Hello all. My game so far:
Started with Gateshead, playing a short passing 4-1-3-2. Stormed the first half of the season, faltered a bit after Christmas but hung on to clinch the title. I then made a terrible mistake in the close season and let half my squad go, thinking I could use the wages to replace them with League 2 standard players. Unfortunately Gateshead's lowly reputation meant the only decent player I could attract was a promising 14 year old Polish child who promptly broke his arm unpacking his suitcase. The other newcomers ended up being the same or worse as my promotion winning heroes I'd released, with the added disadvantage that only half of them spoke English, none spoke Geordie, and they were a bunch of strangers. By October I was rock bottom with no wins, no money, and a pitch that was in a worse state than the local park. I resigned in shame.
Fast forward to January and Bradford came calling. 23rd in League 1 but with a decent squad, a proper ground, and plenty of potential. I accepted the job, used the end of the transfer window to bring in some technically gifted players, and set out optimistically to climb the table. It's now March and I'm still 23rd...
I am determined to play a short passing game based around retention of possession and winning the ball back quickly. I am currently playing 4-5-1, standard and balanced: back four of a stopper, cover and two supporting fullbacks, two DMs (one anchor/defend, one DM/support), two wide midfielders on attack, an AM as an advanced playmaker on support, and a poacher. My boys are instructed to retain possession, play short passing and slow tempo, play narrow, and to hassle opponents. I am poor in the air and physically compared to the rest of the league, but am in the top 3 or 4 for passing, technique and in the other fancy dan areas.
My thinking is that I want to be defensively solid, with two screening players and a narrow midfield, and stop losing. A few draws and the odd win will hopefully get my morale up and help me catch the teams above. Going forward I look great, and have been scoring some fantastic Bradfordcelona goals, but I am still conceding 2-3 a match. I seem to be particularly hopeless when the computer goes on the attack... a common pattern in my games has been for me to dominate the first 30-60 minutes (even against top 5 opposition), but when I score and the opposition react by upping the tempo they blow me away every time, netting 2-3 goals quickly. I'm conceding from all over the place as well, there's no real pattern or obvious point of weakness.
I am considering shifting to defensive and rigid, but am worried that will mean I sacrifice the good attacking play I'm managing at the moment. Other than that I'm baffled. I've been playing CM/FM since the start, and in the recent iterations of the game I've always managed to be defensively solid quite easily (normally I struggle to turn draws into wins). Given I'm stubbornly refusing to play hoofball, any and all advice or suggestions welcome. Thanks!