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(14.1.4) 4-2-3-1 Union Berlin - help with defensive problems

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I'm playing 4-2-3-1 formation with which I had great sucsess on version 14.1.3 although with much stronger team than I'm currently managing.

I'm playing with Union Berlin in german 2.Bundesliga, and while the team is not ManUtd it is still quite a solid squad for this level of football. I will basically explain my team and player instructions and say that my biggest problem now is defending. My defenders get dragged out of position too easy. I mean central defenders.

So, my team instructions are:

Control/Fluid; Work ball into box, Play out of defence, Shorter passing, Higher tempo

or:

Standard/Fluid; Work ball into box, Play out of defence, retain possesion, lower tempo

Player roles are:

GK/defend

FBR/support

FBL/attack

CDL/cover defend

CDR/stopper defend

MCL/central mid defend

MCR/deep lying plym support

AMC/att midfielder attack

AMR/winger attack

AML/inside fwd support

FC/ complete fwd support

In attacking phases I am OK, but when defending my CD's are getting all over the place, they will roam from their positions only for the attacker to play through ball behind them for an easy chance.

I tried to lower my MCL to DMCL position and it is better but still not good enough. I also made my CD/stopper to CD/defend for him not to close down so aggresive but still not good. When on control my D-line is to high up the pitch, even with stand off more instruction I am getting raped by through balls.

I'd like some advice how to make my team less vulnerable on this through balls. I've played 9 games in the league and conceded 12 goals. I scored 17 and I am sitting on 3rd position with 5 wins,3 draws and 1 loss. Good results there, but I am not at all happy with my defensive look.

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I am having the same problem. I play with 2 CD/Defend and they seem to both be playing as stoppers. I don't have any insturctions for them, but one gets dragged towards the ball and other doesn't react in time to cover the runner. I have even played about with the defensive line, but teams still manage to thread through balls to the on running striker or attacking midfielder. I did wonder whether my problem was, that I have instructed my team to hassle opponents.

I did forget to add this. I did have some degree of success by narrowing the width of my team, but then got hit down the flanks more often.

I will be looking for any hints just like you Luka_.

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I did wonder whether my problem was, that I have instructed my team to hassle opponents.

Hassle Opponents maximises closing down across the team, so if that is used, it will certainly see players more willing to break from their usual position to close down players.

I wonder if people are experiencing issues as they are still using tactics built for 14.1.3?

14.1.3 was weedy defensively, so you had to apply aggressive instructions like Player Instructions of Close Down More, or the Team Instruction of Hassle Opponents.

That sort of Instruction isn't a necessity on 14.1.4 which is far more robust defensively.

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I wonder if people are experiencing issues as they are still using tactics built for 14.1.3?

14.1.3 was weedy defensively, so you had to apply aggressive instructions like Player Instructions of Close Down More, or the Team Instruction of Hassle Opponents.

That sort of Instruction isn't a necessity on 14.1.4 which is far more robust defensively.

No this is a new tactic. Ever since I have added this to the tactic, I have seen really good results. However, I might try and adapt my tactic to player instructions and avoid the defence paring from the closing down. This is my setup:

My 4-4-2 is working really well in the Championship with Barnsley. It looks a like this:

GK defend

FB defend CB defend CB defend FB defend

DW support DLP defend DLP support WM attack

DLF support T attack

The team instructions I use are hassle opponents and then will watch the first 20 or so minutes of a game to determine the width and defensive line of the team.

I also use a Fluid, Standard philosophy.

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No this is a new tactic. Ever since I have added this to the tactic, I have seen really good results. However, I might try and adapt my tactic to player instructions and avoid the defence paring from the closing down. This is my setup:

My 4-4-2 is working really well in the Championship with Barnsley. It looks a like this:

GK defend

FB defend CB defend CB defend FB defend

DW support DLP defend DLP support WM attack

DLF support T attack

The team instructions I use are hassle opponents and then will watch the first 20 or so minutes of a game to determine the width and defensive line of the team.

I also use a Fluid, Standard philosophy.

See what happens if you take Hassle Opponents off, it should reduce the DCs wandering off to close down players.

I've seen this DC issue mentioned a few times, so it would be good to know if it just needs a simple fix like this to avoid it.

An alternative way to achieve a form of pressing is to just Push Higher Up, as a higher line, allied to the default zonal marking, means that your players should be closer to the AI players. This means the zonal marking will kick in further up the pitch, thus achieving a sort of Press.

As ever, there's an element of risk and reward. If you do this, you increase the likelihood of a ball over the top exploiting the space at the back.

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See what happens if you take Hassle Opponents off, it should reduce the DCs wandering off to close down players.

I've seen this DC issue mentioned a few times, so it would be good to know if it just needs a simple fix like this to avoid it.

An alternative way to achieve a form of pressing is to just Push Higher Up, as a higher line, allied to the default zonal marking, means that your players should be closer to the AI players. This means the zonal marking will kick in further up the pitch, thus achieving a sort of Press.

As ever, there's an element of risk and reward. If you do this, you increase the likelihood of a ball over the top exploiting the space at the back.

I was tinkering until 2am this morning. I had to drag myself to bed, as I am 'working' this morning*. I will try this and see what happens.

*must do some work now.

Just out of interest, what do you think to my setup?

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If your defenders are leaving their position it means they are overloaded and need more defensive help. With a better team your defensive problems aren't as obvious since most of the game you are in control, but with a weaker team this really exposes your defensive flaws.

Try setting both your CMs to DMs and use Push Higher/Offside trap with defend/defend to keep your defence in line. Your attack won't be as potent though so if you want to keep that part then train this as another tactic and switch to it if you notice your defence getting hammered.

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Just out of interest, what do you think to my setup?

Looks perfectly sensible to me.

Pretty similar to a 4-2-3-1 I have been using, we just have a different Role out wide, and up front.

EDIT - actually I was looking at settings luka_ posted!

Yours looks as if it could be improved in a few areas, but as you say it is winning you games and you're happy, it doesn't need to be changed for the sake of it.

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I am noticing that DC on cover duty will run to close down the attacker and leave huge hole behind himself and the attacker will simply put a through ball in the open space. The other DC will not at all run to cover this huge hole. This is happening too often and without logical reason. Because if a DC is on cover than he should sit in his space and wait for the attacker to come to him and not run and leave the position. Also I did say that I put one MC to DMC position to counter this and it works better but still to many instances of defender leaving his space for no reason to do so. I really think there is something wrong with this. Also as I said the D line is now really high on control mentallity.

Any advice how to set up this tactic with 2 DMC's? What roles and instructions and how to make AMC,AMR and AML to not be far away from these two DMC's...not to have huge hole in the middle of the park? I never managed to make that version of this formation work. I used to always play 4-5-1, with 2 MC's and 1 DMC but in FM14 I managed to make 4-2-3-1 work and since it is my favourite formation and I have players for it I don't want to change formation.

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Hassle Opponents maximises closing down across the team, so if that is used, it will certainly see players more willing to break from their usual position to close down players.

I wonder if people are experiencing issues as they are still using tactics built for 14.1.3?

14.1.3 was weedy defensively, so you had to apply aggressive instructions like Player Instructions of Close Down More, or the Team Instruction of Hassle Opponents.

That sort of Instruction isn't a necessity on 14.1.4 which is far more robust defensively.

My tactic was built on 14.1.3. But I think it is quite logical set up, so it has to work also on 14.1.4..don't you agree? Also on 14.1.3 I did have Hassle opponents and Push higher up which I don't use now. I had my DC's performing great in 14.1.3..one on stopper and other on cover. They were Jones and Doria, quite better than Puncec and Stuff though :D.. But still all I want to achieve here is for my DC's to hold their positions and not leave holes behind them. It seems like majority of AI chances against me comes from through balls through the middle.

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I literally have no idea why you are seeing this strange stuff as I've not seen it once.

There are a few things which would influence this sort of behaviour, and if you have none applied, then it sounds like a bug.

The things that might contribute to this are:

1. Team Instruction of Hassle Opponents

2. Player Instruction of Close Down More

3. Player Instruction of Specific Man Marking - with DCs this is just a strictly off limits option!

4. Some weird combination of opposition instructions

5. Possible PPM, although this isn't really likely

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It's mostly from AMC to either their CF or to the wings where their winger or IF just goes on 1 on1 from the side. Or combinations from their attackers if they play two upfront. When I play against formation with two attackers I always play with DMC as I have no chance if I leave them to my two DC's..they get destroyed without extra cover.

I'll check out opposition instructions..might be the probleme there now that you mentioned it..If opposition AMC has close down opp inst..and I play without DMC might be my DC goes to close down more agressivly. I'll see tonight.

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Where are the opponent through balls coming from mostly? Is it a pass from the opponent AMC to their AML/AMR? DLF to AF? IF to AF?

When this has happened to me, one of the central strikers comes short and then feeds the ball through. Even when playing against one striker, he feeds to the IF or wingers.

I am going to take hassle opponents off and see if it works.

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If the opponent has an AM and you are not compressing your lines they have too much space and time to make that perfect pass. If you want to play a 4-2-3-1 without a DM, then try setting Push Higher Up and Play Offside Trap.

Your Fluid philosophy may be contributing to your defensive problems. Your team is split between an attacking and a defensive mentality depending on their position. Anyone in AM/FC line = attacking, anyone in CD/DM line is defending with CM line depending on their role. So your CM(d) would be classed as defensive but I'm not sure about your DLP(s). Worst comes to worst you only have 5 defenders and if they have time on the ball then they are likely to be able to overload your defence and again pick out a player with a pass.

The CM(d) does not close down much and as he's on one side he may not be able to help the other. Especially considering your Wingers won't help as much in defence, it's likely that if the opposition fullbacks push up with their wingers then your flanks are overloaded too.

Against 2 up front I'd definitely play with D-D even with a DM.

Just some thoughts.

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It's OK now. In opposition instructions I make sure no one gets "close down always". Also my CM/D is moved to DM/D position.

I'm 3 points on top of the league and have 4 tough fixtures to go. I'm so close to promotion now, but my team is really struggling in the last few games, I hope we get through in this remaining games.

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