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MINTED BLOB

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  1. Following reading the book "Leading" co-authored by Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Michael Moritz, I decided to try and manage United according to some of the basic principles of the great man himself. I should note by this I do not mean replicating Sir Alex's tactics; indeed, one of the crucial elements of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign at Manchester United was tactical flexbility and I thus didn't think it would be wise or in-keeping with the man himself to limit myself to one system or playing style. A rough summary of the principles I'll be trying to follow throughout this save, due to them being the easiest of Sir Alex's own guiding principles to emulate in-game, are as follows (It should be noted that some of these intertwine with each other): Refresh the side every 3/4 years: This approach should not, of course, be taken to mean building an entirely new team every three or four seasons. It instead requires that I make decisions, such as those pertinent to transfers, with a view to the future in order that this process be implemented with the gradualness required in order to ensure that the age composition of the squad maintains a good balance. Invest in youth: This requires that I give ample opportunities to the talented academy graduates which will inevitably be produced by Manchester United's academy, as well as ensuring that at least a good portion of the signings I make are young talents which I feel may have a place in future sides. Live within your means: This approach requires that I don't go crazy signing marquee player after marquee player in search of short-term success. Whilst Sir Alex would sign the big names if the right one became available, his transfer strategy did not tend to revolve around spending big in order to build the best sides but rather on unearthing undervalued talents and nurturing them into valuable members of the team. Attack, attack, attack: Again, whilst I've emphasised that I'm not going to place any strict tactical limits on myself, I want to ensure that I approach almost every game with a positive mentality and a view to out-score my opponents, rather than just keeping them from scoring. With these aims in mind, the first thing I set about doing was overhauling Manchester United's staff. I first trimmed down the scouting team, which I feel is unnecessarily large to start with, and then looked to hire a coaching team filled with coaches with a professional mentality and a high level of discipline. These are attributes I feel are crucial in order to ensure that my side maintains a very high standard in training and develops strong characters ready for the first team. Next, I set up my tactics. It'll take too long to go into these in any great detail, but basically I made three tactics: one for the smaller teams at home (the 4-2-3-1), one for the bigger teams (the first 4-3-3) and one for the smaller teams away from home (the second 4-3-3). It could be said that some of these are, at times, excessively attacking but I feel as though they allow my side to play a positive brand of football which would've been welcomed by Sir Alex. (Note: The players in the team at this time don't represent the average XI I'd play in match days) Transfer-wise I decided to disable first season transfers because I'd already downloaded the pr0 January transfer update and it felt unfair to further add to this squad in the first summer. In January, the only changes to the squad were the departure of Andreas Pereira following a transfer request and the signing of promising midfielder Eduardo Camavinga from Rennes. My actual performance in the competitions was something of a mixed-bag. I managed to win the Premier League title, which is an achievement I wasn't particularly expecting so early in the save, but I was also knocked out too early in the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Europa League. I can only hope that this was due to a tendency I had to play youth players in these matches, with a desire to focus on the league. I managed to give out a load of (in-game) youth team debuts, with Ethan Laird, Brandon Williams, Lukasz Bejger, Luca Ercolani, Hannibal Mejbri, Arnau Puigmal, Dylan Levitt, Anthony Elanga, D'Mani Mellor (who scored for me in my third round FA cup tie against Blackburn) and Largie Ramazani all making appearances in my first season at the club. Additionally, Mason Greenwood enjoyed a strong season scoring 13 and assisting 2 in 37 appearances (23 of which were from the bench), and Tahith Chong (who scored 5 from 11 appearances), Angel Gomes (scored 1 and set up 1 in 12 appearances), James Garner, Ethan Laird and Brandon Williams also made regular appearances for the first team. Paul Pogba was without doubt my stand out performer from last season, averaging a rating of 7.65 in the Premier League with 13 goals and 5 assists from 36 appearances in midfield. I face a battle to keep hold of him this summer, with him eyeing a move to PSG, but I currently haven't been offered a sufficient amount to let him go. Other notable performers were the full-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw, who both achieved average ratings of 7.37 in the league, and Anthony Martial, who was the league's top scorer with 25 goals. My transfer strategy going into this summer (and the eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted some of my signings already) is not to make radical changes to the side, but instead to invest in undervalued young talents who I think will at once have strong roles to play in the current squad and perhaps in the squad of two or three years' time as well.
  2. I know posts like these aren't typically received well but I just have to vent. I am honestly just sick of this version of Football Manager. Part of the problem is definitely me; I just don't think I have the patience or know-how to develop a tactic that works. But I am just at the point now where every single time I try to play this game I end up hating it. I just cannot stand the fact that, even in matches where my team actually pulls off the tactical style I want from them, I will end up conceding thanks to one long ball over the top or an absolute belter, and then go on to miss a load of fairly straightforward chances myself. I know it's realistic but it just isn't fun for me. I don't get any pleasure in having my team play the way I want them to, and put up some fairly good numbers (I'll back this up with pictures) with that, and basically never get rewarded for it. The thing is, it's not as though I am incapable of doing well on a save; I have an online save going where I'm top of the league with AC Milan and performing really well. However, I only feel like I'm doing that well because I've tailored my team to the fact that deep crosses and long balls seem to be ridiculously good this year. I don't feel like I've particularly created a tactic that suits the team, or that I've got them playing lovely football, I'm just exploiting what I perceive to be an over-powered aspect of the match engine. I'll just provide some screenshots of a few times I've nearly blown my top recently. The first is a game against Liverpool, in which I drew 1-1 at home despite I would say being the better side. The goal I conceded to draw this game was honestly ridiculous. Mane's volley, as seen in the screenshot below, ends up looping over De Gea and in. This wouldn't bother me so much were it not for the fact that I missed several much, much easier chances at other points in the match which could've got me the win that I think I deserved. Below are just two examples: I wanted to provide these screenshots to give some context to the stats of the game, which I'll provide below. I'm well aware that simply saying "I had more shots but didn't win! Wtf!" is silly, but I feel as though I am creating some decent chances (perhaps not chances you'd expect the strikers to score every time, but decent nonetheless) and my forward players (who are very good finishers) aren't sticking them away. I won't bombard you with any more pictures; I should say that this is far from the only game where I can't help but have felt hard done by, even though it may just have been the hardest to take given that I was really really pleased with how my team actually played. I apologise if I'm just rambling pointlessly; I just got to a point playing FM20 where I just needed to get this out. I'm not trying to say that the game sucks; there are loads of aspects to FM20 that I think are great, and honestly the Football Manager series as a whole has probably provided me with some of the most enjoyment of any video game. Again, probably the main problem here is me and the fact that I don't have the patience needed to think properly about the tactical decisions I'm making, or really understand player roles and instructions. It feels like I've rambled here without providing any hook for people to latch on to so I guess I'll just end by asking if anyone else reading this feels this way about FM20, or has ever done about any other FM and if so what did you do to sort it? Sad as it may sound, I don't want to just give up on the game; when I enjoy FM I tend to really enjoy it. At the same time, though, at the moment I am really quickly falling out of love with the game...
  3. I'm too impatient. Any time I go on a run of games where I don't win despite being the better team, I lose all interest in the save. It's a me problem more than it's a problem with the game; I just don't have the perseverance to play through a bad spell. The game always drags me back in because, in theory, I love the management side of football and I love the variety that FM brings in terms of the different ways that you can build and develop one team, combined with all the different teams you can manage. With that being said, I do think many people are grossly overstating how good this year's match engine is. I personally think it's mediocre at best because it's just far too predictable to me. It's gotten to the point now where I don't get excited by my wingers getting the ball to the byline because I know that nine times out of ten, no matter what options they have in the box, they will elect to shoot from a ridiculous angle. One-on-ones are also still stupid for me; I played about twenty five matches of my Manchester United save before rage quitting and I don't think I ever once saw one of my players score a one-on-one. To be fair, this actually helps me out more than it hinders me in the sense that the way I play lends itself to conceding one-on-ones but it is nonetheless a bit ridiculous how hard they are/have been to score on this year's game. Honestly, I just don't know if I'm cut out to be good at FM. It seems like a game that requires a ****load of patience to master and I just don't have it. When I'm doing well on it it's probably the most satisfying game out there but I just come away feeling stupid (or, rather, cheated ) when I'm losing. I will keep playing it, and hopefully I'll find a save this year which I can enjoy, but honestly I think it's probably time that I weaned myself off FM for a bit.
  4. I've not played long but I am a bit disappointed so far to be honest. I like the fact that FM20 has been tethered more towards long-term planning than FM19 was, with the addition of features such as the club vision and the promised playing time paths. However, the game to me feels largely unchanged from the previous year besides this. The development centre is a nice addition which makes tracking player progression slightly easier but in my view the match engine is quite honestly horrendous. I know it's a beta but there's just so much wrong for me. Highlights are extremely repetitive and predictable, with a ludicrously high number of long balls to the flanks. One-on-ones are also just a ****ing joke. I was recently playing as Manchester United against Leicester, with Martial and Vardy up front for their respective sides, and the keepers must have saved about 10 one-on-one situations combined, some of which should have been fairly easy to score. This has been a regular fixture in all my matches thus far, and given the number of one-on-ones that now happen as a result of the match engine's emphasis on long balls it is to some extent understandable, but there has to be a balance and that just isn't struck in my view. I wouldn't exactly say FM20 is a bad game thus far; it's slick and well designed, but I was hoping for a slightly bigger improvement on FM19 if I'm honest.
  5. I plan to have him alongside Sancho as a second choice winger next season, with Rashford moving up front alongside a new signing.
  6. Season three at Manchester United has been the first one in which I've been a tad disappointed. We managed to retain the Champions League final, equalling Liverpool's record of five European Cup wins having beaten them 2-0 in the final, but for the first time in my managerial career I did not further manage to take the league title. What makes the pill even harder to swallow is the fact that it was our bitter rivals in the North West that claimed their 19th title, although to be fair we were competing with a side that achieved a staggering record points haul of 101! As can be seen, largely disappointing in all other competitions this season. We dismally went out to Crewe Alexandra in the 3rd round of the FA Cup and lost to Manchester City in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. Whilst we did manage to win the Club World Championship fairly easily, we were also beaten in both the Community Shield and European Super Cup finals. Tactically, I changed my set-up for the smaller matches a little bit given the sale of Pogba and the fact that my 4-2-3-1 wasn't really working at the beginning of the season. I decided to switch to a 4-4-2 given the fact that Kovacic is marginally more dynamic than Pogba was. The results from this were mixed; I largely performed well against the small sides but there were a few hiccups such as an extremely disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace. My tactics for big games did not change at all, which managed to see me retain the Champions League title but saw me take some disappointing away losses at Manchester City and Chelsea. BIG GAME TACTIC: SMALL GAME TACTIC: Transfer wise, I for the first time managed a negative net spend throughout the season, with the club's net spend standing at -£80M. Unfortunately, this was largely due to the fact that I was unable to persuade Paul Pogba to stay at the club and he thus left for Real Madrid for a guaranteed £85M fee. I was, however, extremely happy with the fee I received for Charlie Taylor; £27M from Stoke was far in excess of the amount I paid to sign him from Burnley. As far as my signings are concerned, both Mateo Kovacic (Pogba's replacement for the season) and Joe Bryan had respectable first seasons for the club. Neither were particularly outstanding, however, and this may well have been my worst season as far as incoming players are concerned. Probably my key performer this season was my new captain and defensive rock Victor Lindelof. With an average rating of 7.42 across all competitions having made 35 appearances, it's been another really great season for the Swede. Other strong performers for me this season have included Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this season, however, has been the emergence of several of our young talents who have managed to get significant Premier League minutes for the first time. To emphasise this point, I shall focus on Tahith Chong (who spent the season on loan at Leicester), Angel Gomes, James Garner and Erling Haland. All four of these have been significant contributors to their respective teams this season, and I hope they continue to get minutes next season. Going into next season, should I keep my job, I will likely make some significant tactical adjustments and plan to spend a fair bit revamping certain areas of the squad. In particular, I feel both Sanchez and Lukaku might need to be moved on and a striker would probably be signed to replace them. Meanwhile, I also hope to further bolster our creative midfield options.
  7. It's been a hugely successful second season for me at United. Managed not only to beat arch rivals Liverpool in the final to win the club's fourth Champions League title but also became only the second team ever to take home a golden Premier League trophy, having finished the season unbeaten. As can be seen, we also took home the Community Shield with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham. Meanwhile, we suffered an extremely disappointing defeats to Hull City and Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup respectively. Still, a fantastic season all round for the club. It was a largely successful season for me as far as transfers were concerned. Having had a fairly frugal 2018/19 season, I decided to invest fairly heavily in order to bolster my title winning squad from the previous season and all three of the big money signings (Sancho, Jorginho and Fernandes) enjoyed terrific first seasons at the club. Erling Haland's talents are yet to be tested properly at the club, having made only 5 substitute appearances this season, whilst Tammy Abraham was really only loaned to further bolster my striking options following Sandro Wagner's departure, meaning that his performances were generally of little concern to me. Undoubtedly, though, the star of the show this season was midfield superstar Paul Pogba. The Frenchman netted a stunning 19 goals for the club including 17 in the league (5 of which were penalties but still), topping that off with 4 assists. It was perhaps the most dominant performance from a central midfielder since Yaya Toure's 2013/14 season, and now I hope to fend off interest from Real Madrid and tie him down to a new contract. Tactically I made very few changes from last season. In fact, the only alterations came not in formation or player roles but in team instructions. Following two rocky months in September and October, in which the club won just twice in ten attempts, I decided to instruct my players to counter press when out of possession, and for the tactic utilised against weaker opposition I further instructed them to pass it shorter whilst in possession. Both of these switches seemed to bring about fantastic results. TACTIC FOR WEAKER SIDES: TACTIC FOR STRONGER SIDES: It's now quite tricky to decide what to do next summer. I'm considering investing heavily in a new attacking midfielder, with Sanchez's powers having dwindled significantly this season and Lingard performing fairly poorly in the role as well. A replacement for Nemanja Matic might also be required, with any further transfers being heavily dependant on any offers I might receive for some of my players and further on whether or not any players decide they want to leave the club.
  8. Been a pretty wonderful first season for me. I managed a pretty dominant win in the Premier League, topping second placed Arsenal by a whole 15 points. Performances in other competitions were a tad disappointing, with us crashing out to Roma in the 1st knockout round of the Champions League and knocked out of the FA Cup and Carabao Cup by Stoke and Newcastle respectively. Even better for me this season was that this league win was achieved with a reasonable 1st season net spend of £25m. (Ignoring Dalot and Fred who are for some reason included in this list even though they were Mourinho signings, and Rojo who has just been sold in the second summer transfer window) The signings have been mixed. Pione Sisto has been on fire for me at right-wing, grabbing 6 goals and 13 assists from 36 appearances in all competitions and winning the Premier League's young player of the season award, all for a cool £10.5m. Bargain! On the other hand, Sandro Wagner has been a complete flop in the mould of Radamel Falcao. With only 5 goals and no assists from 24 appearances in all competitions (although admittedly most were from the bench), and only 1 Premier League goal to his name, it seems unlikely that the 31 year old will make anything of his career at United. Charlie Taylor has hardly featured since his shock January move from Burnley, picking up a fairly lengthy injury in his first start for the club. Meanwhile, fellow January buy Nikola Milenkovic was immediately loaned back to Fiorentina. He is set to replace the departing Chris Smalling next season. In the vast majority of matches, my go to formation was in the mould of Jose Mourinho's 4-2-3-1. The tactic and first team can be seen in the image below. In larger games, however, I typically switched to the 4-3-3 below. The decision to do this was based on an early 3-0 thrashing away to Spurs with the 4-2-3-1. Besides Pione Sisto, the key performers for me were Luke Shaw (who won the club's fans' player of the season award), Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba. Perhaps reminiscent of a great Mourinho side, the club broke two league defensive records with David de Gea keeping a whopping 27 clean sheets this season, breaking Petr Cech's 2004-05 record of 24, and the team as a whole conceding just 13 goals throughout the season, beating the record also set in 2004-05 when Chelsea conceded just 15. Going in to next season, I will unfortunately be losing Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia on free transfers to PSG and LA Galaxy respectively. With Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo also leaving the club for Napoli and Newcastle respectively, this summer will likely see me spend a significant bit more than last in order to bolster the first team and remaining squad.
  9. Sorry, should clarify; have now removed the play narrower instruction and set it to balanced.
  10. Cheers for the help Summat; I apologise to be a pain and keep asking you loads of questions but I've made a few modifications based on the advice on this thread plus some further reading and I'd quite like to get stuck in and try it out now. I just wanted to double check that you can't spot anything that's glaringly stupid.
  11. Thanks for the advice guys; I'll go ahead and make a few changes and see how they work out. One more question I'd like to ask: how would you go about achieving the narrow-defensive structure without the "Play Narrower" instruction?
  12. I've long admired Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs; he hasn't won them a trophy yet but he's done a fantastic job of turning them into a top four side. Due to this, I wanted to try to emulate his Spurs tactic with my beloved side Manchester United and see if I could finally get some success with them, especially considering that I think we by and large have the players to do it. I tried to do this once with little success so I've made a few adjustments to the tactic I created the first time round and I wanted to see if you guys have any improvements to suggest. So here's the tactic; I'll also provide a brief overview of why I've made the decisions I've made. A few key traits that I've picked up about Poch's Spurs having watched some of their matches and looked at some tactical analyses of their side is that they defend narrowly and press high, with their passing not strictly limited to either short or long and the wing-backs being the main source of attacking width. To keep it simple, I'm trying to achieve these traits with the team instructions look for overlap in order to ensure the wing-backs are included in the attacking phase, prevent short GK distribution in order to maintain a basic high press which is augmented with player/opposition instructions and play narrower in order to maintain the narrow defensive shape. As mentioned earlier, I augment these instructions with the player instruction close down more on all the attackers in order to augment the high press, alongside typically instructing the team to close down the opposition goalkeeper and centre backs. The goalkeeper and centre-backs were kept simple, with a goalkeeper on defend and both centre backs with the standard centre back on defend role. In order to be fully in-keeping with Poch's Spurs side, I'd probably have a ball-playing defender in there in order to emulate Alderweireld but with the current crop of defenders I have in the squad I wanted to play it safe initially. That change is something I could look into should I make new signings in the centre-back area though. The right-back and left-back are both set to the wing-back role in order to ensure that they both get forward to consistently support the attack, as has always been the case in Pochettino's Spurs sides. The right-back has an attacking duty mainly because I want him to be the more aggressive of the two full backs with the right-winger in the team not providing much width going forward, whilst the left-back has a support duty because I would be more OK with him serving as a player who gives the midfield additional passing options as well as supporting attacks. This seems to be in line with the Trippier and Rose/Davies combination that Poch currently favours at Spurs. The midfield pairing are set up to emulate the Dier-Dembele partnership at Spurs, with Matic set as a half-back in order to have him operate primarily as a defensive player rather than a creative one who often drops in between the centre-backs to form an effective back 3. Pogba's role was a little more complex because I found it hard to determine exactly what I thought Dembele's role was in the Spurs side. In the end I went with a roaming playmaker because, whilst I do want Pogba to contribute somewhat defensively, he should really be coming into his own during the transition phases when I need him to carry the ball from defense into midfield and then attack. Juan Mata's role as a wide-playmaker is set purely to emulate Christian Eriksen at Spurs, who is often deployed as a right winger but drifts inside to serve as a third central-midfielder whilst the right back bombs down the line. I shouldn't need him to score too many goals but he should be providing extra creativity in the midfield and providing another option to the two defensive midfielders. Martial on the left is set as a winger on attack because I want him to be running at defences and providing by-line crosses to Lukaku and Sanchez, as well as providing another scoring option. However, Martial's role is another that I am less certain of. Sanchez is set as a shadow striker in order to mimic Dele Alli's role at Spurs. Often times you will find Alli even more advanced than Kane throughout the game as he looks to provide a secondary goal-scoring option to Harry Kane, whilst his defensive duties are done predominantly in the opposition half with him closing off the passing options for opposition defenders. I'd ideally like to have someone taller here (Pogba preferably) but it would be quite hard to maintain a good squad dynamic without it being Sanchez in the first season at least. Lukaku is the guy who's role I am struggling with the most. The first time around I had him playing as a complete forward on support but I've thought about it and this doesn't particularly reflect Harry Kane's role in the Spurs side as he is almost exclusively a goalscorer, preferring to allow the players behind him to do the brunt of the creative work. I've set him as an advanced forward in this tactic as I think that more closely reflects Kane's role in Spurs' side but I am deliberating over whether it might even be better to use Lukaku as a target man instead. With all that being said, I'd really appreciate it if the cleverer guys than me on the tactics forums could offer some advice on where I might look to improve the set-up I've provided, as well as any keen Spurs fans providing suggestions on how I could get it to more closely mimic their playing style in real life.
  13. Phaha, someone try telling my saves that. I've tried to manage them in a host of different ways and I can never get the b@$t@rd$ to play well!
  14. Thanks for the advice; I'll have a look at the things you suggested and see if I can move forward from there. My biggest take from all that is that I probably need to be more aware of the way in which my mentality will naturally effect the roles. I sort of forgot about this entirely when building this tactic.
  15. I have a bad case of the Dunning Kruger effect when it comes to Football Manager. I create tactics in game which I think are guaranteed to unleash a rip-roaring United side not seen since Sir Alex and instead I find them flopping. Now, I do think that sometimes I create a number of chances that my players should be scoring and don't but the problem is definitely to do with tactical incompetence on my part because the way I want the team to play and the way they end up playing are almost always two different things. To make it easier for people to criticise my tactic and make a few suggestions as to things I could perhaps try instead, I'll try to go through the tactical decisions I've made and my reasons for making them and perhaps you'll spot some glaring stupidity in my thinking. THE PHILOSOPHY/HOW I WANTED MY TEAM TO PLAY: I'll make this a bullet-point list outlining some of the core principles I wanted my team to play by: I want Lukaku to be the main goalscorer and I want the team to create chances for him via defence splitting through balls that leave him one on one with the goalkeeper as well as crosses played in from the byline. I feel these most effectively utilise Lukaku's strengths I want my team to play a patient, passing game. Playing with United means that the bulk of my opposition sit back against me so I think the most effective way to create quality chances will be to play the ball around patiently and waiting for an opportunity to create a chance, preferably via one of the aforementioned means. I want Pogba to be the primary creator for the side. His attributes make him well suited to being the player that links midfield to attack Defensively, I want Matic to drop deep and sort of act like a fourth centre back, with the left and right sided centre backs fanning out a little bit and covering the wide areas. This allows the complete wing-backs to be more advanced THE SHAPE, MENTALITY AND INSTRUCTIONS: So I opted to go for what can essentially be called a 3-5-2 formation. This gives me three men in midfield which is necessary to A. allow Pogba to play primarily as an advanced player with two others there to provide cover and B. offer options for players when looking to play the patient passing game. The fact that there are two up front means that there should always be another forward for the opposition centre backs to worry about, which I was hoping would prevent defenders from doubling up on Lukaku and perhaps offer him more space to make runs into. I set the mentality to defensive. I was hoping this would encourage my players to be more patient in their build up without necessarily having to play on a low mentality. It sacrifices something in terms of aggression but I'm not too concerned about that because playing aggressive, fast football against teams that sit back is not a style that I think that suits the attacking players at United. My structured shape was chosen to give the players space to pass into. In order for the players to pass the ball around in search of an opportunity to create a chance, I thought they'd need to have space they could move into in order to give players an option. The team instructions I went with are as follows: Play out of defence: This was included to prevent the defenders from hoofing the ball up the field and instead encourage them to play the ball through the midfield, in-keeping with the patient build up ideal Pass into space: Considering I'd opted for a structured shape that left lots of space open, I believed it made sense to encourage players to pass the ball into this space rather than trying to play to feet. I was also hoping this may encourage the through balls to Lukaku that might have seen him one on one with the keeper. Play wider: This in tandem with my structured shape was included to present players with space to move into which I wanted in order to maximise passing options I didn't include this in the screenshot but I later added the instruction Roam from Positions into the mix in order to encourage players to move into the space provided by the wider, structured shape. THE ROLES: So I'll go through each role in turn and explain why I chose said role, as well as any player instructions I included. GK: Goalkeeper; Defend (Distribute to Centre Backs): I wanted to keep the goalkeeper role simple because I don't feel there would've been enough space in behind my defensive line to make the sweeper keeper role worth risking. I instructed him to distribute to the centre backs in order to prevent him from hoofing it long, which I felt would lead to wasted opportunities. CBS: Centre Back; Defend: No nonsense here. I wanted each centre back to play simple balls out of defence, so the ball playing defender role would've been counter-intuitive because it encourages risky passes. A potential change I might make here is to put the left sided centre back on to a cover duty in order to offer some protection on that flank following the LWBs advanced position, although in game I didn't notice any major issues when it came to defending the left flank in all honesty. WBS: Complete Wing Back; Support (Right), Attack (Left) (Fewer Risky Passes): I wanted both of my wing backs to provide a significant threat going forward by virtue of the fact that they're my only wide players. They should also be encouraged to cross the ball from the byline as I feel these sorts of crosses are generally far more effective than deeper ones as they allow for more players to get into the box. I select one attack duty and one support duty in order to have one wing back who acts like a more aggressive version of the defensive winger whilst the other also looks to get forward but supplements this by supporting the midfield and offering another passing option. Which side each duty is on is neither here nor there really, although generally speaking the attacking full back is typically the left-sided one. I instructed both of them to play fewer risky passes as I didn't want either of them to be conceding possession in deeper positions. DM: Half Back; Defend: I went with a half back as I wanted the defensive midfielder to provide cover to the more aggressive centre mids, as well as looking to recyle possession rather than playing risky passes himself. This is, however, one of the roles I'm least sure about. RCM: Box to Box Midfielder; Support: I went with the box to box midfielder role as I wanted this centre mid to perform two main tasks. 1. Offer a passing option when on the ball and 2. Do the defensive dog-work which allows Pogba (the other CM) greater freedom. LCM: Roaming Playmaker; Support (More Risky Passes): This is the role occupied by Pogba, the prime creator in the side. I chose to play him as a roaming playmaker so that he'd constantly look to move into the space created by my team shape as well as regularly utilise his good dribbling skills to dribble the ball into a more advanced position. I instructed him to play more risky passes so that he might look to play the through balls into Lukaku. STCL: Deep Lying Forward; Support (Close Down Much More): I opted to use a deep lying forward in order to have this player looking to drag defenders out of position and open up space for Lukaku to run into. This role also allows him to look to play in other players, be it Lukaku or the advancing wing backs. Close down much more was selected simply to encourage the player to put pressure on opposition defenders, forcing them into a rushed pass and maybe even a mistake. STCR: Poacher; Attack (Close Down Much More): This is Lukaku's role in the team. I selected this role mainly because the description given in-game suits what I wanted Lukaku to do perfectly. It states "The poacher sits on the shoulder of the last defender, looking to break the defensive line and run onto through balls from the midfield". This is exactly what I was hoping for from Lukaku; I didn't want him to worry about getting involved in the build up play, I just wanted him to be the man to score the chances created by the rest of the side. The reasons for having him close down more are the exact same as the ones given for the deep lying forward. A FEW ISSUES I NOTICED AND HOW I TRIED TO FIX THEM: 1. So very quickly I noticed that the team was struggling to retain possession and this seemed to stem from there being a lack of passing options across the park. I instructed the players to Roam from Positions once I spotted this issue and it did seem to alleviate the problem to some extent but it didn't massively help to bring about the style of build up I was aiming for. 2. I also noticed that my box to box midfielder was shooting far more often than I'd have liked. I tried to solve this by adding the PI Shoot less Often as well as changing the deep-lying forward role to a false nine, which by description seemed to accomplish everything I wanted from the left sided striker whilst potentially also offering another passing option for the BBM to consider rather than taking a shot. I hope with all this I've given you enough to work with when it comes to criticising my tactic. I wanted to provide some depth regarding my thought process as I feel as though this might make it easier for more seasoned players to point out any mistakes I might be making. As the title says, feel free to rip into what I've said here. I'm desperately looking to improve myself on this game before I fall out of love with it entirely and I feel like the best way to stop being s**t for me is to try something s**t and be told why it's so s**t by someone who isn't s**t.
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