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  1. Defending is not just the preserve of your defenders and in some sense, the quality of your defenders can be made irrelevant if the system isn't well designed around them. I'd like to expand on something you stated earlier when you said: " Attacking-wise is our strongest area with both our strikers attracting interest from PSG and Barcelona". If that is the case then why are you playing with only one forward? I think the reason why you could be conceding so many goals is that you spend the majority of your games looking to soak up pressure. Sometimes the best defence is a good offence. Having a more positive approach and putting some more players in advanced positions can help with that and actually help you defend as you push back the opposition. As it stands, you don't really give much for the opposition to worry about, all they have to do is take care of your DLF(A) and your attacking threat is severely blunted especially since he is so isolated. You are considered an underdog in the league which means that teams are going to attack you so instead of hoping to soak it all up and fail why not look to take advantage of all that lovely space they will leave as they overcommit men forward and hit them where it hurts. Best Regards
  2. I think you have fallen into the trap of trying to shoehorn an unbalanced squad into a formation rather than selecting a formation which suits the style of play you want and working from there. The likely reason why the team was struggling in the first place is that the squad is unbalanced, the solution is therefore to restore that balance. The bread and butter of lower league football in England is the 4-4-2 formation. It seeks to exploit the wings and sacrifices control of the central midfield. This is a problem as you have chosen a shape which is weak to this approach. Why do you need to play 3 at the back when the majority of the time they will only be facing at most 2 players? In a scenario where the opposition fielded 3 ST or an AML-ST-AMR trio that would make sense otherwise, you are just sacrificing a player who could be utilized further up the pitch which could help your attacking play. Another way in which it is weak is the flanks as you will find your wingbacks getting overloaded with a lot of 2 vs 1s. If I were you I'd just go back to a flat back 4 and revert to the tactic which was serving you so well in your previous job. I see no reason why you discarded the 4-4-2 which was working and started to experiment with a new tactic when the situation is desperate and demands that you get points on the board. Is there no positional flexibility with the players which can play as wingbacks, central defenders and attacking midfielders? For e.g., if one of your WBL has decent crossing why not play him as an ML? If not then you need to scour the free agent list and bring in some fullbacks, wingers and central midfielders to fill those gaps. All the best
  3. What was the reason behind pushing the mentality up to attacking? I don't think that the attacking mentality is necessarily a good fit if attempting to attack playing a possession-based style. By default, it has the following effects. - Increases the attacking width - Increases passing directness - Raises tempo It also has the effect of making all your players more attack-minded (check the individual mentalities) which makes them less inclined to play safe and keep possession. I also don't think the attacking mentality suits some of the roles very well such as the F9. From my perspective, if the aim is to retain the ball better then I would switch back to the standard mentality which will make your approach play more patient which helps with ball retention while also giving more opportunity for players to get involved in building attacks. I'd also remove the Shorter Passing instruction and put back some penetration with attack duties. You may say that removing the shorter passing instruction is counterproductive but let me provide my reasoning. If your shape is naturally wide which the 4-3-3 is then the main effect of adding shorter passing is to reduce the number of passing options available to a player when they have the ball especially those on the flanks. The fewer options a player has the more likely the opposition will be able to force a turnover of possession given the only alternative to continue moving the ball forward is dribbling. I think there is a commonly held misconception that reducing the passing directness by itself will lead to better ball retention. The reality is that in the wrong system it can actually produce the opposite effect. That is why I always stress the importance of viewing things holistically. If you want to play a possession style then everything needs to be set up in a cohesive manner. The players, the formation, the roles and duties, the mentality, the TIs, and PIs all need to be right. If they aren't then you will get problems and struggle to find balance. Best Regards
  4. Something was fundamentally changed from FM18 to FM19 which means that no matter what role or duty you select for your strikers they will have this tendency to occasionally drift wide when off the ball. I've seen a player I was using in the Target Man (Support) role display this same movement pattern of running wide and positioning themselves outside the opposition fullback. He had no PPMs for that sort of movement nor did I select any TIs or PIs which would encourage that sort of movement (such as roaming for example). If your TM is drifting wide then he isn't doing what you have instructed him to do and as a consequence is going to perform much worse than expected. I have seen my strikers out wide when play has progressed into the final third which renders them largely useless. If I select a TM(S) I expect him to stay close to the opposition central defenders as that is where his strength lies, beat them in the air and either hold up the ball while he waits for closer support or flicks it on for a runner. What I don't want to see is him running to the flank in an attempt to find space. He may well find space out there but how does that help him to perform his role within the team?
  5. Given the choice between either narrower or wider attacking width, I would opt for the former when trying to play a shorter passing game. That is however just part of the story. In addition to having to consider width you also need to consider depth. The concern I would have with your tactic in that respect is the massive gaps that exist in your wide partnerships and between your central midfielders and your lone striker. You need to give careful consideration to how you select your player duties and try in some way to bring those players closer together when you have the ball in order to mitigate this. I also would favour using a different formation when trying to play a possession-based game. I would want a formation which packs the central areas (such as a narrow diamond) that forms a good amount of passing triangles. I would do that to ensure that my players have a variety of passing options within their passing range at all times which is critically important for that style of play. Finally, I would give serious thought to whether my players have the right sort of attribute profile to carry out what I want. It's all well and good expecting the team to play beautiful tika-taka but if they can't pick a pass to save their life or find space off the ball then they're not going play that style particularly well. The more you compress the pitch, the better your players need to be at finding space. All the best
  6. I think we could well be seeing the end of the 'plug and play tactic' era in FM. As a result, unless you have a tactic which exploits a flaw in the game, no longer is it going to be possible to use the same tactic game after game against different opposition and consistently overachieve. The reason why I mention that is I sense that you haven't really done much to adapt to the new circumstances of being considered the favourite in the majority of your domestic games. As for trying to gain more possession, I don't think there is much else you can do with respect to trying to win the ball back from the opposition given all the instructions. I actually don't think that is the issue. I think the issue lies with what you are doing with the ball once you have gained possession back. As mentioned by @Experienced Defender there is a massive amount of overkill with your instructions. The attacking mentality has the effect of turning your players into a pack of rabid dogs when it comes to attacking (just look at their individual mentalities). As a result, they aren't going to be particularly interested in keeping the ball. The reason why the possession stats may be flattering the underdog opposition is not that they are dominating the game but because your buildup play is so rapid that there likely isn't the opportunity to develop the play in a way which provides the opportunity for you to maintain possession. The fact that you are having a lot of shots corroborates this. As soon as you win the ball the emphasis is on getting the ball forward as quickly as humanly possible and getting off a shot. There is no finesse or patience which means that you are likely to lose the ball quickly as the attacks come to a premature conclusion. My advice would be to tone it down when it comes to how your team operates when you have the ball, I suggest lowering the mentality would be a good start. That way you are giving more of your players the opportunity to contribute to your build-up play which should as a consequence see you get a larger proportion of possession. That should mean you actually start to truly dominate games rather than simply having the impression that you are when in fact you are hugely depending on luck as you hope one of the many speculative shots from your players finds its way into the back of the net. In the end, the only statistic that is important is the scoreline. I'd gladly have 30% possession and win 5-0 than 70% possession and draw 0-0. Good luck
  7. I've never seen it either and don't get why SI feel that it should be something that occurs rarely. Being a PPM should mean that the players with the trait attempt it often regardless of whether it has a good chance of being successful. Otherwise, what's the point of having the trait at all? It doesn't seem to apply to the majority of other PPMs so why is this one any different?
  8. Personally, I prefer to put playmakers slap bang in the centre. In this case, I would put the DLP (D) in the DMC position. The reason for this is that it increases the forward passing angles (180°) available to the maximum and also makes the passes to both flanks equidistant. If the player is slightly shifted to one side as in your case (MCR) or on the flank it begins to reduce both the passing angles available and makes certain passes for e.g. from him to the left flank where your main goalscoring threat is (the Ramdeuter) much further away which isn't ideal in my view. If I'm using a playmaker then I expect them to receive the ball the most and play the most passes in the team. As a result, I want them to have as many passing options available to them as possible and for them to be of comparable difficulty unless I wanted to direct attacks through a certain area for whatever reason. What were the reasons behind why you weren't a fan of the tactic? How do you want your team to play? Best Regards
  9. Realistically, for your first season in La Liga, you are going to be up against it and should be aiming to just avoid relegation. You should expect to lose a lot of games, any points you gain against the established sides are a bonus. The aim has to be to gain your points against your fellow strugglers. There is likely to be a massive ability gap which is going to take time to close which is why I feel that the tactics you have posted aren't going to help you in your battle for survival. First up, The 4-4-2 - I don't like the F9 and AF partnership. False 9 is creating space by dropping off the front that the AF can't use as he is consistently in a more advanced position. The movement of the F9 creates space for players running from deeper positions. - Having a wingback in a system without a DM is very risky in my book. - The BBM and DLP combination is also quite risky. I feel you need to be a bit more conservative in the roles you choose to have in your central midfield given how much defensive responsibility they have. You are leaving yourself vulnerable to being counter-attacked as the only player you have hanging back is the DLP(D). He can't be expected to cover for both the onrushing wingback and box-to-box midfielder that is too much and he will get overloaded. - Your left flank partnership isn't going to function very well. Your winger is going to have to do all the attacking by himself with very little support from behind. - I don't know why you have selected the shorter passing TI here. The formation doesn't suit it given how spread the players are and the inherent gaps between the forward, midfield and defensive lines. Neither does it suit the roles you have selected. The Wingback (Attack), Winger (Attack), Deep Lying Playmaker (Defend), Box-to-Box Midfielder (Support) and Advanced Forward (Attack) aren't roles that I would choose if I had tippy tappy football in mind. They are roles suited to rapid transitions and a more direct passing style. - Again, why try to play it out of defence? The majority of teams in the division look at you as minnows which means they are going to likely play more attacking mentalities against you. As a result, they are going to press you harder and higher up the pitch. Therefore is it really wise to have your defenders faffing about with the ball in those circumstances and to risk losing possession in dangerous areas? - I can understand why you might want to play at a higher tempo but are your players good enough to do that? - What is the reason for attacking narrower? - You have also selected to Counter Press but how does that square with trying to establish two solid banks of 4? The 4-3-3 - Again with the short passing. Players seem to really like this instruction in this formation and I really can't understand why as in my view it really isn't suited to it. Look at the gaps between the players on the flanks and in the front 3 how are they supposed to link up easily with short passes when they are miles away from each other? I just don't get why you would want to restrict your passing options in this way. Just because you leave the passing on standard doesn't mean you won't see short range passes, it just gives the players more options. - I don't like the Anchor Man in this system. The reason is based on what you are expecting him to do. In this sort of system with your fullbacks tasked with getting forward his job is to provide cover and to buy time for them to recover their defensive positions should you lose the ball high up the pitch. Being an Anchor Man he is 'anchored' in his position. That means he can't provide this sort of cover by shifting over to the flanks. Instead, I would choose a role which is more mobile. I think you need to really think about what it is you want and focus on that as both the systems you posted seem to be a bit of a mish-mash of different ideas which don't make a coherent whole. If you want to play possession-based football you need to build everything around that. The following factors all need to be considered when deciding to pick a particular style of play: 1) The attribute profile of your players There is no point trying to attack playing possession football with a team whose players are terrible off the ball and have a poor first touch. 2) Formation How can you consistently build attacks using short passing when the players are miles apart from each other. 3) Roles and duties You need to play roles which play to the strengths of the style and select duties which suit. If I wanted to play a quick direct style for example then I would be looking at roles such as wingers and deep-lying playmakers. Or say I wanted to play a counter-attacking style then I would want my advanced players on the attack duty. What you wouldn't want is to end up in a situation where you are playing an AF and not being able to supply the kind of service they need (balls fed early over the top for them to run onto). 4) Mentality 5) Team Instructions and Player Instructions These should be considered the final refinements on the style you have already created. If you are having to use a lot of these then the fundamental base tactic isn't right. Also, I wouldn't treat these as the be all and end all of what you observe. The previous 4 points are far more important in getting your team to play the way you want. For e.g., I could select the Play Out of Defence TI but I'm unlikely to see my team doing that consistently unless I have the players capable of doing that. The midfielders need to 'show' for the ball which is where points 2, 3 & 4 come into play. If everyone is running far ahead of the ball as soon as it arrives at the feet of my central defenders then how exactly are they supposed to play it out from the back. Hopefully, I have given you something to think about as you seek to improve your tactic All the best
  10. Shorter passing perhaps doesn't impact width directly in the tactical creator but indirectly it must otherwise it wouldn't work as an instruction. It's essential that the players are closer together to make a shorter passing strategy work. I don't believe I said that it's hard to break down a defense as a result of short passing being enabled. What I said was that if you are trying to break down a team using short passing then everything needs to be geared around that style of play which is why I suggested that playing a 4-1-4-1 isn't the best formation to use when trying to do this. I have no doubt that given the right tactic that it could be made to work. All the best
  11. Use the tools available to you. Usually, you can get some ideas about opposition strengths and weakness from scouting reports and pre-match analysis. Use this information to devise a plan for how you are going to exploit the weaknesses and mitigate their strengths. For e.g., if an opposition player isn't brave then single them out for hard tackling. It's also important that you are on top of your man management. Don't start weak minded individuals who the coaches feel dread big matches. Try not to put pressure on the players with the wrong responses in team talks and press conferences while trying to relax them. Watch the first 10 minutes of the game on full, look for patterns in the way the opposition are attacking and defending then make slight alterations based on what you are seeing. If they are pressing high and hard, play more direct. If they are sitting back and trying to build from the back then press them high etc. Make sure you have a good bench which offers you a variety of options for game management. If you can do that then I'm sure it won't be long before you start winning some silverware. Good luck
  12. Shorter passing has the effect of lowering the tempo further while making the team play narrower which works against what I feel is needed in order to break down defensive teams. I agree that passing is a matter of philosophy but it can't be viewed in isolation. Breaking down a defensive team with short precise passes I feel needs greater numbers of players in central areas to make work and would be suited to formations such as a narrow 4-2-3-1. The overarching point I'm trying to get across is that there needs to be a coherent strategy and all aspects of a tactic need to work in tandem in order to consistently break through stubborn defenses. In my view, trying to play a short passing game while adopting a formation with massive gaps between players isn't coherent but then again if someone can show me evidence which shows that being successful I'd be willing to revise that opinion.
  13. I don't agree that to play against a massed defense requires a slower tempo and shorter passing, in fact, I think it's the exact opposite which I mentioned in a previous post. That is the reason why I suggested that a 4-1-4-1 isn't well suited to playing against teams which set up to defend against you given the bottom heavy nature of the formation and the need for it to be patient. It doesn't surprise me that allowing your players more freedom to play longer passes has resulted in an improvement given the separation of players in the formation. I don't feel that either of those two roles are an attacking pivot when played as the lone striker. For my definition, an attacking pivot is a player that acts as a link between the midfield and attack. Given they are likely to be the most advanced players for the majority of your attacking play and they don't have players seeking to run ahead of them on a consistent basis I don't feel they fulfill that criteria. The roaming of the CF(S) is also very problematic as it makes him an unreliable option to funnel play through in the right areas. It hasn't been my experience that through balls and one-two's are impossible in this ME as I see my teams performing these actions even in a tactic which isn't designed to exploit this aspect of buildup play but I do agree that there are issues with the ME that need addressing. What you have said about overloading makes sense. A False 9 or a CF(S) isn't a role designed to be a regular threat in the box early and the WM and winger even on attack duty is only likely to be a threat in the box late on in attacking moves. My concern would be that the attack developed to a conclusion before they managed to find themselves into those dangerous positions which I highlighted before. I definitely agree that the nomenclature in the tactic creator could be made better and more transparent. I don't see how you are going to be able to press high consistently with your midfield 4 when the opposition is likely playing on the defensive mentality and hence sitting deeper. In my view, if you want to press high then you need more than your ST up the pitch doing that. I am not able to view an isolated event in the ME and make my decisions as to what to tweak from that, it would require an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the ME which I don't have. What I do instead is to look for patterns and often isolate a player for analysis to assess whether they are doing what I expect during the course of the game. You state that you don't see anything fundamentally wrong with your tactic but in your previous post you were saying that you weren't creating clear cut chances and dropping points against opposition you expected to beat which is what I was working off when I composed my reply. However, as you seem satisfied that the changes you made have solved the problem there is no reason for me to add anything further. Best Regards
  14. The 4-1-4-1 is a rather defensive formation and has a starting point for building attacks which necessitates a patient approach in order to get the best out of it. That is required in order to give the opportunity for deeper players to get up the pitch and contribute to supporting attacking moves. This runs contrary to what is required in my view when it comes to breaking down teams which pack the defensive areas. You also don't appear to have anybody in the roles you mention that is what I would consider an offensive pivot. The closest you have to an offensive pivot is the WM(S), everybody else is going to be roaming around or in the case of the winger staying out wide. It is important to have a stationary (not literally) focal point in order for you to be able to take advantage of all the movement you have going on around that player. Players which roam struggle to provide this consistently and are often not where you need them to be when you need them to be there. As for the reasons why you don't create clear-cut chances and are getting a lot of shots. I can't definitively answer that without you posting your tactic but if I was to hazard a guess it is likely a consequence of you not having as much attacking variety as you perhaps think you do. If there is no alternative action that a player can perform to progress an attack you will find they will resort to shooting. Who is tasked with consistently being a threat in the areas where they can take advantage of any clear cut chances that are created? You don't appear to have anybody and that's the issue. Why do you feel that it is important for your team to overload one side? How does that fit into your overall strategy when trying to break down defensive teams? I also don't feel that the 4-1-4-1 is well suited to be played on the Positive mentality especially against defensive opposition as it encourages isolation of your lone striker. The positive mentality seeks to work the ball forward with an elevated tempo but you only have 1 player that is guaranteed to be high up the pitch early so it doesn't really make sense in this context. Unless you have superman upfront who can literally take on and beat one defender after another single-handedly in order to create and score goals for themselves you are going to have problems. Even Messi would struggle in a system where that was the expectation. I think it's going to take more than just tweaking things in order to provide a permanent solution to this issue. You need to take a root and branch approach to this and really think about how the AI is setting its teams up to face you. Thankfully, that isn't an arduous task given that they can only use the same tools that are available to us so the information is available. Once you understand how they are set up to play then you can devise effective strategies in order to counter them. All the best and good luck
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