The in-game descriptions needs a lot more clarification For instance, let's take Barcelona's style of play (Pep Team): wwfan wrote a thread (in 2011) about his interpretation of Barça that argued Counter was the most natural strategy for them and that they were far more rigid than fluid (in FM Language). Now, in this guide he makes the distinction/difference between specialist & generic roles: in short, the more specialist roles, the more rigid the tactic. So, in order to replicate Barcelona's style of play in FM accordting to wwfan, the best choice seems to be a counter/rigid strategy? Hmm, can we conclude that the most natural choice for Borussia Dortmund is a Control/Fluid strategy in FM Language? This seems to be in contradiction with the in-game descriptions. Logically, after reading the in-game descriptions, my first choice for Barça is Control & (Very) Fluid: SI's description of the Control mentality is the one which matches more with Barça's Possession Football.
As Barça is a team were the collective is more important then individuals, the fluidity should be Fluid or even Very Fluid.
To tell you the truth, even though wwfan's guidelines are his own interpretation and not hard & fast rules, that does not prevent me from being confused:
Are the in-game definitions of the different mentalities & fluidities clear enough?
Can we actually rely on/trust them or, like for the roles, do we also need to guess and get experience before really understanding how each mentality & fluidity works in detail?
Remark: I'm not arguing whether wwfan is right or not. I'm addressing the subjet of the lack of clarification of the in-game descriptions.
I don't know if I'm clear enough, but using the "words" Counter and Rigid for Barça's Tiki-Taka Style of Play sounds really strange for me...
To conclude, I believe that we need to understand how a game is actually conceptualised to be able to translate correctly our football knowledge in a game. Am I wrong?
[*] Versatile Players
Sacchi describes/confirms that (Pep Guardiola's) Barcelona is a team that attacks as a unit, and defends as a unit.
So, we should translate this in FM by a Very Fluid system.
But, when he says that football is not a sport of specialist, is Arrigo Sacchi implying that Barca plays (a Very Fluid system) with a vast majority of Generic Roles, or in other words with 0-1 (or 2) specialist? I don't think so...
First of all, What is a specialist?
A specialist is a player who is great at one aspect of football.
But, does that necessarily mean that he isn't good in multiple aspects of the game? Does that mean that a specialist is not a versatile player?
So, its not about specialist or generic roles. Its about their abilities of beeing able to play in multiple positions.
Its about the versatility of the players.
What did he actually meant? He meant that the future of football is the pitch being inhabited by players who display attributes of midfielders.
--> Pep Guardiola during the pre-match conference of Manchester City-Bayern München:
"It is not easy to play good without midfield players. I love midfield players. They are the most intelligent players. If I had my way I would have 1,000 of them in my squad."
--> Pep Guardiola’s use of Philipp Lahm
"Philipp Lahm is the most intelligent player I’ve ever coached.
He understands the game. Not all players do. A lot of players understand his position. Philipp can play in all positions. Football is a game where people move and you have to decide in one second what’s going on in your position as well as all around the field, and what he decides in that moment is right”.
Now, lets have a look:
In Real Life, Barça has at least 3 specialists: Messi is a F9, Iniesta a DLP or AP, Xavi a DLP. --> regarding to this guide we should opt for "Standard" or "Rigid" in FM.
Daniel Alves is a CWB, Piqué is a BPD and Victor Valdes is a SK. If you regard that those roles are also specialist roles than we have a total of 6 specialists. --> regarding to this guide we should translate this in FM by "Very Rigid" in FM.
Did the Pep Team played in a more Rigid system In Real Life? Of course not! The Pep Team had a fluid, expressive, and proactive system that focuses on team work.
Remember, Arrigo Sacchi insist in most of his interviews that the collective is more important than individuals!
When Sacchi said "Football is not a sport of specialists.", I think that he actually meant "Football is not a sport of individuals".
Check this article in which Sacchi gives Real Madrid Galácticos as an example of a reactive system were the individual became more important than the collective.
Sacchi puts the emphasis on Teamwork. So, again, its not about specialist or generic roles, because both can play collectively.
Its all about creating a tactic/strategie in which the collective/whole is more important/greater then individuals.
The secret is a Well-Balanced Team that only can be achieved by teamwork regardless of the type of roles.
Finally, does FM (or this guide) has the same definition of a specialist?
If philosophies in FM's ME are coded like this, then it seems that FM/this guide confuse specialists and individual players.
Is this interpretation implying that a player becomes more a individual player then a team player when we increase his creative freedom in FM?
Don't you think that a player with a lot of creative freedom can still remain a team-minded player?
Although, Barça players has a lot of creative freedom, they remain a very structured and organised team in which the players bear in mind the teamwork.
Barça play football as a unit nevertheless they have the most extreme specialists...
So, it seems that the use of the word specialist is misleading, isn't it?
The real question is:
Is it possible to play a Very Fluid system with a lot of specialist in FM? According to this guide's "no hard and no fast rules" the answer is No.