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Rashidi

Tactical Systems - Stafford Rangers goes on a trip

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I have decided after 10 years of posting here, that I will now do it via my blogs. The reason is simple, after doing it here for so long, finding any of my old threads is really annoying. Its my belief that supertactics have seen their day, but the dawn of the supersystem is here. If anyone can understand the basics of tactic creation and have a solid understanding of how he wants his team to play he can create a deadly system that can be adapted to any team. What follows is my attempt at doing that with Stafford Rangers, the goal is to get them up as soon as possible. I have done it successfully every time, in the shortest time possible, and I plan to share this journey. I have more stuff planned for the blog, its new so bear with me....

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Well I've decided to take up Dafuge's challenge. Its a fairly involved challenge where you need to manage a newly promoted. You can find his challenge here. Essentially we have to take a newly promoted side from the Blue Square North or Blue Square South all the way to the top, in the least number of seasons. Its been a challenge I've loved cos you arent allowed to use any "cheats".

In the blog, I plan to detail how I've take over at http//i162.photobucket.com/albums/t246/yrashidiy/Stafford.jpg[/img]"]Stafford Rangers.

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Despite extensive research, no one has ever been able to prove conclusively when Stafford Rangers was actually formed, as early minute books were destroyed during the First World War. Rangers' formation year is recognised as 1876 because of articles in the local Advertiser newspaper, but an alternative theory on Rangers' formation date, printed in the Sentinel newspaper during 1891, suggests that the club was founded by a Bible class in 1877.

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The seventies were the most successful era in the club's history. With Roy Chapman as manager, the club recorded a Northern Premier League Championship, FA Trophy and Staffordshire Senior Cup treble in season 1971–72; with Ray Williams scoring a club record of 48 goals in a single season. However, they failed to gain election to the Football League, and have never since finished high enough to enter the Football League.

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Three seasons later Rangers progressed to the FA Cup Fourth Round defeating Stockport County, Halifax Town and Rotherham United on the way to a defeat against Peterborough United in front of a crowd of 31,160 at Stoke City's Victoria Ground. The home Third Round tie with Rotherham attracted a record of 8,536 people to Marston Road. After Chapman had departed to manage League club Stockport County, Rangers were again at Wembley Stadium in 1975–76 for their second FA Trophy Final but they lost to Scarborough 3–2 after extra time. Roy Chapman returned as manager and success continued with a second FA Trophy Final win in 1979, this time against Kettering Town.

Well since those glorious days, Stafford Rangers have struggled, enduring a brief fight with the threat of administration. Its a perfect club for the challenge, newly promoted and almost considered a sure thing for relegation.

Rashidi takes over at Stafford Rangers

Objectives

I plan to achieve consecutive promotions as much as possible and to do so I will need to paint the club in my image. With that in mind, my first steps include:

  • Firing all the staff who are less than 9 in key attributes
  • Firing any player who has less than 9 in key attributes
  • Force the team to play to my system, which i will discuss later
  • Ensure the board allocates more than one possible coach, threaten them if I have to
  • Ensure I have a scout available, so that i can scout some players and invite as many to trial as possible
  • Ensure that I have plenty of depth in the squad, and as far as possible use players who are below 22, or have played for sides in higher leagues
  • Avoid being a feeder club for a bigger side, thus making it a much harder challenge

Now why "9"? Well its simple really. Lets assume that the minimum acceptable attribute level for a premiership side is 14, if thats the case then start knocking a point for every league as you go down the leagues. At the end of the day the numbers are all relative, we cant really get a player from the premiership to wanna come play for a sunday league football manager. The best way is to start young. Hence my focus on youth. Having a go early with the board and having them take a chance on you with more coaches is good as well, cos you will need the extra coach and physio.

While all that is being done, I take a look at the whole side at my disposal. You can easily look at the tactical screen and use the custom screen settings. So i essentially use the Ass Man reports, make a copy and start adding determination to the attributes. Any player with less than 9 is immediately put on my unwanted list of players. I then look at each position and for each one I have key attributes

Key attributes by position

  1. GK - Handling, Reflexes
  2. DC - Strength, Tackling, Marking,Determination
  3. FB - Tackling, Crossing, Marking
  4. DMC, Tackling, Marking
  5. MC Playmaker - Passing, Decisions
  6. AMC - Passing, Decisions, Flair
  7. AML/AMR Pace, Off the Ball, Acceleration, Passing
  8. STC, Finishing, Composure

This list is the very basic list of attributes that I look for. There may be times when you need to make the odd decision, a winger may have 1 for passing, but has 12 for pace and 6 for crossing. I'd still take him. So this is where knowing your own system of play is vital

Tactical System

Its important to know what system you plan to play. People always say adapt your system to players, yeah thats fine and ideal in most cases, but to do that you actually need to master the tactical creator, furthermore I like to have one system and then I get the players to fill the role.

My system is based on something I call Tikancccio. Anyone whos known me for any length of time knows that my primary interest lies in making quick short passing tactics which also have the ability of launching quick counters when needed. I want my team where possible to play possession based football. Now that wont be always possible considering how sad a side we are. Given time the team will become such a side as you slowly get to know your players and the training kicks in.

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My system of play needs to be built on solid passing triangles where there should be more than 5 passing outlets at any one time. There is no use having a passing tactic if you limit your sides passing options, look at my post in the forum about playing styles where discuss why Southampton will struggle. Any successful system requires pivots. Now a pivot is simply A person or thing on which something depends or turns; the central or crucial factor. Now in football, when I talk about pivots I refer to a position taken by a player usually facing away from the opposition to relay passes, attempt a shot, or set screens. Pivots are used in basketball and American Football as well. Essentially pivots allow a team to also swap the focus of a passing triangle. Pivots are usually anchor players like defensive midfielders or advanced playmakers. I plan to use a system with 3 pivots.

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Having 3 pivots will allow me to develop passing triangles on either flank, and also drive through the middle. This will also allow me to create set pieces for defending corners that will allow me to launch quick counters. So ideally I want to have a 3 man midfield with 2 MCs and 1 AMC. So i could go with a variety of formations. I've elected to use these..now excuse some of the images they belong to my liverpool test as well.

RoqBig.jpg

This formation is fairly basic and essentially all my formations will build on this system. Essentially the 3 midfielders in the DMC,MC slots will be the pivots around which the whole team plays. Now from this base I plan to have a 4231 with the 2 DMs moving into an MC slot and the the MC moving up to the AMC slot pushing the AMC into the striker slot.

Finally when I want to play a defensive formation I plan to drop the three midfielder into a straightline with the centrally placed one being the ball winning midfielder the one on the right as the advanced playmaker and the one on the left will the box2box player.

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This will allow to do several things. I plan to start as a 451 essentially and as time goes on and I am comfortable with my 2 MCs i will go to a 4231.

The mentality system I plan to use is a controlled one with fluid settings. This will mean I have 2 distinct groups of players. I like keeping things simple, the only one I will adjust is the BWM cos i want his mentality to be a lot lower. My passing system is also uniquely my own, this team may be a really poor team, but i rather not depend on decisions for passing. Yeah that happens when you set them to passing mixed. And they definitely aren't lil Xabis so direct passing is definitely a fail. So I need to go with 1 for passing which = one touch passing.

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So I go to make all these adjustments in the tactical creator cos i know that beast like the back of my hand. By making these adjustments I know which shouts get nullified, if you dont know what these are go check my blog on shouts, I've laid it all out. So I now have 3 shouts which I plan to use. Play out of defense, Work Ball into Box and Look for Overlaps. Since i want to be able to adjust Dline easily I dont manually set it up, trusting instead to use the shouts. That means I now can only use 4 shouts, which i am comfortable with, anything else that needs to be done can be done via Opposition Instructions.

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My passing setup will be simple, I want the style of football to stay the same and i want my midfielders to form a partnership. So I will set the defensive minded MC to 1 along with the fullbacks and DCs. The rest of the team will be set to first notch of direct. I choose direct cos remember what i said earlier about 9, they all should have 9 at least. that means they are above average in the league they are playing in. If the come up against Manchester Utd, their 9 is gonna be toast.

Passing has been setup, now its time to look at roles.

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Roles are important if you dont have a clear head on what role your player is meant to do then you will struggle. The first thing I do is decide who will defend, support and attack. My defensive MC is on defend only, B2B is on support and the APM is on attack. The inside forwards will be attack and my fullbacks will be support. Now that thats set up I need to work on players creating space. To do this I look at creative freedom, once again using 9 as a barometer I see that ok i shall set my Inside forwards and my STC who has to be a deep lying forward to roam from position. This will allow us to "work ball into boxes"

Now that the roles are setup and I know how my players are to play its time to RECRUIT.

COME AND PLAY FOR RASHIDI!

Yeah I just stand outside the club offices and holler at anyone brave enough to trial. I typically go through 100 trialists and make a decision based on that. And since these are part-timers who can have pay as you play contracts they can also leave at any time. So its good to have a really deep squad. Some are on part time contracts the others will be on pay as you play.

I typically grab young players and set my filters accordingly, by now i should have my coach, physio and i can start evaluating players. I keep the promising ones, almost double up for every position, and also make sure my pivots are as solid as i can get.

Once all thats done its time to play and thats for another day..and another blog.

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Following on from my last blog, I will endeavour to expand on my tactical system. My tikanaccio system is essentially all about comfortably passing the ball about and carving out chances. I fully expect my non league side to struggle with possession, but as they get better players they will be able to impose themselves.

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The first formation I showed was my False Forward formation. Its actually the very basic formation from which all the other formations will sprout from.

I have chosen this particular shape for the anchor formation because it will be the formation I will turn to when i am a man down. If i end up being a man down I will remove the striker.

Now its essentially a possession based tactic which requires me to press high and to have my fullbacks overlap as much as possible.

The central MC acts as an advanced playmaker who has been given license to roam. Its a very conservative setup, and the intensity of the roles may change depending on my match. But this is the shape I will build from. Matches in preseason - 1. Thats how many I plan to play it but its not going to be my starting formation. Its my go to formation when I am a man down.

MY 451 Formation

My go to formation will be this one. Its my starting formation for the whole season when I play away, its conservative and once again I dont expect it to overpower teams with goals. I do expect to use my players to exploit the flanks when I need to and also play through the middle by virtue of having a DLF.

I will use this formation a lot in preseason matches and it will be my default formation. The roles are simple enough. Now the most challenging part..

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Now this is the formation, MY 4231. I plan to use when I plan to give it a good go, once my players start getting some team cohesion going this will be the formation I expect to finish the season on. For now I will interchange between this formation and the 451.

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The challenging part as always is how the heck am I gonna tell which player is good for each role? Well honestly I do love the tactical creator and the new custom views, as you can see below my assman view is customized with passing completion rate + key passes, player roles and conditioning. Its how I select my players. Using the view allows me to see who can slot into each position and I have made one for each main pivotal role.

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Now that I have the shape all set up, and the roles and how I want my views set up. I will move onto the passing system and mentality system. I have chosen fluid and control. There is a logic to my choice. Fluid because I still favour a simple mentality setup where there are two distinct mentality setups, the only change I will make is to my Defensive Midfielder position or MCd position. That will have a mentality = my dc.

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In as far as Control is concerned. I believe that you can either opt for Balanced or for Control, both mentality setups work, but Balanced requires more shout tuning in my opinion. The mentality/closing downs for balanced really see players being more middle of the road, hence you usually need to use the shouts such as push up or the pressing ones to get any purchase on the game. I prefer control because its already attacking enough without being too risky.

In my next blog I will expand more on the system by talking about the last part of the setup, passing.

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very interested in following this thread, considering im a big Stafford Rangers fan :D

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A quick recap. The Stafford Rangers story will attempt to show how I deploy a tactical system into a game that can be used with any team. I call my system Tikanaccio. The elements of the system include:

  • Selection of Players
  • Selection of Coaches
  • Setting up the right tactical plan
  • Using performance indicators to assess how well your team is playing

Essentially what I plan to do with Tikanaccio is to show that a tactical system requires a good understanding of managing the right player for the right task, and making the right decision at the right time. The hardest phase is the early phase of the system when you are getting the players for the system. Eventually over time you will start using muscle memory, cos you will know who goes where, and what you need to do to make it work. I have already discussed how i select players and coaches. What follows is a continuation of my tactical system.

Attacking Setup - Passing

Now if you use the tactical creator, you can opt for a shorter passing style. Now for most people who aren't familiar with the match engine, and you don't need to be a rocket scientist, stick with the tactical creator. What you need to understand is that the passing setup there can work. However for lower league sides you're better off never using Mixed passing.

Mixed passing demands a lot of decisions. After all you are telling your player to decide whether its going to be a short pass, long pass, through ball etc. So with a weaker team I almost always choose short passing as a rule but I make one major change. I also tick direct passing on my entire attacking group and set it to the first notch,which should be the shortest form of direct passing.

So I go through my team and set passing to one for everyone from the GK to my MCd or DMC. Then I set direct passing on the rest of the team. By doing this I have effectively removed any SHOUT that is tied to passing. That means I can never use the Clear to Flank option, which i dont really mind. I've done a spreadsheet that shows what shouts affect on another page in this blog. Cleon also has a good post on the forums describing what each shout does.

Its vital that any person who messes with the tactical creator understands that by aimlessly ticking every shout you end up with a potential train wreck. A good example of this is what lordelmo1 from the forums posted. He adjusted the team settings in the tactical creator and then attempted to use every shout, and couldnt get a win. If you have read my blog on shouts you will probably be able to see exactly where he went wrong.

Now that we know what we are not supposed to do, I will elaborate further. The team has been set up and I know I need to use two passing systems in my team.

Lets start with my 451 formation.

I have 3 pivots in my team : my 3 midfielders. Understanding their roles will help me decide who will fill that slot and how they will pass.

There is going to be a B2B midfielder and a BWM. Essentially I need the BWM to keep things simple, for now with this team all I want him to do is provide a screen, challenge players and to distribute the ball to either the B2B player or the AMC (4231). If its a flat three he will be the deep lying playmaker and the BWM will be in the middle. The BWM is going to have a passing of 1. I dont want anything fancy from him, i just want him to concentrate on doing his job. Others can worry about through balls and hollywood passes.

If its my 4231 formation then he will be able to pass it to the other midfielder beside him or to lay it off to the fullbacks who should be doing overlapping runs beside. In the 4231 formation and the 451 formations, this pivot is static. Play revolves around him and not through him. He does not do hollywood passes. Instead he becomes the screen, he holds up the ball and lays it off to other players who have the more creative roles.

Going back to the 451 formation, I also now want to make some modifications. I want my MCd(BWM in the 4231) to play deeper than the rest and I want him to be on the same mentality as the the DC, that way he should drop deeper. So i set his mentality up to mirror the dcs.

For my other attacking pivots I leave their passing on direct, these attacking pivots are not static, they are expected to roam from position. In my 451 formation only the B2B midfielder and my inside forwards will roam, and the tactical creator automatic setup is spot on. So i won't be making any adjustments.

The tactical creator does not need adjustments if you are going to play it the basic way. However I want to make my tactic unique and my own, after all its my own system. And I know that whichever team I manage I can translate this system to them without too much of a fuss.

Having set up my passing patterns for the whole team and that tweak to mentality for my holding player. I now need to identify which player can sit in that role. To do that I just go to the Ass Man Report view of the screen and add two more views, Passing Percentage and Passing. Over the course of the next few friendlies. The players who have the best passing % in that role will get a start. I also do the same for the holding players, for whom I use determination and tackling.

So my attacking system has been set up. I have 3 pivots, one static anchor of sorts and 2 fluid pivots. I have also set up inside forwards and set up the passing patterns for the team. I expect to see decent passing options and lots of movement in my 4231 formation. More conservative options in my 451 and my False Nine formation will essentially just be the same as the 4231 except i just drag them down, and in my shouts I just push up higher and look for overlaps.

Time now to look at tackling

DEFENDING

When it comes to defending, its actually not that hard. What I cant seem to understand from the forums is why so many people struggle. I have received loads of emails from people and the common denominator in most of them is misuse of the tactical creator or a complete misunderstanding on how to translate defending into the game.

Defending well requires several components. In real life, we need players to be strong, tactically aware, determined and disciplined. Defending systems require a high degree of discipline, if your back-line doesn't keep shape its easy to exploit a through ball. If you lunge in all the time you risk picking up a card, but worse still you afford the opposition more space to pass the ball around.

What a lot of people forget is that the Spanish Tiki-Taka system started out as a defensive system. It was a way to keep the ball and to move the ball back quickly within a short time frame. It was played as a narrow system where passing triangles were within 8 yards of each other. It had 2 deep defensive midfielders and play would revolve around midfield pivots that could launch a 40 yard pass to switch the focus of an attack. In their system, absolute discipline is needed. Players are required to be within range of the ball carrier and they need to face the ball carrier for the system to work. Aimlessly lunging of tackles hardly happens, instead opposition passing lane options are controlled by disciplined closing down of options, and not just blind tackles.

Its not hard to get that done in Football Manager. For one thing, half the work is already done for you via the tactical creator. When the tactical creator was first made, I was asked what my opinion was. I remarked that an attacking team almost always has a higher defensive line marked with higher closing down. They will close down further on the pitch, but the best teams actually close out passing lanes. And some other teams may force teams to channel their passes where they want them to go. So if i was worried about an opponents flank attack, I would have several options, tightly mark them or have a flank attack of my own or just keep my fullbacks in check and tell em not to make overlapping runs.

The idea here is that you need to find a way to either nullify an opponent or give them something to worry about. If you are the weaker side and decide to take on an opponent on their ground trying to play the game their way, you will lose, or get a heart attack as the game swings.

In FM, what managers need to understand is the concept of closing down. Closing down isn't tackling, its the act of shutting down passing options. The more you close down the more space you are likely to give up, furthermore the more aggressively you close down the more tired your players become. Tackling is different. Its just the act of stopping a player. If you are using a zonal system, there are danger areas on the pitch. A players defensive attributes define whether he will make the challenge or not and how well he does it. So you need to look at these attributes, one of the most important attributes is determination. Other attributes include, tackling, bravery, stamina, strength. His preferred player moves (ppm) are also important. If he has "lunging in" as a ppm you may want to be careful.

Now the tactical creator has already set this up for you. For any mentality setup you want, closing down has already been done for you. You may want to tweak it slightly if you choose, but doing so nullifies other shouts. Personally mine are on default. I do make adjustments once in a while, but very rarely.

The adjustments you may want to make involve tight marking. Tight marking further limits the oppositions passing options, and for this reason alone I will use it when I need to shut down opposing fullbacks. To do that I will on occasion set it up on my inside forwards and on my fullbacks. Thats about it.

In a game if I need to exercise more disciplined defending, I plan on just using Opposition Instructions. Defending is notoriously simple. If you use OI by picking specific danger men, it can help. I typically use it on AMCs, or MCs who are playmakers. I will also set it up on the opposing goalkeeper so he doesnt have time to find players.

Since I have not done too much my way of personal instructions, I will need to pay attention to matches and this will be my priority:

  • OI players who have high pass %
  • Use shouts like play narrower, since it now only affects width and not passing
  • Use overlapping runs when i want to go forward, otherwise not and then switch play to middle and set up tight marking for wingers and change fullbacks to defend if i am under fire from flanks

The basic tactical setup is done.

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SUMMARY

In essence I have basically made an attacking system revolve around 3 pivots, my formations can exploit the middle and the flanks and I expect my STC to be a deep lying forward thus giving me more goal scoring options. My passing options will allow me to tweak the corner setup routines for quick counterattacking since the players are on direct passing.

When defending I have opted to go with the Control strategy, I have not touched the closing down instructions, effectively using what the TC has provided. My only changes will come form Opposition Instructions, Shouts and selectively setting up tight marking.

Next up some friendlies.

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Thus far I've covered the basics on my tactical system. Now its time to put everything into action.

What I normally do is run a few preseasons and see which player fits into my system, since I plan on using a 4231 and a 451 formation, I will try out all my players in the matches and then come to a decision. I will focus on my pivots first. I have one defensive pivot and two offensive pivots. So for the defensive pivot naturally i will look at tackling and strength. For my offensive pivots I will look at pass completion percentage, passes, key passes. For the rest it should be fairly obvious.

Now I dont really care about form/morale in preseason. So i juggled things around tried out a whole battery of players and settled on 4 key names, Kinsella, Carr, Huges and Mcintosh. These are my 3 pivots in midfield and that will be my striker him and another player called Mannion or something like that. My blogs are written at light speed, I work during the day and I dont really have much time for this.

I also look at potential ability of players, and weigh in on assman recommendations, its early days. My objective is to use players with high determination whereever possible. The clear out has been done.

In our first match against Harrogate, I opted to use a 451 v the AIs 442. I also spent a fair bit of time observing where their attacks were coming from. Now since its fairly hard to see all this within the first few minutes, I elected to play the ball out of defense and work ball into box, holding my fullbacks steady. They had a player in midfield who was threading most of their passes and their wingers were trying to get crosses in so I did a few things:

  • OI the central MC, tight mark, wrong foot
  • Wingers tight mark

All this is done while I am on full match settings, its our first match I dont want to screw things up. Once that is done i start looking at how we are passing the ball and how we are defending.

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I am happy with our passing options I have a midfield pivot working with a my central midfielder dropping back. It works. I can see up to five players available for the pass.

srvharrogatedefending.jpg?w=487

When we are defending my only focus is to check whether we hold a decent defensive line and whether the outlets are marked or I have players who are in close proximity. It works. That attack broke down

As it turns out we had a good decent game dominating in all areas whilst I kept things simple electing only to use the three shouts I wanted to. And using OI were possible.

The team continues to perform admirably, Mcintosh is now leading the league as topscorer, he's already bagged one hattrick. We handed Redditch a 5-0 hammering, but also drew two tough away matches. My players determined attitude kept us from losing. However I have to admit the goals conceded look like they were pulled out from some wicked comedy. I conceded one goal by virtue of some flukey clearance that went over the top of my keeper into goal, another was a fumble.

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We arent doing that badly at the moment, 4 matches in and I've lost Michael Carr my pivot in midfield, my heart the soul of our team. Its going to be hard to fill his shoes, but we will continue. In my next few blogs I will highlight what kind of chances i make during a tough game, there were a few. I just need to get my blog up to speed and catch up with my game.

Cheers

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Match against Halifax

They start with a 3412 formation, it throws me off, its rare and i decide to stick with my 451. Their AMC is tight marked. In spite of that we go a goal behind from a through ball that rips my defence apart.

I immediately switch to full match highlights and then change formations to a 4231 we get a goal back as i want to exploit their three central defenders.

We lose our top defender through injury, iIdon't have cover damn gotta use a midfielder with good tackling this aint good.

I am annoyed at myself because I was too lazy to get myself the right substitutes, no more auto choosing from my assman. I decide to take things to Halifax, they are the favourites but we have all the possession. My OI on the keeper and on their AMC works, he's now shut out of the game. Halifax keep acquiring yellow cards, so i push my players to do overlaps. In the 80th minute they go down to 10 in the 85th min they go down to 9 in the 88th minute we score the winner. This feels epic. Final Score 2-1 Stafford Win

Training Changes

training.jpg?w=1024

Time to make adjustments to training. For the next two weeks I will focus on Team Cohesion. I can't seem to adjust the load between more and less match training. I guess its gotta do with us playing lowbie footy

Stafford v Boston Utd

Our second game, this time around i make sure to pick the right players. Its against Boston Utd. We are favourites for the first time. The absence of Michael Carr is hurting us, and I need to look at Andrew Boothe to do take his task. Casper Hughes has shown strength and composure when he takes on the central midfield role.

I add in form from the last 5 games to make a better assessment of my players. And finally pick a group including one who is short on match fitness. We are playing against a 442 so i elect to shackle their central midfielder who should be making most of their plays and I set OI on the keeper again.

Within the first two minutes we take the lead as I my inside forwards cuts inside to slam a goal home. The passage of play prior to that was just us knocking the ball about for 2 mins.

This ref hates me he's already given Boothe a yellow card and its only 8 mins in. I reduce his tackling to low

We go 2 up after Manion slides in a perfect through ball for Mcintosh, time for me to slow down the temp to a walking pace. I go to Advanced tactics and slide the tempo down to slow. I need tot talk to the players during the HT team talk now my midfield pivots have all picked up yellow cards, time to tell em to chill

With 5 minutes to go they pull a goal back from some flukey long cross cum shot. With 2 mins left they score another, I can't believe this. So i switch tempo back up and set us to do overlaps, we score the winner deep into stoppage. Final Score 3-2 Stafford Win

Disaster in the dressing rooms

I personally think the match was badly played, we should never have let the two goal lead slip, so i toss em the boot in an assertive way, but the reaction of the room backfires. I forgot I am a sunday league footballer. If i had a better reputation that would have worked.

We need to fix things quick, so I call for a team meeting and I address the team, the captain speaks well, and there are five members who have something to add. I let them all speak and tell em thats the sort of reaction I am after and we go from only have 3 people on superb morale to a roomful of superbs including my bench warmers and guys who hardly ever play. Sweet !

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My next update will focus on my defensive frailties, we have had too many close shaves lately. For now its on my blog. I will stop updating this game save from now onwards. And devote my time to providing pointers to how we can play the game. Offensively and defensively. In my next few updates I will discuss how we can defend and attack. Perhaps defense is the most important area. I also plan to discuss the tactical creator if time permits.

One of the reasons i stopped moderating the forums was because I hardly had time for anything else. I dont intend for this to make a repeat, there are plenty of good posters on this forum who do the theory work and we are going in the right direction.

thanks for reading this thus far

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Top information in here. Easy to follow too. I had been going through quite a bad patch in my Santa Clara save this has really helped clarify things for me. Been trying to use the TC seriously for the first time, usually I use classic with good success but this time round I thought I'd give this a try. Much more fun and more involved imo.

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Just wanted to say great thread, and thanks for putting the time into doing this - it'll be a great help to many people (most of all me!).

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Thanks for the kind words guys I am going to keep updating this as I go, my Stafford Rangers save is going nowhere, though I do have plans to test out Spanish and Asian Football to see how their footballing styles go. Apart from all that I have to make sure I get some real work done at the office. So updates may be a bit slower. I've also discovered having a blog works for me, so that I can refer back to what I've been doing.

Performance Management

In order for me to analyse our performance, I need to look at some stats from the first 9 matches played:

Goals conceded from all set pieces 1

Games Played :9

Goals Conceded: 9

17 yellows in 9 games (30)

1 Red card

Games Scored in a Row 9

The overall stats suggest that whilst we are doing well, scoring in 9 straight games. We are also showing some worrying tendencies. We are conceding as many as we are scoring. Its a major cause of concern for me.

Lately in games I've won them tight. I've had to manage some dramatic comebacks, including having to switch formations just to score the winner. Its unsustainable. If I want to win this league in the time-frame I have set for myself adjustments have to be made.

I take a detailed look at other stats to pinpoint any patterns.

Overall individual Performances

Pass completion by MC 87% Michael Carr & Casper Hughes (89) These are my pivots, I am expecting them to perform at this well. Its a pity Michael Carr is out. He was a lynchpin pivot.

Now for the defensive stats.

Tackles/Game 4.09 Boothe ( 5.7), 3.5 Hughes In midfield we aren't fantastic, average more likely. Boothe alway picks up a yellow and his temperament is questionable, forcing me to adapt. So I need to have a private chat with him and also give others a chance. The league high is 5.7 and my second best player is a distant 3.5 tackles/game

I

nterceptions for defenders: 102 League High Parkes 71 (10th place) In terms of interceptions we arent doing fantastically as well, this suggests that we may need some players with better concentration as well to combat through balls. Those OTP through balls through the middle are causing me concern. My fullbacks are in 30th place for interceptions. These are either because i have too high a dline or because they are just not aware enough

Key tackle fullbacks Chiochhi and Rankine 1 each, and DC Grieves 1, League high is 3 In terms of key tackles my fullbacks are doing fairly ok, and the other player is my defender.

In the injury table we are one of the worst hit teams, so I reckon my preseason build up and my training must have had a part to play in it

Detailed look at player performances

Okay before anything else I will get a custom view of my teams defensive performance. So i will choose from attributes that allow me to evaluate their performance. These include:

  • Minutes/game
  • Training Performance
  • Tackles Attempted
  • Tackles Won
  • Key tackles
  • Tackle Completion Ratio
  • Tackles/Game
  • Headers won/90
  • Attributes
  • Bravery
  • Determination
  • Concentration
  • Interceptions

stats.jpg?w=1024

Once all is done its time to look for patterns, what i want to find out is:

  • whether any player is under performing in a match, i.e. making a lot of tackles but failing miserably
  • whether a player is over performing but i don't play him enough
  • whether its down to attributes

Its apparent to me that i need to keep my central defensive pairing, cos one is a good header of the ball and the other is a good tackler. What i may need to do is to give Lyall Davies a run cos the attributes indicate that he has a lot of potential

I also need to bear in mind that these stats need to be understood, fullbacks will generally do more tackles and thats important to see, my fullbacks are doing whats expected of them, So this should be down more to my mentality set up which is control. I will move it down to balanced in games going forward.

Another area I need to start planning for is going through my ranks to see if there are any other players who should be given a chance to play. We need to improve our defensive setup. Conceding a goal a game isn't good.

Analysing my matches show that a lot of my goals are coming from Over The Top passes (OTP); a characteristic I am vulnerable against since i take such an attacking stance. I have two options to handle this. The first is to play balanced and the second is to play the offside trap. Neither of which I am doing at the moment. The final option I have is to play narrower in games.

So in my next few games I will be giving other players a shot, adapting to a more balanced strategy as a start and also play a bit narrower. Time for me to plug a few holes, oh and before I forget I also plan on modifying my training to include defensive training that doesnt include setpieces.

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Ok so now down to the nitty gritty of how I assess performance. Having played the game now for more than 10 years, a lot of what I know now is embedded in muscle memory. What I've always been fascinated with is the "how" in everything that I do. Being an avid student of business management models also allows me to practice what i preach, so whatever I do at work I apply it to the game. My approach is almost identical. I apologize for what follows next, its a pretty "academic" breakdown of football management in a club, or at least what I guess it could be like

FM2013 is a football management simulation, and so I intend to draw parallels in my next post with management theories. There are something like 60 management theories being practised around the world in one form or another. Many of you probably practice these without even thinking twice about it, we spent our chemistry lessons in school understanding root cause analysis in laboratories. And we sometimes wear one of de bono's nine hats when we want to decide on our next course of action. What I plan to do is to take two of the theories:Balanced Scorecard Analysis and Root Cause Analysis to see how I can deploy them in a club. The goal is to provide the framework by which we approach the game, if you have a framework you have a system, if you have the system you will never have an issue with the game. Ultimately all facets of the game need to be handled, from boardroom struggles to fan revolts, they all interlink to give you the final result. What I plan to do is to analyse them in detail and then to develop a simple approach to applying them in a game. The goal here is to lay everything out so that the average player can see the big picture and how everything ultimately influences your journey to immortality.

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Management models - you love em or hate em. I need to deal with these at work. Whilst watching a match on television, I started wondering how this is applied to football. Well I dont work in a football club so I will attempt to draw some plan. Management failures typically have some root cause in business management models, the challenge as always is trying to find the cause. Lets take a look at Roy Hodgson's days at Liverpool. His failure at Liverpool coming hot on the heels of the arrival of Damian Comolli was met with shock by the former England manager. He didn't last long with the new Director of Football Strategy. Comolli was intent on building for the future whilst Hodgson was worried about the here and now. Their inability to communicate effectively wasn't the only problem. Comolli brought in a string of players, including Luis Suarez, Andy Carrol, and a whole bunch of others such as Charlie Adam, Stuart Downing and Doni, to name a few. In April of 2012 , Comolli left by mutual consent, many believe it was the lack of communication between management and playing staff that led to this and his forays into the transfer market. Liverpool was essentially in turmoil during those days. They had to bring in Kenny Dalglish to the club, but failed to address other issues during his reign, many cite failing to handle Luis Suarez as a possible root cause. Finally with Brendan Rodgers at the helm, their failure to sign a striker before sending Carrol on loan finally underpinned how poorly senior management there handle club affairs. So what would be an effective model for football management that is able to handle the diversity of interests that make up a club?

A cursory search on Bing for management models in football drew this article from the Oregon Youth Soccer Organisation for referees. And out of Greece, we have this Soccer Scorecard (its a pdf document where they explain their model)which takes the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) developed by Kaplan and Norton and adapts it for football organisations. The BSC focuses on traditional indicators purely based on past performance as its metrics. Its a top-down method for defining an organisations goals and objectives and lines them up with the vision of the club. Its then used to monitor how the organisation performs and if needed take corrective actions.

In business organisations we stick our indicators into 4 main quadrants which are : Financial Performance, Internal Business Processes, Customer Perceptions and Learning & Growth. It defines its success factors from within these four categories, senior management then assess where they stand vs the overall objectives of the company. In companies the Learning & Growth perspective provide an insight into how successful human resource management, knowledge management and innovation are. Possible indicators would be employee retention, value add/employee, strategic redundancy in job skills or information availability for instance. Organisations keen on a certain direction would then articulate their strategy to help align individual, organisational and departmental initiatives to achieve a common goal

Scorecards like these are continuously monitored because organisations grow over time, and objectives need to be reassessed. And organisation in its early days could be more focused on developing a market, its priorities will be different from an organisation thats already been in the market for the last 10 years. We cant use the balanced scorecard to evaluate past performance, its used to identify how we can achieve our objectives by understanding past performance.

The challenge of using BSC analysis is that it isnt easy to find a correctly balanced set of performance indicators. There is usually little consensus in a company's management team regarding these indicators. In addition, the main indicators have to be broken down into underlying indicators that can be acted upon down the line. Otherwise employees end up just focusing on the main ones.

I have been using the BSC for a while now at work, I have also used Root Cause Analysis a lot to determine the reason why a certain task can't be completed or why a certain project has failed to take off.

So these will be the models I will be using. Now I shall find the best football management simulation on planet earth - Football Manager 2013 and apply these principles to football management

Using BSC in football management

The Greek paper I linked earlier established this as a potential model:

footballbsc.jpg?w=300

And this is where me and the Greeks depart company. This is as far as they went, but they failed to take into account the overall strategy of the club. This has to be included within the framework.

clubbsc.jpg?w=300

In my model I've included strategy and vision for the club, because these are the ones that need to be driven across the organisation.

In football manager parlance, I plan to take Stafford Rangers and model them according to these principles. My Strategy is to use young players to become promotion candidates within the first season.

I will be judging their performance through a series of indicators such as tangible metrics such as average ratings in matches, performances in training and player attributes.

Their overall training programmes will be assessed to see if there is major training improvement in all areas. Feedback from coaches will be used to see who is progressing and who isn't players who fail to achieve satisfactory coaching reports will be counselled. Communication channels will be maintained and monitored between me the fans and senior management. As long as I keep my whole team aligned towards achieving my strategy we should do fine.

Our training performances and match performances will be gauged by the fans. We want the fans confidence in us to grow and we will be using ingame indicators such as fan attendance to assess how well we are doing. We will also be paying attention to fan reactions after matches. Media management will also be done judiciously, we will approach the media in a calm fashion to show that the club is being managed well. We will engage in mind battles with other managers before and after matches to unsettle their team. Our media rating will be observed and assessed. We also want to see how the players react to us when we speak about them in the media. To do so i need to earn the confidence of the players. Playing as a Sunday league footballer this should be the lowest level, so its an uphill climb.

In as far as Capital Performance is concerned, we shall endeavour to wheel and deal in the market. Our primary objective is to achieve a playoff berth whilst having a strong bank book.

Detailed BSCs for Athletic Performance

In my next blog I plan to do a detailed BSC for assessing athletic performance in matches and during training. I will also try to use Root Cause Analysis to ascertain why we aren't performing in matches and to see which area of our game is doing poorly, and how I may go on to handle them.

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A really interesting read this, and very informative. It has helped my 451 tactic at Feyenoord no end. I had a decent shape but was struggling to win games. 7 games in the league, 6 draws 1 loss. Europe was another matter beat copenhagen and fenerbace (both just) to get into Champ league group stage. I took your passing setup and put it into my team and it has worked wonders. I also reset everything to default on the tactic creator, apart from zonal marking. Now my team plays more like I want them to, the shape and the pasing is better and looks more dangerous and I feel more confident in my defence. Results since the change have been a 2-2 draw with ADO Den Haag (Away), a 5-2 win (away) at Juventus, and my first home league win 2-0 against Zwolle.

EDIT - now after my elation of the performances, they seem to have gone back to being **** :p gonna need a lot of work....

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I am going to have to turn the focus of this thread momentarily back to tactics, roles, training and how they incorporate into one holistic strategy, as i think this is sorely needed. Have you tried shouts Kingbogo and OI in matches?

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You sir are a genius!
Thank u but no, this is diluted and distilled forum knowledge from all whom i still remember, heavily influenced by wwfan's way of thinking..and Sfrasers. I am merely a vessel.

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Time I guess to talk about how tactics + training + man management = system.

Before that a brief history on how we got here, as far as I remember

In previous iterations of the game Football Manager was essentially a very linear game, groom or buy the right player, get the right tactic and you're off. 7 Seasons later you're at the summit crowned a legend and they adorn your statue with tributes and hail your son as the next great legend to be. That was essentially CM1- FM2009, I can't speak for 2010-12 because I took a break to concentrate on my career. Now that I have my little corner of happiness, an ex-wife down and 2 boys to the good, I am back, with news.

The boys at SI were right the game has changed. I come back to find training now has a direct knock on effect to attributes and these in turn have a butterfly effect on Current Ability. That is huge. What this means is that training experience and match experience now play a role in a players development. Couple that with match preparation and how it temporarily affects attributes and we now truly have the beginnings of a system. I used to get bored playing CM, FM and even FMLive, only because it was fundamentally playing three different games in one bigger game. You could specialise as a manager whose sole purpose was to become a feeder club and get rich that way, you could try and emulate Alex Ferguson and develop your own talent. Or you could be a hero for an unknown club. At its very core, the game was still very modular. You could just experience it differently. I remember developing Scramjet which turned into a super tactic that ravaged one version of CM, every manager that used it hardly ever lost. I could even go on season long holidays and my assistant manager would romp us to the title. From that day on I took a more active interest in developing systems that would simply exploit, because the linear system of play was incredibly boring and predictable. I hardly ever finished more than 7 seasons. By the time I hit FM2009 I could barely last 2 without being bored.

It was cool being able to groom youngsters into mini maradonas, but it was just simply pure gaming of min maxing attributes by developing training schedules.It was just one big random number generator to me. 'd just stick players on team schedules and to be perfectly honest I never even bothered to go into detail. Come 2012 and we have FM2013, training as we know it has become "mystified".

Now lets talk about tactics, scores of people would come onto the forums armed with spreadsheets and discuss different mentality systems for different kinds of tactical systems. I developed the split mentality system, others came up with the global mentality system, we even had a system where the mentality was staggered by +2 and in other systems there were even systems that weren't logical. Backline had 1 mentality and the attackers had 20, but to make all this work, everyone would come up with a methodology of play. So we would link attributes + sliders and then come with various tactics that would:

  • If condition A happens : extend width by x amt and push up
  • If condition B happens : extend width to max, increase passing to last notch of direct for players with Flair and Passing, sub A, B players with Off the ball, Acceleration <15, increase mentality for group A of players but maintain staggered ratio so that gaps don't occur.
  • Condition A would be just after kick off
  • Condition B would be used when I was down a goal or up against a team that was down a man

There was so much going on in the game that we even had to develop preset templates for people. I had 7 templates up at one point, not unlike what people see as the 6 strategies now in the tactical creator. I even developed templates for entirely different subsystems within those templates. And then I even showed people how they could get into the database and manually change the individual presets in the game for players so that they could define roles and their own systems of play. In the end I was fed up with SI for not releasing default tactics of a satisfactory level, so took time off from the game to concentrate on work, but before I left, created a whole new set of default tactics anyone could use in the game, and it even came with an " instruction manual " of sorts.

Yeah thats what its like working on custom tactics. There is a lot of information that needs to be understood and then related back to real world football? Somewhere along the way right when presets starting getting really popular, the idea for the tactical creator was mooted, and then it was born. My one concern back then was how people would relate football to strategy and philosophy, In my experience of interviewing managers, I have yet to meet one who told me his system was a string of numbers. That wasn't their tactical system. What was their system was how they trained players to fit into a specific system of play, and how these then were in turned influenced by roles.

Managers have a philosophy and a strategy. Guardiola's philosophy was keeping the ball via ball control and his strategy was to contain the opposition as much as possible and try to win the ball back within 9 seconds (I can't quite remember now). Now when you look at the tactical creator, you need to stop thinking in terms of tactics and start developing a system. Its a system to play a particular brand of football, defined by specific characteristics that you can deploy during the course of the game. The strategy can be adapted for different oppositions and doesn't require you to change tactics, unless you need to, and even then you should incorporate that into the system to prevent disrupting the teams style.

Its a system that can define what you do with the ball and without the ball. The tactical creator doesn't pretend to offer you every possible passing system in the world and thats where the Classic Tactic Creator comes in. However all this plays out within a match engine that is made to "understand" and simulate what footballers try to do on the pitch. How well they play on the pitch is governed by their individual attribute and your instructions. How well they listen to your instructions is a function of some hidden attributes as well as those that you can see including motivation. Collision physics have been introduced to add a dose of reality, and this affects how you approach the game. For example on a wet pitch, towards the latter half of the game when your players are spent, how likely they are to go in for the lunging tackle is a function of their bravery, determination and anticipation. Thats a lot to take in, so I always recommend using the tactical creator without customising it via ticks and adjusting sliders.

Tactics and training are now inter-linked as well. How well your players perform in training affect their ability on the pitch to some extent. How well they do on the pitch then in turn affects how well they train. You can now train players for specific roles in your formation and you can also elect to make them focus on certain key traits. Whilst the training module may seem to have taken a bit of shine off min maxing young talent, it has added a whole new dimension to tactical systems and managing your team. Your performance off the pitch affects your training and your training now affects your performance on the pitch.

Now that I have established, albeit simply the relationship of tactics and training, its time to focus briefly on the tactical creator. I have no plans on explaining every slider for the Classic Creator in detail. If people are keen, then search the forums at SI. There are a heckuva lot of threads. Look for SFrasers, wwfans, Guido had a few here, Smac if i am not mistaken, Cleon too or even mine. You might even find my old spreadsheets. A lot of what was said about the sliders is still relevant now, the interplay between the sliders may have changed somewhat but thats largely down to the knock on effect of slight changes to mentality and creative freedom.

What in heavens name is this Tactical Creator?

Tbh the first time I saw it, I was like wth! I didn't even want to embrace the damn thing. I was steadfastly against it, so i stuck to my custom ones. FMLive changed that cos I wanted to play fast and beat people fast before they knew what happened. So i started getting involved with it, and in a short while, I was immersed in how simple it was as a template for the more advanced players. For the novice player it was and still is the best way for them to approach the game. All they need is a decent knowledge of football, a large dose of common sense and a willingness to approach it objectively.

When you look at the tactical creator, the philosophy is self explanatory. It really defines the gaps in your team. The rigid philosophy basically tells your team to work to defined roles. Essentially it has 3 distinct mentality setups. Now remember that mentality now governs both position and behaviour, so the rigid philosophy just makes sure that distinct groups exist when you choose a strategy. On the other extreme you have very fluid which is global mentality system that tells the whole team to behave the same way. You attack as a group you defend as a group ( when you change strategy)

Now what about strategy. Well simply put, the first two which are defensive and counterattacking are essentially defensive tactics defined by how players behave on the pitch. Essentially both employ a system where the defences priority is to clear the ball to specific players on the pitch or anywhere on the pitch, so they employ direct passing, and since its a defensive strategy, the attacking group's job is to ease pressure by playing short passes so they keep possession higher up the pitch.

The Balanced and Control strategies are more continental in nature where teams as defined by their mentalities, they just risk/reward and play shorter passes to keep possession and probe play. There will be more lateral passing with this setup, hence the 30 passes before a goal which is unrealistic.

Finally we have the last two attacking and overload, both of these have traits that encourage defenders not to waste possession, and/or support and attacks play direct passing so they can do quicker attacks.

You can use one tactic during a game, but this isn't a tactic discussion its a system discussion, so before i go to link tactics, training and man management, let us look at player roles:

A tactical system sets up how you are supposed to behave, how you play is affected by who you put on the pitch. So one needs to be very clear on their player roles. In my tikanaccio system I have 3 pivots. And these are my very basic fulcrums in my formation. I know that within my system, these 3 are the most important players on the pitch cos everything revolves around them. My tactical system embodies short passing, with possession. The most important attribute I am looking for is determination, because we are a relegation bound team and my plan is to get promoted. So qualities within my system MUST include determination. Within my system I need my pivots to have at least 9 in key attributes for their roles. When we lose the ball I expect my team to hunt the ball down when they can without jeopardising our tactical shape otherwise because of our average skill we will be exposed.

Once you have an understanding of your system its time to look at constraints. You are as strong as your weakest link, so I need to continuously monitor my team in the early days of my career to determine the weakest link. It either needs to be replaced or strengthened.

Having done all that. I define roles looking for constraints.

These are the roles I want in my formation, because i want to have Tikanaccio, I need to have a deep lying playmaker an advanced playmaker, 2 inside forwards, one deep lying forward, two full backs who can attack and defend, a box to box midfielder cos my defines will need the extra support plus i want to provide headaches on one side of the pitch where I will launch most of my attacks, and a bog basic ball winning midfielder who will win the ball and lay off the odd simple pass to the players who are more creative and adjacent to me.

What I've just discussed will fall under the quadrant for Athletic Performance from my measuring performance thread. Now that I have identified all the elements that go there, let me study how I will get the right player for the job. People say let the manager adapt to the team, yeah thats usually the short term fix. The long term solution must always be about your system, and, that needs to be sustainable over the long run, hence the need to tie this up with training.

These are the roles and the attributes as listed in the game, one caveat - I will not debate the relative merits/demerits of these choices, these are key attributes only. Furthermore with my fluid positional play role swapping will be natural.

Goalkeeper : Aerial Ability, Command of area, handling, one on ones, reflexes, composure, concentration, decisions, positioning, agility

Defender (Stopper):Heading, marking, tackling, concentration, determination, jumping, aggression, bravery, composure, decisions, positioning, strength -

Used in more attacking setups to ensure we keep the ball, he will commit first to the challenge by leaving the defensive line

Defender (limited): Heading, marking,determination, tackling,positioning, jumping strength -

Stands in line with the other defender, breaks up attacks, marks player tries not to give up fouls on the edge of the box

Defender (Cover):Heading, marking, tackling, anticipation, composure,concentration, decisions, determination, positioning, acceleration, jumping strength

Used in more attacking setups he sits a bit deeper than the dline, commits just as hard with the objective of maintaining possession

Fullback Support: Crossing, marking, tackling, positioning, acceleration, anticipation, concentration, work-rate, teamwork stamina

Does overlaps and through balls when opportunities present themselves apart from other defensive duties

Fullback Attack: Crossing, dribbling, anticipation, off the ball, team-work, acceleration, marking, passing, concentration, positioning, work-rate, stamina

Does overlapping as often as its possible, but does not do any through balls, waits for chances to run from deep

Ball Winning Midfielder: Marking, tackling, aggression, bravery, determination, positioning, team-work, work-rate, stamina, strength

Priority is to tackle and to lay off passes to more creative players when on defend

Defensive Midfielder (defend):Heading,marking,tackling,determination, positioning, jumping, strength

Priority is to tackle and to lay off passes to more creative players when on defend

Box to Box Midfielder: Dribbling, finishing, first touch, heading, long shots, marking, passing, technique, stamina, strength, acceleration, work-rate, positioning, off the ball, determination, decisions, bravery , anticipation

Responsible to act as another pivot, that defends/attacks and looks for chances to do long shots

Deep Lying Playmaker defend: first touch, passing, tackling, strength, composure, creativity, decisions, positioning, off the ball, teamwork

Creates chances from deep with pinpoint passing and also a competent tackler of the ball, PIVOT

Advanced Playmaker attack : Dribbling, creativity, first touch, decisions, flair, off the ball, technique, anticipation and teamwork

In attack mode he has license to roam to create chances on to drop through channels of defenders to make himself available to lay off forwards, also has license to run at opposition defensive line from deep to fashion chances for others or himself

Inside Forward attack: Crossing,dribbling,finishing,passing,acceleration,decisions,flair, off the ball, teamwork, pace

Job is to run inside and behind or through from the flanks towards goal, he's best when a left footed player is cutting in from the right and vice versa

Deep lying forward Support: Dribbling, first touch, long shots, passing, technique, creativity, decisions, off the ball, teamwork, strength

Drops deep to link up players to the attack, can switch mode of attack to other flank and also lay others off before making a run for the penalty box himself

In any system I employ these will be the roles that will be used, if my players cant fit into the system I will try an help reduce the failure point tactically or I will just find another player.

One thing is painfully clear to me, is that my conditioning and my defense aren't my strong points. So I go for intensive training at the start of the season and i focus on team cohesion. Since my overall strategy is fluid and control, this requires that my team be able to work together as a unit. I will also need to work on defensive movement in match preparation because we look weak in those areas. ( As it turned out, my preseason training was a disaster, I should have gone for less intensity, the players got injured a bit too early and now they are jaded).

(wisdom through hindsight)Another areas where I was to make a mistake was in defence;turns out i needed a cover and a stopper as well. I will explain that later when i evaluate performance of my players in a game and how i adjusted.

Your roles within your tactical system now govern half your system along with training preparation. The next thing you need to do is to work out the "what if" scenarios:

a. What if I go a goal down?

I switch to attacking, push higher

b. What if i can't score a goal?

I shout pass into space, if that doesn't work i go to plan b switch to my more offensive 4231 formation and go narrow stay on control cos i want to probe first to see how we do, if i need to i overlap, if goals are not coming i go narrow and push up higher. Those goals will come.

c. What if i go a goal down to a corner? screw it

d. What if i go a goal down to a free kick..screw it

e. What if i go a goal down to a through ball down the middle. ..this is when i realised i had no plan for cover and limited defender….the old staggered mentality setup for DCs! It was my bleeding idea back then in the first place..nah sox Buxton.

f. What if i go a man down, switch to my false 9 formation, narrow the pitch and go attacking..I will never ever ever go defensive…its my personal philosophy.

The best way to draw up your tactical system, is to keep the first one simple. If it was me, I would choose a formation that is familiar to me, then I would devise a system for it. And, this would include perhaps two strategies from the same tactic, like a balanced one to start off the game with shouts to pass to feet for instance play out of defense and work into box. I may even keep things narrow.

During this time you would have observed how the AI plays, what system it uses, how it defends and where its attacks pivot from

Identify the source of weakness and try and nullify it through shouts. Once you know what you up against, ask yourself what its weaknesses are. If its channelled play through a central midfield playmaker who is in an MC position, I would go narrow and close him down and wrong foot him. If he his deeper like a DMC position I may want to close him down, but once again this all depends on how much time he has.

Sometimes there is no point Opposition Instructioning him if hes too deep, In this case identify where his outlet is. If its on the flanks, set your fullbacks to tightmark. If its in the middle do it to the middle.

This does take some experience, but once you have watched a few games at the start in full for 5 -8 mins you will begin to identify patterns and will probably get a feel for it

>>

At the moment there is a dead zone on the pitch which needs to be addressed through the patch, and in this zone strange things happen. People forget their instructions or mysteriously see an apparition. This will get fixed dont fret, so consider this when you do your system

Once you've done all that you will have emerged with a tactical system based on roles. And because you have done that you will have understood the why you are doing it. Since you have to analyze your players vs the attributes you would have identified the constraints and will be prepared in some way. You would need to prepare tactically and through training or recruitment. It may all have been a lot of workb but the the important thing to draw from it all is that you will be able to impose it on any team.

This has been a long post...i may do something on how i train, but i essentially just do targetted training at where i am weak at, otherwise its back to "how the hell do i come back from 2 goals down.."

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I wanted to edit the format cos i copied and pasted it but i keep getting logged out of SI, 7 attempts and i give up

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Fantastic last post rashidi, deserving of a thread on its own. I have a query for you if that's ok. I know you mentioned it, but just wanted to check something. Does mentality affect the starting position, how attack/defence minded the player is or both? The reason I ask is because I have wondered what the impact would be if, for example, counter team instructions were used but a control/attacking mentality set. As I said in another thread, I don't particularly see counter as a defensive set of team instructions, more a possessive one if that makes sense.

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I am going to have to turn the focus of this thread momentarily back to tactics, roles, training and how they incorporate into one holistic strategy, as i think this is sorely needed. Have you tried shouts Kingbogo and OI in matches?

Yeah i have using a couple of shouts, and OI (closing down and weaker foot on fullbacks, wingers and if they play with 2 up front, if they use a AMC he will get a little treatment as well) for 3 games it worked fine then seem to struggle a bit more in domestic comps. To be fair I have had a few injuries so my defence is a little weaker, injuries in midfield as well but has most quality depth but all of a sudden they just seem to cut me to ribbons. Have just put game on so will read rest of this thread and then come back to my tactic with a clean head. With a weakened defence I have put my fullbacks to Defend instead of Support to try and be a bit more solid.

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Does mentality affect the starting position, how attack/defence minded the player is or both?

I have wanted to know the answer to this for so long, I think it's a combination of both but don't know for certain.

Great thread btw.

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I have wanted to know the answer to this for so long, I think it's a combination of both but don't know for certain.

Great thread btw.

Its a combination of both. There used to be a time when mentality was strictly positioning, now its more than just the starting position, its to do with decision making as well. The higher the mentality the more likely the player is to be involved "offensively"

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Yeah i have using a couple of shouts, and OI (closing down and weaker foot on fullbacks, wingers and if they play with 2 up front, if they use a AMC he will get a little treatment as well) for 3 games it worked fine then seem to struggle a bit more in domestic comps. To be fair I have had a few injuries so my defence is a little weaker, injuries in midfield as well but has most quality depth but all of a sudden they just seem to cut me to ribbons. Have just put game on so will read rest of this thread and then come back to my tactic with a clean head. With a weakened defence I have put my fullbacks to Defend instead of Support to try and be a bit more solid.

Yeah I was managing Stafford we were smoking every team, at the start of the season, when I went to compare how we stood attributes-wise to the rest of the league (OMG they actually put this feature in), I realized we ranked 8th in certain areas and almost relegation level in others.

Defense was one of the weakest in my team, so much so that I would need to open up like a hurricane at the start and quickly settle down. Inevitably I had to have a system where i have two formations. The one biggest complaint I have on the FM series is that I cant be attackin with one formation and defensive with another. Its something i want to see addressed. We cant have all players drop behind the ball to defend, you can only do that in you take a defensive stance which I dont want to do, I dont care if my players die on the pitch. I want them to die for the result.

And because I cant do that I have to adapt. I have the same tactic but I have a version where one of my fullbacks stays back.

So you could do this..on your tactics screen iof you have two fullbacks rampaging....Set one to stay back. in midfield make sure that you have a defensive screen in front of your back four. It could be a MCd or it could be a DMC, doesnt really matter. You can do all this including, OI tight marking opposite fullbacks so that they are forced to play the ball a lot earlier.

The danger is using OI on everyone so i usually pick the goalie and the fullbacks if i have to and the AI is predictable they almost always use one fulcrum in midfield. Its that fulcrum i look for. The fulcrum is usually a DMC or a MC who is set a bit deeper than the rest. I hard tackle him, or close down and wrong foot him.

What you are doing sounds about right. The game has been made to be a lot more realistic than what we had in the past. It just takes a bit more work

Note to self: What happened to your promise to yourself that you would stop making long freaking threads!!!!!

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Yeah I was managing Stafford we were smoking every team, at the start of the season, when I went to compare how we stood attributes-wise to the rest of the league (OMG they actually put this feature in), I realized we ranked 8th in certain areas and almost relegation level in others.

Dumb question..where that feature? Been looking for the last 10 minutes and can't see it!

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"Its a combination of both. There used to be a time when mentality was strictly positioning, now its more than just the starting position, its to do with decision making as well. The higher the mentality the more likely the player is to be involved "offensively""

So based on that, what would be the impact of having a control/attacking strategy but with counter team instructions? I've been experimenting with playing Control but with a slower tempo to try and keep the ball more and I am dominating possession and creating good chances, not sure whether to delve further into it though in case it causes contradictory instructions.

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Yeah a slowish tempo is ok, but lets say you just came off defending in your own box..one option would be to make it naturally counterattacking. To do that I would

Give the fullback with the better passing TTB and direct passing and give him cross from deep. If someone in your backline has ttb and direct/long passing you will naturally get a counterattacking tactic. What I am trying to replicate is Sampdorias brilliant CA, they'd have the fullback hurl a crossfield ball to the other wing, who would then get the ball down for pazzini to feed off..

Yeah its possible, but not with the tactical creators default setup; you would need to customize some of the instructions. I think its more possible with control then with attacking. I would give it a go.

Personally this engine has a lot of potential. I just havent got the time to spend 100% of my time with it..I do not want to go back to court and have FM cited for the second time for a divorce. Its bound to make the news for all the wrong reasons

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I'll have a play around with it, it seems to be working a treat so far, as it is giving me patient short build up play, but with the players higher up the pitch and then one ball through and a good chance for my striker or inside forward. I like the idea about the fullback, I might give that a go as well. I agree about the ME, if you take the time and really think about what you want to achieve, I think it is more possible to achieve what you are after than in previous iterations.

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"Personally this engine has a lot of potential. I just havent got the time to spend 100% of my time with it..I do not want to go back to court and have FM cited for the second time for a divorce. Its bound to make the news for all the wrong reasons"

My wife thinks I'm on rightmove trying to find our "dream house". It's been 12 years and I'm still looking...

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With my gf its expensive I just signed off 15mins ago to a 5 day holiday for her birthday, agreed to buy us a house, and plan to get married..now FM2013 gets released..hopefully i am not left playing alone in me house. In that case I'd rather be married and still looking for a dreamhouse for 12 years :-)

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On a more serious note ::brock:

Been thinking of this for ya. I will try making it myself but imagine having a formation where we play the controlled formation (think Sampdoria with Pazzini) you have fullbacks hurling crossfield balls that get knocked down. I am thinking of doing this on a test save which I am working on now it will basically be controlled like the way you want it, but attacks will be launched from deep by defensive minded fullbacks ..essentially crossfield ones to a target man who is on the opposite wing..his job to cross directly to the far post for an inside forward running in. It reminds me of the tactics I used to make in 01/02. Plus if they dont fix the players drifting in unmarked at the edge of the box, it could be an exploit.

This would mean that we need to set cross aim instructions and targetman instructions..I am gonna try this for fun, seeing how you influenced me lol

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Thank u but no, this is diluted and distilled forum knowledge from all whom i still remember, heavily influenced by wwfan's way of thinking..and Sfrasers. I am merely a vessel.

Well you've opened it up in a way that's easily understandable and accesible, so regardless of being a vessel or not - thanks!

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Sounds good rashidi, what team are you using in your test save? I'm playing about with it now as well, the target man is the position and instructions to nail.

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When i test i need to use a good side, then i rule out "its cos of his attributes" so i will give this a go with Liverpool and start a new one with an Italian team, cos liverpool don really have a targetman to speak of, hes on loan

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I have put my fullbacks back on support, and have used more Oi setup before match starts. Fullbacks get 'weaker foot', wingers get 'always tight marking and closing down, and onto weaker foot. Strikers get weaker foot and closing down and the AMC as as well, other wise they will score :p and i try and see which MC will be more dangerous and put some OI on them. It may be too much but it seems to have stabilised the team, there does tend to be 2 or 3 players closing the ball player down near the penalty box, and rushing to next player who gets ball, but it quite often leads to them shooting from outside the box. The passing and movement going forward looks good and spreads play about and they tend to retain possession a lot. If I can sell a few people I could use a faster DC who can jump better/taller and a better all round ST, and maybe a more dominating defensive MC (maybe he should be first buy :p)

I picked up Hitzlberger and Zanetti on free's for one season to get me through, Zanetti has been really good as DLP. But I have confidence it will get better :p It could be players learning the formation, weaker players, etc will keep tweaking :p I changed my DC's to a LD stopper and DC cover and that seems ok. Oh and i also have set my AML/R to swap position which does work quite well as a I have a few players comfortable on both sides.

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I have put my fullbacks back on support, and have used more Oi setup before match starts. Fullbacks get 'weaker foot', wingers get 'always tight marking and closing down, and onto weaker foot. Strikers get weaker foot and closing down and the AMC as as well, other wise they will score :p and i try and see which MC will be more dangerous and put some OI on them. It may be too much but it seems to have stabilised the team, there does tend to be 2 or 3 players closing the ball player down near the penalty box, and rushing to next player who gets ball, but it quite often leads to them shooting from outside the box. The passing and movement going forward looks good and spreads play about and they tend to retain possession a lot. If I can sell a few people I could use a faster DC who can jump better/taller and a better all round ST, and maybe a more dominating defensive MC (maybe he should be first buy :p)

I picked up Hitzlberger and Zanetti on free's for one season to get me through, Zanetti has been really good as DLP. But I have confidence it will get better :p It could be players learning the formation, weaker players, etc will keep tweaking :p I changed my DC's to a LD stopper and DC cover and that seems ok. Oh and i also have set my AML/R to swap position which does work quite well as a I have a few players comfortable on both sides.

Glad to hear whats working for you.

In the last few days I've popped through saves identifying several key facets of play; my intention is to replicate as many different passing systems as I can. Some won't be possible with the tactical creator because its really defined roles too strictly. So there will have to be new roles I will create for my games. Such as the wingback who doesnt overlap but whose primary responsibility is to switch play to the other flank, and act as a defensive screen.

Its good to see people having success with 532 formations in the forum, what I will be looking to do in the next few days is more of the same. I managed to create where the fullback in a 4 man backline managed to successfully find his targetman, but it only happened once during the game. I suspect its my settings.

An underutilised feature of the game is the Opposition Instructions screen, if you pick up on how to use it, then, you will be able to influence games a lot faster and you will begin watching the games purely from their "performance levels" resulting in faster game times. When i go through my tactics, the early part of the season is time consuming. However, once the system beds games just fly by

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* Dedicated to SFraser*

Time to make some tactics,All that technical stuff was just background prep. People have asked me why its easy for some to create tactics, almost magically whipping them out of the air, and why its so hard for others. The simple answer is research and hardwork. The posts that came earlier are a result of almost 10 years of work on Football Manager. Ever since the days of Championship Manager people have been pondering over all the technical stuff in the game. Its time to break it all down in simple language, nuff of the technicals.

*DELETED THE PIX OF THE FORMATIONS cos i am too hungry now..gotta go eat"

Alright so these will be the tactical shapes. The diagram on the right is the false nine formation, its actually a hard nut to crack. Before I describe what each tactic does, I need to explain the goal of the system. Essentially I want to create a system where I can interchange between three tactics if I need to. The 4-5-1 formation is basically the formation I should start with in every match, I have within that formation added elements that will allow me to turn a game on its head.

The 4-2-3-1 formation is my offensive formation that I will use in case I need to overpower opposition thats proving too resistant. In order to use that formation, I need to make sure that I am dominating the match in key areas, which is the reason why I did the post on Performance Management.

My false nine formation is my fun formation, I have used it a few times, but I use it primarily in matches where i just want to grind out results.

Sliders and Such

This is how I set up my 451 formation. First here is what i expect in terms of plans

I recognize that the 451 is defensive in orientation, but I want to create uncertainty. As far as the match engine is concerned, it works on predictability. It crunches numbers. then tosses in variables and creates a match report. That is over-simplification to the highest magnitude, there are a billion permutations that it goes through, but if you've ever played computer chess, you know your best odds are to do the unexpected.

Even in team sports like football, the unexpected turn of a striker or the exquisite vision of Dennis Bergkamp were critical in unlocking defenses. The plan with this formation is to do the same. So if I want to achieve the same result I need to do things differently, it won't be entirely unpredictable but it should be fun.

The fun elements which I can turn on and off in a game include:

  • One fullback attacks like normal, so he will have no ttb(try through balls), the other fb will be set to cross from deep to a target-man and the cross aim will have him running onto them
  • My target-man is the inside forward to the left
  • The forward up front will be a deep lying forward who will drop deep to bring others in. Now this is effectively a false nine formation in itself, because the centre forward is not a poacher in a distinct sense. This is one of the hardest roles in the game to handle. In order to have the right player for this task, he needs flair, great first touch, decisions, good off the ball, anticipation and determination.
  • The inside forwards are expected to get a lot of goals and so is the deep lying forward, hence the inside forward or inverted wingers as they are more commonly called will need good off the ball running, first touch, composure, acceleration, these are the key attributes I look for.
  • Width isn't much of an issue as long as you make sure you are playing your inside forwards they right way. If their preferred foot is right, make absolutely sure they are on the left flank. That essentially is why they are called inside or inverted wingers/forwards. They cut in and are goal-bound on their preferred foot.
  • A 3 man midfield isnt a good midfield unless its set up right. To make it effective I need to set it up so that there is 'natural' one two passes happening. A Box to Box midfielder, a ball winner and an advanced playmaker should do the trick. Its logical actually, the ball winner, the b2b mc and the apm should all be naturally positioned mentality wise to work together.

The Slider

screen-shot-2012-11-09-at-10-50-03-pm1.jpg?w=300The slider, there have been so many theories flying around about this thing that can notches on it. My favorite question used to be whats the difference between 5 and 6 notches. To be honest almost bloody nothing if you don't put things in overall context to your whole tactic. So what do you need to know LOW, MIXED and HIGH, or SHORT, MIXED and LONG for passing. By now if you still don't get the drift, maybe I wasnt very clear. There are ONLY THREE settings you need to worry about, and within these 3 settings the variations exist in isolation. So if you set something to low..on the last notch its still low. But not as low as the first notch of low.

If we were talking about short passes then 1 would be short pass and like 7 would be the short pass which is almost bordering on a direct pass..now this is where things get even more complicated. What is direct passing, its merely the tempo at which a pass is played. The direct pass is just a more accurate pass that can be played short or long. So it demands accuracy of passing as a skill. Then we have the long portion which is the 'high" portion i marked on the graphic...thats long ball.

So now that we have got that out of the way, lets get to the next important thing about sliders. There are any number of ways you can set mentality up. One thing you need to remember though, mentality gaps will result in gaps on the pitch. Mentality still affects positioning on the pitch, but it also affects the likelihood of a players behavior The creative freedom you give him will allow him more latitude to do his own thing, and it gives players a lot more freedom to express themselves

Going back to my tactic and how i want the front attacking group to move thats exactly what I want. Now lets look at mentality in detail. I have set it up as a Dual Mentality setup, or in the case of the tactical creator FLUID, which has two mentality setups. I prefer my defensive group to a bit deeper, and since i dont want gaps to emerge I make sure my midfield isnt too far away.

One other area I modify is tight marking. I like to see my fullbacks mark tight, but be careful when you do this, if you are using shouts, and you want your players to go tight on the wingers..you wont be able to take it off, since you have them set up here..any choice you make here requires you to know exactly what happens in relation to shouts...and once again if you arent sure please..go...to this post where i discuss shouts.

Ok so everything is set I have my 451 formation.

sliders.jpg

Ok now for what happens in a game. When I start games, I tend to like sitting back, so I can choose to keep my fullbacks in check. My settings will usually have one fullback untouched and the other ticked for his deep passes. In this case i can opt to go narrow, and if I want i can still choose to do overlapping runs. Yes it still works. I also make sure that I play from defense and work balls into box.

The important thing from here on end is to be patient with your formation and observe. The tactical creator can be used as a starting point for tactics .but if you wanted more customization this is how you would do it.

Now with all this done I go to work on my 4231 and my false nine, using the same setup. All I do is move the guys around and done. I have my three tactics. In the case of the false nine I will consider unleashing both fullbacks cos that tactic is essentially a bit more defensive, so I tend to push up more.

Tactics can also be modified slightly, all you need to do is go control and control the pace through shouts. Hmm my cat is massaging my tummy now, wish i could take a screenie. He is prepping me for my five km run tomorrow i guess or hinting i need to eat something....ouch. Be back with more on another day

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Finally had time to read this (apart from the last post) today and I can finally say it's good to have you back Rash, another quality thread :thup:

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Finally had time to read this (apart from the last post) today and I can finally say it's good to have you back Rash, another quality thread :thup:

thx mate excuse the font and formattin, i am just copyin n pastin it from me blog

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Attack well and keep it tight

One of the biggest challenges using the tactical creator is actually having an attacking tactic that actually keeps you air tight at the back. To be perfectly honest, I have never ever set my defensive line that high. If you look at the attacking and overload tactics the defensive lines are invariably around pretty high and when you look at the closing down its almost 80% or higher on the slider. Basically you have a lot of chickens running on the pitch. When closing down is high and the defensive line is high, its pretty easy to get pulled out of position. Players will drift between your channels and find it easier to find space. Its pretty risk, and whilst I love attacking, i definitely dont like conceding as many as i score. So I basically rolled back my FM13 to my slider settings of FM 08 and guess what they make sense cos they work

Logic of a tight-ship

When top flight teams defend, you will see them defending high up on the pitch, and I totally agree with that strategy especially if your mentality is high. If you decide to take up that posture, you need to make sure there is balance in the team. Whilst your attacking players should be closing down all over the pitch, your defensive players should not. If you are the subject of balls over the top and inside forwards making it behind your fullbacks ..{note: message "XXX is getting skinned far too often), then your defensive line is a bit high. Since the tactical creator is very much still a baby as far as i am concerned, it will improve in the future; for now though there are some things you can do.

a. 2 Step Mentality

Mentality is no longer about position alone, it also affects risk/reward assessment when a player decides to run, pass, shoot, tackle or screen. If you want the extra risk with an attacking tactic but you want to maintain defensive cohesion, then have a 2 step mentality system, you can make it three if you want, but assume for now we are doing 2. Set the attacking group on attacking say 15 and set the defensive group on 11. Make sure its not more than 4 otherwise you will see gaps in midfield. If you do want to make it more than 4 than stick you MCd or DM on 11 and your defenders on 10.

What you have now done is created two groups of players, since the mentality gap isnt very large they will still move as a unit, but the defending group will be slightly more defensively inclined than the attacking group

b. Closing Down.

This part is easy. Look at your attacking group and turn them into chickens. Set their CD to max and get them to run around. If you have a really creative player in there you want to stay in an anchor positon, set his cd to low. 1-8 should be enough, as long as its own area., For your defensive group set them to close down to own area. What this will do is create a screen from the attacking group and keep the defensive group locked to their zones until a player enters their zone and then they will engage. Fullbacks tend to engage earlier cos their defensive zones are larger.

What you have now down is given players instructions on how far you want them to close down and how much. For you final piece of the puzzle, set your defensive line. This sets the "when". There is absolutely no necessity to have a DL of 17, you can have one, but honestly whats the point? If the other team doesnt get a chance to come out of their box sometimes you need to really go exploring looking for space. What I do is set my defensive line close to normal (13). I will then proceed to observe, if i need to choke them I reduce width, if i need to reduce their space further I increase my defensive line

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Defensive Strategies

Continuing on with my theme on keeping it tight.. If someone comes up to me and says playing defensive means I need a low d-line and a defensive mentality, I'd probably just laugh. The fact that people think so one-dimensionally is the real reason why they struggle at the game.

Celtic 2-1 Barcelona

Celtic had little by way of possession against a superior technically gifted Barcelona side and still managed a famous victory. Neil Lennon played what looked like a 4411 formation, and yet while they appeared to ride out a lot of luck, this was one side who maintained an attacking threat throughout the game. The Celtic approach was basic, instead of playing a high closing down game in midfield they concentrated on keeping it tight on Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta. Celtics midfield picked the right moments to assert pressure and made sure that Xavi and Iniesta's presence was kept minimal, forcing the Barcelona fullbacks to become the main outlets, and these fullbacks were being marked tight zonally.

Essentially the strategy simple, keep the play narrow. Barcelona tend to play the ball on the ground, they don't have a lot of tall players so Celtic kept the pressure by denying them the space they needed, conceding the wider areas to them. Celtic played them off the counter and whilst the possession stats were firmly in the Catalan's favour, the foul count show how cynical they were. Barcelona was wary of Celtics counterattack, it was fast. Conceding setpieces turned out to be the downfall of the Spanish side.

To sit back and defend against a superior opponent isnt always possible, its like staying locked in your house while you wait for robbers to pick your lock. Why dont you get some guard dogs and turn your defense into attack. In FM13, the best defense is a good offense. But whilst you go looking for goals you will usually come face to face with sides who are superior to you in every way. The strategy to face them is simple:

1. Know if you need to go narrow or need to shut out their wingers

Some sides like Barcelona have an offensive triangle of players, they play through the middle because thats where most of their assists come from. For these kind of teams you need to go narrow and utilise OI. If a side has strength out on the flanks, then you reduce your fullbacks, keep their closing down to own half at most and set marking to tight. Let your players track them and deny them space.

2. Make sure you dont concede your offense

Taking a defensive line and reducing it to your goal-line, isnt defending, its a slow death. A better strategy would be to ensure that most of the fight happens in the middle of the pitch, keep your defensive line around the middle and use tools such as shouts to play ball out of defense and work into ball and play to feet. Now if you dont use shouts it just means you go and tick those instructions on players. Essentially what you are doing is closing down in own half to own area. That way you keep the passing channels in midfield closed up as much as possible. Then you OI their creative players.

3. You need outlets to relieve pressure

Whilst pt1 & 2 should be able to see you increase interceptions, you also need players to be quick off the counter. This is where pace comes in. Your wingers need to have good first touch and pace to take the ball deep into the opponents half. One thing you can do is to set up some players to have pass to TM as an option for the break. If a counter presents itself then that hailmary pass could lead to a goal.

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Thoroughly enjoying this thread, 2 points : 1. Am I the only person who thinks, given how Neil Lennon was as a player, that the Barcelona game wasn't that much of a surprise? I mean he basically spent his career as a player punching above his weight and doing it very well, so it really follows that he'd be able to translate that to his coaching. and...

2. I just finished my first season and managed to squeak out the iron curtain, i think more by luck, but defensively I did a lot of what you said here. Played a back 4, put wingers in the MR/ML slots and kept a reasonably high d-line. The wingers back that deep meant that when we did get an interception they were close by to take the ball down the wings and start the attack, or at the very least, help us keep possession of it, there's no point in having the best ball winners in the world if they get the ball and then have the singular option of punting it up the field and hoping. I think this ME is far more about creating a really good structural TEAM setup as opposed to having a few geniuses to get you out of trouble.

I know everyone is crying about the ME being too hard at the moment, but if you go back and read some of the old threads, (I'm currently playing with a 4-2-2-2 inspired by the blurring the strata thread and cleons WM thread) the ones based on real life tactics as opposed to exploiting the ME, there are some really good points to take out of them, and some of them even work.

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Great stuff here, I'm trying to replicate a 'Wigan' tactic, set up:

GK

CB (Def)

CB (Def)

CB (Def)

RWB (Automatic)

LWB (Automatic)

CM (BBM : Sup)

CM (BWM : Def)

IFL (Att)

IFR (Att)

CF (DLF : Sup)

Is this balanced? I'm finding the passing options difficult to find, the plan was to stretch them with 2 wide attackers (the IF's coming inside, wing backs hugging the line) but then they tend to just get everyone back behind the ball and I cannot break through.

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Thoroughly enjoying this thread, 2 points : 1. Am I the only person who thinks, given how Neil Lennon was as a player, that the Barcelona game wasn't that much of a surprise? I mean he basically spent his career as a player punching above his weight and doing it very well, so it really follows that he'd be able to translate that to his coaching. and...2. I just finished my first season and managed to squeak out the iron curtain, i think more by luck, but defensively I did a lot of what you said here. Played a back 4, put wingers in the MR/ML slots and kept a reasonably high d-line. The wingers back that deep meant that when we did get an interception they were close by to take the ball down the wings and start the attack, or at the very least, help us keep possession of it, there's no point in having the best ball winners in the world if they get the ball and then have the singular option of punting it up the field and hoping. I think this ME is far more about creating a really good structural TEAM setup as opposed to having a few geniuses to get you out of trouble.I know everyone is crying about the ME being too hard at the moment, but if you go back and read some of the old threads, (I'm currently playing with a 4-2-2-2 inspired by the blurring the strata thread and cleons WM thread) the ones based on real life tactics as opposed to exploiting the ME, there are some really good points to take out of them, and some of them even work.

.

There are some managers whose personality inspires, and you are right, for anyone who's willing to put in the effort, there's a treasure trove of information on this forums. Any sound tactical system can work. It won't be possible to translate everything through the TC if you want to simulate a tactic in real life 100, but you can still make great tactics.

.

The focus this thread and my blog will take in the next couple of weeks is defending. After a great start to the season, my Stafford team has struggled in the last 10 matches in all competitions, winning 4 losing 3 and drawing one.

.

The turn in form has forced me into changes and I will explain what I did and why. The key thing is why did I start stumbling.

.

@ Scottybee do you have a screenshot of your formation? There isn't enough information there for me

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tacticsb.png

The principle behind it is much how Wigan play...to be very compact and hard to break down in defence (effectively with a bank of 7 players behind the ball) which is being replicated very well...

However, I also want the team to burst out on the counter and have 7 players bombing forwards. I think that the BWM is counter productive to this, as he is a 'screen' for the defence (is a screen really needed with 3 CB's and 2 WB's?). The WB's are set to 'hug the touchline' to spread the play, but I'm not sure if they would be better off left on 'normal'. The team should also be retaining possession better, I know it's a countering tactic but I want them to be keeping the ball in the defence/middle looking to work a pass.

Again, I'm not sure if I should go with a more attacking mentality, as it is supposed to be an attacking tactic (just also getting a lot of men back at the same time).

I usually only ever go 4-3-2-1 or 4-4-2 direct so this is all new to me!

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Hows the passing for your dcs? you could set them up with try through balls and direct passing, they should be able to bomb passes for you as well. The only thing i would be concerned with is doubling up, on the flanks if you have both inside forwards playing on the same flank as their preferred foot, they should be on opposites to encourage more inside runs, for me if i had to I would even consider turning the BWM to a DLP, so that i could use him to spread play.

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have all my defensive players on short passing, attacking and support on direct. Should I gear all of my players up to a more direct style? I suppose by the back 3 playing it short to the wing backs then I am missing that opportunity to break, as it should be going ahead of them to run on to.

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have all my defensive players on short passing, attacking and support on direct. Should I gear all of my players up to a more direct style? I suppose by the back 3 playing it short to the wing backs then I am missing that opportunity to break, as it should be going ahead of them to run on to.

Yeah that could work, with that formation of yours i daresay your counters are largely going to come from the back with TTBs on your wingbacks.

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