This season, I’ve been really taken with Real Betis and their attempts to play attacking football that utilises the technical abilities of their players.
Setien is a maverick, a man who has stated his sole purpose is to produce produce entertaining football and score goals, even at the expense of getting results. A man who has said he is left cold by modern football, he is a purist, a man who idolises Johann Cruyff and Luis Aragones. His Betis side, at times have played football at least comparable to anything produced by Guardiola’s City and Sarri’s Napoli.
Here’s a video from Tifo, attempting to explain the principles behind the thinking of their manager Quique Setien.
It is important to note that Betis have moved away from that 4-1-2-2-1 formation now, and are playing a 3-5-1-1 or 3-4-2-1, which is what i’m aiming to create with Inter Milan in my first season. The move to the back 3 has massively improved Betis’s defensive performance, and enabled them to push on and challenge for a European place.
Tactics is available for subscription from Steam Workshop here. Please see opposition instructions below for the tactic.
Blog post for this tactic available at https://footballmanager2017dotblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/quique-setiens-3-5-1-1-possession-based-tactic-title-italian-cup-in-first-season/
Inter are a good team to try this with, because in Perisic, Valero, Brozovic, Skriniar, and Icardi they have some players who have good technique. Rafinha is also there on loan for the first season, and they have a lot of talented young players. Their current U20 team is arguably the best in Europe right now. All in all, a great team to start FM18 with.
Betis play either a 3-4-2-1 or a 3-5-1-1 which I will use for this tactic, given the player’s I’ve got at Inter in the first season.
To recreate this tactic in FM, I’ve used a DLF-Su to essentially recreate the Boudebouz position. This is because at Inter, you’ve got Icardi, Pinamonti, and I signed Martinez as they have in real life, none of which are adept at playing in the AM role.
But obviously if you had the players to do it, then the AM-A can work quite well. Occasionally, i’ll drop the DLF-Su into an AM-A if i’m playing Franco Vazquez there, and he feeds the AF-A quite nicely.
To play as Betis do, as you can see I’ve signed ball playing centre-backs with good first touch, composure, decisions, and passing. Given the high line it helps if the BPD-Co has good pace, and you don’t really want any CB’s who are slow. I have a better keeper, Rulli, although Handanovic is a world class stopper.
I’ve also signed two new wing-backs, with good dribbling, crossing, first touch, composure, passing, and off the ball. You want your AF-A to have good pace, finishing and heading, and your DLF-Su to have good passing and vision as well as dribbling and off the ball. Central midfielders should all have the standard attributes for ball playing teams, e.g. passing, first touch, decisions, composure, technique, off the ball. I’m pretty happy with this team now, have some other unavailable players (Frenkie de Jong, and Carlos Soler in CM).
I would say control is the best tactic to recreate Setien. Perhaps you might deem his tactics “attacking” in orientation, but we all know that Attacking is a VERY attacking orientation in FM. You can set up an attacking version of the same tactic, just for games in which you are losing, but attacking basically causes too many forward passes and the tempo to be far too quick, you’re going a bit too direct with it.
Remember Setein cites Aragones as his major influence. BUT you do want to use pass into pass here, Setein I would say is a little more direct than the traditional tiki-taka ball retention styles of Spain in the early 2010s. I mean you could use attacking, slowing the the tempo and restricting width ticking off “pass into space”, you might get the same effect. Attacking also has the effect of intensifying the press and raising the defensive line. And yes, there are many ways to create the same style. This is just one. If you toggle between control and attack, you will see many things happen to the other instructions, it’s good to understand the linkages.
Having a fluid team shape does two things crucial to Setien’s style. Firstly, it raises the creative freedom of the players, and secondly, it ensures that Defenders and particularly full backs make attacking contributions, whilst attackers will contribute to the defensive phases also.
Having a normal tempo was the best way I found to recreate the appropriate passing speeds. Setien does not rush things, but he is far from slow possession for possession-sakes passing we see at teams like Swansea. Having normal tempo allows a team full of good decision makers to make decisions about the speed of the game and make passes which are appropriate to the situation, as per Setien. If you create an attacking version of this tactic, the tempo will automatically rise.
The wing-backs are an important feature of Setien’s betis in this 3 at the back system, therefore it’s important I think to get a balanced approach here. Possession based control tactics can function better playing with less width, especially with 3 CM’s and 2 strikers, but I think if you have two good wing-backs you gain fidelity to Setien by using balanced. If you’ve got an AF-A with good heading, you’ll score a few from crosses also, and get some nice triangles with the CBs, CM’s and WB’s.
Defensive Line & Offside Trap
Highest line you can have with control is slightly higher. If you use attacking you can go one higher. I wouldn’t say Betis use as high a line as Sarri, so perhaps slightly higher is OK, i’d like to go one notch higher though still. Again, offside trap should be ticked, although I wouldn’t say Setien is as obsessive as say, Saachi in his use of the offside trap. Would be nice to have different measures of offside trap, e.g. Aggressive, moderate, weak offside trap.
Closing Down & Prevent GK distribution.
Again, Betis do a lot of closing down and the attackers contribute to this. See the opposition instructions will help achieve the desired effect of closing down in the opposition defensive areas and attacking wide areas. If you use attacking, you can go one notch more aggressive in your press.
Note, you need to have players with high team work and work rate to execute pressing properly, if you don’t have these players it won’t work properly. Even 12’s are not good enough, hence I sold Icardi, Perisic, and Candreva second season. Use your pre-match sessions also to focus upon the pressing.
GK distribution will help press the opposition back line, and you will recover a ball once or twice a game doing so, obviously tires your strikers out doing this, and you’ll need to keep an eye on their fitness.
Get Stuck In
I wouldn’t say this is a feature of Betis’s play, I just like to have it ticked. You could undo it if you wanted to, and you wouldn’t lose fidelity.
Build Up play
To get the Setien build up style, you’ll first need to ensure that the GK is playing the ball out to the central CB.
This can be done in player instructions as follows. The use of sweeper keeper in FM is interesting, because you can’t have a sweeper keeper who plays no risky passes, so arguable a Goalkeeper will give you better fidelity in the playing sense. Although there are times that you can get caught out when your CB’s are high, and the GK is too withdrawn. But if you use a Sweeper keeper, you will find him playing too many long passes, like Ederson does for Man City. It’s a trade off I guess.
The other features of build up are obviously, play out from the back, with shorter passing and retain possession ticked.
I’ve ticked pass into space, just so that we get the verticality we see with Setien’s style.
I’ve ticked more expressive as Setien does like his teams to entertain, and has even said he prioritises entertainment over results, we want to maximise flair for sure.
In terms of our attacks, obviously we want to work the ball into the box.
I’m not sure if overlap does anything when you are not playing wingers, but it might help the wing-backs overlap the wide CM’s possibly, so I’ve left it ticked.
Again, we want to see fluid and creative movements from our players, so I’ve ticked roam from positions.
Purpose of these instructions is to recreate the tight closing down on opposition defenders and deeper midfielders, and the pressing of wide players. Players are also either to be shown inside, or pushed onto their weaker feet. All players are to be greeted with aggressive tackling.
I would argue that general training on Team Cohesion at High Intensity should be done until you get to Very Good Match cohesion. At this point, you can then switch to a mix of attacking, tactical and ball control training, which will develop the attributes needed to play this tactic.
Player training will be by their roles, and firstly focus upon compsure for defenders, off the ball for midfielders and strikers, at whatever intensity level you can get them to train before they start moaning.
ALSO GET GOOD COACHES IN ON THE FIRST DAY YOU ARRIVE THERE.
Five star coaches are easy to find, just go into staff search and select filter, and click on attributes, and select motivation, determination and level of discipline at 15, and click match 2 from 3. Then you need a coach that has a sum of 60 across four attributes; (i) for the thing you want him to coach, e.g. attacking, (ii) motivation, (iii) determination, and (iv) level of discipline.
So you could have 20 for attacking coaching, 20 for motivation, and 19 for determination, and 1 for discipline, he’d be a 4 star coach.
Also always ask your board for extra coaches, so you can get the workload down ASAP. Check this every month or so, to keep getting more. I’ve got like 15 now at Inter in two years, we started on nine.
Also once you’ve won a fair few games, say, around Xmas, ask them to improve the training facilities. If you’re like me, and focus upon young talent, the training facilities have to be very strong, or you won’t improve the players quick enough to justify selecting them over established players.
Use tutoring also, select older players over 25, with outstanding mental attributes, and try to tutor every youngster at the club at least once. Determination is one attribute that get’s passed on well in training, so use highly determined players to develop less determined youngsters
Brings ball out from the back
Tries long range passes (if good passing stats)
Switches ball to the other flank
Runs forward with ball often (if good dribbling)
Gets forward whenever possible
Runs with ball down their flank (if good dribbling) or Knocks ball past opponent (if good pace but poor dribbling)
Comes deep to get ball
Stays back at all times
Plays simple short passes
Comes deep to get ball
Tries long range passes & switches ball to other flank & tries killer passes (if good passing /. vision) or shoots from distance (if good long shots)
Arrives late in opposition area
Tries Killer Balls
Drops deep to get ball
Runs with ball often
Tries Killer Balls
Beats the offside trap
Tries first time shots