Hello everyone. This is my very first thread on the SI community. I have been playing FM since 2010 ( BEST PC GAME I'VE EVER PLAYED AND THE MOST REALISTIC FOOTBALL GAME TO HAVE BEEN CREATED IMO) and usually frequent the forums on here in search of help for playing the game. Of late I have read a couple of threads from Cleon and Rashidi (if that's how it's spelt? ) and have gained some very useful insights into the game. What interested me was one of Cleon's threads about building a defensively solid tactic for FM and was amazed with the amount of success achieved.
With this in mind, I decided to start a new game with Luton Town FC, which is a League 2 side within the English division. Now in previous FMs I have NEVER, and I repeat, NEVER used any other teams apart from Manchester United, due to it being my favourite team, and I have enjoyed relative success on the game with them. Throughout my time playing FM, I have only ever used a defensive tactic as a 3rd choice tactic to use in games where I am the underdog, which would realistically be few and far between due to United's stature and quality of players. With this different challenge I seek to gauge my overall ability in this game with a long term save and I decided to choose a team in the 4th division of English football. I sought to build upon Cleon's ideas and come up with a defensive tactic that not only defends well, but transitions well and attacks well too. At present, I'm not doing very well tbh (I'll get onto this in a minute lol) and so therefore I have sought the help of other FMers who could possibly offer more advice as to what's not working out with the tactic. I intend to be as thorough as possible (well not Cleon-thorough but close enough ).
So here is the first screenie of the club that I'm using:
It is also imperative to note that the club has adequate training facilities and poor youth facilities, although the board accepted to improve the latter. As u can see I'm currently 8th in the League, which is disappointing considering that I expect promotion to League 1.
Some of those who I have assigned individual training focus cannot be seen in the screenshot. They are as follows:
Nathan Oduwa - "Agility" set to "Heavy"
Paul Benson - "Deep Lying Forward" set to "Heavy"
Jayden Stockley - "Deep Lying Forward" set to "Heavy"
I will definitely change the above as the season goes on, as the tactic is now almost fully learnt by the team, and I will rotate the individual training focus of the players from time to time. (Adapted from Cleon)
I won't delve into this too much. Suggestions are always welcome though.
I decided to employ a 3-4-1-2 formation with two wingbacks. I chose a defensive mentality and a highly structured team shape as I want players to stick to their respective positions as much as possible, making it very difficult to break down when without possession. I also sought to create a potent attacking threat through the use of wingbacks. When in possession I want players to be calm and composed while on the ball, playing short simple passes and playing out of the defence. What I've seen in the ME however is a stark contrast to how I want them to play (will be discussed further on in the thread). The players shown in the starting 11 are those that I played for the first few games. I did change it up a little however, which I'll show later on.
Here are the team instructions used to recreate my idea for the way I want the team to play:
These are based on the starting 11 shown in the screenshot above:
GK - (Defend): distribute to centre backs, take short kicks, slow pace down
CWB - (Attack): close down less, cross aim far post
WB - (support): close down less, stay wider, pass it shorter
RCB - (Cover): close down less, pass it shorter
CB - Stopper: close down more, tackle harder, pass it shorter
LCB - (Cover): close down less, pass it shorter
DLP* - (Defend): close down less, pass it shorter
BBM - (Support): close down less, get further forward, more direct passes
Trequartista* - (Attack): more direct passes
DLF - (Suppport): roam from position, pass it shorter
Poacher - (Attack): move into channels
* I haven't set up instructions for specific players in these roles. Anyone who plays in these roles will automatically have to follow the instructions given.
These are based on the starting 11. I will include any useful PPMs that other players outside of the starting 11 have in my next post.
GK - (Defend): None
CWB - (Attack): Gets Forward Whenever Possible
WB - (support): Runs With Ball Down Left, Does Not Dive Into Tackles
RCB - (Cover): None
CB - Stopper: Shoots With Power, Marks Opponents Tightly
LCB - (Cover): Does Not Dive Into Tackles
DLP* - (Defend): Gets Forward Whenever Possible, Tries Killer Balls Often, Shoots With Power, Argues With Officials --- This is Luke Guttridge's PPMs
BBM - (Support): None
Trequartista* - (Attack): Runs With Ball Down Right, Knocks Ball Past Opponent --- Shaun Whalley's PPMs
DLF - (Suppport): None
Poacher - (Attack): None
Here are some of the players who would be pivotal to the promotion push:
CD - (Stopper) The captain of the side, Steve McNulty would be a crucial part of my defensive strategy, which I will talk about when discussing individual PIs.
WB - (Support) My left wingback will be responsible for providing width on the left when we're in possession, and providing short simple passes to others.
CWB - (Attack) My right wingback is more adventurous in his attacking, which is why I've given him the complete wingback duty. I'm specifically looking for him to provide the main attacking threat, driving forward down the byline and whipping in crosses to the far post for my poacher to finish off.
DLP - (Defend) Guttridge is a player I've had issues with, which is partly my fault as i forgot to check his PPMs. He has "Gets Forward Whenever Possible", " Tries Killer Balls Often", "Shoots With Power" and "Argues With Officials". By putting him as a DLP on defend duty, which requires him to hold position, I am not playing him to his strengths as he likes to bomb forward regularly as suggested by his PPMs. This could be a reason why I haven't been solid defensively. I did change this later on into the season however, and I'll show this later on in the thread.
BBM - (Support) Nathan Doyle is another extremely good player for my Luton side who plays in the heart of the midfield. He is responsible for driving forward to support the front two, as well as help out defensively by making tackles on the edge of the area, and tracking runners.
DLF - (Support) What I've been looking for from Stockley is for him to drop deep when we have possession, linking up with the midfielders and complete wingback on the right, as well as creating the space for Doyle to run into.
DLF - (Support) Paul Benson. Experienced player with a couple of good attributes. Just recently got injured. Can also play as a defensive forward. I have made use of this role recently but not to great effect tbh (CAN'T INCLUDE SCREENSHOT AS I'D EXCEED LIMIT FOR NUMBER OF IMAGES).
Poacher - (Attack) Generally, Oduwa is expected to score goals by finishing off well constructed team moves.
Andy Drury is currently injured. I had planned to use him as the holding player next to Doyle on the left side of midfield. That's why I've been playing Guttridge there for the time being.
Here are my results so far:
Despite winning 3 out of the 6 competitive games played so far, the performances have been far from pleasing. I didnt include the pre-season friendlies in the screenshot though as it's the competitive games I'm more concerned with. Although it is important to note that I played a total of 7 friendlies (2 wins, 3 losses, 2 draws).
One thing I like about FM, having never played in the lower leagues, is how they've made it difficult for me to sign players. My team have a budget of about £180,000 and I'm limited to 8 loan signings, 3 of which have already been made by the club before I began the save. After not having much success in the transfer market, I did manage to sign a couple of decent players. Here is the overall summary of my dealings so far:
I forked out a lot of money by League 2 standards for this player. He's been very ineffective so far, as he's yet to score since joining the club. I think he's played about 4 games. Playing him as the Poacher.
Treq - (Attack) Jones is an AM I got on loan from Middlesbrough. I want him to play the Trequartista role, looking for spaces, dropping deep in midfield, and being the playmaker in the side.
Yet to play a game. I intend to play him in attacking midfield as a trequartista aswell.
Here I will highlight some of the issues that I have been experiencing in more detail. I will begin from the defence upwards.
The first issue I have for now concerns the distribution of the ball in my own half. I've noted that from goal kicks, my GK will pass the ball to my LCB (Andy Parry(MAIN OFFENDER)) who after receiving the ball will then hoof it upfield to either my poacher (Oduwa) or my DLF (Stockley). Obviously on most occasions it falls to the opposing defenders. I'm not sure if it's because of a lack of available passing options or just lack of composure on the ball as I've set all my CBs to pass the ball shorter anyway. Only my central CB (McNulty) appears to be following this instruction as he does pass it to either of the CBs, wing backs or defensive mids when he receives it from my GK.
I also feel that on occasion my two midfielders struggle to close the gap between them and the central defenders during attacks by the opposition after play has broken down for us. As instructed, the CBs are not pushing up to close the gap, apart from the central CB. This has led to some screamers being scored against me and I'll show this in more detail in my next post (s).
Additionally, my forward link up play has been dire. My poacher is not finishing the chances that he does get. I've also noticed that my two strikers are isolated when my team is defending as both mids and the Treq are too deep in our own half. Surprisingly enough, I actually wanted this from the mids and the AM but I feel that my transitions are really letting me down.
Any suggestions on how I can better the AM would be appreciated aswell.
And the disaster that has been my set-pieces will be discussed in my next post(s). The problem here might be that I haven't set defensive set-pieces as match preparation in the earlier games as I wanted the players to learn the tactic first and foremost. Anything that I'm not doing or doing wrong I kindly ask for assistance lol.
Other issues, in-game statistics and video analysis will be included in my next post(s). I will also highlight (with screenshots), some of the changes that I made in an attempt to deal with some of the issues I've been experiencing. In addition to this, other very important aspects of the game for this long term save that I haven't touched upon are youth recruitment, scouting and coaches. Next post(s)!!
Apologies for the lack of actual detail into the issues affecting my team on the pitch. This is all I can share for now due to time constraints and image restrictions in the real world lol. I have looked at footage from two of my previous games in full on the 3D match engine. I now have to take the time to look at other more recent games in full and upload the relevant videos. This is just the beginning of my journey to the EPL.
Please bear with me and stay tuned!!