Pirlo's Beard

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  1. I've actually had some success with a stopper-sweeper four man defense in FM, including back on FM11. It's finicky and takes a bit of doing, though; definitely not plug-and-play. In some ways it works a bit better in more recent iterations of the game (because the libero actually gets forward a bit), but on FM11 I won the Champions League using it part-time with Fiorentina in year two. The thing to remember is that, in addition to the changes to the game since '74 that ajsr1982 already mentioned, back then teams used man-marking instead of strictly zonal systems FM was designed to represent; the libero was "free" inasmuch as everybody else on defense was man-marking. As such, for this type of defense to work you need to assign specific marking assignments to your defenders, especially the stopper to the oppositions center forward (do NOT used this formation against a two- or three forward formation). You'll probably want your fullbacks to mark the opposing wingers too, and if they have someone in the AMC slot you'll want to assign a midfielder to mark him as well. Also, I remember in FM11 it was vital to set opposition instructions such that the opposing wingers were forced to the touchline (shown to the foot on whichever wing they played), otherwise they could stroll into the acres of space between the fullback and CB.
  2. What, exactly, does the Aggression attribute do? When I read about it, it's most often mentioned with regard to defense -- i.e. the likelihood a player will close down, attempt a tackle, charge after a loose ball, etc. My question is: does it also impact how a player performs on attack? I seem to notice a real difference in players with high aggression in aerial duels, and I find Target men with high aggression perform their offensive role better. Am I imagining things, or does aggression (in conjunction with bravery) signal a player's desire to "go and get it." That would seem to fit with the in-game description, but as I said most people speak of it as a defensive attribute. If I'm correct in this, does aggression impact a player's decision making in other ways? Is it essentially a mentality modifier?
  3. No no, I'll play by the rules. 3-4-2-1 it is! Question: Should the second batch of formations also use Saint Etienne, or should we decide on a different team just to spice things up?
  4. No spaces left? I've been aching to attempt a go with the 4-4-2 sweeper. EDIT: Nevermind, see things are full. I'll read with interest!
  5. My understanding is that learning a new position does not take up CA points; however, the weighting of different attributes on CA points varies by position, where attributes considered relevant to a position "cost" more points than those that aren't. So if you have a striker learn the DC position, the striker's existing defensive attributes will start to be weighted more heavily against his total CA. In cases where the player has already reached his peak, this can result in an across-the-board decrease in attributes-- not because learning a new position cost CA points, but because the new position learned caused existing attributes to cost more. At least I think this is how it works. Perhaps Cleon or someone else can correct me.
  6. Different people have different approaches to this aspect of the game, but here is my advice: First, don't be scared of your players. For one thing, they aren't real. For another, putting your foot down is sometimes necessary, both in real life and in Football Manager. It's important to know what kind of role they were promised when they signed their contract. If they were told they'd be a key player or a first-teamer, then yes they're likely to get frustrated when they start every game as a substitute -- even if they are obviously worse than the guys starting ahead of them. There are some players, on the other hand, who will get upset they aren't starting even when their designated role is rotation or backup. Others will carry on for the good of the team no matter what role they were promised. It has a lot to do with the players' hidden attributes like professionalism. I would recommend telling it like it is with the malcontents, especially if they signed on for a back-up/rotational role. Some will back down and respect you for it; others will get upset and demand to be transferred or loaned out. If it comes to that I usually try to make it happen just because a back-up player isn't worth the hassle and potential disruption to the team, though do note that with some players you can be firm about their contractual obligations and they'll back down. If you really fear losing the player, it probably means he's valuable enough to your team that he may just have a point in carping about playing time, and you might consider relenting. Anyway, just my 2 cents.
  7. It's really a matter of interpretation. I think the in-game description calls the HB something in between an aggressive sweeper and a defensive midfielder. What it was always meant to be was the "Busquets role," the idea for which Pep took with him to Bayern where he variously employed Lahm and Alonso in the same role, as you've pointed out. A half-decade ago Michael Cox identified this as something like a modern interpretation of the sweeper, though he immediately took to calling it a "modern center-half." I'm assuming this is why the FM designers chose "half-back" for the name of this role, as the "centre-half" was short for center half-back, half-back being what midfielders were called back then, the central of which dropped between the fullbacks in the WM. http://www.zonalmarking.net/2010/04/22/is-the-sweeper-set-for-a-return-to-prominence/ Of course, for much longer still people have said that the sweeper was replaced by (or reconfigured as) the defensive midfielder. In some cases this was purely defensive (e.g. the "Mikelele role," which might be something like the Anchor Man role in FM), while later a more finesse-type player was placed there to "sweep up" behind the midfield and dictate play from deep (Pirlo being archetypal here, and the FM analogues of course being DLP or Regista). In this way, one could just as easily say the Regista -- sweeping behind midfield, screening defense, and having all the creative freedom in the world -- is a modern "libero" in FM parlance (drawing a distinction with the purely defensive "sweeper," which is really a nomenclature unique to FM as the terms were interchangeable elsewhere as far as I know).
  8. Hi Cleon, Is there any particular Shape/Fluidity settings or TIs you would recommend to see more of this? I would assume Fluid/Very Fluid to encourage tighter depth and more movement between the lines. Or am I mistaken? How about mentality? I've been trying Fluid/Control with scaled back passing and tempo and/or "retain possession" ticked. It seems to work okay. The Libero usually attempts about 40-50 passes. Overall I like what I see, but I'd like to see a bit more attacking intent from him; at times he has acres of space to run into but he stays put, or the opposing striker will drop back to mark him and he'll happily stand there holding hands rather than move toward the ball when appropriate. I don't exactly have an ideal player for the role yet by any means, so it may just be a talent/ppm issue. I was just wondering if you had any ideas about team set-up that may help. Also, totally off topic, but I'm a psychologist and I just wanted to thank you for writing so candidly about your struggles with depression. Speaking out like that has probably helped more people than you can ever know.
  9. If you're playing someone in the DM strata, then why not just use a Regista or RPM? You can set them to drop deep and collect from the keeper as well, and they'd have the creative freedom and dynamic movement you seem to be looking for. The primary reasons to play such a player as a libero are defensive and aesthetic.
  10. Libero (S) is basically a BPD in the sweeper position. He has more license to spray passes from very deep and can be great at starting quick counter-attacks, but he won't venture forward of defense or be involved in buildup any more than a centerback. A Libero (A) is what most people want when they're considering creating a libero tactic. He has a much more attacking mentality, has a ton of creative freedom, and basically has license to do whatever he wants with the ball. What you get out of this role will vary considerably based on the player you put there. As on offense, defensively-- because the libero roles have a lot of creative freedom-- the behavior you see out of him will vary considerably. Obviously they typically function as sweepers defensively, but depending on the individual attributes/ppms you might see him be more aggressive and even moving out ahead of his back line to close down the ball if he sees a threat or an opportunity develop. Needless to say, the Decisions attribute is very important for this role. Libero (A) is a cool role and if you get it working right it can be a real thing of beauty to watch, but doing so can be a challenge. First, it takes a considerable talent to really excel there, and you'll likely have to retrain him to the position once you've signed him. Then there is the matter of getting the tactic just right so that he has the opportunity to make an impact on the game in attack: If your tactic is too aggressive they may rush the ball up the pitch and lose it before the libero has a chance to advance in support; too conservative and your libero may be too reluctant to advance too far ahead of his backline. As others have mentioned, if you have a playmaker role nearby then teammates will tend to pass the ball to the playmaker instead of the libero. Remember that a major point of the libero was to start attacking moves. With this in mind I like to set the goalkeeper to distribute the ball to him and let him dictate the flow of the offense from there. I also prefer to put a competent dribbler there and set him to "dribble more."
  11. It's tough to say without knowing how your squad is set up, but... When you switched to counter/defensive, did you adjust your wide players' roles/marking instructions? I probably would have moved them back to the wingback position as WB(S) to invite the opposing fullbacks further up, and used the "Clear to the flanks" TI. I'd also use exploit the flanks, as they've got 5(!) players in central midfield to your 3, so trying to play through the center likely won't work well, regardless of tempo. The hope is that the fullbacks will come forward and your strikers will attack the space they leave behind them. If the fullbacks don't come forward or you aren't able to execute a break, having the WBs on support duty will have them follow the ball up more slowly rather than bombing forward, so hopefully they will pull the central midfield trio wide and create some space for your CMs. Their more conservative play will also probably help them to get back more quickly after a loss of possession. Your back 3 should provide you with pretty solid cover to delay a counter, but if you are still getting caught out as you say you might consider placing one or both of your CMs on a defend duty. Aside from the obvious increase in defensive cover, this may also give you more depth in attack and help to break create more space in the attacking third.
  12. While I mostly agree with HoG's statement about the libero, I might offer one small point of contention: If you want the ball player in question to collect the ball from the goalkeeper to start the attack, having a midfielder (e.g. Regista, DLP, HB, or RPM) drop deep to do this obviously pulls a man from midfield, meaning he has one less midfield option when starting the move. If the libero is collecting the ball and starting the attacking move, however, the team retains its full compliment of midfield numbers at the onset. One could argue that a BPD offers this as well; this is true, but not every team is blessed with a good BPD. Of course, with Athletic you've already got Laporte whom you're sometimes playing at Libero, so... But I also agree with Cleon. To paraphrase Obi-wan: The Libero is not as clumsy or random as a centerback-- an elegant defender for a more civilized age.
  13. The Centerback positioning looks great! Having them on Cover duty and no screening DM, do you struggle at all dealing with creative players in the hole? Do the DCs step out to challenge when appropriate? How many quality touches (i.e. not defensive headers/ clearances) did the Libero get? Is he adequately involved in build-up? Ever show up in the final third? Or are you not looking for that from him?
  14. One more thing to follow up: After posting I recalled something I once read by one of the well-known masters in the community (I think Cleon, but I can't be sure)-- "Any player can play any role in the game, they'll each just play those roles differently." Thinking in this way can help to open up your creative side when devising a tactic.
  15. It really depends on the level of play. I personally have a general idea of what kind of player I want for a given role, but the minimums I'll accept are different for Premier League or Bundesliga versus the Scottish Championship or MLS, for example. At Liverpool (assuming they've not been relegated in your save) you're in a high level competition, so the quality of player you need will likewise be higher. As far as the "relevant attributes," do you mean those highlighted when you select each role? Those are the attributes the game designers identified as relevant, and they do serve as a pretty good guide, but in truth all of the attributes still play their part. You may envision a different style of play from your DLP-D, or from the team around him, and select tactical instructions accordingly. Or you may just want a certain type of player (certain PPMs and skills and whatnot) in that role that is not exactly captured by the "relevant attributes" given for the role. You might then adjust your minimum expectations for each attribute accordingly. For example, I started a save with Rangers (Scottish Championship) and wanted to play a 3-5-2 with a single pivot. After a few friendlies I realized that, though I had some talent in midfield, I really wanted a smart, experienced player who could manage the game. I signed some old guy off the street (don't even remember his name) who had been an attacking midfielder in his younger days but now lacked the legs for it. He was slow, short, not particularly strong, poor at heading, not great at marking or tackling, but he was absolutely vital to my team's performance a the DLP-D position (Sometimes changed to support duty depending on how the game was going). He wasn't a standout performer in terms of game ratings, but he always completed around 90% of his passes and kept things ticking in possession. He didn't fit all of the "relevant attributes" for his role according to the game, but he served the purpose I intended for him.