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  1. So TCS 2021 is likely the last release in the series. It’s been a long series since an unknown release in 2015, to over 450,000 downloads total. The skin has long surpassed any expectations that I had and has been a great distraction for me throughout the years. I’ve always been very open about my mental health and my struggles, and while the skin has been a distraction, it is also something that has fell to the wayside when I’ve struggled and it’s also contributed in parts. When you’re struggling, or in my case anyway, you just need positive affirmation and any sort of positivity helps, and while you get that from a skin, you also get a lot of bugs that you missed and things that you can’t fix because of resolutions or game updates and so on and so forth. But then you’re also in a war with your head, you don’t have the energy to fix it, you’re too tired, but you need to fix it, but you just want to go to bed and cry and wallow in self-pity. It becomes a vicious loop that you can’t get out of, and has led to me abandoning the skin on multiple occasions, even with glaring bugs like the most recent release of 2021. For 2021, my goal has always been self-improvement and just progress trying to get into a better place, and mostly it has been, and for me, letting go of TCS has been and will be a big part of that. It sounds silly and as I’m writing it, I’m a bit unsure about posting it, but people forget that it’s a person the other side of that mod. There have been days where I’ve had my heart broken or had an awful MH day, and then someone complains about a resolution issue despite it being clearly posted that it doesn’t support that. Again, it sounds silly but for me when I need constant reaffirmation and I just need compliments more than anything, instead I get another similar complaint that just drags you down. It’s just not a stress I need at this point in time. Anyway, enough rambling. I’ve managed to find the definitive version of each skin, from an awful skin in FM15, to a previously unreleased skin in FM18 and an unreleased version of 2021. I’ll update it more in the future as I go through previous hard drives and stuff.
  2. This is a project I have been tinkering with on-and-off for quite a while. After playing FM (and CM before it) over many years, I've become more and more interested in the game’s AI – its sophistication and limitations. After several years of creating various edited databases, I decided to create an entirely new set of clubs and their own league to play in, almost entirely divorced from the parameters of the real footballing world. Part of the motivation was to create a new league to play in for a bit of change, but it was also a way of seeing how the game would react to such a situation: would it allow this new league to function in the way that it could (i.e., leverage its wealth and resources to become potentially the leading competition in the sport), or would it maintain the status quo, dominated by UEFA competitions and established European leagues? Moreover, it is an opportunity to see how a league unfolds from the very beginning. None of the clubs have history, staff (apart from some basic backroom staff and owners) or any form of legacy: they all need to establish themselves and either sink or swim in their environment using the resources at their disposal. As a follower of American sports, I took this project down the US ‘franchise’ route: closed leagues, divisional structure, playoffs, vibrant logos and ostentatious team names… I appreciate this is tantamount to heresy to some*, but if you’re interested in something a bit different, read on… *I’ll state at the outset, this isn’t one for the purists: many, many aspects of the game have been dismantled, altered, tweaked and tinkered with; the in-game editor is on and tools like FM genie scout and FMRTE will also be used to ascertain information and data: I’m not an active manager in the game and won’t be claiming any ‘achievement’ on route – this is solely about setting up a fictional scenario and seeing what happens. All the same, I appreciate that many like the game to be played ‘properly’ and will detest the very notion of this. I like to play the game in it’s traditional format too, but also enjoy having a mess about and being a bit creative. Likewise, I'm a bit of a data nerd, and reports will be, at least in part, focused on analysing data from the game - again, I appreciate that some will find this utterly pointless and an absurd way to 'play' FM... Premise: · How will FM’s AI cope under extreme conditions, namely the disruption of the underlying logic and structure of the game ‘world’? This is an experiment to find out, by creating a new league and new teams that will rival the old establishment of world football · Based nominally in Canada, a new ‘closed’ league has been created, populated by 32 franchises, spread across the world (although consolidated primarily in more economically realistic nations and cities as would be the case in a real-life situation) · Every team is extremely well financed via commercial deals and TV revenue (although relatively evenly financed, much like how US sports use collective revenue sharing), and has state-of-the-art facilities and stadiums. They are the football (soccer) equivalent of the NFL, where the ‘closed’ structure ensures their revenue and status are protected. Club reputations have been set high (between 9000 and 6500 on a ratio'd basis) so as to provide the new league with a surge of interest to kick-start it · Teams from the IFF (the Independent Football Federation) do not qualify for any existing continental or world club tournaments. Game Setup: · English, Spanish, Italian, German and French top divisions are running on full detail in addition to Canada, which is running the IFF World Championship and IFF Division II (for B Teams) · The game has 24,500 players active on a 'medium' sized database · All other nations are running as normal at game start-up New League Structure: · The IFF season is structured as follows: August – October: The Divisional Series: teams are regionally divided into 4 leagues of 8 teams – The Pacific Football Conference (PFC); The North American Football Conference (NFC); The European Football Conference (EFC); The Atlantic Football Conference (AFC). Teams play each-other twice, with winners crowned champions Additionally, the Pentland-Meisel Invitational Cup runs during August and September. This is a tournament in which the previous year’s IFF champions take on the winners of the continental cups (European Cup, Libertadores etc) November – May: The IFF World Championship starts with a group phase, in which all 32 teams are randomly drawn in pools of 8, playing each-other twice. The winners and runners-up in each group qualify for the championship playoffs (single-legged seeded knockout rounds played at the home-team stadium, with a final at a neutral venue) Running alongside the World Championship is the Intercontinental Challenge Cup; a 2-legged knockout cup featuring all 32 teams, drawn randomly To keep things interesting in these shorter format leagues, 2 points are awarded for a win, 1 for a draw and none for a loss. Initial Questions/thoughts: · How will this new league interact with the established game world? Will players and managers be attracted to the upstart league by the prospect of the money on offer? Will the AI recognise other factors such as the draw of the cities that teams are based in (Melbourne, New York, San Diego, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Miami….?) or even the relatively low number of matches they are required to play in per season? · Will there be an immediate influx of talent for big money as ambitious owners look to exploit their wealth and grow their empires? How effective will scouting and recruitment be? Will these new clubs, starting from scratch, be to ‘see’ the best players by building a scouting network? How much will this limit their ability to improve quickly? · In time, will the IFF grow its own superstars with the vast facilities and resources available to clubs? · What kind of competitive dynamic will emerge in the league? Will the ‘traditional’ football nations and regions (i.e., Europe) mimic their domination over this new league, or will North America become dominant? Will this affect the quantity and quality of youth prospects clubs can generate? Likewise, will dominance emerge from within specific regional conferences, or will competition be balanced? · Without the restrictions of FFP, will the IFF teams simply be able to outmuscle even the strongest of clubs in the European leagues, or will prestige and tradition ensure the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern always retain their status as the giants? · Over time, will the IFF offer a higher standard of football for the world? Will we see a consolidation of talent, with 32 highly tuned, high quality teams going head-to-head each year in the toughest club challenge on the planet, or will it simply become another retirement home for past-it stars of Europe, where lavish salaries are paid to has-beens to see out their twilight playing years in glamourous surrounds? Let's find out... Update Format: · Each Season I will do a report on the goings-on in this alternative football universe; · I will cover the winners of each tournament and provide some analysis of team strength and development using the in-game editor and Genie Scout to gather background data such as CA, PA, reputation as well as financial information · Initially, I will analysing changes to numbers of players with PA and CA bands in each of the major leagues, changes to club values, using a ‘control’ group of clubs from Europe and tracking the transfer spending of the IFF clubs and the ‘control group’ clubs. As the game evolves, there will be additional sections added and developed
  3. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Stopsley Utd's History on Football Manager Below are the 2 major saves I have had with Stopsley Utd on Football Manager. I did attempt some saves on other versions but none that lasted more than just a few seasons, the saves on FM10 lasted 50 seasons and on FMC15 was 64 seasons. Updates and some details and stats from those saves. _________________________________________________________ FM10 Stopsley Utd - The FM Era! Club Honours - Manager Stats - Best XI _____________________________________ FMC15 Stopsley Utd - The FMC Era! Club Honours - Manager Stats - Best XI _____________________________________ This all started on LMA Manager 2005 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ The FMC15 save will continue at some stage, I have an idea for what I want to do next with that save. for now though I need to concentrate on this save, have so many idea's for saves and keep getting side tracked. Anyway I am confident in this one and after playing FMC and FMT versions mostly since the choice of between the two was introduced I have decided to give Full Fat a really good go again, as it is going to be a one club save I want to be able to have more control over the club. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ We will start this era in League One and we have replaced the Mk Dons. I have signed 23 players, no players are younger than 30 and they will all be familiar names to you, 3 players were signed from Premier League clubs and the others have all played in the Premier League in the past. Some of those players have also been given staff roles, you will also notice a couple of faces below, the chairman was just random but it just suited my set up. I am looking forward to having a long save. I will reveal my squad shortly. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Luton My Home Stadium MK First Team/Under 23's Woughton on the Green Training Ground/Under 18's Brackley Town FC (St James Park) Under 23's _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________
  4. Welcome to the Ultimate Legends 1880 - 2018! * Accurate ratings and statistics due to extensive research and testing, every player is correctly coded, no stats are left to the computer to generate so you don't get lots of players with inaccurate ratings for vital statistics. Every single legend and star is tested prior to release to ensure they play exactly like their real life counterparts. * No Duplicate Players as the whole database has been checked and re-checked to ensure no duplication's at all. * The whole game is re-coded from top to bottom and the ratings system has been changed significantly so please do not compare FM18 player ratings to the player ratings in the Ultimate Legends game. No player is released into the game until fully researched and fully tested. Significant Modern players have also been re-coded to bring them into line with their legendary counterparts in terms of the new player ratings system. Brexit has been removed & NO FOREGROUND SUGAR DADDIES * Full Squads for all major teams throughout the world and you can check them all out in the opening pages. These squads may still be updated up until the point of release. After release new squads and players will continue to be updated accordingly to ensure this legends game continually improves and maintains its very high standards.
  5. Hey , some time ago i wrote a thread that i wanted to change the prize money of the champions and europa league. Now I know how it´s done and I did that and when i went to simulate the champions league and see if it works on FM 2018 , my game crashes on 23rd of May and the champions league final is not playable because of that crash. What can i do? Branquinho-Holanda.fmf
  6. Introduction I have read santy001 and oliscots great Harrogate and Salford story and wanted to try out lower league management again in FM18 to see how quickly I can promote to the Premier League. To make it a real challenge I didn't want to take over any of the best teams teams in Vanarama North and a semi-professional one. Since I'm a Manchester United fan, I choose FC Manchester of United and my goal is to one day be the best team i Manchester :) Initial analysis -Because we are semi-professional and has poor trainings facilities, training won't develop the players much. So to develop players so that they can stay in the team a few promotions, I have to focus on buying youngsters (age 17-22) who develops more than older players and can be tutored. Tutoring will increase their determination, which I think is very important for players in the lower leagues. -With a team with many young players it's important to have good leaders, so I need to sign good captains and vice-captains. -Poor youth facilities, minimal junior coaching and basic youth recruitment means that I can't expect any youth candidates to ever play for the first team before the facilities are upgraded a lot. So all youngsters, before the facilities are upgraded, must be signed after they are released from other teams or found in a National U18/19/20/21-team. (many regens from smaller nations appears in National teams before they are signed by a club) -We have only £ 8,722 in the bank and wage- and transfer budgets of £3,917 and £8,372, so many players must be loaned to save some money and players must be signed on a free transfer. -The team comparison shows that the team are worst in many important attributes: str, com, off, dri, pas... So most of the existing team has to be sold, loaned out or released. Of the existing squad only Allinson and Irwin seems to be good enough to secure promotion to Vanarama National. Exciting news so, Glory, glory united Man, I guess.
  7. Welcome to my first career thread. Having lurked on the site since the Beta of FM17, and being inspired to try different styles of gameplay, now comes my first attempt to document a save. Background Having grown up with CM01/02 and remembering the split between CM and FM, there were a few years away from the game, having purchased FM09 then a gap until 17, I was looking for something different than taking over Liverpool (own team) and failing to avoid the sack. Stumbling across the forum I was drawn to the different styles of play and challenges, trying out the British Steel Challenge in FM17, and a Youth Only save using the Level 22 database (only going to L10 though) with Hayes and Yeading in FM18. While I haven't decided to make the leap to FM19 yet, I want to try documenting a save, seeing what happens as I try, usually fail, and how strictly I can stick to the rules I have enforced. Game Setup As the title suggests I am loading up the divisions in Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg. I have also added the big 5 as low as they will go (Claassen megapack loaded) as view only Filtering for the leagues available, I am going to start in Luxembourg as unemployed and to see what happens
  8. Correct me if I am mistaken, from my knowledge the star rating of players is relative or compared to the players that are currently playing in the league you’re managing, for example: the average CA of players playing in the premier league is 150, so anyone with a CA of 150 will have 3 stars, 160 will have 3.5 stars, 170+ will have 4 stars and so on (this is probably inaccurate but let it be for example’s sake). If there was an influx of players with a CA of 165+ and the average CA of players in the league increased, would players that were rated as “First Team” players but are now “Back Up” or “Rotation” be more willing to drop down a division? Would this also be the case for players abroad that you’re looking to bring in? Context: I created a database for South Africa and upped the Youth Rating for the nation considerably, my dilemma is that the new intakes have CA that is already good enough to consider them as Back Ups or Rotation options for their first teams and a few seasons in the top division clubs and national team are decked out with u21 players as Key Players and youth players refuse to be loaned out to any lower league club in the nation because they are “too good” for them. Now I thought I would be able to counter this problem by using an in-game editor and orchestrating the transfer market for local top division clubs clubs and bring in relatively high CA players but I want to know if this will have a knock-on effect on the lower divisions or will my efforts be in vain?
  9. 309. I had been to the 40 000 all-seater Campéon del Siglo before. At the time I was hopeful of managing the then 40-year old legend who scored the first goal at this new stadium in 2016: Diego Forlan. He’d returned from a stint in India to play for Fénix, a struggling side that had just been promoted against all odds. After finishing his career there, in hindsight he should have retired after he came back over to Montevideo for the first time. Returning to his boyhood club after a four-year post-Europe tour in Brazil and Japan, he scored the goals to sign them off in their old stadium and get them going in their new one. It was a fairy tale 12 months, winning the Campeonato Uruguayo halfway through the new transition back to the calendar year league format. If I could find out where he was, maybe he could be tempted to work as an assistant at the third most successful finalists in Copa Libertadores history: Club Atlético Peñarol. The International Federation of Football History and Statistics’ South American Club of the Century had won more than 50 domestic titles and kept pace with Argentinean monsters River Plate and Boca Juniors in continental competition, although Independiente were a modern-day colossus with three Copa Libertadores wins in a row. Their rivalry with Nacional was immense; if one didn’t win the title the other would. This was a huge job. Ecuadorean side Liga de Quito are in town, the only side to have dropped points against Peñarol, and were going home with nothing more than participation money. Since that opening fixture Manyas had lost every game in the competition, and back to back defeats against River hardly helped their heavyweight claims. Paraguayan side Libertad currently topped the group by two points and only needed to avoid a loss in Argentina – this was not a campaign that should have been thrown away. The Uruguayan side had only scored two goals and remarkably both came in the first minute in Ecuador and Paraguay before throwing the game away. A cool shower descended over the city. At least 35 000 people had turned up to see this game and if anyone was stupid enough to not take their seats before kick-off they would be rushing in after that roar from the crowd. From the off the ball was worked wide left of the 4-2-3-1 DM Wide formation and Saracchi beat his man on the wing and whipped in a deep cross which was headed up in the air by the Liga de Quito defence. Right winger Sirino didn’t let two thoughts enter his head and hit the sweetest volley into the near post to make it 1-0 inside 15 seconds! Lightning had struck a third time in the first minute for Peñarol. The defensive box employed by the Ecuadoreans had a long night on. The visitors did well to control the ball thereafter but an incisive move in and around the box got the hosts 2-0 to the good, Sirino again providing the finish. Number ten Elizari had played a lovely square ball with his back to goal to assist the strike. After quarter of an hour the game is surely settled now. A knee injury to Saracchi saw play subdued and he didn’t reappear for the second half. Sirino took a knock soon after and the visitors made two quick changes to try and get back in the game. The home side’s defence had little to do and it looked like complacency was setting in. Liga de Quito were very frustrated but the manager showed no tactical guile is trying to alter the game, just throwing on his third substitute to freshen up the central column once more. Peñarol were quick to win the ball with possession lost and that tenacity saw left wing substitute Rodríguez drive at the opposition and cross into the middle. Again the ‘keeper punched clear but not far enough. Sirino… hat-trick! A crashing hit across the goalkeeper for a marvellous trio of goals, Elizari again the master of the one-touch assist. He was taken off for a well-deserved ovation soon after. Rodríguez still wanted his name in lights, if only as a subheading, and came inside to strike low and hard into the bottom corner with a quarter of an hour left. It had been a terrific performance from the attacking midfielders but caretaker Jorge Gonçalves, a Peñarol veteran of 20 years as player and staff, had recognised the lack of mobility with the striker and replaced him five minutes previous. The game petered out. The defensive players had been so tough all night long and rightly celebrated together while the attackers congratulated each other. The tactic created these divisions but it was fantastic to see these men turn a corner as one. The Valencia Football Review called to clarify a few things about my departure, completely unaware of where I was, and it felt good to talk away from home. I wouldn’t have to look anyone in the eye in response to what they read in the newspapers. Peñarol would keep me waiting until the Intermedio was a fortnight away before offering an interview. It had been an expensive five days at short notice in the hotel. New president Carlos Ádrian Noble had formally invited me by letter but on the day the director Ricardo Peluffo was the only one at the interview. There was a managing director who could not make it as well as another, less senior director who was now away on holiday. It seemed like this was at least plausible, despite the yarns I have been spun by suits in the past. He wasn’t a man to get on the wrong side of; immediately he spoke of his ‘considerable reservations’ about the time I spent at my previous clubs. I rode the storm and stuck my neck out, asking about the data analysis facilities and if the training ground was at the level required to dominate Uruguayan football. I had to impress this guy after all. He eventually let the business mask slip and looked to be warming to me, or maybe he had just forgotten that conversations with the manager didn’t have to be a terse post-defeat war. I begged him to take a chance on me. I explained how my ground-breaking approach last season had led to a win ratio of 67% and it would never be bettered at Mestalla. I cheekily told him I’d also won every cup I’ve ever entered, and we shared a laugh. Have I convinced him?
  10. 12 Step Guide to Tactics STEP 1 Understand what Mentality, Shape, Roles and Duties do for your team Mentality affects HOW a team plays, do they have a higher appetite for risk, do you want them to be more aggressive going up or do you want them to be calculated in possession? Mentality affects closing down, width, length of passing, tempo and defensive lines. Shape affects how a team plays during transitions. On lower shape players will stick to their duties more, whilst on higher shapes a team is more likely to play as a unit. So if you want your team to play by sticking to the shape of the formation then you want to play on the more structured shapes. Roles and duties serve to create individual distinctions in mentality, and shape acts to distribute it within the team. For Example: Defensive - Highly structured - Attack duties will be further away, their risk appetites will be higher and you are likely to need them to be good at using the ball on their own. It may take time for others to come up and support them. If you don’t use the shout play out of defence you could see quick counter attacks. Defensive - Very fluid - most of the team will be playing on the same mentality, the side will appear compressed, it will move as a unit. Since you are so calculated in your movement up the pitch, you could find that the opponent is already firmly in their defensive positions when you get the ball up the pitch. A poacher in a Defensive Highly structured system will always have a higher mentality and a greater risk appetite to do things than one in a Defensive/Very Fluid system As you increase mentality, the teams style of passing, closing down, its defensive line, tempo will all change. How the team plays as a unit however will stay the same, unless you change mentality or duties. STEP 2 Analyse your squad 1. Check Season Preview to determine how you rank vs the other teams 2. Study your squad to identify strengths and weaknesses: Use Team Reports - a simple snapshot that gives you a good indication of overall things like work rate, decisions, jumping reach etc. Use Squad Comparison - to give you a comparison to the rest of the league, always use the highest value. Use Squad Depth - to find out how many players you have and how they stack up on current ability. Remember to use the option to show Roles currently selected for your tactic. Use a Club DNA view - Break your side down by attributes and analyse their strengths 3. Once you have identified your team : draw up a list of positions and rate each one with what you have The game is all about defending space, controlling space and attacking space. To that end we need to know how the players can perform defensive and offensive tasks on the pitch. Rate them according to how well they can perform these tasks, when a transition fails I will look at these attributes when I analyse why, please understand attributes are relative for the league you are in!! : 
 DEFENSIVE TASKS a. How good your central defenders are at dealing with crosses - Jumping Reach, Heading, Positioning, Anticipation b. How many players you have good enough to get back quickly and play on support to help out the defence - Concentration, Acceleration, Stamina, Determination, Work rate, c. How good your players are at tight marking their opponents - Concentration, acceleration, marking, strength. d. How many players you have good enough to spot a danger before it happens - Anticipation, Concentration, Positioning e. How many players you have who are good enough to put in a challenge if needed - Bravery, Strength, Tackling If you have central defenders who are strong aerially and good positionally then you can play on various mentalities. Your side can adopt defensive postures and allow the opposition to cross the ball. However if the players attributes are just average vs the league, then you will need to adapt dynamically and decide on a per game basis whether its too risky to sit back and allow the opposition the time and space to cross the ball. When your team has low acceleration and poor positioning they are going to find it a challenge to play on higher shape settings. Determine if your players have good acceleration, determination and work rate too since these will influence whether you can play a game on higher shapes and higher mentalities as support and defend duty players may need to get back quickly when defending. If your team is average or below average at defensive tasks, then you are recommended to play with at least a defensive midfielder so that your backline gets more support. Here you need to recognise your sides weaknesses and be prepared to deal with them if necessary. OFFENSIVE ASPECTS Creating chances is all about controlling space and using space. We need to know what kind of players are at our disposal, and what they are capable of. Players who can exploit space and what the attributes influence specific action during an attacking phase. Those who go into and attack the spaces (eg, Players who may be expected to play either attack or support duties on the flanks or are expected to move into channels centrally )- Acceleration, off the ball, anticipation, determination, work rate Those who can control the ball - First Touch, balance, agility Those who can control and work the space ( Players who have been given the support duty and are expected to drop deep or hold up the ball) - Strength, balance, first touch, decisions, off the ball, determination, work rate, composure Those who can find players in spaces - (Players who are expected to be making risky passes) First touch, decisions, passing, vision Understanding what the players are capable of will influence your decisions on what kind for tactical formations you can use and how you can use the space. If you opt to use a structured shape, then players in attack duties will be expected to either attack space or control them, depending on the role. If their roles demand they dribble or move into channels then you will need to make sure they have the attributes to do their roles well. Technical attributes such as crossing, dribbling, finishing will need to be taken into account for specific tasks you have in mind for them. For example, I want to play a winger in a structured shape and I want him to attack the space out wide. Then I will need him to have Go into and Attack Space - Acceleration, off the ball, anticipation, determination. Once he gets there, I need him to control the ball - First Touch, balance, agility. Finally I need him to dribble with the ball go down the flank and cross - Dribbling, Crossing. When you have a systematic way of analysing whether a player can perform a role within an overall shape it becomes a lot easier. In more structured shapes, players in attack duties are more likely to wait for support, these players will need to be able to attack the space and control the ball. In more fluid shapes, players will need to be able to move around, control and work the space. Regardless of shape you will always need players to find others in spaces, these will most likely be your playmakers, or any role that has been assigned risky passing. Why is this important? You've heard the advice, "give passing options", "defend against the cross", but how do you do this effectively? Understanding how a play breaks down gives us insight into what actions could have failed. - Did a player get closed down too fast and lose the ball, because his support players didn't come up quickly enough? - Did his control of the ball let him down? Knowing if your defenders can deal with the cross allows you to use defensive strategies more effectively. Knowing that you have players who can win balls in the box and clear them allows you to play a conservative strategy, knowing fully well that on defensive strategies you give up the flanks. Understanding how attributes kick in on defensive and offensive phases will help you. FM18 also makes it easier for you to compare players in specific roles along key role attributes. Click on a position in the tactical grid, now go to the squad list and drag someone over and study the comparison tab that pops out on the right. STEP 3 Create a balanced tactic with more than one route to goal Tactics don’t need to have 10 attacking duties to score, a tactic with no attacking duties can do just as well, provided you have considered carefully what your players are capable of. Always think about how you are doing to defend the spaces vacated by your attacking duties. If you are using a Complete Wingback, understand that he will venture forth aggressively on an attacking duty. So how do you defend that space in his absence? Is your tactic capable of creating more than one type of goal? Don’t be too one-dimensional with your tactics. You could create a tactic that has one flank delivering crosses while you have another flank crafting short little passes that serve to drag a team around. A balanced tactic is all about controlling the space. Worry about keeping a clean sheet first. Sort out your defensive shape before you create your attacking shape. The with and without ball screens only give you a general guide on what your team looks like in attack and defence. Look at passing network diagrams in Team Reports to see what your key pass combinations look like to make sure players are using the space effectively. When you create a tactic consider how you place your duties first. When deciding how to set up your duties, account for the attacking duties and make sure that you have adequate support to cover for them when they go off attacking. When creating a balanced tactic, we are always trying to balance duties to make sure there is enough cover to account for these attacking duties. For example if you choose to use an attacking duty on a side midfielder in a 3 man midfield, consider using a support duty behind him to cover for him when he goes attacking. This way during a transition from attack to defence, you will have cover on that side of the pitch. Once you have distributed your duties, you can then think of the roles that your tactic may need. Remember that you have the option of using Match Plans in FM18, this powerful tool gives you the ability of saving pre-sets of your tactic with different team instruction combinations. This allows you to create scenarios to make subtle changes to your system under certain circumstances. STEP 4 Adapt the roles to the player Many roles in the game may not suit your players strengths and weaknesses. Use the player instructions to fine tune the players skill to the role requirements. If a player can’t dribble, then choose a role where you can get him to dribble less. If he has poor vision and decisions then don’t give him a role which requires him to take risky passes. You can even look at your tactic and set specific roles for specific players in your formation. If you are playing a 442, then one player can be set up as a Winger and if you have a plan b, where you need to bring on a defensive winger in the second half, then set a specific role for the second player in the player instructions sub panel. This way you don’t need to fiddle with player instructions each time a player is brought on. STEP 5 Focus on how the roles and duties work together in your tactic Roles and duties can work together to create effective passing triangles on the pitch. If you want a tactic that attacks space in wide areas you may want to use attacking duties in wide areas. Duties can be combined together to make sure you have as many players split across different stratas of the pitch. For example you could have one defend duty in defence followed by a support duty on a fullback. Together they have been offset to provide support to each other. The same holds true in a two man strike partnership. One striker could work off another, as one striker could play a deeper role holding up the ball for another player who is in a more attacking role. When you think of roles and duties you need to think of effective combinations that work the ball seamlessly through transitions. STEP 6 Use Team Instructions Wisely Team Instructions allow you to create styles, but not understanding what they do can be even worse. When in doubt, don’t use any instructions. If you are not sure what these do, choose one at a time and watch the effects. Most of the Team Instructions are self explanatory. There is no hard and fast rule on which team instruction to use in the game. As long as you think about it logically and keep it simple you should be fine. Whenever you play with a fluid setting always remember that higher defensive lines combined with offside traps can be risky as you are compressing your side even more. The best option when using team instructions is always to keep things simple by observing how these changes affect your team and do these changes liberally in pre season. STEP 7 Analyse the Opposition Before each match, check the weather conditions and check the scout reports on the opposition. Pay close attention to their key pass combinations and try and identify how they move the ball around and who their creative players are. You can elect to use a strategy of shutting them at the source or defending against their threat. If you choose to shut them down at the source then you want to isolate key pass combinations that indicate where most of their support play is occurring and this will be the area you disrupt, either by overloading or by reducing the influence of their creative players. If you plan to sit back and defend against their threats then you will need to focus on roles and duties in the team that can perform this task by being positionally good and/or aerially strong. 
For example, you could adopt a plan to sit back and defend, by allowing them the freedom of the flanks. Here you could be playing a game of sit back and soak, without the need of countering. A suitable mentality may be defensive/fluid. Then you would be making sure that your defenders are aerially strong and positionally suitable for the task. It’s definitely one way of playing if you are the sort that like to shout “backs to the wall”. STEP 8 Understand Transitions So we have analysed our players, now how do we know when our tactic isn’t working? We need to look at how our team transitions the ball from defence to attack and how the team transitions from attack to defence. When attacking we want to see a seamless move from defence to attack. Whenever each move breaks down we need to find out what has happened. Once the event occurs we need to look at it carefully and track back a few moves. You could have conceded a goal, not because your defender failed to tackle a player in time but a midfielder 5 moves back could have failed to move into position allowing the ball to be intercepted. When you have identified these transition failures as I like to call them, then you should revisit Step 2 and try and use those guidelines to understand how and why those transitions failed. STEP 9 Don’t be rigid in your approach, prepare to adapt This means you may need to change your approach in a game. If the AI is attacking you down the left, you may need to change duties there to compensate. Or you may find that the opposition is sitting back and this may require you to push up, go wider or even get more players up in support. When the AI scores a goal its prepared to change mentality, shape even roles and duties to maintain the lead. When it expects to win it could even decide to go attacking and fluid on you. The AI manager plays dynamically to get a result, we should be prepared to do the same whether its a slight change to roles and duties or a significant change like changing the style of play altogether. Get into the practice of trying strategies where you push up to try and score a goal and then sit back to defend. You can make tactical changes to play more defensively by telling your team to retain possession and work ball into box to encourage your side to hold onto the ball. Or you could have a strategy where you switch to counter and structured and pass into space if you expect the opposition to push forward for the flank. STEP 10 Learn to use Opposition Instructions Opposition Instructions act to target a specific opposition player as opposed to player instructions like tight marking and closing down which are more zonal. Consider using OIs to put opposition backlines under pressure. You can also use them to hard tackle dangerous crossers of the ball, put players under pressure who are unfit or even tackle harder players who are carrying an injury. Who said we have to be nice? STEP 11 - Have a bench strategy The players on the bench can present an effective change in strategy for you. If you find that you need to stick a strong player upfront to hold the ball up and play others in. Don’t be afraid of thinking of different players who can perform different roles to create varied styles of play. Consider as well, the possibility that you may want to bring on players just to waste time to hold on to a lead. STEP 12 Never ever forget to set up your set pieces If you have a player who can take long shots then set him lurking at the edge of the box, and hurl corners to the penalty area for him to take strike. You can also set corner routines up to help with keeping possession of the ball. And never forget to check attacking routines to make sure you have enough cover in case the opposition launch a quick counter.
  11. Welcome to my first FM Career Update. I've been playing since FM16, I've been a lurker for the past year and now I've decided to make a thread. As you can see, I'll be playing as Southampton FC. I'm not a supporter but I like them as a club and I'm hoping to take them from top half/mid-table safety to one the top teams in England. The Manager Meet Michael King. He worked as a youth team coach for Southampton up until they fired Claude Puel. He was appointed as an interim over the summer, a stop gap until they could find a better option. However, due to his work ethic, smooth talking and knowledge of Ralph Kreuger's darkest secrets, he's secured the full time job much to the world's surprise. He's out of his depth, tactically inept and can't manage a budget for his life. But he'll have to learn. And learn fast. The Budget £30m for transfers but there's some dead weight to be cleared. which will raise funds. ~£1.6m for wages, spending ~£1.5m. 90% of transfer revenue. After some blackmail pleading, this was increased to 100%. The Expectations Top Half Finish Round 6 of the FA Cup. They don't give a **** about the Carabao Cup. Neither does King. The Objectives Improve squad depth. Make Southampton one of England's biggest clubs a good few year down the line. At the risk of sounding like Louis Van Gaal, it is a process. And one that'll take time. Try not to get exposed as a fraud.
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