Hello everybody. My nickname is Tsuru, I am a brazilian fan of Football Manager (I believe I like the game more than real football itself), and I´d like to share the development of my current tactical system, called Metodo Leccese. As it is still being developed, I´ll divide this topic into small chapters which will also talk about the team´s progression and results regarding the tactical aspect.
The first thing to notice is that I still play FM 17 due to a lack of funds, so I don´t have the defensive shape and the new roles present in recent versions.
The second important think is the kind of manager which I used to be. Do you know the one who changes all the roles and mentalities during the match and gives the team many instructions without logic because the team is playing bad? That was me. And I am still learning and trying to improve.
So let´s start the first chapter.
1: Every crisis is an opportunity
After winning Serie C Girone C´s title with Lecce in Italy, we stuck in Serie B for three seasons. After a first consolidation one, the script was the same on the other two: Lecce used to start very well, but normally before winter´s pause, we started to lose, I changed the formation and tactics, the results were worse and we fell on the table, losing the chance of going directly to Serie A. And in the playoffs we lost to Verona and Carpi.
We were in the fourth season and going the same way. The team was playing very well on a 4-3-1-2, however I believe this formation is a bit extreme. We needed something more solid and reliable, not just something the manager likes.
I felt I needed to change the way I manage my teams, tactics included. Sometimes tactics looks just a combination of formation and way of play, defined by shape, mentality and players´ roles and duties, however they can affect everything on your club. If you have a clear and solid system, you don´t need to change it every season, and this can help you when looking for players to hire, for example. If you change the tactics completely and a lot all the time, you may even hire unnecessary players and this can affect the club´s finances.
So there was a crisis and every crisis is also an opportunity. Looking for tactical ideas, I found @Rashidi´s article about supersystems, and as Lecce had versatile players, a suspersystem was possible. I did something which is usually not recommended, started our tests during the ongoing season; however, I believe tests have better results during competitions, as pre-season friendlies can make you believe your team is playing better than it really is. So as long as you don´t test something so much crazy and mantain some coherence I think you will do well.
After the tests - which included a fantastic turnaround against Avellino and we won 2-1 on the end of the match, after losing 1-0 almost the whole game - the system stabilized with the following parameters:
Three trained formations: wingers, narrow (both on Stantard mentality) and emergency (Control mentality), with no TI´s or PI´s;
The wingers and narrow formations would use a Halfback, which I simply love, in order to allow the fullbacks more freedom high up the pitch;
I would select our formation for the next match based on the adversary´s report, always trying to think which of our 3 formations gave us more spatial advantage;
Although emergency has this name, it could be used from start if our adversary had a formation that naturally sits deep on their pitch, which normally indicates that they will play on the Counter or looking for a deadly ball.
When reading about the Halfback, I figured it out it is one of the oldest roles in football, created by Hebert Chapman in the 20´s. Chapman used to use two halfbacks in his Arsenal, and Vitorio Pozzo brought the idea to Italy - where the role was called “Centromediano Metodista”, and Pozzo´s system, which just used one of them, had the name “Metodo”.
So, if our system had the Metodista as one of its watermarks, I decided to call it “Metodo Leccese”. And these were the chosen formations (the roles are in portuguese, please ask if you miss something):
The 4-1-3-2 was designed to give us more balance on the flanks, as the central midfielders played near the fullbacks, which I thought was better than in a 4-4-2 diamond. However, it looked kind of bureaucratic sometimes. In many matches we dominated, however the goals were very hard to score and many of them came from the CM - Attack, a role in which Leonardo Morosini was simply fantastic. So fantastic that he scored 13 times and was elected player of the year in Serie B.
Our wingers´ formation was not my first choice, too. I wanted to use a 4-1-4-1 DM Wide, however it was kind of strange. So I decided to change to @Cleon´s 4-2-3-1 deep, using a Regista as I couldn´t put a Segundo Volante. I knew it used to work well with me and it really did, although scoring goals was also hard. I think other teams parked the bus against us and double marked Patrick Cutrone, which shone on the first half of the competition. So maybe it was not just a formation issue (as I am learning more and more, generally it never is).
For the third one I used a simple 4-3-3 and it also worked well, however the spaces were hard to fullfill sometimes, mainly the ones between midfield and attack.
It may sound also strange to use a Halfback and the Fullbacks role, however I believe this give us more balance. When I use wingbacks they go up so much in the pitch and open a lot for space to counters; and when defending they always look to be on the wrong time and place. I think it´s not just the Wingback role itself, it is also because our fullbacks are not so good to play as true Wingbacks.
Despite some small issues, in general the first version of Metodo Leccese was very solid and the results were fantastic. We won Serie B with 85 points, a 10 point difference to Perugia, and after 10 seasons Lecce was back to Serie A.
The next challenge would be keep the system´s main parameters on a top division which is one of the best in Europe. And, of course, our main competitive goal was not to fall back to Serie B. Next chapter - Metodo Leccese´s debut in Serie A