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I'm not sure what it is, it's something i read from you though, but when i gave my lower flair players "often" instructions for things like RWB and TTB it seems as if their more liberated. It's hard to explain but where as my team we're previous playing more side ways balls etc and having more possession i seem to create more chances now, sure my possession has gone down but the only stat i care about is how many times the ball has gone in each goal.

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A good thing that SFraser has always made very good use of is the 'roam from position'. For me this is the horizontal equivalent of 'forward runs'. Now, this creates space like you wouldn't beleive.

If you can imagine a striker or a winger with roam on, they move sideways, drag a defender with them and suddenly you have space for your AMC or WB to move into.... and probably unmarked.

Historically, many people play with lots of FWR but little roam, thus your players end up running into eachother and passing the ball into the back of eachothers heads.... yes, you know it's appened to you too!!!!

Roam works very well..... and for those that follow Mr Frasers threads, you will see it prevalent through his tactics...

Regards

LAM

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SFraser, Ive noticed, that many settings for your front 4 are set to normal.

Well I guess, its because those 4 have extraordinary stats in attributes like creativity, flair, decisions, teamplay and so on.

so you rely on their attirbutes and want them to decide on their own, which is the best possible thing for a certain situation.

but how about players, especially young non developed, who dont have so high mental attributes?

for example, I have my Mario Götze has 17 in flair, 15 creativity but unfortunately 6 in decisions.

I also want him to make his own decisions and to play that killer ball, when he cuts inside from the left wing.

I could observe so often, that my CF Barrios was dropping deep and my AMC kagawa was running into the channel and Götze, who had the ball just needed to play that pass into the space, but instead, he just turned back.

do you think, its because of his low decision making attribute? im playing a rigid/control 4231 with players allowing more creative freedom and götze is set as inside forward with support duty and set everything on normal.

he has creative freedom 13 or 14, which is set manually by the tc. what kind of advises could you give me?

do you think, setting ttb to often would help, since he doesnt have the mental attributes to pick up the very best option?

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If he isn't playing the ball, you could try increasing run with ball and try through ball to often so he is either running at the defense with speed or trying to play the ball to someone else. This works really well with the PPM tries killer balls often.

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If he isn't playing the ball, you could try increasing run with ball and try through ball to often so he is either running at the defense with speed or trying to play the ball to someone else. This works really well with the PPM tries killer balls often.

well, I tried it with rwb often, but noticed, that they often run like headless chickens instead of just doing the easy thing.

Ive made much better experiences with normal rwb settings and high cf.

I will try ttb often in order to see, if that helps.

but im still a little bit confused, how sfraser does have success by using default settings.

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SFraser, Ive noticed, that many settings for your front 4 are set to normal.

Well I guess, its because those 4 have extraordinary stats in attributes like creativity, flair, decisions, teamplay and so on.

so you rely on their attirbutes and want them to decide on their own, which is the best possible thing for a certain situation.

but how about players, especially young non developed, who dont have so high mental attributes?

for example, I have my Mario Götze has 17 in flair, 15 creativity but unfortunately 6 in decisions.

I also want him to make his own decisions and to play that killer ball, when he cuts inside from the left wing.

I could observe so often, that my CF Barrios was dropping deep and my AMC kagawa was running into the channel and Götze, who had the ball just needed to play that pass into the space, but instead, he just turned back.

do you think, its because of his low decision making attribute? im playing a rigid/control 4231 with players allowing more creative freedom and götze is set as inside forward with support duty and set everything on normal.

he has creative freedom 13 or 14, which is set manually by the tc. what kind of advises could you give me?

do you think, setting ttb to often would help, since he doesnt have the mental attributes to pick up the very best option?

When it comes to something like six for Decisions it's going to be in force whatever he does. If you tell him to try more throughballs then he is going to be picking the terrible option rather than the guy clean through on goal on the edge of the box screaming and stamping his feet for a pass.

The way I would define these "action instructions" is to base them on technical abilities while trying as hard as possible to build a team that is mentally strong. So a team with good solid mental attributes, with a playmaker than can hit passes, a striker that can finish, a winger that can dribble and so on, would be the perfect "non generally awesome" team to strictly set up.

When it comes to glaring deficiencies in core mental attributes, I'm not sure how you can "rescue" a player. You will never get good movement out of an AMC that has poor Off The Ball regardless of whether you ask him to RFD Often, Mixed or Rare for example. When it comes to core mental deficiencies either you accept the weaknesses are "character traits" or do everything possible to control their specific behaviour.

For this Gotze chap you might want to set him up so that his passing is short, he tries through balls more often and you have a targetman set, and probably reduce his CF a bit. This should get him hitting throughballs to the targetman close to him. Ofcourse setting a targetman might negatively impact other areas of your team.

The real question is does his lack of Decisions make him significantly inferior to other players in that role, or does his strengths make up for his incredibly poor choices. I.e. will he miss 90% of the great choices on the pitch and leave you shaking your fist at him, but then pop up with a random piece of magic that makes you forgive him?

Personally I have my "philosophy" of how I want my football played but I tend to let players get on with it. So they can do pretty much what they like so long as they do it well and it contributes to the team. Most intelligent players fit in very well in my system, if someone doesn't then I tend to lose faith with the player. I could probably make this specific player play better but the question is does that enhance my team? And the answer tends to be no, because the rest of my team is set up to benefit from individual flashes of genius and a free, creative but above all else intelligent game.

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SFraser, would you consider it a possibilty that, as a result of 'good relationships' between team members, and /or high 'team understanding', a larger proportion of CA gain may be directed towards a player's 'Teamwork' attribute?

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I'd just like to say a massive well done to sfraser for doing this article. Its all well and good people putting up "winning formations" but for me I don't wanna just download someone else's tactics, really what's the point in that?!

I'd started a west ham career online with my mate, who was birmingham. Come november time and things were going badly for me, I was hovering just above the drop zone and in real danger of losing my job. I'd put a couple of posts asking for help and someone recommended reading through this. It gave me a great insight into how to set up my team correctly and basically coming up with some sort of gameplan. Being west ham you don't have the same level of player at your disposal so instaed of having an att mid i used a def mid, who was dlp and one of my cen mid pushing up to support the striker. I found I would have more control of games and was much harder to break down. But what I found most effective was the goals coming from the wide players. I was lucky enough to get alexis sanchez on loan and he was scoring plenty of goals cutting inside from the att left position, this is despite having finishing 9, decisions 7, composure 8 and off the ball 12.

Couple of things I wanted to ask about the wide players. Would you be wanting wide left players to be right footed and wide right players to be left footed? Would this make much of a difference? On an everton game I have Di Maria playing wide left and for me he's the classic left winger, but would he be more effective training up to play on the right and cutting inside from there?

Another one I wanted to ask was regarding Jordan Spence. this guy looks quite promising and loads of people rave about him on the forums. My worry is some of his mental attributes are really lacking (concentration and decisions inparticular) and while they can improve, i can't see them getting up to 14/15. So would you say this guy will be able to cut it or will he be too prone to costly mistakes during a game?

Anyway thanks again for this post. When I first read you were Man Utd I did have my suspicions becuase I do think any player who knows a bit about this game should be able to be successful with a top team, but the depth you've gone into regarding the tactical aspect of the game can really help you out even if you are a lower league team :)

Pretty sure it saved me from the sack!

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Couple of things I wanted to ask about the wide players. Would you be wanting wide left players to be right footed and wide right players to be left footed? Would this make much of a difference? On an everton game I have Di Maria playing wide left and for me he's the classic left winger, but would he be more effective training up to play on the right and cutting inside from there?

Hey rcrerie, SFraser and other smart people answer this in this thread: http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/266847-Inside-forwards-4-2-3-1

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I’d just like to add my thanks to you, SFraser, for all the hard work you put into this thread. We have some similar philosophies and some not similar. I like to change the “starting strategy” at the beginning and during games depending on the circumstances, so therefore I leave more team settings untouched so that they will change to more/less attacking when I change the starting strategy. You probably use shouts in place of this more – mainly because you likely understand a lot more about the effect of your shouts on your players than I do. I also prefer to employ my central midfielders and full backs more defensively than you do. This may change in time when I have different players.

However I love the idea of signing players with high determination, decisions, creativity and flair and then letting them play and trusting them to do the right thing in each situation. I know that’s a simplified version of what you’ve said, but I think it’s what top managers do. Guardiola has an excellent set of players and a solid system that is ground into all players at all levels at that club – but he still trusts the players to constantly make good decisions and create beautiful attacking successful football through natural ability and intelligence.

As has been said many times before though, the real key is creating a system that suits YOUR PLAYERS. That is when everything will click. My first stab at a 4-2-3-1 wasn’t very successful. But I watched games in full and tried new things and it’s going a lot better now. I think my changes have helped my players play to their strengths better. So this, combined with taking a more hands on approach to staff/scouting/everything at my club (thanks to another couple of your threads) have meant that I’m enjoying this game way more than ever before and I’m finally grasping just what an amazing game this is.

So thanks again mate. And if you ever wonder what your next thread should be about, I’d love to read your thoughts on shouts. I don’t remember ever seeing a guide about this anywhere.

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That the free scoring Germans were eventually knocked out by perhaps the most un-exciting winners of a World Cup there has ever been speaks volumes. The Germans were beaten by a team that almost completely refused to attack, refused to give the ball away, refused to take risks. But most interestingly the Germans were beaten by a team that played the same fundamental system they did, but played with a completely different philosophy.

For me this was the most facinating game of the world cup. The Germans had indeed produced a tactical masterclass in their previous 2 games, defending deep, then attacking at high pace down an area of the pitch they would over populate with players to devastating effect. And once you're in the lead this tacitc is even easier to employ. The difference when they came up against spain was spain will pass the ball all day if it creates them that one chance they need to break a team down (ie portugal in the second round), argentina and england would not do this and simply played into the hands of the Germany tactic. The england game really showed me how far england are off even getting close to winning a major tournament, they just do not have that thought of movement.

I would have to disagree about spain being the most un-exciting winners of a world cup though. In many games teams would play very defensively against them or try and kick them out of the park, its not easy playing against that. For me the France team were probably the most un-exciting and poorest winners of a world cup i've seen.

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Anyway, back to topic and I totally agree you have to find a tactic that suits YOUR players, not simply copy someone's winning formation, being a really good team and basically buying success. For example for west ham I have sanchez and tosic playing on the wings cutting inside, paloschi as my poacher and bofo bautista as my creative midfielder. For everton I have di maria as the classic left winger, arteta wide right moving into channels and looking for the through balls, cahill as a trequasta bursting into the final third and derdiyok as my big complete forward. Both front 4's are very different but you work out the best way to ulitilise their strengths and reap the rewards :)

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Steven, have you had any issues, especially when first taking over United and trying to put this in place, with toothlessness. By this I mean, the players are taking to things pretty well so far, dominating possession, but once they get in an attacking position, they lose their heads and/or don't know what to do with the ball. For example, my last game, against City, in the first half we had close to 70% possession and completely controlled the run of play, camped out in their half, but we only managed one shot. Not one shot on target, but one shot! We weren't uselessly passing it around midfield, either, we just couldn't put on any kind of final product to our attacks. Meanwhile, they are given only 3 chances all half to do anything with the ball when they had it (as in, 3 forays into our defensive third). They put a shot in all three times and twice it went in. So we were in complete control . . . but down 0-2. It was mind boggling and we never could climb back, losing 1-2, even though I went even more attacking early on and spent a good deal of time on overload, with every shout I could think of to get the lads to do something with the dang ball.

Can you relate? Or have I bungled something? Or is it just a matter of letting them settle into the new approach/new manager before worrying too much?

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Steven, have you had any issues, especially when first taking over United and trying to put this in place, with toothlessness. By this I mean, the players are taking to things pretty well so far, dominating possession, but once they get in an attacking position, they lose their heads and/or don't know what to do with the ball.

Yes, infact you could say that the "Tactical Challenge" at this level of football is to avoid being nullified, whether through Complacency or opposition parked buses or key epic players getting older and retiring. The aim of every single opponent team, manager and player in the game at that level is not to beat you, not to equal you, it's simply to nullify you. The point and purpose of my ongoing tactical tweaks and changes and alterations to my team is to fight against this tide of nullification, to keep improving my side so that I don't end up facing a 1-2 scoreline after dominating the match.

In terms of tactics or tactical instructions there are some options but not as many as you would hope. The main one is increasing Mentality of key players to increase the "risk taking" decision factor, for example pumping up a CM's Mentality should encourage him a bit further forward but crucially encourage a lot more risky/attacking passes. This is something I use regularly because my CM's are brilliant playmakers. This also works well with the FC who can find himself either too deep or too advanced, likewise you might think he is being too greedy or not taking enough risks, Mentality again is the tool to tweak this behaviour.

Though perhaps the key thing you can do is change a players game away from a general all-round pass-and-move based game and tell your awesome dribbly winger to start running at players with a passion. If passing wont break through the team, maybe passing to get the ball to the toe of some 19 dribbling winger and getting him to plough headlong at defenders will break through the team.

Where it is really at in my opinion is in attributes, and partnerships. It sounds like you need a "Cantona moment" regularly in your team, and being honest we all do. It's incredibly important to get the correct attributes spread across the team. Things like Workrate and Off The Ball and Flair really are vital attributes. A striker with high Workrate is always a pest, a striker with low Workrate can go missing. A combination of Workrate and Movement is always crucial, particularly against better teams. But the thing that really above all else dominates is finding yourself a couple of players that simply thrive on each others playstyle. This happens in FM and when it happens then teams can be near unstoppable. I was lucky enough to have a few seasons where I had Rooney as FC, Aguero playing Left Wing and Berbatov at AMC. That was quite simply a stunning attacking line up and not many defences could handle those three, let alone the other 7 outfield players.

In the short term try to work with what you have got, find yourself a plan B such as asking your widemen to forget pass-and-move and just attack defences with the ball at their feet, and asking your CM's to play much more direct passing football. In the medium to longterm it's all about finding players that are not simply good or even great, but are good/great but absolutely thrive playing with your other players.

An average AMC that somehow plays amazing with your Striker is a lot better than a great AMC that doesn't. Ideally you want a great AMC that does. This is the part of managing a team that is seemingly never ending and along the way you will find things happening you didn't want or expect but that work brilliantly, different players will bring different things to your team, and you realise that a solid 50% of every result you ever get is based solely on the players you select for that match.

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SFraser i have send you a PM. Did you see that?

Yeah I got it. I'm sorry I don't have time to watch PKM's and analyse tactical issues. If you have any specific questions I am willing to offer my opinions.

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I mainly have problems with defence. I dont know how to set up 2 central defenders. I have games that im leading 2:0 and after few minutes is 2:2 or 2:3 or i win 4:0 and final result is 4:3. I play Lille. If you have some time look at this tactic and tell me what you think. Cheers

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I really dont understand half of these threads but steven is my brother and i just want you all to know how proud i am of him!!!! love you steven may you rest in peace big bro xxxx

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Stacie, an official announcement is on it's way from the Moderating Team and Sports Interactive, we're all shocked by the sad news and our thoughts are with you and the rest of your family.

Please feel free to read as much of the forums as you like, you'll find lots of threads in this section which demonstrate Steven's love and knowledge of the game (Football Manager and Football) as well as the impact he had on the community here.

EDIT: Announcement here

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As far as I know he did not use a primary playmaker or primary targetman.

I guess it's conceivable that on occasion he would of set these but his main philosophy was to 'give players their head' which means the primary playmaker is the guy in the right position at the right time rather than a set person.

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I seem to remember him saying he didn't because it placed certain "weights" over players that made them pass to the TM or PM which he didn't like.

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Defending

2ij5fgi.jpg

Here you can see how the midfield and forwards press while the defensive line is a bit more cautious, and you can also see that the centre tight marks while the flanks are more flexible about their defensive duties. This set of instructions came about automatically through the TC and is pretty effective for starting off most games. However I do tend to adapt these instructions via shouts particularly early on in the match once I get an idea of the how the opponent has set up to play.

Ball Usage

2gwux5x.jpg

And here is my Philosophy of playing football. Bags of Creative Freedom, mainly Mixed Passing with a slight hint of direct for the attacking players, and everything else mixed barring a few exceptions. Centrebacks don't dribble, players hitting longshots need to be good at them, my CM's pump throughballs all day long, and no one is to cross the ball unless it's an absolute certainty because my team is rubbish in the air.

This set of instructions pretty much equates to a "Passing Game Mixed" instruction. A passing game is on equal footing with a dribble choice or a throughball for every player barring CB's and CM's. It's then up to the player to be able to see the match around him and act intelligently.

Conclusion

And that is my system pretty much. It's a system that combines a particular view on a particular tactical system with a personal playing philosophy, combined to significant attention to detail in instructions but also combined to immense flexibility in match. It's a system that has taken me ages to design, is never finished, and produces some of the greatest football I have ever seen from the ME.

There are the details on shouts to go into but I will leave that for a further post.

Also if anyone would like some PKM's please let me know, but keep in mind this is for FM10 so you will need to have that game installed and patched to 10.3.

How do you get the screen with all the sliders alongside each other like above????

I can't get those screens even when managing views

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I loved reading this and I think for anyone else the most important aspect to consider when you want to play a beautiful passing game is the Roam From Position button. You really need to set at least your front 4 to be able to create space all over the park. This is something you will see the likes of Barcelona and Bilbao doing in the game today. Can't express how important this is. Great thread though, wonderfully explained and just unbelievably helpful.

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Yeah it's fantastic stuff.

I'm a fan of roam from position, I'm quite tempted to see what happens when everybody has it set along with high creative freedom and pretty neutral instructions.

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^ Isn't that almost what SFraser used to use??

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^ Isn't that almost what SFraser used to use??

Yup, the front 6 had Roam from position. Played some truly brilliant stuff it did. The community is certainly a poorer place without him :(

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Yeah it's fantastic stuff.

I'm a fan of roam from position, I'm quite tempted to see what happens when everybody has it set along with high creative freedom and pretty neutral instructions.

Id of thought if you wernt playing as a good quality team with high decisions off the ball etc it would be chaos. Can imagine it being like schoolgroud football where everybody runs aimlessly. Although with a brilliant team, Barca is probably the best example, it could work wonders. Will be interesting to see Furious :)

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Id of thought if you wernt playing as a good quality team with high decisions off the ball etc it would be chaos. Can imagine it being like schoolgroud football where everybody runs aimlessly. Although with a brilliant team, Barca is probably the best example, it could work wonders. Will be interesting to see Furious :)

It worked really well even with not so good teams.

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It worked really well even with not so good teams.

Very interesting that, iwll trial it :)

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Id of thought if you wernt playing as a good quality team with high decisions off the ball etc it would be chaos. Can imagine it being like schoolgroud football where everybody runs aimlessly. Although with a brilliant team, Barca is probably the best example, it could work wonders. Will be interesting to see Furious :)

Managing Crewe in league 2 first season, my front five have tons of Creative Freedom and Roam From Position ticked in a Fluid 4-1-2-1-2 (FM10). It's not Barca, but, once the players have gelled, the football is very attractive for the level, and extremely effective - just gained promotion to league 2 on 13th March, 13pts clear of second team with ten games left & a JPT Final coming up.

I could never go back to what I felt was constricting players, give them the freedom to express themselves and if, given time, they fail, change the players and not the the freedom.

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Managing Crewe in league 2 first season, my front five have tons of Creative Freedom and Roam From Position ticked in a Fluid 4-1-2-1-2 (FM10). It's not Barca, but, once the players have gelled, the football is very attractive for the level, and extremely effective - just gained promotion to league 2 on 13th March, 13pts clear of second team with ten games left & a JPT Final coming up.

I could never go back to what I felt was constricting players, give them the freedom to express themselves and if, given time, they fail, change the players and not the the freedom.

Just upped the CF and roam for position for all of my attacking players, ill let you know how I get on :)

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I think there are two important points here: Its important to get the best out of the players at your disposal, and its important to be happy with the style your team predominantly plays. As a bit of a veteran I was tired of dominating games but still occasionally losing due to the opposition keeper playing a blinder, my striker(s) having an off day, but more importantly I wanted to turn the draws into wins. Knowing that pacy strikers generate a lot of chances I built my strategy around that, how to play a style that will open up space, get fast players into 1 on 1s with their defender, and result in a quality chance on goal.

Its important for my style that the tempo isn't too slow, mentality not too defensive, and the defensive line not too high up the field. Why is that? Because if I win the ball and there is space behind the opposition defense that is better for my players than winning the ball back when the opposition has all their men parked in their half. And if the tempo is slow and mentality defensive, well, they will never hit that killer pass. Any way, the overall strategy is to score goals from 3 different methods:

1) Goals from open play, from regular attacking build up. Your standard through ball to the forward, winger getting a cross in, midfielder getting into the box type of goals. To do this your formation must commit men forward. I like to have fullbacks that make forward runs, and box-to-box midfielders, too. As long as the players are not spaced too close to each other more bodies forward means more chance of scoring.

2) Goals from counters. The opposition attack the weakest part of my formation, specifically my LB, because he has less defensive help. Well, turns out my LB is no slouch and has very high anticipation and acceleration among other attributes. And my CB at the far post has 18+ jumping and is 1.99m ,aerially dominant, and not easy to dribble or pass through. So the ball will probably recycle into midfield, where strong, fast midfielders do their best to win the resulting 50/50s. The ball is under control and immediately there is an outlet on the LW, the same reason the LB is a weakness in defense is the reason the left flank is strongest in attack (because I have a pacy LW, not LM). Next thing you know one of the forwards is one on one with the goalie, or... The defense blocks the cross for a corner, bringing us to:

3) Goals from set pieces, specifically corners. If you have aerially dominant CBs and you aren't getting goals from set pieces from them, you are seriously limiting your team's ability to bulge the onion bag.

Basically I use the concept of asymmetry that is discussed here, 3 CMs (one playmaker, two box-to-box) and a winger (in my case LW). The RB and the furthest right box-to-box mid have to provide the width on the other side. But if you have a LW but no RW you might be worried about balance or symmetry or some BS but the truth is space opens up for the RB, and an attacking RB can really flourish.

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"Any tactics that involve one player tucking in and the line shuffling over are out, any tactics that involve a player playing in one "area" in attack and another in defence are out. Simply put any tactics that involve a change of shape between defence and attack are incredibly hard if not downright impossible to build. I have tried. And in my opinion this is the biggest tactical flaw that exists in the game."

Interesting. For me this has worked because unlike a Utd manager I was allowed the time and space by the board to have an unsuccessful season. I took over Torquay and was asked to avoid relegation, which took in the end till the last day. I started the season with an advanced 3322 tactic. 3xCD, and a LM, CM, and RM, with 2xAMC and strikers.

Though cavalier in attack, the flaw defensively is the space left in the FB or WB position which was constantly exploited by the opposition especially when facing a 4231. To remedy this took a lot of time and a lot of defeats and was only well into the new year when players started to get it, and get it before I did.

When an opposition player had the ball in that danger zone, e.g on the left, the LM runs back to do what he can. At this same time the left sided CD will come out to meet the attacker in that wing back area allowing the middle CD and right sided CD to shuffle over to the left, joined by the RM to retain the three at the back.

The defence remain able to dominate the crossing of the ball from this position, so the wide attacker will now try to play the ball to on-rushing midfielders. But in front on the defence is my CM alert to that danger, and my two AMCs are restricting forward runs of other midfielders as with the two strikers the 3322 is devastating in counter attack.

It makes for end to end games and exciting times, but once the L/R CDs learn to tuck in and the L/R shuffle over then you're good to go.

Would be nice to have SFraser with us to discuss.

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For those struggling with tactics ... this thread in its entirety is brilliant.

It is a deep dive into the tactical mind of SFraser and if you read it, you will undoubtedly learn something.

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Threads like "players not following orders", "my players won't do what I tell them", read this thread. If you put a square peg in a round hole it will not fit. I am learning this the hard way. Trust me. FM13 is making sure I know this.

Take away at least this from SFrasers great thread here:

"The Tactical Instructions define how a player plays, and that in turn defines a good or bad system. A lot of people seem to think that what happens on the pitch depends on the instructions you select. That's complete rubbish. What happens on the pitch depends on what players you select. What the players do on the pitch is in part defined by your Tactical Instructions.

Understanding the true relationship between Tactics, Players and Performance is crucial. A team is a combination of attributes and instructions facing another combination of attributes and instructions. It's not a game of Chess that we are playing here. A Leftback is not a Leftback is not a Leftback. The Rook can be a King or a Queen or a Bishop or a Pawn. Instructions don't make teams, players do."

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SFraser's last threads were never really about using a specific tactic in the game. They were more about assembling a team of players with very strong mental stats in core areas, and giving them a fluid system to run riot in.

There's no reason why this shouldn't work on the current game.

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