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About Kevin_M

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    Southampton, UK

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  1. Funny Screenshots Thread

    Who needs Xavi?
  2. Man, don't give up. I have been playing a save with AC Milan, using a narrow system (4-3-2-1), and I am just starting my eighth season in charge. Six of those seasons were frustrating, despite winning the league in four of those six seasons. The reason they were frustrating was because, despite a consistently miserly defence ( goals conceded in a season ranged from 17 to 22 during that period) we were sketchy in attack. Teams in Serie A play some funky formations - lots of 3-man defences with wing-backs and DMs in front of them and often struggled to break teams down. We won a lot of games 1-0, and whilst we dominated play overall, convincing wins they were often not. But while we did well domestically, in Europe were not so good (one CL semi in 6 seasons) and I was never really 'happy'. Only three things about the way we played were constant during that time - the formation, mentality (control), and the TI 'play out of defence' - my thinking there being that my full-backs which are my only source of width need to keep up with play, so going forward too quickly would be asking a lot of them. Other than that I was tweaking endlessly, looking for, as you call it, "it". Only small changes mind you - tweaking a role here and there or adding a TI and seeing how it affected things for a few games. It was only in season six, when I changed our shape to flexible and after Carlos Bacca's retirement, changed my AF to a CFs that our attacking play really jumped up a notch. We romped the league by 26 points and the goals for column was much healthier, but still our European woes continued. For season 7, I changed to a standard mentality and fluid shape. I had stubbornly resisted changing our mentality and to be honest, I don't know why. Perhaps my inner Guardiola wouldn't let me. But I did, and 12 months later we had a Scudetto, Italian Super Cup, Italian Cup, Champions League and European Super Cup under our belts. I think that change, allied with the gradual improvement of the squad just unleashed something. I always feel like this game is like trying to balance a set of scales, and for five seasons I had it 80% balanced, one season at 90% and finally, one glorious season at 100%. Keep plugging away, it makes it so much worth it when you do get it right.
  3. This. I won't go into huge detail because this is Herne's thread and not mine, but I wanted to share an example that highlights how reading others thought processes can be so helpful. I am just starting my 3rd season of a save with AC Milan, and it's the first save I've played on FM17 that wasn't an adaptation of someone elses tactic. This time I looked at the squad I had and thought really hard about what its strengths and weaknesses were and tried to devise a shape and playing style that suited it. It took me a season and a half to get it 90% where I wanted it to be, but I just needed an idea to spark something off to get that last little piece of the jigsaw. I came to the forums and found this thread and the spark I needed: I came up with a control/structured narrow 4-1-2-2-1. It suited the squad I inherited and in the back of my mind was a loose interpretation of Carletto's Milan side of 03/04. Anyway, the system was stingy in defence but my front 3 were inconsistent. We won a lot of games 1-0 but were really struggling to break teams down. My AMC's were an AP/a and an AM/a with an AF/a ahead. Keisuke Honda was playing really well and banging in quite a few goals in the AP/a role so I left that alone and toyed with the other two roles unsuccessfully until finding this thread and herne's quote above. Then the lightbulb came on. I had been reluctant to change Honda's role because he was playing so well, but really that was the crux of the problem. My regista or the mids ahead of him would always look to hit the AP/a which is why he saw so much of the ball, scored a lot and was POM a lot, but it caused a logjam through the middle against packed defences. Changing his role to an AM/a changed everything - the deeper players started choosing the best option, looking wide if necessary or going through the centre if that's what was needed and our goal tally started to improve. Honda's performances weren't quite so spectacular after that, but the goals started to spread around the front 3 a bit more, to the benefit of the team as a whole. In the end we won the league. We may have done so anyway without the change in tactics but it would have been closer than the 7 point margin it became. All because of one tiny tactical change. And after a solid transfer window where we aquired some players more suited to certain roles rather than we'd had before, our start to the new season has been spectacular; five wins from five games, 19 goals scored. Top work, herne.
  4. This isn't necessarily a tactical problem IMO. I have found this to be a recurring theme in various versions of FM, including this year's version. And while I do think these occurrences are a little on the high side, I would also say it's not always one-way traffic; sometimes the early big chance or goal falls to my team too. Ö-zil, congrats on another stonking write-up. I only got FM17 on Christmas Day, and immediately started a save with my beloved Southampton, with a ton of ideas in my head. I tried a Conte-style 3-4-3 and a 4-1-2-1-2, but results (and individual players) were inconsistent, and I started to suffer from 'tactician's block' but after reading this bit in your OP, I had a 'light-bulb moment': My board want me to play a possession style (as do I) and both of the formations I was experimenting with had 3 players in the AM strata or further forward. So I started again using your 4-1-4-1 as a base and tweaking it here and there. Instead of an RPM(s) and a CM(d) I use a DLP(d) and a CM(s) as I feel this suits my players better. I also changed the winger to a WM just to keep the number of crosses in check. I also dropped the d-line a notch, because Van Dijk is the only CB I've got with any pace. Results have been, erm, quite good! We are scoring goals for fun. Charlie Austin has 13 in 10 and my CM's are scoring too, something I could never quite get to happen consistently on last year's version. In the past I have always used standard/flexible for my tactics, and this is the first time I've ever used very fluid and I like it. We play as a unit, and the use of generic player roles means I have more options when it comes to transfers and using players from my academy. This thread has got my brain bubbling so now I want to start a couple of different saves and experiment more. Top work!
  5. A quick update - we did it!
  6. A bit of a mixed bag. a few Balanced, lots of Fairly this and Fairly that. A bit meh really. Probably time for him to go. Luckily this chap is available: It's a no-brainer.
  7. This is top stuff, herne. I already play FM in a very (scarily!) similar way to you, but I've still picked up a few ideas and things to try. For example, the thought never crossed my mind to check and see what personality my Head of Youth Development had, and how it might reflect on the youngsters we bring through. What do you reckon of this guy: His personality type is determined.
  8. I actually did switch them from season three onward. And yes, I came pretty close to quitting myself! But I'm so glad I didn't. Because without wanting to jinx it, look how we've started season five: The only changes I made to last season's tactics were to instruct the F9 to shoot less - it sounds weird asking your lone striker to do that but whoever was playing there just kept taking pot-shots from outside the box - and I told the IF to pass it shorter because he kept wasting possession with Hollywood passes. That's it. I'm so glad you said that. That's exactly why I posted it.
  9. Season 3 - Moving Up But Going Nowhere Transfers Having been resisting bids for Khouma Babacar for two seasons, I finally cracked; Everton made a bid, which I negotiated to £45m + £5m, and like Napoli did with Luan, they agreed to it. In came Andrea Belotti as his replacement. Veterans Gonzalo Rodriguez and Pedro Lopes were allowed to leave on free transfers, with Chancel Mbemba and Almamy Toure replacing them, making us significantly younger and quicker in defence, albeit less experienced. Vitolo came in to replace wantaway Dries Mertens and fan-favourite Valero was allowed to join Benfica - who's going to turn down £9m for a 33yr old? Not me. Marco van Ginkel arrived as his replacement. All in all, another good window. Less than £1m net spend, but we're getting younger, quicker and bringing in more players with the attributes I like; work-rate, determination and stamina. Tactical Changes At first, I didn't change anything from the end of last season. I wanted to see how the new recruits would fare. I really needed them to bed in quickly, because as I said in my opening post, at one point I was given five games to save my job, and that moment came after last season's eighth place finish. Gulp. Luckily the boys did me proud. We smashed our opening three league games 3-0, 3-1 and 2-1 which gave me the required nine points to save my job. We went on to collect 19pts from our opening nine games - five wins and four draws. But then the goals dried up. Belotti and Vitolo, who had started the season like a train, went from being ruthless in front of goal, to toothless. We went on a horrible run and frustration nearly got the better of me again, but I took a deep breath and thought about it. We seemed to be snatching at chances - especially against the smaller teams who were sitting back. I remembered something from a thread I'd read on the forums (I think it was Cleon who wrote it), that sometimes the way to break stubborn teams down is by being less adventurous and I decided to try something. I switched from Control mentality to Standard. Knowing this would drop my D-Line back, I pushed it up via TI because I still wanted high closing down and a lower D-Line would mean players running further to do so and tiring more quickly. I also switched to a Flexible shape to increase our creative freedom. I added the Retain Possession TI not to aid possession (we were keeping the ball well already) I just wanted us to be a bit more patient. I also changed my CMa to a BBM hoping that would help defensively, too Thankfully the changes worked. We scraped a few 1-0's with a few 0-0's sandwiched in between. From then on were okay results-wise. No awful runs of results, just a bit up and down. But crucially still picking up points. Summary Finished 6th. Scored 43, conceded 33. Average Possession: 55% (1st) Completed Passes: 81% (Joint 1st) Bleh. Well, we made it into Europe, which counts as progress I suppose. But in terms of wins/losses/draws, points accrued and goals for and against, we were not progressing. More frustration, but I will not give up. Season 4 - Turning The Corner Transfers Belotti did okay last season had a habit of missing absolute sitters, and Mario Gomez basically had a season-long goal drought so with Gomez' contract up and Dortmund making a fat offer for Belotti it was time to let them go. Before I'd even had a chance to think about a replacement, an agent offer popped up in my inbox for a Korean striker named Kim Shin-Wook. 30 years old but had good all-round stats and was a bargain at £850k. The scouts looked at him and liked him, so in he came, swiftly followed by a bid for Werder Bremen's young wonderkid, Johannes Eggestein. Liverpool came in with a frankly ridiculous £30m bid for injury-prone Marco van Ginkel - no way was I turning that down. Young box-to-box midfielder Iver Fossum was recruited to replace him. Nenad Tomovic had been hankering after a move for a couple of seasons, and when the opportunity to sign transfer-listed Martin Montoya for £5.75m cropped up, I let Nenad go. Tactical Changes Despite only being 19, Lincoln had done okay for me last season playing as a RMD, but his stats and PPM's seemed more suited to AP role so I changed it. An experiment with a False 9 in pre-season went well so I decided to stick with that. Having added the Retain Possession TI during our bad spell the previous season, I decided to remove it again to see how things would go. I also removed the Lower Tempo TI, as our switch to a Standard mentality last season had lowered the tempo already, and having this on had made us a bit ponderous at times. Summary Finished 3rd. Scored 46, conceded 26. Average Possession: 57% (1st) Completed Passes: 82% (Joint 1st) On the face of it not a lot has changed from last season. Defence was better and attack was about the same. But something has definitely changed. Between August and December we lost twice. TWICE! We had a ropey spell around New Year, then had another good run until a little stutter at the end. This was infinitely more encouraging than the weekly rollercoaster of previous seasons. The profile and DNA of the group is coming together, with lots of professional or resolute personalities, high determination and work rate, not to mention a lot of young players with lots of room to get better and some really promising youngsters doing well on loan. Financially we're doing well too - across the four seasons our transfer spend has actually been a profit of £88m. For the first time in this save, I am actually chomping at the bit to get the next season started. Onward and upward!
  10. I have to say I have really struggled with this year's version of Football Manager. With pretty much every past version of the game things would follow the same pattern; I'd struggle initially as I got to grips with that year's match engine (and also not having played for a while) but then after a period of time (and a few new saves) something would click. I have always been able to get a team firing fairly quickly. With FM16 it has felt like I'm constantly taking three steps forward and two steps back. Promising starts suddenly fade. Solid defence (or attack) one season, poor the next. A player performing out of his skin turns into a donkey in no time at all. In a nutshell, I have not been sure whether I'm coming or going. Is it just my tactics? Poor form/confidence? Players just not up to scratch? It has probably been a combination of all three, and has resulted in a lot of starts, restarts and new saves, not to mention frustration. (I should point out that I am not a tactical guru - I understand the concepts, but like many FM players I struggle to pick things out in real time, apart from obvious stuff like teams sitting back waiting to pick me off because I'm playing too high a D-line.) Right now I am four-and-a-bit seasons into a save with a team close to my heart - Fiorentina - and I think I have discovered why I have been struggling for longer than I usually do: a lack of patience. I had started several saves with the Viola before this one and never made it past season three before getting frustrated and giving up. But then I remembered my Roma save from FM15 which took a good three seasons of squad building and tactical tweaking before we won the league in season four, and then we won it ten times in a row after that. So this time I decided to stick it out. Don't get me wrong, there have been struggles along the way in this save too - at one point the board gave me five games to save my job - but we're getting there. Season 1 Style To be honest, when it comes to style I am a pragmatist. Anything other than long-ball or totally parking the bus is fair game if it gets results. I looked at the squad and saw lots of technically gifted passers, so a possession style seemed to suit, but what I didn't want was endless sideways passes, hence why I left Retain Possession off. I tried to keep it simple, and went with Play Out Of Defence, Shorter Passing and Close Down More (Control/Structured) - not too dissimilar to Cleon's Art of Possession style. Shape and roles - initial thinking Having used either a 4-3-1-2 or 4-1-3-2 since FM11 with great success, I wanted to do something different this time and go back to a lone striker and wide attackers. I decided on 4-3-3 so I could have a DM protecting the defence. I chose a CMa in midfield because I didn't really have any midfielders with the engine to be a proper BBM, but wanted another body getting forward supporting the forwards. I could have given Valero any playmaker role really but I went for the slightly more conservative DLP role to start with. The only PI's I added were instructing the 'keeper to roll it out to the CB's. Transfers I sold Ilicic to give me some cash to strengthen other areas. Cerro and Canas came in to add some graft to the midfield in the DM position, and Pedro Lopes was a brilliant bargain find, adding depth to the right-back spot and veteran determination to use as tutor for one of my promising youngsters. Luan seemed a great fit for the Inside Forward role in my system and at £7m was a bit of a no-brainer. Summary Finished 7th. Scored 41, conceded 26. Average Possession: 53% (3rd) Completed Passes: 80% (Joint 1st) Overall, not bad. A poor end to the season scuppered European qualification and we lost the TIM cup final 1-0. The main positive was our tight defence. The main negatives were a lack of goals overall and an over-reliance on Babacar to put the ball in the net. The wide forwards got a few goals but should, and could have scored a lot more. Very much a case of what could have been. Season 2 - A Backward Step Transfers We definitely had a busy summer! Napoli made a bid for Luan, which I negotiated to £45m + £5m on appearances and the crazy fools went for it. I activated Tello's agreed price at the end of his loan spell, but Blaszczykowski didn't want to come so in came Dries Mertens instead. Lucas Leiva arrived to beef up the DM position with Francisco Cerro making way, and Jonathan Calleri came in as cover for Babacar. I also picked up Federico Mancuello, a good all-round midfielder to hopefully make the CMa spot his own. Overall a good window, upgrading several positions whilst also making a profit. Otherwise known as 'doing a Southampton'. Tactical Changes My brief was clear; score more goals. But how? I didn't want to change too much, so I decided on the following: 1. Added Roam From Positions TI. Perhaps this would make us a little more unpredictable? 2. Removed Play Out Of Defence TI. This was just an experiment. My 'keeper was still set to roll it out anyway, so I was interested to see if my defenders did anything differently. 3. Swapped the RMD and IF positions. Partly to see what would happen, but also to get Bernadeschi in the role I thought suited him best, on the right. 4. Changed the DLP to an AP. Perhaps getting involved further forward would make things happen? Summary Finished 8th. Scored 58, conceded 45. Average Possession: 54% (2nd) Completed Passes: 80% (Joint 1st) Well, we scored more goals! However we also conceded quite a lot more, and our overall win/loss/draw record was about the same as last season. Really frustrating. Did my changes work? Honestly, I'm not sure. I didn't notice any glaring differences in our play, we just seemed to take more of our chances when they came. Also, this season was weird. Several of our draws were high-scoring (2-2, 3-3) which bumped up both goal tallies. We also made more mistakes leading to goals (10). Maybe our defensive record from the previous season was also distorted somewhat by the fact that Luigi Sepe was on fire for pretty much the whole season, saving 81% of shots faced. This season Rulli actually faced fewer shots overall, but saved 71%. This is another area where I struggle sometimes - distinguishing the purely tactical from other factors.
  11. Arsene Wenger's Invincibles

    Bravo, sir!
  12. What he means is that the formation you see in the tactics creator is the formation your team will take while defending during a match. To give you a real-life example, if I wanted to recreate Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid tactics in FM I'd have to use a 4-4-2 because that's the shape they adopted while defending. I'd then use player roles and duties to make it become a 4-3-3 in attack.
  13. Funny Screenshots Thread

    This lad is going places.
  14. Funny Screenshots Thread

    My scout doesn't mince his words ...
  15. Funny Screenshots Thread

    Who said Italian football was defensive?!