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Ö-zil to the Arsenal!

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  1. I sometimes try out different things; to see if they'll result in a noticeable improvement. More often than not with some of the TIs people ask about I cannot actually see a difference in the match engine. Really, unless it's something fundamental or something I've explicitly mentioned then I am not massively able to see it.
  2. I'd love to as I am getting frustrated with the old database but I'll have to see what the tactics creator is looking like.
  3. Ok.. maybe I had a lazy afternoon/evening of FM and flew quite far ahead Real Madrid, done.. Next up, an ageing Barcelona team. Not exactly thrilling, but through due to the away goal. 6th place Chelsea in the Final. Chelsea are still lining up using Conte's famous 3-4-3 set up: I feel like a bit of a cop out, as I change absolutely nothing. The squad goes into the final in pretty good shape. Only a few bumps to morale due to (ridiculous) transfer requests; otherwise everyone's had lots of game time, a bit of a rest and is ready to go. We keep doing exactly what we have been for the past 2 years now, passing and passing and passing. Absolutely controlling the game and coming out 1-0 winners. The average age of the squad is still extremely crazy. Florentino Luis, Tiago Dantas, João Felix and Umaro Embalo are all winning their second Champions League as teenagers. I'm not surprised anymore, but I've still never seen anything like this before. The league was simple, slight improvement on last season; albeit with an improved defence, but still goal shy. Tactically, we are still exactly the same - and will be for the next few seasons. Development-wise, I have a few updates - I'd really like to take a bit more time and do a proper comparison to my previous save. More thorough update to follow
  4. The save almost took a very interesting turn, when this happened at international level.. But, sadly, not to be.. Topped off last year's champions league win with a nice Club World Cup win. Haven't got too much of note to say other than we've made it to the first knockout in the Champions League. Some surprise entrants and bigger names missing out.. Next stop, Madrid
  5. I apologise for the delay in addressing some of these questions, life's gotten in the way but there have been a couple of really great questions which I wanted to address properly. I am very impressed. For years now, I have had this style of play at the fluid end of the spectrum which has evolved from the Cruyff 3-4-3, Sacchi, Pep's Barcelona, Bielsa threads and, indeed, the first iteration of this thread. At times, it's come close to my own vision of footballing perfection, but the challenge has always been implementing it. Highly structured goes a long way toward bridging that gap. Highly structured shape: Gives our Central Defenders and Holding Midfielder a more cautious mentality, reducing the level of technical ability required. Reduces creative freedom across the team, which reduces the level of Decision making and general football intelligence required. Maintains the structure of a 4-3-3, shifting to a 2-3-5 in attack with a midfield playmaker and lots of passing options. Gaps in mental attributes and the technical aptitude of defensive players are the often the two biggest areas for improvement in a developing team, so this is ideal. The downside is that reduced creative freedom makes the football more mechanical with less room for individuality, but I think that is appropriate for the skill level of the current squad. This is reflected in a relative lack of goals. We are having lots of 1-0s. As technical ability and football intelligence improve, with increased game time, we can play with more fluidity and give players more individual autonomy but only when the squad is ready. It's an interesting comparison to my earlier approach, where I used a totally different style to gradually induct the new players. If I remember rightly, I started out counter attacking, then moved to a balanced 4-4-2 diamond before ultimately taking the plunge. I think this is a much smoother transition. In the match engine, I notice similarities between this and the way Guardiola's approach with Bayern and Man City has evolved. I'd argue Barcelona played fluid possession football, with Xavi, Messi, Iniesta, Alves etc given a high degree of autonomy within the overall system (although would be interested to play with that calibre of player in a Highly Structured system). In contrast implementing his style of play at Bayern and Man City - both clubs having previously used very different styles - it's more reminiscent of the football I am seeing using Highly Structured, particularly in the first few seasons. Not sure if anyone else is still on FM2018 and following along with a similar style, if so, I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts. Sad this functionality has been removed from FM2019 onwards. Actually, no. Or at least not in it's current guise. The current 3-2-4-1 was - as with any tactic - born out of finding a solution within multiple constraints/factors. I wanted to implement a back 3 to increase tactical flexibility within the squad and give Florentino Luis and Victor Bobsin game time at centreback. The current ability of the squad, meant I still feel the need to play structured football as they are not yet ready for too much autonomy. My own tactical preferences: I like to create compactness between defence and midfield by having one midfielder assigned the same individual mentality as my centre backs. I like my playmaker to have as many players as possible ahead of him. I like my playmaker to play with a positive mentality (neutral as a minimum). My own tactical preferences mean that my playmaker should be my deepest midfielder, in which case also my holding midfielder; similar to Rijkaard at Ajax/Milan, Guardiola himself at Barcelona or the way we used Dantas in the first iteration of this save. Highly Structured makes attacking players more attacking, and defensive players more defensive. In a highly structured system, in order to have a deep midfielder on the same mentality as my centre backs (point 1, for compactness) they need to have a Defend duty, in the DM strata. In this system a DLP(D) has a mentality of 8; making him more cautious and likely to play backwards and sideways passes. So I have a few options, none optimal: Make the team more fluid to increase the mentality of defensive players; potentially beyond the capability of the current squad. Play a DLP(D) with a cautious mentality (I have a strong dislike for this). Play a DLP(S) either with no holding midfielder; very risky given 2 of my back 3 are learning the role. Play a DLP(S) and use another midfielder as my holding midfielder. As you can see I went for the last option. Sacrifices a man in that key central zone for security and stability at the back and in build up. As the team develops and becomes more capable of playing fluid football, I could instead use the first option, which would give me an extra man ahead of my playmaker and my playmaker having a positive mentality. It could remain a 3-2-4-1, switching the DLP to Defend and the DM to Support, or - perhaps - something like this: But, until then, I think the 3-2-4-1 will remain a common sight. Also potentially my B-Team set up to give young players some game time with a back 3. EDIT: responding to your comment about every game - also, no. I am trying to make the squad as versatile as possible, ideally able to shift between systems, but given most opposition play 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 I think the 4-3-3 variants are likely to remain the most common systems.
  6. Season 2: Clear Out Complete Off the back of success last season, we had a big summer transfer window clearing out the pre-existing first team in order to let our new generation take over. In comparison to last time around, we are prioritising the development of this group significantly over maximising sales revenue so transfer revenue is much lower, but the new generation are a long way ahead in their development. With our shiny new first team squad numbers, the team now looks like this: With more promotions from Benfica B and the Under-19s, filling out the squad: Another major difference is significantly fewer loans, as the outgoing transfers have made space in the first team squad. We also had a good break and a long pre-season with Portugal deciding against taking many of the squad to the World Cup. In training, I am looking to add a bit more bite to the squad by training mainly pressing-oriented individual routines. We started with a nice win over Lyon - who possibly have the next best young squad in Europe at the moment. Elsewhere, we have been solid at the back and controlling games but struggling for goals. Introducing the 3-2-4-1 Our main system is going to be the 4-3-3 already shown, but this season I wanted to introduce and start gaining familiarity with a 3-man defence to give us more tactical versatility further down the line. I experimented a lot with various forms of 3-3-1-3 with limited success (see friendly results!) and eventually settled on a 3-2-4-1 which is actually closely related to the main 4-3-3. Our primary system is a Guardiola inspired 4-3-3 which is a 2-3-5 in attack, with inverted wingbacks, free 8s and wingers. In circumstances where the opposition press prevents us gaining control of the midfield, I will drop my midfield deeper: Florentino Luis: DM(D) to HB(D) so dropping between the defenders. Tiago Dantas: RPM(S) to DLP(S) dropping deeper to collect from defence. Xadas: Mez(A) to Maz(S) to connect the deeper midfield with attack. With our withdrawn midfield offering less attacking threat, our wingers cut inside and we rely on wingbacks for width as a pretty standard 4-3-3. In the 3-2-4-1 our midfield drops deeper again: Florentino Luis drops into defence creating a 3-man defence. Tiago Dantas drops into the DM strata Xadas stays as a Mez(S) The risk now is that the midfield becomes disjointed, so I bring Alex Grimaldo and Gedson Fernandes into midfield to support. Grimaldo as a left-sided DM(D), linking between the defence and Dantas. Gedson Fernandes as a right-sided Mez(A) playing in the space ahead of Dantas and supporting the attack. Given the midfield now has good supporting numbers centrally, the wingers stay wide, stretching the defence. The mentality structure now breaks down like this: 11 17 11 10 15 6 10 6 4 7 10 Very much inspired by the shape Guardiola used occasionally with Bayern. The highlight so far has been a controlling win away at Atletico Madrid. This game was won by our Defensive Midfield 2 - Grimaldo and Dantas. This screenshot shows our usual aggressive press, and in particular: The area in red where our attacking midfield 4 occupy no less than 7 Atleti players as they look to play out of defence. Their only option is a long ball where we have a 3v2 against their strikers. Grimaldo and Dantas are completely alone in the central zone. The same thing happened in attack: Dantas and Grimaldo are again in wide open space. When Dantas receives the ball he is in space, with passing options everywhere: Dantas ended up completing more than 130 passes during the game, giving us absolute control. On we go
  7. Fairytale complete. Quite frankly, I am shocked. After the devastating withdrawal of Florentino Luis, Jota and Umaro Embalo, we replaced with like-for-like. Trying to maintain as much consistency as possible, even though their absence clearly disrupted the team massively. The final itself was a fairly dour affair. I've always found Real Madrid's Kroos, Modric, Kovacic midfield possibly the most difficult to play against and this was no different. We struggled to get a foothold in possession and failed to record a single shot on target in the first half but our pressing and organisation stifled Real Madrid. The midfield diamond particularly effective. Our goal actually came directly from our pressing. João Felix pressured a sloppy pass back to Sergio Ramos. Navas' rushed clearance found Cervi in space. Cervi had time, space and João Felix still advanced, and played onside by Sergio Ramos so had a simple ball to create a one-on-one. João Felix cooly slotted home the goal which won the Class of 2018 it's first Champions League and what I genuinely believe may be my favourite Football Manager moment in more than a decade of playing. For the last time, looking at the quality we were up against. Development Update Given the outrageous on-field performance, I have actually paid little attention to attribute development but having documented the first run of this save we can ask ourselves the interesting question - what difference has the rapid advancement to the first team made to the players development? The answer - not as much as I might have expected. Here is an overview of current ability and the core attributes we need to develop for our style of play from the same point in time of the original save: At this point different players would have had varying experiences. Geronimo Rulli, Gedson Fernandes and Alex Grimaldo would be similar, first team throughout. Xadas, Jota and João Felix would have some solid first team exposure, but nowhere near to the same extent. Tiago Dantas, Umaro Embalo and Florentino Luis would have played significantly less, mostly for the U19 or B team. In comparison to the this time around - each having played first team football for an entire season in the league and Champions League. So, there's an extra half-star here and there and a bigger jump for João Felix but, interestingly, not as much difference as I might have expected. Attributes are developing a little differently, most likely due to differences in training schedule second time around. Personally, I'm surprised. Thoughts? Seems to support the hypothesis about training facilities being the bigger factor with U18 players.
  8. FOOTBALL MANAGER, YOU ARE JOKING!! Florentino Luis, Jota and Embalo have been called up by Portugal U20s making them unavailable for the Champions League final.
  9. Wow, stunning performance in the first leg hosting Atletico Madrid. Once again, just to show the disparity between the ability level of this team in comparison to the teams they are defeating with increasing ease.. Versus: Second leg was difficult to maintain momentum, but largely shut Atleti down. Domestically, we finished off the league nicely. Time to dust off the suit!
  10. The European Adventure continues.. Enjoying a nice relaxing weekend with some spare time to re-immerse myself in this save. We polished off the rest of the Champions League group games without much trouble. After hacking our way through the Christmas period and a patchy run of form in the league, we faced Man Utd in the 2nd Round Knockout as the youthful side attempted to reach the next level. Concerned by the strength in Man Utd's Pogba - Matic midfield combo, I decided to withdraw my midfield slightly; aiming to have Dantas and Luis play ahead of them and Xadas probe any gaps they might leave when they press. Luck played a huge part, but essentially we controlled possession - Dantas, again, superb - and nicked a late goal. At home, we played the lowest possible tempo and aimed to simply keep the ball away from Man Utd as much as possible and that was enough to progress. I should point out at this point that it really isn't all sunshine and rainbows; as you can see, we have become quite goal shy. We are involved in a real title race domestically, and have a largely unhappy squad with established players not getting enough game time with the youngsters coming through. At this point, I am not attributing the lack of goals to tactics. It's more simply the level our the young players are at. We are focusing on controlling possession and choking games; we could easily be criticised for sterile possession tactics, but we're working with what we've got and it's working well. I am pretty sure goals will come as young players develop. Dantas remains absolutely key to everything. 17 years old now and is playing like the best passing midfielder in Europe at the moment. He's averaging nearly 120 passes per game and crucial to everything; including 111 complete passes at Old Trafford. Not bad stats for a team of 2-3 star players Next up, Chelsea. Unsure of how to approach Conte's 3-4-3 I decided to go back to our base 4-3-3 / 2-3-5 and see how the game plays out. We actually struggled with possession for the first time, with Kante the first player to neutralise Dantas. Instead it was really Jota and Embalo who managed to get in behind Chelsea's wingbacks and stretch their back 3, leaving gaps for João Felix and our free 8s so we played more directly and exploited that. The return leg was a repeat, again struggling for possession but holding them to a draw and the adventure goes on! Quite an emotionally exhausting couple of days. Should hopefully find the time to finish off the season next weekend. Champions League Semi-Finalists: Real Madrid Atletico Madrid Tottenham Benfica Hoping to avoid Real, but at this point I'll take what I get. Quite frankly I am still amazed by the season.
  11. Ah, interesting. Thank you for pointing that out. I hadn't noticed that roles are now influencing individual mentality as well Now my obsessive brain is going to go and mess around with every possible combination
  12. I agree that the tactics creator has been ambiguous and unintuitive since FM2019, which is the main reason I am still on FM2018. Sadly, it's getting frustrating playing with increasingly out of date database but I tried the FM2020 demo and just couldn't make the jump. I can actually no longer see why we have team mentality, individual mentality and duty. My suggestion would be to remove Duty all together, and allow the user to directly set a players individual mentality using the existing - Very Defensive, Defensive, Cautious, Neutral, Positive, Attacking, Very Attacking - options. Team mentality would be a function of the collective individual mentalities. At the moment, the main issues I see are: Ambiguity between Duty and Individual Mentality: The screenshot below is taken from a IF(S) in a Positive mentality 4-3-3. I have absolutely no idea how Support duty combined with Positive mentality results in Very Attacking individual mentality. Lack of functionality. Individual Mentality is now a function of Team Mentality and Duty. Given that Team Mentality is largely determined by the way you'd like your team to play collectively, you only really have 3 options (Defend, Support or Attack duty) otherwise you have to change your entire collective approach to accommodate one player. Using the previous example again, there is no way for me to instruct my Inside Forward to play with a positive mentality. My options are Support or Attack duty, both of which give me Very Attacking mentality. I want my team playing positive, possession football, I don't want my Inside Forward to be Very Attacking. I want my IF(S) to be Positive, which is in line with my wingbacks and midfield meaning he'll contribute to the collective team play but not too aggressively and be compact with the wingback when defending. I could change my team mentality to Neutral or Cautious, but then that throws off the rest of the team and no longer reflects the way I want to play. Removing duty and directly setting individual mentality would eliminate both of those problems. Ultimately, is it more realistic that a player would be told to play positive football, or "I'd like you to play a Support duty, in a Positive team mentality which means you play Very Attacking football.. oh and by the way, you're a Ramdeuter now"?
  13. I am not sure at what point I should start getting really excited about this. Clearly more than just a flash in the pan. We have now passed, and passed, and passed our way through the Champions League group stage. In fact, we have the best possession stats in Europe right now. With the majority of the team teenagers, and a long way from their potential. 16 year old Dantas is running the show with more than 120 passes per game at 90% accuracy. Dortmund, Club Brugge and Monaco are fairly substantial opposition and we have enjoyed absolute control and the games, even keeping opponents without a shot on target. Really interested to see where this could go. Squad management is becoming particularly difficult, with the established first team complaining about lack of game time.
  14. Thank you very much The only PIs I can think of off the top of my head are Goalkeeper distribution to centre backs and midfielders moving into channels. I have noticed possession is a lot higher with Highly Structured; in the original save I was seeing around 65% possession. I think it's just down to players being more disciplined.
  15. Experimenting to see how far this young group can go and seeing some highly encouraging football, even at Champions League level. Absolutely controlled this game with most of our team rated around 2 stars for current ability and theirs 3-4 stars all round.
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