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Shi Xiansheng

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About Shi Xiansheng

Currently Managing

  • Currently Managing
    Curzon Ashton
  1. As I've chronicled in this thread, I've had limited success with the 4-4-2 and the 4-4-1-1, but adding a defensive midfielder in the switch to a 4-1-4-1 is what really got me promotion, I think. (And the defensive midfielder in question isn't even any good!) This, like your suggestion, relieved a bit of pressure on the central midfielders. The two in the 4-4-2 just got overwhelmed. I can see the Christmas tree working just by crowding midfield and controlling the space right in front of the area. If you find you're scoring a reasonable amount but conceding too many, I'd suggest pulling a midfielder back into defensive midfield and going for a 4-1-3-1-1 or even 4-1-3-2.
  2. Although the 4-4-1-1 gave me a decent enough start, I eventually came to favor the 4-1-4-1 and stuck with it for almost all matches except where I really thought I should try something different based on the opposition or when chasing a goal. The defensive midfielder ended up making a world of difference, and I found that with a CM(a) getting forward and a WM(a) cutting inside, the AM just wasn't necessary. He performed better in a deeper role anyway. Though I did tweak throughout the season, my tactic usually ended up looking something like: DLF(a) WM(a) CM(s) CM(a) W(s) DM(d) FB(a) CD(d) CD(d) WB(s) G(d) Control/Flexible Now, although I previously erred toward the "simpler is better" approach with TIs and PIs, I was inspired by VinceLombardi's excellent thread here: American Football Although I was doing something much different from what he was doing, and I certainly wasn't following his TI/Mentality/Shape and PI combinations with any precision, I took a lot of the ideas and applied them. It worked. Maybe I'll strip a lot of this away next season, but I used: TIs: Prevent Short GK Distribution, Use Tighter Marking, Play Out of Defense, Pass Into Space PIs: G(d): Distribute to Center Backs FB(a): Dribble Less, Close Down More, Mark Tighter both CD(d)s: Close Down Less, Pass It Shorter WB(s): Dribble Less, Close Down More, Mark Tighter, More Direct Passes, Cross More Often DM(d): Mark Tighter WM(a): Close Down More, Roam From Position, Sit Narrower, Cut Inside With Ball CM(s): Close Down More, Tackle Harder, More Risky Passes CM(a): Close Down More, Tackle Harder, Roam From Position, Move Into Channels W(s): Close Down More, Roam From Position DLF(a): Dribble More, Tackle Harder, Close Down Much More Overkill? Perhaps. But it worked. There will be tinkering in the season ahead, but I think I'm going to start at least with this same basic tactic. I'll likely keep the 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1 as backups, but we'll see. The four attack duties and the WB(s) may also have been overkill, especially with the FB(a) behind the WM(a) on the left. But those mostly worked too. I didn't score boatloads, but I scored fairly consistently, and I didn't concede as many as the look of the tactic might make you think. Still, I will probably dial back the duties a bit next season, because... I got promoted! Yes, I won the title against the odds on the last day. Boston United more or less collapsed down the stretch, while all Harrogate had to do was beat Fylde on the last day, but they lost 1–0, while I bested North Ferriby 1–0 (my third 1–0 in a row) to finish 2 points clear of Harrogate and 3 clear of Boston. Whew! I anticipate the need to be a bit more conservative at times in the National League, but I will at least try being still positive overall. Parking the bus is likely to be a recipe for disaster, I imagine, so I'll need to grab goals where I can. It will presumably be a building year as I seek to avoid relegation and hope that more fans are attracted to my ground for more revenue. Thanks to everyone who chimed in in this thread.
  3. I actually had considered starting a thread on this topic, but I suppose I'll put the question here. Just to be clear, the instructions More Direct Passes and More Risky Passes are using the word "more" to refer to quantity, not quality, right? That is, they mean "MORE Direct Passes" and "MORE Risky Passes," not "MORE DIRECT Passes" and "MORE RISKY Passes." I'm assuming this must be the case because obviously you can't telepathically move the intended recipient of a pass farther from yourself, meaning you can choose to select more distant targets and hence make a greater number of direct passes, but you can't make all your passes a little more direct. Plus, if it were degree rather than quantity, it would be "Riskier Passes," I suppose. So if this is the case, it must be that a certain type of pass is labeled "Risky," rather than all passes being relatively more or less risky. How do we know which are risky? I mean, yes, I understand that through balls into space are risky while short balls into the feet of an unmarked teammate are not, but what kind of percentages are we talking about here? Is it the case that some small subset of attempted passes are "Risky" (kind of like how a small subset of completed passes are "Key"), or is the game defining a much greater part of passing as "Risky," including balls not into space but to a marked player for instance? Are aimless long balls "Risky"? Does More Risky Passes by necessity increase passing distance too, despite the possibility of short through balls? Forgive me if this sounds pedantic, but I'm curious how More Risky Passes especially works exactly, and accordingly what exactly its effect would be on top of More Direct Passes (as well as modifiers to passing length and risk from Mentality, Shape and TIs).
  4. Weaker foot: avoid or train?

    I think learning neither PPM is the safe play, and you need a good, considered reason to learn either. Coaches will constantly advise you to encourage Joe Jumpersforgoalposts to avoid the use of his weaker foot; ignore them. What I've generally read is that avoiding the weaker foot may be a good idea ONLY for players whose weak foot is "Very Weak." Even if their off foot is "Weak," the advantage gained by their not hitting a ball out to touch with their off foot is offset by the opportunity cost of constantly shifting the ball onto their strong foot. (That is, Weak is good enough for many things.) Even if one foot is Very Weak, avoiding its use is probably more advantageous for certain positions than for others (for example, wide men who tend to stay glued to the touchline). On the flip side, developing the weaker foot can obviously provide an advantage, but as already noted, it consumes CA, adds to training workload, possibly precludes you from learning a more useful PPM or tutoring/being tutored, and is more worth it when the player is young and will have time to actually undergo that development. Also, two-footedness is more beneficial for certain positions than for others (for me, I would say strikers and non-defensive central midfielders).
  5. I increased the mentality to Control and the CM(s)'s duty to Attack. I tore apart a weak team 8–0, the CM(a) looking terrific and scoring a hat trick. I do of course wonder whether his duty would leave me exposed in the middle sometimes against stronger sides, but I liked what I was seeing from him. I also noted some concerning positioning from my CM(d), which could be something to keep an eye on. Up 4–0 at halftime, I dropped the CM(a) back to Support and added Shorter Passing and Stay on Feet to retain control. So perhaps that loss was just a disastrous day, but I might keep tweaking.
  6. Things are not going well tactically. I used harryleechinyeow's advice to give my squad an overhaul, shipping out six players and bringing in seven. I feel better about my squad than I did last season. However, three games into preseason, I've won one, drawn one, lost one. I'm getting mauled by teams in divisions below me. Here's the tactic: DLF(a) AM(s) WM(a) CM(d) CM(s) W(s) FB(s) CD(d) CD(d) FB(s) GK(d) Standard/Flexible No team or player instructions. I wanted to start with something simple, get it working, then elaborate if necessary. The AM is the player I was previously using as a DLP, meaning he has creativity, but I wanted to avoid playmaker roles. He's also 6'3" with great Jumping Reach, so he can serve as a target and bring balls down for the 5'7" DLF. Sort of a pseudo–Advanced Playmaker–Target Man. One problem may be that two of the seven players I brought in are 17- and 18-year-old wide men with low Bravery. They seem decent enough, definitely better than my other options on the wings, and I can't afford many more wage signings, so loans it is. Just not sure if I should be trusting the wings to kids. Any glaring weakness in the tactic? I know it's just preseason, but I was hoping to win these to build morale and momentum, and if I'm doing so badly against teams from the Northern League Division One North, I worry what may happen in the National League North.
  7. Thanks. Although I'm not going to address all the points made here, I do appreciate the help and am thinking about all the posts above. ajsr1982, you replied to me in your thread. It's one of my very favorites on this forum, thank you. I have also read O-zil's thread, though a back three is not something I think I'll be trying anytime soon. harryleechinyeow, this is terrific stuff. Thank you for taking the time to reply. I think I am going to try this exact process, along with other squad building. I definitely think, as others have suggested, that a big house cleaning is needed in addition to some reinforcements. Some of my players failed me this season; others are simply being paid wages I can't afford. I think I'm going to stick with Curzon Ashton, give the squad a makeover, and try a couple systems that are not huge departures from the 4-4-2 alongside it. I might literally make my three tactics a 4-4-2, a 4-4-1-1 and a 4-1-4-1, switching between them for different types of matches. I don't have any standout AMs or DMs but I can probably press forwards and central midfielders into service in those strata. I might sign a specialist or two if they can also play in another stratum. Basically, I'm thinking the middle road here: not sticking stubbornly to the 4-4-2, but not tearing it all up and trying a back three either. I also need to get the payroll under control and, though I'm not pursuing a youth development policy, I'm going to see if I can't make better use of some of the kids, train them better, and be more conscientious about cutting the rest.
  8. Well, I finished 17th with a negative goal difference and 17 fewer points than last season—a failure by any real measure. I won only one of my last seven games, drawing one and losing five. Ouch. I was 14th in league goals scored and 12th lowest in goals conceded, which maybe suggests I should be looking to be more attacking just as much as tighten up. I also think that attacking more makes sense if I want to make a run at the top of the table. But honestly, I'm not sure what to do. I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to approach the next season. Do I stick with a 4-4-2 and hope that some changes and some new personnel can make up the difference? Do I try a 4-1-4-1 or some more radical change? Do I just try to jump ship and take an interview somewhere, or start a new save? The latter could be appealing as this is my first save ever, and promotion is the only way out of the cycle here. Any advice, on what to do with my tactic or just more generally? I know you all can't see my squad, but what do you do after a season like that? Do you persevere, make sweeping changes, or bail?
  9. Yeah, it does stand to reason that Play Wider, by telling your wide men to stay wider, will encourage more wing play. And this is what I have observed in a 4-4-2 with a winger and a fullback on each flank. This would of course depend on your formation: if your formation has one man rather than two on each wing, or even none, this effect will be less noticeable. I think what herne79 is talking about, and what is discussed in the linked thread, is where players look to make passes by preference or by default. That is, Play Wider might lead to more passes to/up the flanks simply because players are there and possibly less closely marked, not because more central players are looking specifically to spread it wide, which is more what Exploit the Flanks would do. Using Play Wider without Exploit the Flanks might, then, see a pass out wide because of positioning, but then that wide player, finding himself without good options, might pass it back into the center, whereas if Exploit the Flanks were also used, the wide player might look for an overlap, hold the ball up to keep it wide, take on a defender, etc. So Play Wider doesn't tell your players to pass the ball wide, it just happens more often (formation allowing) as a side effect of the positioning. Exploit the Flanks tells your players more specifically to pass the ball wide and keep it wide, taking wide options over central options more often than not, even when central options would otherwise seem better (players in space). I'm a beginner and don't know much about how the match engine works, but this makes sense to me and fits with what I've observed. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
  10. Great stuff, thanks. Yes, I make a fair number of changes during games, though I generally resist the urge to throw instructions together randomly. It would be tough to give such a good idea of how I respond without a long list, but there are a few go-to changes I make when I feel I'm under threat. Changing the right back and sometimes even the right midfielder to defend duties is a response when getting killed down that flank, while my left winger sometimes gets an attack duty if there's space in behind. I sometimes swap the forwards, partially to encourage my DLF to link up with the CM(s) and partially in the hope the AF gets on the end of the left winger's crosses. More generally, I often change to Standard if I smell blood, and if trying to hold a lead or misplacing passes I might drop the tempo and the passing. Get Stuck In sometimes goes when I'm ahead or giving away too many free kicks. When chasing the game, I might increase mentality, increase some duties, Pass Into Space, Clear Ball to Flanks, Hit Early Crosses or specify cross types. "Controlling games" may have been unclear: I'm quite aware that dropping deep and going direct in possession won't generally create loads of possession. I'm fine with averaging under 50% but not with getting clobbered. But aside from that stat, what I mean is that I want to be giving the ball away more often from direct or risky passes than from simple turnovers or the like, and that I want to see less defensive panic when out of possession. Even my left back, who Stays Back at All Times on a defend duty with decent Anticipation, Tackling, Marking and Positioning, allows far too many crosses without being overloaded, and a large percentage of the goals I concede are due to defenders switching off and making simple mistakes. In my last match, I had just opened the scoring when my stopper underhit a backpass to allow their striker to score; it finished 3-1 to Worcester. I know that when outnumbered in midfield, my team's mostly weak defensive mental attributes (Work Rate aside) won't enable them to sit off and defend tirelessly for 90 minutes, but I'd like to see a conservative approach hold on a bit better without riding my luck. I'd prefer conceding fewer to scoring more if I had to choose, but I'm often pressed hard even by a two-man midfield. That said, while a deep line does help against speedy strikers, getting to the second ball is a problem I could see a higher line helping with. I score some counters but perhaps not enough for the trade offs. I'll try it. Thanks again.
  11. I've now played the same number of league matches since the introduction of a CM(d) as I had without this season, and I have seen improvements. I've won 6 in 16. My PPG have certainly risen, albeit not dramatically, and I'm still down in 15th, partially due to improved results from some of the teams around me. My tactic has evolved to this: AF(a) DLF(s) W(s) CM(s) CM(d) WM(s) FB(d) CD(st) LD(d) FB(s) GK(d) Counter/Flexible Higher Tempo, Fairly Wide, Get Stuck In, More Direct Passing GK(d): Take Long Kicks, Distribute to DLF, Distribute Quickly FB(d): Shoot Less Often, Dribble Less, Cross More Often CM(s): Hold Position, More Risky Passes CM(d): Dribble Less I sometimes play on Standard with Slightly Deeper, especially when at home against a weaker side. The changes haven't been huge—four roles changed, shape changed, two more TIs and PIs for four players—but they've helped. I still feel, though, that I'm not controlling games and many results have been down too much to luck. The opposition consistently have more shots and create more chances than us, and I'm often saved by poor finishing, unlikely saves, the woodwork, last-ditch blocks, etc. Some encouraging results have been followed by defeats. The CM(d) has been huge in making us more secure and he's putting in some of the team's best performances, though I'm still trying to get him (and his backup) to unlearn Gets Forward Whenever Possible. Adding Dribble Less was partially an attempt to deal with that problem. I ditched the DLP for a CM(s) because I reasoned that as I prioritize wing play, I probably don't want a ball magnet in the center, and despite the DLP's name, he had been doing precious little playmaking anyway. Giving him Hold Position and More Risky Passes is meant to make him a bit of a cross between a DLP and an AP without the ball magnet effect. The CM(s) has a higher starting position on the TC than the DLP(s), but I can't say I've noticed him being any less disciplined. I know that More Risky Passes is a bit of a gamble, especially as he has Tries Killer Balls Often, and I've removed it a couple times when he was misplacing a lot of passes. I considered More Direct Passes, but then he has Tries Long Range Passes too and the team is on Direct Passing. Out of curiosity here, I know about the ball magnet bit, but are there other real differences between DLPs/APs and CMs not given in their PIs? I didn't see any change in his mentality, closing down or passing directness on the PIs screen, so are playmakers just ball magnets or do they pass differently too? Would appreciate any further advice or comments.
  12. I am a huge fan of this thread. I love your methodical, non-idealistic approach and you write very well, explaining your thinking clearly. I have gone through a similar sort of process, both in creating and in adjusting my tactic, though I've ended up with something fairly different. Despite the reputation of lower league football, it's been surprisingly difficult for me to find a half-decent physical defensive midfielder. (I have one decent player who can play in defensive midfield, but he's a 5'7" Deep-Lying Playmaker, so I generally want him in the CM stratum when he plays.) That means a conservative but (sometimes) direct 4-4-2. It's working okay, but I'm sometimes tempted to use something a little closer to what you've created here. Do you have any updates? I'm particularly interested in what, if any, changes you've made, and whether these represented evolution of the tactic over time, reaction to opponents, or moving past compromises you had to make based on available personnel when you found yourself able to bring in new players. I'm guessing that in keeping with the notion of the generic, changes were minimal, but you never know. Also, you said you kept PIs to a minimum; have you also preferred few PPMs?
  13. I am on my very first save ever and I'm finding myself to be generally conservative and pragmatic. I am managing in the lower leagues and my weak squad necessitates application over vision. I play simple, intuitive football, usually on Counter, prioritizing defense over attack and not losing over winning. I ask defenders to defend, not to venture forward unless I'm losing. My matches tend to be low-scoring: 1-0 is a good scoreline to me. I generally cede possession and try to grab a goal on the break or from a long ball. In attack I'm direct and I insist on having at least one winger on the pitch to supply crosses. I'm generally the sort of manager to tell my players I believe in them and put an arm around their shoulders when they lose, though occasionally I have to express my disappointment in them. In the media I'm calm and say little controversial. But who knows, maybe in my next save I'll play ambitious, expansive football and play all sorts of mind games with my players and the press. I just don't know when that will be, ha. How do you guys decide when to abandon your first save and try something new?
  14. A Pulis for 2016. Leeds Longball

    Great thread. I've been using something a bit similar. In my fourth season managing Curzon Ashton in the VNL with a 4-4-2. I play direct football and try to keep it tight at the back, leading to a lot of low-scoring games. I have recently started to move away from a TM and am trying a DLP(s) now. Keep us updated!
  15. Wingers tactics ?

    Plenty of great tactics employ wingers. They may present problems, but there's no reason you can't use them if you want to. It doesn't matter whether other people present what they say are good tactics without wingers; what matters is whether they work for you and help your team play the way you want it to play. I'm struggling a bit with the wingers in my tactic, which is a 4-4-2, and I'm experimenting with replacing at least one of the two with a Wide Midfielder. But I would really like to keep one of them, because they offer an outlet that produces the kind of football I like. What are you trying to do and what problems have you had?