Jump to content
Sports Interactive Community
Rekobeto

Defending: Tackling, marking and conceding since the invention of goals

Recommended Posts

Intro:

I do not claim to be a defensive mastermind, nor am I a «special one». Still the defending is as important as anything when setting up the tactic, and can prove deciding in the long run of the season. Mainly I'm looking to play sexy attacking football, but this also involves the sexy sexy defending.

This thread will solely be based around how I set up my defending strategy. I am looking to get more approaches, and hopefully it will get a good discussion about good/bad in our strategies.

All pictures shown below is from 2. April, 2022, and is 30 games into the La Liga.

Formation:

tacticr.th.jpg

4-2-3-1

I've been using the template of this formation for 10 years now in my current Malaga-save. In the starting years I had a more cautious approach towards matches, now I'm a league contender and champions league holder, the tactic is much more attacking, as now I'm looking to control every match.

Throughout the years, the team have become much more a playing side, which means that instead of just lashing the ball forward from defence to the wingers, they're now looking for the simple pass instead. Also most of my players have been playing with the same tactic in the youth side, before embarking on the senior level, which is bound to help on the system. Some since early teenagers.

Roles:

As a defending team, it's important that each player have a specific role. As in my attacking set-up, the playmaker have a «free-role». In my defending set-up, the anchor man have almost the same role. Instead of finding space and the right pass, he clogs the space and intercept the pass. He is the key man ahead of the defending four. Now you look at the different roles equipped and might find some strange choices. As you see I deploy a stopper/cover duo in the centre-back. The stopper is positioned behind the anchor-man. Why should the centre-back be more aggressive when he have a player just ahead of him? Often the anchor is dragged out of position because he basically covers the whole field, and instead of leaving this gap of space available to the opposition, I have the centre-back covering this area of the pitch. I'll let you look on the interceptions made by my team so far this season.

Marking:

As you can see from my tactical screen, I've put zonal marking as a preferance. This is basically to remain the structure in the team. I do have four players who is put on man marking. The anchor is set to approach anyone daring to come into his area. The full backs is in the same mindset, altough a bit more cautious, as they have space behind them to watch as well. The fourth, is the striker. His job is to harass any insecure centre back or goalie to make a bad pass or to make them clear the ball out of line, high up on the pitch.

pressure.th.jpg

Closing down

Pressure:

Where to start and how to maintain the pressure. My team is a machine, with a steam engine. They can all run 90 minutes once a week, some even make two games a week. Many have also been in the club for 6-10 years, so they care for the club, which makes the runs alot easier to make for other reasons.

I have quite a low defensive line, with instructions to press more. The pressure starts with the top striker, marking out early space between defenders and midfielders together with the playmaker and the wingers. Midfielders and full backs is lower, but maintaining the pressure if someone drops into «their» zone. Centre backs maintain the balance in the middle back, with the stopper covering if the anchor is There is only three players who's got lower pressure than «whole pitch». Centrebacks and goalie. This have created alot of counters, from interceptions from the central midfielders and full backs.

interceptions.th.jpg

Interceptions

Structure:

With so much pressure, the defensive structure should be lacking. Surprisingly, it's not. It's not perfect, far from it, but it all starts in the attack.

A more cautious way in the attacking structure is helping the team defensively. As my three attacking players (wingers and striker) moves into channels, they are looking for the space, dragging players into their own area. This means that the midfielders has more space in the centre of the field, and they're often playing three against two, which means it's lots of space, specially for the anchor who just sits back. Many oppositions play with a bus in front of their own box, so the anchor, btb and playmaker are often in a triangle outside the box looking for runs. This maintains the structure in midfield. Fullbacks are to hold back a little to avoid being outnumbered if counter-attacks emerge. This makes them both an attacking threat as they are always a passing option, and a defensive threat as they look to run down the counter attacks on the own half.

Possession is also important in maintaining the structure of the team. There's no need to have the players in a good shape if the team just knocks the ball away on each attempt. The first seasons I had each player improve heavily on his passing. Youngsters have individual training on passing from age 19-21 . This is making the team the best passers of the ball in the league, and the world (World Club Champions 2021, BOOYEAH). I'm encouraging direct passes, and the players are above 80% in passing completion throughout the year. It's not Tiki-taka, but it's effective. Pretty much like the German side of late.

Another point in maintaining structure is that I tell all my players to be easy in the tackling. I've had by far the less bookings all through the career, and this is something I've had for several instalments of Football Manager. This means that the players tend to stand on their feet, and not fool around on the ground. My philosophy is fair-play, which means, one harsh tackle, two weeks fine and a rest for some matches to calm down. I'm always getting less bookings, and rarely concede penalties. In the last 50 matches, I've not conceded one penalty goal.

Set-Pieces:

Although penalties is avoidable, corners and attacking free-kicks is always a threat. I've chosen a set-up, which in my opinion just puts the players where I'd want them to be, and let the set-piece taker choose what he feels is best. I've scored most on corners in the league, and a couple of free-kicks, mainly direct. I'm not conceding much, with only three corners assisting and one free kick. I'll show you my set-up:

defendingsetpiece.th.jpg

Defending set-pieces

As you can see, there's no zonal marking on set-pieces, although I've chosen it in my tactic screen. This is because I want my players to hassle players on set-pieces, not letting anyone slip. Specially on the free kicks, where I've got way to many back, but better safe than sorry. In any attacking set-piece, the full backs and the anchor is always back maintaining the balance, as I've conceded some stupid goals due to leaving few men behind.

Opposition and fixture:

In the start of my career, I had a much more cautios approach away from home, and also considered every opposition being above 10th place a considerable threat. Now, it's just three teams in the league, on away that is a major concern, as I've become the the dominating team. This is mostly down to your squad and team reputation.

Outro: This is a starting strategy, and it's not certain that it could fit your team. It's just my approach to the defending in-game, and is basically made of assumptions and experience throughout my career. Any tactical similarities to other thread is purely their own fault.

Now, I'm quite interested in your approach:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting how you position your stopper behind your DM, Ive always firmly believed the stopper would go at the other side so he pushes out and almost becomes a 2manDM unit with the covering defender in behind. Obviousy it has always worked very well for you so cant really complain :p

Would a better way to maintain high pressure not to be use a high line rather than a low line, that would give you a high amount of pressure and really restrict space. With defenders that havnt got a low amount of pace and a sweeper keeper in behind Ive always found its much betteer for pressing. I usually switch to a lower line when Im trying to hold out a game, give the defenders more room and restrict the space for balls in behind.

I get the impression that your Anchor Man has a "free role", surely he should be one of the most restricted players on the pitch if you want him to just sit in that hole and basically just stop everything the opposition throw at him?

On my own defensive approach I have always try and have a Pique-Puyol esque center back partnership, one physical beast and one technically brilliant player. Coupled with a DM sat just in front usually stops majority of things coming through the middle. Always the high press unless im expecting myself to really struggle in a game then I lower pressing a little and get the team to hold their position. I love attacking full backs and usually have at least one wing back, I usually go for one super attacking one defensive (Alves-Abidal) or both in the middle somewhere, both get up to support attacks but never to far that they are leaving the defence short. Ive found with a most teams if one of the full backs go forward the other sits back and forms almost a three man defence, granted with a big hole at full backs where one has gone up to attack.

Thats about how I approach things, in My montepellier save first season I was the same as you very cautious and tried to keep it tight. Lead the team to a third place finish first season which wasnt to bad considering I lost Giroud for 4 monthts mid season. Now though after a stong pre season and some good sigings Im confident I can challenge the best, at the end of December now and Im unbeaten in the league, with 1 draw against Marseille. Id consider that a job well done :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Might have made myself misunderstood regarding the anchor man. He's not got a free-role, he's just not being restriced to his personal space on the field. With man marking he'll be on the right back, on the left back or in the middle, always chasing the ball. When in possession he's got very much restriction to always hold back, as this way he's always playable. He's a good passer, but I want him to move the ball away quickly to avoid any mistakes.

The stopper/cover pair could obviously change sides. Probably would fit better now as I'm more of a dominant side than before. I do still feel that the space being left behind the stopper in the right position would be easier to exploit, than in the current system. Now the stopper only goes forward if the ball is played into the space in front of him, if the anchor is on the other side of the pitch, which again means that there's already two covering the other side, with the covering defender being able to track anyone attempting to exploit the space, and the anchor being another cover on the same side. It's just how I feel though.

As I do have almost the whole team closing down from the opposition receive the ball, I feel that laying a little lower with the defensive line gives the team enough time to run behind the ball. Also, playing in Spain, the opposition strikers are much pacier than my current centre backs, where Chalobah is the only one with some pace in him. I also don't trust my goalie to be a sweeping keeper, as he's more a De Gea-esque, type. Quick reflexes and poor rushing out.

Another thing, is that I'm often forgetting changing tactics throughout the match, which may make the high line haunting me when conceding stupid counter-goals in extra time.

The most important thing is that it feels right to the manager. If you can expect what your team does in certain situations, it should be a good defensive system. Vica-versa in attacking systems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Might have made myself misunderstood regarding the anchor man. He's not got a free-role, he's just not being restriced to his personal space on the field. With man marking he'll be on the right back, on the left back or in the middle, always chasing the ball. When in possession he's got very much restriction to always hold back, as this way he's always playable. He's a good passer, but I want him to move the ball away quickly to avoid any mistakes.

The stopper/cover pair could obviously change sides. Probably would fit better now as I'm more of a dominant side than before. I do still feel that the space being left behind the stopper in the right position would be easier to exploit, than in the current system. Now the stopper only goes forward if the ball is played into the space in front of him, if the anchor is on the other side of the pitch, which again means that there's already two covering the other side, with the covering defender being able to track anyone attempting to exploit the space, and the anchor being another cover on the same side. It's just how I feel though.

As I do have almost the whole team closing down from the opposition receive the ball, I feel that laying a little lower with the defensive line gives the team enough time to run behind the ball. Also, playing in Spain, the opposition strikers are much pacier than my current centre backs, where Chalobah is the only one with some pace in him. I also don't trust my goalie to be a sweeping keeper, as he's more a De Gea-esque, type. Quick reflexes and poor rushing out.

Another thing, is that I'm often forgetting changing tactics throughout the match, which may make the high line haunting me when conceding stupid counter-goals in extra time.

The most important thing is that it feels right to the manager. If you can expect what your team does in certain situations, it should be a good defensive system. Vica-versa in attacking systems.

Ahhh right yeah, exatly the same as I setup my Anchor Man, know what you mean now :)

Makes sense with the deep line, although I always use a sweeper keeper of some form regardless of the DLine. I just think the benfits of having a sweepr keeper greatly outweigh those of having a standard keeper even if the rushing out stat is pretty poor. The amount of times Ive seen a ball go over the top and the keeper just watch it to then concede from a pacy striker when it could of been completely avoided had my keeper just swept up. I do usually drop deeper when trying to retain possesion/hold onto a game as it does help keep the ball better I do agree. The high line is just better for a in your face, high pressing style of play.

Completely right, I can win a game 2-0 but it just might not "feel" right as you said. I love keeping the ball and restricting the opposition from them having a complete lack of control of the game. If I manage to win 2-0 from 2 quick counter attacking goals but manage to get dominated for the rest of the game I am not happy. Obviously happy with the win and I usually do still praise the team but I do a lot more after match analysis to see what went wrong. Vica versa with a defeat, I can still praise the team and be happy with a performance if we get beat, the case is usually we were simply playing stronger opposition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...