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Going Behind In A Game - Turning It Around (The Discussion)


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I posted this elsehwere but the thread it's posted in only appeals to those who use the thread to begin with. So I felt it deserved it's own thread as it's an area than a lot of you struggle with.

Going Down In a Game

It happens to us all at some stage of our careers but exactly how do you come back from going a few goals down? Well that actually depends on the way you are actually playing. You can be playing well and still be 2-0 down due to set pieces, mistakes or a well worked goal. You might deserve to be losing due to playing poor. So first you need to establish how you are playing despite been behind and then you figure out how to comeback from that.

I’m now going to talk to you about an extraordinary game I had quite recently. I was using the tactic which is posted above.

Here are the results I’ve had up until this game;

Fixtures.png

You can see my form as been good up until this point. I’ve let in a few more goals than I would have liked but considering every single player from my starting 11 as been missing for large parts due to international call-ups it’s not bad. I’ve scored a few goals and kept a few clean sheets which are always good. So you can see I’m in good form.

But the biggest mistake I made for this game was change the way I play. I always watch the first 15 minutes of a match to see how my team are playing and to understand how the opposition have lined up. I then make changes based on what happens in game. But due to me paying lack of attention and showing disrespect to the opposition I decided to just watch highlights. After all I’m unbeaten, top of the league and playing the bottom side. What could go wrong?

Well fast forward 28 minutes into the game and I’m behind 3-0.

[video=youtube;8tKCFnT-Y8o]

As you can see from that video the goals I had scored against me were bad ones where I was out played. And the goals I scored were scrappy but none the less I pulled it back and won the game like you can see. So exactly how did I pull the result back?

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The first thing I did was change to the full match and rewind the first 28 minutes and try and figure out why I was behind and try and find a way to pull it back.

Goal One

This actually happened from a corner that I had. I was hit with a clearance that started a counter attack as is highlighted in the screenshot below.

Goal1.png

As you can see when the ball is cleared they have acres of space to run into. Now I have 2 players back but the opposition has plenty of men breaking quick. If you look at the above screenshot you’ll see that my players are the wrong side of the players who will be breaking, so tracking back will be hard. In fact they’ve no chance of been back in time and providing cover. So I made a note of this as it’s a major problem. The 2 players I have back on set pieces play a similar position so when the ball is cleared and I’m hit on the counter attack it’s an issue as the players are not spread enough to deal with the threat.

The next screenshot highlights what happens when you get exposed at the back and when the defensive midfielders get too advanced.

goal11.png

You see how exposed I am? Totally shocking this and no excuse for it, my defensive midfielders shouldn’t have been that high for set pieces. They need to stay back and defend in case anything like this happens. If Bah players a clever ball across to the runner from midfield then he takes 2 defenders out. My centre back is caught in two minds, should he go across and help or stay central for the threat of the runner. He actually makes the right choice and stays central jockeying back to the edge of the area as he’s seen the runner.

Goal12.png

However as you see he has a lapse in concentration and allows the runner to go behind him and a simple pass across goal leaves him with an easy tap in.

So from the first goal I’ve learnt that I need to make sure I instruct the defensive midfielders to stay back at all times for set pieces. This is to help with quick counter attacks. Plus it’s clear I committed too many men forward. This was the first change I made before I viewed the next goals.

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Goal Two

This shows that my defensive midfielders who should be helping out the centre back with defensive duties aren’t doing their jobs.

goal2.png

Way too advanced they should be deeper. But due to losing the ball further up the field again the opposition play a direct ball over the top for the striker to run onto. Given my fullback is not a starter yet and young but he should be better than this screenshot indicates. But he gets out muscled off the ball. This is what happens in these situations when your fullback has 8 for strength and the opposition has a higher attribute. The lack of positioning is further highlighted too.

I feel the keeper could do more here so I decide to change him to a sweeper keeper. I felt he could have maybe started to come off his line sooner than he did rather than just be static. But instead he backs off.

This goal proves that I’m playing a risky game by having the defensive line too advanced. I decide that I’m going to reduce it to the last notch of ‘normal’. This is so I play deeper and try and cover the weaknesses of my fullback who is clearly out of his depth. Due to the defensive line change I also decide to turn off ‘offside’ due to playing deeper.

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Goal Three

This goal was again down to my left back. He tracked the player and the ball but didn’t make a tackle.

goal3.png

He didn’t make a tackle as he is instructed to stand off. I’ve got to change that as he is standing off too much. This screenshot also shows again that the defensive line pushed up is causing the two defensive midfielders to be too advanced yet again. They are supposed to act more like centre backs than offensive midfielders. Them been attacking only causes me problems.

goal32.png

In that screenshot you can see the ball is played to Xaves who then does a ball over the top to the space in front of the striker and in between the fullback. No-one can get across and cover and it’s a straight run onto goal to make it 3-0.

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Lessons Learned

So from going 3-0 down I learned a lot of important lessons. This is what happens when you suddenly change the way you play and don’t take notice of the opposition. If I’d been watching the game like I always do to begin with I would have noticed these problems a lot earlier and made the changes before going 3-0 down. I made this game a lot harder than it should have been but the blame for that is all down to me no doubt about that.

The changes I did to try and turn the game around were;

I dropped the defensive line to the last notch of normal.

Due to changing the defensive line I also turned offside off as there was no use using it when playing deeper.

I asked both my defensive midfielders to stay back always for attacking set pieces so it’s more balanced if the opposition counter attack.

The goalkeeper was made into a sweeper keeper to encourage him to come out for the ball earlier and mop up and balls over the top.

As the left back was a problem I changed him tackling from easy to normal and asked him to tight mark. It was a risky change as the opposition kept getting the better of him. But I wanted him to get closer to the opposition and attempt a tackle sooner rather than standing off.

Gaps between the centre back and full backs is quite large so I reduced the width of the team ever so slightly to try and reduce it. I didn’t need to do major change to it though as half of the problem was created due to the defensive midfielders been advanced.

Honestly this is all I changed and did to turn the result around. The key to changing a result into your favour is to identify the issues and find out exactly why you go behind. Don’t be afraid to rewind live play after pausing the game to watch incidents and see player’s positions.

If you don’t understand how you’ve gone behind then you won’t know how to turn it around. So identifying issues is the most important element.

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In my dortmund save, I went down 3-0 to werder bremen on the road. I managed to come back and the match ended 4-4.

I'll have to take a look at the match again when I get back home before I can give a more detailed account of what happened in the match.

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Going Down In a Game............

Cleon, you're making it just to complicated .........Just hit 'overload' and turn the game to commentary only .............. and then pray. :)

Seriously though........ really enjoying your original thread. I copied your 442 and LOVE IT.

LAM

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The 2 players I have back on set pieces play a similar position so when the ball is cleared and I’m hit on the counter attack it’s an issue as the players are not spread enough to deal with the threat.

How exactly does this work? Do they take up position close to their own? What if you have a DC and RB or a DC and even an AML?............. and, whilst your answering (hopefully) do you know how the 'default' setting works on set peices? (I am really struggling with thrown ins currently).

Regards

LAM

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How exactly does this work? Do they take up position close to their own? What if you have a DC and RB or a DC and even an AML?............. and, whilst your answering (hopefully) do you know how the 'default' setting works on set peices? (I am really struggling with thrown ins currently).

Regards

LAM

The come more central but once the ball is cleared will go to their position. So once it's cleared they'll revert back. Which is why I set up like I do just incase. I need to have all bases covered to stop quick counter attacks.

I think I read somewhere throw-ins are bugged but not 100% sure about that.

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Lately any time I've went behind I've struggled to get the result. Half way through my match vs Barcelona away from home and they are 2-0 up. 2 really well taken goals but apart from that I've restricted them well. Sometimes it's hard to stop Messi doing his thing. The horrible situation I'm in is if I push any further foward, they are going to just muller me with the space I'd give them and sitting back isn't going to score goals. Can't win them all

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As a matter of interest Cleon. Are the XI you had playing all high in the Determination stat?

Some are but not all.

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Lately any time I've went behind I've struggled to get the result. Half way through my match vs Barcelona away from home and they are 2-0 up. 2 really well taken goals but apart from that I've restricted them well. Sometimes it's hard to stop Messi doing his thing. The horrible situation I'm in is if I push any further foward, they are going to just muller me with the space I'd give them and sitting back isn't going to score goals. Can't win them all

I just had one of those games against Man Utd. It was just an off day for my side and on this day Rooney had a blinder and I couldn't just stop him.

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I just had one of those games against Man Utd. It was just an off day for my side and on this day Rooney had a blinder and I couldn't just stop him.
With an inferior squad, sometimes you will come across games where you aren't going to win, especially away from home. My next game vs Real my team struggled early on but I didn't go behind. I made some shout changes to try and stop them powering through the middle by playing narrower and deeper, began to play better and nicked a winning goal. So even though I didn't go behind, I addressed the issue and got a surprising win (I'd never beaten Real in the league with Tenerife in any previous FM).
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  • 3 weeks later...

Yups you need to take a look at how you've been playing. If you've been playing well and just been unlucky then I'm reluctant to change any drastic.

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Yups you need to take a look at how you've been playing. If you've been playing well and just been unlucky then I'm reluctant to change any drastic.
Indeed. Also just on the flip side of that, just because your team looks like they are doing well stats wise doesn't always mean it will result in goals. Had a game last night against a Rafael Benitez managed Espanyol. His sides are always tricky to break down and sure enough after 6 games his team had conceded once but only scored 4, winning 2 and drawing 4. So I knew it would have to take a fair bit of effort to break them down. Add in the fact that I am defending champions I knew that the tank would be out infront of goal. As the game progressed I knew that I wasn't quite getting into the right scoring places. Our crossing wasn't working well and the middle was heavily crowded. In the end I had 23 shots to their 1 yet never looked like scoring. It was total domination yet I can't honestly complain with a 0-0 draw. It's not that we played bad either, just one of those games that scoring didn't seem possible
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I have yet to figure out a surefire strategy for teams that sit SUPER deep. I guess having a big target man (18+ jumping, strength and heading?) would come in handy, as there would be tons of space for fullbacks to cross from deep. I try to suck them out, personally, lull them into attacking more, but sometimes they (the opposition) treat a 0-0 as if they have just won the World Cup, they are dead set on keeping that 0-0!

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I have yet to figure out a surefire strategy for teams that sit SUPER deep. I guess having a big target man (18+ jumping, strength and heading?) would come in handy, as there would be tons of space for fullbacks to cross from deep. I try to suck them out, personally, lull them into attacking more, but sometimes they (the opposition) treat a 0-0 as if they have just won the World Cup, they are dead set on keeping that 0-0!

But if the area the targetman is in is crowded then he'll not be able to do much with the balls he does recieve, especially if no runners in support. What I do is go wider but play through the middle if I have more midfielders than them. This normally stretches them wide as they mark the wide players and this allows my midfield to run off the striker holding the ball up. I'll also try the oppositie too, play narrow but focus play down the wings in the hope they go narrower themselves and then my wide players can hurt them from running inside or running beyond the fullbacks.

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Yeah, you are right, it will be difficult for a target man to win the ball, or to bring others into play when its 10 men behind the ball. My first priority (when the opposition play very deep, and defensively) is to NEVER concede easily, by commiting too much forward, because then not only will the opposition sit back, but they will earn a win if they are successful!

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Yeah, you are right, it will be difficult for a target man to win the ball, or to bring others into play when its 10 men behind the ball. My first priority (when the opposition play very deep, and defensively) is to NEVER concede easily, by commiting too much forward, because then not only will the opposition sit back, but they will earn a win if they are successful!

This is one of the reasons why we see so many posts about how they had 25+ shots and the AI has 1 and score. It's because they over commit and then are vunerable on the break due to not having players back to protect. If someone is struggling to score and break down the opposition then majority of people think they have to go more attacking as they panic. When in fact a slower build up and intelligent player from throughballs, crosses or just general good play would be much more suitable.

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Good thread, Cleon. I don't have an obvious example like you do, but often try to identify a crucial (yet small) element which changes everything in the match. In my favourite 4-1-2-1-2 formation, I tend to pull the AMC back into the MC-position in order to strengthen the center of the pitch and try to get more possession until an opening appears (instead of less probing because of the easier linkup with the strikers).

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I have to say going down early to a team who is vastly inferior to you can be extremely difficult as you expect them to park the bus for the remainder of the match.

Now when you go down, and the vastly inferior team continues to dominate proceedings, that can be quite perplexing and truthfully makes me feel like its going to be one of those days.

These situations become even more difficult to overcome if complacency has crept into your side (inevitable really).

I just played burnley (3rd in the championship. Unbeaten in their last 5) away in the FA cup, and coming off my carling cup semi final win over city, I had a feeling that some of my players were slightly over cocky (even though my assistant said nothing to me).

Burnley were up with 5 minutes of the kickoff; I knew I had to make a change but I didn't want to act frantically and possibly make the wrong changes, so I didn't change anything initially. After another 10 minutes of watching burnley pass the circles around my midfield and defense, I decided I needed to make the changes right away. It took us until about the 30 minute mark to take control of the match.

At half time we had the lead and were up 3-1 going on 70 minutes. Now I made the mistake of not laying into the players I suspected of being complacent at half time as we had the lead and it almost came back to bite me. Rafael, Ferdinand, and Evans all failed to clear the ball, Rafael then missed an interception which left a burnley striker clean through on goal. It was then 3-2.

In about the 80th minute, thanks to the post, it remained 3-2. I decided enough was enough with my teams performance so I decided to shut things down completely; burnley had really earned my respect. The rest of the match was uneventful and we now face swansea ;) in the next round.

I have the say the biggest tactical change I made in the match was actually not a change of tactics, it was a substitution. Dempsey got hurt midway through the first half so I subbed him out and brought on Rooney. Rooney definitely had an incredible effect on the match as he scored a goal and also grabbed an assist.

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Substitutions can be very useful, I actually did a piece on subs either last year or for FM10, I'll see if I can find it.

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A good substitution is right up there with a great transfer signing (changing a team), or an injury to the opposition (changing a match).

I look to sub out the most tired players, obviously, because they are in the 'busiest' part of the formation, and hence, the match. Fullbacks, mids and strikers, usually, for me. Squad depth becomes crucial not only to weather an injury crisis but also to provide that bit of magic off the bench, something Barcelona could have done with today. Maybe Jan Koller coming off the bench things could have ended differently today :D

Most of the time though, substitutions are how I develop youth who would not otherwise have gotten 30 minutes of playing time against high-level opposition. Its one of the main reasons I try to kill a game off within the first 60 minutes, to be honest.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is a very interesting thread and I really did enjoy reading it, Cleon, thank you for posting it.

I have been a member of this SI forums for a while now but I don't usually post, I found your thread on Twitter and had to take a gander. I myself am a forum member elsewhere, specialising in the tactical side of FM, this really caught my eye. I cannot really emphasise further how good this thread is. Well done.

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This is a very interesting thread and I really did enjoy reading it, Cleon, thank you for posting it.

I have been a member of this SI forums for a while now but I don't usually post, I found your thread on Twitter and had to take a gander. I myself am a forum member elsewhere, specialising in the tactical side of FM, this really caught my eye. I cannot really emphasise further how good this thread is. Well done.

Thank you :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

A good read. I use these ideas especially in the Champion's League knockout rounds inbetween legs. The first leg really gives you a chance to spot their weaknesses and strengths and their attacking patterns which you can then really destroy in the second leg if you change your tactics accordingly.

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Good read. My problem tends to be that my players are outclassed. I play LLM style always, and therefore rarely ever manage a top club. Currently I am with Vicenza in Serie A, but we are a weak in that league. Good enough to escape relegation, but massively outgunned against the Inters, Romas and Milans. We go down a goal or two and generally I can never get back on level terms. What I really need to do is figure out a good way to get overachieving results even after going down a goal. The question is, what can you do if you are simply not good enough?

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Good read. My problem tends to be that my players are outclassed. I play LLM style always, and therefore rarely ever manage a top club. Currently I am with Vicenza in Serie A, but we are a weak in that league. Good enough to escape relegation, but massively outgunned against the Inters, Romas and Milans. We go down a goal or two and generally I can never get back on level terms. What I really need to do is figure out a good way to get overachieving results even after going down a goal. The question is, what can you do if you are simply not good enough?

What your team lacks in quality, you need to make up in with spot on tactics (and a bit of luck). So what you need to do is one of two things. Either employ what I like to call reactive tactics or engineer your current tactic to be hard to beat.

To make your current tactic harder to brake down, you can just sit back, be defensive and hope to play on the break. Pretty boring stuff and can result in a lot of 0-0s. 0-1s and 1-0s.

The more interesting idea is reactive tactics. This is where you analyse the opposition formation and tactics to find their weakest spots and strongest spots. Then you set up your team to attack their weaknesses and nullify their strengths. When employed correctly, you should be able to also hide your weaknesses in the process and play to your own strengths.

For example if Inter plays a 4312, then perhaps you should play a 433. Sounds aggressive but it makes a bit of sense. It is likely that they will push their fullbacks forward, hence you use wingers to attack the space they leave behind them. By playing with fullbacks/wingbacks you have an extra wide player so can overload the opposition on the flanks. Combine this with direct passing and you might be able to string crossfield passes to your fullback in 15-20 yards of space. You might also be able to find your wingers quickly to start a counter attack.

This is a pretty simple example but it displays the general idea. Have a look in this thread where I have a post on how I played Tottenham in the Champion's League after losing the first leg: Creating your own Tactical Identity/System

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thanks for the reply Luca- have had a read of your thread but I need to sit down and go through it a bit more. It is a bugger knowing I have to be spot on on the day to get a result. FWIW I am using a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-2-1-2, so my wide play is lacking, especially if I have to keep my fullbacks back to deal with pacey wide men.

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Well spot on is an exaggeration but you have to take advantage of any over confidence and complacency. You could be lucky and get a result its just less likely. My next post in my thread actually is related to this topic again, although again over 2 legs.

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thanks for the reply Luca- have had a read of your thread but I need to sit down and go through it a bit more. It is a bugger knowing I have to be spot on on the day to get a result. FWIW I am using a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-2-1-2, so my wide play is lacking, especially if I have to keep my fullbacks back to deal with pacey wide men.

4-2-3-1 only works good against inferior opposistion. If your side are as bad as you claim then you're playing the wrong formation.

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4-2-3-1 only works good against inferior opposistion. If your side are as bad as you claim then you're playing the wrong formation.

Sorry, I mis-typed, I use a 4-1-3-2. I did try the 4-2-3-1 with 2 DMs for a bit but I got schooled too often so dropped it. And my side isn't exactly bad but not exactly good either. I finished mid-table in Serie A last season and probably will do the same again, but the big clubs of the division I struggle mightily against as man for man they are better in most positions.

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http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/289528-The-SI-Sports-Centre-All-You-Need-To-Know-About-FM

Have a read of that Dr. Hook, specifically the bits with Swansea and how I won the league first season :)

Will do, Cleon! I also had a read of Lucatronix' bit about creating space. I noticed this morning as I was getting hammered by Fiorentina away was that my players had no space or time, so the passes, particularly out of the defense were getting intercepted or misplaced. Frustrating. Time to do some reading and thinking

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Will do, Cleon! I also had a read of Lucatronix' bit about creating space. I noticed this morning as I was getting hammered by Fiorentina away was that my players had no space or time, so the passes, particularly out of the defense were getting intercepted or misplaced. Frustrating. Time to do some reading and thinking

You might find the bit about the shouts interesting too then in that case :)

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Thought I'd post a bit of an update. After reading the threads and thinking a little differently (and acquiring a couple of players in key positions) I seem to have a turned a corner. Still experience those odd moments where nothing I do seems to work, but I suppose there are just games that are like that.

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Thought I'd post a bit of an update. After reading the threads and thinking a little differently (and acquiring a couple of players in key positions) I seem to have a turned a corner. Still experience those odd moments where nothing I do seems to work, but I suppose there are just games that are like that.

You do get the odd game like that when the team has an off day and no matter what you do you can't seem to get that bit of luck you need.

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Just came from 0-2 down and finished 2-2 against AC Milan while I only had 10 men.

Went down 2-0 on an early goal and then a penalty that was given away. Milan's 2nd tied things up on aggregate. My team was playing horribly for most of the match.

When I went down to 10 men, I made the decision that I was going to have my best passers in the middle of the park regardless of defensive ability and have my players make up for that by defending as a unit. The second part of the plan was to bring on a striker later on in order to try and win the tie before it went to over time. I did not want to play over time with 10 men.

I was lucky that my players were smart enough to take a free kick early before Milan's defenders were set. Thats how we grabbed out first.

With about 5 minutes left in the match, I brought on chicharito. I was basically playing a 433 without the DM at this point. I decided I wanted to compact my midfield even further so I took a risk. I decided that I was going to have my creative forward move FC to AMC and the I brought chicharito on for my right winger and then moved him up to FR.

The gamble paid off for 2 reasons. Firstly, I now outnumbered Milan in the central part of midfield as they were going with the gung ho 424 at this point. Secondly, Chicharito was up against a tired Zambrotta and got past with ease. The ball was played to the AMC, my forward, and he played Chicharito in on the right as he blew right past Zambrotta.

So I'm now in the final four.

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  • 3 weeks later...

struggle to turn games around nowadays actually thinking about it, have done for a while - still don't lost much, but when i do go behind i find it hard to get back into it - something i need to look into

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well after my post the other day I felt I had to put this in - was losing 2-0 in 23 minutes against southampton in the fa cup at home (the usual underdog goes for it in a cup game type story) and made several alterations to get back in the game, tighten up and get closer to goal, and it was still 0-2 at half time. A good half time team talk and after 7 minutes of the 2nd half we lead 3-2 and eventually won the game 4-3 thanks to van Persie's injury time winner.

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well after my post the other day I felt I had to put this in - was losing 2-0 in 23 minutes against southampton in the fa cup at home (the usual underdog goes for it in a cup game type story) and made several alterations to get back in the game, tighten up and get closer to goal, and it was still 0-2 at half time. A good half time team talk and after 7 minutes of the 2nd half we lead 3-2 and eventually won the game 4-3 thanks to van Persie's injury time winner.

What alterations did you make to get back into the game?

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get the ball forward instead of retain possession, pass into space, exploit middle, play narrower (soton had a 4-4-2) went to an attacking philosophy from a control philosophy, hassle opponents, stay on feet - already asked to push higher up, work ball into box

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If you go behind to a team which is obviously playing a bit dirty (much higher level of fouls), should you switch tackling to more aggressive? I usually play more cautious but I notice some highly aggressive teams can unsettle our playing style and get some chances even while we dominate possession? A number of my players are the sort that don't relish physical encounters and the refs can sometimes have truly awful games where they completely fail to control one side.

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If you go behind to a team which is obviously playing a bit dirty (much higher level of fouls), should you switch tackling to more aggressive? I usually play more cautious but I notice some highly aggressive teams can unsettle our playing style and get some chances even while we dominate possession? A number of my players are the sort that don't relish physical encounters and the refs can sometimes have truly awful games where they completely fail to control one side.
If you increase your time wasting your guys will be more likely to fall over and draw the fouls, you're ahead anyway so you're in no hurry. Get your best set-piece taker on and voila, and win may be in the bag. Time wasting is pretty overlooked for helping to regulate the ebb and flow of a match.
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