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The Dude

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About The Dude


  • Biography
    Twitter: @FMAmbitionBlog
    Instagram: fm_ambition
    Playing CM and FM since 1997.

About Me

  • About Me
    Blogger at https://www.nowwelive.com/football-manager-ambition

Favourite Team

  • Favourite Team
    Sheffield Wednesday

Currently Managing

  • Currently Managing
    Moving through clubs on a fast-track career.

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  1. There are a few different ways of achieving a possession based style, but they're all based on similar principles. The differences are minor, really; the core principles tend to be the same: Basically, you want (1) your passes to be accurate so one player consistently gets the ball to another player, (2) to minimise the opposition getting the ball off you, and (3) get the ball back quickly and effectively when you do lose it. Let's take them one at a time. 1. Accurate passing. You need players with decent passing attributes. Mental attributes such as vision, anticipation and decisions should help. Longer passes are more prone to going astray, so set your passing style to short. To make short passing work, you have to: Make sure your players are close enough to each other for short passing to be an option. So choose a compact formation. Use all the options on the tactics screen to so this: think about your playing width, how deep or high your defensive line is, and how high you press up the pitch. It usually requires flooding the midfield. Have players correctly instructed to play a short passing game - in other words, plenty of support duties. In my primary system, my GK, central defenders and BWM are set to defend; everyone else is set to support. I have no one on attack duty. 2. Minimise opponents getting the ball off you. Many people think a lot of dribbling is great for possession, but it's only great for meaningful possession if your dribblers never get tackled (unlikely). So think carefully about this aspect of your game. Some of your players will be more likely to want to dribble, some less so - every squad is different. Once you understand your players' tendencies in this area, you can decide what instructions to give regarding dribbling more or less. Usually, for a good possession system, you actually need to dribble less rather than more, although many will disagree on this. Keep the ball moving, with accurate passing. 3. Get the ball back You'll find some people advocating aggressive tackling for this, but getting people sent off is not conducive to possession play. Pressing is key. If you don't press, you're going to have to get lucky to win back the ball. The question is - how much do you press? The answer will depend on your players: Their stamina and aggression should play a part in your decision making. Also, your formation. And how you intend to transition to attack when you do get the ball back. Everything is linked. Try to think how you'd want it to work in real life, and then find the tactical instructions to emulate that. Some of this will depend on how the opposition are trying to use the ball. Personally, I can't abide the idea of issuing different pressing instructions for every opponent, so I rely on having players who are well rounded. This means they have the stamina etc to press well, and the anticipations, decision making and positioning to be good in defensive positions. For me, I always have my forward line press oppo defenders, regardless of their style of play. Even if the oppo don't play out from the back, making defenders panic on the ball is good for getting the ball back. I always try to have defenders with great positioning, anticipation and decisions, so they're prepared for any counter attack, and can respond well. I flood midfield, and have a BWM to deal with passing teams. Your formation, roles and duties will affect your ability to win the ball back quickly. If you're flooding midfield (see point 1), it helps in getting the ball back. Some would say this is easily counteracted by oppo playing long ball, but think of the big picture: You're playing a possession game, and flooding midfield; the oppo are going to have to work hard to get the ball off you; they're going to have to come close. If they don't, you keep the ball. When they do come close, who are they going to launch the ball to? You can just mop it up. Hope that's been some help. Good luck!
  2. Well, I've got roughly two more weeks of being able to really cane it on the game, following which, I'm gonna have to slow down with it. Real life, etc.
  3. My IFs mark the oppo fullbacks. For the life of me, I can't remember why I set that up, but it's been part of this tactic since... ages ago. EDIT: I think I set up that marking to mitigate against counter attacks when my fullbacks are caught out. Which rarely happens, but still... I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to getting hit on the break, and fullbacks getting caught out. Not sure what you mean about the press more option. I've maxed out my pressing for these positions, but they don't have as high a max as some other roles, just because of the nature of what they are. This is what they have on my game:
  4. If anyone's interested, I've give n this thread a mention in my Football Manager blog... https://www.nowwelive.com/football-manager-ambition/the-dilemma
  5. No world class players, although I am gradually improving the quality of the squad. I'm now in July 2024, and I have one player who is considered a 'leading player' for the EPL. After that, I've got a few 'good' / 'decent'. Here's my best player (currently unhappy), and the squad:
  6. @Vega09 This has been an awesome thread so far, by the way. Thanks for kicking it off.
  7. That's an important point that people sometimes forget. You can't counter-attack against a team that's parked the bus. That's one of the reasons I like to play in a way that forces the opposition to move around a lot. Another great couple of points. I get your point here, and but there are exceptions. Counter-attacking has evolved a bit, and you do see a high counter at times when a possession-based team has a move break down, and they instantly try to win it back before it's cleared with high intensity pressing. Obviously, this won't work against a team that just boots the ball into row Z or downfield, but against a team that tries to pay out of trouble it's very effective. I realise I'm at risk of contradicting myself, but hopefully you'll see what I'm getting at.
  8. Yeah, I stick by my assertion that there's too much committed forward, and he'll get caught on the break, but I'm no genius, and I could be wrong. I guess he'd soon find out playing it.
  9. I don't change it. When I'm at a 'lesser' team, playing away at a big team, I might deploy my 'park the bus version from the start. Otherwise, whatever the circumstances, if I go behind, I often switch to my very attacking mode. If I'm defending a slender lead late on in a game where the oppo are really trying, I might switch to the park the bus version. But mostly, I just stick with my standard version. It's worth pointing out that it does take a team a few games to get used to the system, and probably a couple of season to play it with a swagger. Also, I try to go for very well-rounded players in all positions.
  10. Well, that's a big question, as it covers so much. To try to sum up my approach, I believe in keeping a lot of possession, but not to the extent that you don't make attempts on goal. Obviously, every time you cross, through ball, or shoot, you risk losing possession and getting hit on the counter, so there's a balance to be struck. I find the 55%-60% possession level allows me to really frustrate opponents, while still getting plenty of attacks in. I like to confuse opposition by having a very fluid style of play. My Complete Forward and Inside Forwards have licence to roam. I play a left-footed IF on the right wing, and vice-versa, which encourages roaming and cutting in. By definition, the box-to-box midfielder roams, too. Also, my fullbacks are hugely important to attack, but I put them on support rather than attack duty, as I want them to spring into space rather than take opponents on with a dribble. (As far as I'm concerned, if a fullback is dribbling and gets tackled, they have failed to do their job properly. This is taken directly from a rule I had when managing a Sunday League side IRL; fullbacks were not allowed to attempt to dribble past opponents; it's too risky. I like my team to keep the ball moving.) I digress... In attack, I generally have one or two fullbacks, a box-to-box midfielder, two IFs and my striker; 5 or six men forward. my BWM holds the centre of the park, and generally mops up panicked clearances from the opposition when a move breaks down. My DLP supports play, but I expect him to always be behind the ball, rather than running on ahead. A DLP with great positional sense and a support mentality usually accomplishes this. In my usual slow build up, I have two fullbacks supporting midfield from deep, three men in centre midfield, the IFs cutting in and roaming, and the CF dropping deep and roaming. It sometimes means I have up to 8 men in midfield, keeping the ball and keeping the opposition chasing shadows. A common outcome is play is concentrated in midfield, drawing opponents out of position, and then the ball gets slapped out wide to one of my onrushing fullbacks who now had acres of space to cross in. My central defenders and BWM (and to a lesser extent the DLP) form the structured spine of the team. I only ever play with the one formation. I have three tactics, but they all have the same formation and player roles; I just ever so slightly tweak mentality and instructions. My main tactic, for Controlling the Game, is currently played with a 'balanced' mentality (I tried positive for a while, but it didn't quite yield the results). My Go For It version is played with a 'very attacking' mentality, and my Park the Bus version is played with a 'very defensive' mentality. When I lose possession, I like to press and win it back quickly, either high up the pitch or by mopping up long, panicked clearances. This is why my forwards are maxed out for closing down. For opposition instructions, I base them on opposition positions, rather than individual players; the point is that regardless of how good my opponents might be, I want to handle them by making them play into my hands, not just by nullifying them. There's a difference. So I instruct to max pressing intensity and show onto weaker foot for the following positions: DR, DL, (C)WBR, (C)WBL, DM (central only), MR, ML, all AM positions, and all Strikers. That's it. I think if you try to constantly press ALL positions, you lose your way. My plan is to make opponents drive the ball infield where I dominate, or give it away in a panic. Or both. I'll put some screenshots below. The player instruction screenshots are for my standard 'Control the Game' tactic.
  11. This is what's fascinating about tactics. And why each manager should stick to their own preferences. I personally hate it if my team is camped in an opponents box. I find it boring trying to grind down a stubborn defence. I prefer to patiently move them around until they're dizzy. If that means I win most of my games 1-0, |I don't have a problem with it. To each their own.
  12. When you say a holding midfielder, do you mean a midfielder in the DM position, or in a central midfield position? If you mean a DM position on defend, I'm not saying it can't work - clearly it can work, given the 'Makelele' role. But you have to find a way of making it work in balance with the rest of your team. If you let your fullbacks go forward, then you risk being caught on wide counter. Unless you play with three centrebacks, with two of them allowed to drift wide. But that creates space elsewhere, etc, etc ad infinitum. Of course, if you're managing a top side full of world-class players, you can do pretty much what you want with your formation and tactics and get away with it... until you come up against another world-class side who are better organised... I never play with 'between the lines' positions, and I also keep to very basic, player roles. You'll never see me use a false 9, a Mez, an inverted fullback or a segundo volante, for example. Over the years, I've developed this formation and style using basic roles, support duties, and possession play that without fail gets my team performing way over expectations. It doesn't mean anyone else's way is wrong; just that this system works brilliantly for me.
  13. Hi. I always use a BWM, but my choice of player varies depending on which league I'm in, and I do have to take steps to mitigate the yellow cards. In lower leagues, where it's more difficult to get top quality players, my BWM will usually be the typical aggressive tough-tackler. For example, in recent years in lower leagues, I'd pick someone like Ryan Tunnicliffe. In this situation, I always (where possible) have another BWM on the bench, and end up subbing as soon as a yellow card has been accumulated. When I get into the upper leagues, I try, budget allowing, to get a different type of player for the BWM role. People who know how the game works "under the hood" will probably laugh, and tell me this isn't how the game works, but I'll try to pick a player with more moderate aggression, and I'm not really interested in a high tackling attribute, either. Instead, I'll use a player with great positioning, anticipation and decisions, along with a good passing attribute. Great vision is nice to have in the role, but not essential, as the BWM really just needs to get the ball to the DLP. What this means is I'm often using a player in the BWM role with very different attributes to the expected. It shouldn't work, but it does for me. It fits in with an overall plan that helps me achieve the success I invariably get on the game. Nt bragging - it just is what it is. Having said all that, in my current save, my two BWM are the more traditional types, as I haven't been able to bring in the types of player I aspire to yet. But I'll keep looking. Anyway, the point is, by having a BWM in central rather than deep midfield, you're less likely to invite pressure by having a an opposing AMC or DLF / F9 push right up on him. As I use fullbacks as my main source of crosses, they have to get forward. It might seem a bit risky on the face if it leaving two defenders back with no one in the DM hole, but you have to see the hole picture: As the fullbacks are on support, they don't often both go forward at the same time. and as I keep so much possession in the middle of the park, opposition team have no option but to chase the ball around. Now, I have three men in central midfield, plus my wide men cut in and are on support, plus my striker is on support, and the fullbacks push to support midfield a bit even if they're not bombing forward. All this takes place with short passing. The nest result is I sometimes have eight players knocking triangles around in midfield, gradually pushing up. I pull the opposition all over the place, and then ping the ball out to a fullback in acres of space; they cross, we score. The only players who don't move around too much are the central defenders and the BWM, and that's why the BWM is so important - if a moves does break down, he's maintaining the spine. Teams sometimes find it difficult to counter attack me because they've had to pull everyone deep and narrow to try to get the ball back, so they often don't have an out-ball. My BWM usually wins the ball back again. My system does occasionally fall down against teams full of world-class players who risk leaving wingers high and wide, but you can't win em all. That's why my Villa team lost to Barcelona in the Euro final. (Although I did beat Bayern in the semis.) But in my FM18 save, my SWFC team eventually became, by far, the best team in Europe, winning everything going, playing this system. Incidentally, when FM19 first came out, I tried doing something different, and played some matches with a DM, to see what would happen. I got beat again, and again and again. It's not that there's anything intrinsically wrong with the DM position; it just has to be correctly balanced within the big picture.
  14. Of course, everyone has different opinions, and different styles. You have to go with what you believe in and what you're comfortable with. My possession-based system is far from possession for possession's sake though. It sometimes takes a while for the players to bed it in, but when it clicks, you get this, picking up points against teams who, on paper, are vastly superior: