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

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

With which team Cleon? That is incredible by the way.

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With which team Cleon? That is incredible by the way.

Gateshead I played defensive football always with them even when I was one of the best team :)

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Gateshead I played defensive football always with them even when I was one of the best team :)

So when you're one of the best teams, and you've earned your reputation, naturally the AI will probably sit back a bit and be more cautious. Did you find that your defensive approach allowed you to open up opponents that are sitting back? In other words, if you had gone "attacking" you'd probably play into the AI's hands, as they're standing off more, but if you draw them out towards your side, you can find the space to exploit. Seems accurate right?

With my Arsenal save the idea is going to be to keep the mentality on the lower end of the spectrum (standard or counter) so we can build up play slowly and pass the other team to death. Rather than trying to "control" games by pushing up aggressively.

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An issue I find when I try to play deeper in order to build the play slower from further back is that my players do not seem to want to win the ball back, and then play too direct when we actually have it and end up giving it away easily. I think this could be tweaked by using the right shouts but so far I've not had any success with it.

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Yeah I'm having that issue right now in a friendly against Liverpool. Doesn't help that they lined up in a 3-4-1-2 which has complicated things...

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An issue I find when I try to play deeper in order to build the play slower from further back is that my players do not seem to want to win the ball back, and then play too direct when we actually have it and end up giving it away easily. I think this could be tweaked by using the right shouts but so far I've not had any success with it.

Below Standard, defend duty players will have fairly direct passing by default, so you need to adjust their passing individually to offset this a bit more. You can also use "Play Out of Defence" assuming your main creative player isn't at DM.

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I would like also some opinions on my main tactic for the upcoming season with Berwick Rangers.

It's my 4th season, we're in the Scottish Championship. The squad is pretty solid for the level of the division. Our main strength is our midfield and wing backs, who are probably the best "duo" of wing backs in the League. I've decided to go like this:

Control Mentality - Balanced Fluidity

GK : GK - D Distribute Safely

DL: WBL - S Keep Possession Under Pressure(still applies even if in DL position?)

DC: DC - D Disrupt Attacks Quickly

DC: DC - D Disrupt Attacks Quickly

DR: WBR - A Shuttle Ball Through Defence (still applies even if in DR position?)

DM: Anchor Man - D Recover Possession

LCM: CM - A Spearhead Attacks from the Hole

RCM: DLP - S Keep Possession

AML: W - A Penetrate Gaps Intermittently

AMR: W - S Create Chances Patiently

FC: DLF - A Penetrate Gaps

We also have the following TIs:

Retain Possession (we want to have the ball on our feet)

Work ball into the box (avoid long shots whenever possible)

Shorter Passing (I don't like my players hoofing the ball forward, I want a steady build-up)

Pass into Space (Wingers and FC are speedy and I want to make use of that!)

Look for Overlap (To take advantage of our good wing-backs)

Hassle Opponents (We want to win the ball back as soon as possible)

Lower tempo (No need to rush, steady and methodical build up is our way)

First signs are encouraging, but admittedly I had to Drop Deeper in a couple of occasions (eg opponent strikers are fast).

What really troubles me is the FC position. My forwards are more Poacher/AF type of forwards but without them dropping a bit deeper to get the ball, the team usually has an issue getting the ball into the opponent's area. Any suggestions there?

Also I think a bit more cover on the wings would be good, but I can't really think of a way to do that.

And final concern: The AMR(W-S) is troubling me. I think an AP-S or AP-A would also fit but I'm always worried if I have more than one Playmaker in the field. What do you think?

*Thanks to all the guys that made all these guides here, they made me think differently about the way that I play/manage!

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As you can see, your DLF is going to be strongly inclined towards pushing up against the defensive line and trying to get forward into the area. He's not going to be too inclined to be involved in build-up other than occasionally holding up the rare long ball that gets to him (which your team won't be playing with these instructions). On Balanced, switching to a support duty offers a simple solution.

You're probably overcooking things a bit with all the TI's. Retain Possession and Shorter Passing should have your tempo fairly low. Lower Tempo will only offset the tempo increase from Hassle Opponents. Hassle is also going to be fairly demanding on the condition of your players and will often see your defence pulled out of position. You might opt to try a "false pressing" approach and then switch to Hassle if you're still having trouble getting the ball back. False pressing basically means you allow a few players to press high up just to provoke the opposition to play it forward sooner, but you rely on the rest of your team to stay more compact and disciplined. You can accomplish this by telling your forward, wingers and CM-A to "Close Down More" individually.

Pass Into Space doesn't really seem necessary with the roles you have. Other than the Anchor Man, all of your players are going to be willing to put a player through when it's necessary. On top of that, you have four players who are going to look to spring an attack as soon as they get on the ball. Since you want a steady, methodical build-up out of the back, even more risky passes will probably just see things rushed.

Other than that, I don't see too much wrong here given the style you're going for. Look for Overlap will ensure your wingers are somehwat more inclined towards allowing the rest of the team to get up and support the attack. If you're concerned about defending the flanks, dropping them back to ML/R will give your wingbacks more cover and also encourage them to overlap more often. You can also switch your DLP to a defend duty, so you have more of a double pivot covering the flanks.

What is it about the AMR that's troubling you? I don't think an Advanced Playmaker will make much of a difference and may just end up crowding the centre with the DLF and CM-A.

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Thanks for the answer!

You got new ideas in my head, I'll implement some of your proposals :)

*The thing with the AMR is only that I was thinking he should come a bit narrower(and that is only available to APs and IFs in the AMR/L positions) to open space for the wing back. Still an W-S works nicely as far as I can tell so far!

**Cheers!

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I must admit that this has provided much food for thought. Particularly the idea that duty is dynamic depending on the phase of play and the degree of that dynamism is different depending on the overall team fluidity and mentality.

This led me to think about how the ideas here relate to other people's posts on tactic building. i.e. always have a balance of defend, support and attack in different places on the field.

I'm wondering whether a team packed with 6 defend duties and 4 support duties could work if you get the roles right and play with a fluid, attacking mentality. i.e. when attacking, would they morph seemlessly into a team of support duty and attack duty players?

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I must admit that this has provided much food for thought. Particularly the idea that duty is dynamic depending on the phase of play and the degree of that dynamism is different depending on the overall team fluidity and mentality.

This led me to think about how the ideas here relate to other people's posts on tactic building. i.e. always have a balance of defend, support and attack in different places on the field.

I'm wondering whether a team packed with 6 defend duties and 4 support duties could work if you get the roles right and play with a fluid, attacking mentality. i.e. when attacking, would they morph seemlessly into a team of support duty and attack duty players?

Interesting thoughts, ntw001.

Specific roles and duties will absolutely adapt to what's around them. For example, a support duty striker will be largely indistinguishable from an attack duty striker if there's a bunch of AMCs crowding behind him and, if you play three at the back, you'll notice defend duty midfielders are a bit more adventurous.

With that said, while support duty players will and do get forward when the attack is on and sufficient cover is available, an all support/defend duty team will be very, very measured in choosing their runs, so it would definitely require a careful balancing act to get it working. I agree with you that a fluid or very fluid system on an aggressive mentality would be your best bet.

Keep in mind though that the main function of duty is to promote dynamic movement between the lines during the attack. On a lower mentality, if everyone ahead of the holding midfielder is on a support duty then your attacking shape is going to be extremely static as, typically, the striker will go first followed by the wingers followed by the CMs and so on. As opposed to being very amorphous, it would be like watching a fairly traditional counter attack in slow motion. If you're trying to break down an opponent, you need your team to be more dynamic than that.

But again, trying this on very fluid attack would be an interesting experiment, though even then, I think you would need the right team in the right situation with a clear sense of why you're doing what you're doing. Basically, you need to be tactical whereas, if you're just building a set-up for general match-to-match use, I'd be very wary of having no players on an attack duty.

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I did have counterattacking in mind when I was thinking about this. And yes - it would be in very specific circumstances where I know I am going to be posession-poor. The idea of having 4 on support was to simulate them all creating chances for each other. Which when you watch all the top teams, is what happens in a good counterattack. The front 4 are essentially interchangeable. They can all play in all positions and they bamboozle the opposition with their pace and movement. Think Liverpool with Suarez, Coutinho and Sterling or Chelsea with Oscar, Willian, Hazard and Eto'o. Perhaps they'd all need Roam From Position and Get Forward Often PIs too...

My observations of playing my own save at the moment is that support duty players do not shy away from making runs through the opposition defence and effectively being the furthest forward in my own team. I have 2 wingers on support duty who are not that far away from my top scorer.

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I always wanted to know the difference between fielding an AP-S and a DLP-S when placed in the mc strata not the amc.

The thing is in previous fm versions, DLP-S had no forward runs while AP-S had some forward runs. The difference in their positioning on the field was easy to spot however, I cannot seem to grasp the difference between them in this year's version.

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I did have counterattacking in mind when I was thinking about this. And yes - it would be in very specific circumstances where I know I am going to be posession-poor. The idea of having 4 on support was to simulate them all creating chances for each other. Which when you watch all the top teams, is what happens in a good counterattack. The front 4 are essentially interchangeable. They can all play in all positions and they bamboozle the opposition with their pace and movement. Think Liverpool with Suarez, Coutinho and Sterling or Chelsea with Oscar, Willian, Hazard and Eto'o. Perhaps they'd all need Roam From Position and Get Forward Often PIs too...

My observations of playing my own save at the moment is that support duty players do not shy away from making runs through the opposition defence and effectively being the furthest forward in my own team. I have 2 wingers on support duty who are not that far away from my top scorer.

Yeah, I see what you're saying. My concern based purely on assumption is that you might only ever actually get one or two players in the box at a time and hesitancy from midfield may make the team too easy to pin back, but it'd certainly be interesting to give it a go and see how it actually plays out.

With Mourinho and Rodgers, on top of a high level of roaming, I think the best way to represent that degree of positional fluidity is actually to periodically alter role, position and even formation throughout the match... not necessarily reactively but simply to mix things up throughout the match. In Liverpool's case, Rodgers typically plays a 4-1-4-1 with Suarez and Sturridge alternating between the left midfield position. This obviously gives the team different options throughout the match, but it also helps manage fitness as neither has to be back pressing with the midfield for 90 minutes. You'll see a similar approach with Chelsea. The team will alternate between 4-4-1-1 and 4-2-1-3 with either Oscar or Hazard/Willian alternating between midfield and a more advanced role.

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Thanks for that, a_esbech! Very useful!

And to clarify, a_esbech was given permission to host the pdf on his site.

And for those wondering where all the analysis is at, I'm waiting for the winter transfer update before I start the save that I want to use for my tactical walkthrough. I am also hoping to do some stylistic revisions in the near future.

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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.

Technically it didn't have any player any farther than "mixed" (same applied even when you went one strategy more aggressive, that is "attacking", at least on FM 2012, dunno if it was changed), but that is a bit fuddy-duddy a bit futile as nobody knows if the new team instructions interact exactly the same way as the old ones, and hopefully nobody will worry about such in the future. :)

Personally, in particular due to the manual tweaking that massively influences it all, the passing patterns set up are the least important thing when I opt for a mentality. That is also partially what wwfan meant with the names being more "plastic" too: the team instructions, as the shouts and team instructions of yore, are style modifiers. You can build a "defend" team that builds clean and safely from the back, and have an "attack" team that bases its key attacking passes around more short passes, and much more. What you cannot fundamentally change, however, is the very nature of it, the "mentality" part of it all. An attack mentality will always be eager to get play into the opponent's area quickly (far more forward passes, be those more short or more direct accordingly to your team instructions), whilst lesser mentalities won't. That ultimately is why wwfan went with "counter" for his Barca style, as more aggressive mentalities plain won't keep the ball in deeper areas for long. That, for me, is the primary distinction I personally draw. The style of defending and attacking has always been up for tweaks, arguably much more now than before. In that sense, most of the name's of the mentalities are fairly well off. "Control" should be more explicitly made clear to mean "controlled attack" as one of the more aggressive ones, perhaps, though.

In any case, the least people should worry about is those individual notches (and how this all might compare to tactical tools that are no more), as they weren't 100% absolutes (rather tendencies) and the TC didn't tread them as absolutes either. The day they disappear from these discussions will be the day when the new system has truly succeeded. As of now, the only thing that all this referencing does is confusing newcomers, at least to a degree. That is also in parts why I wouldn't advice many newbies to take a look at such discussions, not initially anyway, however interesting and well thought out its theories, as much is based on micro tweaks of sliders of yore which may or may not exactly interact with the ME in the way us old players have come to know them to do. With some roles such as the half back we have the outright visual clue that SI have at least started to move away from them exclusively, as any player dropping in between centre backs plain wasn't doable previously. Similarily, there are roles similarily isolated, with the "Limited full back" being more prone to clear even if under the hood he's been given the exact same slider instructions. This is an altogether new area, and fresh minds need not be burdened with stuff that, as was officially stated, won't ever come back. :)

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I agree that I don't want to see Closing Down (6) and Passing (12) back in the game, but I think it would be useful if the interface did a better job of showing, for example, which players were given roaming instructions when you tell the team to "roam more" and which roles "tackle harder" than other roles on the same team mentality setting. You can deduce most of this, sure, but I think it just increases the learning curve unnecessarily. In terms of passing range specifically, "Short"/"Less Direct"/"Standard"/"More Direct"/"Long" would be just as informative as the underlying 21-position slider while still giving players something with which they can orient themselves.

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Had a quick read of this, incredible stuff! I've downloaded the PDF and put it on my Kindle now :lol:

Looking forward to having a full read tomorrow and trying to implement this into my tactics, I've been struggling with getting the AMC and ST positions to interact effectively but the bits I read of this look like they might help with this!! Thanks!! :)

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Started reading the first paragraph of the OP, wondered how long I'd be reading for.. Scrolled down - Utterly gobsmacked.

I have no doubt it's a fantastic read and hugely helpful, don't think I have the motivation to read that in one go though!

Just goes to show how far FM has come, and how far more complex it's become.

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Just goes to show how far FM has come, and how far more complex it's become.

I'd still say that almost all of this could have been written 4 or 5 years ago, but the TC definitely made it possible to better understand and express how some of the more abstract settings in the game work.

Long term, when I have time for some sweeping revisions, I will be concentrating on making this easier to digest in one sitting; it's just a matter of finding the time to sit down and do it on top of actually playing the game. :D

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It's my try to make something similiar to Jose Mourinho's tactics.

1zev52o.jpg

Standard&Balance, fast paced attack with direct passing and high movement.

GK: Distribute Safely

WB/S: Keep Possession Away From Pressure

DC: Disrupt Attacks Judiciously

DR/A:Keep Possession

DMC: Disrupt Attacks Quickly

MC: Shuttle Ball

AML: Shuttle Ball Through Defence

AMC: Keep Possession

AMR: Shuttle Ball

FC: Spearhead Attacking Moves Closer to Defence

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The thing about Balanced is that it can have two players in the same position on such different pages in terms of what they're focusing on that it can lead to disarray and a loss of organization if you're not careful. It's useful for creating tactics where you have a dramatic shift in shape during the attacking transition, but this means that two midfielders on very different tactical priorities may be acting towards very different goals when defending. In this case, you have Ramires looking to push into the opposition half shortly after transition and bring/distribute the ball forward while Mikel is very much focused on just breaking up attacks. Ramires will help defend and Mikel may opt to distribute the ball to Ramires, but they won't really be directly cooperating as they have such distinct tactical objectives.

In that sense, I suppose my concern with this is whether there is really enough of a link between your defence and attack to lead to coherent play.

Your defensive-to-attacking game plan basically translates to this:

mM1X9rz.png

What this tells me is that you have a fairly aggressive medium block (which is what you get when you're using Standard with 3 AMs), but the problem with this is that you have both your fullbacks looking to get involved in the midfield battle with only Mikel shielding a fairly deep defence. This means that if the initial press fails, your defence is going to be badly exposed. In particular, Terry is going to have a terrible time if the opposition right winger has any pace. You can correct for this slightly by telling your defence to push up more, but my sense is that you will often see the bulk of your team pushing into the centre looking to spring the fast attack while your defence panics and, being merely interested in disrupting attacks, not too concerned about playing the right attacking pass as opposed to just getting the ball away from the defensive third.

A big part of this is just the nature of the formation you use. AMs are not inclined to drop back and cover space in the way MCLR players are. They will press, and on Control/Defensive priorities, they will track fullbacks with varying degrees of consistency... but their job is not to fall back in line with the midfield to solidify the defensive shape. This further exacerbates the danger of the initial press failing as only Ramires and possibly Oscar will be getting back with any urgency if the ball bypasses your midfield.

Beyond that, you're not really utilizing a lot of space in attack. Ramires and Eto'o will look to get into the area (usually looking to overload the opposition CBR), the fullbacks will provide width and crosses, and then you have Hazard/Oscar/Willian forming this slightly obtuse, creative triangle across the centre and right side of the pitch. They will look to pick up the ball in a fairly advanced midfield position (which a risk-averse Obi Mikel may not be willing to provide if the opposition is pressing back) before looking to either thread a ball through to Eto'o or play the ball out wide to the fullbacks. My sense is that Hazard and Oscar basically render one another redundant while Willian, as the non-playmaker of the three, is mainly going to be an occasional source of early crosses and a support player for Azpilicueta's overlapping runs... maybe not the most efficient use of his abilities though this has more to do with the other players' roles than his.

As far as recommendations:

1) Use a more naturally compact formation, especially since you're playing Balanced. A 4-3-3 would work, though I'd also encourage you to try a 4-1-4-1 to ensure you get the kind of defensive contribution that Mourinho wants from his wide attackers.

2) You want one of your CMs on a support duty to provide the easy option for Mikel. Given that both of your fullbacks are going to get forward, you would probably even benefit from playing Oscar as a Deep Lying Playmaker to ensure he's helping to provide more defensive cover. This is basically what he's doing here anyway, just without providing the defensive cover and requiring him to drop back through the opposition midfield to give Obi Mikel an option.

3) Don't use Hazard as a playmaker. As an attacking wide player, he's not necessarily going to be in sufficient space to serve as a consistent creative outlet, and there's no reason teammates should be trying to get him the ball over Willian. He'll offer more by actually getting into the box (which an advanced playmaker won't be inclined to do). Inside Forward (Attack) or Wide Midfielder (Attack) would likely work better.

4) Eto'o will probably be very isolated as an Advanced Forward. If the opposition isn't pushing high up and giving him space to attack into, you're probably better off playing him as some sort of support forward. Support duty forwards will still get into the box when the attack is on, but they won't be so inclined to just hang around the central defenders off the ball.

Hope that helps!

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Do roles also have an effect on tactical priorities in the previous versions of FM that have roles?

It's funny that now sliders are gone someone finally gives us an be-all-end-all explanation of what mentality does. Where were you in 2007 man?

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I am a complete newbie at FM. I just downloaded it for the first time about a week ago. I kept looking at the forum, trying to figure out how to implement a 4-1-2-1-2 narrow diamond, and I would always get "almost there" but I could never get the build up quite the way I wanted it. I always ended up with extremely boring defensive games, which I lost.

I read this last night at at about 1am, and started implementing the lessons I thought I learned here. By 2 a.m. I had won 3 of 4 games, scoring at least 2 goals in each game. Thank you so much for this.

This made it really clear to me where I was going wrong and how to properly set roles, duties, mentality, and fluidity to achieve what I wanted my team to do. The problem was with how I understood what these settings do, and how they inner-play with each other.

FWIW, My Setup:

Team: DC United (MLS)

Formation: 4-1-2-1-2

Fluidity: Rigid

Mentality: (haven't quite decided. Somewhere between Standard and Attack)

GK

WB-Support

CB-Stopper

CB-Cover

WB-Attack

HB-Defend

BWM-Defend

DLP-Support

SS-Attack

AF-Attack

CF-Support

TI: Play Out of Defence

I will add more instruction slowly as I figure out what I need. So far, I am not sure from watching the matches what I need to change. I worry that shorter passing will neuter my offense, but currently, I am giving up a lot of interceptions.

Things I have noticed:

- My DLP has like 90% passing

- My play usually builds up the right side

- My SS isn't shooting as much as I would like.

- When this is working, my AF takes a ton of shots. When it isn't working, my CF ends up doing all of the shooting from distance.

- My right WB keeps launching balls from midfield or the defense to my AF. Very low completion percentage.

- When I give up a goal, I give up a bunch of goals. It has happened a few times now where I give up 2 or 3 goals within a 3 or 4 minute span. I think this has to do with Fitness though.

- I always start playing Standard, then end up moving to Attack later in the game. I should probably just stay in attack.

I would love to hear your guys thoughts. I may try to drop in some screenshots later as well. I am supposed to be working right now.

1st post btw.

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After reading through the sticky threads I feel I understand the tactics a lot better already especially after the massive change from sliders to shouts in this years FM. I have created a tactic below and im just wondering what you guys think of it.

1st Tactic:

Mentality: Control

Fluidity: Rigid

TI: Work Ball Into Box, Push Higher Up, Hassle Opponents, Be More Expressive

------------------------------------GK----------------------------------------

FB(S)------------------CD(D)----------------CD(D)------------------WB(A)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------BWM(S)---------------DLP(D)-------------------------

W(A)------------------------------AP(S)--------------------------------IF(S)

-----------------------------------AF(A)--------------------------------------

The only player instruction at the moment is on the goalkeeper who is instructed to distribute to defenders. I am trying to create a short passing team who can cut open defences with their passing and movement so any help or tips would be appreciated.

(Also tried uploading a screenshot of the tactic but the upload program has an "!" next to my screenshot that said "undefined" so any help on how to fix that would be great also)

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I am a complete newbie at FM. I just downloaded it for the first time about a week ago. I kept looking at the forum, trying to figure out how to implement a 4-1-2-1-2 narrow diamond, and I would always get "almost there" but I could never get the build up quite the way I wanted it. I always ended up with extremely boring defensive games, which I lost.

I read this last night at at about 1am, and started implementing the lessons I thought I learned here. By 2 a.m. I had won 3 of 4 games, scoring at least 2 goals in each game. Thank you so much for this.

This made it really clear to me where I was going wrong and how to properly set roles, duties, mentality, and fluidity to achieve what I wanted my team to do. The problem was with how I understood what these settings do, and how they inner-play with each other.

FWIW, My Setup:

Team: DC United (MLS)

Formation: 4-1-2-1-2

Fluidity: Rigid

Mentality: (haven't quite decided. Somewhere between Standard and Attack)

GK

WB-Support

CB-Stopper

CB-Cover

WB-Attack

HB-Defend

BWM-Defend

DLP-Support

SS-Attack

AF-Attack

CF-Support

TI: Play Out of Defence

I will add more instruction slowly as I figure out what I need. So far, I am not sure from watching the matches what I need to change. I worry that shorter passing will neuter my offense, but currently, I am giving up a lot of interceptions.

Things I have noticed:

- My DLP has like 90% passing

- My play usually builds up the right side

- My SS isn't shooting as much as I would like.

- When this is working, my AF takes a ton of shots. When it isn't working, my CF ends up doing all of the shooting from distance.

- My right WB keeps launching balls from midfield or the defense to my AF. Very low completion percentage.

- When I give up a goal, I give up a bunch of goals. It has happened a few times now where I give up 2 or 3 goals within a 3 or 4 minute span. I think this has to do with Fitness though.

- I always start playing Standard, then end up moving to Attack later in the game. I should probably just stay in attack.

I would love to hear your guys thoughts. I may try to drop in some screenshots later as well. I am supposed to be working right now.

1st post btw.

Some things that have worked for me to hold possession better and reduce longer shots are to use a control mentality, with TI for shorter passing, work ball into box, and then play a normal line and adjust based on the opponent. Press higher as needed or drop deeper to help create more space to work. I also adjust my width based on opponents formation and my players strengths. Mostly I play narrow, but sometimes I need more width in the attack.

I would also suggest one cb on cover and the other on defend to slow the number of balls over the top. I prefer an Anchorman to a halfback, but I honestly haven't used a halfback enough to compare the two roles.

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@ THOG: I currently play a 4-1-1-3-1 on Control / Balanced. Having checked my roles, using wwfan's guide, I think I should probably be better off on Control / Fluid.

What differences am I likely to see in my play?

If it helps my line up is:

--------------GK(D)--------------

WB(S)---DC(D)---DC(D)---FB(A)

------------------DM(D)--------

---------CM(S)-----------------

W(A)--------AP(S)--------IF(S)

--------------CF(A)------------

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Sorry for the late responses, very busy week on top of new forum responsibilities.

Do roles also have an effect on tactical priorities in the previous versions of FM that have roles?

All of this applies to pre-FM14 versions as well.

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After reading through the sticky threads I feel I understand the tactics a lot better already especially after the massive change from sliders to shouts in this years FM. I have created a tactic below and im just wondering what you guys think of it.

1st Tactic:

Mentality: Control

Fluidity: Rigid

TI: Work Ball Into Box, Push Higher Up, Hassle Opponents, Be More Expressive

------------------------------------GK----------------------------------------

FB(S)------------------CD(D)----------------CD(D)------------------WB(A)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------BWM(S)---------------DLP(D)-------------------------

W(A)------------------------------AP(S)--------------------------------IF(S)

-----------------------------------AF(A)--------------------------------------

The only player instruction at the moment is on the goalkeeper who is instructed to distribute to defenders. I am trying to create a short passing team who can cut open defences with their passing and movement so any help or tips would be appreciated.

(Also tried uploading a screenshot of the tactic but the upload program has an "!" next to my screenshot that said "undefined" so any help on how to fix that would be great also)

I'd be a little concerned about how many options you're actually giving your winger. On Rigid/Control, you will have the AF pushing up aggressively and scrambling to find space in between defenders, though the high pressing typically means he won't have a lot of space behind the defence to burst into unless you're playing another pressing side that really wants to battle it out in midfield. While it's usually recommended to use a support duty for a lone striker, this will help create space for your AP, but it also means you need someone making more central, penetrating runs from deep to prevent the AF from being isolated.

The question, then, is who here is just crowding the playmakers and can be put to better use as a potential goalscorer:

J2EW72G.png

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@ THOG: I currently play a 4-1-1-3-1 on Control / Balanced. Having checked my roles, using wwfan's guide, I think I should probably be better off on Control / Fluid.

What differences am I likely to see in my play?

If it helps my line up is:

--------------GK(D)--------------

WB(S)---DC(D)---DC(D)---FB(A)

------------------DM(D)--------

---------CM(S)-----------------

W(A)--------AP(S)--------IF(S)

--------------CF(A)------------

With a change of fluidity, the two main things that will be changed are your build-up style and individual player expressiveness. With Fluid, all of your players will be more expressive unless you use the Be More Disciplined TI. This means they will have more freedom to take the initiative and attempt something ambitious to move the attack forward or create a chance, though the difference between Balanced & Fluid probably won't be too noticeable.

But your build-up structure will be very different.

With Balanced, your attacking shape will be defined more noticeably by how you assign duties, especially in terms of how far your fullbacks push up and how deep your support forwards drop back to help the midfield.

kokZDhs.png

With Fluid, even your attacking fullbacks and wingbacks will be quite a bit more cautious about choosing when to get forward while your 5 more defensive players and 5 more advanced players will form distinctly separate, compact units in the early part of build-up. In practice, this means your attacking fullbacks will hold off a bit more and wait for the ball to get out of defence before getting forward to support the attack while, on Fluid, the slightly more aggressive movement of your IFs and MCs will mean your DM will probably need to play riskier passes a bit more. But again, the most noticeable difference will be with your fullbacks.

ESzLDvS.png

In both cases, as with Blakey's tactic, I would mainly be concerned with the amount of options your wide players have in the box. If you're going to be putting in a lot of crosses, you want to have at least two players in the box for every attack, ideally three. You can get this from either a support/attack duty centre forward or an attack duty wide forward or midfielder. When an attacking fullback gets forward, your winger should usually attack the far post, but typically, even on Balanced, the leftback won't get forward soon enough to be the far post option for the winger. This means you want one of your central midfielders attacking the box to be option 2 for your winger.

And as you can see above, a Central Midfielder (Support) isn't too different from an Advanced Playmaker (Supporter) in practice, at least in terms of movement and positioning. This means he won't really help the holding midfielder screen the defence and provide cover for the fullback and wingback, so in both tactics, your flanks will be very exposed if your team manages to push up. Fluid will tighten this up a bit, but good opposition wingers will still be a big problem for your side.

Other than the Deep Lying Playmaker, Support and Attack Duty MCs are more like attacking midfielders who track back and cover space, especially on more aggressive mentalities. They shouldn't be relied upon to play the second holding role.

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Can I play all my games with defense strategy?

Yes, but you'll need to consistently do two things from match to match:

(1) Adjust roles and duties to ensure you get enough players forward against more defensive opponents who will keep numbers back.

(2) Adjust defensive line and closing down instructions if weaker opponents are finding it too easy to play a possession game against you.

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...

Glad you found it helpful and welcome to the forum.

As far as setting up a diamond system, you don't necessarily need to use a formation with a literal diamond shape in the middle. You certainly can if you want and 4-1-2-1-2 will bring you closest to a traditional diamond with an enganche and a pure DM, but you can also use a 4-3-1-2, 4-1-3-2 or even just a standard 4-4-2 with the right combination of fluidity and roles.

Your basic set-up looks fairly sound, though there's probably a slight risk of the attack getting a bit isolated once the Shadow Striker bursts forward. If your BWM is good on the ball, you would benefit from playing him as a Central Midfielder (Support) and just giving him PIs to mark tighter, tackle harder and close down more.

"Play Out of Defence" may be causing your issues with WB passing. This instruction will set the passing of everyone below the MC position to minimum, and while it may sound counterintuitive, this may make it so your WB is opting for the ambitious flair pass if he's lacking nearby options for a "safe" pass. Since you're playing Standard-Attack, your defenders are going to have fairly short passing anyway, so if you don't want your DCs needlessly launching it, you can just give them PIs to "Pass Shorter."

As far as being beaten badly when you do get beaten, you again might want to consider pulling the AMC back into an MC role if you're having trouble defending. On a higher mentality, strikers and attacking midfielders are going to be very slow and possibly just downright unwilling to track back and help defend.

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Great post, i think the best ever in the forum. (along with the Ajax one i think).

I have two questions for you.

My tactic : (edit)

----------AF

Ws-------APs-------Ws

-----------------------

--------A----DLPd

FBa---CDd--CDd---FBa

Fluid - Defensive

Shorter, Retain, Work Ball, Play Out Of Defence, Run at Defence, Exploit Flanks, Overlap, Narrower, Much Higher, Tighter, Hassle, Feet, Much Lower Tempo, More Disciplined, OFFSIDE TRAP

And many personal instructions that doesnt really matter.

1. What is in your opinion the best AMC-ST roles based on the other ones and strategy?

2. How do you see the 2 DC 2 DM setup? (i have mark tighter and tackle harder for two DMs and the stopper and Ease Off for the Cover one)

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And as you can see above, a Central Midfielder (Support) isn't too different from an Advanced Playmaker (Supporter) in practice, at least in terms of movement and positioning. This means he won't really help the holding midfielder screen the defence and provide cover for the fullback and wingback, so in both tactics, your flanks will be very exposed if your team manages to push up. Fluid will tighten this up a bit, but good opposition wingers will still be a big problem for your side.

Other than the Deep Lying Playmaker, Support and Attack Duty MCs are more like attacking midfielders who track back and cover space, especially on more aggressive mentalities. They shouldn't be relied upon to play the second holding role.

So given that the 2 MCs in the 4231 formation are supposed to be holding (rather than pushing into the box), would you, from the above, be therefore suggesting the midfield three (currently DM(D), CM(S) and AP(S)) would be better as one of the following?

DM(D), CM(D), AP(S)

DM(D), DLP(S), AP(S or A)

DLP(S), CM(D), AP(S or A)

I'm slightly reluctant to use a DLP as my 2 AM's (QUintero and Rafinha) are my best players and so I want to ensure that they are the focus of the attack - my thoughts are that adding a DLP will mean that with 2 playmaker roles, they won't see as much of the ball?

I tried (previous season's friendlies) using 2 DLPs as MCs - and it was great v smaller sides, but v bigger ones, it seemed toothless going forward with the three playmakers racking up over 100 passes each between themselves - but with no end product.

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So given that the 2 MCs in the 4231 formation are supposed to be holding (rather than pushing into the box), would you, from the above, be therefore suggesting the midfield three (currently DM(D), CM(S) and AP(S)) would be better as one of the following?

DM(D), CM(D), AP(S)

DM(D), DLP(S), AP(S or A)

DLP(S), CM(D), AP(S or A)

I'm slightly reluctant to use a DLP as my 2 AM's (QUintero and Rafinha) are my best players and so I want to ensure that they are the focus of the attack - my thoughts are that adding a DLP will mean that with 2 playmaker roles, they won't see as much of the ball?

I tried (previous season's friendlies) using 2 DLPs as MCs - and it was great v smaller sides, but v bigger ones, it seemed toothless going forward with the three playmakers racking up over 100 passes each between themselves - but with no end product.

The way playmakers work is that everyone will be inclined to pass them ball if they don't see a really good option to play the ball forward, so two playmakers will often just square it back and forth, especially on more possession-oriented settings. This is good if you want to play like Barcelona (notice that wwfan's Barca tactic has two MCs: an AP and DLP), but you're right that it can really slow down build-up.

The Central Midfielder (Defend) is a very underrated and under-utilized role. In practice, it operates almost like a Modric-like controller, not afraid to thread a ball when it's on but also not inclined to try some Hollywood ball when it's not. Very methodical in build-up but not so risk-averse in his passing that he'll be completely dependent on the DLP to open up the defence. And you can also give him a "More Risky Passes" PI if you do want him to be more ambitious.

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Great post, i think the best ever in the forum. (along with the Ajax one i think).

I have two questions for you.

My tactic : (edit)

----------AF

Ws-------APs-------Ws

-----------------------

--------A----DLPd

FBa---CDd--CDd---FBa

Fluid - Defensive

Shorter, Retain, Work Ball, Play Out Of Defence, Run at Defence, Exploit Flanks, Overlap, Narrower, Much Higher, Tighter, Hassle, Feet, Much Lower Tempo, More Disciplined, OFFSIDE TRAP

And many personal instructions that doesnt really matter.

1. What is in your opinion the best AMC-ST roles based on the other ones and strategy?

2. How do you see the 2 DC 2 DM setup? (i have mark tighter and tackle harder for two DMs and the stopper and Ease Off for the Cover one)

That's a lot of TIs! Remember that PIs will override TIs, so a lot of these you don't necessarily need to use if you're giving out a lot of PIs. It's just like ticking the override box next to an individual instruction in FM13 and adjusting it from the default setting for the particular mentality/role combination. Hassle, for example, will already give everyone tight marking while shorter and retain will also lower your tempo. On Defensive with shorter+retain+much lower tempo, your build-up is going to be extremely slow, but I take it that's what you're going for anyway.

Your two DM roles would be fine in general, though Play Out of Defence will create problems as it will reduce their instructed passing range to the minimum setting. With this particular set-up, this means you will often actually see them just clear it or go for a very ambitious flair pass if they get isolated. Of course, the alternative is having an Anchor Man and Central Defenders who are very direct on a defensive mentality. You might consider playing a Defensive Midfielder (Support) with a pair of BPDs instructed to attempt "Fewer Risky Passes" in place of "Play Out of Defence" (which, IMO, is really overkill in terms of the instructions that it applies).

As for your second question, Overlap will instruct both of your Wingers to hold position to encourage the FBs to overlap more. So basically, they'll sit back and wait to receive the ball after which they will attempt a lot of very precise dribbles into the centre of the defence, but no one aside from your AF and FBs will actually be very inclined to make off the ball runs into the area. Instead, everything will move up in a very slow, very structured way around the dribbler with minimal penetrating runs which shouldn't trouble defences too much.

The thing is that this will actually result in a lot of players getting into the final third due to the whole mentality ladder principle, but they will be doing it in a very slow, predictable way, sort of like a glacier moving over a continent over a few hundred years. This can work if you have absolutely incredible individual players who can make Messi-like individual runs into the area and your opponent doesn't defend aggressively, but my sense is that this will result in a lot of possession but very few chances at best.

So to answer your second question, given the set-up, I would definitely go with a DLF-S and Shadow Striker pairing. I'd also reconsider your wide roles/duties and the use of Look for Overlap.

Finally, I'd be careful about using the offside trap. Even with push much higher, your defence is going to be inclined to drop back anyway, and if you are using a cover/stopper split, you're not going to be holding a disciplined line, especially with the fullbacks pushing up so readily in both attack and defence.

If I were you, I'd drop most of the TIs and see how a more basic set-up works out before making too many adjustments to individual settings. I don't want to discourage you from trying to achieve the style I think you're going for here, but I think you can probably get there with fewer potential complications from having a lot of PIs/TIs active at once. Hope that helps!

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Thank you for your response.

Things are going well for me using this approach. (17 matches, 32 scored, 12 conceeded, most of them set pieces. 14 wins, 2 draws, 1 lost. I am favorite in most of them though). What i had in mind was a possesion based tactic that will still be solid when not into it. Based on the stats i am doing well but i want do better (especially in the AMC-ST pair). I keep the structure and the duties all the same and i am experimenting with the roles.

I already added to the second slot the same tactic with your suggestions. DLFs-SS, A to DMd, CDs to BPSs with Fewer risky passes, Tight marking (i have it on for AML, AMR, DM, DM because they have the back four to cover them if their hard marking goes wrong, and to mark better the opponents attacking "builders". At least that is what i have in mind knowing that maybe i understand things in a wrong way), Play out of defence, Retain Possesion, Look for overlap OFF and changed to Higher Tempo.

I will keep offside on because i didnt like at all the way my DMs DCs were marking without it. Experiment a lot. Using a HB instead of A, using Cover - Stopper, Cover - Cover, etc. Not happy with offside either but a little better i think.

As for my wingers i see what you say but actually they do make runs. Maybe because of the Get further forward PI???

I now have this tactic for my "attack" one. Thanks again.

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As for my wingers i see what you say but actually they do make runs. Maybe because of the Get further forward PI???

Yeah, that should override the effect of Overlap on your wingers and get them acting more like attack duty players.

In that case, using Overlap+Exploit, is pushing your FBs up into midfield (in attack) which gives you a solid set-up for a possession tactic with the deep double pivot creating the lower point of some tidy, little passing triangles. As you can see, when you have a lot of TIs and PIs, the actual end result isn't always obvious, but in this case, it should work and my main concern would be how Play Out of Defence works out when your opponent is pressing your defensive unit.

EDIT: Come to think of it, counterintuitive but useful TI+PI combinations seems like a really good idea for a future thread so thanks for this! :D

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THOG,

Am I missing out on something REALLY important if I set my fluidity based on my selection of roles and duties, and kind of ignore this entire thing?

Essentially, I'm squeezed for time ATM and I've always been setting fluidity according to WWFAN's guide. But this post is incredible, regardless.

It's just like, at what point do we say that we've overcomplicated things? Thus my love for FMC. I am breezing through my first season with Arsenal despite being swamped with university work.

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THOG,

Am I missing out on something REALLY important if I set my fluidity based on my selection of roles and duties, and kind of ignore this entire thing?

Essentially, I'm squeezed for time ATM and I've always been setting fluidity according to WWFAN's guide. But this post is incredible, regardless.

It's just like, at what point do we say that we've overcomplicated things? Thus my love for FMC. I am breezing through my first season with Arsenal despite being swamped with university work.

No, it's not necessary to get a tactic that will work. It's useful for finding the optimal way to implement a specific idea or identify problems that may not be apparent from just reading the basic descriptions in the TC.

As far as overcomplicating things... sure, I don't expect most people to absorb all this information nor do I think they need to, but just by writing and working this out, I'm now able to provide in-depth advice to help identify specific issues and clear up common misconceptions where before I would have just been speculating (often incorrectly) about how things really work.

My goal with this project was not to be "Hey guys, here's a giant wall of text, all your tactical problems are solved!" My goal was to figure out the nuances of how some of the more confusing settings work and lay the groundwork for future ideas that can be easily used by even the most casual FM user without needing to read or work through any of the underlying theory. Will it? We'll see, but it's already given me a lot of great ideas for future projects that I think will be a lot more accessible. Sometimes, you have to complicate before you can simplify.

In that case, should I have just worked this out and kept it for my own private use? Maybe, but I thought some people would find it useful/interesting. And some people did, others didn't. That's fine. As I've said, it's not required reading; it's just one FM player's effort to get a bit more out of the TC.

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FWIW, the project actually started as a way to figure out how to utilize modern performance analysis in terms of the TC. The initial draft was based on the eighteen zone grid that JMU sports scientists used to identify the best location to focus attacks (Google "Zone 14" to read more about this). Ideally, as you can see in some of my posts above, I want to go back to that idea of mapping out the pitch and work this into something that's mostly visual as opposed to being an unwieldy bunch of text.

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phewww.... just look at this script make me dizzy. but this is what i need to get more understanding of creating tactic in FM.

i always come up with quoestion what would my DC do if i give attack mentality in rigid. then what happen to my ST if i come up with defensive mentality and fluid and so on, and so on...

let me finish this, and i will come up with my tactics. and i hope you have time to review it.

:)

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Best FM thread i have ever read!

Now, I want to try to replicate how AI's Arsenal played in some older FM version i can't recall.

433

fast and determined passing to feet

keep formation and holding positions

MCL running high with ball to cause avok

this is what i started with:

24fg39u.jpg

according to this mentality ladder's player priorities should be:

GK: Cycle Possession

CBs: Cover Duty (All Roles): Disrupt Attacks

DL/R: Keep Possession (will be checking this out closely. If they pass into space i will try personal instructions)

Halfback: Keep Possession Away From Pressure

MC: Spearhead Attacking Moves from the Hole (attack only)

Deep Lying Playmaker (All Duties): Keep Possession Under Pressure

AML/R: Penetrate Gaps Intermittently (attack duty)

ST (Lone Striker): Draw Off Defenders - I will be testing this out first and see how involved he is with the general play. I want the team to pass the ball like a clock.

What you guys think? I will be trying them out now

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struggling... had more success with default ui tactics!

problems:

-dominate possession but even watching full game highlights i just see the opponents playing

-wingers reach the line and lose the ball

-no ccc even against no division clubs

-no 1touch passing

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struggling... had more success with default ui tactics!

problems:

-dominate possession but even watching full game highlights i just see the opponents playing

-wingers reach the line and lose the ball

-no ccc even against no division clubs

-no 1touch passing

The basics of your set-up are fine, but you're imposing a technically demanding style that allows defences time to reorganize before you try to cut through them with fast attacks. This certainly can work, but it's not easy to do. Are you allowing tactical familiarity to build up to fluid? If not, your attackers are going to have a hard time putting together fast combination passes and will be very error-prone. An attack duty winger is also not the best role for this style unless you apply PIs as his default instructions are to dribble to the byline and cross, not participate in complex passing play around the area.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your wide forwards will not defend consistently on such aggressive settings. You can get away with this against very small sides, but you are going to be vulnerable against a side that isn't afraid to punch back.

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In your opinion, to emulate bayern munchen's tactic, what kind of fluidity would you use?

Very Fluid?

Balanced to get the most dynamic attacking movement from the wide players.

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