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The Mentality Ladder: A Practical Framework for Understanding Fluidity and Duty

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Hand of God: Totally see your point too. I think I misunderstood your intentions a bit. For advanced players that want to delve deeper, this provides a mind-boggingly exhaustive groundwork for tinkering. It's just that for the average player this has the danger of making a game more complicated than it truly is. But then he likely won't bother reading anyway. :)

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Can we make sure we keep this about the OP please, if you are providing feedback about the game in general or its faults then that belongs in the feedback thread in the general section of the forums and not in here. All posts that are not about the OP will be deleted from this point on because if not it ruins the thread and turns it into a feedback thread and that's not the purpose of the thread.

Thanks.

If anyone disagrees then PM me, this thread is not the place to carry on this debate.

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Right OK so I have spent a hungover Saturday afternoon trying to put this into practice and I was wondering if you could sanity check the results...

Plan A: Dominate possession

Possession.png

Quite simply the aim of this tactic is to dominate possession, sit reasonably deep and draw the opposition out leaving space behind for Theo to run into or to simply pass through them.

Went with a 4-2-3-1 and chose Very Fluid & Control which gives me players with the following priorities.

GK/D: Cycle Possession

DR/S: Keep Possession

DC/D: Keep Possession Away From Pressure

DC/D: Keep Possession Away From Pressure

DL/S: Keep Possession

MC/S: Shuttle Ball

DLP/S: Keep Possession Under Pressure

IF/A: Spearhead Attacking Moves

Treq/A: Create Chances Patiently

Wing/S: Create Chances

TM/S: Create Chances Urgently

By my logic, this gives me a back 4 and midfield who will control possession with Ozil, Cazorla and Giroud creating chances for Theo. I added Hassle Opponents so we close down as a team and Roam from Position take advantage of good Off the Ball and Decision stats.

Plan B: Sit Deep & Counter

OK so the objective here is to for a solid back 4 and double pivot to sit deep and invite the opposition to attack. When we gain possession of the ball I want a lightning quick counter and to get the ball in the net ASAP. Think Real Madrid under Mourinho.

This is the approach I have changed the most having read your guide. Initially I looked at Very Rigid because I wanted a nice compact defence. I looked at Counter but I found the attacking players to be too low on the mentality ladder and the play was too slow. I then looked at Attack having read an article on CCC but I think the defence was too possession focused. In the end I went for this:

Counter.png

I found Standard & Balanced gave me the best mixture of solid defence and quick attack. I then use Team Instructions to modify the defence and transition. It gives me players with the following focus:

GK: Distribute Safely

DR/S: Recover Possession

DC: Disrupt Attacks Judiciously

DC: Disrupt Attacks Judiciously

DL/S: Recover Possession

DMC: Disrupt Attacks Quickly

MC: Shuttle Ball

IFR/A: Spearhead Attacking Moves

Treq/A: Shuttle Ball Into Space

AP/L: Shuttle Ball Through Defence

TM/S: Shuttle Ball Through Defence

Hopefully my shouts have the following effects:

  1. Sit Deep reduces my DCs to Restrict Space Aggressively and DR/L to Recover Possession
  2. More freedom for AML, AMC, and FC increase their mentality to Create Chances
  3. Get Forward for MC increases his mentality to Spearhead Attacking Moves

Shouts to create the Counter Attacking effect:

  1. Sit Deep
  2. Stand Off Opponents
  3. Play the ball out of Defence
  4. Very Direct Passing
  5. Very High Tempo

What do you think? Is this a sensible approach?

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Thanks for stepping forward and offering such a detailed example, OttA. This is very helpful in identifying some areas that may need clarification and also interesting to finally see this project from someone else's perspective.

I'm not able to write out a proper reply at the moment, but I will get back to you with a detailed response by tomorrow evening. :thup:

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Interestingly enough, your idea about setting up a fast, counterattacking system was one of the first things that occurred to me when I started putting this into practice. The Counter team mentality refers to one approach to counterattacking (sitting deep and waiting patiently for clear opportunities to break forward in numbers), but obviously, the idea of counterattacking football encompasses a lot more than that. And like you, when setting up what you might call "an elaborate counterattack approach" (as opposed to a simple approach involving sitting deep and usually just relying on 1-3 players to get forward in most cases), I settled on Standard with defensive TI's and a higher tempo.

One thing I would note here though is that I personally wouldn't think of the TI's and PI's as changing a player's tactical priority (with the exception of those I specifically mentioned like Exploit the Flanks). Think of them, rather, as slight adjustments to role which define how a player carries out his tactical priority and how quickly and dramatically he deviates from it to do something more defensive/attacking when his teammates need support doing something else.

The defensive line instructions, specifically, are a little ambiguous. I like that you called it "Sit Deeper" rather than "Drop Deeper" as this is probably a more accurate way to think of it in relation to a player's tactical priority. In terms of the TC as it stands now, "Drop Deeper" basically achieves what you assume it will in terms of on the pitch action, but I would really think of the d-line instructions as being more of a team counterpart to closing down (that is, pressing in formation as opposed to pressing individually out of formation). So think of it more in terms of "Push Up More" and "Push Up Less" with the instruction controlling how frequently your d-line will push forward from a comfortable defensive position to help more advanced teammates carry out their more aggressive defensive responsibilities by compressing the playing area.

So, in this example, telling a defender to "Push Up Less" won't alter his tactical priority (i.e., his general focus and disposition); instead, it will have the defender adhering to it more stubbornly. With that said, I like how you're using it here and it's very close to the general set-up I'm experimenting with at the moment.

"Get Forward" is going to modify how quickly a player joins the attack, so by assigning it to Ramsey on Plan B, you're giving him what might be thought of as a "Super Attack" duty that will have him blasting forward on the ball (or, if he gets bypassed, when it's already ahead of him), but it won't change his tactical priority and, thus, won't necessarily leave you without a dedicated "shuttler" in midfield.

In regards to both your plans, I should clarify that "Create Chances" is very aggressive for a main responsibility, and I actually considered calling it "Stay Forward and Create Chances." Now, it's important to again emphasize here that players respond dynamically to what needs to be done, and while a tactical priority centres and orients a player's approach, a player will naturally be spending a lot of time carrying out tasks that are "close" to his tactical priority. So, a support duty player told to Shuttle the Ball is still going to be looking to create chances fairly frequently once the ball gets near the area, but he's always first going to focus on making absolutely sure the ball gets there and, certainly, when he gets around the area, he will be slightly more inclined to work the ball around a bit if there isn't quite such a clear cut opportunity to play it in and he's not quickly running out of options.

By comparison, a player told to focus on "Creating Chances" is really going to operate as a fairly traditional #10: looking for space between the midfield and defence from which he can quickly play the final ball (if a chance is on) but less inclined to drop back, make himself available for easy passes and do the unheralded grunt work of early build up play (in part because doing so will draw defenders' attention to him more quickly... thus, potentially, compromising his ability to quickly create a chance). Now, maybe this is what you want, but I thought I should clarify just in case (and I'll look to clarify the "in detail" description accordingly).

Beyond that, I would make a few more fairly general comments:

In Plan A, you could really use another attack duty even if you're going for a slower build-up, possession approach. Remember, I consider the playmaker roles to all be on a sort of "Super Support" duty, so with Ozil as a treq, you should have another player getting forward to give your creative players options. I would also suggest putting Gibbs on an attack duty to ensure you've got the option of getting up to the byline on the left (and if you find this results in a few too many crosses for the build-up style you want, you can adjust his PIs accordingly). As wwfan recommends in his twelve step guide, it's always good to have one attack duty defender on non-defensive approaches to prevent your defensive-to-attacking transition from being overly static and predictable. Going into matches, if you're finding the opposition hard to break down, don't hesitate to commit more players to an attack duty.

Finally, deviating a little from the mentality ladder, I would add that I'm not a big fan of this variety of 4-2-3-1 formation. This is partially because I'm a "defence first" kind of manager, but I interpret this formation as a variation on a 4-2-4. It's inherently very attacking, and as you can see, it leaves your two CMs covering a massive amount of space between the attack and defence. This isn't to say it can't work. It can be very effective against sides that keep numbers back and don't press (which is how the AI will often play against sides like Arsenal), especially if they have cautious fullbacks who will be inclined to stay back to mark your wide forwards, but it lacks versatility and will typically leave you very exposed against more aggressive sides.

I don't want to say don't use it, but against tougher opponents, you may want to mix it up and go for a 451, 4411 or 4-2DM-1CM-2AMLR-1. These are all different ways of producing what's generally thought of as a 4-2-3-1 which, IMO, is a common modification on several different systems (that is, it's a way of setting up a 442, 424, 451 or 433) as opposed to an altogether separate family of systems. And on that note, I should point out that positional familiarity is probably the most overthought aspect of tactics. SI themselves have said it doesn't matter that much, and while my personal opinion is that a lot of researchers are far too hesitant to give familiarity at ML/R, you'll benefit from training your wingers to be more comfortable there as opposed to using wide forwards (i.e., AMLR) at all times.

EDIT: I would also add that "Stand Off Opponents" lowers your tempo. I'm not convinced that it should since this has an effect on build-up play, but it may be better to individually lower closing down for players (as cumbersome as that is).

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Now in my opinion, OttA - by trying to adhere to the framework, I can see a lot of (certainly in my opinion, cannot speak for everyone else), some illogical decisions, as well as some choices that neglect the inherent abilities of the system. For example:

  • Your full backs are far too reserved - in both systems you need them to offer more offensively. To form combination play with Cazorla on your possession system, and to overlap Walcott on both systems.
  • You have neglected the main strength of the 4-2-3-1 in your 2nd system - the lack of a solid defensive block between the DC's and DM/MC's. Ramsey as a CM(A) will simply not provide it. The lack of a distributing role in these parts of the field will inevitably see Arteta and the defence isolated. To be blunt, a DLP in that system would be far more important as otherwise you have no transitional passers.
  • On top of the lack of width, you have a highly congested central attacking area with players coming inside, and only a single man trying to break the lines in your entire attack (Walcott).
  • A TM(S) rarely provides the playmakers with a man to combine with. They tend to recieve and offer opposite forms of deliver. The TM will rely on flick ons from long balls, crosses etc, as well as having a partner to play with. The T(A), AP(S) & DLP(D) all require more forward runs, moves into channels etc.
  • Finally the amount of specialist roles in that team is huge. In your very fluid possession system you play 3 specialist roles, and in your balanced, counter-attacking system you play 4! They contradict the point of specialism and universality.

Sorry mate, I don't mean to pull you apart, it is kind of because you are the first main example to be posted here, and I haven't really had the chance to express what I mean until now. I feel while this is a massive piece of work, I find it hard to see how this framework actually guides tactical decision making, as most decisions can be made simply by adding logical instructions and combinations together, providing a framework of general rules. This is also extremely hard to follow and very wordy. I feel bad for criticizing such a large piece of work, and did not want to unless I had an excellent example to clearly illustrate my point, but with people complaining FM is harder and you need a degree in management to play it, I feel this is totally the wrong step/pattern/message to provide.

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Now in my opinion, OttA - by trying to adhere to the framework, I can see a lot of (certainly in my opinion, cannot speak for everyone else), some illogical decisions, as well as some choices that neglect the inherent abilities of the system. For example:

  • Your full backs are far too reserved - in both systems you need them to offer more offensively. To form combination play with Cazorla on your possession system, and to overlap Walcott on both systems.
  • You have neglected the main strength of the 4-2-3-1 in your 2nd system - the lack of a solid defensive block between the DC's and DM/MC's. Ramsey as a CM(A) will simply not provide it. The lack of a distributing role in these parts of the field will inevitably see Arteta and the defence isolated. To be blunt, a DLP in that system would be far more important as otherwise you have no transitional passers.
  • On top of the lack of width, you have a highly congested central attacking area with players coming inside, and only a single man trying to break the lines in your entire attack (Walcott).
  • A TM(S) rarely provides the playmakers with a man to combine with. They tend to recieve and offer opposite forms of deliver. The TM will rely on flick ons from long balls, crosses etc, as well as having a partner to play with. The T(A), AP(S) & DLP(D) all require more forward runs, moves into channels etc.
  • Finally the amount of specialist roles in that team is huge. In your very fluid possession system you play 3 specialist roles, and in your balanced, counter-attacking system you play 4! They contradict the point of specialism and universality.

Sorry mate, I don't mean to pull you apart, it is kind of because you are the first main example to be posted here, and I haven't really had the chance to express what I mean until now. I feel while this is a massive piece of work, I find it hard to see how this framework actually guides tactical decision making, as most decisions can be made simply by adding logical instructions and combinations together, providing a framework of general rules. This is also extremely hard to follow and very wordy. I feel bad for criticizing such a large piece of work, and did not want to unless I had an excellent example to clearly illustrate my point, but with people complaining FM is harder and you need a degree in management to play it, I feel this is totally the wrong step/pattern/message to provide.

As I said to Svenc, I completely understand and respect that not everyone will like this approach. If you asked me if I thought this framework should be slapped onto the game itself, my response would be a big, emphatic "No!" However, I do maintain that it's useful as both a way of clarifying ideas and identifying confusing and misleading aspects of the game that could use some refinement and clarification.

In terms of OttA's post, I actually disagree with you that the framework led to the illogical decisions. The decisions he made are fairly common problems you see among tactics created with the basic TC, and I thought the explicit mentality structure outline successfully helps identify and pinpoint many of the problems you mention, especially in terms of the excessively attacking nature of the whole set-up, the lack of options in the box in Plan A, the likely excess of players performing support tasks in the attacking third, the very thin link between defence and attack, and the paucity of defensive cover in front of the defence in Plan B. Moreover, taking such advice, the framework then provides a set of comparative reference points to ensure similar mistakes aren't made on different settings.

Yes, further consideration needs to be given to the specific interaction between roles, but I never suggested that the mentality structure outlines and tactical priorities were a substitute for roles, far from it. This framework also obviously isn't a substitute for learning the ins and outs of tactics but a reference for helping to put existing tactical knowledge into practice and identifying problem areas in the transition from idea to specific TC settings.

And again, I absolutely agree that the TC provides all you need for a general approach to the game and that someone with a good understanding of tactical principles won't have any problem setting up a functioning tactic, but even then, you're assuming both that the player is bringing a fairly in-depth, intuitive grasp of tactics to the game and that they will have played long enough to learn how the more vague concepts of the TC translate onto the pitch. What may seem like basic tactical logic to you may actually be a revelation to the player who plays with 4 attack duty attackers and a single, box-to-box midfielder in front of a static defence. And even then, I feel that some aspects of the TC are misleading and while this initial presentation is obviously way too in depth to be a beginner's guide, its purpose as a theoretical endeavor is to identify more accurate, intuitive applications and interpretations of various settings.

EDIT: And the reason people joke that FM14 requires you to have a coaching badge to play has more to do with the fact that recent improvements do require you to have a stronger understanding of basic tactical principles. Obviously, the TC itself is vastly simplified compared to what previously existed.

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Now, in response to your specific advice, I would like to make a few points to clarify a few things:

* Your full backs are far too reserved - in both systems you need them to offer more offensively. To form combination play with Cazorla on your possession system, and to overlap Walcott on both systems.

*On top of the lack of width, you have a highly congested central attacking area with players coming inside, and only a single man trying to break the lines in your entire attack (Walcott).

*A TM(S) rarely provides the playmakers with a man to combine with. They tend to recieve and offer opposite forms of deliver. The TM will rely on flick ons from long balls, crosses etc, as well as having a partner to play with. The T(A), AP(S) & DLP(D) all require more forward runs, moves into channels etc.

I agree with this, and on top of my comment above, I would point out that this is all addressed in the section on assigning duties. In fact, I took the standard advice a step further by suggesting that the Enganche, Treq and AP-A be treated as support roles. Looking at a lot of threads on here, you'll see a common problem people have even if they follow the twelve step guide to the letter is that they go and end up assigning all their attack duties to playmaker roles who don't actually make many forward runs.

I generally agree on the fullbacks, but with Plan B, OttA specifically said he wanted a solid, conservative back four with build-up being based around a very direct, rapid attack that attempts to overload the middle before the opposition can transition back into shape. You are correct to point out a potential danger in this, but I wouldn't say that advice should be such a hard rule. There are teams that do play with both fullbacks in a support capacity, and there are big sides, especially outside of England, that do try to overload and overpower the middle. It has its limitations and a manager should be prepared to recognize when it's not working against a specific opponent, but it's a valid approach and I think sometimes the advice given on here tends to ignore context (and I include myself in this). Part of this is because tactical design is still biased towards setting up a single, general tactic that will serve you from match to match against every conceivable opponent, but this doesn't mean that set-ups that are too unbalanced for general, match-to-match use are totally useless or not reflective of actual real world tactics.

The use of the 4-2CM-3-1 is a good example of this. I think both you and I would agree that it's not the most balanced defensive shape, but a lot of players have success with it, mainly because they play big sides and the AI sits deep, doesn't press their midfield and doesn't commit a lot of players to the attack. That's obviously one area where the AI could be improved a bit, but in the context of a big side vs. smaller sides, a system with four forwards can work.

[*]You have neglected the main strength of the 4-2-3-1 in your 2nd system - the lack of a solid defensive block between the DC's and DM/MC's. Ramsey as a CM(A) will simply not provide it. The lack of a distributing role in these parts of the field will inevitably see Arteta and the defence isolated. To be blunt, a DLP in that system would be far more important as otherwise you have no transitional passers.

Again, as I said in my response to OttA, I basically agree with this and I'm not a fan of this kind of 4-2CM-3-1 since it leaves the defence so exposed. For the most part, I would recommend just using a more standard defensive shape as opposed to using an asymmetric shape on a fluidity setting that already promotes positional asymmetry.

I agree that playing Arteta as an anchor man puts too many restrictions on the early build-up. However, I wouldn't say Arteta will inevitably get isolated. This is an instance where it is important to have a more specific idea of how role interacts with your fluidity/mentality settings. In this case, Ramsey and Cazorla will actually go deep enough to provide outlets for transition play while, since it's a balanced system, the fullbacks will be pushing ahead of Arteta to offer more options out wide. I agree that Ramsey getting forward will leave the defence vulnerable to counterattacks (though he will still be perfectly willing to help defend and press after tracking back), though this is more of a question of how aggressive his opponent will actually be.

This is one limitation of the way roles are presented in the current system. Roles are very sensitive to your fluidity/mentality settings, and I don't think this is adequately reflected in the TC.

Finally the amount of specialist roles in that team is huge. In your very fluid possession system you play 3 specialist roles, and in your balanced, counter-attacking system you play 4! They contradict the point of specialism and universality.

I partially agree with Svenc here in that I don't put too much importance on getting the number of generalist/specialist roles just right. It's a good guideline if you're new and looking to avoid a lot of basic mistakes, but I think wwfan would agree that it's just a guideline for getting started and not a commandment. I agree that there are some issues with the balance of roles here, but the specific numbers are less important than the actual roles used. In this case, it's the limited roles (target man and anchor man) that stand out as problematic.

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Silly none constructive/rude posts will be deleted I've already stated that in the thread. The next one will result in a ban because I'm tired of ungrateful people on this forum posting utter nonsense in threads. That's the 3rd comment I've had to delete in the last half hour, anymore and its a ban, enough is enough.

No wonder people don't post or help anyone any more when the idiots come out and mock people who are trying to help.

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Finally, deviating a little from the mentality ladder, I would add that I'm not a big fan of this variety of 4-2-3-1 formation. This is partially because I'm a "defence first" kind of manager, but I interpret this formation as a variation on a 4-2-4. It's inherently very attacking, and as you can see, it leaves your two CMs covering a massive amount of space between the attack and defence. This isn't to say it can't work. It can be very effective against sides that keep numbers back and don't press (which is how the AI will often play against sides like Arsenal), especially if they have cautious fullbacks who will be inclined to stay back to mark your wide forwards, but it lacks versatility and will typically leave you very exposed against more aggressive sides.

I don't want to say don't use it, but against tougher opponents, you may want to mix it up and go for a 451, 4411 or 4-2DM-1CM-2AMLR-1. These are all different ways of producing what's generally thought of as a 4-2-3-1 which, IMO, is a common modification on several different systems (that is, it's a way of setting up a 442, 424, 451 or 433) as opposed to an altogether separate family of systems. And on that note, I should point out that positional familiarity is probably the most overthought aspect of tactics. SI themselves have said it doesn't matter that much, and while my personal opinion is that a lot of researchers are far too hesitant to give familiarity at ML/R, you'll benefit from training your wingers to be more comfortable there as opposed to using wide forwards (i.e., AMLR) at all times.

Wow - firstly, thank you so much for the help!

I have taken your advice and made a few modifications. Plan A, Possession now looks like this:

POSSESSION.png

Major changes:

  1. Changed shape to 4-2-3-1 Assymetric
  2. Changed Fluidity to Balanced
  3. Made Gibbs CWB-A
  4. Made Giroud a DLF-S

By my logic, my team should look something like this:

-------------------------------------CONTROL-------------------------------------

GK: GK/D (Szczesny): Distribute Safely

DR: FB/S (Sagna): Shuttle Ball Into Space

DC: DC/D (Mertesaker): Disrupt Attacks Quickly

DC: DC/D (Koscielny): Disrupt Attacks Quickly

DL: FB/S (Gibbs): Shuttle Ball Into Space

DMC: DLP/S (Arteta): Keep Possession

MC: MC/S (Ramsey): Spearhead Attacks from the Hole

ML: W/S (Cazorla): Shuttle Ball

AMC: Treq/A (Ozil): Shuttle Ball Through Defence

AMR: IF/A (Walcott): Penetrate Gaps Intermittently

FC: DLP/S (Giroud): Create Chances

I like the change in shape, agree with what you are saying there. Seems to reduce the gaps. Also creates a nice diamond between Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla and Ozil.

I felt the change in fluidity gave me 3 main benefits:

  1. Mertesaker & Koscielny are better suited to Disrupting Attacks than Keeping Possession.
  2. Cazorla & Ozil's roles have been watered down. Shuttling Ball rather than creating chances means they should be more involved.
  3. Aaron Ramsey is Spearheading Attacks from the Hole so I should have an additional attacking runner. Hopefully like he does in real life.

Do you think that Balanced / Control (as above) would be a good choice for a Counter Attack System with high tempo, longer passing lower closing down etc?

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As I said to Svenc, I completely understand and respect that not everyone will like this approach. If you asked me if I thought this framework should be slapped onto the game itself, my response would be a big, emphatic "No!" However, I do maintain that it's useful as both a way of clarifying ideas and identifying confusing and misleading aspects of the game that could use some refinement and clarification.

Ok

In terms of OttA's post, I actually disagree with you that the framework led to the illogical decisions. The decisions he made are fairly common problems you see among tactics created with the basic TC, and I thought the explicit mentality structure outline successfully helps identify and pinpoint many of the problems you mention, especially in terms of the excessively attacking nature of the whole set-up, the lack of options in the box in Plan A, the likely excess of players performing support tasks in the attacking third, the very thin link between defence and attack, and the paucity of defensive cover in front of the defence in Plan B. Moreover, taking such advice, the framework then provides a set of comparative reference points to ensure similar mistakes aren't made on different settings.

This is a point I stand my ground on, the framework was followed to the letter (which I am under the impression is not the intention of it's use), and as such it created what we saw. I also feel the most basic and solid tactics are created with the TC. I think an issue is that the advice for each position depends hugely on formation, you may not want a certain position/role to "shuttle the ball" if he is the most defensive player in the team, so I think formation needs to be taken into account quite significantly.

Yes, further consideration needs to be given to the specific interaction between roles, but I never suggested that the mentality structure outlines and tactical priorities were a substitute for roles, far from it. This framework also obviously isn't a substitute for learning the ins and outs of tactics but a reference for helping to put existing tactical knowledge into practice and identifying problem areas in the transition from idea to specific TC settings.

And again, I absolutely agree that the TC provides all you need for a general approach to the game and that someone with a good understanding of tactical principles won't have any problem setting up a functioning tactic, but even then, you're assuming both that the player is bringing a fairly in-depth, intuitive grasp of tactics to the game and that they will have played long enough to learn how the more vague concepts of the TC translate onto the pitch. What may seem like basic tactical logic to you may actually be a revelation to the player who plays with 4 attack duty attackers and a single, box-to-box midfielder in front of a static defence. And even then, I feel that some aspects of the TC are misleading and while this initial presentation is obviously way too in depth to be a beginner's guide, its purpose as a theoretical endeavor is to identify more accurate, intuitive applications and interpretations of various settings.

Agreed on the level this guide suits/applies to.

And the reason people joke that FM14 requires you to have a coaching badge to play has more to do with the fact that recent improvements do require you to have a stronger understanding of basic tactical principles. Obviously, the TC itself is vastly simplified compared to what previously existed.

I think the other demands of the game have gone up, and the game is less forgiving - meaning you have to have the concepts already, or the inclination to learn them.

Now, in response to your specific advice, I would like to make a few points to clarify a few things:

I'm all ears...

I agree with this, and on top of my comment above, I would point out that this is all addressed in the section on assigning duties. In fact, I took the standard advice a step further by suggesting that the Enganche, Treq and AP-A be treated as support roles. Looking at a lot of threads on here, you'll see a common problem people have even if they follow the twelve step guide to the letter is that they go and end up assigning all their attack duties to playmaker roles who don't actually make many forward runs.

Fully agree about mis-use of playmaker roles.

I generally agree on the fullbacks, but with Plan B, OttA specifically said he wanted a solid, conservative back four with build-up being based around a very direct, rapid attack that attempts to overload the middle before the opposition can transition back into shape. You are correct to point out a potential danger in this, but I wouldn't say that advice should be such a hard rule. There are teams that do play with both fullbacks in a support capacity, and there are big sides, especially outside of England, that do try to overload and overpower the middle. It has its limitations and a manager should be prepared to recognize when it's not working against a specific opponent, but it's a valid approach and I think sometimes the advice given on here tends to ignore context (and I include myself in this). Part of this is because tactical design is still biased towards setting up a single, general tactic that will serve you from match to match against every conceivable opponent, but this doesn't mean that set-ups that are too unbalanced for general, match-to-match use are totally useless or not reflective of actual real world tactics.

Without a flexible base tactic, or adapted set of tactics it is hard to make some systems work against each other. A well constructed tactic offering the varieties of movement and chances should always offer chances, but can be adapted more easily. e.g. Making your IF(S) a W(A) to provide more width. A single change but drastically changing the way the team approaches creating chances. A lack of movement is a fundamental issue, not a specific tactical plan. Accept the points on the narrow attacking design & mentality structure that tries to compensate the lack of width. A perfect example, Spain in South Africa 2010 - matchday 1, lost to Switzerland because they were far too narrow, they switched to Jesus Navas wide right to offer width in the remaining games, and they benefitted immensely, as Navas offering width was enough to alter the opposing defensive shapes, drag them wider and create more room to exploit in the middle - sometimes exploiting the middle means dragging play wider.

The use of the 4-2CM-3-1 is a good example of this. I think both you and I would agree that it's not the most balanced defensive shape, but a lot of players have success with it, mainly because they play big sides and the AI sits deep, doesn't press their midfield and doesn't commit a lot of players to the attack. That's obviously one area where the AI could be improved a bit, but in the context of a big side vs. smaller sides, a system with four forwards can work.

If applied well it is excellent defensively in my opinion. Not as superb at keeping shape as the DM variant, but offers more pressing and ball retention - alternative defensive strategies - therefore it suits different defensive strategies in different variants.

Again, as I said in my response to OttA, I basically agree with this and I'm not a fan of this kind of 4-2CM-3-1 since it leaves the defence so exposed. For the most part, I would recommend just using a more standard defensive shape as opposed to using an asymmetric shape on a fluidity setting that already promotes positional asymmetry.

I agree that playing Arteta as an anchor man puts too many restrictions on the early build-up. However, I wouldn't say Arteta will inevitably get isolated. This is an instance where it is important to have a more specific idea of how role interacts with your fluidity/mentality settings. In this case, Ramsey and Cazorla will actually go deep enough to provide outlets for transition play while, since it's a balanced system, the fullbacks will be pushing ahead of Arteta to offer more options out wide. I agree that Ramsey getting forward will leave the defence vulnerable to counterattacks (though he will still be perfectly willing to help defend and press after tracking back), though this is more of a question of how aggressive his opponent will actually be.

Absolutely categorically disagree, Arteta WILL be isolated. He does not have the freedom the spread the ball or passing range save to the nearest safe player(s) - these are only ever his defenders behind him, he is easy to isolate, as there is not enough linking runs or players dropping into space to offer the outball. Cazorla is far too far away to be able be considered a genuine passing option for an Anchorman (a DLP or Regista yes, an Anchorman, no chance), and in fact his most likely outball is Ozil dropping deep, looking for the ball vacating space overcrowded by Ramsey, Cazorla, Walcott & Giroud.

This is one limitation of the way roles are presented in the current system. Roles are very sensitive to your fluidity/mentality settings, and I don't think this is adequately reflected in the TC.

Agreed.

I partially agree with Svenc here in that I don't put too much importance on getting the number of generalist/specialist roles just right. It's a good guideline if you're new and looking to avoid a lot of basic mistakes, but I think wwfan would agree that it's just a guideline for getting started and not a commandment. I agree that there are some issues with the balance of roles here, but the specific numbers are less important than the actual roles used. In this case, it's the limited roles (target man and anchor man) that stand out as problematic.

I believe that the creative roles carry their limitations too (forward runs mainly, movement and wideplay too), which makes them just as difficult to integrate. Although accept it cannot be a set in stone rule, but I feel the guideline is there for a reason.

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This is a point I stand my ground on, the framework was followed to the letter (which I am under the impression is not the intention of it's use), and as such it created what we saw. I also feel the most basic and solid tactics are created with the TC. I think an issue is that the advice for each position depends hugely on formation, you may not want a certain position/role to "shuttle the ball" if he is the most defensive player in the team, so I think formation needs to be taken into account quite significantly.

Well, it's simply and demonstrably incorrect to say the whole guide was followed strictly to the letter. That's understandable, as there's a lot of information here, but numerous recommendations and guidelines weren't incorporated, particularly in terms of the whole section on duty assignment. That's fine. People don't pick up on every bit of advice with most guides, and they will occasionally make decisions that reflect inexperience with the game as opposed to plainly illogical tactical decisions (for example, a lot of players don't realize the Advanced Playmaker will cut inside and crowd the centre). In both your thread and the Twelve Step Guide, there are numerous examples of players reading the thread and then posting tactics much more flawed and problematic than those from OttA's initial post.

By your reasoning, then, your thread created that narrow 4231 with 7 attack duties with TI's to play narrower, exploit the middle, retain possession, etc. And how about the 4-3-3 with no defend duty in midfield and only the striker on attack? Is that a damning indictment of your guide as well?

Of course, it's not, and your argument here is silly. It just so happens that people who are less familiar with the game and tactics in general won't absorb every bit of advice and will still make mistakes. That's why it's important for the more experienced users on this forum to continue to provide personal feedback on top of writing guides and developing theories. You've done a great job in your thread in that regard.

As far as the rest of the above quote, I'm not quite sure what you're trying to express. I agree that the TC is great for developing tactics, and nothing in the above suggests otherwise. This project only outlines and interprets what the TC produces on certain settings. The tactical priorities listed in the mentality structure outlines are not recommendations of how to use a player but indications of how aggressive the team will be and, accordingly, how responsibilities will end up being distributed throughout the formation to serve the team mentality. Combined with general tactical knowledge, this can be used (as I use it) to inform formation changes or role choice.

Thus, if you have technically poor DMs or defenders who are only suitable to limited roles, you can use the outlines to recognize which fluidity and mentality combinations may have them carrying out responsibilities that will require more positional support/cover or just simply ask too much of them (on top of indicating that, perhaps, the choice of mentality is far too aggressive for general, match-to-match use). In the case of having defenders shuttling (which I define somewhat liberally here as picking up/winning the ball in midfield and getting it, via dribbling or passing, to a player near or in the attacking third), the outlines are telling you that you're asking your players to compress play so high up that your defenders will often be operating as de facto midfielders. In this case, the manager might say, "That's exactly what I'm looking for" or "Hmmm, wait a minute, maybe overload is just too aggressive after all."

Again, like the TC itself, this framework is not a substitute for understanding tactics. It's a tool to be used in conjunction with it.

Without a flexible base tactic, or adapted set of tactics it is hard to make some systems work against each other. A well constructed tactic offering the varieties of movement and chances should always offer chances, but can be adapted more easily.

It was my understanding that OttA was developing a set of tactics to alternate between based on the situation. One a more general, possession tactic and a Plan B that involves sitting back and hitting the opposition fast down the middle. I agree that both needed some refinement (which I'm in the process of advising), though it seemed obvious that we were already beyond the "you need more than one tactic to work with" stage. Obviously, all tactics require mid-match adjustments to be employed optimally, but IMO, this is something that comes with experience and can't be summed up with a few handy tips.

If applied well it is excellent defensively in my opinion. Not as superb at keeping shape as the DM variant, but offers more pressing and ball retention - alternative defensive strategies - therefore it suits different defensive strategies in different variants.

I agree that it works well enough now because the AI doesn't recognize when to press a bigger side or exploit the space it leaves around the midfield. For the same reason, you can find insane 4-2-4's with two support duty CMs that will absolutely dominate the league. IMO, it's not reflective of any system that sees a lot of general use at the moment, though a lack of roles in the ML/R position makes the more common, real world variants on what's generally called a "4231" difficult to implement.

Absolutely categorically disagree, Arteta WILL be isolated. He does not have the freedom the spread the ball or passing range save to the nearest safe player(s) - these are only ever his defenders behind him, he is easy to isolate, as there is not enough linking runs or players dropping into space to offer the outball. Cazorla is far too far away to be able be considered a genuine passing option for an Anchorman (a DLP or Regista yes, an Anchorman, no chance), and in fact his most likely outball is Ozil dropping deep, looking for the ball vacating space overcrowded by Ramsey, Cazorla, Walcott & Giroud.

Well, there was a problem (that I didn't catch at first), but it was not really the choice of role. It was the "Play Out of Defence" instruction which would have also reduced a DLP's passing range to the minimum. Without that instruction, with all the other team settings OttA used, an anchor man is actually going to have a direct passing range, and given the tempo and d-line settings, the whole point was that the ball would be played and moved into an attacking position before the wide players would even begin cutting inside. For such a quick transition with a team dropping back deep into shape, you don't particularly need a DLP. The tactic wasn't based around possession football. I actually tested the tactic (without Play Out of Defence) against Barca (using Schalke), and despite the relatively aggressive pressing, getting the ball out of defence wasn't a problem. Certainly, other problems were evident, but distribution options for the DM wasn't one of them. Against a smaller that will sit back and largely leave Arteta to himself, an Anchor Man in that particular set-up was not facing a huge risk of being isolated, especially given how the mentality/fluidity affected the early build-up contribution of the AML and CM(A).

With that said, I would still prefer a more versatile role, especially given the personnel available, but this is a good example of how the various complexities and interactions of different settings are poorly understood, even by experienced players. And that's precisely the sort of problem this project is intended to address.

I believe that the creative roles carry their limitations too (forward runs mainly, movement and wideplay too), which makes them just as difficult to integrate. Although accept it cannot be a set in stone rule, but I feel the guideline is there for a reason.

In both cases, he was one specialist over wwfan's recommended limit. In my opinion, that's negligible.

Anyway, as a fan of your guide, I certainly respect and understand your reservations about some of the ideas I've presented, but to be honest, I think your attempt to make some sort of example out of OttA was a tad too hasty and not particularly well thought out. I realize this is the internet, but I would appreciate being given the opportunity to demonstrate how this framework can be applied.

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POSSESSION.png

This looks fairly reasonable. A few notes:

I would be concerned about giving Gibbs a CWB role. Keep an eye on his passing and crossing choices. If he's trying the spectacular too often, it might be advisable to tone him down to a standard WB.

Is Ramsey on a support or attack duty? On an attack duty in a Balanced/Control system, he may not stay back long enough or drop back consistently enough to give Arteta the outlets you'll need for a possession-oriented system (i.e., everything will tend to be channeled up the left). You might also consider giving him a B2B Midfielder role so he'll make more use of the wide space between Sagna and Walcott (and also give Ozil more breathing room).

Again, the asymmetric defensive shape on Balanced gives me pause. I understand using Walcott there as he's intended to be more of a second forward, but I would pull Arteta up to CML in order to tighten up your shape. As a DLP(S), he will not only be inclined to run with the ball, but it will have him pushing up a bit into midfield despite the use of a DM lowering your DC's tendency to push up the d-line. A Central Midfielder (Defend) told to play riskier passes will get you a similar effect as a DLP without so much of a risk of exposing your central defenders.

EDIT: And just because it can't be emphasized enough, remember that you don't have to micro-manage the tactical priorities to ensure your players will take up more attacking responsibilities when appropriate. That is what duties/roles are for. Balanced is a good option if you're specifically looking for a pronounced pivot or a more asymmetric shape in all phases (which I think is what you're going for here), but even with a defensive tactical priority, an attack/support duty is still going to move up and help get the ball forward, he will just be more cautious about doing it while ensuring he doesn't sprint forward off the ball when the defence is under pressure and needs an escape route.

Do you think that Balanced / Control (as above) would be a good choice for a Counter Attack System with high tempo, longer passing lower closing down etc?

For that particular approach, I would say that Balanced might not be the best choice if you're really going to emphasize keeping shape, and on a Control mentality, you'll want to carefully distribute your roles/duties in more attacking positions to ensure they're not inclined to just stay forward with a focus on attacking responsibilities. It can work, but it needs to be carefully, ahem, balanced.

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This project only outlines and interprets what the TC produces on certain settings. The tactical priorities listed in the mentality structure outlines are not recommendations of how to use a player but indications of how aggressive the team will be and, accordingly, how responsibilities will end up being distributed throughout the formation to serve the team mentality. Combined with general tactical knowledge, this can be used (as I use it) to inform formation changes or role choice. Thus, if you have technically poor DMs or defenders who are only suitable to limited roles, you can use the outlines to recognize which fluidity and mentality combinations may have them carrying out responsibilities that will ask too much of them (on top of indicating that, perhaps, the choice of mentality is far too aggressive for general, match-to-match use).

Exactly, that's how I've used it so far, and it's been an eye opener. Since I have a tendency to be very impatient during matches and blast through them too quickly to pick up on the details, this has helped me identify potential problems immensely.

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Exactly, that's how I've used it so far, and it's been an eye opener. Since I have a tendency to be very impatient during matches and blast through them too quickly to pick up on the details, this has helped me identify potential problems immensely.

Glad to hear you're finding it useful, Fabian.

For those interested, in the next week or two, I will be putting together detailed examples of how I use and interpret the framework in specific situations. This will hopefully clarify some things and provide some ideas as to how it can be used to guide tactical decisions.

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I'll bite the bullet next and submit a tactic for discussion here and examine the roles and priorities. I'm consistently fiddling with different tactics, probably to my detriment, but I like trying to get different ideas to work, but anyways, this is my most recent iteration of a counter attacking deep 4-2-3-1 (2 DM's). I thought it'd be a good idea to examine it from this angle, because I think this thread has been fantastic so far.

4231Tactic_zpsb72e55f0.png

An examination of the priorities as explained in this thread.

GK - (SK/s) Distribute Safely

RB - (FB/a) Recover Possession Immediately

CD - (CD/d) Restrict Space

LB - (WB/s) Disrupt Attacks Quickly (or Recover Possession?) For this one I'm not entirely sure which one would apply since I'm using the WB role in the LB position.

DM - (DM/d) Disrupt Attacks Judiciously

DM - (RG/s) Recover Possession after Defensive Transition

AMR - (W/a) Shuttle Ball Through Defense

AML - (IF/a) Shuttle Ball Through Defense

AMC - (AP/s) Recover Possession Immediately

ST - (P/a) Spearhead Attacking Moves from the Hole (not sure I agree with this one, I haven't noticed the poacher dropping away from the defensive line very often)

Team Instructions:

Play out of Defense

Stay on Feet

Work Ball into Box

Hassle Opponents

More Direct Passing

Thought process - The team will hassle without over-committing to risky tackles, the CD's will play simpler passes to the Regista and the DM who will then look to get the ball quickly forward (I think Play out of Defense and More Direct accomplish this) and I despise long shots, so that should be self explanatory.

As a whole, it looks pretty good on paper, at least to me. So far from an average position standpoint, it plays kind of like a 3-3-3-1 with the 2 DM's and the RB in a sort of line (the DMR is a little deeper and shaded to the right a bit, covering for the attacking RB). Last game had a couple opportunities from the AMR/L that I thought they should've finished, but they're young and still growing, but the ball is getting in to good positions.

This tactic wasn't originally set up with this guide in mind, but I thought it would be interesting to examine it from the principles presented here.

EDIT: I wasn't pleased after a hammering at home to Atletico in the CL, so I made a couple changes.

4231Tactic-2_zps608fbf1b.png

Changes:

W/a - W/s - Keep Possession Under Pressure

AP/s - SS/a - Spearhead Attacking Moves from the Hole

P/a - CF/s - Shuttle Ball into Space

The ST and AMC link up a lot better. Had a spectacular play where the ST had dropped deep and pulled both DC's to him and played a ball through to the AMC, who unfortunately missed, but I really liked the link-up play and movement they created with this role selection.

Simplified some of the team instructions since I wanted to see how the role changes would work without being modified by a bunch of TI's. Still felt like I needed to push up a little higher since I don't have any CM's, and I don't like long shots, even if the player thinks it's a good option.

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I have now read through all of this three times today. Am I the only person who can't understand it? Is there a layman's version which is printed in plain English? I'm impressed with the amount of time and effort all of this must have taken but it goes way over my head. Maybe this is why my tactics end up failing, except for two seasons when I had some good success. Now I am back to square one and seriously thinking of never trying to make my own tactic again. I'm not sure whether or not the game is now beginning to get far too deep. I now seem to be trying to make a successful tactic more than I am playing the game itself.

The Hand of God, you have my full admiration for this work and it deserves better than the likes of me to comment upon it. I ask only this of you. Don't forget those like myself who still struggle with FM tactics after thinking that I had the thing under some control.

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OESCUS - He laid out and did all the groundwork for each mentality fused with the philosphy for each role type and where "in the mentality ladder" that role is expected to perform ....so looking at the previous post by TWINSFAN he shows you each role and where it falls in the ladder for his tactic ....

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OESCUS - He laid out and did all the groundwork for each mentality fused with the philosphy for each role type and where "in the mentality ladder" that role is expected to perform ....so looking at the previous post by TWINSFAN he shows you each role and where it falls in the ladder for his tactic ....

Brick_Tamland, I've gone over the two examples but it is beyond me. I shall keep trying but I'm not very hopeful of understanding it all. Not to worry.

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I have now read through all of this three times today. Am I the only person who can't understand it? Is there a layman's version which is printed in plain English? I'm impressed with the amount of time and effort all of this must have taken but it goes way over my head. Maybe this is why my tactics end up failing, except for two seasons when I had some good success. Now I am back to square one and seriously thinking of never trying to make my own tactic again. I'm not sure whether or not the game is now beginning to get far too deep. I now seem to be trying to make a successful tactic more than I am playing the game itself.

The Hand of God, you have my full admiration for this work and it deserves better than the likes of me to comment upon it. I ask only this of you. Don't forget those like myself who still struggle with FM tactics after thinking that I had the thing under some control.[/Quote]

You absolutely do not need to use the ideas here to be successful at the game. I will definitely be looking to make the writing for future revisions more accessible and I think more concrete examples would also have helped in that regard, but even then, this is not required reading and I don't think it reflects any increasing complexity in the game. Basically, everything here could have been written about the game 5 or 6 years ago. In fact, the things that were being written about the game 5 or 6 years ago still often boggle my mind when I go back to read them.

Anyway, to try to sum it up in a few points:

(a) I reinterpreted the different combinations of mentality and fluidity settings as a set of basic, individual instructions telling players to focus on specific responsibilities. These responsibilities aren't the only thing a player will do, just what he's mainly concerned with under that tactical setting.

(b) These responsibilities will give you a basic sense of where and when the player will mainly be looking to get involved in play and how cautious they are going forward.

© Duty then tells you how stubbornly a player will stick to his main responsibility and how quickly he will get forward to participate in the attack when play progresses beyond a point where his main responsibility is a pressing issue.

(d) Role then tells you how he goes about carrying out both his main responsibility and his duty. For example, role tells you how he will move around the pitch; how he likes to play the ball; how much he relies on his physical, mental or technical attributes to do things, etc. One important idea here is that the roles are all a bit more flexible than the in-game descriptions sometimes suggest.

(e) I then listed what main responsibilities are assigned to each role for every combination of fluidity and mentality.

(f) The idea is that this will better enable people to fine tune tactics to achieve very specific effects and styles of play, but again, this is absolutely unnecessary if you're just looking to get a basic, functioning set of tactics that you can carry over from match to match.

(g) There is also a more general, theoretical argument that the effects of fluidity are a lot more subtle and flexible than the in-game descriptions suggest.

The conclusion I would hope people draw from this is not that the TC is too complicated but that the TC is very flexible. It's very easy to set up basic tactics that work, but contrary to a lot of the criticism directed at FM14, you're not limited to only a few ways of playing. So again, if you're just wanting to get going with a set-up that isn't broken, you don't need to be too concerned with this.

Of course, you're welcome to post any tactics you're having trouble with and I will see if I can give you any advice that you can put to use right away.

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TwinsFan86, I will try to respond to your post in detail tomorrow. Very busy day ahead, but I should be able to get to it in the evening.

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Glad to hear you're finding it useful, Fabian.

For those interested, in the next week or two, I will be putting together detailed examples of how I use and interpret the framework in specific situations. This will hopefully clarify some things and provide some ideas as to how it can be used to guide tactical decisions.

Don't misunderstand my intentions or preconceptions THoG - I don't want to reply further to most of your above points (some I agree, some I disagree) because I don't want to derail this thread off course - I will be interested to see these examples, they may clear the waters somewhat as to my understanding of the application of it.

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You absolutely do not need to use the ideas here to be successful at the game. I will definitely be looking to make the writing for future revisions more accessible and I think more concrete examples would also have helped in that regard, but even then, this is not required reading and I don't think it reflects any increasing complexity in the game. Basically, everything here could have been written about the game 5 or 6 years ago. In fact, the things that were being written about the game 5 or 6 years ago still often boggle my mind when I go back to read them.

Anyway, to try to sum it up in a few points:

(a) I reinterpreted the different combinations of mentality and fluidity settings as a set of basic, individual instructions telling players to focus on specific responsibilities. These responsibilities aren't the only thing a player will do, just what he's mainly concerned with under that tactical setting.

(b) These responsibilities will give you a basic sense of where and when the player will mainly be looking to get involved in play and how cautious they are going forward.

© Duty then tells you how stubbornly a player will stick to his main responsibility and how quickly he will get forward to participate in the attack when play progresses beyond a point where his main responsibility is a pressing issue.

(d) Role then tells you how he goes about carrying out both his main responsibility and his duty. For example, role tells you how he will move around the pitch; how he likes to play the ball; how much he relies on his physical, mental or technical attributes to do things, etc. One important idea here is that the roles are all a bit more flexible than the in-game descriptions sometimes suggest.

(e) I then listed what main responsibilities are assigned to each role for every combination of fluidity and mentality.

(f) The idea is that this will better enable people to fine tune tactics to achieve very specific effects and styles of play, but again, this is absolutely unnecessary if you're just looking to get a basic, functioning set of tactics that you can carry over from match to match.

(g) There is also a more general, theoretical argument that the effects of fluidity are a lot more subtle and flexible than the in-game descriptions suggest.

The conclusion I would hope people draw from this is not that the TC is too complicated but that the TC is very flexible. It's very easy to set up basic tactics that work, but contrary to a lot of the criticism directed at FM14, you're not limited to only a few ways of playing. So again, if you're just wanting to get going with a set-up that isn't broken, you don't need to be too concerned with this.

Of course, you're welcome to post any tactics you're having trouble with and I will see if I can give you any advice that you can put to use right away.

Many thanks for your welcome and comforting response to my concerns. I can only speak for myself, of course, I may well be the only person have a little trouble understanding your ideas but I would welcome simple to understand examples showing how and why I should go about aligning my tactics and player instructions with your system. Anything that might improve my tactics is most welcome.

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@The Hand of God

If i want to line up a 4-2-3-1 assymetrical with my Liverpool side, what sort of fluidity do you think i should use based on the formation itself?

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This post has made such a difference for my understanding of how to implement what I desire into FM14, very grateful, thanks. Looking forward to reading through it again presently.

I do though have a question... A players tactical priority, does he just have the one? or would he have a tactical priority for each phase of play ie, Def, Control and Attacking?

Your explanation of Roles and their effect on shape inspired me to create this... A 14.2.2 Defensive monster, 15co603.jpg

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Also wondered if your ideas explain somewhat the really bad defending of corners after the initial header has been won/lost. It seems as though, if the defensive team wins that initial header their team mates situated around the edge of the box and ignore defensive duties. Almost as if they feel possession has been won and that they can solely focus on their attacking priority of making space etc.... Maybe because play is restarted via the set play, players haven't climbed far enough down the mentality ladder by default :o

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4231Tactic-2_zps608fbf1b.png

This looks a lot stronger than your initial tactic. I gave your earlier one a go and managed to beat Leverkusen away (1-2) using no changes, though there were some problems. "Play Out of Defence" restricted the passing of your Regista and wingback too much, but with the Advanced Playmaker having a borderline defensive/control priority, he was back deep enough to effectively do the job the Regista should have been doing. This still left your build-up options fairly limited which would have been a problem if the AP had been more effectively targeted or the DMs more aggressively pressed, though in my case, Draxler had the dribbling ability to work the ball out from deep positions.

Still, it was far too one-dimensional for my liking, and with three attack duties across the forward line, it obviously wasn't going to be well suited for picking apart a smaller opponent (as you probably saw, the poacher and wide forwards would all just tend to hang on the shoulder of the defensive line once the attack got into the opposition third and they redirected their attention to penetration/overload-type tasks).

Anyway, on to your second tactic. Here is what your basic build-up shape will probably look like:

wL1y5Ik.png

As you can see, the mobility of your regista and complete forward means they will be the heart of your attack with both able to shift side to side in a way that creates passing diamonds utilizing both flanks. The main potential weakness is your shadow striker pushing up to create more of a 2-4-1-3 in attack. This means a packed midfield will probably cut off direct links between your regista and complete forward, so you may need to play wider against 3-man midfields to avoid needless passing down the middle that might give away a lot of counterattacking opportunities.

Your complete forward will really need to have excellent passing and creativity, as he will be taking the ball forward and distributing it to your two attacking forwards. Your shadow striker will obviously need to be your best finisher while your inside forward will need superb dribbling to drop off his defender, pick up the ball and take it inside. So you may want to identify your opponent's weakest fullback and "flip" your formation accordingly.

Your winger should be fairly conservative. With a possession-oriented priority, I would expect him to hold off on risky runs and passes to mainly provide a link-up hub on the right. That's fine. This player may not get good ratings, but you can see how he and his counterpart (the wingback) provide balance relative to their flank partner. With a more defensive tactical priority, the wingback will probably tend to sit back until play moves up a bit, after which he should cover space vacated by the inside forward to serve basically the same function as your winger.

The fullback is obviously the main man providing width and mixing up the attack if your shadow striker and inside forward hit a wall. He should overlap a lot and he'll need good crossing/pace/stamina to do it. The DM and winger should provide enough cover to let him do his thing, though pulling the winger back to MR should help if a wide forward keeps pinning him back to a defensive posture (which he will be fairly sensitive to on a mid-control priority).

Again, the biggest potential stumbling block will be a loss of control in midfield. The shadow striker will press high, but he won't help provide defensive structure in front of your midfield, so your Regista typically won't have the option of forming a 1-2 in defence. If he moves forward to press, your DM won't be able to cover all the angles. If that happens and you find yourself getting pushed deep, a Central Midfielder instructed to roam and an Advanced Forward will preserve the fundamentals of your attack while adding a bit more defensive solidity in midfield. However, the above set-up will probably be more effective against less aggressive opponents.

Overall, on paper, this looks like a good starting point.

Speaking generally, it's usually a good idea to add TI's slowly after seeing your basic tactic in action. The interactions between different instructions don't always quite pan out how you'd expect. Hopefully, this lack of detailed information in the interface will be addressed in FM15.

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@The Hand of God

If i want to line up a 4-2-3-1 assymetrical with my Liverpool side, what sort of fluidity do you think i should use based on the formation itself?

It depends on the roles you want to use and the style of play you want to implement. Personally, I avoid asymmetric formations unless I'm targeting/countering a specific feature of my opponent's system. It's more efficient to just retrain players rather than trying to fit them all into a weird formation. Combining Balanced with a standard defensive shape will give you the benefits of more dynamic attacking movement without sacrificing a solid defensive structure.

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Many thanks for your welcome and comforting response to my concerns. I can only speak for myself, of course, I may well be the only person have a little trouble understanding your ideas but I would welcome simple to understand examples showing how and why I should go about aligning my tactics and player instructions with your system. Anything that might improve my tactics is most welcome.

Just think of yourself as a Very Fluid manager. You like to set up a basic framework, tell your players what you basically want and trust them to have the quality to see the match through. A more rigid manager, on the other hand, will want to organize things more meticulously to carry out a highly specific plan. Both are valid playing styles that have their counterparts among managers in real life.

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Great Post!. but i have problems with understanding what some responsibilities mean.

I've tried to find some hints on google but failed.

I'm not good at English because English is not my first language :(

So I'll appreciate it if you guys help me to understand these things.

1. What is the difference between 'challenge defenders' and 'overload defenders'???. Actually, i can't understand both.....

2. What does 'Spearhead Attacking Moves' mean??. And how things be changed with ' Closer to Defence. ' or ' from the hole.'

3. Isn't 'Disrupt attack' conclude 'Divert Attacking Movement, Contain Attacking Movement, Slow Attacking Movement'???. what does it mean?

4. What does 'Test Defence' mean???? I just have no idea.

5. Is it right that 'shuttle balls' means passing?

6. What does 'limit pressure' means?

Thanks! :D

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Yeah, describing the different tactical priorities was something I was very conflicted about. Basically, there are only 11 clearly distinct tactical priorities (or, it might be better to call them "primary responsibilities") with the middle 9 having more adventurous/aggressive and less adventurous/aggressive variants. I wanted to include these more/less aggressive margins because those minor differences are important to seeing how the more rigid settings subtly affect your midfield set-up, but I also wanted to illustrate what "more adventurous/aggressive" or "less adventurous/aggressive" would actually involve in practice. At the same time, I was concerned that people might get a bit too fixated on the specifics of how I described those more/less aggressive differences when everything is a question of tendencies or preferences instead of hard rules. In that case, it might be easier for some to think of the tactical priorities in terms of more general categories. So, the mentality ladder, from most to least aggressive:

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES

------ATTACKING------

- Break (try to immediately get yourself or the ball beyond the defence at every opportunity, zero interest in keeping possession)

- Overload (try to overwhelm defence with numbers and fast, desperate passes/shots to force a mistake - defensively, press and win the ball rapidly in the attacking third)

- Penetration (quickly move into or play the ball into openings to exploit every possible half chance - defensively, press and win the ball rapidly even deeper in the opposition half)

- Creation (pick up the ball deep in the opposition area and move it forward with an eye towards creating a clear chance if possible and keeping the ball moving around the opposition third if not - defensively, press and win the ball rapidly inside the opposition half)

------CONTROL------

- Shuttling (win/pick up the ball near or just inside the opposition half and move/pass it deep into the opposition area, then moving into the attacking third if there's plentiful space or attacking support)

- Possession (win the ball in the middle of the park and keep it circulating around the middle until it can be safely moved or played higher up)

- Recovery (win the ball as it enters your half and keep it circulating in deep positions until it can be safely moved out of your half)

------DEFENSIVE------

- Disruption (break up attacks as they approach the defensive third and just clear the ball forward if under pressure)

- Restriction (close down opponents moving into the defensive third and try to force a mistake without risking a foul)

- Containment (stay in the path of opponents moving into the defensive third to try to simply slow their advance or divert them into a safe area without risking needless tackles or giving them the slightest opportunity to beat you and break into the box)

- Obstruction (stay near or in your penalty area to simply intercept passes and block shots)

Then, duties tell your players to do the following:

- Attack (take the initiative in assuming more attacking responsibilities when you've carried out your main responsibility)

- Support (focus on your main responsibility and then, when play moves forward and there's defensive support behind you, assume more attacking responsibilities to prevent the attack from getting isolated)

- Defend (focus strictly on your main responsibility unless it is safe/necessary to move up behind the support players to prevent the team from getting too stretched/fractured)

The goalkeeper priorities are mostly a question of defining distribution preferences and involvement in build-up play. As you may have noticed, keepers on lower team mentalities will frequently ignore your distribution instructions when it conflicts with what you've indirectly defined as their primary responsibility. So:

------KEEPER------

- Support Attacks (gets even further off line to offer a backpass option and attempts high risk passes to help get the ball into the area quickly)

- Initiate Attacks (gets off line to offer a deep backpass option and, if possible, looks to play the ball to open teammates in the opposition half)

- Cycle Possession (when not under pressure, gets off line to offer a deep backpass option and looks to play the ball back to defenders)

- Distribute Safely (typically plays it very safe in terms of positioning, will hold onto ball if it comes to him and there's no pressure before looking to get it to a safely open defender)

- Limit Pressure (cautious in terms of leaving his line, looks for close support from defenders to deal with balls played into the area, not interested in helping keep possession, will hoof it if it comes to him, will clear it if there's any chance of a forward knicking the ball off a defender)

- Shield Goal (very hesitant to get off his line unless absolutely necessary, focused entirely on shot stopping and hoofing the ball away at every opportunity)

Is this easier to understand? Would it be simpler and easier to understand to just put them in more general terms and add something like (More Aggressively/Less Aggressively) to the middle 9? I'm very open to feedback for change in this regard, as again, I was a bit conflicted on how to present the marginal differences.

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Is this easier to understand? Would it be simpler and easier to understand to just put them in more general terms and add something like (More Aggressively/Less Aggressively) to the middle 9? I'm very open to feedback for change in this regard, as again, I was a bit conflicted on how to present the marginal differences.

Totally understand where you are coming from... But, with perseverance I (and I guess like many others are) am slowly understanding your concepts, so in general, I think you have done a very good job of making the language easy enough to comprehend... Obviously the most effective way for you to tutor all of the different priorities with regard to how they are actually implemented within the GE, would be to video capture a selection of in match footage and provide commentary in which you outline the relevant roles and highlight certain players that are behaving in the way in which you are describing... Thus you could physically show us the subtle details (which are somewhat awkward to describe in lay mans terms) in action... This would require a lot of work though, mind you, looking at what you have already pitched I suspect that is something you would relish!!!

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Totally understand where you are coming from... But, with perseverance I (and I guess like many others are) am slowly understanding your concepts, so in general, I think you have done a very good job of making the language easy enough to comprehend... Obviously the most effective way for you to tutor all of the different priorities with regard to how they are actually implemented within the GE, would be to video capture a selection of in match footage and provide commentary in which you outline the relevant roles and highlight certain players that are behaving in the way in which you are describing... Thus you could physically show us the subtle details (which are somewhat awkward to describe in lay mans terms) in action... This would require a lot of work though, mind you, looking at what you have already pitched I suspect that is something you would relish!!!

In future posts, I will be going through my design process and looking at specific matches, and I expect that will clear a lot up for people who prefer to learn from concrete examples.

Another thing I would point out is that these tendencies are more apparent when you watch a full match. This isn't to say you have to watch the full match to play the game or identify tactical problems during a match, but if you watch extended or key highlights, you're typically going to be seeing moments where your players break from their normal tendencies to do something more exciting out of necessity or desperation.

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I'm slowly trying to get to grips with the tactical stuff in FM14. I last played FM12 and this version seems to be a huge step forward, and massively more detailed.

Not sure what work will think about my printing out you whole posts above. Reckon it would be well over 50 pages in word. Good job I don't like my work, and don't care what they think...

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I'm slowly trying to get to grips with the tactical stuff in FM14. I last played FM12 and this version seems to be a huge step forward, and massively more detailed.

Not sure what work will think about my printing out you whole posts above. Reckon it would be well over 50 pages in word. Good job I don't like my work, and don't care what they think...

FM13 brought a big change in collision detection. Previously, players would "ghost walk" through one another, so you could set up a team to channel through balls down the middle and have a bunch of forwards who would literally run through the defensive line to get onto them. You can't do this now, so unless you're playing a smaller, smash & grab team, you have to be more careful how you set up your side. If you're having trouble with the basics, I would strongly recommend reading wwfan and llama's stickies first, as this guide is less about tactical fundamentals and more figuring out how to translate a specific plan into the TC.

Anyway, because of collision detection demanding more elaborate build-up strategies, it's now harder to play as a big side and totally dominate. At the same time, since defenders can actually use their bodies to defend now, it's actually a little easier to play as a smaller side than before as long as you remember to take a more defensive approach and adjust your expectations. This is also likely why the AI has had a tendency to over-perform with teams like Stoke and Wolves since FM13.

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This post has made such a difference for my understanding of how to implement what I desire into FM14, very grateful, thanks. Looking forward to reading through it again presently.

I do though have a question... A players tactical priority, does he just have the one? or would he have a tactical priority for each phase of play ie, Def, Control and Attacking?

Your explanation of Roles and their effect on shape inspired me to create this... A 14.2.2 Defensive monster, 15co603.jpg

Happy to hear your players are doing what you want. This kind of makes me want to go on a cup run with a plucky gang of thugs.

Keep an eye out on how your league opponents respond to your form though. If they start sitting back, you will need to vary your build-up approach.

To answer your question, players only have one tactical priority, but the phase of play it corresponds to (attack, control/transition, defend) will give you a sense of how quick they are to contribute to other phases of play and how much risk they take when doing it. So a very defensive player will be slower going forward and more likely to work the ball around the box to carve out a credible chance while a very attacking player will look to force a chance quickly but may not be so diligent about tracking back and providing an extra bit of support for his defenders (as he may think staying forward will improve his chances of hitting the opponent on the break). At the same time, when defending, attack and control-oriented players will risk fouls and breakaways to try to win back possession quickly while increasingly defensive players will be more patient and rely on defensive structure and cooperation to neutralize attacks.

But as noted above, attacking and defensive aggressiveness will be occasionally influenced by, respectively, flair and aggression while roles will also make a player more or less likely to perform specific actions to achieve their objectives.

In terms of attack/support duty attacking priorities and defensive play, the corresponding defend duty priorities will give you an indication of how the attack and support duty players will defend, though often, play will have already progressed beyond that point by the time they get back into their defensive positions.

But again, for the sake of much needed simplicity, players only have one tactical priority.

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The Hand of God - this looks amazing. I have only skim read as at work but have printed it out and will read it all later.

As others have done can you look at my formation and do a critique? I am not one to build my own, but have done so, with limited success in the last 2 versions. I usually play 451/433 but this came about due to injuries to 3 of my 4 wingers so had to think of something different. Anyway I liked it immediately and had some great success - won my first 9 games scoring 34 and conceding just 8. Since then it has been good and I have messed around with roles. players etc but still good enough to take me to Serie C1 play offs with an un-fancied side - Foggia. I have done some research about the formation and I think this is what I want to build for the future of this save and try and get Foggia to Serie A and win the league and Champs League with it.

This is the tactic and roles etc.

http://imageshack.com/a/img89/1033/tfqp.png

I want to play deep, draw the opposition and then hit them with fast quick attacks. I have placed the 2 CM there but really I want to give them both free roles to go where they want and create space and chances. I am a bif fan of David Silva who doesn't seem to have a set position just floats around - that is what I want to create with 1 of the CM.

The strengths as I see it

Strong in the middle

I have the two strikers to move into channels to the CM can run through the gap

The FB bomb forward and score and create a lot - scored 11 assist 8 between them

We score a lot - top scorers with 92 goals in 38 games.

Weaknesses

We do tend to get 'overlapped' and a lot of goals conceded do come from the wings. I need a way of defending the wide areas better.

The attacking mentality leaves us open

Conceded a lot - 59 in 38

What do I change?

I was thinking of moving one of the DM to a HB to push the CB wider to support the FB but this seemed to leave us a bit exposed in the middle

How do I get the CM to be totally free spirits?

Anyone got any help, feedback, criticism (it doesn't even have to be constructive).

I want to keep playing this way an need help perfecting the formation.

Thanks

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THOG,

As I've written above this post is completely mind-blowing and has me floored. I'm trying to read through it again and get a better understanding however there is something that I have to ask:

As someone who began playing FM a bit late in the series (FM12), I've found the new tactics to be incredibly intuitive and I don't have that desire for sliders that many still do.

However, it can be difficult to translate what I want to see into the actual tactical framework, especially when it comes to choosing shouts and determining whether or not they are necessary.

This is directly linked to mentality, IMO, because if for instance I play as Arsenal, and I want the boys to really control games in the other half, push up, retain the ball, etc I COULD have the mentality set to "control" or I suppose I could set the mentality to something like.. Standard or Counter, and then add shouts to tweak it, right? To me that process is a bit weird. It's like there are a million ways to do things, which can be really confusing / daunting.

It's sort of like, wwfan did that post on Barcelona and he used a Counter mentality. If you do a bit of google searching you'd be hard pressed to find an FM tactic for Barca that isn't using "Control."

Am I putting too much stock into the mentality names? And what is a good way to determine if I'm overdoing it with the shouts?

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THOG I just want to thank you again for a great post and analysis. You have definitely 110% improved my enjoyment of this version of this game as I was really struggling to link things up. The ladder and your breakdown of each fluidity/mentality has been fabulous.

B

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...

I don't want to propose too many changes as you seem to like how things are working. I would say a Halfback shouldn't push your CBs wider unless they're pressing high up. If you're staying deep, your CBs are going to stay narrow out of necessity and you will need to rely on your DMs to help stop overload situations. I would suggest changing your BWM to a standard DM or, if he's really just terrible on the ball, an Anchor Man. Your CMs are going to be doing the pressing, so you don't need a BWM who will come forward to close down opponents. You want someone to provide structure next to your DLP. If I had to guess, I'd say a lot of situations where you're hit from the flanks result from the BWM coming forward unnecessarily to help close down midfielders, leaving the wingback on his own.

It sounds like you want something like an Interiores role (defends wide then drifts around the middle in attack) which, unfortunately, doesn't exist. It doesn't seem quite possible to get a CM to act in a "free role" manner. The closest would be to tell your team to be more expressive and switch both CMs to "Central Midfielder" Attack with instructions to roam and get further forward, but they will still mainly work through the middle and not cross over into one another's halves very often.

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THOG,

As I've written above this post is completely mind-blowing and has me floored. I'm trying to read through it again and get a better understanding however there is something that I have to ask:

As someone who began playing FM a bit late in the series (FM12), I've found the new tactics to be incredibly intuitive and I don't have that desire for sliders that many still do.

However, it can be difficult to translate what I want to see into the actual tactical framework, especially when it comes to choosing shouts and determining whether or not they are necessary.

This is directly linked to mentality, IMO, because if for instance I play as Arsenal, and I want the boys to really control games in the other half, push up, retain the ball, etc I COULD have the mentality set to "control" or I suppose I could set the mentality to something like.. Standard or Counter, and then add shouts to tweak it, right? To me that process is a bit weird. It's like there are a million ways to do things, which can be really confusing / daunting.

It's sort of like, wwfan did that post on Barcelona and he used a Counter mentality. If you do a bit of google searching you'd be hard pressed to find an FM tactic for Barca that isn't using "Control."

Am I putting too much stock into the mentality names? And what is a good way to determine if I'm overdoing it with the shouts?

IMO, the interface needs to include more detailed information so people can see how everything interacts. There's just too many ways to interpret what different settings mean. Of course, it needs to be a descriptive system rather than a bunch of abstract numbers, and looking at tactics from people who are struggling, it's clear that one of the biggest issues with FM14 is that a lot players just have no idea how things actually add up, even if they know a lot about actual football tactics apart from FM.

Then again, the same could be said for earlier FMs as it doesn't seem like many people really took a very close look at the sliders other than the odd adjustment here and there. And classic tactics people, obviously, weren't the least bit interested in what the TC was doing. So everyone tends to just look at the TC and read their own biases/assumptions into it, and for me, the process of actually sitting down and meticulously looking at setting after setting really underlined how you can't expect a one or two sentence tooltip to help people see how the pieces actually fit together. To use your Barca tactic example, I didn't know that using Shorter Passing on Control with a DLP would still have all my attackers on the direct side of the mixed passing range.

As far as the mentality names go, wwfan himself said you should view them as being more "plastic" than the names suggest, but then, if you change the names to something more general, you're just leaving them open to another round of misinterpretations. That's why I think the game would really benefit from systematizing all the details in a more cohesive, descriptive way. But obviously, that is easier said than done.

As far as avoiding unwanted interactions, I would suggest avoiding most TIs and PIs until you've actually seen your tactic in action against a few opponents of varying ability level. I know most people like to breeze through the game and I do the same once I'm comfortable with my options, but when you are first starting a save or when you hit a bad patch of form, it does pay to watch at least one full match and make adjustments based on what you see there.

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THOG,

I would set up a link to this post on the OP if I were you, under something like "Tactical priorities summary": http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/382854-The-Mentality-Ladder-A-Practical-Framework-for-Understanding-Fluidity-and-Duty?p=9397923&viewfull=1#post9397923

I found it unbelievably helpful, much like the rest of your guide, but being able to categorize each of the tactical priorities under those general priorities more easily does add a lot in my opinion.

Thanks

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Thanks for your response, I will have a play around with the roles later. I did read in another thread that avoiding the overload down the wings might be prevented by stopping the supply, so that is something I am going to look at next.

Just out of interest, would you say that any formation (within reason, not 9 up front) can work if you get the roles, player instructions and mentality?

Your guide is excellent btw. Lots of people who moan about the game should take the time to read it rather than moan on.

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Just out of interest, would you say that any formation (within reason, not 9 up front) can work if you get the roles, player instructions and mentality?

Yes, but I think some popular formations are too attacking for smaller sides and that's a big source of trouble for a lot of players.

Your guide is excellent btw. Lots of people who moan about the game should take the time to read it rather than moan on.

But then they'll just moan about the guide! :D

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Gonna try out using "lower" mentalities with big clubs. I've got an Arsenal save loaded and we're gonna go with "standard" and see what happens. I've almost exclusively used "control" for my entire FM career...

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Gonna try out using "lower" mentalities with big clubs. I've got an Arsenal save loaded and we're gonna go with "standard" and see what happens. I've almost exclusively used "control" for my entire FM career...

I won the Prem/champs league 3 times in a row playing defensive :)

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