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About Cleon

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    International Star Player


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    Why do people think I'm a dude ffs!!!!!

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    Sheffield United

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  1. Can't create chances

    If you have no playing style how do you know if the player is having a bad game and doing the things you need? You need a vague idea imo if not then you have nothing to aim for or anything to compare with. It is possible to cobble roles together though but you still have to understand the basics and the fundemntaks of how the roles work together.
  2. Can't create chances

    Scoring goals is easy to achieve in Football Manager, getting regular scorers can be more problematic though. I’ve seen threads and blog posts about not being able to get players to score high amounts of goals before and a lot of them focus on the striker roles. They seem to think if a striker doesn’t score then their role, duty or settings are the issues, when in reality that’s probably the last cause. It’s more than likely due to the type or amount of support they are receiving. So hopefully this article will focus on how to give the strikers the best possible chance of scoring that you can. It doesn’t matter what side, what division or what nation you are managing in, this applies to all sides. What Makes A Good Striker? To ensure you have a good goal scorer the first thing you need is someone or multiple people to provide the striker with chances he can put away and provide him with support to pass to, create space or even to occupy an opposition player for him. Without any of these then you’ll struggle to have someone who can regularly score 25+ goals a season. I’ve already mentioned a few aspects of what is needed to create a goal scorer but here are more; Supply Support Space Movement Roles Duties PPM’s All the above are what I try to incorporate into every single tactic I create. It’s not easy to do and achieve but then again, it’s not supposed to be easy. What is important though is that through hard work and taking the time to learn how your system works and why, as well as picking up on the flaws it has, then you can get all of the above to work. In addition to all of that you have to first understand that a two-man strike partnership will vastly differ from a single or three-man attack. In each one the supply and support will be different, as will the space they all use and attack. Then on top of all of that the role and duty used will also determine what kind of support a player needs to be successful. A role that is more creating like a Treq, F9 or even a deep-lying forward will require players getting beyond them as while these roles can still score goals they’re more focused on providing for others rather than being pure goal scorers Players who also play a support role will play differently from those with attacking roles and again will need a different type of supply and support. Hopefully over the course of this article I can explain some of these in a bit of depth to help people in their own saves and give them a better understanding of what’s needed Understanding The Striker Roles To start with first though I thought it would be a good idea to have a look at the striker roles and break them down into basic terms, to make them simpler to understand and take some of the ambiguity of the role away, so we can all have a better understanding of what the roles offer. For me the striker roles are split into three different kinds of strikers; Creative strikers Support strikers Attacking strikers Some of the roles can overlap into others especially with the change of a duty but I still think it’s a good way of understanding a role, by thinking of them in either a creative, supportive or attacking way. The Creative Striker Roles These type of strikers are creators, so they are the support. This means they need players around them who can finish the chances they create. All of these types of strikers will like play and provide other people with the ball whether it be onrushing midfielders, wide players or other strikers. If you use one of these roles then you should ideally be looking at surrounding them with people capable of finishing off chances or at the very least, roles that allow players to get into good dangerous areas so these strikers can pass them the ball. Deep Lying Forward This role is all about the link play and its primary goal is to provide a link between the midfield and attack. It’s a very creative role and is often used when you lack bodies in and around the attacking midfield areas of the pitch. The deep-lying forward will look to drop into this space and provide a link as well as looking to create chances for their teammates. You’d look to use this role if you had him partnered with someone more attack minded like an advanced forward or poacher. It could also be used if you had a rampaging attacking midfielder like a shadow striker or even a goal threat from wide like an inside forward. Support – With this duty the player will be responsible for dropping deep and linking play. They can and will score goals but creating and playing others in is more the focus and aim of the support duty. Attack – On this duty the player won’t drop as deep as the support one and he will also be slightly more greedy in terms of taking shots or having chances himself. Trequartista You can only use this role with an attacking duty but don’t let that fool you. This role will allow the player to come very deep at times, much deeper than all the other striker roles. It’s also the most creative striker role of the lot and while any striker role can and will score goals, this role is purely about creating chances for others and finding space to use. If we were to compare it to the deep-lying forward role then the main differences would be; Deeper play More roaming More creative Those would be the three stand out points for me and ones that make the two roles completely different from each other. The trequartista will roam around the pitch constantly and doesn’t really have a fixed position, it will roam looking to both use and create space as well as fashioning chances for their team mates. This role works well when you have people running from midfield into advanced positions or for strike partners who stay high up the field. Due to the role allowing lots of creative freedom and roaming its vital that you commit men forward or have players positioned to take advantage of the trequartista style of play. If not he’ll take it upon himself to try to do everything on his own and this can be disastrous at times. False Nine This is another role that is only available with one duty – support. However, again, don’t be fooled by this as this role is a very aggressive one. It’s still a playmaking striker role but it also has a lot of emphasis on attack. A better way of thinking about this role is something along the lines of ‘space creator/user’ and someone who is creative yet selfish compared to the other two roles due to their ability of liking to take long shots frequent. While the false nine can play as part of a strike partnership, they are better suited to lone striker systems or systems that want to utilise the wide players yet still have a striker who can be dangerous in front of goal. An idea use of a false nine would revolve around a system that wanted to make inside forwards an integral part of the system. The false nine drops deeps creating space for them to run into and hopefully dragging his marker with him, which in turn would create the space. Support Strikers These differ from creative strikers because they don’t have as much creative freedom or roaming. Don’t mistake this for not being able to create chances though as that’s not true and they can be creative and create lots of chances for their team mates. However their jobs are slightly different as they tend to have a specific job to do. Defensive Forward You could argue that a lot of modern-day strikers have a lot of elements of the defensive forward in their style of play. This role focuses on hassling or hounding the opposition’s defenders and giving them little time on the ball to think, or to pass out a pass. It’s quite an aggressive role and comes with lots of closing down. Support – With this duty they’ll look to pressure the backline and goalkeeper to try to reduce their time on the ball. They’ll also chase down lost balls and always be look to pressuring the opposition. Defensive – If you gave them this duty then you can expect to see them slightly deeper and see them hassling defensive midfielders or central midfielders who like to drop off the midfield positions and come back into their own halves i.e deep lying playmakers. This role works well with pure goal scoring strikers or attacking midfielders as the defensive forward is a workhorse and does a lot of the hard work for their partners. While it’s not totally unusual to use them as a lone striker they tend to function better either paired with another striker, attacking midfielder like a shadow striker or inside forwards. You tend to want someone purely attacking getting alongside them or beyond to make the most of this role and what it’s about as they tend to win a lot of balls back quite early and high up the pitch. Target Man The good old-fashioned physical striker who focuses on hold up play, knocking the ball down into the path of others and generally being a big pain in the arse for the opposition. The downside to this role on Football Manager is its rather static and not only that, but players looks to utilise them so you can expect to see lots of direct or long balls played into him constantly. If you want to use a system that wants to make the most of the playmakers in the side or that concentrates on any kind of possession game, then you’d stay clear of this role and use a deep-lying forward instead. The long and direct balls into the target man are a real issue at times and the play becomes far too channeled and there is nothing we can do about it, due to it being part of how the role is coded into the match engine. Support – If the player had this duty then he’d look to hold up play more and utilise his strength and aerial presence a lot more. This means he will look to knock the ball down into the path of the players who are running beyond him in support. Attack – On this duty he’d lead the line more and look to occupy the opposition’s defenders and make himself a general nuisance. This could create space for him teammates to use. This role is better suited for systems that are set up to play more direct and look to start quick attacks or need to get the ball forward to relieve pressure on the defence or midfield. It does require you having players play off the target man and offering support though due to his lack of mobility. Attacking Strikers These are the striker roles that are the more regular goalscoring ones. They rely heavily on supply and if you use any of these roles then you need to figure out how you will get the ball to them and which players will be able to offer support to them. If not, you could find that for periods of the game they can become isolated and spend the game spectating rather than doing anything worthwhile. Complete Forward This role tries and combines play from all the different kinds of roles available and probably could have quite easily gone in any of the above two categories but I still feel they are more ‘goalscorers’ than creators or support. Don’t get me wrong, they do all of those things too but for me I still see them more of a goalscorer than anything else. Support – With this duty they’ll drop off the front line and look to roam about and link play, as well as looking to create chances themselves or others. Attack – They’ll look to lead the line and will do everything they can, whether it be creative play, hold up play, creating space and so on. This role can be used in just about any system and with any kind of style that can be created. It can be a quite demanding role though and might need a specific player to be able to pull the role off efficiently. Advanced Forward You can only have an attacking duty with this role. The role makes the advanced forward the focal point of attacks and he will also chase down balls and look to put pressure on the opposition’s keeper and defence from high positions on the pitch. He stays very high and doesn’t really drop back to link the midfield. This kind of role works best in a system that has people capable of creating chances from behind the striker or in a strike partnership with a more creative striker like listed above. If you use this role then you’d expect him to be one of the primary goalscorers in the side. If not, then you have a serious supply and support issue. Poacher Another role that only allows for an attacking duty. This role is a pure goalscoring role but can also be one that relies heavily on the kind of supply he gets. A poacher sits on the shoulder of the oppositions defence and doesn’t move about much unless you customise the role with player instructions, so he needs a constant stream of support or supply of passes to function and risk not becoming a spectator. If the supply is cut out or he’s marked out of the game then he’ll offer nothing and it’ll be like you are playing with nine outfield players and not ten. The poacher doesn’t make a great lone striker due to the reasons mentioned above. However, in a system that is counter attacking or defensive then this isn’t always a bad thing. You can find out more about this in the defensive 3-4-3 stuff I’ve already posted on the blog. Incoherent set ups Over the last few months I’ve seen a lot of posts talking about their formations and how they struggle to score goals or create chances. Well you can’t have one without the other, so what you need to do is use a system that allows the players to get the support they need. What I’ve done is looked on the forums and looked at some people who always seek help and use their tactic as the examples used in this part. Here is the first shape, ignore the team and players that’s not really important but the shape and settings are important. The person who used this shape thought it was a logical well-balanced setup but for me just looking at the screenshot I can see multiple issues here with goals. The 4-1-2-2-1 is quite a defensive formation already due to it using a defensive midfield. Then if we look at his midfield he’s gone for a defensive central midfielder who will be very cautious and drop back into the defensive midfield strata. Alongside him we have a ball winning midfielder who act very aggressive and close down heavily. This role is very much that of a ‘hassler’ so already we can see that there is a real lack of support going forward centrally. In fact I’d say the midfield is far too negative, why do you need a defensive minded midfielder if you already use a defensive midfielder, regardless of what role you use in that position? Already we can see that the attacking focus will then be on the striker and two wide players. These three players are going to be responsible for creating and scoring, which with the roles they currently have, will prove a struggle in terms of it being consistent. Let’s have a look at some examples of what I mean; Already you can see the issue highlighted when we are attacking in the above screenshot. I have no movement or penetration through the centre, all the options I have are out wide and this itself presents two major issues. How do we get the ball to the wings to utilise the support? What happens when we do go out wide, who will then support? We are already outside so unless my player switches the ball to the opposite flank then the only realistic option he has is to pass to the winger. If he was to then receive the ball, what does he do with it? Remember he has the winger role so that means his game is based on driving forward and providing crosses for the players in the box. Oh but wait! That presents another problem, we don’t use a striker role that allows the striker to play in the box, the tactic use one a striker who drops off the front due to the support role he has. So who can the winger cross the ball to? He has no support at all from the centre due to the system being overly cautious. Now due to this lack of central play, the winger is found drifting inwards so the fullback then has to drive forward with the ball and come along side the winger, rather than causing an overlap down the flanks. You see the issue? The two central midfielders should be busting a gut to get forward in support especially in a system that uses a lone striker on a support duty with no attacking midfielder to offer support. The winger dropped deep and came inside too rather than going wide as highlighted. So even if the fullback who is in possession of the ball is able to put a cross in, who is he exactly aiming for? Chelsea are solid defensively and they should be able to deal with any kind of threat from a cross nine times out of ten here. This leaves this particular tactic with a dilemma as it doesn’t offer enough going forward in the correct areas. Do you sit back and hope you get enough opposition errors and mistakes mixed with the odd brilliance of a bit of individual skill and hope it’s enough to get by? Or do you actually try to make the system more versatile with a little chance? I know which I would do and speaking of which, shall we see what happens when I change something? Different side of the pitch in this example but already you can see how more advanced the two midfielders are already, this gives me two new passing outlets high up the pitch. This takes pressure off the inside forward and striker and means we are trying to make players go to him and link up play, rather than everything relying on the striker to do himself. I only made two very basic changes; The central midfielder on a defensive duty was changed to a support one. The ball winning midfielder was changed to a box to box midfielder Two positive changes that already have a huge impact in what happens in the final third. In the first screenshot above of the similar move, I had no players in these kind of areas. This is a second or so into the move, you can see that when the ball has come inside to the central midfielder on support. Now we have more options and the striker is less isolated. In fact the ball can easily follow the path highlighted on the screenshot itself. Even if it does, one simple pass to the box to box midfielder and he can drive forward with it himself or have a shot. Either way there are options available that don’t rely on mistakes or a moment of sheer brilliance. This is just one small sample of a system that lacks support players going forward and how they can make the attacking players isolated if they don’t get forward. Isolation Every man and his dog seems to use a one striker formation at times. This presents other issues especially against teams who use one or more defensive midfielders. Especially when you consider that majority of users tend to prefer a lone striker on a support role, so naturally this can be problematic. So let’s take a look at what things can cause strikers to be isolated. This is another formation I found knocking around on the forums and instantly I can see the issues this will see in terms of isolating the striker and not offering enough support. Everyone is a creator and there is little movement or runners getting in behind the striker. You can see that instantly without even using the formation. Using multiple playmakers is fine but you also need people doing the simple basic stuff like making runs, getting into the oppositions box, scoring goals and so on. Here the deep-lying forward is showing how isolated and limited he can be at times, especially when the midfield has dropped off and not recovered properly from the last phase of play. As he is the lone striker, he has to deal with being marked by two centre backs and to make things even worse, the opposition use a defensive midfielder. This means that any space he has to play in will be really limited and he’ll struggle to influence play. Not only that but he doesn’t have enough options either alongside him or more advanced than he is. So what would happen if he does receive the ball from deeper areas? He could find himself marked out of the game, so even if he is lucky and one player makes a mistake, all three of them aren’t going to make a mistake at the exact same time are they? This means; He lacks support Lacks options Likely to turn over possession easily So when you build a tactic you need to think of the roles used and how they all play together. It’s no good having everyone set to be a playmaker if those roles don’t link well enough and provide support. Support isn’t only about providing a player with the ball, it’s also about allowing play to build up around him and giving him options for when he does receive the ball. A good way to plan a tactic is to ask yourself these questions; Who is going to score the goals? Who will supply those balls? How will they provide that support? Does the role allow the player to create his own space or does he need it created for him? Will this happen from deep positions or will he be positioned high up the pitch? Does he have options behind him, alongside and more advanced than he is? You should be asking questions along those lines and then you’ll build a coherent system that has roles to complement the style you are trying to create. If you can work out were the goals will come from then you build the team around that idea and focus on providing the kind of supply they need. A bad example of this would be that you want the striker to drop deep and link up play so use one of the creative striker roles. But then you go and use wingers whose primary job is crossing and to supply crosses and balls into the box regularly. This is wasted in these type of set ups because you have no target in the box to aim for due to using a striker who plays deep if you don’t use another striker alongside of them. Strike Partnerships I believe it is much easier to get a strike partnership to work due to the interaction you can have between the players. You can have many different combinations ranging from little and large, creative and finisher, two creative types and so on. In modern-day football a partnership doesn’t have to be two strikers either, it could be a striker and an attacking midfielder or a striker and inside forward and so on. No matter what saved game I am playing or what tactic I use, I will always look to make some kind of partnerships throughout the attack and this approach has always served me well. Let’s take a look at some of the stats from a few different saved games that I have. In the above screenshot I lost the three most influential players during the season. I lost my top scorer with 34 goals in 22 games. One of the other players I lost was a rampaging winger with 15 goals and 21 assists in 26 games. And the final lad I lost was my deep-lying playmaker who have 4 goals and 10 assists in 19 games. But even on the screenshot above you can see I had goalscorers and plenty of assists spread throughout the team. Here is another screenshot from a different saved game; Again I have regular scorers and the assists are spread out through the team. But it’s still the same as above, lots of people involved and helping out the scorers. This is another screenshot from another saved game; A different league, different save yet the same result, lots of goals and lots of players involved. Whether you want one scorer or multiple scorers they all need the same things. So let’s take a look at how I achieve this on my saves. Creating Chances As I’m at home I don’t have access to all my saved games because I use certain ones for when I’m at home and at work etc. Don’t ask me why as I’m not sure I could give a reason other than its something I’ve always done. But I do have access to the Santos save, so shall we remind ourselves how I’m set up so we can look at possible partnerships I have when going forward. The first thing you should notice is the use of four creative roles all in a same kind of area. You would be forgiven for thinking I have no support or runners at first glance but we actually do. The use of the creative roles was due to me trying to replicate a real life tactic. Teams that don’t have regular creators in the side will fail to score goals or only score goals that are mistakes or good bits of individual displays. Sheffield United are currently like this in real life and we lack someone who can create or fashion chances for other people. The same thing happens on FM, a creator doesn’t need to be a playmaker, anyone can create all it requires is a basic pass, it really is that simple. Getting players into positions to supply others is a lot tougher though to put into practise but the idea behind creating chances itself is simple. Let me show you a few examples of my set up and how we create chances. The above screenshot is me in possession of the ball and attacking. It shows you people creating space, people using space and someone to supply a simple ball that causes all kinds of trouble. The RPM is actually a BWM, I got that wrong on the screen. This is the exact same screenshot but with a different view. Do you see how the attack is linking all together and all the options I do actually have. Not only that but players are actually in space and this is against a side using two defensive midfielders. The above is moments later in the move. As you can see I have no-one initially in the box but that isn’t a bad thing at all because my side don’t really cross the ball so it would be wasted. The player circled is the one in possession of the ball and is being forced out wide. While the striker and inside forward are in really good positions with space to move into, realistically the ball isn’t going to reach them as it would need a cross. In another system this would be a major issue and the move would end by either a wild shot, losing possession or attempting a needless cross that my players would never be able to win. But I don’t have this issue, why not? Well that’s simple, I have factored this into the system I use because it’s something I saw happen a few times. So the advanced playmaker is actually set up to be the spare man in these situations due to the movement he creates once he has passed the initial ball. Seconds later this happens, the advanced playmaker is free. He has no marker or anyone who can get close to him. The trequartista stops with the ball, turns and passes in back inside and automatically takes out the three players who went across to deal with him. While at the same time, the striker and inside forward are both occupying the oppositions defence. Can you guess what the advanced playmaker does next? A very well taken goal. The reason for showing this goal was that I was just this second (at the time of writing) having an exchange with Rtherringbone on the SI Forums and I said; And he replied with; Some systems I see posted are the exact opposite of that, so there are loads of people high up the pitch and nobody behind offering an easy out ball. When that happens, you tend to get the high shot counts, low shot accuracy (high blocked shots) and low overall chance conversion. You need to let the players have the space and time to make the right decision. And I agree with him. I think this goal highlights those key things and shows them in practise. My front four and the midfield all work together. The striker and the inside forward occupy the defence. The trequarista is the one who initially creates space with his movement. Then the advanced playmaker is the one who is using the space that was created. And to top all of that off, this move all started with my deep-lying playmaker who linked them all together and allowed the move to happen. The next screenshot is a different move but a similar situation. Here the box if far too crowded and full for anything to happen. This isn’t a bad thing though because again, I have the options of someone outside the box to pass the ball to. The deep-lying playmaker drives forward then cuts the ball back into the path of the advanced playmaker who again, is in acres of space and has time to finish the chance off; There is a lot more stuff that I could talk about in this system but then I might be here all day, I might expand on them over time but I didn’t want this to focus that much on my own saves as such, but I did want to share how the side links up and the roles the attackers have. This is only a small sample size though and just one example. Before I go further and talk about another incoherent system that fails to achieve the above, I wanted to briefly mention PPM’s. Player Preferred Moves If you watch games to get an understanding of how the system you have created works, then over time you’ll notice the odd little things that can be a huge advantage if you know how. In the Brazilian 1970’s tactic that I created I began to notice that against teams who attacked me, my deep-lying forward would find lots of space due to him dropping off deep and roaming around. I also noticed that my centreback seems to have little pressure on him so this got me thinking about how I could try to utilise them both to start quick attacks if the defender deemed that the correct decision to make. With this in mind I then began thinking of ways I would make it work in my advantage and decided I’d use a ball-playing defender and player preferred moves (PPM’s) to try to achieve this. Now I’ve not yet learnt this to every defender nor have I learnt it to every player that I use as a ball-playing defender. I don’t want everyone to play the same as I like different options for different types of games. So I trained one specific player to do a specific job. In the above screenshot my ball-playing defender is quite intelligent on the ball, he has good anticipation, teamwork, decisions, technique and passing. So with this in mind I taught him the player preferred move – Tries long-range passes to try to launch quick attacks if he sees fit. I tend to use him more against the sides who attack me rather than sit deep, as I know they’ll push up and leave numbers short at the back. While knowing that my deep-lying forward can be a handful and due to his own personal attributes, he can play a very direct game if needed and play a bit like a poacher at times. So I can make use of these kinds of balls. I could use him as a poacher but then I’d lose a bit of his identity during games as he often drops off, looks for space, links play and pushed forward. If he was just a poacher he’d be more likely to stay high but it could still be effective in this kind of scenario. But one of the reasons this works well is my striker is fast, like Usain Bolt levels of speed, so I’m confident he will latch onto any long or direct balls and stretch the opposition especially when they aren’t deep. Here is a perfect example of what I’m talking about; I see this happen often against these type of sides and you can see that one simple ball can cause them all kinds of issues and really put them on the back foot. This is just one small example of how you can use PPM’s to help you supply strikers with quick thinking balls. There are other PPM’s and combinations that could work too but I didn’t want to turn this into an article about PPM’s although I might do a more specific one at a later date as it’s a massive part of how I play. These are just another dimension to tactic building and how you might potentially be able to capitalise on things in your own save. You don’t have too obviously but I felt it was worth mentioning and giving you all a different take on creating chances. Another Incoherent System Above I gave you an example of a tactic that tries to offer a bit of variety and provides plenty of options for players. So now for balance, I thought I’d pick apart an issue with another tactic that people seem to have trouble getting to work. I’ve purposely chosen this tactic as it is very top-heavy and it lacks someone who can control the game from deep. So you’d expect it to be good when it has the ball in the final third but struggle to get the ball to the attackers for large parts. Any kind of creative play from deep will be down to the trequartista who will drop very deep. But when he does drop deep this should present an issue which I’ll hopefully see. While the formation is a top-heavy one this screenshot shows the opposite, the more vulnerable side of what happens when the trequartista drops deep and roams about from the central areas. The most two advanced players become a bit isolated and have to come deep in search of the ball themselves. Due to the trequartista being the main creative outlet in the side and him dropping deep, then when the ball is won back you’ll often see players in these type of positions. Look how narrow the front four are. Now this wouldn’t be a bad thing if this was the initial phase of play as people would have time to advance and provide support, but this is the actual end of the move. The striker and trequartista are far too deep here and that leaves the job of attacking to the attacking midfielders. Which is an issue as they should be the ones getting into the scoring positions but here he has no option but to shoot from deep. A different move but yet again more of the same. How is the player supposed to break through the oppositions defence? Where can he realistically go with the ball? Support is too far behind and there’s a real lack of support yet again. It’s only the front four who are even attempting to do things from an offensive standpoint. The balance of the whole system is fundamentally flawed with the roles they’ve used. The support and creativity are all in the wrong areas. Shall we take a look at what happens when I change a few roles around to offer better balance in attacks and to give us options going forward…. I’ve made a few small changes to the roles; The trequartista is now a shadow striker The right-sided attacking midfielder is now an advanced playmaker The ball winning midfielder is now a central midfielder with a defensive duty. The original central midfielder on a defensive duty is now a deep-lying playmaker. The reason for these changes is that the midfield pairing in any type of 4231 is the key to its success in terms of attack and defence. If they are too adventurous you’ll be badly exposed centrally, so its vital you get the balance correct. It is also beneficial to have someone deep who can pull the strings to make the most of the top-heavy attack you have. This is the main reason I used the deep-lying playmaker role, to take that pressure off the trequartista and switch it around, so we could use a more attack minded attacking midfielder, hence the Shadow Striker. This screenshot already shows an improvement for me because the player running with the ball has options ahead of him. The deep-lying playmaker passed the ball to the shadow striker who is driving forward. Before, in 90% of situations the person running with the ball from these areas was ahead of everyone else so had no forward options only backward ones. A few moments later you can see the next stage of the move, the full right hand side of the pitch has opened up for the fullback to use. The shadow striker has also passed the ball centrally now to the advanced playmaker and is bursting his gut to get forward. Already this screenshot is showing the positive reactions of the players from a few simple role changes. Options and options and what’s needed for players. If you want a goalscorer the key to creating them is to use roles around him that allow for the type of striker to flourish that you have used in your system. It’s why understanding the tactic you use is fundamental for long-term success so you aren’t relying on individual brilliance or mistakes from the opposition. Things will be a lot better if you yourself can create, supply and finish chances off
  3. Can't create chances

    I also wrote this on breaking sides down and how I take advantage of it. It should give you more than enough info to use on your own save and see if you're set up as all the elements discussed that are needed to open sides up. Also lower mentalities can still be as attacking as the attacking mentality. It's worth remembering that Breaking sides down has to be one of the biggest downfalls people suffer with on Football Manager. On the forums, blogs and Twitter, I see this mentioned a lot. I see posts that mention one week they beat top of the league then the week after get hammered against the club bottom of the league. People can’t seem to get their head around why it happens, so hopefully this will explain in detail why it can happen. I’ll not be focusing on one game in particular but instead I’ll be focusing on several to highlight the common issues you are likely to come up against when facing these types of teams. Then I’ll be focusing on how I try to combat this and give you some ideas that you might be able to try in your own save. Remember everything you see below is with me using the 4-4-2 that I discussed earlier in the series. Space and Movement One of the main reasons, we find it more difficult against these types of team is because they don’t give space away too easily in the final third. Space is the key to everything, if a player has space then he also has time and allows him to take his time and pick out runners. Against a side who defends deep and is quite compact, it’ll be really hard to play through balls, balls over the top, crosses and so on into the box as there will be no real space for the player to gain that half of yard they need. So you need to think of different ways to break them down when the above isn’t working. A lot of people like to go more attacking when sides sit deep but for me this only makes the issue even worse because you are making the little space you do have even more compact. That’s not to say it doesn’t work for some but for me it’s not really something I would do. The way I see it is if you push players further up the field space is reduced and its less likely you’ll have anyone making any runs that will really stretch or hurt the opposition due to their compactness. Let me show you an example of what I’m talking about: This side was more than happy to defend deep which means all the space I have to work with exists in front of the defence and I’ll struggle to get in behind them. I was playing with a low mentality here in this game but if I’d been more attack minded and had players in the positions where the numbers are on the pitch it would become even more congested. Now this might give the opposition a bit of defending to do and needs them to keep their concentration but for me that’s no way to play, hoping the opposition makes a mistake or has a lapse in concentration. It also means where would my late runners be arriving from or where would I get movement from in general that could hurt the opposition if I was higher? Plus we are ignoring one major significant fact here, you’d also leave yourself vulnerable to counter attacks. Ever seen a post by someone claiming they dominate the game with like 20+ shots and fail to win because the AI has 3 shots and scores 2 from them? It’s because they get hit on the counter. I don’t like to play this way and like to use space that I have to create movement and get runners from deep involved and also minimise the risk of being hit on the counter. So what I like to do is play deeper myself, so I can use the space in front of the opposition that they give up so easily and have no interest in defending properly. This then allows me to commit men forward from deeper positions which can instantly put the opposition onto the back foot, defenders dislike players running at them no matter how good/poor the players might be. They risk giving fouls away and even picking cards up and risking the dreaded red card. Let me show you an example of what I mean: The opposition is happy to have eight men back behind the ball here. The solid red arrow shows where my player will run and the broken arrow represents a passing move my side will make. This is a video of the move; It results in an under hit pass and the move comes to nothing on this occasion but do you see the use of space I was talking about and how quickly stretched the opposition became? Let me show you another example but this time when my team is pushed up playing high. The circled players are too advanced to cause any real issue and the Rochdale defence is quite solid. So when Baxter gets the ball he doesn’t really have a clear option to pass to in front of him. The two circled central player aren’t options at all because he can’t see them and they’re marked even if he could. 1 – He’s on the wrong side of Baxter so again he’s not a realistic option. 2 – The ref is blocking his view here but even so the player next to the ref (less so than the 2nd player tbh) or the one player on his own outside the box can easily move across and cut out the pass. 3 – If Baxter controls the ball well the first time then this could be an option. But with the refs positioning and the seemingly free roaming Rochdale players, I don’t think he is a safe option. 4 – This leaves number 4 as the only real possibility because I have three static player positioned way too high up the pitch. The lack of movement and runners from deep is a big issue as I’m relying on the opposition making a mistake before I can do anything useful. I’d much rather take matters into my own hands and be in control, so I play a less attacking mentality against sides who sit deep, I normally go Standard or Counter instead. The next screenshot shows what I was talking about a little earlier about leaving myself exposed if I am positioned high up the pitch. Baxter attempts the pass but the Rochdale player cuts it out and then I get hit on a quick break. I am still playing attacking in this screenshot btw to highlight the issues and show why I avoid being so aggressive. One simple ball down the channel and I’m completely exposed. I’m lucky in this instance and the sequence comes to nothing. Yet when you are high up the pitch or over commit men forward, this is the biggest risk you face and something you’ll see often should you give the ball away cheaply. If you’ve noticed one prominent thing so far in all the examples and all the screenshots is Baxter seems to be involved in everything. The reason for this is the amount of space he has to play in, he’s basically unmarked due to the opposition not caring about giving space away due to them sticking to their strict positions and being deep. The next screen shows the amount of room he actually has during a counterattack that I have just done myself but now the opposition are trying to clear their lines. Even if the opposition do clear the ball like they intend on doing the chances are Baxter will still end up with the ball. He has lots of space and time and doesn’t come too high up the pitch. He actually does get the ball and smashes it home to make it 1-0. This is another example of Baxter’s influence in a move started from deep. You can also see me attacking with numbers. This shows Baxter yet again pulling the strings after we break from deep. The raumdeuter has checked his run, the complete forward is going to drop off to create space which the wide playmaker (haha just noticed on the image I put RPM instead of WPM opps) will run into and the complete wingback is busting a gut to get forward. Baxter passes the ball into the wide playmaker’s path who then feeds the complete wingback in. Then my complete wingback has a few options, he can put in the cross (which he does) or he can pull it back. Either way I’ve created space and broke them down by movement its why I always bang on about space and movement, it’s this what wins you game. I also like to use the width of the pitch when breaking sides down as this can create space and also catch the opposition on the back foot. This can cause players to be caught out of position or catches them in a lapse of concentration. Defensive sides tend to be narrow which makes them really compact so using the width of the pitch makes sense. Now Harris is about to receive the ball, this means the opposition have to go and close him down. In the image before this one the space I had, was in front of the defence but now it’s behind as two defenders have gone across to deal with the wide threat so all this space has now opened up. The striker on the side nearest to the ball is completely free so my left back has the option to play him in or cross the ball. He crosses it in the end and the wide playmaker slots it home into the bottom corner. What’s Important As you can see from the above the important aspects of breaking a side down for me are; Space Movement Width Don’t overcrowd areas of the pitch than can work in your favour by being less aggressive. To achieve all of these and make the most of those I always play on a low mentality, so either standard or counter. Obviously the roles you select will also play a part but for most parts if you can create and use space then you’ll force the opposition into making decisions. Which in turn will mean people have to leave their position to deal with the threats you pose. Movement is important because it snowballs and causes a chain reaction of events plus its harder to mark someone who is moving (especially from deep) compared to someone who is static or too advanced to really do anything. By using a lower mentality it alters my tempo, defensive line and closing down to match meaning I can be more patient in my build up. And from what you can see above it works due to the movement and space both in creating and using it.To achieve width you can either changes the roles/duties of the players or do what I did above and used the exploit the flanks shouts. That is all I did. It sounds really simple and basic but honestly this is how I approach such games. Some of you might have been expecting something really extreme but this is how I play, I like to keep it simple and not over think things because then you get lost and end up focusing on what the opposition is doing. Instead I focus on the things my own side do and try to make the best of that. This way I feel like I’m always in control regardless of how limited my squad might actually be or how strong. If you don’t concentrate on your own side and always over think things then you are endlessly changing things that you might not need to change. Plus you then have no real identity or style because you constantly give in to the AI. So for me I always base any changes on what I see happening in a match and never try to guess what might happen by changing stuff before. I’d much rather change due to being forced into the change as then it means I can stick to my own style that I’m trying to create plus I have faith in the tactic I’ve made. I want the AI to worry about me not the other way around, after all they’re the ones being defensive.
  4. Can't create chances

    Why would you add much higher tempo when attacking already has a very high tempo? I did a full series on attacking football if you wanted to give it a read and get some tips/ideas to utilise in your own save; https://teaandbusquets.com/category/attacking-football
  5. Can't create chances

    Anything with anything can work. They key thing is balance that is all. There is no reason at all why a TQ and CFa can't work together. However you then have to make sure that these players get the support they need and that the defence still links to the midfield and that the midfield links to attackers etc. If not you'll get isolation in certain areas. Rashidi touched upon this aspect. Also there are guides already along these lines and have been for about 5 years. It's even stickied in the thread at the top of the forum. Remember its just a guide though and not a hard set rule and anything and everything can work.
  6. I can understand why you'd give this advice and its perfectly fine. However there is also another side to why his current roles work fine on the side they are. As it stands currently he has options and variety on both sides of the pitch. If he switches the CM's around this brings two issues for me. The first one is it doesn't make sense to have a striker drop deep if no-one is going past him, it's a pointless exercise for most parts because no-one is using the space he creates. He could also switch the strikers around but then everything he creates becomes one dimensional again and he only really creates chances/attacks in one way. The second issue is he doesn't really need much penetration on the right hand side because his playmaker should be more than capable to offer this as well as being creative. The F9 and the CMA will come further inside and link with the WP fine as they are, it also means there is space for those players to use. I also don't believe the F9 and CM would bump into each other because the roles are different and the space between them is quite large. What they will be doing is working in tandem for most parts and both being creative and passing outlets. The CM should also frequently go past the F9 which is a good thing as he will be using the space the F9 creates. The same for the second image too, there is no way the RPM and BPD will ever be on top of each other. Not saying you was wrong about the other stuff btw, was just explaining it from a different angle
  7. Apart from me using a CF support instead of a F9, the top image is my exact 442 even the same player instructions 👌
  8. Can't create chances

    I still don't see the connection of why playing players on a support duty is risky :). If anything its the opposite because they tend to either drop off the front or start from deeper positions in general compared to attacking duties. I'm not trying to be awkward here, I just don't understand how a support role is a risk, unless I've misunderstood you?
  9. Can't create chances

    Why is it risky? I don't see the connection myself, especially for what you've described.
  10. You kind of pointed out why yourself at the start of the second sentence when you said you play an aggressive 4231. Regardless of the shape, if you play aggressive football then you tend to leave yourself more open, especially if the balance is off. This means that the opposition can by pass your advanced players with one simple ball over the top, down the flanks or through the middle. It also makes you very vulnerable to any kind of counter attacks especially if your players get caught in possession as everyone else is surging forward.
  11. It still has to function as a unit, your midfield and strikers as they are in the opening post, there is a lack of variety and people getting into the box. Everything looks good until the final third imo, then it falls apart as there are no runner in dangerous position and a lack of quality supply. No-one is saying use x amount of attack duties, what we are saying is create balance and variety and ensure that the roles and duties you do use, that they work in tandem. Look at who provides the support, who makes the runs, who scores the goals, what happens if one of the people in this chain has a bad game or is marked etc. The way I see it is unless your F9 provides the poacher the ball then I can see him struggling in a lot of games, it all relies on him hence why its very one dimensional. If you look at the goals you've scored and the areas they've been scored from, it'll tell you an awful lot about how the front players all link together. Personally I'd only use 3 attack duties for what I had in mind, the LWB, CM and the striker. I wouldn't have a winger on attack because I'd want him involved in every aspect of the build up. Plus you use a striker who drops off the front, so using a duty that gets someone to the byline faster to cross doesn't make much sense to me when the midfield wont have caught up with play. So the winger will only be aiming for the poacher, who realistically is unlikely to win many chances early unless he has a bit of luck and the defence is out of position. Just because someone is on support doesn't mean they won't attack or be aggressive. It just means they approach it different and let other around them catch up with play, so its more a cohesive unit. This isn't the only way to play either but you asked for advice and this is how I would be approaching it and I've highlighted what my key issues would be with it in its current form. My own 442 functions slightly differently to what you've got in the op but it isn't drastically different.
  12. I understand that you don't use TI's and you was only speaking about what you'd been advised. However not sure why no-one ever mentioned role changes to you, which led me and Rashidi to believe that those giving the advice might be in a similar situation to yourself. I said on Twitter the other day that you was a great poster and the fact you was already playing around with this, just goes to show you are I think you might have slightly overthinked this and focused on the shapes it makes rather that what the roles do. You're actually not that far away but as a cohesive functioning tactic in the final third it falls a bit short on paper. You have lots of movement but not much penetration or people getting into the box. In terms of roles, the poacher relies heavily on supply and support and is rather static compared to other striker roles. This is because he'll tend to play on the shoulder of the last man or be in or around the penalty area. The F9 drops deep creating space and is the more creative option you've gone for. So the F9 is likely to be the most important player you have in the final third compared to the other roles you've used as he is the real link up player. This also means that you are kind of one dimensional, something Rashidi touched upon. But that is more to do with the two MC's and wide players though. Although using a poacher does limit the kind of stuff you'll likely see him involved in. So this role is predictable and limited but that doesn't mean its a bad thing, especially if you get the balance elsewhere right. The LWB doesn't really have anyone to aim for bar the poacher in the box initially. I think Rashidi touched upon it before about how he'd have the MC as an attack duty, I'd be inclined to agree regardless of the PPM because this offer support and a late option to get on the end of a cross or be a passing outlet. Movement and late runs creates space because the opposition has to adapt to counter it, so they'd either leave the man free or someone would follow him and mark him, meaning space opens up elsewhere. I struggle to see this, the F9 drops deep so in most cases the poacher will be marked by 2 central defenders. He also has limited involvement in build up play compared to a AF or CF. So it will rely on pin point accuracy. It's also one of the reasons why if I use a poacher, I tend to use a targetman type player to play the role rather than a traditional poacher. The reason for this is because I know he will have to be strong for those games where he is double marked and can't really get any accurate supply to him. I don't think the PPM is a bad one, especially for what you are trying. He will use the PPM when he sees fit, so if the player is rather intelligent it'll be fine. How does changing him to CMa destabilise your tactic? It's not like the player will be constantly sat on the edge of the oppositions box doing nothing else. He won't always go high. I'm still a bit confused here. Everything you describe is still what any winger should provide. A winger on attack duty will focus on getting to the byline and being a provider, which is what you want. I don't see how the WM provides this better than a traditional winger. It still sounds like you've used set the WM up to be a winger. By covering and bulking up on the middle you must realise this leaves you exposed down the flank? You actually complicate things here because you expect the player to reliably cover the centre and the wing. So he always has a decision to make on which is the correct decision at the time. Often there probably isn't a right answer. You already have a CM on defensive duty, he should be more than capable of covering the centre if everyone else in the side is doing their job. I'm interested in seeing why you felt that the middle needed bulking though and was willing to sacrifice the cover on the wing? Remember that the shape you see is the defensive shape, so you should automatically be able to see who should be covering what, hence why I believe the LM to be an issue. It all depends on what you decide his main job should be for you. I know this isn't aimed at me but I actually play like you do Atarin minus the changing of team shape. I don't see the need for someone to constantly be changing team shape though, if that's happening then imo you use the wrong one to begin with. I know its not aimed at me again but I touched upon this earlier in my reply. It comes down to you focusing more on the shapes you make rather than how the roles interact with each other to create movement, supply and support.
  13. Always close down only really impacts the zone the player enters in though, so isn't really counter pressing. It just means that every player when close to him will always go to close down when the so called zone is activated. The same with hard tackling it just means the player will will challenge for the ball even if its only 10% in his favour of winning the tackle for example. That's not any form of pressing at all. To create any kind of pressing system you have to have the team working as a unit, OI's don't really do this in the sense that players don't cover the space vacated by the player closing down heavily.
  14. This, this and this! It's a common theme on here that we see this kind of stuff posted. A simple role or duty change can have the biggest influence ever and is so simple to track and less complicated than trying to use TI's as a cure for aggressive side. The TI's never really match what the user is trying to achieve so it over complicates the game for no reason at all. People should focus on the roles in their set up and what they're actually doing during these games instead imo.
  15. Exactly what Alan says above. Rashidi's is just describing his preferred method really and explaining why he favours a very high determination rating.