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  1. Yes, I can see where you’re coming from in terms of structured facilitating quick transitions better. I didn’t particularly set out to achieve quick transitions though; that’s just how I think of the flat 4-4-2 real life’s strengths. In my FM save I started with no instructions and only tweaked things if I saw a clear need too. In the case of team shape, I changed to fluid (from the default flexible) because I wanted to reduce the gap between my forwards and midfield, and midfield and defence, when we had the ball. This wasn’t to achieve fast transitions particularly, but just to more effectively string attacks together in general. Same thing when I added the more direct passing instruction. It wasn’t because I’d set out with the aim of “I want to play direct”; it was because I kept seeing my players trying to pass short when I could see better passing options further up the field (when I say ‘better’, I just mean in terms of what I wanted to see my players doing, which is based on my personal preferences of course). It’s working great so far. I’ve now played 21 matches without changing a thing, and lost 2, drawn 3, won 16 and best of all kept 16 clean sheets. There’s a long way to go in the season yet though, so it’s going to be challenging keeping that kind of form going until the end. EDIT: And I meant to add... The style of play I’m getting is noticeably more direct in terms of passing length than with everything on standard, and also in terms of players looking for a forward pass, but it’s quite neutral tempo so not particularly direct in the sense of being ‘quick’ football.
  2. The flat 4-4-2 is one of my favourite real-life formations, but I have to admit I’ve previously found it difficult to get working well in FM 18 and tended to give up too early instead of spending time to analyse why it’s not doing what I want. This is another very helpful article of yours though Cleon, and it inspired me to give it a proper go so thanks for posting it. I decided to strip things right back to basics to start with. I started with standard strategy and flexible shape and no team or player instructions whatsoever, and just concentrated on the roles and duties for the first 3-5 matches. I then started making small and deliberate tweaks / additions to get the style of play more to my liking, but I never made more than one tweak every couple of matches so I could properly assess the effects. This approach seems to have done the trick, because by 8 matches into the season (+ friendlies) I have something simple (in the sense I understand what it does and why) and reasonably effective. Since then I’ve left things unchanged for 10 matches and had a record of PL10 W8 D2 L0 F21 A4, and played some top teams amongst that (Juve, Napoli, Roma, Marseille). I’m playing with Milan who have a decent squad, but it’s more suited to a narrow 4-1-3-2 / 4-3-1-2 / diamond so this added some challenge. I’ve ended up with this (the only instruction not shown is ‘distribute quickly’ PI for the GK). I always think of the flat 4-4-2 as suited to a fairly direct style with quick transitions, so this is what I’ve gone for. Ideally I’d sign a DLF with better strength, vision and passing, but I want to work with what I’ve got for season one and to be fair Silva has been doing really well (shame he’s just gotten injured for 4-5 weeks, which will be a big blow). In central midfield I have some good options and can really vary how I play by choosing different players. For example if I want to play things safe I use Biglia who has the ‘plays short simple passes’ PPM, but if the opposition is pressing high or I’m in bad need of a late goal I can bring on Montolivo who has the ‘tries killer passes’ PPM. My AF is my top scorer, which is good because that’s what I envisaged when initially planning the tactic. The DLF isn’t far behind though, and the ML is not far behind that (which again, is great because I wanted him to be the third attacking threat). The WP is leading in assists, so is doing his job as playmaker, and the DLF and WM are close behind, which again is something I’d hoped would happen. Something I didn’t expect is that the AF is also getting a fair few assists - typically from pulling wide to receive the ball and then crossing - so the two strikers are complimenting and feeding each other nicely. It’s not all rosey though. I’ve been outplayed a couple of times despite getting results, so I need to keep analysing this in more detail. At this stage I’m not sure if this will turn out to be a problem or not, but I’m playing a direct style so I expected some opponents to dominate possession and have more shots, and if they’re generally from long range and I’m still getting results this might be fine.
  3. Agreed - I've often thought this. In real life, the problem would be whether what you've asked the players to do gets results, also influenced massively by how much you can get the players to buy in to what you've told them and actually do it. In FM though, a big part of the problem is translation - i.e. how do you even tell the players what you mean, given the tools the game offers you. In my opinion, this could very easily be greatly improved by simply having better in-game descriptions of instructions etc.
  4. In theory I might use it if the opposition is really deep and standing off holding their positions. The idea being that it's more difficult to play through them, and more importantly players can shoot with more accuracy when they are given time and space so long shots could still be dangerous. Having said that, this is pure theory as I've never actually tried it!
  5. I think summatsupeer makes some very good points about the balance of the roles. You’re clearly getting good results, so I’m in no way suggesting I know better, but in case it helps here are the roles and duties I’m using for a system based more on movement and space creation, as opposed to counter attack. It’s all about how the roles work together to form something greater than the sum of its parts. In my case I decided I wanted an attack minded Mezzala, so this was my starting point and I built the team around this role. The right winger stays wide to occupy the fullback and give the Mezzela the space he needs in the channel, and the CF drops deep and roams from his position enabling the MEZ to get beyond him and use the space he vacates. My CF dropping deep means he doesn’t offer as much off-the-ball penetration, so the Raumdeauter helps with this by again using the space vacated and looking to get forward more. The CM then acts as a simpler supporting player to help link everything together. In defence, I have three conservative roles supporting and covering from counters while the WB gets forward to give penetration from deep and offer width on the left while the Raumdeuter sits narrower, and the Regista gives the guys making penetrating runs the supply they need.
  6. That gave me a good laugh at work 😂. If only it wasn't so true!
  7. Fair points about the two forwards' roles in my 'England' tactic; they are certainly debatable. It's all about interpretation, but mine is that Sterling plays as a hybrid advanced forward / shadow striker, alternating between the two in a given match. I can't replicate this in FM, so I went with AF as to my mind Southgate likes him high up for his pace, and I think his squad selection illustrates this as Vardy (a clear AF) is the backup, with Welbeck being the backup for Kane - and IMO this is why Welbeck made the squad, as Vardy or Rashford can't hold it up as well. You could also debate some of the other roles. The left wingback could be support duty perhaps, particularly when Young plays the role, and Henderson could even be a DLP given his adventurous passing at times and the way the team rely on him to dictate things (laugh all you want, but England look significantly less effective without him in my opinion). At the end of the day it's all open interpretation, and that was just mine. Incidentally, I seem to have cursed things by posting it here, as I'm now going through my first rough patch of the season! Makes it an even truer representation of England though - as soon as you start saying how good we look it all goes wrong!
  8. I couldn’t agree more. There’s a lot to be said for sticking with your basic system so players get used to it, and making improvements gradually. It’s worth remembering that when things don’t go to plan there could be many non-tactical reasons for it (morale, player type/quality, luck, motivation, complacency, fitness etc).
  9. Here’s my interpretation of England (don’t laugh - I actually like how we play!). Going well with Bari in Serie B in 2020-21 on my journeyman save - top of the league by 11 points after 22 games, media prediction 9th. Only player instructions are run with ball more for the outer centrebacks, to try (with limited success) to replicate how often Maguire and Walker bring the ball out of defence. Kane is the DLF who holds it up and stays central as a goal threat, and Sterling / Vardy is the AF who runs at defenders and tries to beat the offside trap. All other positions will be obvious. I know the high pressing is not always how England play, but it’s how I think they play best - e.g. start of the Tunisia game.
  10. I tend to stick to lurking on this forum these days, but couldn't resist resurfacing to have a go at this! To add interest I fancied using a club I knew nothing about, so I started a new save with Ostersunds FK, a club predicted to finish 8th in the 16-team Allsvenskan (Swedish premier league). It’s ended up being a really enjoyable one, as well as surprising as the the lads far exceeded my and the board's expectations by winning the league in my first season. We started pretty well, gradually notching up increasingly frequent wins to climb to the top spot by about the third point. The middle of the season won it for us, with some great results meaning we never dropping below 2nd / 3rd with games in hand, and although we faltered a bit in the final third of the season, suffering a few losses, rivals did too so in the end we managed to clinch it with one match remaining. In the Swedish cup we achieved, but not exceeded, the board's expectations by reaching the quarter final, where we were knocked out on penalties by a fortuitous AIK who had 5 shots (all off target) to our 28. Media predictions ranked them as the 2nd best team in the league though, so I had no complaints with this performance. Tactics wise, I employed the same 4-2-3-1 system (shown below) in every match, with the only occasional change being switching the AML’s role from inside forward to winger if I brought the one left footed player I had in that position on as a sub. After a while I stopped doing even this though, as I found he tended to go down the wing and get crosses in more anyway even on the IF role, just because of his foot preference (he didn't have this behaviour as a PPM). I didn't use any PIs, OIs or set piece instructions, so what you see below is it. Up front, I rotated between two players and they both ended with a good goals to games ratio. I started with this role as DLF attack, but he wasn't getting as many goals as I'd like so I changed it to AF which improved things substantially. The midfield was what made the tactic. The wide AMs were both very effective, getting plenty of assists and a decent goal tally too. The central AM got the most assists, with the passing and vision of my first choice player seeming to make quite a big difference in this regard, so I think these are key attributes here. Behind the AMs, the DLP also got a few assists, and generally dictated things, so I think decent all-round attributes are needed here. I also gave the players in this position training for the 'dictates tempo’ PPM if they didn't already have it, and discouraged any PPMs associated with getting forward too much. The BWM was an important but low key role. Using someone with decent tackling (a player who could also play centreback in my case) is key to him doing his job and also minimising fouls. The defence and keeper roles were also low key, but stronger than the sum of their parts when combined as a unit, with us concededing the fewest goals in the league. Perhaps not what you'd expect from a team lining up in such an attacking base formation I expect next season to be more difficult, as I don't anticipate having the resources to make significant squad improvements, yet I'll be competing in the Champions League as well as the two domestic competitions. On the plus side, this means I'll be able to give fringe players more game time to keep them happy, which is something I struggled with this season. As champions, I also expect more teams will defend deeper against me and look to counter. I look forward to it though, and have found this a great challenge to do because of the way it prompts you to focus on getting the basics right first and foremost.
  11. I agree with what Cleon says about generic and specialist roles being arbitrary terms, but I think the general principle of roles with more instructions requiring more specialist players is a valid one. If you take a generic role that has no inherent PIs, such as the CM(S), and compare this with the same role that you have customised by adding the "tackle harder" PI for example, the latter is more specialist by definition as you now want a player with particularly good tackling to fill the role whereas before you added that instruction that didn't matter as much. I think my point is that, in my opinion at least, it's more of a sliding scale than a binary 'specialist' or 'generalist' classification, ranging from quite general roles like CM(S) and FB(S), to more specialist roles like W(A) and T(A) that require a particular skill set to function optimally. With the more general roles (and to be fair also with other roles, but to a lesser degree), I also find what AFCBeer says about attributes affecting how a player 'interprets' a role to be quite an important consideration. Of course, some roles, such as LD(D) and P(A), are also more limited than say a general MC(S) or FB(S) role, because rather than telling a player to do some things more (and therefore requiring them to be good at those things ideally), they are telling a player to do some things less (thereby making it not such a problem if they are bad at those things - providing your tactic is set up with the limitations and strengths of those roles in mind of course).
  12. No problem. For the 4-3-3, everything you need to recreate it is in post #1. It works pretty well with big teams where you are usually the favourite, but you'll find it doesn't work with lesser teams - probably because it's too attacking. The 4-2-3-1 is much more effective, regardless of whether you use a big or small team, so that's the one I'd recommend. Good luck, whichever you use!
  13. I definitely play on 15.3.2, and that's what patch I was using when I created the tactic so can't explain it! You can easily recreate the tactic without downloading though. The formation, player roles & duties, team shape and mentality are in the screenshot in post #18. Team instructions are in the screenshot below, and the only player instructions (GK) are in the screenshot below that. The above is all for the 4-2-3-1 of course, but whether you're playing as a big or small team this is much better than the 4-3-3 in post #1 so it should be all you need
  14. When you try to import it, are you sure you are navigating to the correct folder (i.e. the one where you saved the tactic when you downloaded it)? I have tried the above process of importing it, and for me it works just fine in .fmf format.
  15. I've never used a downloaded tactic in FM15 so not 100% sure, but I found these instructions on another website (original poster was called Conn - so all credit to them if it works): If you download a .FMF file and don't know how to get it into the game: 1. On the tactics menu choose "Manage Tactics..." 2. Click "Import" 3. Find the .FMF file where ever you put it on your computer. 4. Load it and it will now show in the menu as before. BUT, It will not show up in the Archived Tactics part. If you want it to you have to go to Manage Tactics once more and use the "Export" option to save it as a .TAC file.
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