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  1. Good day and welcome to the second instalment of my series of posts. I would, first, like to apologise for the delay between this post and the first one. I have no excuse that would justify the timing, as such I can only offer my humble apologies. As the topic of this post suggests, today I would be talking about mentalities and the relationship with shape (which I have earlier explained). However, before I begin, I just want to clarify my stance on tactic creation and implementation. I have no ‘beef’ with anyone who chooses to play the game any other way apart from my own. in fact, I welcome new suggestions and would implement them in my own process if it/they make(s) sense to me. You would probably have deciphered from my use of ‘sense’ that its quite subjective, after all what makes sense to me may not make sense to someone else. In that regard, I would like to change the way we think and play football manager, drastically. That is my goal for these posts, so if I can convince one or two people I would consider it progress. Mentality, what is it really? A precise definition elude me till today, but from what I have gathered; it is basically how pro-actively your team is to play. The names of some of the mentalities have changed a bit, especially in this last edition of the game, but the basics are still the same. You could possibly assume from the in game descriptions of each mentality what each of the seven mentalities do, so there shouldn’t be a need to describe them one by one. As such I will not dwell on what they do but how they are employed, and of course the relationship to shape. As stated earlier, mentality describes how pro-actively you want your formation to be. A ‘Very attacking’ mentality, when set up properly would see your team seek to get players into the opposition half, and then subsequently into their box in a bid to score goals; as many goals as you can. This, on the baseline, sounds like all sorts of risk; this is true (when not implemented properly), but the rewards are immense as well (when implemented properly). However, the level of risk when weighed against the other mentalities is probably the same. This may sound confusing, so I will try and explain my assertion to the best of my ability using two different teams with two different mentalities. Let us, first, use a team (an imaginary team of course) team Thanos, and let us ascribe this team’s primary formation a ‘very attacking’ mentality. This team will have players getting forward into dangerous areas, as such other players in the team can make more forward passes since they know those players will make that run, this in turn would increase the number of players needed to feed the relatively increased number of runners. Now you would think this will leave a whole lot of space, and if the play breaks down, people will be too far forward or too out of position, and the counter attack from the opposition team would be sweeeeeeeeeet! The kind of thing that would make its way into television adverts and social media memes. This is in fact true to an extent. Now, lets also create another team ( obviously also imaginary) team TMNT, and as we have done before ascribe a ‘very defensive’ mentality to that teams formation. This mentality seeks to relinquish all or most of the initiative to the opposing team, some may say ‘hiding in its shell’ waiting to strike, or just building a great wall around their area with bodies (kinda like in the movie 300). One would assume that they would not easily concede, because they do not send many players to make forward runs (if ever they do), and not many players go forward in support of those players. This mentality is for lack of a better term SAFE. However, as most people who watch foot ball would tell you, that presumed safety is probably the catalyst to their downfall. As in most cases, they find themselves camped in their own 18 unable to get out because of a lack of an outlet that isn’t marked out of the game, then with moments of lack of concentration, fatigue, ‘rush of blood’, an ill timed slip, and frankly any mistake, and an opposition player could ghost in and score. Heck, even a player of messi’s calibre can score a long ranged screamer, problem is that in that teams case, the shot would more likely be from closer to goals what with defending so deep. The probability of a counter in team Thanos, and the probability of a mistake or something similar in team TMNT would be similar in value. As such, one would say that all mentalities have the same probability of failure when employed properly, and with imaginary players that have 100 for all stats, that probability approaches zero. Lest I forget, the basis of using an attacking mentality and as such sending players forward lies in the fact that if that player is not picked up by the opposition he would get into a position to score goals. This mentality more or less forces the opposition to make a choice, send more players back to cover or run the risk of being exposed. So why do people choose one mentality over another? There are several factors involved in making this decision, to list a few; The inclinations of the squad they have inherited or chosen, the calibre of players in the squad, personal preference, and the fans outcry for attractive football or defensive football. I would like to explain those mentioned. 1) The inclinations of the squad: this is pretty simple really, if you had a team full of n’golo kantes you would choose to be more defensive since their defensive side is more potent than their attacking side, and if you had a team full of messis and probably one kante you would choose to be more attacking, actually scratch that if you had a team full of aaron ramseys who just love to get forward and affect attacking play you would want to be more attacking. A team without the proper players trying to play an attacking mentality would more likely make the kind of mistakes that lead to counter attacks against them. So also a team without the proper players trying to play a defensive mentality would lead more often to the kind of mistakes that lead to goals. 2) The calibre of players in the squad: Sometimes, you are just blessed with some gifted individuals and you feel the urge to build the team around them, this style of formation creation can lead you to any of the mentalities really. 3) Personal preference; self explanatory. 4) Fans outcry: Football fans can be very demanding, not just the fans but also the board of directors as well. So sometimes you find yourself either being obligated to fulfil their wishes (in the cases of it being added in your contract) or just feeling the urge to please the fans that really pay your salary. I would like to categorize the mentalities based on their proactive nature: Group A; Very attacking (Overload), Attacking, Positive(Control) Group N; Standard. Group D; Counter, Defensive, and Very defensive (contain). It is time to move onto the next part of the post, which is describing how mentalities are employed. I got caught up in explaining parts of how they are but that would only serve to reduce the need for explanations in the subsequent parts of this document. For Group A mentalities, the primary focus of your game is to be on the offensive, in other words, to attack the other team. These mentalities basically describe the sum of the key individual mentalities of the players in that formation. The more attacking individual mentalities, the more attacking the overall team mentality is. As such we can assume that the key to these group A mentalities is the number of attacking duty players in the teams. Conversely, for Group D mentalities (applying the same logic) we can then assume that the number of defensive duty players is the key to the defensive mentalities. Group N mentality (standard) is the dividing line, and is focused on the supporting duty players. I will now describe how to employ each mentality starting from Group A mentalities. Positive: Formerly called control mentality ( I would assume because of the carefully measured balance between sending players forward, and keeping players back in support of those players in a bid to always remain in control of the game), this is a mentality focused on attacking the opponent, but not with the same intensity and number of players as the other mentalities in group A. This mentality requires 4 attacking duty players to function, the rest of the duties can be shared anyway you see fit among the other players as long as It is defensively sound and potent in attack.. Attacking: this requires 5 players on attacking duty, and as mentioned before the other duties are shared among the other players. Very Attacking; Formerly called overload (probably because of the sheer number of attacking players required that naturally overloads the opposition defence). This mentality requires a minimum of 6 attacking duty players and the rest are shared among the other players. In the above you would have noticed a trend, the focus is on attacking duty players and the distribution of the other duties does not affect the mentality. Next is the Group D mentalities; like their attacking counterpart, they follow the same trend Counter: This carefully balances the requirement for releasing initiative (by keeping players behind the ball) with the need to strike while the iron is hot, as such it was so aptly named. This mentality is not to be confused with basic counter attacks that can be found in most other mentalities, this mentality seeks to weaponize counter attacks and use them as its primary means of scoring goals. It requires 4 defensive duty players Defensive: This mentality requires 5 defensive duty players and the other duties can be distributed however you see fit. Very Defensive (contain); requires a minimum of 6 defensive duty players. Then we have the Group N mentality; Standard. I bet that if you’ve followed this post you can already guess what it is. Standard: 3 attacking duty players, 3 defensive duty players, the rest are support duty. This mentality Is very specific in the distribution of roles because any deviation would lead to another mentality entirely. At this point you would have noticed something curious, it would be difficult to play 4 attacking and 4 defensive duty players in the same formation, this creates a conundrum that is not supported by the lack of supporting duty players. With this, the jig saw puzzle that is tactic creation is already beginning to unravel. Finally, I would like to talk about the relationship between shape and mentality. Anyone not too familiar with my description of shape should refer to my previous post to clarify any issues. Mentality and shape have very close ties to the distribution of duties in the team. One denotes the number of those players and the other denotes the position of such players, kinda like x and y coordinates in a graph. With the two working in tandem, you can predict where you would need to place a player on a specific duty in order to balance the team out. In that regard, it would be difficult (not impossible) to play an attacking or very attacking mentality with a structured or very structured shape. There are multiple reasons why this would be, some include; 1) In the structured and very structured shape the attacking duties are positioned higher up the field and the defensive are positioned further down the field and they are encouraged to focus on fewer phases of play. Increasing the number of attacking duty players would increase the number of players that would not come back to defend when the ball is lost leading to more goals conceded. The converse is the case in fluid or very fluid shapes, defensive duty players are positioned higher as well as deeper, and attacking duties are positioned higher as well as lower and are encouraged to contribute to more phases of play. This spread-out distribution ensures that the attacking players that go forward come back to defend and the defensive players that are already in front engage the opposition immediately the ball is lost. 2) For a shape like very structured where the defensive strata is for defensive duties, midfield strata is for support duty players, and striker strata is for attack duty players, to put 5 or 6 players (that are required for the attacking and very attacking mentality) would be nigh on impossible. Unless, you wish to play 2-3-5 or something like that. Wouldn’t it make interesting football. Of course, the number of shapes don’t tally with the number of mentalities so its safe to say that there is some overlap. This overlap is to your own discretion, after setting up the team following the basics, the mentality and shape should automatically reveal itself. You can also go the other way round; pick a mentality and a shape and then use that to sort out your player placement. We have arrived at the end of my post and for all those who have read to this point, thank you. I will release the next post as soon as I can but I cannot give a definite date (I will soon start work and it can be demanding). honestly, I would like suggestions on what to talk about next, these first two posts were a no-brainer in terms of deciding to talk about them. Football manager has gotten pretty vast so there is so much to talk about (with regards to tactic creation). have a great rest of your day.
  2. That being said, football has evolved from the simple 4-4-2 so there are striker roles that are not primarily goal scorers but feeder for other players. This doesn't change the fact that the striker role in that instance would determine what those other attacking roles would be. All that does is change who feeds who, in the end the focal point for most attacking play is the striker.
  3. I am pretty sure about this one. I assume you think the two are mutually exclusive, but they are not. The very fluid shape demands the striker be on defend duty, the other roles in the strike partnership are also determined by the striker role and the playing style is determined by the sum of that. The aim of football is to score goals, the person charged with that responsibility is the striker (primarily), as such to score goals the team needs to function as a feeder for the striker, as such the striker role would determine what and how he/she is fed.
  4. Thank you. I will be writing on the relationship between mentality and shape next, i will post it sometime this week. I hope i can get suggestions on what to write after that, with regards to tactics and tactics creation, it would be really helpful because i have a lot to say and i am not even sure where to begin.
  5. Good morning and Happy Easter to all. This is my first opening post on this forum so I hope it goes well. I’d like to give a brief history before I get right down to what I really want to say. I am a relatively new player and subscriber to the football manager franchise as I only discovered the game on the FM12 instalment, but that does not discount the authenticity of what I hope to convey. I still recall how much I struggled when I started playing, and how bullish I was in not asking for help from others. when I finally did, I only got more confused as things I was told either did not make sense or were just downright contradictory. I sought to find a logical way to play the game that follows both the rules of the game and real life football, and I believe I have found it. My way is unique, but logical. I feel that if you give it and these posts your attention and an open mind you too would find that it does. I would also like to state that my way is all or nothing, by that I mean if you choose to accept my methods they all have to be followed to the tee to get the best results possible, however, I also accept that trial and error and putting a whole bunch of instructions that you’re not sure how they work also works (to an extent), because for most people this method would easily be seen through by the opposition leading to the ‘second half of the season syndrome’, so I will not discredit it. I hope to make many more such posts in the future, as such I would like to introduce my use of ‘levels of significance’ (not to be confused with level of significance in statistics) classification in this and subsequent posts. In the body of this post, I will attribute three levels of significance to statements that I make that in turn confer a level of certainty of fact to the statements made. The three levels are: A; being an almost fact, B; meaning very likely but requires more experimentation, and C; meaning a hypothesis. I hope that using this method would clarify the amount of confidence I have in the statements, as honestly I don’t know it all. The letter would be placed at the end of the sentence (not the beginning), in capital letters and emboldened for ease of recognition, and the statement it refers to would be italicized. Now to get into it. The first thing I would like to address is transitions. Transitions have become more important in this years edition (fm19), as opposed to the previous years, however, this post and the parts that it addresses may not be of much use to this year’s edition. There are two basic types of transitions; Transition to attack (when the team wins the ball) and Transition to defence (when the team loses the ball). Understanding these two transitions helps to understand Shape as a term. The exact duration of these transitions is a mystery to me, however, if I were to hazard a guess I would say it lasts till the team gets back into either attacking or defending shape. Transition to attack has to do with the individual actions performed by the players when the ball is won. I would like to start with the player who won possession of the ball, and speak in football manager terms while describing an active counter (not holding shape after winning the ball) as I feel it would illustrate my point better. This player could be a player on support, defence or attack duty, but their action after winning the ball and the actions of the players around them differ slightly depending on who exactly it is that has won possession. This is also affected by the mentality that you are playing the game on as player actions vary greatly when on different mentalities.A. Right now, I will just use an imaginary mentality called wolf (this mentality does not exist and is just named for the sake of this post as I do not wish to go into detail about how the different mentalities affect the different duties). The player who has won the ball in this mentality has a few choices: kick the ball to thy kingdom come, keep hold of it and drive to the opposition goal, and make a pass. The one he chooses depends on what he is asked to do by his role and his duty. If a playmaker (and I use this term loosely to describe players that like to take more risk in their passing) wins the ball, he is more likely to want to make that killer pass to players up the field who can get the ball in dangerous areas. If a no no-nonsense center-back gets it, he is more likely to take no risk and either give it to the nearest player or hoof it. All these depend on the role and duty. Next, are the players that go back into their defensive shape when the team is in the transition to attack. These players are most likely those on a defend duty as they are not really ACTIVELY involved in the attacking phase in most ‘shapes’. Then there are the players that either go towards the ball or follow closely to either receive it or to be in a position to create space for someone else’s run. These players are most likely the players on support duty, they aim to support the attack by running with the ball, coming deep to receive it and pass again or follow closely to catch a break down in play and continue the attack. There are a few exceptions to this, for example; roles like the Trequerista which can only be found on attack duty but behaves on the counter like a player on support duty. A player on this role will get into the box for a cross, but look to make fewer forward runs rather preferring to roam and look for the ball to make a killer pass. I have to make it clear that this describes the TRQ role in the AMC slot, and the movement into the channels doesn’t qualify as forward runs in that case (I will explain further in subsequent posts). Then finally, the players that are bombing forward to receive said pass. These players are most likely on attack duty, and as always there are exceptions to this. To list a few: wing back on support, TRQ as mentioned earlier, Mezzalla on support. This in part would describe why a good counter tactic works better if the players on attack duty (that make forward runs) are placed up the field, this way they are on their motor when the ball is won.A The reverse would be the case when the ball is lost, that is, the second transition; Transition to defence. Some players move to win the ball, these are most likely players on support duty as they were closely following and are around the ball when it was lost. Some players get into defensive shape to either intercept or mark player from the opposition team that are making forward runs; These players are most likely players on defensive duties as they were already in the defensive shape when the ball is lost. Finally, the players who were either high up the field or are burdened with less defensive responsibility who come back to take their shape and also look for space without the ball in preparation to move when it is won; These players are most likely on an attack duty. There are exceptions to these just as described in the first transition but I will not go into detail as this post is getting long (and this is just the first part). Everything I have said so far could probably be described as abstract as it doesn’t help much in decision making in football manager, so I will simplify it. For most teams, and most shapes, it could be said that the transition phase is governed mainly by the support duty players.B. Defend duty and attack duty players contribute as well, however, by the time the ball gets to a player on an attack duty that phase can already be described as an attacking phase of play, and the defensive duty players prefer to pass to support duty player instead of affecting the play themselves (with obvious exceptions). This by no means takes away from the other duties, I have made this distinction not just for simplicity sake but also because it hold some truth. That being said, I can go onto the next topic; the elusive SHAPE. Shape, to me, is not just a thing that you overlay over on your tactic to change the way it plays, it is not just about controlling passing freedom and individual player mentalities, it is the backbone on which a formation is built. It is that which dictates which phase of play is done by players in each strata of the formation, and to what extent it can be done. In simple terms, it can be described as the bowl that holds the water, without it the water would lose ‘shape’ and become a formless blob. I cannot for the life of me understand why something so important could be removed form this years edition, but I can accept it because it brought about a lot of controversy. There are five shapes to choose from, I feel like there are probably more in real life but in game I think it was done that way to simplify them all. The five are: very structured, structured, flexible, fluid, and very fluid. In truth, the in-game description of these shape is what I will be using to explain shape, nothing more. I will also not be talking about the relationship between shape and mentality in this post as it would just go on for hours (and hours). Very structured: below is the in-game description of the shape. Using basic substitution (jutsu), assuming that transition is done chiefly by support duty players, the shape can be described as follows: defenders are responsible for the defensive phase as such they can only be on defensive duty (as such anyone in the defensive stratum of the field must be on defensive duty as any other duty would lead to them performing another phase of play). Mid-fielders are responsible for the transition phase, as such the mid-fielders must be on support duty, any other duty and they would be performing another phase of play which the role explicitly does not allow (in the beginning it says that the players contribute to just one phase). This applies to all the three midfield stratum. The forwards are responsible only for the attacking phase, as such the strikers can only be on attack duty, whatever the role you choose. So imagine a 4-4-2 with the defenders on defend duty, mid-fielders on support duty and attackers on attack duty. This is the ultimate in ‘do your own and others will do their own, don’t do another person’s own’. Structured shape has a bit of leeway, the CENTRAL DEFENDERS (be it two or three) are responsible for defensive phase only (as such can only be on defend duty). the full backs and more defensive mid-fielders( this could be an out and out defensive mid-fielder or a more defensive central mid-fielder) are responsible for both defence and transition. As such you can put any combination of defensive or supporting roles in these positions. An attacking duty would not make it in, doing that would be like trying to stuff a round bowl of water into a cuboidal shape of equal volume. Wingers and more attacking midfielder (this could be an out and out attacking midfielder or a more attacking central midfielder) are responsible for both attacking and transition phase, as such only support and attacking duties can fit in these positions. Putting a defend duty in the winger slot( this slot being the wide position of the central midfield stratum or the wide position of the AM stratum), would not work (again round bowl, cuboidal hole…). Finally, we have the last one, forwards are responsible for only the attacking phase as such the forwards can only have an attacking duty. As you can discern from this shape, you are given more freedom in ascribing duties to positions on the field. Following that trend I feel you can guess what Flexible is; Defenders and more defensive mid-fielders are responsible for the transition and defensive phase, as such you can distribute these duties however you see fit in these positions. The forwards and more attacking mid-fielders are responsible for the attacking and transition phase, as such you can put attack and support duties in these positions. Alas, using the very basic description you can set up your flexible exactly the same way as the structured, so how then do you tell the difference, simple, the difference comes in the striker position and the central defender positions. If the striker is on a support duty and everything else is the same, that is a flexible shape, if the striker is on attack duty and everything else is the same, that is a structured shape. If the central defender is on support duty, then the shape is flexible. However, central defenders don’t come in support duties (except the libero which only appears in the central defensive position in FM 19 when shape was removed), and till today I am not certain if the sweeper position is considered central defence. Fluid shape, is a mess, a good mess that is. It talks about defensive and attacking units, and everyone moving into the transition phase when the time is right. This shape basically allows you to put attacking players in defensive positions but does not demand it. It allows you almost complete freedom to put what you wish where you wish it, as long as the roles work with each other and you can achieve defensive stability as well as attacking cutting edge, since all the players would move into the transition phase where necessary. In short, this is the shape most people use, and also the least understood (I don’t fully understand it either). Very fluid does similar, but is a slightly more extreme and demanding shape. It insists that the strikers be able to defend and the defenders be able to attack. That translates to the forwards needing to be on defensive duties and the defensive players, where applicable, be on attacking duty. The striker on defensive duty is the main distinction between the very fluid and fluid, that and the fact that the attacking players not only move into the transition phase where necessary but also into the defensive phase. It asks all to do all. If you have followed this to the end, you would have noticed that moving from very structured to very fluid, the number of attacking duties you can put in the team without going against your ascribed shape increases as you progress to very fluid, and this forms the basis of the relationship between shape and mentality (a story for another day). Hence, I have come to the end of my post. I hope I have been able to properly explain myself and not confuse anyone in the process. It goes without saying that this post is mainly for those still playing FM18 and below because of the changes made to 19. Thank you for your attention, please feel free to ask questions and critique my post.
  6. While i do not subscribe to the notion that one cannot effectively play good football using TI's like pass into space, work ball into box, much higher tempo, play out of defence (the list goes on) together, but i do agree that most if not all of them are not requred in your tactic. I, however, cannot say right now which are meant to be used partly because i do not know your players, their stats and their traits. Regardless, getting rid of a few may help. Things like prevent short GK distribution and use offside traps are a must for me though, they just need to go. My reasons are simple: 1. you are using a ball playing defender on cover duty (of which i dont understand the need), this will disrupt your backline as the player on cover will leave the line to cover the channels for his teammate, any striker worth his salt will expose you. 2. Prevent short Gk distribution, like the description states, needs the forward(s) to press the opposition defence for it to work, your striker, the poacher, is not really designed for that. Furthermore, the instruction in question not only affects the striker but the rest of the team. Observe their positioning, especially during an opposition goal kick, they will not drop back to basic positions but stay near opposition players to help the forwards pressing. As we all know pressing as a unit is the most effective method to force a turn over. But it id also risky, if one player ie the forward does not do his job, the whole thing crumbles. You can use two ball playing defenders for sure, but there has to be a reason for using them, you can use a sweeper keeper but you also have to have a reason for using one. You can use a defender on cover, heck two defenders on cover but there has to be a need for that. I dont think your setup justifies using all of them at once. I dont want to be too critical here, i also dont want to come of as combative, but i think you need to rework how your team defends. It may not seem important because your problems may be in scoring goals or something like that, but in order to score goals you first need the ball. In order to get the ball your team needs to be set up in a defensive shape that doesn't take away from your attacking prowess and at the same time wins the ball back effectively 90% of the time ( the ten percent is just in case you meet a messi like player who can run you to the ground with pure talent). My personal philosphy is win the ball first then hit them hard. Even if my team is possession based, the ball will inevitably be lost and it must be won effectively so i can have even more of the ball, like a tyrant.
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