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The Barcelona Style: My Interpretation

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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:

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.

Thank you. Do you think changing the mentality to counter will be sufficient? I think I have the centre backs who are capable, though I'm toying with going to a stopper/cover combo and dropping the offside trap. Possibly just asking to push higher rather than push much higher.

The DMC role is one I'm really struggling with. As I'm not sure which role would best suit the Cattermole role I described above. Disciplined in defence but very high closing down and contributing to attacks. Thinking maybe setting to DM and changing PI's accordingly...also unsure as to who to set to roaming. Thinking the IF's but will that help or hinder their exploiting the space made by the striker coming deep?

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Higher Tempo dictates how quickly the ball is passed rather than the directness of it.

ain't the same thing?

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ain't the same thing?

No. If Pique & Puyol passed the ball really quickly amongst themselves at the back - it is short passing, but high tempo. Tempo is the urgency and speed at which you play and move the ball. Short or direct passing relates to the length of the pass.

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No. If Pique & Puyol passed the ball really quickly amongst themselves at the back - it is short passing, but high tempo. Tempo is the urgency and speed at which you play and move the ball. Short or direct passing relates to the length of the pass.

so are u saying that direct = long pass?

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No. If Pique & Puyol passed the ball really quickly amongst themselves at the back - it is short passing, but high tempo. Tempo is the urgency and speed at which you play and move the ball. Short or direct passing relates to the length of the pass.

No, tempo should be the quickness of sending the ball forward. Barcelona can not possibly play high tempo. They are the definition of low tempo.

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so are u saying that direct = long pass?

Sort of. It is not route one though, direct football can simply be a swift counter attack.8

No, tempo should be the quickness of sending the ball forward. Barcelona can not possibly play high tempo. They are the definition of low tempo.

Tempo does not relate to forward passes only. You can pass side to side quickly to fashion an opening.

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It doesn't relate to passes, but general build-up. That's how it has been in previous versions. Slow tempo increases lateral passes, while quick encourages sending the ball forward. Slow+Short passing = Barcelona, Quick+Short passing = Dortmund.

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It doesn't relate to passes, but general build-up. That's how it has been in previous versions. Slow tempo increases lateral passes, while quick encourages sending the ball forward. Slow+Short passing = Barcelona, Quick+Short passing = Dortmund.

from my experience :

quick tempo + more fluid system (more creative freedom) = forward passes = quick transition as u said.

quick tempo + lower mentality + more rigid system(less creative freedom) = one touch lateral passes

but in my opinion, irl barca had low-low-quick tempo, and the quick tempo was always initiated by iniesta, xavi ( they got Dictate tempo PPM ) or sometimes messi

llama, do u thing that giving Guardiola 15 tempo attribute is a good choice? because in game, at bayern at least, they always have like 70-80% pass completion and 50-65% possession. i agree, they got lots of passes because of the high tempo, but that amount of passes can be achieved via more possession

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This is what frustrates me about the game, as soon as I think I understand what something actually does someone comes along and says something that completely contradicts it :rolleyes:

It's like a never ending cycle of speculation and misinterpretation.

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I think it's worth pointing out that there are two extremes to the "counter" strategy. Hopefully, this will help people get to grips a little more with how TIs create a playing style.

In the popular press at the moment, there is a debate about the relative strengths and weaknesses of tika-taka versus the direct, counter-attacking of the Madrids and pre-Pep Bayern. In FM terms, I would regard both styles as being Counter strategies, but with a very different set of TIs. I'd actually regard the lower end strategies as being the "go-to" strategies for those trying to recreate the modern styles of play adopted by elite teams, especially those that play with many players the deeper strata. Cleon's thread on defensive systems and Ackter's on developing a modern catenaccio are fascinating takes on this idea.

Barca play possession football with a high-pressing system, as detailed in my OP. In FM14, that would mean Shorter Passing, Retain Possession, Play Out of Defence, Much Higher Defensive Line and Hassle Opposition, but with a Counter Strategy for the reasons I gave in the OP. The Madrids play far more direct football with a low-blocking system. That would mean Direct Passing, Higher Tempo and a Lower Defensive Line, but still with a Counter Strategy. Once you have this sorted out, they key is getting individual players to perform as you'd wish via Formation, Roles, Duties and PIs. These will heavily influence team shape and what the player does on the ball.

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I think it's worth pointing out that there are two extremes to the "counter" strategy. Hopefully, this will help people get to grips a little more with how TIs create a playing style.

In the popular press at the moment, there is a debate about the relative strengths and weaknesses of tika-taka versus the direct, counter-attacking of the Madrids and pre-Pep Bayern. In FM terms, I would regard both styles as being Counter strategies, but with a very different set of TIs. I'd actually regard the lower end strategies as being the "go-to" strategies for those trying to recreate the modern styles of play adopted by elite teams, especially those that play with many players the deeper strata. Cleon's thread on defensive systems and Ackter's on developing a modern catenaccio are fascinating takes on this idea.

Barca play possession football with a high-pressing system, as detailed in my OP. In FM14, that would mean Shorter Passing, Retain Possession, Play Out of Defence, Much Higher Defensive Line and Hassle Opposition, but with a Counter Strategy for the reasons I gave in the OP. The Madrids play far more direct football with a low-blocking system. That would mean Direct Passing, Higher Tempo and a Lower Defensive Line, but still with a Counter Strategy. Once you have this sorted out, they key is getting individual players to perform as you'd wish via Formation, Roles, Duties and PIs. These will heavily influence team shape and what the player does on the ball.

the most sarcastic thing that can ever happen is when u build a team from 0 to play a beautiful possession tactic, knowing that your most threatening opposition that could ever defeat you is a counter pacey team, and you face it, in your first grand final. that's a good moment to laugh before you begin packing home

This is what frustrates me about the game, as soon as I think I understand what something actually does someone comes along and says something that completely contradicts it :rolleyes:

It's like a never ending cycle of speculation and misinterpretation.

i think that makes the game more beautiful but also addictive. no long time ago i woke up in the night because i had a nightmare in which i was thinking that i'm incapable of replicating this style. it might be funny, but i had to wake up in the middle of the night to solve the problem :eek:

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I think it's worth pointing out that there are two extremes to the "counter" strategy. Hopefully, this will help people get to grips a little more with how TIs create a playing style.

In the popular press at the moment, there is a debate about the relative strengths and weaknesses of tika-taka versus the direct, counter-attacking of the Madrids and pre-Pep Bayern. In FM terms, I would regard both styles as being Counter strategies, but with a very different set of TIs. I'd actually regard the lower end strategies as being the "go-to" strategies for those trying to recreate the modern styles of play adopted by elite teams, especially those that play with many players the deeper strata. Cleon's thread on defensive systems and Ackter's on developing a modern catenaccio are fascinating takes on this idea.

Barca play possession football with a high-pressing system, as detailed in my OP. In FM14, that would mean Shorter Passing, Retain Possession, Play Out of Defence, Much Higher Defensive Line and Hassle Opposition, but with a Counter Strategy for the reasons I gave in the OP. The Madrids play far more direct football with a low-blocking system. That would mean Direct Passing, Higher Tempo and a Lower Defensive Line, but still with a Counter Strategy. Once you have this sorted out, they key is getting individual players to perform as you'd wish via Formation, Roles, Duties and PIs. These will heavily influence team shape and what the player does on the ball.

I don't see you mention Fluidity. I think that makes a lot of difference too. Balanced for Barca style possession and Rigid for Madrid.

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ain't the same thing?

How is it the same thing? According to you then, quick passing is direct?

Lots misinterpret "direct". There's different methods of direct football. You can do it as a means of simply always forcing vertical passes; long or short. Dortmund & Athletico could be an example of short, direct passing.

Every time I try different tempo's, I always notice an improvement in the possession when I use Higher Tempo. I actually find the lower tempo's to be more direct in the sense that players take ages on the ball & seem to always look for a killer pass rather than just keeping the ball moving. Obviously, I'm probably talking rubbish because the description for the instructions say otherwise.

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How is it the same thing? According to you then, quick passing is direct?

Lots misinterpret "direct". There's different methods of direct football. You can do it as a means of simply always forcing vertical passes; long or short. Dortmund & Athletico could be an example of short, direct passing.

Every time I try different tempo's, I always notice an improvement in the possession when I use Higher Tempo. I actually find the lower tempo's to be more direct in the sense that players take ages on the ball & seem to always look for a killer pass rather than just keeping the ball moving. Obviously, I'm probably talking rubbish because the description for the instructions say otherwise.

Higher Tempo dictates how quickly the ball is passed rather than the directness of it - the way you explained here make many people confused. a higher tempo short pass could also be direct, because the player behave the same, the time spent on the ball is the same. direct pass is not always associated with long quick forward balls, otherwise it would be named differently ( also short quick passes can be direct, if they are vertical). but, on average, direct passes have bigger lenght than the high-tempo short passes.

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I think it's worth pointing out that there are two extremes to the "counter" strategy. Hopefully, this will help people get to grips a little more with how TIs create a playing style.

In the popular press at the moment, there is a debate about the relative strengths and weaknesses of tika-taka versus the direct, counter-attacking of the Madrids and pre-Pep Bayern. In FM terms, I would regard both styles as being Counter strategies, but with a very different set of TIs. I'd actually regard the lower end strategies as being the "go-to" strategies for those trying to recreate the modern styles of play adopted by elite teams, especially those that play with many players the deeper strata. Cleon's thread on defensive systems and Ackter's on developing a modern catenaccio are fascinating takes on this idea.

Barca play possession football with a high-pressing system, as detailed in my OP. In FM14, that would mean Shorter Passing, Retain Possession, Play Out of Defence, Much Higher Defensive Line and Hassle Opposition, but with a Counter Strategy for the reasons I gave in the OP. The Madrids play far more direct football with a low-blocking system. That would mean Direct Passing, Higher Tempo and a Lower Defensive Line, but still with a Counter Strategy. Once you have this sorted out, they key is getting individual players to perform as you'd wish via Formation, Roles, Duties and PIs. These will heavily influence team shape and what the player does on the ball.

Counter strategy + Shorter passing have a problem: it reduces very much width. Guardiola style needs to stretch opponent lines in order to create spaces for move the ball from side to side. I've tried everything and there is no way in FM14 to manage "positional play". Positional play is Guardiola's football philosophy. That's mean basically to create superiorities behind the opposition's pressing line. FM14 Match Engine is too chaotic in player movements even with rigid philosophies, stick positions and be more disciplined. So there is no positional "order" to move forward patiently overcoming opposition lines one by one moving the ball around the team. It's just impossible to do.

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The counter strategy doesn't work for me at all. Even with Much Higher Defensive Line, the team always end up looking like a parked bus if opponents string a few passes together.

Maybe if opponents are sitting deep & playing very direct when they win it back, counter could work. But I always see a big decrease in the possession stat every time I've tried counter; in-keeping with the description on the game.

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Counter strategy + Shorter passing have a problem: it reduces very much width. Guardiola style needs to stretch opponent lines in order to create spaces for move the ball from side to side. I've tried everything and there is no way in FM14 to manage "positional play". Positional play is Guardiola's football philosophy. That's mean basically to create superiorities behind the opposition's pressing line. FM14 Match Engine is too chaotic in player movements even with rigid philosophies, stick positions and be more disciplined. So there is no positional "order" to move forward patiently overcoming opposition lines one by one moving the ball around the team. It's just impossible to do.

No it isn't. It is difficult but not impossible. If it wear easy to replicate then every manager would be doing it and Guardiola wouldn't be as

Sorry if I am misunderstanding you but a very rigid/rigid philosophy, with stick to positions and be more disciplined certainly won't result in Guardiola-esque football. It has to be balanced/fluid as a minimum. Yes players know their roles within the team as a whole but there is certainly a universal approach to Bayern's play. Rigid would only work if you had very specialised roles that mean they behave in such a way that creates the play you speak of.

Counter + Shorter passing don't limit the use of width in my experience. Yes your team will drop deep and sit narrower but that isn't to say you can't encourage width with possession.

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The counter strategy doesn't work for me at all. Even with Much Higher Defensive Line, the team always end up looking like a parked bus if opponents string a few passes together.

Maybe if opponents are sitting deep & playing very direct when they win it back, counter could work. But I always see a big decrease in the possession stat every time I've tried counter; in-keeping with the description on the game.

What else are you trying counter with? It doesn't add up that counter = drop in possession. I'd assume there are other variables at play - TIs, PIs, opposition, player suitability etc.

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What else are you trying counter with? It doesn't add up that counter = drop in possession. I'd assume there are other variables at play - TIs, PIs, opposition, player suitability etc.

Not totally sure what you mean. I was aiming my last post more at the lack of high pressing when using a Counter mentality. Using Control or Attacking mentalities with Much Higher Defensive Line will be a much higher line compared with a Counter mentality with Much Higher Defensive Line.

That's according to what I've read on this forum numerous times anyway.

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Not totally sure what you mean. I was aiming my last post more at the lack of high pressing when using a Counter mentality. Using Control or Attacking mentalities with Much Higher Defensive Line will be a much higher line compared with a Counter mentality with Much Higher Defensive Line.

That's according to what I've read on this forum numerous times anyway.

Sorry if not clear. I was asking what other instructions do you use alongside Counter? I was primarily addressing your point about possession dropping when using Counter.

You're completely correct in what you said re defensive line BTW - not arguing that at all.

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Sorry if not clear. I was asking what other instructions do you use alongside Counter? I was primarily addressing your point about possession dropping when using Counter.

You're completely correct in what you said re defensive line BTW - not arguing that at all.

I just pick the obvious instructions. That part's not hard really. The only instructions I wonder about is Play Narrower or Play Wider. I don't notice that big of a difference in terms of the team shape in-possession. I only opt for Play Narrower because it focuses the passing in the middle more.

The possession drops in the Counter mentality because of the lack of pressing, not because of the quality of the play when we're in-possession.

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No it isn't. It is difficult but not impossible. If it wear easy to replicate then every manager would be doing it and Guardiola wouldn't be as

Sorry if I am misunderstanding you but a very rigid/rigid philosophy, with stick to positions and be more disciplined certainly won't result in Guardiola-esque football. It has to be balanced/fluid as a minimum. Yes players know their roles within the team as a whole but there is certainly a universal approach to Bayern's play. Rigid would only work if you had very specialised roles that mean they behave in such a way that creates the play you speak of.

Counter + Shorter passing don't limit the use of width in my experience. Yes your team will drop deep and sit narrower but that isn't to say you can't encourage width with possession.

I said I've tried ALL. Very Rigid, Rigid, Balanced, Fluid, Very Fluid... Defensive, Counter, Standard, Control, Offensive, Overload... Low Tempo, Hight Tempo... IMPOSSIBLE.

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I said I've tried ALL. Very Rigid, Rigid, Balanced, Fluid, Very Fluid... Defensive, Counter, Standard, Control, Offensive, Overload... Low Tempo, Hight Tempo... IMPOSSIBLE.

Clearly you haven't tried it all. FM has too many variables for you to have tried it all. You've tried a lot of different options but clearly not the right combination - lets not be arrogant and assume our individual efforts represent the limits of FM tactics.

A simple test is the following: Does Guardiola, in his FM entity, play the style of football (or as close to as possible) 'real life' Guardiola does? If the answer is yes (which in my opinion it is) then it is possible for us to replicate.

Instead of ranting and raving, start a thread explaining where you're at presently with the tactics, your vision of where you want to be and the team at your disposal so that people can help you achieve that aim.

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I just pick the obvious instructions. That part's not hard really. The only instructions I wonder about is Play Narrower or Play Wider. I don't notice that big of a difference in terms of the team shape in-possession. I only opt for Play Narrower because it focuses the passing in the middle more.

The possession drops in the Counter mentality because of the lack of pressing, not because of the quality of the play when we're in-possession.

But your ability to retain possession is independent from your ability to win it back. Counter as a setting has different implications when in possession and when out of possession surely.

If, while using counter as a setting,you win possession (in whatever which way) then you're ability to keep that is just that. I understand what you're saying in that a lack of urgency in winning the ball back won't help your ability to win possession therefore maybe indirectly affection percentages but it is possible to dominate possession using counter.

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If, while using counter as a setting,you win possession (in whatever which way) then you're ability to keep that is just that. I understand what you're saying in that a lack of urgency in winning the ball back won't help your ability to win possession therefore maybe indirectly affection percentages but it is possible to dominate possession using counter.

Of coarse it's possible to dominate using Counter, but not to the extent which Pep's Barca/Bayern did/do. If opponents are standing off & letting you have it, then any mentality can dominate really.

Pressing is more important in my opinion when it comes to dominating possession. If you press an (apparent) possession side that doesn't press, then they'd usually have less possession. Southampton proved that in the EPL last season (in my opinion). Not sure if you'd agree but Manchester City are quite a methodical side with possession and against teams who sit deep, they'll always dominate possession. What they don't do though is press high. They're usually quite passive when they don't have the ball, unless they're losing. That's why Southampton (wouldn't say dominated, because there's obviously a huge gulf in quality in terms of the players) had more possession against City on both meetings. It's the same with Arsenal, which for some reason everyone/lots deem them the "Barca of the EPL", but I think they only averaged something like 56% possession last season.

Saying that though, to recreate Barca's pressing game is impossible on any mentality. Control, Attacking & Overload mentalities are just the better of a, in my opinion, bad bunch. Pep's/& Bielsa's teams press like bulldogs on crack (excuse my overly used pun). They don't just half heartedly jog over to the opponent. The defensive line step up at every opportunity. If, god forbid, a player doesn't close down, Pep will sprint up to the technical area and wave his arms like a madman. Of coarse I assume you already know all this though.

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Of coarse it's possible to dominate using Counter, but not to the extent which Pep's Barca/Bayern did/do. If opponents are standing off & letting you have it, then any mentality can dominate really.

Pressing is more important in my opinion when it comes to dominating possession. If you press an (apparent) possession side that doesn't press, then they'd usually have less possession. Southampton proved that in the EPL last season (in my opinion). Not sure if you'd agree but Manchester City are quite a methodical side with possession and against teams who sit deep, they'll always dominate possession. What they don't do though is press high. They're usually quite passive when they don't have the ball, unless they're losing. That's why Southampton (wouldn't say dominated, because there's obviously a huge gulf in quality in terms of the players) had more possession against City on both meetings. It's the same with Arsenal, which for some reason everyone/lots deem them the "Barca of the EPL", but I think they only averaged something like 56% possession last season.

Saying that though, to recreate Barca's pressing game is impossible on any mentality. Control, Attacking & Overload mentalities are just the better of a, in my opinion, bad bunch. Pep's/& Bielsa's teams press like bulldogs on crack (excuse my overly used pun). They don't just half heartedly jog over to the opponent. The defensive line step up at every opportunity. If, god forbid, a player doesn't close down, Pep will sprint up to the technical area and wave his arms like a madman. Of coarse I assume you already know all this though.

here comes the limitation of ME. the tactic presented by wwfan in 1st post is right, but you can't replicate the 6s pressing rule and obviosly not the high pressing itself. with a high pressing, the stats would be close to the tiki taka stats. hopefuly in the next series the hassle opponents setting will be further upgrated, i don`t really know how, because in my opinion ME creators don`t think that a player would want to create a barca tactic to design the tactic engine like would be possible, but to make some general settings available to create sort of every average tactic. In other words, they create the tactical engine for you to create a possession orintated tactic, not the tiki taka.

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A simple test is the following: Does Guardiola, in his FM entity, play the style of football (or as close to as possible) 'real life' Guardiola does? If the answer is yes (which in my opinion it is) then it is possible for us to replicate.

If you think that Guardiola is reflected well in FM, what's your opinion about his i-g match stats with bayern? its right that in FM, head coaches are more focused on the result than their tactic stats, and guardiola make a lot of changes because of the opposition, but i never saw bayern in fm with possession more than 62%, and more than 80% pass completio. would ever have pep in real life those stats?

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Saying that though, to recreate Barca's pressing game is impossible on any mentality. Control, Attacking & Overload mentalities are just the better of a, in my opinion, bad bunch. Pep's/& Bielsa's teams press like bulldogs on crack (excuse my overly used pun). They don't just half heartedly jog over to the opponent. The defensive line step up at every opportunity. If, god forbid, a player doesn't close down, Pep will sprint up to the technical area and wave his arms like a madman. Of coarse I assume you already know all this though.

This is a very good point and intensive pressing as seen under Guardiola, Sampaoli, Schmidt etc. just doesn't seem possible on FM yet. (god have i tried with enough teams and formations).

There is too much of the player jogging over to close a player down rather than properly going after him resulting in the player in possession having the time to pick apart your very high line. Even with Hassle opponents, attacking philosophy and very high defensive line i still have the assistant telling me i should close down so and so more. Yet we're told setting additional close down more PIs or OIs is pointless as hassle opponents has already set closing down to max.

Hopefully work is under way to improve this in FM2015.

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A lot of things is wrong with this interpretation

Control/Fluid should be the philosophy.

CWB-BPD-BPD-CWB

A

DLP(s)-AP(s)

IF(a)-IF(a)

F9(s)

Player Instructions:

Everyone should have Shorter Passing ticked in

CWBs should close down more

F9, DLP, AP should be Roaming from Position

SK should Distribute to Defenders

Team Instructions:

Retain Possession

Shorter Passing

Play Out of Defense

Work Ball Into Box

Run at Defense

Play Wider

Exploit the Flanks

Push Higher Up

Lower Tempo

Hassle Opponents

Use Offside Trap

That is the closest you will get to the Barca Style.

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A lot of things is wrong with this interpretation

Control/Fluid should be the philosophy.

CWB-BPD-BPD-CWB

A

DLP(s)-AP(s)

IF(a)-IF(a)

F9(s)

Player Instructions:

Everyone should have Shorter Passing ticked in

CWBs should close down more

F9, DLP, AP should be Roaming from Position

SK should Distribute to Defenders

Team Instructions:

Retain Possession

Shorter Passing

Play Out of Defense

Work Ball Into Box

Run at Defense

Play Wider

Exploit the Flanks

Push Higher Up

Lower Tempo

Hassle Opponents

Use Offside Trap

That is the closest you will get to the Barca Style.

Actually, your interpretation is a bit wrong. For start, Fluid doesn't represent how Barca played under Guardiola. Busquets at DM is more than an Anchor man for sure. Only one of the DCs should be a BPD. It's still debatable if Messi is a F9 or Treq. Most of the shouts are correct, except for Lower Tempo (no need for it since using Retain Possession) and Run at Defense.

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A lot of things is wrong with this interpretation

Control/Fluid should be the philosophy.

CWB-BPD-BPD-CWB

A

DLP(s)-AP(s)

IF(a)-IF(a)

F9(s)

Player Instructions:

Everyone should have Shorter Passing ticked in

CWBs should close down more

F9, DLP, AP should be Roaming from Position

SK should Distribute to Defenders

Team Instructions:

Retain Possession

Shorter Passing

Play Out of Defense

Work Ball Into Box

Run at Defense

Play Wider

Exploit the Flanks

Push Higher Up

Lower Tempo

Hassle Opponents

Use Offside Trap

That is the closest you will get to the Barca Style.

This will result in the team playing a fairly direct game down the flanks with no one other than the anchor man even entertaining the thought of a possession pass. On top of that, a lot of the instructions you suggest are either redundant or unnecessarily override the TIs. I just ran a quick test of this. Alba and Alves completed the most passes with the team as a whole only attempting 477. Xavi's pass completion rate was 76% and Neymar attempted 28 crosses.

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Agree with The Hand of God. I have to say "Shorter Passing" TI reduces width. Guardiola style needs to be wide in order to stretch the opponent. So I just select "Retain Possession" and "Shorter Passing" PI.

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I'd be careful to distinguish between the general idea of width and the width setting in FM. There are basically two ways to achieve width generally speaking:

(1) Have a high width setting so wingers stay wide and try to work the ball along the touchline with central players looking to distribute the ball quickly to them. This works well if you're going for a more direct style with traditional wingplay and a big man (or two) up front.

(2) Have wingbacks get forward quickly to stretch the defence while inside forwards/wide mids move centrally to help overload the middle. This works well if you're going for a more possession-oriented style with wideplay being premised on the idea of giving the wingback multiple (if not particularly large) targets.

Remember, width merely controls passing and movement tendencies for individual players relative to position, role and the actual availability of space on the pitch. It does not strictly limit the width of your team going forward.

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If you think that Guardiola is reflected well in FM, what's your opinion about his i-g match stats with bayern? its right that in FM, head coaches are more focused on the result than their tactic stats, and guardiola make a lot of changes because of the opposition, but i never saw bayern in fm with possession more than 62%, and more than 80% pass completio. would ever have pep in real life those stats?

bayern.gif

bayern2.gif

The first image was taken from my Brazil save. A quick search among Bayern's fixture list and I saw a 0-1 loss to Wolfsburg. I thought that'd be a good place to start and as you can see they have 63% possession and a 75% pass completion rate - as those are the two stats this discussion is focused on I will just quote those.

The second image are the match statistics taken from Bayern's 1-0 loss to Augsburg in real life, match 29 (5th April) of the 2013/14 season. As you can see, the possession stat is actually lower by 5% however the pass completion is higher by a good 11%.

Stats are fantastic - I absolutely love them - but without context and understanding they mean nothing. In my eyes, possession is a more accurate representation of a game's general ebb and flow than pass completion. As such, a drop in 5% in possession is, for me, as significant as a rise of 11% in pass completion.

The original question was about what I think of Guardiola's Bayern's stats in game. I think they are an accurate reflection of how his team plays in real life. As demonstrated above.

The original-original point was that you can't play possession football when set to Counter:

"The possession drops in the Counter mentality because of the lack of pressing, not because of the quality of the play when we're in-possession. "

As I said at the time, that is nonsense. I am currently playing a friendly against Paraguay with a defensive mentality and the stats are, at the moment, as follows:

brazildef.gif

That is with a defensive mentality. You can't then say that some how those stats aren't down to the quality of my play when in possession? That is the only reason we have those stats in our favour. In this instance we play a very attractive style of football - smooth interchange of positions being key (a move just broke down where my LB was in an advanced position and as such one of my CMs covered).

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Further to the above post, the match finished with these stats:

brazilstat.gif

I didn't change from Defensive once. This idea that you can't replicate certain styles of play in the game is nonsense. No, I'm not so good as to be able to play like this against every single team I face but you have to realise that Guardiola/any other top manager isn't so stupid as to think that either. They will have to make sacrifices to win games at times.

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Of coarse it's possible to dominate using Counter, but not to the extent which Pep's Barca/Bayern did/do. If opponents are standing off & letting you have it, then any mentality can dominate really.

Pressing is more important in my opinion when it comes to dominating possession. If you press an (apparent) possession side that doesn't press, then they'd usually have less possession. Southampton proved that in the EPL last season (in my opinion). Not sure if you'd agree but Manchester City are quite a methodical side with possession and against teams who sit deep, they'll always dominate possession. What they don't do though is press high. They're usually quite passive when they don't have the ball, unless they're losing. That's why Southampton (wouldn't say dominated, because there's obviously a huge gulf in quality in terms of the players) had more possession against City on both meetings. It's the same with Arsenal, which for some reason everyone/lots deem them the "Barca of the EPL", but I think they only averaged something like 56% possession last season.

Saying that though, to recreate Barca's pressing game is impossible on any mentality. Control, Attacking & Overload mentalities are just the better of a, in my opinion, bad bunch. Pep's/& Bielsa's teams press like bulldogs on crack (excuse my overly used pun). They don't just half heartedly jog over to the opponent. The defensive line step up at every opportunity. If, god forbid, a player doesn't close down, Pep will sprint up to the technical area and wave his arms like a madman. Of coarse I assume you already know all this though.

I agree with what you're saying (especially about Arsenal - hate that label they have managed to get themselves. Sorry Arsenal fans :D). I have managed to get my teams to play out of possession in such a way that means not pressing as high up the pitch as Guardiola etc just in our own half.

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Didn't know where to post this question.

Just started up as Barca and sort of want to reinvent the style, namely bcos I have just signed Lukaku. I was going to play him as TM with Messi just of him in the AMC (maybe Treq) and Neymar on the left - IF. Would this become to crowded?

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bayern.gif

bayern2.gif

The first image was taken from my Brazil save. A quick search among Bayern's fixture list and I saw a 0-1 loss to Wolfsburg. I thought that'd be a good place to start and as you can see they have 63% possession and a 75% pass completion rate - as those are the two stats this discussion is focused on I will just quote those.

The second image are the match statistics taken from Bayern's 1-0 loss to Augsburg in real life, match 29 (5th April) of the 2013/14 season. As you can see, the possession stat is actually lower by 5% however the pass completion is higher by a good 11%.

Stats are fantastic - I absolutely love them - but without context and understanding they mean nothing. In my eyes, possession is a more accurate representation of a game's general ebb and flow than pass completion. As such, a drop in 5% in possession is, for me, as significant as a rise of 11% in pass completion.

The original question was about what I think of Guardiola's Bayern's stats in game. I think they are an accurate reflection of how his team plays in real life. As demonstrated above.

The original-original point was that you can't play possession football when set to Counter:

"The possession drops in the Counter mentality because of the lack of pressing, not because of the quality of the play when we're in-possession. "

As I said at the time, that is nonsense. I am currently playing a friendly against Paraguay with a defensive mentality and the stats are, at the moment, as follows:

brazildef.gif

That is with a defensive mentality. You can't then say that some how those stats aren't down to the quality of my play when in possession? That is the only reason we have those stats in our favour. In this instance we play a very attractive style of football - smooth interchange of positions being key (a move just broke down where my LB was in an advanced position and as such one of my CMs covered).

Use WhoScored for stats, they go by OptaStats. Your screenshot if from Squawka.com which is inaccurate, I think. Pep's Bayern averaged 71.2% possession last season with an 88.3% passing accuracy. In Barca's 10/11 season, they averaged 72.6% possession with an 89.6% passing accuracy.

I'd like to have seen how Paraguay played in that game. According to how I assume they played, 65% isn't even that much.

Bayern on this game definitely don't play anything like Pep's real life style. Better remain liberal & say that's just my opinion though.

The closest I've got is a Control mentality with a Balanced fluidity & all those obvious Team Instructions. When I have my mad turns during a game, I usually misbehave (according to the FM purists) and just do the old Opposition Instructions, bold every opponent player and: "Close Down Always", "Show on Wrong Foot", "Tackle Hard". End the game with 7 players just because I got pissed off at a goalkeeper not being closed down. That's my problem with this FM, you can't go into small details like you could somewhat with the sliders on previous versions. You just simply select the instructions and all you can do is hope it's close to what you want, you can't meticulously adjust stuff.

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I think it's worth pointing out that there are two extremes to the "counter" strategy. Hopefully, this will help people get to grips a little more with how TIs create a playing style.

In the popular press at the moment, there is a debate about the relative strengths and weaknesses of tika-taka versus the direct, counter-attacking of the Madrids and pre-Pep Bayern. In FM terms, I would regard both styles as being Counter strategies, but with a very different set of TIs. I'd actually regard the lower end strategies as being the "go-to" strategies for those trying to recreate the modern styles of play adopted by elite teams, especially those that play with many players the deeper strata. Cleon's thread on defensive systems and Ackter's on developing a modern catenaccio are fascinating takes on this idea.

Barca play possession football with a high-pressing system, as detailed in my OP. In FM14, that would mean Shorter Passing, Retain Possession, Play Out of Defence, Much Higher Defensive Line and Hassle Opposition, but with a Counter Strategy for the reasons I gave in the OP. The Madrids play far more direct football with a low-blocking system. That would mean Direct Passing, Higher Tempo and a Lower Defensive Line, but still with a Counter Strategy. Once you have this sorted out, they key is getting individual players to perform as you'd wish via Formation, Roles, Duties and PIs. These will heavily influence team shape and what the player does on the ball.

This needs to be added to the stickied posts IMO. Very useful bit of information here! When I began playing FM I always assumed that higher mentalities were meant for stronger teams but that simply isn't the case. If you need more evidence, I won the double with Arsenal in my first year (FM14) playing on the counter + fewest goals conceded in the EPL. Freaking Arsenal!

I think there is a tendency to conflate words/phrases with what we perceive to be true of real life tactics. If Germany hold the ball really well against Portugal, it doesn't necessarily = control. If USA desperately tries to make runs at Ghana while defending deep, it doesn't necessarily = defensive. If anything in the German's case, it's more counter attack oriented, and in the USA's case, it's more of a standard approach. I think.

But yeah this should be added to wwfan's 12 step guide, it's brilliantly important info.

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The Madrids play far more direct football with a low-blocking system. That would mean Direct Passing, Higher Tempo and a Lower Defensive Line, but still with a Counter Strategy.

How would this work with an attack strategy? As its often said that direct works better with an attack strategy and short works better with a counter strategy.

What strategy would you associate with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern (pre-Pep) and Dortmund? Madrid would stand off, but the other three were known for a heavy pressing system. All four would go forward quickly upon winning the ball.

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How would this work with an attack strategy? As its often said that direct works better with an attack strategy and short works better with a counter strategy.

What strategy would you associate with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern (pre-Pep) and Dortmund? Madrid would stand off, but the other three were known for a heavy pressing system. All four would go forward quickly upon winning the ball.

I've done a bit of experimenting with this. Basically, an attacking strategy / mentality still isn't the right choice. It looks to really push the ball forward as quick as possible, utilize insane width, and tempo. Attacking mentality is absolutely perfect for a target man type of set up (west ham / sam allardyce). I know it's counter intuitive but it's just the way FM has named the mentalities which, HOPEFULLY will get a revamp.

If you want you can try this.. a lower mentality + hassle opponents / push higher. I used Arsenal like this (counter + push higher / hassle) and had the best defense in the EPL + won the prem + CL. It's very effective with big clubs.

On lower mentalities you'll still have the team going forward quickly, but only when the opportunity is right. With higher mentality like say, attacking or control, they'll push forward even when there isn't really much opportunity. That's the key.

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How would this work with an attack strategy? As its often said that direct works better with an attack strategy and short works better with a counter strategy.

What strategy would you associate with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern (pre-Pep) and Dortmund? Madrid would stand off, but the other three were known for a heavy pressing system. All four would go forward quickly upon winning the ball.

I would like to know this also. I loved the way Bayern played (pre-Pep) and how Dortmund still play. I like how Bayern decided when they would control the game or play more direct and how Dortmund press quite aggressively but break at a fast pace, how would these styles be replicated in FM? It's just the general styles I'm talking about, not the actual formation itself.

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I would like to know this also. I loved the way Bayern played (pre-Pep) and how Dortmund still play. I like how Bayern decided when they would control the game or play more direct and how Dortmund press quite aggressively but break at a fast pace, how would these styles be replicated in FM? It's just the general styles I'm talking about, not the actual formation itself.

This is going to be a very rough outline so bare with me but I'll try.

If you want to do a high press / aggressive press + fast break you'll need AT LEAST the following

- hassle opponents

- higher or much higher tempo

- direct passing

- get stuck in

- mentality of either "control" or "standard". Those mentalities will not have that slow build up from the back. You'll see the team playing ridiculously fast paced with the tempo change, and obviously the pressing will be very very aggressive.

The thing is. The starting mentality of the team sets a baseline for all the other things. So, if you start on "control" you're already gonna press pretty high, play pretty quick, pretty wide, and etc. Adding on instructions is like adding spices / flavors to a food dish.

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Just for my own benefit - in FM14 are we saying the team instructions are the following....

Short Passing

Retain Possession

Pass into Space

Work ball into box

High defensive line

Hassle Opponents

Stay on feet

Obviously with a counter mentality and balanced fluidity?

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I think it's worth pointing out that there are two extremes to the "counter" strategy. Hopefully, this will help people get to grips a little more with how TIs create a playing style.

In the popular press at the moment, there is a debate about the relative strengths and weaknesses of tika-taka versus the direct, counter-attacking of the Madrids and pre-Pep Bayern. In FM terms, I would regard both styles as being Counter strategies, but with a very different set of TIs. I'd actually regard the lower end strategies as being the "go-to" strategies for those trying to recreate the modern styles of play adopted by elite teams, especially those that play with many players the deeper strata. Cleon's thread on defensive systems and Ackter's on developing a modern catenaccio are fascinating takes on this idea.

Barca play possession football with a high-pressing system, as detailed in my OP. In FM14, that would mean Shorter Passing, Retain Possession, Play Out of Defence, Much Higher Defensive Line and Hassle Opposition, but with a Counter Strategy for the reasons I gave in the OP. The Madrids play far more direct football with a low-blocking system. That would mean Direct Passing, Higher Tempo and a Lower Defensive Line, but still with a Counter Strategy. Once you have this sorted out, they key is getting individual players to perform as you'd wish via Formation, Roles, Duties and PIs. These will heavily influence team shape and what the player does on the ball.

This is an excellent post. I think I have misunderstood Mentality. If Counter is a possession system then what is Control?

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Control is much more attacking and directing than a typical possession system. Think of it like.. when your guys first get the ball back, on counter they're more likely to be cautious and build up play slowly. As you move up the ladder of mentality, they're more likely to urgently get the ball forward.

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Control is much more attacking and directing than a typical possession system. Think of it like.. when your guys first get the ball back, on counter they're more likely to be cautious and build up play slowly. As you move up the ladder of mentality, they're more likely to urgently get the ball forward.

So control is not as effective as a possession system? ... that's a bit misleading!

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I've started a game with Barcelona 'B', as I thought it would a good project!

This is the set-up that I think I'm going to start with:

ScreenShot2014-07-17at212646_zpsfc35123c.png

I've added the following PI's also:

GK: None

DR: Stay Wider

DC: Pass It Shorter

DC: Pass It Shorter

DL: Stay Wider

DMC: Less Risky Passes

MR: Get Further Forward, Cut Inside & Cross Less Often

MCR: None

MCL: Roam From Position

ML: Get Further Forward, Cut Inside & Cross Less Often

ST: None

The great thing about using a Balanced philosophy is that it really encourages the WingBacks to really get forward.

EDIT: Having thought about I don't want my general play to go into the wider areas, I want my ball players in possession most of the time. So I'm thinking about either adding Exploit The Middle or removing Play Wider. I may even try Play Narrower as my WingBacks will provide plenty of width (hopefully).

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