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The Barcelona Style: My Interpretation


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I have a query regarding this tactical approach based on my own attempts of this. At home I feel my approach is improving possession and results wise, however away from home I question how much I should change the approach? Do people change their shape/instructions or perhaps just the mentality?

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I have a query regarding this tactical approach based on my own attempts of this. At home I feel my approach is improving possession and results wise, however away from home I question how much I should change the approach? Do people change their shape/instructions or perhaps just the mentality?

Hope I can help you out mate.

So basically, you don't HAVE to change your approach but I suggest you probably do. Here's the deal:

If you are a team like Barcelona, and you've got a truly dominant and remarkable squad, you can probably play the same way in 95% of your matches. This is pretty much self-explanatory.

However if you are a team like, say, Tottenham, you would want to change your approach for a big away match at Chelsea, or a tough home match in Europe.

If your team is not a likely favorite then it wouldn't make sense to try to dominate the game with a typical "home" tactic. Rather, it would be better to keep things tight and try to hit the other team on the break when spaces opens up.

ALSO

The degree of changes to be made are basically all about context. For instance, if you have a really specific way of playing the game (think like, Swansea) then even in those matches where you know you'll struggle, you still won't fundamentally change your style. But, you would be wise to make some adjustments that allow your team to keep things tight and deny space to the opposition. All sports really come down to space. If you're playing against a team that is attacking hard they'll likely be leaving space in behind. So naturally, you'd benefit from sitting back and trying to deny them the space they want (which is behind you).

None of these are hard/fast rules. Just guidelines.

Try to think of it this way though... the higher the mentality, the more "direct" your approach will be both in terms of tempo and passing length. the lower your mentality goes, the more cautious and "short" your approach will be. Adding instructions to your plan can also make a huge impact because, for instance, if you want to be "direct" but also keep things really tight then I would recommend: counter + "more direct passing" + etc. That way you'd have the deep sitting narrow play of "counter" with the more direct passing that you'd see on something like "attacking."

Good luck.

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I think the half back role is an option. Busquets didn't always do it. As tomtuck1 says, it doesn't seem to be working perfectly at the moment.

I have managed to play Busquets close to his real life role.Play him as Libero - Attack.

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@bababooey Thanks for the help and explanations, really insightful. I have changed my approach from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-1-2-2-1 which has built a better shape, especially with some of the players I have at the moment. I had changed to using a counter strategy in an attempt to improve the possession statistics (I wanted to take a leaf out of Bayern's book and 'bore' the opposition with ridiculously short and simple play, however that seems near on impossible on FM, understandably) as I felt that would lower the amount of risky forward passes and utilise the 'play the way your facing' mentality which the Bayern's of today and Barca's of 08-12 did so well.

We were doing OK but the last two games I've returned to using Control and the improvements in possession and results have been great, 2 wins and about 60% possession over the 2 games. It appears in my attempts to improve our simple passing I had neglected the pressing part without realising, our average positions have been much higher - all in the opposition half apart from the 'back 3' if you like, who average just inside our half. That must have been the bulk of the problem.

My aim is to have a tactic which is strong enough for home and away, but playing as Wolfsburg means the games against Bayern and Dortmund are hard-fought and we go into them as underdogs, so something will need to change for when they come knocking!

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@bababooey Thanks for the help and explanations, really insightful. I have changed my approach from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-1-2-2-1 which has built a better shape, especially with some of the players I have at the moment. I had changed to using a counter strategy in an attempt to improve the possession statistics (I wanted to take a leaf out of Bayern's book and 'bore' the opposition with ridiculously short and simple play, however that seems near on impossible on FM, understandably) as I felt that would lower the amount of risky forward passes and utilise the 'play the way your facing' mentality which the Bayern's of today and Barca's of 08-12 did so well.

We were doing OK but the last two games I've returned to using Control and the improvements in possession and results have been great, 2 wins and about 60% possession over the 2 games. It appears in my attempts to improve our simple passing I had neglected the pressing part without realising, our average positions have been much higher - all in the opposition half apart from the 'back 3' if you like, who average just inside our half. That must have been the bulk of the problem.

My aim is to have a tactic which is strong enough for home and away, but playing as Wolfsburg means the games against Bayern and Dortmund are hard-fought and we go into them as underdogs, so something will need to change for when they come knocking!

Glad I could help.

Here's a bit more!

- The mentality of your team is heavily linked with passing style and pressing and all of that. As I've said. BUT, the key is making sure you have the right mentality in the right match. If I'm playing as Norwich against Man Utd, going defensive could be suicide (because we would be soaking up pressure the entire time). But, going "attacking" may not work if we don't have the physicality and "target man" to do it effectively. So perhaps Standard or even Control is better. (assuming the match is at home).

- I would suggest having a home and an away tactic. The reason being is that you'll generally want to have at least 2 different play styles (they don't need to be vastly different, but that's up to you) so that you can mix it up and adapt to different situations

- higher mentalities can still boss possession, clearly. For example if you watch the AI play as a big club, they're likely on control/attacking and they can get very high possession numbers. The reason being is that often they press so high up the pitch, they win the ball back quickly, and just see more of it. You can obviously make adjustments via instructions (team, or player) to tone things down a bit. I can play "control" at Home with Arsenal and still get that great amount of possession, without having to blunt my attack by really lowering the tempo and etc.

- Finally, adding to the point above, I think the lower mentality / higher mentality scale is so important to understand. But also it's about how it effects the players you've got. Your defenders will pass shorter on higher mentalities so that your team does a better job of keeping the ball and dominating the opponent. On lower mentalities the defenders are more likely to pass direct to clear it out, which is self explanatory. So reverse is true for your attackers. The support players are (I believe) generally on mixed passing? I'm not sure. THOG would know that. But so in your higher mentalities you've got your attackers making more direct passes, and on lower mentalities they make shorter passes in hopes of retaining the ball. Understanding that principle will be a massive boost to any tactical approach you attempt to create.

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Yeah I get where you're coming from, thanks. Ended up 4th in the league, but we only had that to play for and had pretty weak squad depth thanks to a shocking financial year, so it's about right. This summer I sold my star striker who got ~20 goals last season but wasn't really suited to play the false nine role, his replacement is much better equipped for it and is great in the air aswell so should be getting 25-30 goals at least. Hopefully with that change and a new LW to replace a 36 y/o Ronaldo the first 11 should be good enough to maybe challenge at the top of the league. The team's young and always improving (always how I tend to play the game) and it seems I've learnt to say no regarding selling top players without a need.

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have anyone tried to change the fluidity from Balanced to Very Fluid? I was really disappointed with lack of pressing with balanced, so i found this topic ( http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/378773-The-Guardiola-pressing-game-And-how-to-press-the-same-way-on-FM14 ) that totally solves the pressing and why 'average positions' on irl barca look so fluid. I also think that counter its the best to replicate barca. i also use high tempo, so i`m getting 100+ passes from xavi/busq/iniesta, average 90% passes completed on the team. my only problem in replicating the tactic seems that sometimes i struggle with the possession, mostly on away, even if i got an storming pressing by my players and 88%+ pass completion rate and lots of passes, i can't find the issue..

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have anyone tried to change the fluidity from Balanced to Very Fluid? I was really disappointed with lack of pressing with balanced, so i found this topic ( http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/378773-The-Guardiola-pressing-game-And-how-to-press-the-same-way-on-FM14 ) that totally solves the pressing and why 'average positions' on irl barca look so fluid. I also think that counter its the best to replicate barca. i also use high tempo, so i`m getting 100+ passes from xavi/busq/iniesta, average 90% passes completed on the team. my only problem in replicating the tactic seems that sometimes i struggle with the possession, mostly on away, even if i got an storming pressing by my players and 88%+ pass completion rate and lots of passes, i can't find the issue..

If you're struggling to get as much possession as you feel you should have, then you need to look at where the AI is keeping the ball, and how they're keeping it. Chances are they're just being cautious and holding it in their own end?

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If you're struggling to get as much possession as you feel you should have, then you need to look at where the AI is keeping the ball, and how they're keeping it. Chances are they're just being cautious and holding it in their own end?

thanks for the answer, but i think i just solved it, modifying Counter>Control. Now it seems to be more solid. i set both CD's to cover duty and i hope to get the similar effect of defence-dropping in Counter. high > very high tempo, and all i see is "tiki-taka, tiki taka barcelona" :lol:. messi 43 goals in 30 matches but not really 70% possession ( i think that if Pep would play FM, he would set tempo to very low if he has a comfortable score, so the 70%+ possession is possible ), just 65%+. i gotta wait for 'tempo' to be full fluid and i will see then.

p.s. : excuse-moi for the bad english

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IMO you're going to struggle with that formation in due time. Having 2 CD's both on cover, with wingbacks on attack is going to leave you exposed badly. I know the halfback is there but, still. Generally speaking you should always have at least a back 3 or back 4. You've got a back 2.

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IMO you're going to struggle with that formation in due time. Having 2 CD's both on cover, with wingbacks on attack is going to leave you exposed badly. I know the halfback is there but, still. Generally speaking you should always have at least a back 3 or back 4. You've got a back 2.

yeap it seems so, but what i am looking for its the position of wb's. on that position seems to be more advanced as average position

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Been using your tips on a couple of my saved games and some of the football my teams have been playing are a joy to watch. The only problem I seem to be having is with the CF (s) not really impacting play or scoring at all. Do you have any tips of this? As I have mentioned I've tried this using a few teams so it's not really just the one player that seems to be the problem.

Sorry it took so long to reply, I've had a little break from playing FM.

To be honest, recently I've been having the same problem. I don't know if this is just since the latest patch, but I have seen the same problems occur using different roles on previous versions. I think part of the problem is that we want the forward here to play just like Messi, but that doesn't really seem possible. There isn't one role from the game that fits, because in real life Messi almost seems to play two roles at the same time, both as a False 9/Trequartista and as an Advanced Forward/Poacher. Another problem is that neither of us are actually using Messi, so it could be that the players we have just aren't good enough!

I would persevere with the CF(s), just because the in-game description should be exactly what we want, however, feel free to change it to one of the other playmaking/supporting forward roles and see how that works.

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Sorry it took so long to reply, I've had a little break from playing FM.

To be honest, recently I've been having the same problem. I don't know if this is just since the latest patch, but I have seen the same problems occur using different roles on previous versions. I think part of the problem is that we want the forward here to play just like Messi, but that doesn't really seem possible. There isn't one role from the game that fits, because in real life Messi almost seems to play two roles at the same time, both as a False 9/Trequartista and as an Advanced Forward/Poacher. Another problem is that neither of us are actually using Messi, so it could be that the players we have just aren't good enough!

I would persevere with the CF(s), just because the in-game description should be exactly what we want, however, feel free to change it to one of the other playmaking/supporting forward roles and see how that works.

martywigham, I'm playing with the tactic you provided earlier in the thread, and also having trouble with the CF, and I am playing as Barca. On a lark, I changed to a F9(s), and it's working much better. With the CFa, I was making lots of crosses into the box (which the barca attackers aren't suited for), and we play much more on the ground now. I'm creating a lot more chances and giving up possession less often thanks to fewer crosses.

The problem I'm noticing now is poor shooting. Like 25 shots and only 8 on target, which seems really bad to me. I'll have Messi/Neymar/Iniesta beat the last man, and send the shot wide by several yards.

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I'm pleased that it's started to work for you. I have my CF on support rather than attack, when I tried the F9 role I found that he would just end up taking loads of long shots.

My Newcastle team seem to have the same thing of taking lots of shots, often in the 20s, but not getting that many on target. Not really sure how this relates to the tactic though. However, I think the stats are skewed slightly by the fact that we end up having quite a lot of corners, which usually results in lots of headers and any sort of bobble in the area being counted as a shot. I think a better reflection of the play is if you check the 'Scoring Chances' section of the analysis tab, which will allow you to see how good the proper chances do you create are.

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In terms of this "Barcelona Style" Has anyone tried this with Bayern Munich?

I think that FM14 requires a different setup than what was originally posted by WWFAN, simply because things have changed with the match engine since then, and obviously the interface is different.

If I wanted to set up a "tiki-taka" type of thing, wouldn't it make sense to use a False 9 or a Treq in the striker spot? Or even maybe using a Treq in the AMC spot, in a strikerless formation?

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In terms of this "Barcelona Style" Has anyone tried this with Bayern Munich?

I think that FM14 requires a different setup than what was originally posted by WWFAN, simply because things have changed with the match engine since then, and obviously the interface is different.

If I wanted to set up a "tiki-taka" type of thing, wouldn't it make sense to use a False 9 or a Treq in the striker spot? Or even maybe using a Treq in the AMC spot, in a strikerless formation?

i agree with the first sentence. in fm14 seems that 'mentality' dictates exactly the mentality of players should have ( if u set barca on away to play Counter, they'll just have a very defensive formation; i changed it to Control and seems that my team play the way i play on Home, controlling the game, etc. )

about the second, i tested messi in the AMC position, with strikerless formation, with PI of getting forward, and it seems that he holds the same position as striker, but he comes from back to finish, like irl does. what's interesting its that MC's have less creative freedom and roam with messi as AMC, and Iniesta on AP(A) just doesn't fit at all. In my opinion, if Messi had a role in the team, should be F9, but somehow with Attack duty, or an TM with F9 settings. what i found recently is that Guardiola has 'uses target man' as tendency, so my question mark is : is this a hint from developers that Messi should be in the role of Target Man?

anyway, if u don't have an Messi in your pocket and u want to recreate a tiki-taka tactic on other team, putting the FC on f9 and wingers on IF(A) with 'get further forward' seems the right move.

i keep my opinion with barca using a high tempo on 2010-2011 or guardiola's era. i see the difference between slow/high tempo as PSG played with chelsea in home/away and barca's tempo. i asume that PSG uses a slow tempo, and it seems it ain't the same as barca. guardiola was desperate to implement the 'receive, pass, receive, pass' thing, so that means a quick tempo imo. also, i found this thread ( http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/365492-Once-and-for-all-What-does-quot-tempo-quot-actually-do-(FM-14) ) where Neil approve what i say. also, i see that messi gets load more goals in a quick tempo than in a slow tempo ( i also managed to solve my problem with IFs being too selfish, as they prefer to shoot instead of last-pass to Messi. it seems that the tempo force them to pass instead of shooting ). now i try to decide if high or very high is the right one, because it seems that 'much higher tempo' instruction tell us '... using the intensity of their approach to unsettle the opposition and eventually tire them out'. I remember that a lot of people said that the advantage of the tiki-taka its also that if the opposition finally tackle and get back the ball, they are too tired to attack.

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I disagree about the tempo.

But I think your findings with the F9 + 2 IF-A's makes a lot of sense. I'm not sure you even need to use the PI's "get further forward."

Regardless, I try not to copy real life tactics because I find that what happens is I end up doing things that I shouldn't lol.

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tested messi in AMC as TQ on a Very Fluid tempo - it seems he has more freedom, he comes back more often, passing with xavi & iniesta, and going through channels & finishing. the only thing that misses from the irl messi is that he does not draw defenders as he does an f9. now as average position it seems that he's in line with the wingers.

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i think wwfan or some other ME expert/ game developer needs to clarify us with this task once and for all, because wwfan posted his interpretation, but his interpretation of FM12, and things probably have changed

offtopic: 'tata' out, even i am a better coach. shame on messi.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I played a season with this as Barcelona and was surprised how defensively solid it was.

The only changes I made was much higher defensive line and a Half back instead of DM.

Kept 31 clean sheets in the league! Scored a 120! Conceded 9. Would have scored more if MESSI didn't miss the last 3 months of the season.

Both Neymar and Sanchez reached 30 goals in all comps! Won everything and finished with 102 points!

Obviously Barca has one of the best squads in the game but it was near perfection!

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I played a season with this as Barcelona and was surprised how defensively solid it was.

The only changes I made was much higher defensive line and a Half back instead of DM.

Kept 31 clean sheets in the league! Scored a 120! Conceded 9. Would have scored more if MESSI didn't miss the last 3 months of the season.

Both Neymar and Sanchez reached 30 goals in all comps! Won everything and finished with 102 points!

Obviously Barca has one of the best squads in the game but it was near perfection!

What post is this tactic on?

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After my time at Newcastle I applied and got the job at Barca who'd just saked Martino for finishing 7th. So far this season I've been playing the tactic I posted earlier, with the exception of changing the forward (Messi) to a Trequartista. It seems to be working well in terms of getting a lot more goals and assists than when I had a CF(s), but I don't know if that is due to the change in role or just because it's Messi and he's forming a defence destroying partnership with Neymar as the AML.

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After my time at Newcastle I applied and got the job at Barca who'd just saked Martino for finishing 7th. So far this season I've been playing the tactic I posted earlier, with the exception of changing the forward (Messi) to a Trequartista. It seems to be working well in terms of getting a lot more goals and assists than when I had a CF(s), but I don't know if that is due to the change in role or just because it's Messi and he's forming a defence destroying partnership with Neymar as the AML.

So are you using Messi as Trequartista in ST position? Or AMC?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Kelvinu can you post your tactic?

well, i`m too enthusiastic sometimes that i forget that in this forum are way better tacticians than me. sorry for that.

well vadvoci, after hundred of tests on any fluidity and mentality combinations, i found that the most close tactic to tiki-taka is the one that posted wwfan. i would add lower tempo and play wide. also, i would change messi to a f9, as the f9 in balanced fluidity comes down to keep possession, while tranquertista keeps possession under pressure, this means that the f9 will come deeper than TQ to keep possession, almost as deep as xavi & iniesta, like irl. but u got issues with him scoring, change him to TQ, he will drift more. also hb instead of dm

about the tempo posted before, having players like xavi and iniesta capable of dictating tempo at the right time, they`ll switch to higher on the last 3rd, so its no use to use higher tempo TI, because as wwfan said before, they seemed to have an low-low-high tempo, not high all the time

i lost my time trying to make my ifs on balanced fluidity to pass instead of shooting with no benefit, and i realized that this is their job, to score.

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Guys, i got two questions: If the team settings are as wwfan posted ( counter, balanced, more cf, more roaming ), and having messi with 'comes deep to get the ball' ppm, he would come deeper or more often deep to play the ball as a TQ, or as an F9? ie giving more creative freedom to a player encourages him to use his ppm's more often? Also, if he would have more teamwork, he would come deep more often to play the ball in order to help his mates?

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Guys, i got two questions: If the team settings are as wwfan posted ( counter, balanced, more cf, more roaming ), and having messi with 'comes deep to get the ball' ppm, he would come deeper or more often deep to play the ball as a TQ, or as an F9? ie giving more creative freedom to a player encourages him to use his ppm's more often? Also, if he would have more teamwork, he would come deep more often to play the ball in order to help his mates?

TQ always has 20CF in all mentalities and fluidities. High CF is "do what you want to do at every time" so I guess PIs and PPMs are less effective. Teamwork does not influence about player's movement but if he's selfish or play more for his teammates.

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High CF actually makes the PPMs more effective, as they are player's tendencies.

so putting messi on TQ will make him come more often 'to come deeper to take the ball' than the f9? because in THOG framework guide i find that f9 is more inclined to come back to take the ball( f9- keep possession, tq-keep possession unde pressure )

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i know its a bit off topic but don`t you guys think that messi sometimes dictates the tempo? because always when he drops deep, get the ball, and then when he's with the face at the opposition the tempo gets one-touch.they may be one-two's, but they are not always one-two's, sometimes they do triangles. don't u think that messi should have 'dictate tempo' ppm, along or instead 'play one-twos' ?

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If anyone cares about it, i just used the editor to do an experiment. started a new game unemployed with no transfers allowed, moved guardiola to barca, switched his preferred formation to 4-3-3, then i gave him a 4 tempo attribute, to make barca have smth like 85%+ pass completion ( they had average 72% with the 15 tempo attribute ). it seems that their average possession its around 60-65%, they had even 50% with atletico and valencia. i made this to see if its possible to have at least 70% possession on average, with 75%+ in easy games, and i made myself clear that it is impossible.

comparing to the wwfan's interpretation, it seems that we get the same/better results than the experiment made above, so for me its pretty clear that this is the maximum we can achieve in the game.

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If anyone cares about it, i just used the editor to do an experiment. started a new game unemployed with no transfers allowed, moved guardiola to barca, switched his preferred formation to 4-3-3, then i gave him a 4 tempo attribute, to make barca have smth like 85%+ pass completion ( they had average 72% with the 15 tempo attribute ). it seems that their average possession its around 60-65%, they had even 50% with atletico and valencia. i made this to see if its possible to have at least 70% possession on average, with 75%+ in easy games, and i made myself clear that it is impossible.

comparing to the wwfan's interpretation, it seems that we get the same/better results than the experiment made above, so for me its pretty clear that this is the maximum we can achieve in the game.

Can you try the experiment with different values of tempo, and/or multiple trials at each value?

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Can you try the experiment with different values of tempo, and/or multiple trials at each value?

tried with guardiola's default tempo with his default mentality ( low possession, low pass completion ratio )

then with 4 tempo and 8 mentality ( 8 i think would translate the Counter )- 85%-90% pass completion ratio, 60% possession

what can u further change to make guardiola hungry for more possession? i made so many tests that i'm rly bored, but if u got a good idea, i may try

he always make tweaks based on opposition, so u can't really make him play with the same tactic.

also, i think that Guardiola AI focuses to win a game, not to really stick to a plan ( accomplish a plan ) like irl, he will not look to have big possession ( like we would do ) but to exploit opposition and win the game

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I'm trying to replicate this kind of football as best I can with Sunderland, as Poyet is trying to get us to play similarly, just without the constant pressing (it's more based around keeping the shape, dropping off when the other team has the ball in defence and pressing more aggressively in the middle, mainly through Cattermole and Larsson while Colback is a little more reserved).

Trying and trying to get this right, have had some excellent results but 14th and really struggle to create enough chances in most games. The main problem however, is constantly being hit in behind, particularly by the wingers, crosses and diagonal balls over the top for the lone striker. Nearly every goal i concede, sometimes several times per game.

Is it just my players? Full backs are the weakest area of the team, but I'd still like them to cope better with more 'average' wingers.

My set up is very similar to others I've seen on here, 4-1-2-2-1, duties:

SWK D

WB A

WB A

CD D

CD D

HB D

DLP S

AP S

IF S

IF S

F9 S

Control, very fluid, lower tempo, high defence, hassling, offside trap, work ball into box, look for overlap, play out of defence, play narrower, pass short...

Took 'retain possession' off to try and be more dangerous but we are conceding a lot more possession and asst telling me we aren't keeping the ball well enough. Most goals conceded are in behind the defence or on the counter after my f9 has given a sloppy pass away trying to play it out to the wing.

So, would it be beneficial going to 'counter' with my TI the same?

I'm thinking of trying a quick tempo as well, to stop my defenders (least technical area of my team) from dallying on the ball and getting caught. How successful is this likely to be?

For some games, is it possible to keep very slow possession deep to encourage the other team to push on, then quickly counter? Not sure how to implement this, as it feels as though the TI's would only allow the slow possession but not to then switch to a quick, dynamic counter.

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Also, by using 'very fluid' is this actually discouraging my full backs to bomb on past the IF's? Also, would instructing the IF's to 'narrow' actually damage my attacking options by strangling space?

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Scottybee - you have been given advice recently that you do not appear to have implemented. You have no clear plan to score goals. You have no real forward runs into goalscoring positions. You have realised 2 good things. A Balanced Philosophy is the best at trying to get the full backs further forward, and you have congested space in the centre with nobody attempting to run into goalscoring positions. Your attempts at possession are at the expense of actually scoring goals and winning games. A priority reassessment is essential. Your team is not set up to counter, as you have no players trying to dribble with the ball, or make runs to recieve a direct pass or through ball. You arent keeping the ball because nobody is moving to recieve it. True counter-attacking and possession retention are opposite ideals, you can try and create a hybrid, but it compromises on aspects of both (as in, not true ball retention football, but not out and out countering).

Just to re-emphasise this:

You must get an attack duty or 2 in your front 5 players. With at least 1 in your front 3. If you don't - you will struggle.

You cannot retain the ball with no movement.

Get the basics right of simply playing football, and learning to win a game, and the rest will improve. I suggest posting back in your own thread though regarding updates and further help.

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from my experience in replicating the barca's tactic about 4-3-3 possession:

if u use very fluid, the duties and player roles are unimportant because of the high players' creative freedom. players are acting as an unit to accomplish your mentality setting. for example, if u got Vfluid with Control, all the players in the team are focusing on keeping the ball, they roles don`t count at all. but with VFluid you are getting the best pressing that can be achieved in game.

If u concede goals by crosses, then u must mark tighter your opposition. i found that barca's defenders have 'mark tight' ppm, so u could try to tell your CD's to mark tighter by PI. Also, you need good pacey and smart defenders to do offside trap more effective.

on the other part, if u don't have enough chances, you could remove look for overlap and change your if's duty to attack, like this they will move in the space created by f9. also, on 4-3-3 system its important not to 'play narrower', you need to stretch your opposition. so removing 'play narrower' will be better. also keep in mind that in vfluid system the team instructions will be less effective than in a VRigid system, because in VF the players will be doing whatever they want, rather than sticking to your tactic plan.

if u want to keep possession deep and then counter, then u could switch to counter + retain possession. u would need your MC's with 'dictate tempo' to improve it more

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if u use very fluid, the duties and player roles are unimportant because of the high players' creative freedom.

Not true, as they still affect player instructions - things like forward runs, passing into space etc etc. These are still important.

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Scottybee - you have been given advice recently that you do not appear to have implemented. You have no clear plan to score goals. You have no real forward runs into goalscoring positions. You have realised 2 good things. A Balanced Philosophy is the best at trying to get the full backs further forward, and you have congested space in the centre with nobody attempting to run into goalscoring positions. Your attempts at possession are at the expense of actually scoring goals and winning games. A priority reassessment is essential. Your team is not set up to counter, as you have no players trying to dribble with the ball, or make runs to recieve a direct pass or through ball. You arent keeping the ball because nobody is moving to recieve it. True counter-attacking and possession retention are opposite ideals, you can try and create a hybrid, but it compromises on aspects of both (as in, not true ball retention football, but not out and out countering).

Just to re-emphasise this:

You must get an attack duty or 2 in your front 5 players. With at least 1 in your front 3. If you don't - you will struggle.

You cannot retain the ball with no movement.

Get the basics right of simply playing football, and learning to win a game, and the rest will improve. I suggest posting back in your own thread though regarding updates and further help.

Thanks for the advice, had missed the other thread! I was unsure at the lack of attack duties, but had used theories/ideas on very fluid possession based tactic, though the flaws you have pointed out are the clear problems I have been facing. I was worried that due to my weakness being attacked on the wings that having my IF's on attack would leave me even more exposed. However, I see that with support duties they are instead coming inside to try and shoot from range (not what I want) or look for through balls which is pointless as there is no-one to get ahead of them.

Hopefully changing from control to counter will help alleviate my weakness to counter attacks and direct balls in behind.

I'm torn regarding my DM. Does this tactic make it essential that they be an anchor/half back to protect the defence? I wanted to recreate the role Lee Cattermole plays in reality, believe it or not he is a hugely influential player who drives the other 2 midfielders on. He closes down aggressively from the DMC position but is also our best passer, and makes a big contribution further up the pitch as well as a great amount of defensive responsibility. When the ball is with the keeper, Cattermole comes very deep allowing Brown and O'Shea to spread out almost to the flanks to receive the ball. Then you have Colback who rather than a DLP is more of a standard central midfielder, who contributes in defence and further up the field without truly being 'box to box'. Larsson is more of a box to box midfielder, closing and harrying relentlessly in defence and attack while making runs in to the box.

I'll take on board your advice and have a change around, then I'll post my own thread (as its not a Barcelona tactic I'm trying to replicate really...though god knows why I want to try and base mine around a team that finished 14th)

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The ideas you have posted are much better. Allocate your duties to the roles you are talking about more sensibly and you will notice a major difference.

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You've already got some very good advice on the offensive side of things. However, as you say you're defensively suspect balls in behind, wingers, crosses and long diagonals - you've pretty much given the answer yourself:

high defence, hassling, offside trap

Your defence will be very high up the pitch. Both of your fullbacks will move forward both on and off the ball. This is a first pointer - any winger/wide player staying ahead of your fullbacks will have a whole flank to himself. This means that one ball in behind you fullback leaves a player free to either run on goal, run wide and pick a cross, or - and this is probably what you're seeing very often - he will draw a centreback wide, which leaves any opposition forward/runner from deep free to run onto a cross.

Secondly, you're not only conceding space down the flanks, you're also conceding a lot of space in behind, courtesy of your defence pushing up all the time. Any player with enough time on the ball can hit a long ball in behind your centrebacks for a quick forward to exploit. If you don't have fast centrebacks this is downright suicidal. A high line and plenty of pressing can be incredibly effective (think early Guardiola's Barcelona), but you have to make sure your players are up to it. Plenty of aggression, work rate and high closing down across the board are essential, fail any of those and you're likely to suffer. When a high line isn't combined with a very effective press you will suffer (think, for example, of AVB's Chelsea).

In short, either make sure you're capable of disrupting your opponent from back to front, or play a bit more conservatively.

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It's contradicts the description for the speed but "Higher Tempo" is definitely the better option, in my opinion. It doesn't say in the "lower tempo" instructions that it results in players pointlessly taking ages to pass the ball. I don't know if I'm right, because obviously I'm on the same boat as everyone/lots when it comes to knowing just exactly what the vague descriptions give, but based on what I see; Higher Tempo dictates how quickly the ball is passed rather than the directness of it.

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