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Defending in FM2014

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First some numbers.

0-2-2-1-2-1-3-3-1-0-1

2-2-1-1-1-2-2-0-1-3-2

1-1-2-1-1-1-2-2-1-3

These series represents my goals conceded per league match in three different saves since i got the full version. As you can see, it's no fun reading. What's particularly troubling is the constant inability to keep the shop shut. Three clean sheets in 32 league games is a pretty shocking stat in my eyes, at least when managing some pretty decent sides (HSV, Inter and Roma respectively... got the sack from both italian clubs, gave up voluntarily at Hamburg).

So, the obvious question: is it me or is it the game?

What do you guys feel about this years edition - are you conceding goals left, right and centre or are your defences doing their job? If it's the latter, could anyone PLEASE give me some clues or hints or directions in how to stop conceding? Anything would be appreciated.

EDIT: I have mainly played around with different versions of 4-2-3-1 / 4-4-1-1, base mentality standard or counter and fluidity balanced or rigid. Trying to keep the instructions few: retain possession, be more disciplined. In short i try to keep it basic when taking over a new club, but basic doesn't seem to cut it anymore.

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not sure if its just me but since i have switched up to my attacking approach with stevenage boro my form has shot up and goals against has gone right down.

i had been taking a sensible approach to pre match, my opponent is better, im away from home, i need to restrict space play narrow, don't get dragged out of posititons and i was getting spanked!!!

out of frustration in an away game at conceding a terrible goal early on i thought screw it and went on the offensive and voila :)

Perhaps its my set up but i cannot get a defensive approach to work in the manner i would expect right now.

I should add this is before the small update si have released today so that possibly may make a difference

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Thanks for the link RT.

However, I wasn't really looking for critique of any of my particular tactical setups, I was more interested in gauing the general view on defending amongst fellow FM tacticians. But maybe that's not what this forum is for.

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I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of everyone on defending in general in FM14 - particularly any specific tactical insights related to roles/duties/instructions. Has anyone tried to set up a tactic focused purely on a clean sheet? If so, how successful has it been?

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I think the general view is that it's tough. I started a new save last night, and I'm doing ok defensively so far - I've kept clean sheets in maybe 50% of games - using what is a fairly attacking system.

The ME is of course being looked at. RT above will tell you that the best way to deal with this is to use a tactic to give your defence a helping hand, particularly your full backs. On a philosophical level (but not a practical level), I dislike that approach - a (how shall I put this nicely? shaky) ME shouldn't be the over-riding thing that dictates your tactics, but I think that conversation has been had to death.

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I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of everyone on defending in general in FM14 - particularly any specific tactical insights related to roles/duties/instructions. Has anyone tried to set up a tactic focused purely on a clean sheet? If so, how successful has it been?

I had a go. Probably did a terrible job of it, and ended up just trying to attack instead.

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I cannot stop conceding. First season as Schalke I won 45% of my games, I spoke to my board 5 times and managed, somehow, to retain my job. That season I finished 10th, and lost every cup.

Then, the next season I didn't win anything and finished fourth by the skin of my teeth. What helped me was my strikers (both amazing) scored an insane amount of goals between them. This season they are definitely not in the same form. I pretty much expect to have to score 3 goals in order to stand a chance of winning, because one or two just doesn't cut it.

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I have two saves on the go. I've parked a Man Utd save in which I conceded 8 in 26 league games.

On another save (Salisbury City), things are tougher and we've conceded 10 in 11, but are unbeaten in those 11 games with a media prediction of 16th in the Skrill Premier.

Both saves are using a 3-1-4-2, which is my preferred formation since FM13, so I didn't have to change my plans to counter the defensive issues with the ME at the moment.

SI are making great strides to address these defensive issues, so hopefully we'll see some strong progress sooner rather than later.

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SI are making great strides to address these defensive issues, so hopefully we'll see some strong progress sooner rather than later.

Are you talking about the wonky full back ratings, or are there other defense issues that SI has acknowledged?

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Thanks btw for the responses, you all.

It almost seems that the best solution for a leaky defence is not to actually work at the defending, but go the opposite way and try to out-score the opponent. Interesting, but not very intuitive. And quite sad if you like to play counter football based on a tight, deep defence.

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Are you talking about the wonky full back ratings, or are there other defense issues that SI has acknowledged?

The ratings should be fixed with the update released earlier today.

There are a couple of underlying defensive issues which are being investigated at the moment, and they will hopefully be resolved in the near future.

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The ratings should be fixed with the update released earlier today.

That's nice.

There are a couple of underlying defensive issues which are being investigated at the moment, and they will hopefully be resolved in the near future.

Very interesting to hear. Thanks for the update. Guess I'll just try some gung ho footie until then...

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What I really can't fathom is this: regardless of my instructions, regardless of my formation (really.), my defence seems hell-bent on collapsing back and standing in a line about 4 yards in front of my goalkeeper during every single attack that goes down one flank or the other. If I have more than one defensive player in midfield (IE a ball winning central midfielder plus a defensive midfielder), I end up with SIX players standing in a line, doing absolutely nothing, every time a player attacks down the wing.

All the winger has to do is cut the ball back diagonally to midfield and there's a free shot, every single time. The players also take an age to notice that the ball is no longer on the wing, and just stand around listlessly for about a second before they seem to go "Oh yeah! We're playing football. Right! Better do something, then" and charge out, as one, often in vaguely random directions, with nobody actually pressing the ball. (Doesn't matter if I have them set to hassle, either. All that appears to do is cause them to kick the other team in the gonads repeatedly until someone gets sent off.)

I can't understand it as the AI doesn't do this at all, and defends relatively sanely, aside from the often-noted issues with fullbacks.

The only common element in all of the tactics I've tried is that I play two centre-backs and a regista in the DM slot.

Also, this wasn't occurring in the Beta. In the Beta, my defence was quite awesome... and it's the same save.

This also wasn't so much of a problem until the patch tonight - prior, the rest of my team was doing okay anyway, and we were scoring goals... but now, tweaks to the ME mean that I have to redesign my entire system for the 239382938298th time this week, so it's a little more annoying.

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Well, guess I. Just. Can't. Defend. Period.

Started a new game and stupidly decided to manage my favourite team, Spurs. After two hours of pre-season it was finally time to let the good times roll. Season opener at WHL against Crystal Palace. Should be a piece of cake, no? Worst team in the league, predicted for an instant return to the championship.

But obviously good enough to repeatedly ridicule us. After five minutes, we were 0-1 down. Full time, after two injuries + one red card to our players and at least one shot against the bar, same score. Fortunately I had saved the game just before, so decided to re-run the match a couple of times, using the exact same tactics (4-2-3-1 control/balanced), line up, player instructions and initial team talk (ASSERTIVE "you're the favourites, do it for the fans, bla bla"). Here are the results.

0 - 1, 10-3 shots on target, Sandro sent off for ugly challenge

1 - 1, 9-3 sot

2 - 2, 10-6 sot, 2-0 woodwork

2 - 1, 13-10 sot

1 - 2, 6-7 sot, Lloris sent off for handling outside the box...

So, five attempts, zero nil nada clean sheets. One victory, oddly enough in the game where CP had the mosts shots on target. Of course five games is a small sample size, but something tells me the trend wouldn't change with more repetitions. I can think of three possible reasons for these results.

1. My tactics just aren't good enough. But if this setup can't do a job at home against the worst team in the league, I don't know what can.

2. The ME is wonky. But should it really be this wonky, when the game is released and all?

3. The old manager reputation problem "we struggle to perform cause you aren't famous enough, *cry* *cry*" is having an influence. My background is set to 'professional footballer'. That should be enough for a club of Tottenhams stature, no? And if it isn't, the consequence that the players should punish you for not being respectable enough by conceding at least one goal per game feels quite absurd.

EDIT: Well, ain't that funny. Ran the game a sixth time, just to check my assmans team talk feedback. Same tactics, same settings, same everything. Won 5-0. Soldado did a hat trick. Dikcagoi sent off. Plus we hit the woodwork three times. And the team talk feedback? Pre match: half the team "Felt the manager lacked credibility." Half/full time: almost every player "Seemed to let the feedback go to his head."

TLDR: So just maybe the answer to a leaky defence is this: start as an ex-international player, no less.

Maybe I'll try a new save tomorrow with such a background. But if that fixes the defensive problems it's gonna feel real stupid. And someone should have pointed that out.

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So frustrating spending HOUUURS of logical work and being crashed from bugs and unlogical situations.-

How difficult is it to have a match engine that calculates the situations and gives you the result?

Why my quick good in defence full back is marking like a chicken? Good morale, good reaction in team talks.

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I agree. I'm finding it extremely hard to keep a clean sheet. I hope this gets looked at as it's extremely frustrating. I know people may come out and blame individuals tactics but I believe there is a much deeper issue with this.

Sort it out please!!

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I was using a 3-5-1-2 tactic with Liverpool in Beta which got me to 4th in my first season. After the latest patch, my defence went to shambles despite not changing the tactic.

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And when you find a new (unlogical) way not to conceed there will be another patch that will ruin your time.

Sorry for this but i am so frustrated because most of us dont have much time to have fun with the game.

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If you want to moan in a constructive way then use the feedback threads. Keep the threads in this forum for helping and discussing things rather than moaning, this forum is not for that. Let's keep all the threads in here for those who want help or want to share how something works etc.

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My team is basically the lead actress in a bukkake film.

I've conceded no less than 24 shots per game. Granted a lot of them are wide/over, but it's not sustainable in my eyes. Is it true that attack is the best form of defence?

tactics_zpsd91fbc81.jpg

is my formation. Any help is appreciated.

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Deisler - At a glance it looks like you're asking your team to sit very deep and stay narrow/compact. You're practically inviting even the most patient of opposition to take long shots. Unless you're conceding a lot of goals I wouldn't worry about it as I'd imagine a lot of those shots are from distance. If you still want to change it just removing the instructions to drop deeper and stand off opponents will go some way to reducing the shot count - may not reduce the amount of 'good' shots though.

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Im playing an attacking, fluid 433 with a similar shape to Deisler's above and the majority of my games just seem to be the opposition spraying it around my box. Im not playing deep but my whole defence and midfield seem to drop into my box. Is anyone else having this issue?

Finding the game impossible at the moment, think im going to give up until its updated.

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Having some real issues at the moment. Have just finished my first season in the Conference Premier with Leamington (after being promoted with the best defensive record), and conceded 111 goals. Luckily we also scored 97 and finished 18th.

The three biggest issues I've found (aside from full backs) are as follows:

- Giving the ball away. The three most common examples are my centre-halves heading the ball over my two CMs to the opposition's, wide players trying to play it square and turning it over, and players hoofing it forward to no one.

- Players making a block or a tackle, but then stopping or turning away from the ball. This creates a lot of situations where an attacker goes into the box, gets dispossessed, but then regains the ball in the same dangerous area.

- Centre-halves being unable to read the ball in flight, causing a lot of opposition hoofs and goal kicks to drop to a striker's feet.

My set-up is as follows:

2damvdf.jpg

Now I am far from any sort of tactical guru - my approach is usually to tinker until I find something that seems to work, and stick with it (aside from changing team instructions from time to time). Is anyone able to spot some glaring errors with how we're set-up?

I'm trying to ascertain how much of my struggles are tactical and how much of it is match engine issues.

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What I really can't fathom is this: regardless of my instructions, regardless of my formation (really.), my defence seems hell-bent on collapsing back and standing in a line about 4 yards in front of my goalkeeper during every single attack that goes down one flank or the other. If I have more than one defensive player in midfield (IE a ball winning central midfielder plus a defensive midfielder), I end up with SIX players standing in a line, doing absolutely nothing, every time a player attacks down the wing.

All the winger has to do is cut the ball back diagonally to midfield and there's a free shot, every single time. The players also take an age to notice that the ball is no longer on the wing, and just stand around listlessly for about a second before they seem to go "Oh yeah! We're playing football. Right! Better do something, then" and charge out, as one, often in vaguely random directions, with nobody actually pressing the ball. (Doesn't matter if I have them set to hassle, either. All that appears to do is cause them to kick the other team in the gonads repeatedly until someone gets sent off.)

I can't understand it as the AI doesn't do this at all, and defends relatively sanely, aside from the often-noted issues with fullbacks.

The only common element in all of the tactics I've tried is that I play two centre-backs and a regista in the DM slot.

Also, this wasn't occurring in the Beta. In the Beta, my defence was quite awesome... and it's the same save.

This also wasn't so much of a problem until the patch tonight - prior, the rest of my team was doing okay anyway, and we were scoring goals... but now, tweaks to the ME mean that I have to redesign my entire system for the 239382938298th time this week, so it's a little more annoying.

My game has been exactly the same as this. The opposition just knock the ball around the box and take turns shooting.

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So, I finally made it to new years in a save without giving up or getting the sack. No thanks to the defence though, despite managing a team (QPR) with tons of experience and arguably the best defenders in the league. On the contrary, it was obvious from the start that if I wanted to win games, we would have to score at least twice. Our defenders have ratings bordering a bad joke, except for good old Richard Dunne.

8qot.th.jpg

v2xi.th.jpg

At the moment we're sitting in the play off places, but I'm not really sure I wanna get promoted, since the PL teams would just spank us senseless. (Evidence needed? Got Swansea in the league cup. Lost 2 against... wait for it... 8. At Loftus Road.)

Sad thing is that a better defence is obviously possible, at least for the AI teams. Only wish I knew their secrets.

1egj.th.jpg

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Before the final beta update: (or before FB's got borked)

1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, 2, 0, 1, 1, 3, 0, 0, 0, 3, 1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1, 2, 0, 2, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1

Which, is about right.

After update:

2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2.

I stopped there and then, home or away the consistency of the goals is higher on both sides.

EDIT STAT ATTACK:

PRE PATCH: 0.7 conceded (i.e. 25 goals in 34 games)

POST: 1.7 conceded (i.e. 17 goals in 10 games)

My scoring record is mostly 1-3 etc before the patch but is now mostly 2-3 with 3 being the common score.

Although the amount of games is limited after the patch, I think the comparison with the first set of numbers makes it obvious they're out of 'sync' so to speak. Usually the first set of numbers is how my games go, I tend to be very strong defensively and moderately good up front. Sometimes I'm useless up front, but the common factor for me throughout 14 and in previous instalments is my defence is brutally effective. At the moment, they're a bit, well crap.

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Whilst we're posting numbers, here are some from my Salisbury City save.

Pre-last ME update goals conceded.

1, 0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 3, 3, 0

Post ME update

0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 3

Smaller sample, but I've gone from 1.1 conceded per game to 0.8.

The difficulty of fixtures obviously is a big factor, but I've seen no detrimental impact at all.

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My team is basically the lead actress in a bukkake film.

My team is the lead actress in a scat film.

Only thing I can do is wait for them to fix it so my team can be an actress in a romantic comedy.

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Lets be honest, the game needs sorted and it needs sorted now! Ive given up playing until the get on top of things.

Please save that sort of insightful comment for the General Discussion forum, perhaps with a hint of constructive feedback too?

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Having some real issues at the moment. Have just finished my first season in the Conference Premier with Leamington (after being promoted with the best defensive record), and conceded 111 goals. Luckily we also scored 97 and finished 18th.

Slightly off-topic, but I have just started a game with Leamington, how the heck did you manage to get them promoted from the Conference North in the first season?!? No money, unable to sign any players or any staff. Were you able to use the 4-2-3-1 straight off the bat or did you evolve to this once you got to the Conference Premier?

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This is beginning to drive me crazy.

Finally made it with a club, QPR this time, to the christmas period without giving up or getting the sack. No thanks to the defence though. On the contrary, it became clear early on that the only reliable way to win any games was to score at least twice. And this with arguably the best and most experienced defenders in the league. But their ratings, with exception for good ol' Dunne, have been terrible. And yes, this game was started after the latest patch that was supposed to fix the full back ratings.

8qot.th.jpg

v2xi.th.jpg

Less than a month after these screenshots I got the boot. When Kranjcar, Phillips and Johnson lost their goal scoring touch, the outcome was inevitable.

Funny thing is that clean sheets obviously aren't impossible to achieve. The computer does it all the time. Only wish i knew their secrets.

1egj.th.jpg

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Slightly off-topic, but I have just started a game with Leamington, how the heck did you manage to get them promoted from the Conference North in the first season?!? No money, unable to sign any players or any staff. Were you able to use the 4-2-3-1 straight off the bat or did you evolve to this once you got to the Conference Premier?

It took me two seasons to get them promoted, and I only had the issues with defending from the final beta update.

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Ive actually tryed everything posted here to try to make my fullbacks performance improve with no results, I think imma stop the save here and wait for the patch.. its not like its unplayable, but board is starting to get angry because I spent most of the budget in a left fullback who has an averange 6.30 performance (this was before I knew about the fullback bug)

I have to admit that after applying the instructions they did improve a little bit, but im still conceding those goals from short crosses or the winger just running in near my fullback and scoring.. But worst part is that the blame is always for the fullback, so mostly everytime i concede this way (most matches) my fullback's rating drops to around 5.8.. then IF and only IF no more goals are conceded it may go up to around 6.5 max.. if another goal get conceded fullback always gets a rating of around 4.8-5.5..

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this game is quite buggy to be honest. before a patch: cannot score from corners. after the patch: I conceit at least 1 goal every other game thx to corners.....

it has come to a point where I have started saving my games just to test things out reloading games.....and the conclusion is that there is no logic whatsoever. I have a 66% percent change of winning, yet if I reload the same game 20 times I only win 4 times, which is 20%...... and yes I will get a speech about my tactics, but I have used the same tactic every single time. I played at home, placed 2nd against a team that were 16th.....

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Defensive phase doesn't work. No doubt about it. My defensive players seems classic dancers.....no pressing, no tackle, no diagonal, the lines of players are always disrupted, the central defenders watching attackers flying in goal without any type of reaction, full backs desn't defend at all. A big failure. We want back sliders because the TC is a big failure; it wasn't good before but we had sliders but now tactic part of the game is a joke. Also attacking side is buggy......no more passing into space...only cross.......i'm a player from first edition of the game and every year we lost something.......and don't try to suggest that i'm not able to play.......i used sliders and worked like charms........

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Defensive phase doesn't work. No doubt about it. My defensive players seems classic dancers.....no pressing, no tackle, no diagonal, the lines of players are always disrupted, the central defenders watching attackers flying in goal without any type of reaction, full backs desn't defend at all. A big failure. We want back sliders because the TC is a big failure; it wasn't good before but we had sliders but now tactic part of the game is a joke. Also attacking side is buggy......no more passing into space...only cross.......i'm a player from first edition of the game and every year we lost something.......and don't try to suggest that i'm not able to play.......i used sliders and worked like charms........

Jesus, where do you start with a comment like this :D

There are a few defensive issues, but these are nothing to do with the absence of sliders.

Tactics Creator is the direction the game is going in, so you have the choice of embracing it or sticking with FM13.

If you want to post a general rant, please take it elsewhere.

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Jesus, where do you start with a comment like this :D

There are a few defensive issues, but these are nothing to do with the absence of sliders.

Tactics Creator is the direction the game is going in, so you have the choice of embracing it or sticking with FM13.

If you want to post a general rant, please take it elsewhere.

ok, i will post on Call of Duty forum ok?.....:applause:....you are ruining the last managerial game and the only words you can say are 'posting elsewhere'?...i'm speaking about tactic.....and tactic side of the game is heavily bugged..... and i don't want speak about animations.....defenders seems paralitic.......last year we had to wait 3 months for playing a decent game.....this year we have only a very limited instrument, TC, for make tactics....and the results seems to be very random.....good work fellows........:applause:...try to check one thing for example......i checked 'hard tackle' in team instructions than i went to player instructions and .....surprise..... hard tackle is not checked...than i check it also for single players.....but it seems not logic.....:confused:

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ok, i will post on Call of Duty forum ok?.....:applause:....you are ruining the last managerial game and the only words you can say are 'posting elsewhere'?...i'm speaking about tactic.....and tactic side of the game is heavily bugged..... and i don't want speak about animations.....defenders seems paralitic.......last year we had to wait 3 months for playing a decent game.....this year we have only a very limited instrument, TC, for make tactics....and the results seems to be very random.....good work fellows........:applause:...try to check one thing for example......i checked 'hard tackle' in team instructions than i went to player instructions and .....surprise..... hard tackle is not checked...than i check it also for single players.....but it seems not logic.....:confused:

The tactics are not "heavily bugged".

The Match Engine has a few issues but the game is eminently playable.

All of the outstanding issues are known and in the process of being fixed, and SI's track record with FM13 in particular proves that they are highly effective at resolving problems.

Your misplaced contempt for the TC is clouding your judgement.

As I said earlier, embrace the Tactics Creator or move on; and take your repeated full stops with you.

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Well, I'm out.

Made one last desperate attempt to find some defensive happiness in this game, but no. Took over Fulham and tried to shape the team like Hodgson would do: defending in banks of four with emphasis on team work and a solid structure. I want to frustrate the opponents with a team that's hard to break down, I don't care if the prize to pay is a rigid attack that goes nowhere. Hell, I wouldn't care if we're more boring to watch than the CL winning Chelsea team. But this can't be done in this ME. At least not by me.

Pre-season went well. Several clean sheets, although against lousy opposition. The fixture computer was sort of kind to us, West Ham at the Cottage in the PL opener. It took Downing a whopping 11 minutes to put on his best Messi disguise, waltz straight through our defence and find the net. Somehow we won 4-3 in the end, saved by the brilliant Berbatov. Ripped to shreds against West Brom away the next game, 1-4. And finally, the last straw, Arsenal at home. We took the lead, hurray, but lost, of course. 2-4 the final score, with their first t-h-r-e-e goals a result of corners aimed at the near post.

Wanna know the best part? One piece of feedback from the assman during the game is this beautiful work of poetry: "We have multiple players marking our near post at corners, one man should be enough there." Why yes, mr assistant, it REALLY SHOULD BE.

Think I'm going back to FM12 for now (never bought FM13). Unlike some other posters in this thread I really appreciate what SI is trying to do with the TC, but at the moment this game for me is broken. Unplayable. 100% frustration, 0% enjoyment. Yep, that's a whine, not one bit constructive, but tactically I'm obviously beyond saving.

As I said earlier, embrace the Tactics Creator or move on; and take your repeated full stops with you.

:lol:

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Well, I'm out.

Made one last desperate attempt to find some defensive happiness in this game, but no. Took over Fulham and tried to shape the team like Hodgson would do: defending in banks of four with emphasis on team work and a solid structure. I want to frustrate the opponents with a team that's hard to break down, I don't care if the prize to pay is a rigid attack that goes nowhere. Hell, I wouldn't care if we're more boring to watch than the CL winning Chelsea team. But this can't be done in this ME. At least not by me.

Having played abit with Fulham this time round, I'm happy to take a look if you post up the screenshots and see if there is any way I can help make it work abit better. I also think that like Fulham this season in real life, FM Fulham are a tricky proposition to manage, because their squad is quite behind the times in it's composition, as it features almost completely specialists. Taraabt, Ruiz, and Berbatov, all brilliant creatively, but ask them to defend, no chance. Bent, classic number 9, no real want to defend or creating, Parker, decent anchor man/ BWM, but ask him to pick a pass and he's stumped, Boateng pretty similar and all the centrebacks are tall, lumpy and slow and are poor with the ball at their feet, (okay in FM terms they are probably rigid philosophy centrebacks rather than limited defenders, however in comparison to fluid philosophy centrebacks or Ball Playing defenders) they are pretty dedicated defensive players. T

This means that Fulham have a significant issue to overcome on FM, because as pressing high is pretty much out of the question, as their attacking players just wouldn't do it and their defence is too slow, so they have to sit deep. This has its own problems though, coming back to the prior paragraph, as teams who press high against them successfully can keep them hemmed pretty successfully as they cannot pass their way out, due to the defensive side of the team as I mentioned lacking in that area. This means you have to pretty direct football which Fulham don't really do well because all their AMs are delicate little technical types who aren't particularly great in the air.

Now before I moved on from them, having decided finally to see whether I can manage to pull off the dafuge challenge, I thought of the best way to set the up against a high press would be a very rigid, narrow and deep 4-2-3-1 which sits deep and tries to counter attack by playing direct to Berbatov as a Treq in the AM position, with the attacking trio set to pass shorter so that he can who can lay it off to either Taarabt or Ruiz, or can play a through ball to Bent, and try to generate some attacking momentum that way.

Whereas if your opponent also is sitting deep and there's no space in behind for Bent to use his pace, I was thinking playing Berbatov up front in a 4-1-2-2-1 with him pulling deep to allow Taarabt and Ruiz the space to operate in the channels from wide, and playing slightly more aggressively probably 'standard' instead of counter.

This hopefully should provide some ideas, but they aren't easy to set up defensively because their attacking half doesn't really care much for it.

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First of all, RTHerringbone, you're doing a great job moderating the forum through the always traumatic first month since the release of the game.

Personally, I have found some small issues with the defending, though since the first Beta, I think a lot of them have been better. I play as relegation candidate in the Croatian league, and doing quite well, in spite of having some pretty sorry defenders. Having said that, I play with 3 at the back and a lot of people seem to be complaining about fullbacks. One solution i would suggest is focusing more on Opposition Instructions. I know a lot of people don't use them at all, but they can be quite helpful to give a bit of a boost to particular areas you are quite vulnerable in. For example, rather than closing down a tricky winger, perhaps tight marking him with "easy" tackling can help. I have used it when I had functioning fullbacks and found that rather than overcommit into silly lunges, they would stick to the winger while staying on their feet.

The one thing I've noticed is that the AI is more ruthless in punishing gaps in your tactic - again and again. So if, for instance, you are playing with pushed up attacking wingers and not compensating for your vulnerablility on the flanks by OI's or specific instructions, you will be punished repeatedly.

The other thing is the interpretations of strategy and philosophy. For example, there is not much use in playing "counter" if lacking the pace, decision making, and defending solidity (as well as attacking incisiveness) to execute it. Counterattacking is a lot more "attacking" than it may seem. For example, as my team lacks pace but is full of big batter rams, playing a "Standard" strategy, with uinstructions to drop deeper and play more directly worked much better than counterattacking.

When I first got this version, I was overwhelmed by the individual instructions, and my first instinct was to try as many of them as possible. However, if you want to keep things more solid defensively, it's better to keep things simple, especially when building a tactic through trial and error. Also, it seems the AI in this version is more dynamic and changes strategy and style more throughout the match. At least in the beginning, it's taking me a little longer to go through a match in this version than before.

About halfway through the season I'm sitting in third with a team that was supposed to be relegated, and while there are still some problems, I think this system of play has a lot of potential. I guess hoping for a game that is complete may be a bit ambitious, but this addiction to patches seems to make people (including myself) look for problems and throw up their hands as soon as their tactic/team does what it's not "supposed to" do.

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A couple of things I've tried that have seemed to work a bit better, from posts in this forum:

1) Changed my fullbacks to wingbacks on defend duty

2) Use a team shout of 'stand off opponents' and close down individuals using opposition instructions.

Not perfect by any stretch but it's an improvement.

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I hope update us this week for defending despite what mods say the game is simply unplayable and the defending is worse than sunday league I also know shooting is a problem as my players shoot like goal is a mile wide I have boycotted it till they sorted out so far I am dissapointed with that but I feel it will be fixed

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I can understand peoples frustration as they have paid for a complete game but I do like gameplay and I do know si are quick to fix...there bound be issues just got be patient

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Could anyone help me with this? I'm playing at home (Dagenham and Redbridge Vs Bristol Rovers), 4-1-2-2-1 formation (christmas tree) with attacking philosophy, yet off a throw in I have 7 people in the 6 yard box leaving two of their players free on the edge of our area? They inevitably score, but can anyone suggest why my players are all standing so deep?

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