this point though, that's why I'm going minimal. I think player quality also plays an extremely important part in the strategic approach, as more complete players can easily fit in many different styles.

 

22 hours ago, Lumbertubs said:

OP, what you're experiencing is pretty much what I see with every save I've had on FM22. Its so frustrating and seems to be completely unrealistic.

I start off well and am obviously happy to accept that the AI will eventually start to see me as more of a threat if that success continues. What you'd expect to see in that situation is teams dropping back and defending more which does happen. However, in some games you'll also see opposition starting to play like absolute world beaters and my players suddenly can't complete 5 yard passes.

I also get that bad patches happen with teams IRL but I also think the game is too prone to putting you through long losing streaks. On the PC version, I imagine it's easier to get out of them with morale boosting team talks/player chats but I play Touch on the Switch which leaves me with fewer options. I can only call a team meeting if my Ass Man suggests one.

 

 

Yeah, this! Exactly what this season has been all about.

 

13 hours ago, Bellyfish said:

I'm also a fan of cocoadavid's 442 guide and have built tactics using it. With that in mind my questions are:

How good are the players youre asking to fill the DLP role? Its a ball magnet role and so will be expected to contribute to play a lot more. If he isn't picking out brilliant passes then its potentially just slowing attacking play.

What style of football are you actually hoping to play? With the overlap on the left and a dlp it sort of feels like a patient build up whereas the 442 is better for quick counter attacks.

442 should be compact, what about adding either high def line or low LoE?

 

I'd personally make the following changes and see what the result are:

  • change DLP -> CM(s) with hold position (makeshift DLP without being a ball magnet)
  • add hold position to full back on the right (left full back is leaving defence so a 3rd player should remain)
  • add counter and low LoE tactical instructions

Thomason is excellent with the ball (in League 2 terms), not that solid in the defensive arts:

dlp.thumb.jpg.c16e2d6a44a0bfccdd596cd61fd88e4d.jpg

 

CM-S with hold position sounds good - let's try it.

I'm hoping to play fluid football with many different angles of attack to keep the opponents guessing.

Using a higher defensive line is something I have been contemplating on. Since we don't have a Defend Duty midfielder, that shout makes sense for reducing the space between defence and midfield. The flip side is that my centre backs are quite slow. Maybe I should go with Cautious mentality and push higher up?

Unsure about the Hold Position on the right back. However, I agree that 3rd player should remain in defence, so it's on.

Lower LoE makes sense for defensive compactness. What do you think of Forcing Opponents Outside? My centre-backs are imperious in the air.

Tried the Counter instruction a few times already, didn't really see any difference with counters being triggered.

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