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  1. The Art of Doing it Your Own Way "Players lose you games, not tactics. There's so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes." - Brian Clough Introduction Brian Howard Clough (1935 - 2004), was an English football player and manager. He is always associated with Peter Taylor, who served as his assistant manager at various clubs from the 60s to 80s. In 1975, Clough joined 2nd division Nottingham Forest. It was here where Forest were to the promoted to the top flight and subsequently won the league (the 1st ever in the club's history). Forest also won two CONSECUTIVE European Cups and two League Cups. Great football managers see the game differently. Clough saw the game in ways that channeled his stubborn but yet witty approach to the beautiful games. When speaking of his tactics Clough would be at pains to downplay the complexity of the game - “You get the ball, you pass it to a Red shirt”. Tactics A bit of background knowledge ... The year is 1973. Clough left Brighton to sign for Leeds United to replace the outgoing Don Revie, who was the new England manager. Revie was a club legend, winning multiple league titles and cups with The White Roses. Clough managing Leeds would be a daunting task - this would either make or break him. It could be remarked that the ambition of Clough was huge. He yearned to be heard and respected. Revie’s style could be the type that has been associated with British football for a long time. Long balls and hard, abrasive tackling. Contrary to this, Clough was not sold into this type of philosophy. He demanded that his sides, play attractive and possession-based football. Thus criticism did not sit well with with board and the players. Eventually, Clough was out of the Leeds job in 44 days. However, this was a catalyst for future success in greener pastures. His sizable payout have him ample time to re-calibrate and reassess his future in football management. Jump to 5 years later... BAM! 1 league win 2 league cups 2 European cups You might wonder, how the f*** did that happen in 5 bloody years? Clough's Formula to Great Teams A commanding goalkeeper Solid centre-halves Forward thinking full backs Diligent central midfielders Creativity on the wings Forest often liked to (counter)attacking and proactive football. They would often like to soak up a bit of pressure and score with lightning quick breaks. His teams compromised of hard working sides that were a pleasure to watch. What else was there? Quirky defenders who can outpace forwards? Check ✅ Hardworking BBMs who would work their ass off? Check ✅ Long balls were strictly limited to goal kicks or crossfield passes. Clough wanted his team to cover every blade of grass on that pitch. Formation Throughout his entire time at Forest, Clough was very tactically astute, setting up in what at first glance appeared to be a 4-4-2, but could also be a 4-5-1 or a 4-3-3. This will be the base formation, a good 'ol flat 4-4-2. But how do we make it into a 4-3-3 or 4-5-1? Player roles, mentality, TIs & PIs First of, lets look at the team. GK - Shilton: A commandeering and techinally astute goalkeeper. RB - Viv Anderson: The beta attacking fullback. He wasn't afraid to overlap the winger in front of him. LB - Frank Clark: Player more of a supporting role. He did get forward but not in great amounts, although. CB(x2) - Kenny Burns & Larry Lloyd: Solid rocks at the back. Both played with the intention of stopping anyone getting past them. Burns was a converted centre forward, so he was slightly more comfortable going forward. RM - Martin O'Neill: Could also play up front, but was mainly tasked with carving a line down the touchline with his runs. Had a habit of arriving late at the far post to knock in the crosses. LM - John Robertson: Determined. He spent most of his time ploughing up and down the flank. He would often cut inside at the last moment and take shots or assists in the box. CM - John McGovern: Holding Midfielder. Sat slightly deep, linking the back 4 with the midfield and attack. CM - Ian Bowyer/Archie Gemmill: Bombed forward, looked to support the front 2 and arrive in the box. AMC/ST - Tony Woodcock: He would drift back and attempt to link up the play. ST - Garry Birtles: The focal point of the team's attack and would often create and score chances. And now for the mentality and shape ... "quick support to attacking players" "getting the ball forward quickly" "aggressive full-backs and wingers" "all players are expected to contribute to all phases or play" "free-flowing football" "high levels of creative freedom" Lastly, the PIs and TIs. (I'd like to say first that Clough took a minimalist approach to tactics and more of man-management, so there won't be much PIs and TIs) Retain possession + Shorter passing - to encourage short passes to be made to facilitate possession-based football Be more expressive - allow players more creative freedom LM: Stay wider RCM: Get further forward Now that we can get quick counterattacking, possession based and expressive futbol, how do you translate this into FM? THE FINAL PRODUCT Our desired effect! Conclusion The success of Clough at Forest saw him evolve from an ambitious manager with the guile to handle the press and players to a footballing genius. Clough’s sides beat the likes of Liverpool, Hamburg and Malmö to capture two European Cups in 1979 and 1980. In addition to conquering Europe, Forest also went unbeaten for a run of 42 games. Sadly, in Clough's final managerial years, he struggled with relegation battles and alcoholism. In his final game, Forest were relegated. A man who was defined and worked through football’s old First Division simply couldn’t maintain what was required to succeed in the newly-created Premier League. Clough made the ordinary feel extraordinary and privileged feel rather average – a quality and skill honed by a lifetime of self-competition, critical analysis and unrelenting ambition. In one of his most iconic interviews, Clough described himself perfectly: “That might be aiming for utopia. And that might mean being a little bit stupid. But that is the way I am. I am a little bit stupid regarding this type of thing. I am a bit of an idealist. I do believe in fairies. And that is my outlook.” Brian Clough was outspoken and polarizing figure. His biggest asset was his ability to play the roles of footballer, manager, critic, comic, husband, father, psychologist, hero, and villain. Like or hate him, he can be regarded as the pioneer of revolutionising British football and may his name ever be written in the football history books. Resources https://www.reddit.com/r/nffc/ Quora https://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/oct/10/brian-clough-miracle-nottingham-forest-european-champions-film-jose-mourinho The Dammed United (2009 film) - trailer here! RIP Brian Clough (1935 - 2004) "The best manager England never got." ~ @goqs06 ~
  2. I'm in my second season (first in the prem) and I'm in a massive downward spiral. I don't mind losing but when I'm getting next to no highlights from my team and I see my players hopelessly giving the ball away in dangerous situations the game just becomes frustrating. I'm almost changing my instructions after every match. I was top of the table for the whole first half of my season in the championship until I hit a long losing streak just after January where my players just forgot how to play, similar to what is happening now. Last season though I became fed up and downloaded a tactic (gamebreaker by the reckonist) and it put me back on track for promotion. But now I want to create a unique system for my players because I find downloading tactics really unfulfilling.
  3. Match Of The Day Live - New Series - Full Season (All leagues) Extended match highlights with match commentary. If you want to see your team on the channel just post below: Match 1: Fulham versus Newcastle United (Championship) Next match: Nottingham Forest versus Burton Albion
  4. Hello Friends and fellow Football Managers. I am finding success with my current tactics somewhat challenging. Overall we're not performing massively below bar, with a media prediction of 12th my team currently occupies 15th place in the EFL Championship. However. I am finding it hard to maintain any form of consistency and after 6 games without a win I am up for the sack in 5 games time if I don't collect 6 points!!! So. The challenge is on to stabilize. So I am looking for way to improve this tactic and to also see where I am going wrong. So any help would be brilliant. I found the pairs and combinations, the Art of series very useless in planning my tactics also; The Formation I decided to switch my formation 7 EFL games into the season, as I came to my senses and stopped being stubborn and trying to play my style (tiki-taka) as my team simply doesn't posses the required skill to pull it off. Lots of possession and long shot issue (due to lack of support and better options) So I switched to a 4-2-3-1 wide with an AF leading the line. a Winger on the left, with a AM just behind the AF and an IF on the right hand side, with a support duty playing ahead of a maundering wingback with an attack duty. On the left side behind my Winger (also with an attack duty) my full back is on a support duty. I choose these roles for my dual wide men as I wanted to have a variety of ways of penetrating the opposition so that my attacks wouldn't become one dimension and stale. My two central players in midfield are a CM (D) and a DLP (S) so my defense would have protection. Lastly my two centre backs are simply on a defend duty. Team & Player instructions Here are my team instructions. I was wondering what people's opinion are on changing my Instructions for the final third, as the early, whipped crosses possibly suite a more counter attacking style? than a standard or attacking mentality as most away teams will probably sit deeper if they'e coming to my ground, unless they are the better side? Same as clear ball to flanks. Would that be more counter productive in an attacking or standard mentality side? My Player instructions are. Left Winger is to, get further forward, run wide with ball, dribble more. The IF is to center the ball and that is all the player instructions I have made. Results Here are my results. The redline is where I changed my formation to my current one in use now. Comparison & Depth OI Instructions With my OI instructions, I will mark & close down slow strikers and show them onto their weaker foot. I will close down both wingers and fullbacks and tackle both hard and again show them onto their weak foot. AMS & APs will be closed down, but will not be marked as usually there will be a space in-between the central two in midfield and the the defense. Central AI midfielders will be closed down depending on their passing, scoring, creativity and long shot attributes. Away Formation & Instructions The OI here is the same as the home tactic. The Player instructions are as follows, WMs get forward more, dribbles more and the BBM roams more.
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