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FM14: Tottenham Hotspur - No Longer A One-Man Team

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Loaded a new game up with the Iclandic league as view-only, this gave me a chance to take a look at the Premier League in January 2014, and see how the land lie, and if anything was appealing. Well, Tottenham laid a rather lowly 14th place after 20 games, with 24 points.

So far played only one game, beating Aston Villa 3-2 at home, but have only just finished getting through the final few days of the transfer window. I seem to have got a bit carried away with transfers, and shall probably have a rather unhappy squad should I not be able push on in the league and scrape a Europa League place for next season, here are my transfers;

Igor Akinfeev [End of contract]

Robert Lewandowski [End of contract]

Marc Bartra [End of contract]

David Alaba [£20M]

Alberto [£6.75M, Sevilla]

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This is the tale of my third save, as the first two went disastrously.

My objectives, as always, were to achieve the best I could with the squad, with minimal youth / bargain buys but essentially retaining the spine of the team. That said, Ade had to go. Ade got sold, Soldado was the man. ;)

I think Spurs should challenge for the title. My private aim was to get third, but not to sacrifice other competitions to get there. I was going to have a big squad, develop some promising players by granting them game time, and so it was very important for me to make sure Spurs played as many competitive games as possible in the league cup, UEFA cup, and FA cup. I gave cup games particular attention. If I had drawn a strong team, I would play my first team if the next PL game was against less able opposition. This meant a lot of close games, nail biting finishes, and some amazing winners as well as devastating late equalizers for the opposition. It was a fun season.

The dead wood

OUT: Adebayor (to Monaco) for 7.5m

Gomes to Cardiff for 19k

Obika to Swindon for 100k

I like Gomes, but wages were too high for how much I'd use him. My backup keeper would be Friedel until the end of the contract so Gomes had to go. There are powerful reasons for doing the converse- having to totally change tactics if Lloris got injured for example - but I went with gut instinct and sold Gomes for a nominal fee.

I can't stand Adebayor. Given that at times Soldado and Defoe drove me up the wall with unbelievable misses, I would have gone ape-crap if it had been Ade on top. I wasn't looking to make money, just free up wages to maximise my transfer budget.

Transfer targets - my reasoning

My transfer budget for the season was in the region of 35m after selecting CL qualification as the target. I intended to spend it on the right players. My scouting / general habit had identified four players in particular. I got two of them, and made two opportunistic buys, one of which was ill-advised.

The priority for Tottenham Hotspur is to get a left back. Rose is not good enough to play 40 games in a title-challenging team, but can be relied on to play 25 games or so as a rotation option. With some smart training, he could be an overachieving player compared to his database potential, which I guess is in the 145 to 155 range - journeyman England international level. BAE was off with Harry, but I wasn't sure Verthongen could perform the way I want my LB to - making penetrating overlapping runs on the left side of the pitch, and producing end product. He is not fast enough, and is a poor crosser. I wanted to avoid having to use him there long term.

There are two obvious targets for someone reasoning like that: Leighton Baines, or David Santon. Baines is complete, English, and a dead ball specialist. Santon is younger and more versatile. I tried to get both, and got transfer offers accepted. I made contract offers. Santon decided to go to Bayern for some reason. Leighton Baines accepted.

Something stayed my hand. I didn't want to sign leighton baines, get three years out of him, and hope a regen might come around. I knew Rose would be good as back up but if things went as intended, would never become first choice for a "top, top" team as Harry would say. So I clicked cancel. I decided to go all in on my third transfer target, Luke Shaw. He would probably cost a bit more, but save me on wages. And his potential according to scouts was better than Baines. He was a young British player who was making waves in Southampton after rising through their youth set up, who played at left-back but had blistering pace and precautious talent. Ring a bell? Like a lover spurned, I tried to get the same but younger.

Eventually a structured bid amounting to 15.5m was accepted by Southampton. Shaw was mine, and what's more, when he hits 21 he will be formed at Spurs. I love big squads, want to play them all in Europe depending on the opposition, and hate selecting a no-hoper in my 25 Euro /Champ's league squad for the sake of it. This year, for the first time in a long time, I'd have to do just that and get Luke Archer in there to make four club-developped players, after Lennon, Rose and Townsend. We'd lost Huddlestone, Livermore and Caulker, and that makes a difference.

My other two targets were Keisuke Honda, who would be a snip at £1.8m. Unfortunately a spade of clubs were after him and he chose to got to AC Milan. Probably saved me from having to sell a more versatile player like Holtby or Sigurdson. In the end I didn't need him.

The second was Eder Alvarez Balanta. He looked like a future complete centre back - with pace, strength, marking and height. He was a bargain at 4.2m, and go given the number 26 shirt.

Those were my targets. As the pre-season progressed, I was worried by two things. Without Adebayor, Defoe was my only natural striker as fall back for Soldado. Injury to either would cause problems. As it happened, Leandro Damiao became available according to his agent. I scouted him, made a cheeky 7.5m bid, which was swiftly accepted. It turns out you can get him for cheaper. Anyway, he was Ade without the hate. And it seemed like I was roleplaying Spurs more accurately by getting him if he's available. In real life he is better than Soldado, subject to adjustment to European football. SI keep underrating him, but he would contend with Defoe for my rotation option striker, and offer me a direct outlet as a sub.

A second, gut instinct buy was prompted by concerns about my left flank. It seemed to me that Chadli was unlikely to do the job there. Siggie was a bit underrated, and Townsend was seriously underrated. I wanted Lamela to play on the right and Eriksen in the middle. So I thought I should try to see who could come in at AML. I though, since I had options for IFs, I could get a winger to give me options there. Gaitan, a player I really rate IRL based on my watching CL, was transfer listed. He wanted 30k ish in wages. So I signed him for £6m. That completed my dealings in the transfer market.

Transfers in

Luke Shaw - 15.5m

Alvarez Balanta - 4.2m

Leandro Damiao - 7.5m

Gaitan - 6m

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Pre-season and tactics

My two aborted saves had taught me one thing - this is a squad that needs blending in and serious morale boosts. Right off the bat for example, Eriksen thought in a team meeting that we were unambitous to aim for CL qualification only. It was impossible to please everyone.

In my third and final game I decided to do two things in pre-season:

Settle on a primary tactic and make sure my players knew it.

Have numerous pres-season games against lesser teams, in which I would be very reassuring with my feedback overall, and avoid giving individual feedback to players who did not yet respect me.

I would need a good start to the season in order to avoid the pitfalls of lack of player trust in the manager, low team morale, and an overhauled squad.

My tactic is a 41221 based on Cleon's seminal thread for FM13. The mentality is counter, the philosophy is balanced, the two main swaps are 1) that the tactic is mirrored to take advantage of Lamela on the right instead of Bale on the left, and 2) uses Soldado as an F9 rather than a treq. I don't think Soldado can play as a treq but the game saw him as a potential F9, albeit not his best role. I wanted to try that.

I needed a back up tactic in case this went wrong, as neither Damiao nor Defoe could play as F9s. My back up tactic was 4231 control, with an offside trap, a stopper playing behind the more offensive MC, and a covering defender behind the DLP defend. My hope, only partially achieverd, was that this would give me more defensive cover but allow me to play an AMC behind a poacher or adv forward. Because of that, I did not need IFs, and could play Lennon, Gaitain or Townsend as straight wingers. I could play Siggie, Holtby or even Eriksen in their natural AMC position.

I applied those tactics in pre-season and the 41221 was clearly the better one. I had more possession, a more solid defence, conceded fewer CCCs and created more for myself. Perversely, the deeper countering tactic was better at producing possession football which my board stipulated was a condition of my reign at the Lane.

Getting started

I started in flying form, aided by a relatively generous set of opening fixtures. But the games were often close-run in terms of results. Lamela (and to a lesser extent Soldado) made the difference.

Norwich (H) 2-1 (Lamela, Soldado)

Zulte Waregem (A) 1-1 (Rose)

Stoke (A) (Lamela x 2)

Zulte Waregem (H) (Holtby, Gaitan, Paulinho, Damiao)

Swansea (H) 2-1 (Lamela x2)

Sunderland (A) 3-0 (Paulinho, Soldado, Eriksen)

Ludogrets (H) 2-0 (OG, Sigurdsson)

Morale was picking up as I made sure to praise players, sympathise with them, and express faith - but only after the game had started or finished.

I reached my first tricky fixture, Man Utd at home.

Verthongen started at left back in a more cautious variation of my standard tatic. It was a tense match where we had 48% possession but the better chances. Man U had fewer shots on goal and no CCC's. My tactic strangled them and I was not worried. My team was creating chances which the game strained to make de Gea save. On 30' Balanta headed a corner in. We went leading into half time and my players went back in motivated. Balanta headed in a second corner on 48'. Man Utd came back and Hernandez scored a dubiously awarded penalty. .We continued to make chances, and got a penalty of our own which Soldado converted. Two minutes later, the consistently excellent interplay between my midfield, Soldado and Lamela produced and inside run by the latter which he finished. 4-1 on 67'. Man Utd scored a second consolation but the game was over.

This sent me on an amazing run of results. Many of them were close on paper but tactically my team were in the driving seat, with misses in the final pass or finish that I think are down to an unfinished match engine. Highlights included knocking the Scum out of the league cup at home in October 2-0 (Lamela and Townsend), immediately followed by a 1-0 away win at Liverpool (Sandro on the hour), an unbelievably tense 1-0 win against in-form Cardiff (Capoue), and culminating in a crushing win over Man City at home 3-1 (Soldado x2, Sandro). In the league cup we qualified for the semi-finals against West Ham (Winston Reid, not so jammy in FM14, OG on 103' - incredible derby, west ham were mental committed). That was back to back with a 4-1 win at home over Chelsea (Soldado x3, Lamela). Arsenal stopped our winning record, drawing 1-1 at the Lane (Lamela) in what I recall was a shocking injustice, so complete was my dominance in terms of good chances.

Other than a few draws, we were unbeaten. We ended the year 11 points ahead of the nearest competition. January continued in the same mould with narrow or 2 goal wins over mediocre teams. Until 21 January, when we went into a second leg of the league cup semi final against Newcastle, at home, having won 1-0 away. We immediately went one up through Dawson, and had a number of good chances to put the game beyond doubt. At half time Newcastle came out guns blazing. I was using a damiao-led direct 4231 with Damiao as a wide TM and Siggie as a SS. It worked in the first half but now we had no possession. The instructions to Lloris to kick to Damiao backfired as terrible kicks straight to the opposition came back, one of them bouncing back straight over Dawson's head, on whose shoulders Cisse lurked, and ran through on goal. Remy scored the winner by beating my high line which I'd restored in an attempt to restore control. My bad, experimenting at Wembley, and it backfired.

I was worried about a bad reaction. Unduly perhaps - we follwed our exit from the league cup with emphatic 3-0 and 4-1 wins against Fulham and Sunderland. But the dip was coming, and it came in February with 1-1 at home (Fulham again), away (West Brom), and a 2-1 loss to Man U away. Our first league defeat.

However, by then morale was sound and the foundations had been laid. We recovered with a run of six straight wins. We lost against Spartak Moscow away, which is not a disaster, had the odd draw (including one at home to West Brom). We lost away to Arsenal, drew at Newcastle, and were due to play Man City, in blistering form (10 straight wins), at home. At this stage we were just one point ahead of them with one game in hand, and five to play. I thought even a draw would not be enough. They had the players, they were out of every competition now and could concentrate on the league; I had just beaten Chelsea in the FA cup semi final, and had a two leg UEFA cup semi coming up. I had to stop their momentum. They would niggle away at our points and overtake us. We had to win.

Our formations matched. By then Shaw was my first choice LB and was devastating at CB(A) (which we're told may be due to the ME over-emphasizing LB play). I took my time with tactics. Shaw would bomb down the left. Sigurdson would tuck in more, and play at Adv Plymaker (S) this time. Lamela and Walker would do as usual. I would play a high tempo game, tackle hard with Sandro-Dembele-Paulinho through the middle on D/S/S. Sandro was given the task of tightly marking Aguero, their outstanding player at AMC, closing him down, tackling him hard, call him names etc. He did an outstanding job, which did not stop Aguero making the one CCC of the game, which Lloris saved. My super high tempo opening had by the 8' produced a goal from Sigurdsson, which I was convinced would not be enough. We shared possession 50/50, and the chances to go with it. The game ended 1-0. We had stopped Man City. We went back 4 points ahead. While we never recovered the blistering form of the first half of the season, Man City went spiralling down the pan. The stupid fixtures had given them a game 2 days after ours. They lost it against not particularly stellar opposition. A win and a draw for us was enough to get the premier league with 2 games to go - and to end the league as champions with 89 points, 9 points ahead of City.: 27 wins, 8 draws, 3 losses. A spectacular season.

But we had two more treats to come. In the UEFA cup, we despatched Freiburg over two legs, and faced Borussia Dortmund in the final. Having given extensive rests to some very tired players, we absolutely destroyed Dortmund. The scoreline did not reflect our dominance again, Balanta and Damiao giving us a 2-0 win.

Three days later, it was the FA cup final against - who else? - Arsenal. They had ended up 6th in the league and Wenger's job was not secure. I think there were problems with the ME here. I wish I knew how to take pics off my laptop - prtscrn won't work - but this game was ridiculous. We absolutely dominated them - using the Man City tactic but without focusing on the wings. Sandro took Wilshere out of the game. We had 30 shots, 22 corners, 6 clear cut chances. Arsenal had no clear cut chances. They had 50% of the possession but just 5 shots on target. Yet they matched us.

Lennon scored on 23', immediately cancelled by Giroud on 27' because Lloris made a rare mistake. Lamela scored on 56' to underscore our dominance, which continued well after. They hacked us, leading to a second yellow for Monreal on 79'. With the extra man, and the ME looking dodgy, I pressed, and committed an extra attacking player. Keep them in their zone, retain possession. Still, they broke all our attacks, or saved our chances (or we missed). on 90+3'. we conceded a free kick. Arteta, with the last kick of the game, curled a free kick in. I only conceded two free kick goals all season (and scored none), both against arsenal.

11 against 10 in ten minutes of extra time, but we were not getting any luck. It went to penalties. I was convinced it wasn't our day but our first three scored their penalties but Giroud missed. Our fourth scored, and then Walcott missed! FA cup was ours, against the scum no less, and they weren't going to rob us after all.

The PL, FA cup, and UEFA cup treble... it doesn't get better than this. Well, champ's league, I suppose.

We went out on a high. Our best players, far and away, were Lamela and Soldado. Soldado had a scoring dip but he still achieved 17 league goals despite goal scoring not being his primary task. Lamela got 15 league goals. The rest came mostly from corners, which because we created so many chances, so few of which went in, ended up a staple. All of my centre backs were outsanding. Dawson got the highest rating, but watching him play he was no better than my first choice of Kaboul and Verthongen / Balanta. Verthongen got an injury, as did Lennon, Townsend and Erikson, but otherwise injuries were minimal. A great start, a gritty finish, an outsanding season.

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So what now?

By the season's end Defoe was demoralised and languishing in the U21s. He asked for a new challenge. He was off. Very disappointed with him, but he played 14 games straight without scoring - not the full minutes, but still. He was blazing easy chances over. Damiao and Soldado did that too, but with Defoe it was a joke.

Overall, my assessment of the team was that there were a few noticeable under-performers.

Holtby had a decent average rating, but I was not seeing much on the pitch. Eriksen was clearly better, and Sigurdsson more versatile.

Paulinho did not improve after a very good start. He was not getting forward enough, was not scoring, and not creating enough.

Chadli had decent stats but I did not think he could cut it against good opposition - he'd gained most of these being played in rotations against poorer sides.

Gaitan achieved a sub-7.00 rating in a historic triple winning team. He was frequently injured, and I lost faith.

I spoke to Holtby and Chadli about their match and training performances, and both got the huff. I decided to get rid of Gaitan in any event. I obviously needed to go back to square 1 for the AML position. Siggie had done well, as Eriksen when played there, but I needed someone who was going to make Champ's League defences worry about which one they feared most - Lamela or the AML. Right now I was too dependent on Lamela - when he was substandard, we struggled.

Of the players coming back, two stood out. If I lost Defoe, Kane could do a job for me. Caroll had had a good season on loan, and his stats, while not stellar, were solid for MC. I decided they were going to stay in the team and be rotation options. I determined to sell the rest.

Capoue asked for a contract, which I refused. He got the huff.

Who to get in? I need a GK to replace Friedel, which I'm still looking for.

My choice for AML was El Shaarawy. I didn't want to bid for him straight away but Man U did. They had a bid of 35m accepted. I joined in. He chose to join us. Something's definitely changed! El Shaarawy has the same potential as Lamela (which I'm guessing is in the 175 to 185 range - world class). Soldado is in his prime. Behind them, I was confident in my midfield, but bids for Capoue (14m negotiated) and Holtby (24m negotiated) came in, which I'd accepted, and I was wondering whether I would need a midfielder. On top of it all, Roma got relegated from Serie A, which as soon as that happened prompted me to scout all their players. In the end I couldn't resist Kevin Strootman for a mere 8.75m and modest wages. Immediately upon signing his value jumped to 18m.

I sold Chadli and Assou-Ekotto too. Unfortunately, two problems arose.

The first is the transfer bug, which reduced my intake significantly. Holtby is down as a 17m transfer, Capoue as 11, Chadli went through as 13, Defoe and Assou Ekotto very little. So I didn't raise as much money as I thought. It's like I've been the victing of some phishing scam.

The second is that I accepted a contract before winning the league. With the triple won, Levy announced that a new stadium was going to be built, heavily leveraged on the club's income. 250k a month is going on interest. They slapped me with a 60% recoup rate against my budget, which is ridiculous. The money I raised didn't cover existing expenses. I mainly intended to build a complete U18 team with regens, and to manage them myself. Now I'm struggling to buy a keeper.

What's worst, in order to try to fix this I got rid of some saves, so I can't go back execpt to before winning the league.

I don't really want to sell any of my other players. I accepted a bid for Lloris (from Barcelona) and went for Valdes on a free- that would bring in 30m, although Valdes' wages would be 80k more than Lloris'. 4m a year more, two year contract, 22m profit. Except to get the wages down to 150k I had to make adjustments elsewhere, which will mount up. Valdes is 32, as well, whereas Llloris is entering his prime. And finally, while Valdes has been at Barcelona, he is much slower than Lloris, one of the key ideas behind the tactic. I offered Lloris a contract, which he accepted, and he stayed.

Anyway, long post, wanted to share, enjoy reading others and felt selfish not sharing my experience. Who knows what I'll do - I need a bargain keeper or more funds to buy a young guy to develop under Lloris - my initial plan. Other than that, the two signings - Strootman and El Shaarawy - are all i need. I have a great squad. Some players are only getting better. Really excited about season 2, and my tactical challenge - having a fallback plan to 21221 which I'm happy with.

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I'm starting a career with Tottenham right now, i've set my reputation as Sunday League Footballer, it will be tough, but we'll see what happens.

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@legal - Great post, i just finished second in the league (no silverware at all though unfortunately) but am starting a new game tonight. I feel like being out of BETA warrants a fresh start.

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Playing with a 4-5-1 as my 1st tactic, pretty similar to that used by N17Warrior, 4-2-3-1 (with AMR and AML) as my 2nd and 4-4-2 as my 3rd.

Signings : Coentrao 12,5 mil €; Ze Roberto 145k, Ronaldinho 1 mil, Alex 3 mil, Yuri Tielemans 4,2 mil, Richairo Zivkovic 675k and Gabriel Barbosa for 2 mil (joins 30.08.2014)

Sold : Gomes - free, Adebayor - 9 mil (Monaco), Danny Rose - 15 mil (Monaco), Andros Townsend - 11,25 mil (Man City, although i accepted Liverpool's 20 mil offer, the player refused to go to them, and i couldnt get more than City's offer)

Also looking at Balanta for a future transfer.

Sacked all the staff, and hired "mine".

I brought the 3 experienced brazilians because i need some good tutoring for the young gems, and also because they still can deliver for this season.

And so far i played my first game in the league, a 3-2 win at Hull, the victory was never in doubt, 1-0 at HT, and after Ronadlinho and Alex entered the match it really showed off, both scoring :

wi0z.png

87aw.png

I also made a mistake, as i was speaking on the phone, i didnt pay atenttion that Eriksen was DM, changed it at HT.

Sadly the players still get low ratings even though the team plays well, i understand it has to do with the ME, hopefully this will be sorted by an update.

I will come back with news of how the season is unfolding.

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I've run a number of beta saves to work out my tactics and signings for the main game.

Problem is, has anyone else experienced not being able to get Luke Shaw now? They want 24mil for him now, I could get him for 12-15 before. Completely screwed my plans over! May have to go for Coentrao now :(

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Just started a new Spurs game. I've probably butchered the squad in most of your eyes, but I'm loving the squad building side of FM14 and the core Spurs squad is a great canvas!

In:

Januzaj <10m

Valencia £10.5m

Benteke £18.5m

Goretzka £8.5ish

Balanta £6ish

Smalling £9ish

Luke Shaw £14.5m

Werner - £4.7m

Out:

Eriksen - 16.5 - Chelsea

Lamela - 12m - Man Utd

Adebayor - 8m - Monaco

Soldado - 9m - Arsenal

Sigurdson - Everton - 7.5m

Chadli - Villa - <5m

Gone with a conventional 442/4141 with genuine width provided by Valencia, Lennon, Rose and (Mcevoy?)

Sandro and Capoue as Anchors/BWM in 4141 for away games

Paulinho and Dembele as B2B

Goretzka and (retrained MC) Holtby as Adv Plm

Benteke TM/CF with Defoe and Werner as Adv F or Poacher

Option of Januzaj on the bench to drop into the hole and change things up

Other than that it's just been a back room overhaul. Poached a Head of Youth Development from one of the middling Italian teams as my Ass Man. He's got 19s and 20s in almost everything! He is on £19k per week though!

I've been playing FM since the CM years, and i must say your decisions in the transfer market are the worst that i have ever seen.

I really dont mean to be jerk but come on!

you have sold eriksen and lamela, these two are basically my first reason to start the FM series with Tottenham(I'm a huge Galatasaray fan)

Soldado, Chadli and Sigurd, these are really good players you have sold with very little money in return.

I'm sorry brother, but i would not be surprised if Tottenham Hotspur IRL will sue you for this.

I've run a number of beta saves to work out my tactics and signings for the main game.

Problem is, has anyone else experienced not being able to get Luke Shaw now? They want 24mil for him now, I could get him for 12-15 before. Completely screwed my plans over! May have to go for Coentrao now :(

Problem is, has anyone else experienced not being able to get Luke Shaw now? They want 24mil for him now, I could get him for 12-15 before. Completely screwed my plans over! May have to go for Coentrao now :(

It is really hard to get Shaw, i'm currently experiencing the same problem, but he is easily one of the best (if not the best) DL player, even his current attributes makes me want to play him right away, plus he is english, walker-shaw at defensive wings will be cool to see.

Shaw will be possibly be my only transfer in the market, Spurs already have a great, young and talented squad, there is no real need to make major changes.

even Adebayor and Defoe are "above average" back-ups for Soldado, so its wiser to use the squad as it is and just insert Shaw at DL.

Rose and Townsend are also great back-ups, i will do my best not to waste their potential.

Question to everyone!!

Who should i play with Vertonghen?

Kaboul is great, but his marking and agility is really low, not enough for competing at top level.

Dawson looks like a better choice, at least for one more season.

This is the squad i am planning to begin the season:

Lloris-Walker-Dawson-Verthonghen-Shaw-Sandro-Dembele-Lamela-Holtby(AMC)-Eriksen(AML)-Soldado

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Pre-season and tactics

My two aborted saves had taught me one thing - this is a squad that needs blending in and serious morale boosts. Right off the bat for example, Eriksen thought in a team meeting that we were unambitous to aim for CL qualification only. It was impossible to please everyone.

In my third and final game I decided to do two things in pre-season:

Settle on a primary tactic and make sure my players knew it.

Have numerous pres-season games against lesser teams, in which I would be very reassuring with my feedback overall, and avoid giving individual feedback to players who did not yet respect me.

I would need a good start to the season in order to avoid the pitfalls of lack of player trust in the manager, low team morale, and an overhauled squad.

My tactic is a 41221 based on Cleon's seminal thread for FM13. The mentality is counter, the philosophy is balanced, the two main swaps are 1) that the tactic is mirrored to take advantage of Lamela on the right instead of Bale on the left, and 2) uses Soldado as an F9 rather than a treq. I don't think Soldado can play as a treq but the game saw him as a potential F9, albeit not his best role. I wanted to try that.

I needed a back up tactic in case this went wrong, as neither Damiao nor Defoe could play as F9s. My back up tactic was 4231 control, with an offside trap, a stopper playing behind the more offensive MC, and a covering defender behind the DLP defend. My hope, only partially achieverd, was that this would give me more defensive cover but allow me to play an AMC behind a poacher or adv forward. Because of that, I did not need IFs, and could play Lennon, Gaitain or Townsend as straight wingers. I could play Siggie, Holtby or even Eriksen in their natural AMC position.

I applied those tactics in pre-season and the 41221 was clearly the better one. I had more possession, a more solid defence, conceded fewer CCCs and created more for myself. Perversely, the deeper countering tactic was better at producing possession football which my board stipulated was a condition of my reign at the Lane.

Getting started

I started in flying form, aided by a relatively generous set of opening fixtures. But the games were often close-run in terms of results. Lamela (and to a lesser extent Soldado) made the difference.

Norwich (H) 2-1 (Lamela, Soldado)

Zulte Waregem (A) 1-1 (Rose)

Stoke (A) (Lamela x 2)

Zulte Waregem (H) (Holtby, Gaitan, Paulinho, Damiao)

Swansea (H) 2-1 (Lamela x2)

Sunderland (A) 3-0 (Paulinho, Soldado, Eriksen)

Ludogrets (H) 2-0 (OG, Sigurdsson)

Morale was picking up as I made sure to praise players, sympathise with them, and express faith - but only after the game had started or finished.

I reached my first tricky fixture, Man Utd at home.

Verthongen started at left back in a more cautious variation of my standard tatic. It was a tense match where we had 48% possession but the better chances. Man U had fewer shots on goal and no CCC's. My tactic strangled them and I was not worried. My team was creating chances which the game strained to make de Gea save. On 30' Balanta headed a corner in. We went leading into half time and my players went back in motivated. Balanta headed in a second corner on 48'. Man Utd came back and Hernandez scored a dubiously awarded penalty. .We continued to make chances, and got a penalty of our own which Soldado converted. Two minutes later, the consistently excellent interplay between my midfield, Soldado and Lamela produced and inside run by the latter which he finished. 4-1 on 67'. Man Utd scored a second consolation but the game was over.

This sent me on an amazing run of results. Many of them were close on paper but tactically my team were in the driving seat, with misses in the final pass or finish that I think are down to an unfinished match engine. Highlights included knocking the Scum out of the league cup at home in October 2-0 (Lamela and Townsend), immediately followed by a 1-0 away win at Liverpool (Sandro on the hour), an unbelievably tense 1-0 win against in-form Cardiff (Capoue), and culminating in a crushing win over Man City at home 3-1 (Soldado x2, Sandro). In the league cup we qualified for the semi-finals against West Ham (Winston Reid, not so jammy in FM14, OG on 103' - incredible derby, west ham were mental committed). That was back to back with a 4-1 win at home over Chelsea (Soldado x3, Lamela). Arsenal stopped our winning record, drawing 1-1 at the Lane (Lamela) in what I recall was a shocking injustice, so complete was my dominance in terms of good chances.

Other than a few draws, we were unbeaten. We ended the year 11 points ahead of the nearest competition. January continued in the same mould with narrow or 2 goal wins over mediocre teams. Until 21 January, when we went into a second leg of the league cup semi final against Newcastle, at home, having won 1-0 away. We immediately went one up through Dawson, and had a number of good chances to put the game beyond doubt. At half time Newcastle came out guns blazing. I was using a damiao-led direct 4231 with Damiao as a wide TM and Siggie as a SS. It worked in the first half but now we had no possession. The instructions to Lloris to kick to Damiao backfired as terrible kicks straight to the opposition came back, one of them bouncing back straight over Dawson's head, on whose shoulders Cisse lurked, and ran through on goal. Remy scored the winner by beating my high line which I'd restored in an attempt to restore control. My bad, experimenting at Wembley, and it backfired.

I was worried about a bad reaction. Unduly perhaps - we follwed our exit from the league cup with emphatic 3-0 and 4-1 wins against Fulham and Sunderland. But the dip was coming, and it came in February with 1-1 at home (Fulham again), away (West Brom), and a 2-1 loss to Man U away. Our first league defeat.

However, by then morale was sound and the foundations had been laid. We recovered with a run of six straight wins. We lost against Spartak Moscow away, which is not a disaster, had the odd draw (including one at home to West Brom). We lost away to Arsenal, drew at Newcastle, and were due to play Man City, in blistering form (10 straight wins), at home. At this stage we were just one point ahead of them with one game in hand, and five to play. I thought even a draw would not be enough. They had the players, they were out of every competition now and could concentrate on the league; I had just beaten Chelsea in the FA cup semi final, and had a two leg UEFA cup semi coming up. I had to stop their momentum. They would niggle away at our points and overtake us. We had to win.

Our formations matched. By then Shaw was my first choice LB and was devastating at CB(A) (which we're told may be due to the ME over-emphasizing LB play). I took my time with tactics. Shaw would bomb down the left. Sigurdson would tuck in more, and play at Adv Plymaker (S) this time. Lamela and Walker would do as usual. I would play a high tempo game, tackle hard with Sandro-Dembele-Paulinho through the middle on D/S/S. Sandro was given the task of tightly marking Aguero, their outstanding player at AMC, closing him down, tackling him hard, call him names etc. He did an outstanding job, which did not stop Aguero making the one CCC of the game, which Lloris saved. My super high tempo opening had by the 8' produced a goal from Sigurdsson, which I was convinced would not be enough. We shared possession 50/50, and the chances to go with it. The game ended 1-0. We had stopped Man City. We went back 4 points ahead. While we never recovered the blistering form of the first half of the season, Man City went spiralling down the pan. The stupid fixtures had given them a game 2 days after ours. They lost it against not particularly stellar opposition. A win and a draw for us was enough to get the premier league with 2 games to go - and to end the league as champions with 89 points, 9 points ahead of City.: 27 wins, 8 draws, 3 losses. A spectacular season.

But we had two more treats to come. In the UEFA cup, we despatched Freiburg over two legs, and faced Borussia Dortmund in the final. Having given extensive rests to some very tired players, we absolutely destroyed Dortmund. The scoreline did not reflect our dominance again, Balanta and Damiao giving us a 2-0 win.

Three days later, it was the FA cup final against - who else? - Arsenal. They had ended up 6th in the league and Wenger's job was not secure. I think there were problems with the ME here. I wish I knew how to take pics off my laptop - prtscrn won't work - but this game was ridiculous. We absolutely dominated them - using the Man City tactic but without focusing on the wings. Sandro took Wilshere out of the game. We had 30 shots, 22 corners, 6 clear cut chances. Arsenal had no clear cut chances. They had 50% of the possession but just 5 shots on target. Yet they matched us.

Lennon scored on 23', immediately cancelled by Giroud on 27' because Lloris made a rare mistake. Lamela scored on 56' to underscore our dominance, which continued well after. They hacked us, leading to a second yellow for Monreal on 79'. With the extra man, and the ME looking dodgy, I pressed, and committed an extra attacking player. Keep them in their zone, retain possession. Still, they broke all our attacks, or saved our chances (or we missed). on 90+3'. we conceded a free kick. Arteta, with the last kick of the game, curled a free kick in. I only conceded two free kick goals all season (and scored none), both against arsenal.

11 against 10 in ten minutes of extra time, but we were not getting any luck. It went to penalties. I was convinced it wasn't our day but our first three scored their penalties but Giroud missed. Our fourth scored, and then Walcott missed! FA cup was ours, against the scum no less, and they weren't going to rob us after all.

The PL, FA cup, and UEFA cup treble... it doesn't get better than this. Well, champ's league, I suppose.

We went out on a high. Our best players, far and away, were Lamela and Soldado. Soldado had a scoring dip but he still achieved 17 league goals despite goal scoring not being his primary task. Lamela got 15 league goals. The rest came mostly from corners, which because we created so many chances, so few of which went in, ended up a staple. All of my centre backs were outsanding. Dawson got the highest rating, but watching him play he was no better than my first choice of Kaboul and Verthongen / Balanta. Verthongen got an injury, as did Lennon, Townsend and Erikson, but otherwise injuries were minimal. A great start, a gritty finish, an outsanding season.

Great posts!

Would love to have a look at your tactic, planning a spurs game myself.

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There's a precis of the tactic further up the thread, but really it is this tactic (or set of tactics based on cleon and lam's contributions) mirrored to the right (for lamela instead of bale) and an F9 instead of a treq.

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/334248-Understanding-Your-Tactic-The-Discussion

All around that thread is the most rewarding one on here, albeit you now have to adjust for FM14.

So glad sliders are gone - I understand what I'm doing so much more.

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There's a precis of the tactic further up the thread, but really it is this tactic (or set of tactics based on cleon and lam's contributions) mirrored to the right (for lamela instead of bale) and an F9 instead of a treq.

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/334248-Understanding-Your-Tactic-The-Discussion

All around that thread is the most rewarding one on here, albeit you now have to adjust for FM14.

So glad sliders are gone - I understand what I'm doing so much more.

Hey,

I purposely didn't go with that tactic this time around for a few reasons

1. Tried and got it to work before and wanted something new

2. Really want to get 442 to work.

3. I really didn't think that Spurs were setup to work it.

Clearly no.3 is wrong as it is working well for you, but who is your no.1 choice for the FC(T) position? I wouldn't have thought anyone would do well there (thought to be fair Defoe was good last version).

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Hey,

I purposely didn't go with that tactic this time around for a few reasons

1. Tried and got it to work before and wanted something new

2. Really want to get 442 to work.

3. I really didn't think that Spurs were setup to work it.

Clearly no.3 is wrong as it is working well for you, but who is your no.1 choice for the FC(T) position? I wouldn't have thought anyone would do well there (thought to be fair Defoe was good last version).

Siggy :cool:

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Hey,

I purposely didn't go with that tactic this time around for a few reasons

1. Tried and got it to work before and wanted something new

2. Really want to get 442 to work.

3. I really didn't think that Spurs were setup to work it.

Clearly no.3 is wrong as it is working well for you, but who is your no.1 choice for the FC(T) position? I wouldn't have thought anyone would do well there (thought to be fair Defoe was good last version).

I play F9 instead of a treq - and there soldado is my first choice (though he could do with better passing / creativity!)

Siggy's not done well at F9, but lamela and el shaarawy are pretty nifty at it.

I play DLF (s) when rotating (damiao or kane)

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Siggy :cool:

In my 442 I am switching between Siggy and Lamela as the FCR in either F9,TQ or DLP(S).

What formation you playing with this time around?

Have to say, I'm feeling a little lost without the sliders. Got SOOOO used to tinkering..... need more faith in SI without sliders.

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Funny thing too...... I've never seen a player with stats like Soldado yet fail to use them like he does. Most of my other strikers, including Siggy and Lamela, do better in the FC roles.

Tried all sorts with him. AF, DLF, P..... really struggle with him

Though, I can remember feeling this way last season when I didnt like the SPurs squad on FM.

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I can't get Soldado to score either. Michael Dawson, on the other hand, is my top scorer with 11 from 21 games......

Similar to me. Near post DC is always doing well and that is with default setpiece. Most of their goals come from shots rather than headers. Lots of rebounds. I imagine a good jumping striker would do very well there.

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Well finally got the game... kinda looking at setting up as Spurs Manager.

1st - Get rid of the backroom team and bring my own in. Anyone worth keeping and who would you recommend bringing in? Im always 50/50 with the two GK coaches, Clemence and Park. I always seem to find better ones but their stats are good to. Sherwood?? not sure.

2nd - I dot really want to bring any players into my 1st team squad on my 1st season. I want to see what this group of players can do and achieve though i will be looking to strengthen a few positions....mainly left back (as everyone else seems to have done), maybe scout a good english midfielder and a striker but i dont want the same players most people go for. Honda..... great stats etc but our midfields awesome for once lol

3rd - Main factor for me is to sort out the Youth players and bring in as many youngsters as possible with good potential. I like to build on the future.

So, lets see how it goes.

Edit: WOoooooooo! Ok guys, need help with what leagues to start with. i have gone for the main european ones in the past but if i only choose 8 leagues i get down to 2 stars!! thats with huge database with 42000 players. ghulp! gonna be a long season

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Well, 3rd week and Man City made an offer for Townsend for 9.5mill. I turned it down then next day low n behold his agent wanted a better contract. Said no chance, got 3yrs to run. Townsend not happy so i told him to prove hes worth it (ok i would irl but on here....not sure).

Now hes unhappy and handed a transfer request..

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Just played Sunderland at home in September in the first season. We wore the third (dark blue) top, white shorts and white socks. Anyone else had anything like this?

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Well, 3rd week and Man City made an offer for Townsend for 9.5mill. I turned it down then next day low n behold his agent wanted a better contract. Said no chance, got 3yrs to run. Townsend not happy so i told him to prove hes worth it (ok i would irl but on here....not sure).

Now hes unhappy and handed a transfer request..

This happens way too often unfortunately. If you follow the assman advice of upping their asking fee by too wide a margin, you risk the same outcome.

So I negotiate the offer. Usually I insist on summat ridiculous that doesn't sound in pecuniary terms - eg loan back and %40 of transfer value (not profit), while staying near the player's valuation. They reject it and it seems like the agent doesn't come into it then.

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Similar to me. Near post DC is always doing well and that is with default setpiece. Most of their goals come from shots rather than headers. Lots of rebounds. I imagine a good jumping striker would do very well there.

I found that he was on fire to start in the F9 position, was getting a few tap ins from Lamela runs and the like. Got 17 league goals and top PL scorer my first season - but he's not the most consistent I'm guessing, because he slowed right down. He was on 17 goals from week 32 onwards - and just didn't add any more goals.

The classical counter tactic isn't working so well in my second season. I'd got to such a flying start in my first season, there were times when we were so tight at the back and resilient in matches you just felt like we were getting results off a high. Not so in my second season.

Financial constraints due to the new stadium have forced me to look at regens. I have a 4.5 star rated Argentinian SW/DC coming in. Now, he's 175cm ish, so I can't see me playing him in DC, so I'm tempted to try and see how FM14 handles sweepers / liberos. If there's no invisible line, it might be interesting - Verthongen could be a competent SW while I develop this teenager as a libero.

But his transfer is a good year away so for now I'm tempted to try El Shaarawy at F9 to see what happens.

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Real shame the squad analysis and tactics sections have never been completed. Those are my favourite parts of a lot of threads.

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Real shame the squad analysis and tactics sections have never been completed. Those are my favourite parts of a lot of threads.

Agree, maybe a mod can change it so someone else takes control? Is that even possible?

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Hi Legaldinho,

Loved reading your posts on your Spurs save. I'd love to create a team that is aggressive on winning the ball back high up the pitch and the counter, keeps possession well and solid at the back with a few sprinkles of flair and unpredictability. Much like a lot of people i've read i suppose.

Up to now i've stuck to fluid, attacking tactics but I've been having trouble finding cohesive tactics for my game so am going to take a note from your approach and see how it goes.

I have the formation set up in a similar way can you give any advice on the player instructions as I can't seem to load the screenshots on Cleon's post. Here's what I have:

Team instructions - Balanced, Counter / Push higher up, Stay on feet, Work ball into box, Retain possession, Hassle opponents, Run at defence, Shorter passing.

Sweeper keeper (support) - Distribute to defenders

2 WB (attack) - Cross more often, Run wide with the ball

BLD (defend) - no instructions

CB (defend) - no instructions

DM (support) - Pass it shorter, fewer risky passes

AP (attack) - Dribble more, Roam from position

DLP (support) - Pass it shorter

IF (support) - More direct passes

IF (support) - Get further forward

F9 (support) - No instruction

The above is a base and i'll tweak as I go, but i'd love your and any one else's input.

Thanks!

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I would love to update the first posts. Unfortunately, I am really struggling with Spurs. It's gotten so bad that I just let in 7 goals against Southampton. Once I actually figure things out, I will edit the posts. But right now, it would be a really bad idea to take any of my advice :)

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.............. But right now, it would be a really bad idea to take any of my advice :)

This made me laugh :)

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I would love to update the first posts. Unfortunately, I am really struggling with Spurs. It's gotten so bad that I just let in 7 goals against Southampton. Once I actually figure things out, I will edit the posts. But right now, it would be a really bad idea to take any of my advice :)

Southampton always destroy me to, they just beat me 4-0. I can't defend against that narrow, three AMC tactic at all. And to make matters even worse I can't play with it either!

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Hi Legaldinho,

Loved reading your posts on your Spurs save. I'd love to create a team that is aggressive on winning the ball back high up the pitch and the counter, keeps possession well and solid at the back with a few sprinkles of flair and unpredictability. Much like a lot of people i've read i suppose.

Up to now i've stuck to fluid, attacking tactics but I've been having trouble finding cohesive tactics for my game so am going to take a note from your approach and see how it goes.

I have the formation set up in a similar way can you give any advice on the player instructions as I can't seem to load the screenshots on Cleon's post. Here's what I have:

Team instructions - Balanced, Counter / Push higher up, Stay on feet, Work ball into box, Retain possession, Hassle opponents, Run at defence, Shorter passing.

Sweeper keeper (support) - Distribute to defenders

2 WB (attack) - Cross more often, Run wide with the ball

BLD (defend) - no instructions

CB (defend) - no instructions

DM (support) - Pass it shorter, fewer risky passes

AP (attack) - Dribble more, Roam from position

DLP (support) - Pass it shorter

IF (support) - More direct passes

IF (support) - Get further forward

F9 (support) - No instruction

The above is a base and i'll tweak as I go, but i'd love your and any one else's input.

Thanks!

Main problem with that tactic is I wonder if my great start didn't have more to do with its success, that and the beta me code. I've departed from it in my second season as I was putting in sterile performances. I now play fluid and attack, higher tempo and more often direct. That said, it could be a second season thing. But for me the engine now ruins the complete wingback play, and shorter passing is poor. Very often the final pass will come from an opponent's tackle. Dumb and frustrating.

That said, your tactical set up is different from mine. In the DM position, I had to have someone on D who held up the ball. DM or anchorman, sometimes DLP. In MC I tried to have people going fwd, so no DLP even on support. Almost always a BWM(s) and ADV plm. Finally I always tried to have a bottom centre triangle on D, and at least one A role on each wing. Both your IFs are on support. I put siggy on S but Lamela always on A.

That said, anybody's guess is fine, the ME has killed short passing running at defence sides IMO, until the next patch.

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took me awhile to come up with a tactic i enjoyed myself.

started with picking up shaw/balanta/damiao tried to sell on gomes and ade , gomes went no 1 wanted ade at all tried low offers nothing in end he got loaned out.

playing a 4-1-2-2-1 and a 4-1-1-3-1 with the defensive mid just infront of the left or right central defender depending on who i have playing.

play counter - balanced with stay on feet, hassle opponents, be more expressive, higher tempo, run at defence, shoot on sight, retain possesion and push higher up.

for my 4-1-2-2-1 its usally lloris/friedel, walker/naughton, shaw//balanta/rose, kaboul/dawson/chiri/vert/balanta, capoue/sandro, dembele/paulinho, erikson/holtby/siggy, chad/siggy/lennon/townsend, lamela/townsend, soldado/defoe/damiao

sweeper keeper (support) Distribute to defenders

wing back right (attack) cross more often, cross from deep, cross aim near post, close down more, shoot less often, run wide with ball

wing back left (attack) no intructions

2 x cd (defend) no intructions

dm (defend) pass it shorter, shoot less often

bwm (support) usually shoot more often, close down more, dribble more

ap (attack) roam from position, shoot more often

aml winger (attack) hold up ball, shoot more often, cross near post

amr inside forward (attack) get further forward, roam from position, shoot more often, dribble more

advanced forward (attack) hold up ball, pass it shorter

currently sitting top of prem undefeated with 7 wins, 2 draws and +15 after 9 games, inc wins with 10 man for 82 mins of the game 4-2 away at chelsea, a 1-1 draw with utd at old trafford with 10 men

so tactic is working for me, but im not convinced with the defensive side of the game yet alot of the time the defence will just watch or run away and leave 2 man completly open, is this normal or should i tweak something other then that, im enjoying the passing although sometimes they do stupid passes or just kick it off for a goal kick/try to pass it back from inside the opponents defence when its better to shoot

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Started using Capoue as 2nd choice RB. Working out quite well if you remove all of his Wingback instructions. This means you can swing Naughton over to 2nd choice LB and don't really need to spend lots of money.

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im finding it to be a real good flexible squad this year, with only a few areas that need to be looked at imo, 3rd striker one that will become 1st choice, a left back and a young keeper to have lloris mentor and develop

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Cheers for the feedback. Now played 5 games, 3 wins, 1 loss and a draw. The tactic looks cohesive and i'm having loads of shots on target but tend to be in crowded penalty boxes so their not getting through. I'm rarely getting in behind defenses. My WB's aren't crossing much, probably due to the "Work into box" instruction so i'm looking to take that off. When they do cross it's been poor though and they generally get poor ratings. I'll give your direct approach a go and see how it goes.

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Got caught out in about March, was happily in second (Capital One cup under my belt), still in the FA Cup & Euro Cup when my tactics started to fail badly. Trying to make sure I get 4th now! Nightmare!

EDIT: Contrary to what I said above, I did go on to win the league & the Euro Cup! Happy days! Time to start the dreaded second season.

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can somebody please help! i am playing as spurs and i 11 games in and i am struggling alot i concede so many goals. I play 4 2 3 1 the signings i made was contreao and pastore i thought this would make me title contenders but it seems to made me a mid table team. Has anybody got any tactics to reccomened i use? Thanks

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can somebody please help! i am playing as spurs and i 11 games in and i am struggling alot i concede so many goals. I play 4 2 3 1 the signings i made was contreao and pastore i thought this would make me title contenders but it seems to made me a mid table team. Has anybody got any tactics to reccomened i use? Thanks

The ME is buggy at the moment - defence especially, your best method of defence is attack - try to outscore your opponent. So try a more attack-minded formation.

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