bababooey

Apparently I still Don't Know What I'm Doing...

72 posts in this topic

I don't quite understand what the issue is right now. We're simply just lucky.. Winning / drawing games while losing possession consistently 30, 35, 40%. Passing has been hovering around 70-75% too.

Leverkusen save, first season. 1st in the Bundesliga after 16 matches. Started the year off great, when through a rough period, and have since been inconsistent. Barely qualified for the round of 16 in the CL in a decent group (arsenal, milan, anderlecht). The way to sum up the season so far: inconsistent (which always happens to my teams in this game).

The issue is simple, we're not having any of the ball. I've lost count with how many games against, quite frankly, crap teams (braunschweigh, mainz, frieburg, etc) they keep 60+ % possession, and 80+ % passing, yet we can go to Dortmund with the same tactics and hold them off for a 1-1 draw while disturbing their passing and possession.

I know that small teams will work hard to deny space, I know bigger teams will leave some space as they attack, but that doesn't explain small teams sitting on the shoulder of my defense hitting through balls.

I am constantly caught between playing higher up the pitch + pressing / sitting back and standing off. Why? Because these teams are constantly holding the ball, and so I figure okay lets go get them and so we play a higher line to get them. As a result, it usually doesn't change much and then they'll just hit a through ball. So then if we decide to sit back a bit, the other teams just run at us and get into the box even easier.

So about our tactics. The main idea is to play a strong counter-attack. We want to win the ball high(er) up the pitch, and counter into space. I don't want to sit back and soak up pressure, as we've got really great tacklers and there is no need to do that. The team is very good with passing, and has unfortunately a low work rate. We don't have true wingers so we want to use inside forward, to link up with our lone striker, giving us a sort of.. 3 strikers in attack. Our wingbacks need to push up to support the play out wide, but they're inconsistent and frustrating at times. I have to use them in this manner because like I said our advanced wide men are not wingers, they're inside forwards.

We're using a rigid philosophy with a counter mentality.

Here's our set up:

Ub1ftqq.jpg

I'm just totally lost with what to do. We don't deserve to be in 1st place honestly, and I can't imagine this luck will keep going. How on earth can I win the ball back while still keeping things tight at the back?

For reference our record is: 9 wins, 5 draws, 2 losses 29 goals for, 15 against.

No idea who we're matched up with in the champions league just yet. Can't wait.

Edit: Here's a pass chart from our most recent game. This is MAINZ's passing, not ours. They had 2 players with over 100 passes, absolutely insane. We won this game, amazingly, so lucky. The key was we started out playing with a high press, then we tried to stand off, then we pressed them again later on and eventually got the go-ahead goal.

This pass chart is pretty common to see so far in my save. We simply refuse to win the ball back!

G92qxoY.jpg

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Your midfield will be getting caught high up the pitch. You have an AP attack who will play more like an AMC and you use a BWM who runs ragged even with a defensive duty, he has night closing down so he'll always be seen as 'chasing' someone around. Add to this 2 IF's both on attack so that means you have no defensive cover on the wings and you have a real issue. Going forward you'll be a threat because you'll be overloading the defence but when being attacked yourself you will have all sorts of issues with players not tracking back or been caught out of position.

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Your midfield will be getting caught high up the pitch. You have an AP attack who will play more like an AMC and you use a BWM who runs ragged even with a defensive duty, he has night closing down so he'll always be seen as 'chasing' someone around. Add to this 2 IF's both on attack so that means you have no defensive cover on the wings and you have a real issue. Going forward you'll be a threat because you'll be overloading the defence but when being attacked yourself you will have all sorts of issues with players not tracking back or been caught out of position.

Cheers Cleon, I started the season with Anchorman + DLP + AP in midfield. But, I figured that while using a counter-attack, I wasnt getting enough pressure on the ball. And the other thing is, I switched to the ball winner because I felt like we had to do something to win it back, right? I mean look at that pass chart from Mainz, it's unreal. Despite pushing much higher up + hassle we still can't win it back against smaller teams.

But you've made some points that I really need to think more about, too. I want to play a rigid system, and so using a CM-A would give me only 2 specialist duties which is really meant to be a balanced philosophy. I've got the IF's on attack because we simply weren't creating any chances with only one of them on attack, and one of the full backs on attack. I wanted to do something similar to Barca, with to IF's + a CF.

We've not really been caught out of position that much to be honest, but we've struggled to win the ball.

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Cheers Cleon, I started the season with Anchorman + DLP + AP in midfield. But, I figured that while using a counter-attack, I wasnt getting enough pressure on the ball. And the other thing is, I switched to the ball winner because I felt like we had to do something to win it back, right? I mean look at that pass chart from Mainz, it's unreal. Despite pushing much higher up + hassle we still can't win it back against smaller teams.

But you've made some points that I really need to think more about, too. I want to play a rigid system, and so using a CM-A would give me only 2 specialist duties which is really meant to be a balanced philosophy. I've got the IF's on attack because we simply weren't creating any chances with only one of them on attack, and one of the full backs on attack. I wanted to do something similar to Barca, with to IF's + a CF.

We've not really been caught out of position that much to be honest, but we've struggled to win the ball.

You will have been caught out of position a lot but probably not noticed. I believe this is one of the reasons you are struggling defensively.

Have you took a look at my thread at the top of the forum? Might show you how to spot things and maybe make you think a bit different :)

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You will have been caught out of position a lot but probably not noticed. I believe this is one of the reasons you are struggling defensively.

Have you took a look at my thread at the top of the forum? Might show you how to spot things and maybe make you think a bit different :)

I have read it yes. Perhaps I overstated our defensive issues, as we've conceded 15 in 16 bundesliga games, good enough for 1st place. So while that isn't a "great" record, it isn't bad either. In the champions league against Arsenal we had a 2-1 loss (set pieces.. ugh) and then a 1-1 draw. Against Bayern we lost 2-1, and against Dortmund we drew 1-1. So in terms of playing top teams, which I would say is a good barometer of our defensive, we've done okay. Certainly not leaking goals.

The key issue is possession. We simply cannot win the ball back. I've just went back and looked at our fixtures, the amount of games we've played with around 35% possession is stunning.

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I think you can look at it the other way too. It's not just about winning it back from the opposition team to get possession percentage, you can also say when you do have it, why aren't you keeping hold of it to push up your %? You must be giving the other team the ball a lot as your player's will be far more superior at keeping possession than the lower Bundesliga teams, attribute wise anyway.

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I think you can look at it the other way too. It's not just about winning it back from the opposition team to get possession percentage, you can also say when you do have it, why aren't you keeping hold of it to push up your %? You must be giving the other team the ball a lot as your player's will be far more superior at keeping possession than the lower Bundesliga teams, attribute wise anyway.

Unfortunately I cannot really pinpoint it. The only thing that comes to mind is that opposing teams make the majority of their tackles against us down the flanks, deep, outside of their own box. So against our inside forwards / overlapping wingbacks.

You've raised a good point though, thanks.

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I've used a similar setup and it never worked with wing backs. That'S two more players that will look to get into advanced positions. I know in theory you want width in attack when your IFs cut inside, but in practise your midfield struggles to find passing options since the wing backs will be positioned too high. Adding to this is that since your MCs are runing out of passing options quickly passes are likely to be risky and intercepted.

Try setting them to full back (support) which should help creating triangles for the CMs/DM and the IFs to play off of. The full backs can then provide support from deeper positions, either by attacking the byline if given the space, switching flanks (via the CMs) or put in an early cross (Kießling is pretty decent in getting to the end of those)

as for the opposition passing I find having a player on defend duty along with a playmaker in the CM strata is asking for trouble. both have a tendency to retreat, in particular with a counter strategy rather than actively marking/pressing the opp. midfield (I almost smashed my keyboard because I could not get my playmakers to make any sort of attempt to break up barcelonaesqe passing by Sandhausen in the german cup!). So if you want to be more aggressive in winning the ball back, you might need to switch to a more attacking strategy or alternatively choose a more attacking role in the MCR slot. CM(s) or even CM(a) some to mind. Since a lot of the teams in germany play 4-2-3-1 with 2 CMs the more aggessive CM also gives you a way to exploit the space they leave between midfield and defense :).

Edit says: higher tempo doesn't really help matters with your possession....

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I've used a similar setup and it never worked with wing backs. That'S two more players that will look to get into advanced positions. I know in theory you want width in attack when your IFs cut inside, but in practise your midfield struggles to find passing options since the wing backs will be positioned too high. Adding to this is that since your MCs are runing out of passing options quickly passes are likely to be risky and intercepted.

Try setting them to full back (support) which should help creating triangles for the CMs/DM and the IFs to play off of. The full backs can then provide support from deeper positions, either by attacking the byline if given the space, switching flanks (via the CMs) or put in an early cross (Kießling is pretty decent in getting to the end of those)

as for the opposition passing I find having a player on defend duty along with a playmaker in the CM strata is asking for trouble. both have a tendency to retreat, in particular with a counter strategy rather than actively marking/pressing the opp. midfield (I almost smashed my keyboard because I could not get my playmakers to make any sort of attempt to break up barcelonaesqe passing by Sandhausen in the german cup!). So if you want to be more aggressive in winning the ball back, you might need to switch to a more attacking strategy or alternatively choose a more attacking role in the MCR slot. CM(s) or even CM(a) some to mind. Since a lot of the teams in germany play 4-2-3-1 with 2 CMs the more aggessive CM also gives you a way to exploit the space they leave between midfield and defense :).

Edit says: higher tempo doesn't really help matters with your possession....

biertarier, I appreciate your comments. But I must disagree with some of what you've said.

- the width that wingbacks provide should be completely fine with IF's ahead of them. Setting one to attack and one to support also seems pretty reasonable, as I've used both on attack at times. I used to use 1 IF on support + 1 IF on attack / 1 WB on support + 1 WB on attack. I felt like I wasn't getting enough movement into the box, so I changed to 2 IF's - attack.

- changing my strategy away from counter would be a mistake because that strategy best suits this team. We've got a wealth of deep midfielders who can pass the ball + a lot of pace up front and excellent tacklers. If that doesn't spell out a perfect counter attack I don't know what else would :) Of course I do have other plans, like a defensive mentality for those extremely tough games / holding on late.

- Using a defend duty in central midfield + a playmaker has not been something I have considered anyway, but I agree with you pretty much.

- Higher tempo definitely doesn't help possession but I figured this would help us win the ball back, perhaps not. I'll see what to do with that, I may take it off.

- using fullbacks on support behind the IF's on attack is an okay setup (it wont necessarily be bad), but like I said above the width is desirable from a wingback, and my wide defensive players are really not suited to be fullbacks. Most are complete wingbacks actually.

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biertarier, I appreciate your comments. But I must disagree with some of what you've said.

- the width that wingbacks provide should be completely fine with IF's ahead of them. Setting one to attack and one to support also seems pretty reasonable, as I've used both on attack at times. I used to use 1 IF on support + 1 IF on attack / 1 WB on support + 1 WB on attack. I felt like I wasn't getting enough movement into the box, so I changed to 2 IF's - attack.

- changing my strategy away from counter would be a mistake because that strategy best suits this team. We've got a wealth of deep midfielders who can pass the ball + a lot of pace up front and excellent tacklers. If that doesn't spell out a perfect counter attack I don't know what else would :) Of course I do have other plans, like a defensive mentality for those extremely tough games / holding on late.

- Using a defend duty in central midfield + a playmaker has not been something I have considered anyway, but I agree with you pretty much.

- using fullbacks on support behind the IF's on attack is an okay setup (it wont necessarily be bad), but like I said above the width is desirable from a wingback, and my wide defensive players are really not suited to be fullbacks. Most are complete wingbacks actually.

re your wing back - I agree with you that it should be fine. And if it is with your setup then fine, but your possession numbers suggest you struggle with both, keeping the ball and winning it back. what's the pass completion rate of your MCs? when they lose the ball, what options do they have, and more importantly where are your wing backs in these situations? I used the same setup on the wings to begin with and my wing backs were constantly hovering around the edge of the box, the IFs a bit more central and the MCs had exactly two choices - risk the ball to the wing backs, which was often intercepted or play it backwards (often intercepted, too if the opp decided to keep a striker between my MCs and the defenders or find the (usually marked) fellow MC. If this is not a problem in your setup then that's fine. IT certainly was for me, and my possession stats rose by an average of 10% just by keeping my full backs in a postion to recycle possession.

Cleon's comment probably was going along the same lines. down the wings you have your IFs n the box (attack duty) and the wing backs pushed up, leaving the flanks wide open. the IFs themselves are also an issue when you try to win the ball back. they're not tracking back much so don't offer a lot in terms of interceptions or taking away passing options.

Btw, look at how the "crap" teams keep possession between their players. they heavily rely on their full backs offering them an out ball.

re your Defend duty + playmaker in the CM strata. you said that's not something you considered anyway, yet it'S exactly your setup?! AP(s) with BWM(d)?

re your choice of strategy, I wasn't suggesting that counter is the wrong choice, but withthe lowered mentalities you are bound to offer more space to the opposition back line, and if they decide to frustrate you by making you chase the ball that's the ideal option for them. To counter that, setting your MCR to CM(a) should keep that guy in a better position to disrupt the opp passing/come up with interceptions. DLP(s) and AP(a) can also worked for me, though some opposition still started to make my guys chase the ball. changing the strategy to attack pretty much sorted that, even without the need to push higher up...

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re your wing back - I agree with you that it should be fine. And if it is with your setup then fine, but your possession numbers suggest you struggle with both, keeping the ball and winning it back. what's the pass completion rate of your MCs? when they lose the ball, what options do they have, and more importantly where are your wing backs in these situations? I used the same setup on the wings to begin with and my wing backs were constantly hovering around the edge of the box, the IFs a bit more central and the MCs had exactly two choices - risk the ball to the wing backs, which was often intercepted or play it backwards (often intercepted, too if the opp decided to keep a striker between my MCs and the defenders or find the (usually marked) fellow MC. If this is not a problem in your setup then that's fine. IT certainly was for me, and my possession stats rose by an average of 10% just by keeping my full backs in a postion to recycle possession.

Cleon's comment probably was going along the same lines. down the wings you have your IFs n the box (attack duty) and the wing backs pushed up, leaving the flanks wide open. the IFs themselves are also an issue when you try to win the ball back. they're not tracking back much so don't offer a lot in terms of interceptions or taking away passing options.

Btw, look at how the "crap" teams keep possession between their players. they heavily rely on their full backs offering them an out ball.

re your Defend duty + playmaker in the CM strata. you said that's not something you considered anyway, yet it'S exactly your setup?! AP(s) with BWM(d)?

re your choice of strategy, I wasn't suggesting that counter is the wrong choice, but withthe lowered mentalities you are bound to offer more space to the opposition back line, and if they decide to frustrate you by making you chase the ball that's the ideal option for them. To counter that, setting your MCR to CM(a) should keep that guy in a better position to disrupt the opp passing/come up with interceptions. DLP(s) and AP(a) can also worked for me, though some opposition still started to make my guys chase the ball. changing the strategy to attack pretty much sorted that, even without the need to push higher up...

The MC's pass completion rate is generally all over the place but it's improved greatly using a counter strategy and by dropping on of the IF's to support.

I'll have to pay closer attention to what is going on with my fullbacks, because you've brought up a great point there.

These teams usually just push up. Right now im in the middle of a match (paused) against Hertha Berlin, they're playing in our house, pushing all the way up to the freaking halfway line. It's ridiculous. But generally teams are getting possession against us in the middle of the park in front of our box. I think this is because we often come up against 4-2-3-1 's and the AI generally keeps the fullbacks back a bit with smaller teams (as opposed to say, arsenal).. Usually it is the 2 CM's at the base of the 4-2-3-1 that give us problems.

(also to note, they scored against us in this match by throwing the ball in, over my defense's head, right into the path of the striker for the easiest goal imaginable....)

When I mentioned not considering the playmaker + defend duty I meant for when I make changes. And I have made a change, so right now i've got DLP-D at DMC + B2B at CM + CM attack to form my triangle. And I also changed one IF to support as alluded to above.

As far as strategy goes, I know counter will concede some possession, but it really fits leverkusen perfectly, and the names aren't really to be taken so literally. For example the thread in here that describes using Barcelona on counter (I think wwfan did this?). I mean if Barcelona can use counter in FM, then it goes to show you don't need to be on attacking if you're a good team.

What's frustrating is that small teams just love to come after you when your reputation isn't that high. I'm only on my first season, and I wouldn't expect hertha berlin to be attacking us like this in my 2nd or 3rd...

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I use Bayern Munich. Not many teams with higher reputation in the game. Away to Hertha beginning of first season when I hadn't sorted my tactics they battered me with 23 shots, 13 on target, 2 from long range and their blood central midfielders dominating 10 yards outside my penalty box.

I can't nail it, but that also improved with changind my full backs to fb(s) - that made my CMS less likely to chase down opposition wingers therefore actually disrupting the opp MCs/DMs more effectively. they also attack you heavly because with the attacking wing backs and advances IFs your only path forward is probably mostly playing through the middle from the back...

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Was that your first season in charge? What really counts is the manager reputation, not so much the team reputation.

I love Bayern, by the way.

I managed to win the game mentioned above, 2-1. We squandered 4 CCC's, so the scoreline was a bit closer than it had to be. We finished with 54% possession (finally!) Basically I took off tight marking because my defenders are too slow, and my mix of roles/duties seems to have finally created what I want to see.

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I set my reputation/past experience to international footballer, so it's probably not that.

anyway, what changes did you make? drop the AMR to support, change one MC to B2B and the other to CM(a)? And did that force Hertha into bad passes/playing backwards more?

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Yeah even with international player teams will still view you as a n00b. I remember in FM13 I was smashing people with Tottenham (somehow, I suck at this game) and then teams started to really stay compact against us, at least the smaller sides were, and boy was it harder to break them down. This trend occurred somewhere during the late winter months like February/March after we had been winning like crazy. I always set my rep to international player, too.

Basically I changed the following:

- left IF is on support

- left wing back is on attack

- right wing back is on support

- DMC = dlp support

- CMR = cm-attack

- CML = b2b

I've kept my CD's the same, and my striker.

I think I could possibly fiddle more with the midfield triangle depending on what players we have available, like for example I might need to use an anchor at DMC, and a DLP at CML depending on who is fit.

But in general this combination should work well. Lars Bender is a surprisingly awesome B2B. I want to use his work rate as much as possible.

Hertha's passing was not that great overall but their 2 CM's had above 80%. The rest of the team was 70+ or lower. Their wide players struggled in particular.

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I'm surprised that nobody pointed out the flaws in your most basic principals yet.

First:

You say that you don't want to move away from Counter, but you complain about possession? Counterattacking football, bi definition, plays with a deep defense, standing of opponents. This invites the opponent to have the ball for longer periods of time, trying to break your defense and pushing more and more man forward, creating a huge space behind them. You then try to quickly exploit that space when you win the ball. THAT is counterattacking football, and I'm not sure that it is really what you want.

Second:

The contradictions, oh the contradictions. You have set the Counter mentality and then decided on the instructions that are exact opposite.

Let's think for a moment what Counter means:

- dropping deeper

- standing off

- direct passing

- higher tempo (when on the ball)

Are you sure, you want to push higher up, and hassle opponents?

Did you consider what Attacking mentality means:

- pushing higher up

- hassling opponents

- direct passing

- high tempo

Given the instructions you tried to apply on Counter mentality, are you still sure you don't really want to switch to Attacking? I assure you it would work much more like you imagined it, because aside from the team instructions, the Attacking mentality also tweaks individual instructions a bit, so the players play more in the way you want.

Third:

Even if you hadn't pointed out, I could tell you, that you struggle against weaker opponents.

Why?

Weaker sides tend to play on the counter. They sit deep. Now, as I said, counter means you sit deep, and play direct passes right? So, you win the ball back deep in your own half, and send it flying far up the pitch, where there are still many opposition defenders (because of the deep defensive line) who easily pick the ball back from your lone strikers, who has no support from the back, because your team is sitting deep.

Now, when two teams decide to play like this, something must change if anyone wants to win the match. So, let's say your opponent decides to try shorter passing to keep the ball for longer. Their possession increases.

And here is where you make a mistake, that you already discovered yourself: You decide to push higher up, and hassle opponents to win back possession. What happens is, you send the ball long for opposition defenders to easily pick up, then charge up the field to get it back quickly, only to leave a ton of space in the back for the counter.

You just cannot play counter against counter... well, i'm not sure how FM Match engine works, so it might work in the game, but let's stick to reality. The way to break these defensive teams is with controlled patient build-up. Slower tempo, shorter passing, looking for gaps. Otherwise you are just giving them the ball and clearing your half, inviting them to counter.

I'm asking you, again, to rethink what it really is you want to do. Try to imagine real life examples of things you are trying to do. How do teams that play on the counter really look on the pitch? Did the ultra-defensive counterattacking Chelsea that beat Barcelona in CL play the same against much weaker sides? How much possession did they have while playing on the counter.

And again, but what you say, how you want to play, I really believe you truly WANT to play attacking mentality. Playing on attacking does not mean you won't counter, if that is what you are worried about. I play on attacking mentality, and I can tell you that I see a lot of beautiful counter attacks from my team.

Hope I've been of any help.

Good luck :)

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Kylemann - There's no reason why the "counter" mentality has to be built into a direct, long ball strategy. In fact, given the mentalities and instructions of the players it is often the best staring point for a possesion based game - the play is cautious, your players stay relatively close together encouraging short pases and so on, however if gaps in the opposition do arise your attacking minded players can swiftly get into positions to create chances. It's not "hoof it forward". It's "play cautiously (of which one method is to retain the ball), but be able to quickly take advantage of opportunities". It also works well against opponents who drop deep and play defensively, as it tends to draw them out with the slow deep passing moves, thus creating space for the sudden shift to quick attacks.

Simultaneously, you can easily do the pressing game with a counter strategy - push hard when the opponents have the ball, then drop off into a deeper slower passing game once you've got it back. For example, in FM terms, Barcelona probably play with a "counter" mentality tweaked to press harder when off the ball.

Now, admittedly, it might not be perfect for the OP, but neither it is a complete contradiciton from what he wants.

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I never said that you CANNOT play in any way you want, you can play on Overload and drop the tempo, pass shorter, drop deeper etc. It's your choice, and in some cases, yes, you can make it work.

What I AM saying is that, no matter how the game actually works, and how you can tweak it in many many ways with a large number of options, the best way for someone who does not have a complete knowledge of the match engine is to use a bit of logic and real life examples.

Again, to be clear, yes you can play Counter mentality with shorter passing, but Counter on itself (without many instructions and tweaks) uses a more direct passing. Also, yes, you can play counter mentality with high defensive line and hassling opponents and it can work well if bundled with numerous other team and player instructions.

What I am saying here is: why complicate your life with numerous tweaks and instructions when there is no need to?

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Again, to be clear, yes you can play Counter mentality with shorter passing, but Counter on itself (without many instructions and tweaks) uses a more direct passing. Also, yes, you can play counter mentality with high defensive line and hassling opponents and it can work well if bundled with numerous other team and player instructions.

Unless things have changed drasticaly I am pretty sure that you are incorrect. If your team are not actually countering they tend to play a more possession based patient game.

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I never said that you CANNOT play in any way you want, you can play on Overload and drop the tempo, pass shorter, drop deeper etc. It's your choice, and in some cases, yes, you can make it work.

What I AM saying is that, no matter how the game actually works, and how you can tweak it in many many ways with a large number of options, the best way for someone who does not have a complete knowledge of the match engine is to use a bit of logic and real life examples.

Again, to be clear, yes you can play Counter mentality with shorter passing, but Counter on itself (without many instructions and tweaks) uses a more direct passing. Also, yes, you can play counter mentality with high defensive line and hassling opponents and it can work well if bundled with numerous other team and player instructions.

What I am saying here is: why complicate your life with numerous tweaks and instructions when there is no need to?

While I agree with most things you say, it can be advantageous to complicate things, but only if you really know what you're doing. Maybe I'm alone in this, and I accept that others disagree, I find it amusing tinkering with such anomalies in order to get to a really specific goal. That's me though, and you'll never hear me complain if things don't work out the way I planned them. That's my punishment then for doing counter intuitive stuff. :D

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Unless things have changed drasticaly I am pretty sure that you are incorrect. If your team are not actually countering they tend to play a more possession based patient game.

I checked and you are correct - I was wrong about the passing lenght, however I was right abouth other things.

While I agree with most things you say, it can be advantageous to complicate things, but only if you really know what you're doing. Maybe I'm alone in this, and I accept that others disagree, I find it amusing tinkering with such anomalies in order to get to a really specific goal. That's me though, and you'll never hear me complain if things don't work out the way I planned them. That's my punishment then for doing counter intuitive stuff. :D

Like I said, you can achieve all sorts of things if you fiddle around - which is great if you enjoy trying out some of your very own ideas... However, for a layman like myself who just wants to win a couple a matches, simplicity is my friend :)

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I'm surprised that nobody pointed out the flaws in your most basic principals yet.

First:

You say that you don't want to move away from Counter, but you complain about possession? Counterattacking football, bi definition, plays with a deep defense, standing of opponents. This invites the opponent to have the ball for longer periods of time, trying to break your defense and pushing more and more man forward, creating a huge space behind them. You then try to quickly exploit that space when you win the ball. THAT is counterattacking football, and I'm not sure that it is really what you want.

Second:

The contradictions, oh the contradictions. You have set the Counter mentality and then decided on the instructions that are exact opposite.

Let's think for a moment what Counter means:

- dropping deeper

- standing off

- direct passing

- higher tempo (when on the ball)

Are you sure, you want to push higher up, and hassle opponents?

Did you consider what Attacking mentality means:

- pushing higher up

- hassling opponents

- direct passing

- high tempo

Given the instructions you tried to apply on Counter mentality, are you still sure you don't really want to switch to Attacking? I assure you it would work much more like you imagined it, because aside from the team instructions, the Attacking mentality also tweaks individual instructions a bit, so the players play more in the way you want.

Third:

Even if you hadn't pointed out, I could tell you, that you struggle against weaker opponents.

Why?

Weaker sides tend to play on the counter. They sit deep. Now, as I said, counter means you sit deep, and play direct passes right? So, you win the ball back deep in your own half, and send it flying far up the pitch, where there are still many opposition defenders (because of the deep defensive line) who easily pick the ball back from your lone strikers, who has no support from the back, because your team is sitting deep.

Now, when two teams decide to play like this, something must change if anyone wants to win the match. So, let's say your opponent decides to try shorter passing to keep the ball for longer. Their possession increases.

And here is where you make a mistake, that you already discovered yourself: You decide to push higher up, and hassle opponents to win back possession. What happens is, you send the ball long for opposition defenders to easily pick up, then charge up the field to get it back quickly, only to leave a ton of space in the back for the counter.

You just cannot play counter against counter... well, i'm not sure how FM Match engine works, so it might work in the game, but let's stick to reality. The way to break these defensive teams is with controlled patient build-up. Slower tempo, shorter passing, looking for gaps. Otherwise you are just giving them the ball and clearing your half, inviting them to counter.

I'm asking you, again, to rethink what it really is you want to do. Try to imagine real life examples of things you are trying to do. How do teams that play on the counter really look on the pitch? Did the ultra-defensive counterattacking Chelsea that beat Barcelona in CL play the same against much weaker sides? How much possession did they have while playing on the counter.

And again, but what you say, how you want to play, I really believe you truly WANT to play attacking mentality. Playing on attacking does not mean you won't counter, if that is what you are worried about. I play on attacking mentality, and I can tell you that I see a lot of beautiful counter attacks from my team.

Hope I've been of any help.

Good luck :)

I am certainly no expert on football, as I only played as a kid up until high school. However I have played FM for 3 years now and I think I have a pretty decent idea of how the match engine works, and how tactics can be constructed after reading hours-worth of material from people like wwfan, cleon, etc.

I don't think I'm contradicting my vision at all. The counter attack strategy sets the baseline for my team, and the instructions tweak that baseline the way we want to play. For example, I don't want to defend too deep, as we don't have the best heading in defense, but I also don't want to be pushed up to the highest point as we're not that fast in defense. We have excellent tacklers, excellent passing, and a lot of pace up front.

If that isn't begging for a counter attack strategy, what is? The counter strategy keeps the d-line at a decent level, and adjusted with instructions I can have us pressing higher which is where I want to win the ball, not right in front of my box as if I were playing like Fulham setting up to just soak up pressure.

When I said I was losing possession, I was saying we were drastically losing it like.. 65% to 35%. There's no reason why a counter-attack strategy in FM can't get 50% possession (or more).

I have used an attacking strategy before, and what I found was that it wasn't doing what I wanted (without instructions, even). I want us to counter attack, and I don't think the strategy names are as well-defined as they may seem to you.

Weaker sides do tend to sit deep, but that's not always the case. I'm playing in germany against a lot of teams that work hard to win the ball back, and they love to keep it when they have it. This isn't England where most clubs like Stoke are willing to just smash the ball forward every chance they get.

I reject the notion that you can't play counter against counter. You can play any strategy you want as long as it has been well-implemented.

I also think that you can't compare mentality in real life to FM, so if you say Chelsea played counterattacking against Barcelona, it is not the same as in FM. If anything chelsea parked the bus against barcelona, and in FM terms the closest thing to that would be either defensive or contain.

I appreciate your comments but I am quite sure I do not want to play attacking. I don't want players making forward runs constantly and looking to get into the box constantly, and too much aggressive closing down. I want their mentalities to be a bit more reasonable, and I think using counter mentality + the instructions like push higher up, or hassle, can achieve that middle ground I want.

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Pretty sure Cleon had a thread with a counter tactic on FM 2013 with Tottenham that was possession dominant.

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The strategy names are not as literal as people think. Even if you play "defensive" you would still have an attack.

The issue with my team has been just finding that sweet spot where we're playing consistently well. I think we're on our way there.

Also I would reject the notion that Mourinho is "attacking." Mourinho has always preached defense first, (although this season Chelsea's defense hasn't been "great"). But I'm not sure we can accurately compare real life tactics to FM. I mean can we honestly get our team to do exactly what we think we can? I think we're better off thinking within the framework we have in place, but also using common sense footballing knowledge. I don't want to defend low block, so we push higher up. I don't want to stand off and retreat, so we hassle opponents to win the ball, etc.

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I feel like I'm just repeating myself here, but here it goes again:

I never said anything can't be done. But obviously you can't manage to bring to life whatever you came up wih (otherwise you wouldn't be here), so I'm just suggesting you reconsider what it is you're trying to do.

Yes, you can play a high pressing possessional game with counter mentality, but the main reason to use counter is to encourage quick counters. If you win the ball high up the picth, there is really no space for countering, is there? You might not agree, but to me those are contradictions.

You say that defensive mentality also attacks, and that is of course true. But it is also true that other mentalities also counter, if an opportunity presents itself. If attacking seems too ambitious for you, you still have standard and control to try.

Now you can of course go read a ton more material and feed me some mantras from other threads about "plastic descriptions" and such... you might even tweak your tactics so much, that it doesn't look anything like a counterattacking football. Or you can take my advice and simplify the way you play the game. The choice is of course yours.

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I mean the key is you're telling me how I want to play, which is the opposite of giving someone advice so.. I'll just spell it out below

Here is how I want to play

- counter attacks

- win the ball highER up the pitch

- fast transitions

- possession around 50%, certainly not at 30 or 35%

- defensive line that plays a medium block, not too high, not too low

- defense that wins the ball back quickly

- inside forwards that get into the box to support the striker / score goals

Simple yeah?

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counter can be possession ball, and still quick on the counter of course. It's not mutually exclusive. You can also implement counter attacking with an attacking strategy, which is how my team scores about a third of it's goals. You need to decide who will be the creator(s) for the runners in this case. With inside forwards rushing into the box a DLF(s) can work well. Last season, Mandzukic of all players led the league in assists at 19(! in 31 matches played). In counter situations he usually receives the ball a bit deeper, and then sticks it through to either IF.

since I'm now using a 4-1-4-1 with two offensive and cutting wide mdfielders + a CM(a) he and now even more so Lewandowski often have three runners to play to. Lewandowski midway through the season has 11 assists in the league (along with 11 goals) in 14(1) appearances.

I struggle to get a CM to work in this role. Maybe pushing the striker a bit higher would make an AP(a) sit in the space a bit more and fire through balls to the striker and IFs.... probably wouldn't hurt to still have a runner in the other CM slot. B2B comes to mind...

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I feel like I'm just repeating myself here, but here it goes again:

If you win the ball high up the picth, there is really no space for countering, is there?

Have to disagree wholeheartedly here. in fact, the best way to counter is to win the ball in the oppositions half since that's when you have your men that press the defenders forward and they usually have their guys in a forward motion. It is much harder to counter a team that only brings 4 or 5 players forward since you will still have at least 6 guys, usually 7 or 8 occupied in defense to deny them space to run/pass into. 2/3 on 5/6 is generally not giving you a lot of hope for success, at least not consistently. taking away the ball early and catch everyone out of position gives you a mugh higher success chance. Problem here of course is that this type of counter attack doesn'T necessarily need quick players. winning the ball around the half way line is probably the way to go. it gives you an option to play to your strenghts (pace) while also giving you a realistic chace to not have your attackers outnumbered (not every counter will see your guys run at goal for a 1 on 1 from the half way line, so you need multiple options)

point is though, in this year's FM I feel that you are much more likely to win the ball in the centre of the pitch with an attacking strategy than with a more defensive counter attacking strategy. I don't know if others made it work, but playing standard or counter made my midfield much to eager to retreat into the box rather than looking for interceptions. Attacking and to a lesser extent control keep my CMs higher and a likely starting point for any counter attacks.

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counter can be possession ball, and still quick on the counter of course. It's not mutually exclusive. You can also implement counter attacking with an attacking strategy, which is how my team scores about a third of it's goals. You need to decide who will be the creator(s) for the runners in this case. With inside forwards rushing into the box a DLF(s) can work well. Last season, Mandzukic of all players led the league in assists at 19(! in 31 matches played). In counter situations he usually receives the ball a bit deeper, and then sticks it through to either IF.

since I'm now using a 4-1-4-1 with two offensive and cutting wide mdfielders + a CM(a) he and now even more so Lewandowski often have three runners to play to. Lewandowski midway through the season has 11 assists in the league (along with 11 goals) in 14(1) appearances.

I struggle to get a CM to work in this role. Maybe pushing the striker a bit higher would make an AP(a) sit in the space a bit more and fire through balls to the striker and IFs.... probably wouldn't hurt to still have a runner in the other CM slot. B2B comes to mind...

I love the sound of that set up you have going!

But as far as implementing a counter goes, there is no option to tick "counter attack" so I think it's just that any system will launch counter attacks but it depends on the context and how the team is set up to play.

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Bear in mind though that the setup is brutally possession oriented. it relies on patiently breaking down all the deep teams, and once the first goal falls the guys will exploit the space after winning the ball in midfield or defense relentlessly.

afaik, the old "counter" box is hard coded into the counter strategy. But you never needed the counter box to run counters in the first place. There are many variations of counter. the counter box used to make about everybody bomb forward given the right situation. that's not how I want a counter to be played. I will rather get one or 2 guys into position to receive the outlet pass and then 3-4 guys making runs and forcing the opposition to make tough choices as to how to react to those guys. Benefit is that if the attack is not successful they will rather reset and hold possession. Which is possible since I didn'T commit everyone bar my central defenders to the attack.

what's more, evne if the attackers lose the ball they will immediately counter-press forcing a long ball more often than not - and I have 5 -6 guys just waiting to get that ball.

anyway, I am not sure whether the shape you use is really suited for counter. Even with a support duty the winger probably wont track back a lot, and offer little in terms of interceptions. I son't have Sam (heavily underrated as well!) and Son down as the extremely hard working versions of a winger either, so that won't help. Sam will probably offer more defensively. dropping them one spot deeper could help with that, though they will then often start deeper, so maybe not as good for a tactic that relies on long balls and winning the ball in deeper positions. devastating though if you try to win the ball around the half way line.

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Bear in mind though that the setup is brutally possession oriented. it relies on patiently breaking down all the deep teams, and once the first goal falls the guys will exploit the space after winning the ball in midfield or defense relentlessly.

afaik, the old "counter" box is hard coded into the counter strategy. But you never needed the counter box to run counters in the first place. There are many variations of counter. the counter box used to make about everybody bomb forward given the right situation. that's not how I want a counter to be played. I will rather get one or 2 guys into position to receive the outlet pass and then 3-4 guys making runs and forcing the opposition to make tough choices as to how to react to those guys. Benefit is that if the attack is not successful they will rather reset and hold possession. Which is possible since I didn'T commit everyone bar my central defenders to the attack.

what's more, evne if the attackers lose the ball they will immediately counter-press forcing a long ball more often than not - and I have 5 -6 guys just waiting to get that ball.

anyway, I am not sure whether the shape you use is really suited for counter. Even with a support duty the winger probably wont track back a lot, and offer little in terms of interceptions. I son't have Sam (heavily underrated as well!) and Son down as the extremely hard working versions of a winger either, so that won't help. Sam will probably offer more defensively. dropping them one spot deeper could help with that, though they will then often start deeper, so maybe not as good for a tactic that relies on long balls and winning the ball in deeper positions. devastating though if you try to win the ball around the half way line.

I agree with you that the 4-1-2-2-1 may not be the best for a counter attack, but it suits my players perfectly as we don't really have any AMC's but we do have plenty of DM's / CM's.

And yeah the idea is certainly not to sit back and soak up pressure, we want to win the ball higher up the pitch and let Sam/Son (and bryan ruiz) do some damage. Which they have.

My long term vision is to eventually play a 4-2-3-1 deep with a devastating counter. I'm not sure how I'm going to set that up yet, because it's in the future, but that's the goal. I may have to go attacking for that to work though..

But for now the plan is to remain on counter, and try to win the ball up higher. I mean we're 1st in the bundesliga in January so I can't complain too much. As long as possession continues to improve, I'm not looking to dominate it, I just don't want to see 30 or 35%...

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then maybe you should really look into dropping your wingers back a spot. Don't worry if your wingers aren't trained in this position, it doesn'T make the world of a difference.

WM(a) with cuts inside with ball and gets further forward makes them play almost like an IF on offense, but allows them to track back and help winning the ball in midfield. You will probably also notice that the WM on the far side will stay high up making him a great outlet for an opening pass either to run onto centrally or to push the attack down the wing, depending on the situation.

AML/R are just so much harder to get involved in defensive duties and playing counter with a high press you can use every extra body for winning the ball back. you could also play an asymmetric formation if you wish to have one IF staying higher...

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then maybe you should really look into dropping your wingers back a spot. Don't worry if your wingers aren't trained in this position, it doesn'T make the world of a difference.

WM(a) with cuts inside with ball and gets further forward makes them play almost like an IF on offense, but allows them to track back and help winning the ball in midfield. You will probably also notice that the WM on the far side will stay high up making him a great outlet for an opening pass either to run onto centrally or to push the attack down the wing, depending on the situation.

AML/R are just so much harder to get involved in defensive duties and playing counter with a high press you can use every extra body for winning the ball back. you could also play an asymmetric formation if you wish to have one IF staying higher...

This is why I love coming to this forum, awesome ideas right here bieritarier. I'm already feeling the creativity flowing! I hadn't even considered NOT using aml/amr as my team are pretty much destined to do it (as Leverkusen do IRL, sort of). Right now I've got them as IF-A and IF-S so if I use WM's you're saying I can still achieve the movement going forward I want (cutting inside towards the box, as we have no AMC there, but a ST dropping deep) while also providing the defensive cover? That's brilliant as I've always felt annoyed that my AML/AMR never track back enough (in other saves with other formations too)

So perhaps like...

4-1-4-1 with WM-A and WM-S respectively? + Cuts inside for the WM-A?

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Sorry but Kylemann is correct and I personally think your guys idea of counter ball is not really counter ball (which is debate and I don't want to get into).

Believe what you may, but you are simply going to have to pick between: fast transitions and 50% possession because they contradict themselves. Which is clearly shown by how little you have scored in your season as well as how many games you have won.

Counter is primarily dependent on feinting that you are defensive to exploit weaknesses in opponent defense when they attack. This is done on your side of the field so you can have the necessary holes to exploit. Winning the ball in their half does nothing other than condense their formation and reduce the sizes of gaps to exploit.

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Sorry but Kylemann is correct and I personally think your guys idea of counter ball is not really counter ball (which is debate and I don't want to get into).

Believe what you may, but you are simply going to have to pick between: fast transitions and 50% possession because they contradict themselves. Which is clearly shown by how little you have scored in your season as well as how many games you have won.

Counter is primarily dependent on feinting that you are defensive to exploit weaknesses in opponent defense when they attack. This is done on your side of the field so you can have the necessary holes to exploit. Winning the ball in their half does nothing other than condense their formation and reduce the sizes of gaps to exploit.

How do they contradict? Have you seen Dortmund play? whoscored.com says that Dormund have had an average of 54% possession this season, and we know they do fast transitions better than anyone!

My team has played 18 games and scored 32 goals, which is good for 2nd in the bundesliga behind Dortmund who have 38 goals.. We've also won 11 games, good for currently 2nd place and 2 pts' off of 1st...

So I'm not sure what you're point is with your first part?

The second part: We're not necessarily winning the ball in the opponents half, but we do NOT want to be making last-man tackles in our own half either. I'm looking for a good balance really. So if anything I've found there is plenty of space to counter-attack into. I've never had an issue with that at all honestly.

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Yeah, no clue what Dortmund has done or whatever- does Germany even still have a soccer team??? lol

You are welcome as to your opinion, and if you think you are successful with soccer less than 2 goals per match average, then more power to you. I am sure if you asked Zdenek Zeman, he would probably ask what your team was doing the rest of the 88 minutes of each match.

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Well what is your point? You just said that having possession and fast transitions contradict, yet dortmund do this extremely well..

Mind you we also are in the round of 16 in the champions league against Barcelona (havent started yet).. So I mean yeah we're not scoring as much as I'd like to see, but the results are what they are..

The whole idea of this thread was to figure out how to do a better job at improving my possession numbers, and I have gotten some great feedback, and some not so great, I would have to include yours telemachos in the latter...

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and some not so great, I would have to include yours telemachos in the latter...

Ok, thanks for the feedback. Telemachos is also capitalized. Tell all your friends, thanks.

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Ok, thanks for the feedback. Telemachos is also capitalized. Tell all your friends, thanks.

If you don't have anything decent or relevant to say, why say anything at all?

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Stop the arguing and bababooey stop being so dismissive to everything everyone says. You've asked for help and been given some great advice from Klyemann and he mentions a lot of stuff that I agree with yet you dismiss everything he says. You are clearly confused about something and you do contradict a lot of things, you say you want to achieve 1 thing but set up to do something else.

Have to disagree wholeheartedly here. in fact, the best way to counter is to win the ball in the oppositions half since that's when you have your men that press the defenders forward and they usually have their guys in a forward motion.

Counter attacking is when you have the numbers advantage and can break forward quickly because you have the upper hand, that's counter attacking in FM terms. If you win the ball back in the oppositions half then chances are they still have the numbers advantage because your own midfield will have dropped deeper because you wasn't in possession.

Th whole idea of a counter attack is you sit back and let the opposition come forward before winning the ball and the breaking forward with numbers.

I think you confuse a real counter attack with high pressing and winning the ball back, both are completely different and this is why you are successful in the way you play and having success, you are not confused about how you want to play and the style you create this much is clear.

bababooey on the other hand is kind of confused imo and doesn't set up to be a counter attacking side even though he's using that strategy.

Here is how I want to play

- counter attacks

- win the ball highER up the pitch

- fast transitions

- possession around 50%, certainly not at 30 or 35%

- defensive line that plays a medium block, not too high, not too low

- defense that wins the ball back quickly

- inside forwards that get into the box to support the striker / score goals

Simple yeah?

Why the obsession with counter? Why not use control or something and allow for natural counter attacks if an opportunity arises? Counter attacking as a rule doesn't win the ball high up the pitch because that would involve pressing down heavily with causes your players to be out of position or be in the wrong place. This causes the whole counter attacking strategy to fail because you need disciplined players in the correct positions to be able to launch proper counter attacks. Can you see why pressing high or playing an high line can be a real issue with this? This also has a knock on effect for possession. If the player is too high up the pitch then he isn't the passing option he should be and isn't really a passing outlet.

If you have 2 IF's who are inside the box to support the strikers then this can leave you exposed down both wings and makes you vulnerable to quick counter attacks yourself should you lose the ball. I'm not saying don't have them support the strikers but you then need to cover the space they leave behind somehow and have players who can deal with any kind of threat.

The thing with the 4-1-2-2-1 is it can be set up to be very possession heavy once you decide on a proper style and know exactly how you want to play. However compared to some formation it can be argued that it doesn't use the possession well and this is why teams IRL favour the 4-2-3-1 because that is built around utilising good possession, the 4-1-2-2-1 is about keeping possession if that makes sense?

The higher the tempo you play the more likely you'll give possession away due to players making more mistakes. Playing a high closing down game results in players dragged out of position and not being where they are supposed to be at times. Again this doesn't help possession.

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I guess it's a case of the definition of counter. winning the ball back and then sending it forward swiftly to create an opportunity to me is the definition of a counter attack. it doesn't really matter whether you win the ball near the half w line and do it, or at your own penalty box, or near the opposition box for that matter. you will quite often have the numbers with the latter 2. I'm not saying you will always be 3/4 on 3/2, but even numbers are certainly quite common if you ave 4 players charging out, and even a 4 vs 5 is better than a 4 vs 6 which is what often happens when you try to counter attack from very deep positions against cautious teams.

playing pure counter ball requires as you say disciplined players, but it also requires guys that kill off the opponents offensive options, and the earlier the better at that. The further forward you win the ball, the less players you have to play through on the counter move. looking at the Leverkusen squad, and their real-life play, what seems to be best for them is have interceptions in midfield, either by one one the wingers, Kießling, or they midfield trio (which, interestingly, quite often lines up as a triple "6" or triple "8", so three DMs or 3 CMs. they're not however allowing opponents to get near the box easily, they try to launch their counter attacks form around 10-15 yards behind the half way line. However, they like to do this with good position play where the MCs/DMs and to a lesser extent wingers are rather deep behind Kießling but move forward and try to force mistakes/win the ball as soon as the pass is played into the vacant zone. Also, their wingers sit narrower, primarily closing down lanes in the middle. They will however backwards press on the opp. full backs and wingers once the ball is advanced wide by the opp. This is brutally hard to achieve with AML/Rs.

Not sure however that you really need the higher dline to do that, nor am I sure hassling opponents is required. I'd maybe try to set the MCs to close down more (Counter makes them sit deeper until the ball is played into the space behind Kießling, which is when they attack this space from deep).

Oh, and they IRL rarely attack the centre backs, so maybe setting the FC to close down less makes him stay in position to get interceptions on bad passes/backwards passes more easily.

Point is though if the counter strategy gives you what you want, and I stated that. Don't get too bogged down over the naming. A counter attacking system can be attacking and an attacking system can give you counters. It's more about where on the pitch you want to start your move imo, and for me counter has always allowed the opp to venture too far forward...

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I mean the key is you're telling me how I want to play, which is the opposite of giving someone advice so.. I'll just spell it out below

This couldn't be further from the truth... I understand quite well what you want and I am suggesting you approach the matter from a different perspective, since what you are trying to do in very hard if not impossible.

Suggesting you buy a new car instead of investing the same if not more money into repairing everything that is faulty with your current one, is still advice, whether you like it or not.

Have to disagree wholeheartedly here. in fact, the best way to counter is to win the ball in the oppositions half since that's when you have your men that press the defenders forward and they usually have their guys in a forward motion.

What you are talking about here is not counterattacking football. This is high pressing very attacking football.

Have you seen Dortmund play? whoscored.com says that Dormund have had an average of 54% possession this season, and we know they do fast transitions better than anyone!

You seem to be a bit confused here... Dortmund is in no way playing possessional counterattacking game. You probably saw fast transitions against Real or Bayern - but in those matches, if you pay close attention, the have around 40% possession. I can assure you, that if you would watch a game against Freiburg there would be no counterattacking football. In the end of the season the average possession is then of course higher, because... well I don't have to tell you what average means.

Why the obsession with counter? Why not use control or something and allow for natural counter attacks if an opportunity arises?

This is what I cannot understand either.

OP, you seem to dismiss any advice that is not to your liking. I would be happy to debate about how it turned out if you had tried a different approach. But there is no point in trying to help you, if you so stubbornly hold on to your own beliefs and you argue with people who give you any different advice than what you expected.

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I guess it's a case of the definition of counter.

What you consider a counter move is quite irrelevant IMO.

Yes, you can make a counter move after winning a ball higher up the pitch, but that does in no way mean you play a counterattacking style of football.

The definition of counterattacking football is really not up for debate IMO. When someone mentions a team played like that, you don't think of a high pressing aggressive team... you think of a team that sits deep, inviting opponents higher up, and upon retrieving the ball launching a quick attack exploiting the freed up space.

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Here is a very useful post to clarify just what the concept of counter attacking is in Football Manager:

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/193177-Understanding-Counter-Attack?p=4912077&viewfull=1#post4912077

This is very helpful. What i gather is that the game doesn't compare attacking-defending numbers but only counts the defenders

The thing with the 4-1-2-2-1 is it can be set up to be very possession heavy once you decide on a proper style and know exactly how you want to play. However compared to some formation it can be argued that it doesn't use the possession well and this is why teams IRL favour the 4-2-3-1 because that is built around utilising good possession, the 4-1-2-2-1 is about keeping possession if that makes sense?

Both of these systems are indeed not very useful for counter-attacks. A common mistake i too have made is thinking that high positioned players will help for a quick counter, but this is not quite true. A deep formation which leaves opponent's half unoccupied is the better choice. I recently came to the same (surprising for me) conclusion about the 4-2-3-1 : that it is more of a possessional heavy formation. In FM terms at least, because irl it is commonly referred to as a counter attack one

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What you consider a counter move is quite irrelevant IMO.

Yes, you can make a counter move after winning a ball higher up the pitch, but that does in no way mean you play a counterattacking style of football.

The definition of counterattacking football is really not up for debate IMO. When someone mentions a team played like that, you don't think of a high pressing aggressive team... you think of a team that sits deep, inviting opponents higher up, and upon retrieving the ball launching a quick attack exploiting the freed up space.

Define higher up the pitch. The desired behavior by the OP, as he pointed out quite a few times, is not to win the ball deep in the opponents half. I agree with you that that is not what a counter strategy is supposed to do anyway, but it still leads to counters. he wants to win it in the area somewhere half way between the half way line and the penalty box. This is higher up the pitch than what his tactics currently allow him to do since he'S most likely suffering from a couple of issues with the setup.

Without having seen a pkm, my guess is that this happens.

- the full back is not getting any help from the winger, so someone else will go doubling up opp wingers. This will quite often be one of the MCs or the DM.

- the winger is doing a poor job of taking at least the full back out of the game, providing the first passing option for a winger that is pressed by the full back and MC.

- of course the opp still has 3 midfielders of their own around. one of them guys will often rush into the box, leaving 2. 2 on two should give the defensive team an advantage in this situation since it should be rather simple for them to position themselves in a way to cut off passing lanes into the middle. experience tells me though that at least one of the CMs will head into the box, leaving a 2 on 1 sometimes a 2 on 0 advantage for the opp midfielders. This now leads to the opp pinging the ball around the box patiently and without really facing any sort of pressure.

and here'S probably what's caused bababooey to adjust his counter strategy to push higher up and hassle opponents. I can see this being an attempt to a) force the winger to actually close down the full back or even get back and hassle a MC, as well as an attempt to make the MCs stay higher. Problem is, hassle will only make the MCs more likely to press the winger while your own winger still will rarely make an attempt to help out. and pushing higher up in my book doesn'T really have a huge effect on the positioning of the MCs.

so the key is to keep your MCs/DM mostly in the middle and not have them press wingers like crazy.

funnily for my own 4-1-2-2-1 this got better the very second I set my WB(s) to FB(s), without making other changes. talk about team dynamics. It still happened at times, but not as much. now with the "flat" 4 in front of my DM the opposition still passes the ball around at times. between the DCS, FBs and goalie in their own half rather than around my penalty box. now I play attacking and am trying to push the opp back as far as possible. using a counter strategy I would expect that the press starts a fair bit later, inviting the opponent deeper into the own half, where the press will then take place and the counter attack will start.

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Define higher up the pitch. The desired behavior by the OP, as he pointed out quite a few times, is not to win the ball deep in the opponents half.

I can't believe we are still arguing about this. I understand what he wants, and I understand what and why he tried to do. I also never said that for any reason, doing one thing prevents another thing happening.

What I am saying is, before people get all crazy about micro-tweaking their tactics into oblivion, one might consider another approach.

Obviously Counter mentality with high defensive line is not producing what he aimed for, and I see absolutely no reason to stubbornly stick to Counter mentality, not even allowing the possibility that other mentalities might be more suitable for implementation of what he wants to achieve. I suggested Attacking, and that might be to high and risky for him, but he still has an option of Standard and Control.

It might be better for me to get out of this "debate", because I offered an alternative that is being categorically denied without consideration. Just stop telling me I'm wrong or that I offered no advice, because neither of those is true.

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What I am saying is, before people get all crazy about micro-tweaking their tactics into oblivion, one might consider another approach.

Obviously Counter mentality with high defensive line is not producing what he aimed for, and I see absolutely no reason to stubbornly stick to Counter mentality, not even allowing the possibility that other mentalities might be more suitable for implementation of what he wants to achieve. I suggested Attacking, and that might be to high and risky for him, but he still has an option of Standard and Control.

Calm down :)

apologies If I haven't made it clear enough, but I agree with looking into another approach. but this is a discussion board and there is probably more than 1 solution to the problem, or in fact to solve this multiple changes might be required. To make it crystal clear I was in fact pointing out what I consider as issues with the adjustments that have been made. Not you got multiple options. Changing strategy is one of them. tweaking formation is another. tweaking roles the third. and tweaking instructions the fourth.

Will you ever have 70% possession and score all of your goals with quick counter attacks? no. But a counter attacking style should look to win the ball back at some point on the pitch. now it's about defining the point where you want to "make your move". counter means sitting deeper, we agree with that. But what bababooey describes is the opposition pounding his team and push them back into his own box for long stretches. I have had the same issue, as pointed out, with an _attacking_ strategy, with the same formation and similar roles.

To me that means that the issue is probably not simply fixed by switching to attacking. I have not ever said that switching strategies is a bad thing/will not improve things.

I agree with what was said that pushing up and hassling opponents is counter-productive. All I was trying to point out it that this seems to be a case of making the wrong choices when trying to fix specific issues. Many, many people fail to realize that the reason that they don'T win the ball back is not that their players aren't trying to close down, but that it#s the wrong players closing down/that too few players are in a position to close down. Hassle opponents does not change that. And neither does a switch of strategy alone in most cases. It will still keep the IF away from defensive duties. Probably even more so. It still makes the WBs not properly covering for their gung-ho wingers. and it still means the central mids will charge after the wingers/full backs since nobody else does, making it easy for opponents to pass the ball around in advanced positions.

Let's settle on the fact that the FM counter strategy is suited to counter form deeper positions, similar to how Leverkusen, and in a more extreme form, Hannover play IRL. Question still is, how deep does it have to be. bababooey is having the problem that the only way to get a counter going is a last ditch tackle/header in the box since he can't win the ball off the opposition midfielders, not in their own half, and not 5 yards away from his penalty box. fixing the latter will automatically increase possession and probably a) lead to more counter attacks and b) make the defense more solid. In case he then feels he is still winning the ball too deep and not dominant enough, then I fully agree, a more offensive strategy is clearly on the cards.

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You make good points and I agree with you that there are many ways in which you can achieve what you want.

I just can't understand why someone would dismiss trying another approach with no reason at all. I know lots of things can be done with Counter mentality, I've said many times that I'm not denying this, and I sure don't need any convincing in that direction. I'm just saying that one must ask himself WHY do I want to play Counter? If the only answer you can come up with is "because it can be done", I think you should reconsider taking another approach.

And to be clear, I'm not forcing the issue, it just irks me, that people attack my advice because they don't like it. It's not much of a debate than trying to prove to me that my approach is invalid.

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A lot of stuff to address here...

Cleon

I wasn't trying to be dismissive but, fair enough. I think I'm probably unclear about what I wanted to do, and what my original post says. The fact remains my team is actually getting results and playing quite well. I don't think we'll get past Barcelona in the CL round of 16, but we've got a chance to win the Bundesliga or at least come in 2nd or 3rd. Bayern are 4 points behind right now...

I think the confusion behind "counter attacks" is two fold: we've got a mentality literally named "counter" and a description of a movement in football known as "counter attack." When I say I want to play on the counter, I mean I want us to make more of an effort to have counter-attack moves. I felt the "counter" mentality would work best for this because A. it allows for deeper possession, B. it counters more often than say, attacking, and C. I don't want this particular squad to push as high up as they would in a higher mentality, because the backline is not very fast in comparison to the league.

And also my aim with this current squad is not to win the ball very high up the pitch, but somewhere in the middle, certainly not defending low block. Again, defenders are not that quick and I dont want to be caught out. So far we really haven't been caught out. Goals we've conceded have actually been through some really silly things.

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