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Zoetermeer

I'm So Bad at FM13 That...

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I can't even succeed with Barcelona. Yes, really.

I took over in December of my first season -- Villanova had just been sacked, and the club was in full crisis mode with Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Villa, Pique, and Puyol all injured (!). So I set about bringing in a world-class corps of physios to do their magic, and in the meantime used a defensive tactic so we could survive until the return of the first-teamers.

Anyway, once everyone was back and fit I began using a more aggressive tactic (below). But I'm having all kinds of problems -- we're leaking goals (conceded 5 at Man City), we're lucky to hit 55% in possession, the opposition usually gets lots of chances, and we're stockpiling yellow cards. Fabregas just received an automatic ban after picking up his 15th yellow of the season.

We also have a ridiculous proneness to injury. Messi was only back for like two weeks before he went down again for 3 months, and ditto for Iniesta.

The strange thing is that we aren't losing as much as you would expect, despite the problems -- we usually seem to find ways to win or at least draw. For example, in the Man City game we were shredded defensively but drew the game at 5-5. We just played the away leg of our UCL semi tie at FCP -- they had 60% possession and doubled up on us in chances, but we still won 3-2. I guess I can't complain that we're doing okay, but we look ugly out there and don't resemble Barca at all (and those problems are magnified on the road).

Here's the tactic:

ST: CF(S) - Villa

AMR: IF(A) - Sanchez

AML: IF(A) - Pedro

AMC: AP(S) - Fabregas

MCL: BWM(D) - Busquets

MCR: DLP(S) - Xavi

DR: FB(Auto) - Alba

DCL: BPD(D) - Mascherano/Pique

DCR: CD(D) - Puyol

DR: FB(Auto) - Alves

GK: SK(D) - Valdes

Philosophy: balanced

Strategy: counter

Passing: shorter

Closing down: press more

Creative freedom: more expressive

Marking: zonal

Crossing: drill crosses

Roaming: roam more

That's it, except I've tweaked the 'closing down' sliders of all players except the back four to be 'whole pitch'. I want my forward players to press high up the pitch, while retaining shape at the back. This is kind of similar to a tactic that one of the more experienced guys was using in the Barca thread (but I'm posting here because it's strictly a tactics question).

I want to dominate possession and deny the opposition the ability to establish themselves in their final third. That's the most important thing to me.

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I am using Leeds and as you would expect the quality of player is much much lower than your Barca team but i am experiencing many of the same problems as you, i have tried a couple of tactics, an aggressive attacking tactic where i want my players to get into the face of the opposition and i have tried a stand off counter shorter passing game where i try to get us to retain possession, neither really seems to work. Now i am sure there are just a couple of tweaks that will get my team playing something near what i want, but at the moment i cant seem to find what those tweaks are and im afraid if i tweak it too much then i am going to see my team get gradually worse.

Funnily enough my girlfriend's sister randomly decided to play this game, she knows precious little about football but finished her 1st season with leeds 2nd in the table and as far as i know she did very little with the tactics on the game and played pretty basic player positions and tactics. In this game it looks as though less is more, rather than tweaking tactics to suit a specific style of play. I have been playing FM for many years, taken leeds to prem titles, champ leagues and great cup success, but in this game i am struggling to keep leeds out of the relegation zone

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Yeah, I'm in the same place as you are. I tried using 'control' and even 'attacking' strategies, as these crank up every player's closing down (among other things), but I think that results in too much wasted possession because the team takes more risks. Sometimes it seems like using 'attacking' is certain death on FM13 -- I always get caught on the break if I do it.

The low point for me was in the UCL knockout round, away at Lille. We lost 1-3, and Lille had 63% possession, 85% pass completion. I didn't think it was possible to make Barca play this badly.

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Ive looked through and read a lot about formations and tactics that are about keeping possession and i have used their exact tactics but so often i watch my players just pass the ball to the opposition player who is stood in front of them.

Actually the most frustrating thing i have been noticing is my wide players running getting down to the byline (which is great i want them to do this) but instead of putting the ball in the box they turn around and pass the ball back to a supporting player behind them, this isnt what i want them to do, this isnt what my tactics or instructions are set for them to do, so why are they doing it? Is it down to individual player attributes maybe?

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To me it seems like many more teams are playing an aggressive pressing game -- it kind of reminds me of FIFA 10/11 (I haven't played since then). There must be something about my tactic that isn't putting enough passing options around people to give them an outlet when they're pressed. I thought that you would be asking for trouble pressing a team like Barca, since they have the technical players to carve you up when you do that. But my team wilts in the face of such pressure.

I've had problems with the wide players too, but mostly my problem is that they run with the ball all the way from midfield into the box before blasting a shot wide. I've tried setting their 'run with ball' to rarely or shouts like 'play through defense'/'work ball into box', but they still do it -- perhaps it's PPM's. I've read that PPM's have a much greater influence on how players play than in previous versions.

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You see i would put that shooting or making the wrong pass down to decision making, but surely your players must have great stats on that? Playing as Leeds i know i dont have that real quality but i am watching teams in my league passing the ball around beautifully and putting really good balls into the box and i am trying to work out a tactic that allows me to play similar to that.

I have started again just now, im gonna take some real time just looking at my player roles and the players i have in those positions and think about their attributes and just see if i can get them linking up, because right now this is a problem i am having, i am seeing players generally running out of options infront or to the side of them because like you say opposition players seem to put real pressure on you and players seem to panic. Now this may matter less in the higher leagues with better players (although you are saying you are getting these same issues) but in the lower leagues with less quality players this is just detrimental to any kind of football being played

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Just lost Xavi to injury. Am I doing something that is causing all these players to repeatedly get injured? I try not to play anyone who's under 95% condition.

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On one of my saves i was getting a high volume of injuries and on the other i wasnt, i wasnt training them any harder or more that save than on the other one. Part of it down to bad luck part of it maybe down to tactics, an aggressive attacking tactic may cause players to over exert themselves too regularly causing them to get injured more (this is just an educated guess).

I have just now noticed something i think is a little odd. I have literally been sat here for an hour looking at individual players and the roles i want played and the tactics, i have set the team to short passing as a general setting for all players, however now that i am looking at their individual instructions no players apart from my LB and RB (set to full back - automatic) have actually got their passing on short, all other players are on mixed. Now i know that it isnt going to set all of them automatically to short passing but some of these players are much closer to direct passing than short. So maybe have a look at that if you are struggling to keep possession? It might be that the role you have given certain players is overriding (to an extent) the general team setting you have for passing. Players like Xavi, Iniesta and Messi may actually be playing more direct than you think or want.

Correction - my CB's are also using short passing

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The individual passing setting gets just modified by the team passing setting. The actual base is set primarily by your Strategy setting and secondarily by your Style setting. If you play with shorter passing and counter, your defensive players will still have more direct passing set for example.

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In my opinion, if you're not really knowing what you're doing, your tactic has too many fancy settings. Try a rigid philosophy, less creative freedom (standard or lower), no ball-playing DC and generally much, much more standard things before trying to take it too far.

On the fly I think you should switch the DLP and BWM's duties, change the striker to attacking CF and one of the IFs to a supporting role. Your BWM should be able to supply your other players better that way, but that's just my opinion.

But even better for you would be to read the guides around here, before expecting to instantly be the next Guardiola. ;)

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Well......

I am managing Barca too, they offered me the job after just 20 games (I was top of the league with Spurs).

I just used my same tactics as with Spurs, and have not had too much trouble and indeed am concentrating on youth development as the results keep rolling in.

My observations of your tactics are that I assume you are using a 4-2-3-1 with MCs rather than DMs?

Your roles are fairly similar to mine, but I use a 4-1-2-2-1 (4-5-1 in normal terms).

Your main weakness is your MC duo. Whilst the roles and duties you have set match the capabilities of the players, they are exposing your defence.

A DLP has a deep mentality, but on Support will actually be level with your BWM - you have no real link between defence and midfield, and nobody consistently dropping in to cover that space.

Cesc in a Support role with Villa also in Support limits your potency through the middle.

Short passing isn't necessarily a good thing. By using mixed you offer more options to your players, and with the technical proficiency at Barca, it makes sense to give them those options.

Increasing Creative Freedom and Roaming isn't really necessary, as the players will do this anyway due to their quality. By increasing these areas further, you are probably stretching too far beyond the general plan. Consider trying default for both.

Finally, I wouldn't tweak individual sliders, so try removing your closing down settings. You can still dominate possession without this applied.

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In my opinion, if you're not really knowing what you're doing, your tactic has too many fancy settings. Try a rigid philosophy, less creative freedom (standard or lower), no ball-playing DC and generally much, much more standard things before trying to take it too far.

On the fly I think you should switch the DLP and BWM's duties, change the striker to attacking CF and one of the IFs to a supporting role.

But even better for you would be to read the guides around here, before expecting to instantly be the next Guardiola. ;)

I don't know where you got the impression that I don't know what I'm doing. I've read the guides, and based on the information I've gleaned from those guides, I've come up with a tactic that I think should work -- but it doesn't, hence the need to ask the experts around here. I did start with a much-more-vanilla tactic, and have tweaked and tweaked to try and improve my squad's performance.

I appreciate your suggestions, but could have done without the last paragraph. I think, in general, this forum could do with fewer responses like yours. I'm taking a patient approach to FM13, trying to learn, and ask the experts questions whose answers might not only help me but others as well. The game can be frustrating at times and I make a concerted effort to avoid the useless-bashing posts that moderators hate, but I'm much less inclined to even bother asking here when it's likely I'll just be confronted with a snappy, condescending remark.

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Well......

I am managing Barca too, they offered me the job after just 20 games (I was top of the league with Spurs).

I just used my same tactics as with Spurs, and have not had too much trouble and indeed am concentrating on youth development as the results keep rolling in.

My observations of your tactics are that I assume you are using a 4-2-3-1 with MCs rather than DMs?

Your roles are fairly similar to mine, but I use a 4-1-2-2-1 (4-5-1 in normal terms).

Your main weakness is your MC duo. Whilst the roles and duties you have set match the capabilities of the players, they are exposing your defence.

A DLP has a deep mentality, but on Support will actually be level with your BWM - you have no real link between defence and midfield, and nobody consistently dropping in to cover that space.

Cesc in a Support role with Villa also in Support limits your potency through the middle.

Short passing isn't necessarily a good thing. By using mixed you offer more options to your players, and with the technical proficiency at Barca, it makes sense to give them those options.

Increasing Creative Freedom and Roaming isn't really necessary, as the players will do this anyway due to their quality. By increasing these areas further, you are probably stretching too far beyond the general plan. Consider trying default for both.

Finally, I wouldn't tweak individual sliders, so try removing your closing down settings. You can still dominate possession without this applied.

Thanks! My path sounds just like yours (except I was managing Arsenal) -- we were top of the table, and then was offered the job. Yes, I'm using a 4-2-3-1. I think what you say about the lack of a good link between defense and midfield is consistent with the problems I'm seeing -- we have problems moving the ball through the middle, which I think is a major problem because my central players are really the engine that makes the whole thing go (Xavi, Fabregas, Iniesta). (Unfortunately Barca sold Thiago just before I took over).

I'll try this and see what happens.

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Thanks! My path sounds just like yours (except I was managing Arsenal) -- we were top of the table, and then was offered the job. Yes, I'm using a 4-2-3-1. I think what you say about the lack of a good link between defense and midfield is consistent with the problems I'm seeing -- we have problems moving the ball through the middle, which I think is a major problem because my central players are really the engine that makes the whole thing go (Xavi, Fabregas, Iniesta). (Unfortunately Barca sold Thiago just before I took over).

I'll try this and see what happens.

A 4-1-2-2-1 gives you a DM and a proper physical player positioned in the space between defence and midfield. I'll post a couple of shots of my tactics when I remember what image host I use. Essentially, using a DLP on D in that position gives you a playmaker capable of dictating the flow of the game, whilst maintaining a presence in this key area.

Shouts also appear to be important, and I use the fairly generic combination that you can find elsewhere in this forum (Retain Possession, Push Higher Up, Hassle Opponents, Stay On Feet, Work Ball Into Box and Play Out Of Defence).

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This forum needs more reading and less interpreting things that weren't written. People are really reluctant to take things factually. Your tactic is far too fancy IF you're not really knowing what you're doing. That's what I meant. What you posted here gave me the impression, that you may have not read one of the basic guides and I wanted to be encouraging by saying, that it's not as easy as it sounds to recreate "Barca"-play and it doesn't make you "So Bad at FM13" as you think.

Jesus...

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This forum needs more reading and less interpreting things that weren't written. People are really reluctant to take things factually. Your tactic is far too fancy IF you're not really knowing what you're doing. That's what I meant. What you posted here gave me the impression, that you may have not read one of the basic guides and I wanted to be encouraging by saying, that it's not as easy as it sounds to recreate "Barca"-play and it doesn't make you "So Bad at FM13" as you think.

Jesus...

Sorry, I misunderstood you. Thanks for your help!

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ST: CF(S) - Villa

AMR: IF(A) - Sanchez

AML: IF(A) - Pedro

AMC: AP(S) - Fabregas

MCL: BWM(D) - Busquets

MCR: DLP(S) - Xavi

DR: FB(Auto) - Alba

DCL: BPD(D) - Mascherano/Pique

DCR: CD(D) - Puyol

DR: FB(Auto) - Alves

GK: SK(D) - Valdes

Philosophy: balanced

Strategy: counter

Passing: shorter

Closing down: press more

Creative freedom: more expressive

Marking: zonal

Crossing: drill crosses

Roaming: roam more

That's it, except I've tweaked the 'closing down' sliders of all players except the back four to be 'whole pitch'.

I would recommend the following:

FB: Make them more attacking. Barca have very good attacking fullbacks/wingbacks. Take advantage of this. If they are on auto and your team strategy is counter, they're not going to play very attacking.

CD: Personally I don't like any fancy settings on these. I have always found that normal central defender settings work better and allow the CD's to work better together.

MC: A BWM(d) and a DLP(S) means you are leaving gaps in front of your front 4. A BWM(d) isn't what most people think he is. He will leave gaps as he runs around trying to win the ball back. I would highly recommend a DLP(d) and the other MC on support duty. Figure out what role will best compliment Xavi. Maybe just a CM(s).

AML/R: I would recommend putting these guys on support duty. They will still attack but will also track back to help out your attacking fullbacks/wingbacks. I have Hazard as an IF(s) and he has 25 goals in January.

AM: I would recommend putting him on attack duty. This will pull more defenders away and give more space for your other players. And it will likely give Fabregas more chances.

When it comes to team settings, they seem fine. I'd maybe go standard or even control at home as teams will sit back and hope to get a draw against you. Maybe reduce your roaming as you seem to be conceding a lot.

I'd watch your players carefully and make sure that the individual settings you've given them are truly making them play more effectively. If they're not, change them back to default. I generally leave most player settings on default and trust that my players will make good decisions in each situation.

Watch matches in full. Find trends and fix problems.

Good luck!

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That's it, except I've tweaked the 'closing down' sliders of all players except the back four to be 'whole pitch'.

I suspect this is the main problem. You have no real holding midfielder, but a team that presses extensively bar the back four. That will result in a pocket of space in front of your d-line that the opposition will exploit mercilessly. If you have a default d-line, then the problem will be even worse. The defence will retreat as the midfield presses, opening acres of space for the opposition to move into.

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I've switched to a 4-1-2-2-1, basically replacing the AMC with a DM (who I've set to DLP-D). This has certainly helped us defensively, as we give up far fewer chances, but problems persist with possession. We're lucky to keep the ball 60% of the time at home (on a good day), and usually we seem to average 45% or so. I've tried the usual combination of shouts (push higher up, stay on feet, hassle opponents, retain possession, work ball into box, play through defense), but these don't really seem to have much of an effect.

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