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    FC Utrecht
  1. I think a lot of young players get a bit of a boost from their first appearances in the first team. It's an exciting challenge and if they don't buckle under the pressure can lead to some astonishing performances (think Rashford). It's partly natural that when the grind sets in and you are expected to now pull those same performances off week after week and the pressure takes over from the initial excitement that a dip in form is more likely. That said it could just be some bad luck or a combination of a lot of different factors that lead to a dip in form.
  2. It can work, especially if you are more focused on defending instead of scoring. That said a winger (especially with an attacking duty) on the opposite flank can get pretty close to the TM so he isn't necessarily left isolated when playing with two wingers and an amc.
  3. With no information on how you play you won't get any useful advice. If I don't know what we don't know what your defensive plan is we can't help you. That said with a contain and to a lesser extend defensive mentality you are telling your team to sit deep and stand off. This creates a very compact block in front of the goal but you will concede space in front and out wide for long shots and crosses and you might be vulnerable to skilled players dribbling into the box to draw fouls or create chaos against a defense that is hesitant to close him down. Watching games to see how goals are scored, how you deal with crosses, etc. would be a good idea. btw. Did you read some of the stickied links like the art of defensive football? Warn them after bad performances and tell them you expect a performance from them before the game. That said if you are playing a friendly or are winning with big numbers it's just what happens to players and I wouldn't be worried.
  4. You can use something like to resize the image and/or save it in a smaller file format.
  5. 1. Form and luck sometimes just happen without explanation. It's football, not maths (or in this case maths trying to simulate football). 2. Sometimes when performing above expectation teams start playing more conservatively against you which makes it difficult to break teams down and can lead to losing games to counter attacks. 3. Complacency can creep into the side which can effect performance. 4. Some teams might be playing better or more aggressively later in the season than at the start as they have something concrete to fight for. 5. Still the most likely explanation is usually just luck. Teams have huge dips in form all the time without any obvious explanation. It's part of the game and an interesting managerial challenge.
  6. I've heard that only the decision making attribute gets lowered when playing in an unfamiliar position but I'm not 100% sure that is correct. I usually just play them despite them being a little ineffective at the moment as playing time in a new position helps retrain them faster and usually they perform fine. Alonso looks like a versatile player (hidden attribute) as he can already play a good number of positions so he shouldn't have any trouble picking up a new position in a couple of months. I'd estimate it takes about half a season to get accomplished and a full season with a lot of game time and some good performances to become natural but that might be some way off.
  7. Most of the defensive game is poorly replicated. Players not shielding passing lanes when pressing. Two attacking players closing down their center backs and then standing there while the midfield is left wide open. Impossible to replicate some common modern positioning of forward players in the defensive phase like the 4-4-2-0 defensive formation. That said it's an engine and some of those things are really hard to replicate and once you replicate it you have to balance the attacking side and it probably takes ages. Also the tight marking instruction actually does a somewhat decent job of replicating a zonal marking with man orientation defense which is nice.
  8. I'm not entirely sure. Either one of them gets designated the main playmaker and becomes the preferred person to look for on the pitch or the preference gets split between the different playmakers. I know in earlier versions you could pick one player as the designated playmaker so that might still be the case under the hood.
  9. I'm currently trying to create something similar with Palermo. Basically I'm just trying to replicate some classic Italian systems with a prima punta, secunda punta and trequartista in attack. Two hard working and hard tackling midfielders with a holding passer in the center and a back four with two wingbacks. It's been decently effective but somewhat inconsistent as I was tinkering a bit at the start of the season. Currently I've settled on this: Formation: 4-3-1-2 Shape: Structured Mentality: Counter for tough games or against fast attackers, control when trying to take control of the match or trying to keep slow attackers away from my goal (think Luca Toni, don't want him anywhere near my goal). Team instructions: Play out of defense, Play wider, Prevent short GK distribution. SK(d) WB(s) DC(d) DC(d) WB(a) BWM(s) MC(d) BWM(s) AP(a) AF(a) CF(s) Player instructions: Front three close down much more. AP(a) roams and moves into channels, CF(s) moves into channels, WB's stay wider. I'm having a hard time getting my version of a trequartista working how I want it to and I'm not playing a deep lying playmaker in the hopes of making my Treq the creative focal point. I like how it's playing at the moment. The idea behind preventing GK distribution and the higher closing down is I want the front three to do the initial press to direct build up away to the flanks after which the midfield three shifts to that flank and creates a defensive man advantage to win the ball back. It's weak to fast switches to the other flank but it's working decently so far.
  10. Both Berardi and Dybala can make a great AMC. From my experience players don't really suffer much from playing outside of their natural position and I tend to retrain players fairly often and playing them in big games when they are still unfamiliar with a position.
  11. Another big difference between the two is that with a playmaker role his teammates will look to feed him the ball more often as he is the designated man to make something happen (especially if he is the only player with a playmaker role). Getting him the ball earlier and more often can be an advantage or a disadvantage.
  12. If you are looking for him to make something happen than yes I absolutely would. An Advanced Playmaker role would be an obvious choice here but depending on how you want to play you can consider some other more specialized options like a trequartista. I think it can work really well to break down teams using one or a couple of very specific routes while controlling the match. It keeps your defensive players conservative and allows a fair bit of space in between the lines for more specialized roles to work with. In your example the increased space between the most forward attacking player and the further back defending and supporting players can give Ozil more space to work with and give him the chance to open up defensive teams. I'd personally always pick at least one attacking role that is trying to get in behind the defensive line to open up the vertical space for Ozil. If the inside forward, winger and complete forward are all coming deep in support than who is Ozil going to play a throughball to and what space is he going to be in? It might even make sense to have all three on an attack duty but if you do that you might become a bit one dimensional and you will have to watch games to make sure Ozil actually gets on the ball and isn't getting taken out of the game by a DM. Something like Giroud (CF/AF attack), Walcott (winger attack) Sanchez (Inside forward support) and Ozil (AP/Treq support/attack) sounds like a balanced and varied offense that would suit a structured shape.
  13. The wingback moving up doesn't require a fluid shape at all. A wingback on attack duty in a structured system will primarily focus on his attacking tasks and probably move up better than that same attacking wingback when using a more fluid shape. As I mention another time later in this post the shape doesn't create movement between the lines but space between the lines. Structured is more space and fluid is less space, the movement is decided by the roles and duties and often a structured shape allows for more movement as there is more vertical space to move through and deeper players with an attack duty will focus more on their attacking tasks and have a more attacking mentality. I think with the direct and winger focused playstyle you want to achieve a more structured shape makes a lot of sense and it was the small misunderstanding about shape "allowing" player movement that threw you for a loop while the rest of your thinking was correct. Is that right or do you want further explanation? I think it makes a fair bit of sense. A structured system means players focus on their specific tasks. The increased space between the lines is because attackers position themselves higher up the pitch as they focus on attacking and defenders stay deeper as they focus on defending. A fluid system automatically implies creative freedom as players are told to get involved in more phases of play which reduces the focus on a specific task and lets a player decide what to do in the moment to contribute to the phase of play. The compactness follows from the creative freedom to contribute to all phases of play and the more spread out shape follows from the discipline to focus on a specific task. I can see how sometimes you want to play compact and as a team without giving your players the encouragement to try the spectacular and unexpected but you have to take into account that when you let every player contribute to every phase of play that players get into positions they otherwise wouldn't be in which in itself encourages players to try the unexpected as the play itself is often unexpected (midfielders covering in defensive positions, defenders winning the ball higher up the pitch and finding themselves in attacking positions etc.). Also in a more structured system you usually want to encourage specific players to try and do the unexpected by assigning them roles with a lot of creative freedom (usually the playmaker) instead of telling the whole team to be creative. In a very fluid system you usually want the whole team to contribute in trying to make something happen so more overall creative freedom makes sense. You can still play a compact and teamwork oriented very fluid system without encouraging all the backheels and hollywood passes by telling them to be more disciplined if you want through the team instruction. Shape doesn't create movement between the lines but space between the lines as I talked about above. The movement comes from the roles and duties you assign along with their instructions. I personally often defend with a more fluid shape in an attempt to get more players involved in the defensive phase. With a defensive mentality and very fluid shape the whole team has a defensive mentality, with a defensive mentality and very structured shape attackers are still somewhat attacking. One is better in terms of getting players behind the ball and the other is better for leaving players higher up the pitch to counter. Obviously the formation and roles/duties you assign has a very large effect on how this plays out in practice but I personally don't have a rule of attacking with a more fluid shape or defending with a more structured shape. It's more about how I want my team to play. Defending but trying to keep players up the pitch to counter usually means a more structured shape for me. Defending in an attempt to hold on for dear life with the whole team behind the ball for me means a more fluid shape with the right formation and roles/duties to allow them to get back properly (this is also a situation where you might want to reduce overall creative freedom). btw. I personally don't think the shape system is too complicated. I just think it can be hard to get right at times
  14. January Update A good first half of the season. I had my doubts on the squad and if they could make the step up to the higher level and the first game did a good job of putting those doubts to rest. The opening day at home against fellow newly promoted Holstein Kiel we played the high press 4-4-1-1 looking to take control of the match which we did in style. The opening goal immediately set the tone for the game as their winger got behind our defensive line but only managed to put in a futile cross as he got closed down before any support arrived. Schuhen collected the cross we went on to score a great team goal. We worked the ball up the pitch with good passing play and found Benyamina dropping deep who chipped a ball out wide to the right back in space and immediately made the run to get at the end of the following cross. We dominated the fairly open and entertaining game creating 6 CC's and 2 HC's against their 4 HC's. The next game away against Fortuna Düsseldorf I didn't expect us to pick up any points and we showed the league a different side of our game as we played our deep 4-4-2. We managed to open the scoring after Ikeng won the ball from their midfielder and we went forward quickly on the transition. The initial cross got cleared out wide but Dorda, still being high up the pitch, won the ball from their left back and found Perstaller in the box who did well to score. I expected them to dominate the rest of the game but surprisingly it was a fairly even affair and we managed to keep them to zero shots on target against our six, had the majority of the possession and created 6 HC's against their 1 HC. A great defensive performance that allowed us to grab some extra points towards survival. We tried to do the same thing again at home against Union Berlin but they left less room to attack them on the transition and managed to score a goal from an IDFK. In the DFB-Pokal clash rotated the team and Düsseldorf got their payback for last game. Sama gifted them an early penalty which ruined our plans for the game and when we switched to our 4-4-1-1 they punished us by finding space in behind. The game against Werder Bremen was our second televised league match and our second league defeat. We played our 4-4-2 and scored a beautiful goal with Benyamina tracking back to make a great slide tackle on their MC after which we showed some great movement to work the ball towards Andrist on the right wing who found Benyamina surging into the box and getting ahead of his man to score the tap in. Sadly the gulf in quality was too big as the brothers Eggestein both scored a header from a set piece. At home against Ingolstadt I didn't plan to pick up any points but it would be nice to not add to our loosing streak. We played our 4-4-1-1 at home and actually looked defensively solid despite our high line which was pleasing. The game itself was fairly dissapointing as we scored one from a corner and they got a late goal back after Henn was judged to make a foul in the box during a free kick. The resulting penalty was their only shot on target but to be fair we only managed three shots on target ourselves so a draw was probably a fair result and I was pleased to grab an extra point and end our losing streak. Away against Nürnberg Henn continued his poor form by quickly gifting the opponent two goals from a missed interception and an own goal from a cross. We tried to play our deep 4-4-2 but had trouble keeping a compact shape against them as they dominated the game. Somehow we managed to equalize after scoring from a corner and right after a throw in where new arrival Pedro was allowed to control the throw in on the edge of the box and pass it back to Gardawski who took it first time and applied a great finish to steal a point. The next game at home against Braunschweig I wanted to at least grab a point. We played our 4-4-1-1 in an attempt to create an open game and turn it into a real fight in front of our fans which worked as it was a really open game with lots of chances on both sides but our finishing was better and Schuhen managed to pull off a penalty save. We scored two great goals and showed some really high intensity play so a great day for the club and the fans. Away at St. Pauli was another game I wanted to try and get a point from and in an optimistic mood I started with the 4-4-1-1 but soon switched to the 4-4-2 as they had some dangerous moments. In the end we created the better chance but Perstaller failed to score an easy chance. In the end I was pleased we defended well and brought back another point. The next game at home against SC Paderborn I didn't expect us win any points, rotated fairly heavily and optimistically lined up with our high pressing 4-4-1-1. The first half we looked shaky at the back with our high line and rotated defense but thanks to some great saves from Schuhen managed to keep a clean sheet. At the end of the first half they got a red card and the second half was the Gardawski show as he put up a fight for a first team spot by scoring two great headers. We were very fortunate to get the man advantage and walk away with three points here. Away at Heidenheim I planned to fight for three points which is why I rotated the squad last game. I wanted to play the 4-4-1-1 to control the game and put them on the back foot but decided against it as they played two fast strikers so instead we played the deep 4-4-2. It was a close game until another red card incident in the first half after which we ran them ragged for another lucky three points. At home against Frankfurt I didn't plan to get any points and played our 4-4-1-1 in the hopes of creating a hectic and open game and maybe turn it into a fight we can win or at least an entertaining game for the fans. For much of the game the only thing that looked open was our dire defensive line but with some heroic blocks and saves along with a bit of luck we managed to keep a clean sheet. We only managed one shot on target and didn't deserve to get a point from this game. At Karlsruher SC we ran out of luck as they showed some clinical finishing. We did look defensively solid for most of the game playing our deep 4-4-2 and Pedro scoring his first goal from the club, another new signing Konrad providing the assist and young prospect Di Fabio getting his first start (Perstaller was injured) were some small highlights to a match I was expecting to lose anyway. Away to Bielefeld we again rotated some players with the young Ülker getting a start for the still injured Perstaller and we set out to play our deep 4-4-2 to hopefully grab a point although I didn't plan to. Janicke opened the scoring after they couldn't clear a corner and he was allowed to shoot from the edge of the box blasting it into the top corner. They got two back both from scrambles after a set piece which we didn't defend well. We managed to grab a late equalizer with a great counter attack which saw the young talents Di Fabio, Ülker and Pedro all involved. Di Fabio did great to make himself available early high up the pitch on the right side to allow link up with Benyamina and played it on to the advancing Baumgarten. Baumgarten found the run of Ülker down the right who put in a great cross for Pedro to run into and take first time on the volley. Bielefeld was very much in control of the match but we defended well and I was very pleased with how we managed to get a point from this game. Next up another game I didn't plan to get anything from as we hosted Kaiserslautern and optimistically played our 4-4-1-1 in the hopes of surprising them with our aggressive and high intensity play in front of the fans. The plan worked to perfection as we scored two goals in 7 minutes both scored from an interception in our own half followed by lethal attacking football on the transition. They got one back from a corner (I need to work on our set piece routines) but we closed out the game in the second half with a well worked team goal and a good defensive performance. A very pleasing performance and one of the best games in this short manager career. Away at Furth we were quickly brought back down to earth as we got thoroughly beaten in a game I wanted to get a point from. Another televised game (great!) and we played our 4-4-2 to try and keep a clean sheet. They scored the first goal from a corner and the second after we moved to a high press to get back into the game which they punished us for with a ball over the top which Sama failed to clear as he missed the header. We looked decent defensively throughout the game but critically failed to defend a set piece and missed a crucial interception. That said we didn't deserve to get anything from this game as Furth was completely in control and had the majority of the chances. I have Schuhen to thank for keeping the score reasonable by saving a penalty. The next game at home against Bochum was another game I wanted to take a point from. Normally I would start with the 4-4-1-1 but a quick look at their striker (hello mr. 18 pace and 14 acceleration Paniel Mlapa) showed me I had to change our plans and play a deep press. The game turned into a fairly cagey affair with very few chances on both ends. They scored an early goal with a simple chip onto the head of the strong Mlapa and we needed a moment of magic from Benyamina in the 80th minute when he took a Gardawski cross first time with an acrobatic volley. A simple but effective tactical change got us a point here as they only had Mlapa's physicality to create them a couple of chances against our compact defense. The game against Duisburg was very similar. I wanted to go for the win but their striker (mr 17 acceleration and 15 pace Branimir Hrgota) made me decide to play our 4-4-2. We did well to limit their chances but when we got into position to grab the points Di Fabio couldn't apply the finish. He was in the squad to replace the injured Benyamina and failed to keep a cool head in front of the keeper. Away at Holstein Kiel was the fourth game in a row where I had planned to pick up points. The last few results weren't great and we had some players out injured so I was fearful of a slump. We played our 4-4-1-1 with Di Fabio up front and Pedro at AMC. This time Di Fabio did better as he managed to get a penalty from a corner situation and later put in a great cross after drifting to the right flank which found Janicke a the far post. Janicke was the real hero this game as he got himself a Hatrick (including one penalty). A great moment for him to step up and put on his scoring boots to lead the team to a vital result. Their only goal came in the last minutes when some complacent defending allowed a great through ball in behind the defense which put their striker in a one on one with Schuhen but at 5-0 the fans were already drunkenly chanting in the stands and hardly phased by the late goal. The last game before the break at home against Fortuna Düsseldorf I didn't plan to get any points but momentum carried us to a great performance. We played our 4-4-1-1 with Pedro getting another start at AMC after a good performance in the previous game. He rewarded me by scoring a great team goal after Benyamina who returned from injury dropped deep and found the penetrating run from Pedro. Had a great opportunity to score his first goal after injury when Dorda earned a penalty by surging into the box drawing the foul. After scoring the penalty Benyamina was at the foundation for third goal as he again dropped into space and put a great one touch pass over the top to the advancing DR who in turn drilled a first time cross to the far post where Janicke got in front of his man to take the cross on the volley. Three touches in style to put the game beyond doubt and the fans on their feet. A great way to end the first half of the season and it was very pleasing to see us control a game against a stronger opponent playing our high pressing 4-4-1-1. A really close table with us in 4th position and we only need another 4 points to reach our first target of 35 points which is hopefully enough to avoid automatic relegation. We had planned to grab another 15 points from the second half of the season so 4 points shouldn't ever be a problem. Looking up towards the promotion places looks tempting but with a tough start of the second half against Bremen and Berlin it's not looking likely that we will stay high up the table for much longer. That said if we start well and win those early games we might be looking at the start of an heroic season for Hansa Rostock. I think the football we play based on hard work instead of individual skill or specialist roles can really suit a weaker team and if we keep fighting fearlessly for our points and get a bit of luck in key moments we could be onto something special this season. I will be taking a short break and sadly don't have time to get into more detail on how I prepare matches and adapt to different games and opponents. I already talked a bit about my decision making on playing the high pressing 4-4-1-1 and the deeper and more compact 4-4-2. Hopefully when I get back I have some time to dive deeper into a couple of key games and show some of the smaller changes I make before and during games as we get to the business end of the season.
  15. Maybe reconsider the increased closing down. It will also put your defensive line higher and can stop the opponent from committing more men forward. Removing it could also help the team stay in a better defensive formation. Lastly if you are looking to get the ball forward immediately then maybe you don't want your striker to come deep to link up but instead just look to get in behind immediately like an advanced forward. Just some things to consider, maybe watch some games with the feedback from this thread in mind to see what changes would work for your team.