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Is it me or is "hassle opponents" a heart attack a minute?


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I prefer to play with "hassle opponents" on general principle but I've found that even against weaker opponents I get my defenders all deciding they're stoppers and producing easy through balls. Is this team instruction generally more trouble than it's worth? Should I just settle for the standard closing down settings?

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Hassle Opponents sets closing down to the "max" for all of your players. So, yeah, it's going to look a bit crazy at times if your team isn't very disciplined and well positioned.

I mean imagine you've got Crystal Palace in the premier league, in real life. Imagine telling them to "hassle opponents" against say... Arsenal.. you'd have Arsenal picking out passes for fun while Palace's players would be dragged all over the place chasing after the ball.

This CAN work though. Think of Dortmund, Bayern, Barca, etc. They hunt for the ball in packs, and the whole team focuses hard on winning it back quickly. But perhaps a better way to implement the pressing you want is through individual instruction? That way the CD's wouldn't be pressing too much and leaving gaps.

What's your formation and tactical instructions? If you could post a picture that would be great.

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Its a very aggressive Instruction, and one of those Risk / Reward scenarios more often than not.

Its too aggressive for me, as it loses team shape too easily, so I steer well clear.

A high line with standard closing down is a safer bet.

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Its a very aggressive Instruction, and one of those Risk / Reward scenarios more often than not.

Its too aggressive for me, as it loses team shape too easily, so I steer well clear.

A high line with standard closing down is a safer bet.

It's safer but it might not be enough. If you're a bigger team, as I've been in the past, teams will hard tackle the hell out of you and try to knock your players around. You've got to respond by putting their players under pressure, too. SFraser talked about this in one of his threads I believe. Asking the team to push higher will compress the space, but it probably doesn't do much good unless it's actually causing trouble for the AI team.

The thing that I find interesting, is that some roles / duties inherently close down more (or less). It's kind of annoying that I can't change them.. So like I've got a DLF-S with "control" + "push higher" and he's automatically "closing down more." Whereas my CM-D in the same system can be told to "close down more" or less.

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A high line with standard closing down makes defenders kick it long and a crap forward acts like Messi and score. High line should mean heavy pressure so they dont get the time to kick the long ball. but that kind of pressure cant be used. Players dont pressure enough. You can se a wb 2m away from opposition and they still make the choice to run back 30m instead of putting pressure on. I usually just laugh when watching games and not really giving a ****. English not my first language.

Happy New Year!

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I prefer to play with "hassle opponents" on general principle but I've found that even against weaker opponents I get my defenders all deciding they're stoppers and producing easy through balls. Is this team instruction generally more trouble than it's worth? Should I just settle for the standard closing down settings?

Hassle opponents is kind of a desperation move, it's for when you absolutely have to get the ball back at all costs because you're already behind. It's not something you should do as a default.

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I used Hassle Opponents from the beginning of FM14 and played a tactic with a high-defensive line, narrow and compact and it worked well. I did not score too many because of compressing all of the play in the opponent's half but the opposition did not score many either and I was happy with how we played.

I used the following shouts with a 4-2-3-1:

Retain Possession

Play Narrower

Push Higher Up

Hassle Opponents

Mark Tighter

Get Stuck In

Use Offside Trap

Be More Disciplined

Strategy = Control

Philosophy = Balanced

Since the 14.2 patch I noticed that my tactic (which worked so well before) started to leak a lot of goals. Around 60% of the goals conceded were long balls over the top of my defence and I understand the risk of playing with a high line but this is happening against almost every team I play, even teams I am heavily favourites to beat.

Basically my win percentage before the patch was around 70% and then it dropped to around 40% which is crazy.

I tried changing formations to the 4-2-3-1 Deep, 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 and even 4-1-4-1 but I keep getting caught with long balls over the top where Championship level strikers are scoring against me with ease. To re-iterate, I really do understand the risks of playing the way I do and previously most of my goals conceded were also due to the high D-Line but the number has dramatically increased in 14.2 and I am Manchester United, but I have tried this with Ajax Amsterdam as well, since both teams are amongst the best in their leagues in terms of players so I do not think that is the problem.

I enjoy playing with a high-line and lots of pressing and it has worked reasonably well up until the latest patch but now I am considering downloading a tactic to carry on playing FM because I will get more enjoyment from it TBH.

Anyway, that is just my experience so far :)

Regards

Shiraz

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If you play an Attacking/Overload mentality then hassle opponents really doesnt make too much difference. Wiith an attacking mentality your midfield and attack are already at max closing down, and its just your back four that would see a small increase. I would imagine using it with say a Standard or lower mentality might start to pull your team around a bit as you are asking players to move around a lot more in their zone (sitting deeper with the ball then surging forward without it) and that can pull your team out of shape, especially late in the game when players tire.

Just like any instruction available to managers, if its used in the correct manner its a very useful tool, but use in the wrong way and it can ruin your team's performance.

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Hassle Opponents sets closing down to the "max" for all of your players. So, yeah, it's going to look a bit crazy at times if your team isn't very disciplined and well positioned.

I mean imagine you've got Crystal Palace in the premier league, in real life. Imagine telling them to "hassle opponents" against say... Arsenal.. you'd have Arsenal picking out passes for fun while Palace's players would be dragged all over the place chasing after the ball.

This CAN work though. Think of Dortmund, Bayern, Barca, etc. They hunt for the ball in packs, and the whole team focuses hard on winning it back quickly. But perhaps a better way to implement the pressing you want is through individual instruction? That way the CD's wouldn't be pressing too much and leaving gaps.

What's your formation and tactical instructions? If you could post a picture that would be great.

I'm managing Arsenal, so it's a 4-2-3-1 (using CMs rather than DMs). No team instructions other than retain possession and hassle opponents. Just about every midfielder on the squad is a playmaker type rather than a ball winner, so I thought this was a good idea to get them to put in more defensive work, but the problem is the effect it has on my backs.

I generally play "control" mentality with occasional forays into "standard" and "attacking" so maybe I should ditch the team instruction and allow my mentality to dictate how we close down?

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Hassle opponents is kind of a desperation move, it's for when you absolutely have to get the ball back at all costs because you're already behind. It's not something you should do as a default.

Thats completely untrue and very misleading.

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Just lost a Champions League semifinal leg 5-1 where Mertesacker and Jenkinson had just about the worst games of their careers. Beat over the top multiple times, burned by quick wingers, and Mertesacker in particular decided to run in front of Koscielny a half dozen times to close people down, leaving gobs of space to pass into.

I think that settles it, "hassle opponents" has got to go.

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Just lost a Champions League semifinal leg 5-1 where Mertesacker and Jenkinson had just about the worst games of their careers. Beat over the top multiple times, burned by quick wingers, and Mertesacker in particular decided to run in front of Koscielny a half dozen times to close people down, leaving gobs of space to pass into.

I think that settles it, "hassle opponents" has got to go.

Why didn't you remove it the 2nd time you saw this happening? Your shape is just asking to be ripped open when you close down heavily because you use CM's rather than DM's. So this means they need to be disciplined and stay in position and not chase down high up the pitch.

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Why didn't you remove it the 2nd time you saw this happening? Your shape is just asking to be ripped open when you close down heavily because you use CM's rather than DM's. So this means they need to be disciplined and stay in position and not chase down high up the pitch.

Honestly I should have removed it a LONG time ago, but always figured that with a possession oriented side it made sense to keep it. Also I'm sitting 2nd in the league which was above expectations, but I have suffered some shockingly heavy defeats along the way (4-1 at Everton, 3-0 at West Brom) so I think it's time to give it up.

The CMs really aren't the problem though. It's the defenders. They get beat over the top too easily or the 2 CBs are too eager to double team an attacker leaving loads of space.

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I'm clearly in the minority here but the only thing worse than 'hassle opponents' is NOT having 'hassle opponents on'.

..... 'here, you have the ball and take as much time as you like to build your attacks......'

I'm doing well, so I guess that means you can make it work both ways which reflects well on the ME.

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Honestly I should have removed it a LONG time ago, but always figured that with a possession oriented side it made sense to keep it. Also I'm sitting 2nd in the league which was above expectations, but I have suffered some shockingly heavy defeats along the way (4-1 at Everton, 3-0 at West Brom) so I think it's time to give it up.

The CMs really aren't the problem though. It's the defenders. They get beat over the top too easily or the 2 CBs are too eager to double team an attacker leaving loads of space.

It is because they'll be getting run ragged too so are unable to hold the position in the centre of the pitch :) it what happens when the defenders don't have protection. Its the reason why in real life the 4-2-3-1 is always 2 DMC's and never MC's.

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I'm clearly in the minority here but the only thing worse than 'hassle opponents' is NOT having 'hassle opponents on'.

..... 'here, you have the ball and take as much time as you like to build your attacks......'

I'm doing well, so I guess that means you can make it work both ways which reflects well on the ME.

It depends on the shape and the rest of the settings you use too. I see loads of people who like to play deep yet use hassle opponents meaning their players have more space to cover and get run around even more. Hassle opponents works fine and I use it all the time but if you use a shape/settings that require players keep their position then hassle opponents will always cause them issues.

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I don't think hassle opponents is automatically a losing proposition in a tactic with lots of advanced players. A few patches ago there was reports around here of people having wild success playing extremely aggressive 4-2-4s with hassle opponents and other crazily attacking settings such as a BWM as one of those 2 MCs. Now that might have been a bit of an exploit over that particular match engine which won't work as well in new patches, but it kinda makes sense on paper as a strategy regardless - it's a all or nothing strategy of attempting to bully the opposition and turn the game into a really fast paced physical game. That has worked in the past in real life even for unskilled untalented teams which overachieved with such setups (for example Zeman's teams, notably Pescara), however it is very much a tactic of putting all of your eggs in one basket: when you lose and face an opponent that has the ability to pick you out, it's going to be a spectacular loss!

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It is because they'll be getting run ragged too so are unable to hold the position in the centre of the pitch :) it what happens when the defenders don't have protection. Its the reason why in real life the 4-2-3-1 is always 2 DMC's and never MC's.

Yea your point is definitely taken, but in FM terms, players like Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, even Flamini are all CMs, not DMs. So without significant retraining I don't have much of an option of which formation to use.

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I don't think hassle opponents is automatically a losing proposition in a tactic with lots of advanced players. A few patches ago there was reports around here of people having wild success playing extremely aggressive 4-2-4s with hassle opponents and other crazily attacking settings such as a BWM as one of those 2 MCs. Now that might have been a bit of an exploit over that particular match engine which won't work as well in new patches, but it kinda makes sense on paper as a strategy regardless - it's a all or nothing strategy of attempting to bully the opposition and turn the game into a really fast paced physical game. That has worked in the past in real life even for unskilled untalented teams which overachieved with such setups (for example Zeman's teams, notably Pescara), however it is very much a tactic of putting all of your eggs in one basket: when you lose and face an opponent that has the ability to pick you out, it's going to be a spectacular loss!

Very true, setting hassle opponents with an attack-minded formation seems to be very much feast-or-famine, depending on whether opponents are playing direct and have good enough passers to "crack" your line. Like I said I'm overall doing very well (2nd in the league and made it to the CL semifinal) but have suffered several spectacularly awful losses along the way.

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It's an extreme option but a very useful one if you have a world class squad. With that said, most teams that attempt a full pressing defense like this typically alternate between having the whole team press when the opposition looks rattled and just having a small group of advanced players doing the pressing when they just want to try to rattle the opposition, though there isn't a quick team option available for the latter approach (what Lobanovskyi called false pressing).

For the most part, I would say most high pressing teams IRL are better represented by standard settings with "Push Up" instructions or some variant of false pressing. Managers who attempt full pressing with a less than world class team do get periodically crushed as they do in FM.

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It's an extreme option but a very useful one if you have a world class squad. With that said, most teams that attempt a full pressing defense like this typically alternate between having the whole team press when the opposition looks rattled and just having a small group of advanced players doing the pressing when they just want to try to rattle the opposition, though there isn't a quick team option available for the latter approach (what Lobanovskyi called false pressing).

For the most part, I would say most high pressing teams IRL are better represented by standard settings with "Push Up" instructions or some variant of false pressing. Managers who attempt full pressing with a less than world class team do get periodically crushed as they do in FM.

THOG, in most set ups we see that the individual player instruction for "close down more" is already engaged. So for example in my Spurs save I've got a DLF-S in a control / push higher - system. That DLF-S is already set to close down more, and the only option I have is to close down less. But There is no "in between" option, I cannot untick close down more. This must be simply because of the role/duty that I've selected right? Or perhaps is there a tie in with overall mentality? So maybe in a "defensive" system a DLF-S wouldn't have "close down more" ticked.

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It's an extreme option but a very useful one if you have a world class squad. With that said, most teams that attempt a full pressing defense like this typically alternate between having the whole team press when the opposition looks rattled and just having a small group of advanced players doing the pressing when they just want to try to rattle the opposition, though there isn't a quick team option available for the latter approach (what Lobanovskyi called false pressing).

For the most part, I would say most high pressing teams IRL are better represented by standard settings with "Push Up" instructions or some variant of false pressing. Managers who attempt full pressing with a less than world class team do get periodically crushed as they do in FM.

I wouldn't class Southampton as a world class team and they seem to be doing quite well with heavy pressing.

It comes down to your tactic and whether the players are hard working and disciplined enough not whether they are world class.

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But are they though? They're 9th in the table and have only scored 26 goals. A high pressure system is all well and good but, are you getting results? The idea of pressing the opponent is to win the ball back quickly, put the other team under intense pressure, etc. That should result in plenty of goals scored, and lots of possession. Southampton have the possession (avg 57%) but they don't have the goals.

That being said I agree with you that it comes down to the players and the tactic. I don't think there is any instruction in the game that is inherently bad or anything.

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THOG, in most set ups we see that the individual player instruction for "close down more" is already engaged. So for example in my Spurs save I've got a DLF-S in a control / push higher - system. That DLF-S is already set to close down more, and the only option I have is to close down less. But There is no "in between" option, I cannot untick close down more. This must be simply because of the role/duty that I've selected right? Or perhaps is there a tie in with overall mentality? So maybe in a "defensive" system a DLF-S wouldn't have "close down more" ticked.

I can't check since my main computer is dead, but yeah, I think it may have something to do with their closing down setting already being maxed out.

I wouldn't class Southampton as a world class team and they seem to be doing quite well with heavy pressing.

It comes down to your tactic and whether the players are hard working and disciplined enough not whether they are world class.

The fact that they've lost 6 of their last 10 games is a pretty good indication of why a heavy pressing system may not be sustainable for a smaller squad over the course of a whole season, though I wouldn't say that Southampton employ a full pressing defence for 90 minutes. For Southampton, it really wasn't a question of whether they would burn out so much as how soon they would.

You're right though that a smaller team like Southampton can use it well to some effect, but it's a tight rope walk in terms of keeping the squad physically intact and avoiding spiraling into a long stretch of poor form.

In that case, I would amend my statement to say that using it consistently on a match to match basis requires a very strong squad that can cope with both the physical and mental demands.

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much higher defensive line makes the opposition attackers lick their lips and they also get a first touch like Maradona although they are crap and their goalkeeper kicks it straight to them and they score.

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much higher defensive line makes the opposition attackers lick their lips and they also get a first touch like Maradona although they are crap and their goalkeeper kicks it straight to them and they score.

That isn't true / helpful in any way at all.

Much higher d-line has its purpose, and if you use it to ill-effect that isn't the instruction's fault.

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ok have not used it in the latest patch but, lost two games in a row because my cb's suddenly went from good to extemely bad. Might be because I used a halfback

Generic statements like above don't tell us enough about what is actually going on with your team. Perhaps open up a thread and explain what the issue is? Can't help ya if you don't post anything more than a complaint.

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Thats completely untrue and very misleading.

How so? Unless there's a "chicken with your head cut off" pressing setting I don't recommend it as a default. Neither untrue nor misleading, Hassle Opponents should be used sparingly if you want to keep any kind of shape or consistency at all.

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How so? Unless there's a "chicken with your head cut off" pressing setting I don't recommend it as a default. Neither untrue nor misleading, Hassle Opponents should be used sparingly if you want to keep any kind of shape or consistency at all.

That is, of course, only your opinion.

Many people including myself use hassle opponent to good effect.

I used it for every second of every game in season one with Chelsea and won the quadruple with no transfers.

I have also had 4 promotions in 5 seasons with a non league team using hassle opponent in every game.

Clearly if my players had been behaving like headless chickens that would not have been possible.

Holding extremes of opinion is pretty pointless here. Sure it might not work for you but that doesnt mean it wont work for EVERYONE.

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I have had hassle opponents in most of my tactics.

One thing i have been wondering. When hassle opponents if in use, it is pointless to put closing down on opponent instructions, right?

That's how i have thought about it at least...

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I use it in a 3-3-1-3 formation and it works perfectly for me. What i did was i made sure my squad was well gelled and Tactic familiarity was about 90% before i used it and other shouts that requires the players to have a high understanding of their roles in the team.

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Well I played my 1st season with "hassle opponents" set 100% of the time, now I'm going to drop it entirely for my 2nd season. Obviously some personnel will have changed but I'll be playing largely the same tactics. I have a feeling I may be more competitive against elite clubs but maybe also end up with more draws or close losses against mediocre clubs. We'll see.

It's times like this where I wish we had the sliders visible, just so I could see the effects of each instruction and maybe find some happy middle ground.

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I generally play with 'hassle opponents' on, mainly from an ideological stand point but in all honesty it's worked pretty well for so far.

I think the key is being able to spot when it isn't working. For instance I turned it off when I played Arsenal away from home as I was pretty sure they would have been able to pick me apart if I had kept it on, as a result my team stayed more compact and despite having less possesion I won the game comfortably 2-0. On the other hand, a couple of weeks later I played a Spurs team that were all very tired for some reason (they started they game all about 85% or less condition), so I kept 'hassle opponents on and added 'much higher defensive line' and 'higher tempo', I absolutely demoolished them for 80 minutes, then when they were tired I picked them off easily, scoring 3 goals in the last 10 minutes (after the second goal I dropped the tempo down). The point is there is, in my opinion, a time when every instruction will be useful in some way, totally dismissing one won't help you.

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Personal opinion : I tend to use "Hassle opponents" with "Stay on Feet" a lot.

I like to press my opponents high up the pitch, but I don't like getting skinned all the time. The intention is to press the opponent into making a mistake, or at the very least, turn away from goal and pass backwards. I think any of the instructions can be useful depending on the situation, there have been games where I have had to turn off the Hassle because it was almost doing TOO well, keeping my opponent pinned in their own half in a tight compact formation making it hard for me to break down.

As always, it's down to personal play style, there is no "right" or "wrong" use for it.

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Well, removing "hassle opponents" has been a complete and utter disaster so far. Sitting 9th in the league after 8 games. I'm barely scoring any goals and my possession numbers are way down, presumably because I'm not winning the ball back as frequently as I used to. Decent chance I'll be sacked for the first time ever in 4 years playing FM.

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Well, removing "hassle opponents" has been a complete and utter disaster so far. Sitting 9th in the league after 8 games. I'm barely scoring any goals and my possession numbers are way down, presumably because I'm not winning the ball back as frequently as I used to. Decent chance I'll be sacked for the first time ever in 4 years playing FM.

Well it depends on your tactics really. If you were playing a high line to begin with you might not need hassle opponents. But if you're not able to keep the ball well, and your players are positioned deeper, then naturally you'll struggle to keep possession and score goals.

Defensive play and attacking play are linked. So if you're not holding the ball you're going to have to work harder to get it back again, etc.

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I use hassle opponents all the time. I use a counter attack mentality and I've got great success who it, winning a couple of Cl's with Fiorentina and 4 league titles. My wing backs seem to do a lot of the hassling and win the ball back a lot, when I just use standard pressing my team don't play that well.

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I am always interested to hear more when people say they only use one mentality... I find it absolutely fascinating honestly. The same goes with instructions, so, if someone says: "I always use X" to me that is really interesting. Maybe I am just a natural tinkerer but, wow.

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Well it depends on your tactics really. If you were playing a high line to begin with you might not need hassle opponents. But if you're not able to keep the ball well, and your players are positioned deeper, then naturally you'll struggle to keep possession and score goals.

Defensive play and attacking play are linked. So if you're not holding the ball you're going to have to work harder to get it back again, etc.

At this point I'm just completely demoralized and grasping at straws. Just played Cardiff away. Had more possession, more shots on target, more CCCs. The result? A 3-0 loss. I feel like I cannot do anything right in this ME. It feels like creativity doesn't matter and that two-thirds of the goals scored are from set piece slop.

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At this point I'm just completely demoralized and grasping at straws. Just played Cardiff away. Had more possession, more shots on target, more CCCs. The result? A 3-0 loss. I feel like I cannot do anything right in this ME. It feels like creativity doesn't matter and that two-thirds of the goals scored are from set piece slop.

I've been there, friend. You'll be fine just keep reading and keep learning and keep playing.

Maybe try FMC? It will allow you to try basically anything without worrying about tactical familiarity. I'm about to do a little experiment on FMC with Man United. I wouldn't be able to do that in the regular mode as the familiarity would destroy us.

Basically though, my advice is that you gotta make sure your tactics are doing what you want them to do. There is no winning formula, everyone is different. But being able to adapt is key and spotting weaknesses in your own team / the AI is also key.

I dont know anything about your team or your ability as a manager but I'm guessing you've got a set way of playing that kind of works but not enough to where you feel satisfied. If that is the case you must examine what is going on tactically, why your team isn't scoring, why your team is conceding, etc.

Set pieces are frustrating at times no doubt about that. Best thing to do is just set them up using common sense. You could also adjust on a game by game basis if you really felt you had to compensate for something like the other team having a huge striker on corners who is a danger, etc.

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I've always favored a sort of "let the players play" style, where I use very few team instructions, role/duties are tuned to the strengths of my players with some effort at balancing them so not everyone's on attack, and mentality depends on home/away and strength of opponent.

As you say tinkering is tough because it will wreck your familiarity. Also, there's so much randomness that it's hard to run experiments for the amount of time required to actually glean anything from them. After all, you can play the same game with the same tactics multiple times and have completely different results every time.

First think I might do is dial down my fluidity. I was always playing on fluid or very fluid because I have creative players and wanted to maximize their freedom, but I'm no longer sure this is paying any dividends.

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