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How to build a team that will be able to hold 80% of match position like Barca?

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It's incredibly difficult to do this on FM. I guess an insanely high D-Line, slow tempo, high time wasting and a narrow system is a start, reduce creative freedom but add roaming. It is very hard to do and I don't think anybody has really got that kind of dominance consistently ever before

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You need to think of the basics of creating a possession based tactic. That is:

1) you need technically good and mentally great players, to keep composed and calm.

2) strong/midfielders good in air helps to win 50/50 balls.

Tactic wise you need:

1) I think ball playing CBs with through balls mixed so they sit on the half way line and recycle possession with their first/second touch.

2) very attacking wing backs to force the opponents FBs and Wingers back to almost a back 6 at times. this gives your CMs more room and space to operate in.

3) CMs need to be conservative. Some through balls, limited running. they should sit and pass to each other.

4) Your tactic needs to have depth. This is a must. It makes your team harder to mark, and your players should always have a man free albeit not necessarily in a dangerous position. I recommend using a 2-1 or 1-2 for your midfield to have depth.

5) wingers probably should cut inside to give space for WBs. also means any mistake means your wingers or ST can be played in.

6) a complete ST or an agile ST. Think Ibrahimovic or Messi.

That would make me set up something like:

GK defend - defender collect to a FB

DR wing back attack

DL wing back support

DCs ball playing defender

MCr advanced playmaker/deep lying playmaker support

MCl advanced playmaker support

MCc deep lying playmaker defend/central midfielder defend

AMR winger/inside forward support

AML inside forward attack

ST Trequartista/deep lying forward/complete forward.

The tempo is normal, press the opposition. Have a very high d-line. quite high time wasting. Reduce runs with ball and through balls. No long shots.

That is where I would start and then tweak from there.

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I haven't managed 80% possession before but have made a tactic that was averaging about 67% a match, although away against big teams or if a player was sent off it would generally drop to the mid-50s.

I made the tactic using classic tactics and here were some key features:

Low Mentalities - I think this often gets overlooked in discussions about possession tactics. Every player in my team had a mentality of 3-6, which made them take the simple option more regularly.

Short-ish passing - I suppose this one is fairly obvious, but all players had a passing setting of 5-10. I played a 4-5-1, the CMs had a setting of 10, the front three, goalkeeper, DM and centre-backs 5, and the full-backs 7.

High-ish Closing Down - Closing down ranged from 11 up to 17 as you moved forward through the team.

Mixed Creative Freedom - Creative freedom ranged from 5-15. Depends on what sort of players you have but in my system most of the team were on 10 for this, CBs lower, CF higher.

RWB mostly rare - Only the front three had RWB sometimes - everyone else rare.

Long Shots - Rare across the board.

Crossing - Only full-backs had sometimes, everyone else rare.

The front three were set to roam, nobody had HUB ticked.

Tempo was 6/7, as was width, time-wasting set right in the middle and the d-line was pushed to 15. No counter-attack but play offside ticked.

I might dig through my old files and see if I still have it somewhere.

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I second the low mentality point. This is very useful, not only in possession based tactics; but also in fluid tactics. Using low mentalities mean that you can have all your midfielders making runs from deep, whilst maintaining your basic formation structure intact. This only works if set up correctly. I'm not going to go into detail because it is all in my thread which is probably near the bottom of this forum now. Its called creating the triple pivot I think.

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play defensive, low throughballs (some for your defenders but not for attacking players). Attacking players lowest mentality and defending players a higher mentality, low tempo, a lot of time wasting and no hold up ball. Probably works best if you don't play too wide and reasonably high d-line. Also a formation with one forward and a 3 man midfield triangle. I don't think you'll score much but you will get a lot of possession.

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I have summarized all your advices and will try to play several matches with following tactics and then tweak from there:

Formation with strong midfield: 4-1-2-2-1 with wingers instead DL/DR

All players has very high attributes that helps to control possession (passing, first touch, creativity, tackling, marking)

General strategies: "very fluid" and "control"

Passing style: very short (I made it even shorter manually for each player)

Creative freedom: more disciplined

Roaming: more roaming

Closing down: press more

Defensive line: very high

Width: very narrow

Tempo: normal

Time wasting: very often

Play offside

No long shots, crossing only for WBs(often). Runs with ball only for WBs,SC(sometimes) and AML/AMR(often), and often through balls only for single play-maker (rest of player are rarely or sometimes).GK - defender collect, distribution to DV

AML and AMR are inside forwards, are not crossing and cut inside to give space for WBs's crosses.

WBs are wing backs, attacking role.

DCs, DM and MCs are ball playing roles

SC is deep lying forward, supported role

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I have played several matches with above instructions. Only 51-60% of possession so far. Any next suggestions?

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If you're using a control mentality, drop it by 5 notches. Even that may be enough but it should help. From my own 'experiments' with possession football I think this has more impact than any other factor in averaging 60%+ possession over the course of a season.

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Reduce crossing and run with ball. Also what's the pass percentage like. If it's struggling to get above 80% try reducing some through balls. You need to watch your matches and see where you are losing possession. Also to achieve maximum possession, you need to be able to win the ball back quickly.

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For keeping possesion you should be very stingy with the FWR instruction. If everybody rampages forward, there is nobody to pass. Also PPM "comes deep to get the ball" is very handy for your advanced players.

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You should probably reduce time wasting a bit. When it is too high players will keep the ball too long and get tackled. I'd also give my players a bit more creative freedom so they have more options available to them (if they have a low mentality they shouldn't try a lot of risky moves so I don't think it will hurt much). I'd also go for a bit longer passing as it increases the options available to the player. Short or mixed passing should still be good for keeping possession (if you play with a low mentality) and it gives the players more passing options.

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My pass percentage is 80-83%. In periods of time when it near 90% I have possession 70+%, but it is not often.

So, I trying to change following:

Individual instructions: Crossing only for WBs(sometimes). Runs with ball only for WBs,SC,and AML/AMR(sometimes), and through balls only for single play-maker(sometimes), rest of player are rarely.

Passing style: Short passing instead of ultra short.

Creative freedom: More Expressive

Roaming: stick to position

Time wasting: slightly reduced (now little more then average)

Adding PPM "comes deep to get the ball" for all advanced players

Let you know latter about the results.

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I would say you need to go into the advanced instructions and make manual adjustments to player's settings. Personally I'd remove the RWB for your full-backs, make sure that only the front three are roaming and then stick all your players on mentalities are in the range four to six. If you're still using an extremely narrow width I'd advise you bump it up a bit as well.

Ultimtely, even if your players have the right attributes I'd imagine that needs to be combined with just being all round good players to cope with different situations to conistently push towards 70% possession in virtually every game.

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Not works again. I have the same strong players as in Barcelona, but with two Messi instead of one, and my players has better ball control attributes. I see that Barce control the same position in FM like my 53-58%. Maybe position is hard fixed metric in FM currently?

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First and foremost, to play Tiki-Taka, you need the right type of players, it can't be played with any team. In the past year, i've learned that a tactic is nothing without the right sort of players. You need players with:

Composure, Anticipation, Desicions, Creativity, Off the Ball, First Touch, Passing, Technique, and Team Work

This is absolutely vital, as you need your players to be looking to drop into space, and roam into the right positions to get the ball, make the right desicions with it, and have the ability to retain possesion, even in the tight areas that Barca play in.

Now to tactics, These are core guidelines that should maximise these stats.

- High Creative Freedom

- Passing the shorter side of 'Mixed'

- A variation of the 4-5-1 system. 4-2-3-1 is my personal recommendation.

- Positionally aggressive fullback; lots of forward runs, high mentality, high closing down.

- Run with ball set to rarely on everyone, bar ST, AMC and Wingers, who should be set to sometimes. (Perhaps CBs aswell, if you want to try using a Piqué type.)

- MCs have rare forward runs, and often roaming. This means they should move laterally to make themselves open for the ball.

- Everyone from your Midfield upwards should have licence to roam.

- I'd recommend the Striker being a DLP (Support) or CF (Support), so they look to drop back into space. This is the role Messi plays for Barca at the moment, cleverly moving into space so that the wide forwards (Villa and Pedro) can roam.

- Another point is defending, Barcalona position themselves high up the pitch and aggressively close down. So that they can win the ball back quickly. So I recommend a Attacking mentality and high closing down. For me, this is the key reason behind their success, and is what separates them from other possesion based sides like Arsenal.

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Another point, I can almost guarentee you won't get 80% possession, Guardiola's side average around 65% possession a game.

Also, it's all well and good having possession, but you need to be able to do something with it. Have through balls on at least mixed, and have counter attacking enabled, so that you can break aggressively from the high pressure defence.

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The problem with trying to get 80% possession is that you have to sacrifice all your attacking potential because you can't play risky passes at all (you will never get 80% possession if you take risks). This forces you into a defensive game with no threat up front which in turn allows your opponents to pressure you a lot and close you down which means you can't play the ball around in the defense and midfield and your are forced to pass to your attacking players who are more prone to waste possession or find themselves unable to pass back due to the opponent taking up a more advanced position against your team.

I'd say it's not possible to achieve 80% possession consistently and if you can it won't be effective. It would resemble some of the worst play of the dutch national side a few world cups ago. They would play a very careful passing game and slowly advance until they have the opponent pushed back into their box and then sit around it passing the ball from flank to flank without ever opening the play. It was boring to watch and most of the time didn't produce good results. Only when the Dutch side started playing with more confidence and flair would they start resembling a real threat to the opponent and it was these moments that got them some decent results. The other times they had great possession but man was I sad watching my nation play football like that.

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I'd take a look at the "Total Football" tactic in the downloadable tactics section. if you don't like ready-made tactics, just use Realmadrid 2007's theories and tactics as an inspiration.

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I've actually done it a few times but I keep dropping the tactic because I prefer a much more forceful tactical system. I love having the possession but not to the point where I am not seeing my team attempt to destroy a team (no 1-0s on my dime!). Actually I think it's easier to do with FM11 than FM10.

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I've actually done it a few times but I keep dropping the tactic because I prefer a much more forceful tactical system. I love having the possession but not to the point where I am not seeing my team attempt to destroy a team (no 1-0s on my dime!). Actually I think it's easier to do with FM11 than FM10.

I think only Barcelona which can scores plenty goals with high possession.

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I think only Barcelona which can scores plenty goals with high possession.

I think it's down to the front three. Playing a three of FCL-FC-FCR has worked better for me than the LW-FC-RW combination (and actually a good combination of the two can work wonders), long term in FM there needs to be extra options to keep the team at the top of their game and scoring goals.

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I think it's down to the front three. Playing a three of FCL-FC-FCR has worked better for me than the LW-FC-RW combination (and actually a good combination of the two can work wonders), long term in FM there needs to be extra options to keep the team at the top of their game and scoring goals.

The 4-3-3 with three strikers is virtually a cheat formation from what I've read on here, so not sure how reliable it is.

This thread inspired m to havea crack at doing this myself and I've posted a link to the tactic I'm using below. I picked Barcelona as the obvious team to play possession football with, so this may not be as effective with lesser teams, but after eight league games I'm averaging 67% possession and two goals a game (only conceded one goal overall so far). Maybe you could make adjustments if you're struggling?

link

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The 4-3-3 with three strikers is virtually a cheat formation from what I've read on here, so not sure how reliable it is.

This thread inspired m to havea crack at doing this myself and I've posted a link to the tactic I'm using below. I picked Barcelona as the obvious team to play possession football with, so this may not be as effective with lesser teams, but after eight league games I'm averaging 67% possession and two goals a game (only conceded one goal overall so far). Maybe you could make adjustments if you're struggling?

link

I wasn't aware of the three strikers being a "cheat", the reason I've used it is because there's a very big difference between an Inside Forward out wide - Messi on the right or Ronaldo - and the way a wide striker plays in their system. Villa for instance plays more as a striker providing width than a "true" inside forward on the left, so technically Barca's system is a lopsided formation with one winger (Pedro) and one striker who plays wide with Messi dropping deeper.

It wasn't that I was having problems with the formation rather than the tactical setup I had only worked with a first XI at my club (United) and the rest of the squad needed another framework to get the best out of them. I prefer a slow evolution of a squad so my tactics end up jumping around until I have the type of players I want.

But I'll definitely give your tactic a go and let you know how it goes.

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I wasn't aware of the three strikers being a "cheat", the reason I've used it is because there's a very big difference between an Inside Forward out wide - Messi on the right or Ronaldo - and the way a wide striker plays in their system. Villa for instance plays more as a striker providing width than a "true" inside forward on the left, so technically Barca's system is a lopsided formation with one winger (Pedro) and one striker who plays wide with Messi dropping deeper.

It wasn't that I was having problems with the formation rather than the tactical setup I had only worked with a first XI at my club (United) and the rest of the squad needed another framework to get the best out of them. I prefer a slow evolution of a squad so my tactics end up jumping around until I have the type of players I want.

But I'll definitely give your tactic a go and let you know how it goes.

I've never tried the 4-3-3 myself but I've seen some regulars on here suggest that it 'overloads' the opposition centre-backs without costing your team defensively in the manner it should. It wouldn't surprise me if it created more realistic in-possession movement however.

I wasn't suggesting you were struggling to create the 'right' type of football, that was more aimed at the OP, but use the tactic if you want.

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Interesting suggestion because isn't that what we would all like our attacks to do?

And fair enough mate. Cheers.

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Interesting suggestion because isn't that what we would all like our attacks to do?

And fair enough mate. Cheers.

I'm sure that's what everyone would like to happen, but I get the impression that people feel that the way it's happening is 'unnatural'. Certainly no team operates with three central strikers in real life, even if they have three players considered as strikers on the pitch, except for extreme circumstances.

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The 4-3-3 is no cheat formation and as far as I can tell it works perfectly normal. The FB's should help marking the strikers giving you still a 1 man advantage in defense. I don't think there is an exploit here at all.

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I'm sure that's what everyone would like to happen, but I get the impression that people feel that the way it's happening is 'unnatural'. Certainly no team operates with three central strikers in real life, even if they have three players considered as strikers on the pitch, except for extreme circumstances.
Genoa played what was pretty much a flat 3-4-3 for years with 3 central strikers under Gasparini

read somewhere that barcas averange possession this season have been 73,4%, insane amounts but not really close to the 80% mentioned in the op as some sort of goal

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Genoa played what was pretty much a flat 3-4-3 for years with 3 central strikers under Gasparini

read somewhere that barcas averange possession this season have been 73,4%, insane amounts but not really close to the 80% mentioned in the op as some sort of goal

They did, but whenever I watched them (not very often it must be said) they looked more like a 5-4-1 in defence and I'm under the impression tha this doesn't happen in the game.

Maybe I never should've mentioned it seeing as I haven't played with three central strikers myself :p

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The key to Barca possession is as much to do with how much they pressure the other side. It isn't all about passing the ball about, in fact I would argue that is secondary since just about any club can pass the ball back and forth when they are not being pressured. What makes Barca so unique in this regard is that their pressure is the entire length of the pitch and it is extremely fundamentally sound.

If you compare United vs Barca from tonights CL final the difference in how both teams pressured resulted in the differences in not only the effectiveness of the pressure, but how long each team maintained that pressure.

United came at the game pressuring the way they always do, haphazardly, with a few guys running their tails off, but with no real coordinated effort. Typically you would see two united players charging after the ball, the result would be a return pass into space with both United players turning around to truck after the ball again. Compare this to Barca, where one man would pressure the ball and everyone else on the team moved to close down passing lanes and outlet players. The result was virtually no time on the ball and repeated back passes to VDS who would be forced to hoof it up field.

With Barca properly applying a fundamentally correct manner of pressure, they saw the rewards, sloppy United possession resulted in winning the ball back almost immediately. The only times United really had any time on the ball was when Barca as a squad took their foot off the gas and caught a breather for a couple of minutes. Alternatively, United aside from the first 5 or 7 minutes had zero success pressuring the ball in the manner that they did, this demoralized them and began to exhaust them. By the second half United had essentially given up pressuring Barca on the ball and were content to try and absorb Barca's attacks.

How you can achieve this sort of pressure is difficult in FM if not impossible. FM ME plays more like United when you pressure the ball at this point. However since the ME when it also has the ball doesn't play as cleverly as Barca do to break pressure, it might be a wash.

You will probably want to have a very high level of closing down for forwards/attacking wingers/attacking midfielders to try and create as much havoc as possible. Additionally you may want to consider playing with a lower mentality than normal for most of these players to bring as many of them as possible into positions to harass since players generally will not close down once the ball has gone beyond their mentality threshold on the field.

This combined with much of the advice on how to retain possession already suggested in this thread will probably be your best bet. I'm still personally trying to find the best setup to "defend from the front" with.

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What % of possession Barca had with MU today?

I think that probably only way to make it in FM is to analyze ball losing factors for each player and whole team: pass missed, interception missed, tackles missed, shoots off-target, cross missed, etc etc. "Match Analysis" feature is developed specifically for that needs. We should focus on that.

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Unfortunately the game seems uncapable of replicating any sort of Barca style, which I guess is credit to Barca!

I think attacking and defensive should be different tactical screens in general, that way you can replicate what they are like without the ball and then on the ball, which is quite different which is hard to do on FM.

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Yes, I can't see how to replicate Barca style in FM.

And I am confused with "Attacking/Defensive mentality" option in FM's tactic. From FM logic, if I need to replicate Barca style, I should set low(defensive) mentality to avoid too risky passes, runs, shoots etc. But it affect on risk taking not only with ball but also without ball. If team plays without ball with low mentality they will not take risk in pressing and tackling. And it's opposite what Barca do. And finally, I can't say that Barca plays defensive football, obviously it is extremely attacking, so how can I set "defensive" in FM?

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I think we should play with lower mentality and high closing down. Lowest passing for every player except 1 ( even 2 ) wingback.

The only question that I still can't find the answer is how we set our players to one on one marking. I don't think that highest pressing and set our marking to man marking will make players to one on one marking.

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A lower mentality means less risk-taking, meaning more possession. However, a higher mentality - Control, for example, ought to be perfect for Barcelona, because they do take risks and play attacking balls - but they're so brilliant in tight areas that they can pull it off. Control is the way to go, you just need outstanding players and arguably an improvement in the ME's handling of pressing (but tight/man marking and pressing all over the pitch will do very well for you). Ville Valo and others' advice is generally sound.

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I took over in 2020 from relegation threatened Belenenses and was looking at a tactic to improve my league position. Stumbled on the advice in this thread and I tested it in this game against the team in 3rd position in the second division (they beat Porto the game before)

http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/1482/possession.png

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Interesting points, but I hear very little talk about fluidity.

Using an example from FIFA 11, the pitch is essentially divided into three sections - hidden in the advanced settings - defence, midfield, and attack. Hear you can decide if you would like your approach to be organised (rigid) or not (fluid) for each section.

Comparing to Barcelona, The Back four is always rigid (with the DR/L making forward runs). The Midfield is Balanced, while the Attack is very fluid.

In FM, if I want my attackers to be very fluid, I need to accept that my final key through ball on goal has a decent chancey to end up with my CB as it is my CF.

To complicate it even more, player roles AND positions are constantly swapped "partially" in Midfield and "Fully" in Attack.

In FM, you cant swap without changing your role, OR, switch formation default starting position without changing the entire tactics

In fact Xavi sometimes acts like a Deep lying Trequartista! In in CM or DM positions!!! Then again everyone including Xavi presses hard for the balll...

In addition, their short passing is an excellent tool to recover from heavy pressing.

In FM, short passing means look "less" for a direct attacking pass only.

The key point is that you cant keep possession against a heavy pressing team being too rigid.

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I wouldn't strive for 80% possession with barca and as such I wouldn't play a defensive mentality. I'm saying if you only wan't possession your better off with a lower mentality as players will take less risk and will not force an opening when there are no good options available. The question is do you wan't 80% possession or not. I could care less how much possession I have as long as my team plays attractive and attacking football I'm fine. If you wan't to replicate Barcelona striving for 80% possession is still not realistic. Take the champions league final against Man U who lined up with a 4-4-2 and basically gave up the midfield in favor of having Hernandez up front as a poacher. Against a tactic like this Barca should have high possession and they did. They got 68% which is absolutely amazing and showed how much they dominated throughout the match (actually the UEFA site says they had 63% so it might have been less). Trying to get that extra 10 percent is not only ridiculously hard but the sacrifices in mentality and risk taking you have to make to get the extra 10% is huge and in my eyes absolutely not worth it. You shouldn't restrict your attacking flair and creativity to go from 70 to 80% possession if you wan't to recreate how Barca plays in my oppinion. A big part of the reason Barca gets their possession so high is not because they adjust their tactic to achieve high possession (sure they press hard to get the ball back and they adopt quite a bit of time wasting from time to time). The big reason why Barca is Barca is that they have the technical ability to play the difficult passes an attacking game requires while staying in possession and when they know the pass is not "on" they don't play it and go recycle possession in search of a new opening. This balanced mentality together with a bit of time wasting at the right moments, great technical abilities, players with great movement and great pressing gives Barca the ability to play attacking football while achieving high possession ratings.

I just checked some games Barca played in my Dortmund save and their average possession rating seems to be around 65 (generally between 60 and 70) which is fairly close to the real barca and that is just an AI manager playing a 3-4-3 formation!

Also I would say that possession for the sake of possession is not desirable and possession should be a means to a greater goal (like putting the ball in the net).

btw. I looked up some statistics of champions league games and the only time Barcelona reached a possession rating higher than 70 was in their games against Panathinaikos.

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I wouldn't strive for 80% possession with barca and as such I wouldn't play a defensive mentality. I'm saying if you only wan't possession your better off with a lower mentality as players will take less risk and will not force an opening when there are no good options available.

Neutral mentality. That's the key. That's why I would also opt for Neutral Passing.

To achieve 80% passing in FM you would have to "game the system" by forcing your attacking players into conservative options, but for a generally high possession based game then Neutrality is your best friend.

The only and crucial difference is when it comes to Creative Freedom. Restricting players away from options is never a good idea if the players are quality and your game is possession. But at the same time you want to reign in those that tend to go for the game defining pass/shot/dribble. If a player can pull off a backheel flick to a nearby player then let him, but you need to make sure his Mentality + Passing is tweaked to a position where he favours possession.

For a possession based game that isn't aimed at the micro-management hell of insanely high, go for quality players with lots of creative freedom, neutral passing and neutral mentalities.

But as someone else said in this thread, 50% of possession is about getting the ball back. And in some games that will feel like 90%

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Barca don't get 80% possession in matches, they averaged 73% in the La liga and something close to that in the Champions league.http://www.whoscored.com/Regions/206/Tournaments/4/Seasons/2596/Stages/4624/Statistics/Spain-La-Liga-2010-2011

After seeing them beat Utd in the Final, I've tried to replicate their style and control of possession as close as possible. That link above is a very good site for providing detailed stats on players and teams if you are thinking of replicating a team's style in FM.

I'm 11 games in and I think I've have averaged around 64% of the ball. I have made tweaks along the way to get more but it seems that you can't consisently average very high possession stats. On a few games I have averaged over 70% and it looks like the style of play of Barca.

unledfv.jpg

unled1cd.jpg

As you can see Xavi is the main man and all the ball goes through him. Overall, there is 641 attempted.

In my most recent game agaisnt Valencia the possession stats went down a little but still very high and around Barca's average.

unled2dp.jpg

unled3ao.jpg

Again, a lot of passes made,(711 attempted), with Xavi and Pique both over 100.

It is possible to play like Barca in the match engine, it just depends on the AI formation, how successful it is. For instance, agaisnt teams that set up deep with 2 DM's or a DM and 2 CM's, it is easier to acheive. However, if the AI play 2 strikers or a striker and an AMC, the possession stats will drop to 60%. The key is freeing up Busquets to get the ball and having easy passing options of laying back to the centre backs, Goalkeeper, Xavi and Iniesta without any pressure.

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