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

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THOG. I have a question.

I like counter-attacking football. So, I prefer high mentality.

But, today, I'm read wwfan's reply that counter tactic is counter mentality.

I'm very confusing. What is counter attacking mentality? Counter? or Attacking? I don't know. Give me a answer.

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Both set-ups look reasonable. I can't see anything that stands out as a flaw.

One thing I would note is that, contrary to what I had previously believed, "Drill Crosses" does not instruct players to try to keep the ball closer to the ground. Instead, it just instructs them to hit crosses harder, and I've found this results in far too many crosses into the side netting. If you're having trouble with cross accuracy, you might want to drop that instruction.

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THOG. I have a question.

I like counter-attacking football. So, I prefer high mentality.

But, today, I'm read wwfan's reply that counter tactic is counter mentality.

I'm very confusing. What is counter attacking mentality? Counter? or Attacking? I don't know. Give me a answer.

I can't speak for wwfan, but I think he's saying that, with the right combination of TIs, Counter is a good choice for either a possession style ala Barca or a counterattacking style that relies more on careful, disciplined positioning with a medium-low block ala Atletico. Control/Attacking can also be used to create a counter attacking style with the right combination of instructions, but due to the higher mentality, the team will be inclined to play a more physical and less defensively organized game.

So let's say you want to play direct, counterattacking football.

If you want a team that diligently drops back into a disciplined shape and carefully picks their moments to break forward with attackers more inclined to help contribute to the deep defensive work, go with direct Counter.

If you want a team where the midfield looks to outwork and outmuscle opposition attackers before quickly getting it forward to attackers inclined to always stay forward and sniff around for space, go with a higher mentality.

With the right players, you can get a combination of the two. Atletico and Heynckes's Bayern, for example, would be best represented by a Counter mentality combined with high Aggression players who will play a disciplined, defensive game with a high level of physicality.

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I can't speak for wwfan, but I think he's saying that, with the right combination of TIs, Counter is a good choice for either a possession style ala Barca or a counterattacking style that relies more on careful, disciplined positioning with a medium-low block ala Atletico. Control/Attacking can also be used to create a counter attacking style with the right combination of instructions, but due to the higher mentality, the team will be inclined to play a more physical and less defensively organized game.

So let's say you want to play direct, counterattacking football.

If you want a team that diligently drops back into a disciplined shape and carefully picks their moments to break forward with attackers more inclined to help contribute to the deep defensive work, go with direct Counter.

If you want a team where the midfield looks to outwork and outmuscle opposition attackers before quickly getting it forward to attackers inclined to always stay forward and sniff around for space, go with a higher mentality.

With the right players, you can get a combination of the two. Atletico and Heynckes's Bayern, for example, would be best represented by a Counter mentality combined with high Aggression players who will play a disciplined, defensive game with a high level of physicality.

Thanks, THOG. one more question.

After your answer, I think Rafa's Liverpool is Rigid-Counter. This is my formation.

-------------AF------------

----------AMC(A)------------

WM(A)------------------WM(A)-

-------DLP(D)----DM(S)-------

But in this formation, My attack duty ST is isolated. I think my formation interpretation is right. What is the problem? Maybe, Fluidity?

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Rigid is going to tell the ST to play a very positionally aggressive game, so generally speaking, the combination of fluidity, role and and mentality is more likely to see him isolated.

I'm also personally not a fan of using two DMs except in the case of a 4-4-2 box system. It can be effective in FM, but I don't think the positioning is like anything you frequently see IRL. I prefer to use two MCs and reserve the DM position for a player who sits behind a pair of MCs. In this case, the deep positioning of your holding players is probably contributing to the isolation of your ST. Since using a DM encourages your defensive line to sit deeper, you will end up with the DMs dropping back quite a bit and encouraging the AMC to track back to close down players moving into the space exposed by the DMs. With the AMC drawn deeper, this is further isolating your ST who, as an AF, won't be inclined to hold up the ball and yet won't have anyone to work with on the counter.

w4SIjXf.png

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Rigid is going to tell the ST to play a very positionally aggressive game, so generally speaking, the combination of fluidity, role and and mentality is more likely to see him isolated.

I'm also personally not a fan of using two DMs except in the case of a 4-4-2 box system. It can be effective in FM, but I don't think the positioning is like anything you frequently see IRL. I prefer to use two MCs and reserve the DM position for a player who sits behind a pair of MCs. In this case, the deep positioning of your holding players is probably contributing to the isolation of your ST. Since using a DM encourages your defensive line to sit deeper, you will end up with the DMs dropping back quite a bit and encouraging the AMC to track back to close down players moving into the space exposed by the DMs. With the AMC drawn deeper, this is further isolating your ST who, as an AF, won't be inclined to hold up the ball and yet won't have anyone to work with on the counter.

w4SIjXf.png

Thanks, Great answer!! I will change formation, fluidity.

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Hi THoG,

I'm afraid I'm going to have to pick your brains. I've been experimenting with a counter-attacking style with my Inter team and although we're top in the early stages of the season, the team isn't playing particularly well and a rethink is in order.

The style of play I'm trying to achieve is one of an organised, disciplined defensive shape that restricts space to force errors and then is characterized by quick incisive breaks from a variety of positions once possession has been regained. I'm not looking however to 'Park the Bus'. My attempts with a Standard/Counter approach we're very disjointed and not quick enough.

After taking a look at your Liverpool tactics on Page 2 of this thread, I've decided to experiment with a Fluid/Attack approach and see if it give me the results I desire. I was wondering if you would be able to run your expert eye over my initial attempt and see what you think? (Before anyone says, I know I can test things in game, but I'm computer-less for a week or two, so I'm reduced to Post-It note theorizing!)

So the tactic:

FCInternazionale_TacticsTeam_zpsd8e9ae39.png

As you can see, a standard 4132. I would this to be the default formation regardless of the style of play (I would like to expand this into a set to cover a variety of situations) as I like the versatility it provides; being able to switch into a 532, 41212 or 3142 depending on roles is a boon for the tactical variety of Italy.

Do the roles look sound? I have modified a couple of positions slightly using TIs:

Wingback Left : (Cross Less) : My two LBs are weaker crossers than the RBs, so I would like them to move the ball on to more creative players.

Wingback Right : (Cross More) : I want my RBs to overlap to a degree and whip in crosses behind the opposing defence. I'm in two minds about specifying whether to select Cross from Byline, Cross from Deep, or just leave it as default.

Centre Midfield Centre : (Roam from Position) (Close Down Less) : This player will be the creative fulcrum of the team (either Mateo Kovacic or Christian Eriksen) and I want them to have free reign to find space and best dictate the attacking play once possession is won.

Centre Midfield Left : (Close Down More) (More Direct Passes) : I'm looking for this player to be a link between defense and attack but from a deeper role while the AP-A and BBM push forward; a little like a DLP-S but without the actual role.

As for TI's I've just put two in for now as I tend to prefer to use them during matches as shouts rather than frontloaded instructions. (I realise that I've missed Higher Tempo or Much Higher Tempo from my screenshot so one of those would be included.) Is Roam From Position an 'in possession' shout or is it likely to affect the defensive shape of my team?

Any advice would be gratefully received and will likely save a whole rainforests worth of Post-It notes.

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THOG, I wonder what the mentality mean.

Default Counter mentality have slow, short passing setting. Why Default counter mentality is counter attack system?

In same meaning, Control have fast, direct setting. Why Default control mentality have that name? Your Liverpool tactic's Plan B is not have Control mentality.

I'm veryvery confused. Please, give me a answer.

P.S - Is AF-AM(A) combination can work?

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As far as I know, Roam is an in-possession shout. Shifts and covering movements should happen automatically, particularly since roaming instructions usually aren't applied to players in defensive positions (the Regista being the only default exception).

One thing I would note is that you don't have a lot of direct passing out of the back which can slow down counterattacks. I think it's beneficial to have a direct passer at either DM or DC to ensure they can play a quick ball to the MCs or an ST, especially if they come under pressure while sitting deep. In this case, you can either use BPDs with a PI to "Play Less Risky Passes" or a DLP at DM.

In the case of the CML, a Central Midfielder (Support) isn't going to sit deeper by default. He'll push up as high as the Advanced Playmaker and will tend to push up a bit faster than the B2B. If you want him to sit back and act as a sort-of DLP, you should give him the "Hold Position" PI.

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THOG, I wonder what the mentality mean.

Default Counter mentality have slow, short passing setting. Why Default counter mentality is counter attack system?

In same meaning, Control have fast, direct setting. Why Default control mentality have that name? Your Liverpool tactic's Plan B is not have Control mentality.

I'm veryvery confused. Please, give me a answer.

P.S - Is AF-AM(A) combination can work?

Counter will have a fast and direct attack if the opposition is committing numbers forward. If your opponent is playing negatively, there are no opportunities to break and, with players instructed to be more cautious if there's not a clear opportunity to break, will default to more of a possession style.

Control is designed to pin back the opposition and stretch their defence with an eye towards creating chances. It's not intended to be a possession-oriented instruction in the sense of holding onto the ball for the sake of holding onto the ball. It's intended to restrict the playing area to the opposition half while being slightly more patient than an out-right Attacking strategy.

In general, all the mentalities are flexible and can be combined with TIs to create hybrid styles that mix aspects of different mentality settings.

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Thanks to answer, THOG. Because of your great answers, Finally, I'm create my plan A.

Fluid-Control

-------------AF-------------

------------AM(S)---------

WM(A)-DLP(D)-CM(D)---WM(A)

WB(A)--------------------FB(A)

TI - Drop Much Deeper(I want Deep counter!)

Play Narrow(I want my creative central player get the ball frequently. This increase chance that my DLP(D) give long pass to AF. also, my side player can play center.)

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As far as I know, Roam is an in-possession shout. Shifts and covering movements should happen automatically, particularly since roaming instructions usually aren't applied to players in defensive positions (the Regista being the only default exception).

One thing I would note is that you don't have a lot of direct passing out of the back which can slow down counterattacks. I think it's beneficial to have a direct passer at either DM or DC to ensure they can play a quick ball to the MCs or an ST, especially if they come under pressure while sitting deep. In this case, you can either use BPDs with a PI to "Play Less Risky Passes" or a DLP at DM.

In the case of the CML, a Central Midfielder (Support) isn't going to sit deeper by default. He'll push up as high as the Advanced Playmaker and will tend to push up a bit faster than the B2B. If you want him to sit back and act as a sort-of DLP, you should give him the "Hold Position" PI.

Many thanks Sir. Handily most of my DM available players are of the creative variety as I like to use a HB from time to time.

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THOG I am playing as Arsenal and I want to play a slow build up possession game like how Arsenal play but with the ability to launch quick counter attacks. Because of my reputation as a big club i know most teams will sit deep against me and the bigger teams will try and press and attack me so I thought maybe playing a counter attack tactic might help. Basically this is my set for what i want to achieve can you please give me some advice. My team instructions is as follows:

Fluid/Counter with TI Shorter Passing Work Ball in Box.

My team shape would either be a 4231 or 4-1-4-1. I have read that the 4231 does not defend the wings well and the AMR/L do not track back and if you play 2 MC then the back for gets exposed because there is no player in DMC Strata. I. really think that the 4231 would be the best way to get Ozil to perform. Ozil is the kind of player that excels in the AMC (number 10). I know if the opposition plays a DMC then players like Ozil gets marked out of the game but I do not know any other way to set up my team or how to play Ozil. How did her perform in your Germany 4-1-4-1 formation when you used him as a Wide Midfielder attack

Also playing a 4-1-4-1 would allow to use Ramsey as a Central Midfielder Attack to get in the box and score goals.

If you could let me know your thoughts and feedback that would be great

C

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THOG, Is it impossible that use direct game to defensive opposite?

I'm using AF-AMC combination.

If you have powerful forwards, playing a direct game against a deep defence can be effective.

...

A DM is only a problem if the AM is operating centrally in front of the defensive line. If you use him as a treq or tell him to move into channels, he'll drift out of the DM's zone and find space in wider areas.

For your shape, you should consider your style of play. If you want to transition quickly, it helps to keep more players forward, but then, you'll want to defend aggressively to avoid spending too much time defending deep without sufficient defensive support. If you defend deep or you're playing an aggressive opponent, you'll want more than two MCs to shield your defence. Players who track back will also tire sooner, so you'll want to consider might affect a player's performance in the later stages of the match.

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If you have powerful forwards, playing a direct game against a deep defence can be effective.

A DM is only a problem if the AM is operating centrally in front of the defensive line. If you use him as a treq or tell him to move into channels, he'll drift out of the DM's zone and find space in wider areas.

For your shape, you should consider your style of play. If you want to transition quickly, it helps to keep more players forward, but then, you'll want to defend aggressively to avoid spending too much time defending deep without sufficient defensive support. If you defend deep or you're playing an aggressive opponent, you'll want more than two MCs to shield your defence. Players who track back will also tire sooner, so you'll want to consider might affect a player's performance in the later stages of the match.

THOG I have decided to use the 433 set up which is - Fluid Counter - with shorter passing and push higher up

GK - Defend

Wing Back Attack DR

DL - Wing Back Attack

Central Defender - Defend

Central Defend - Defend

DMC - Halfback

Deep Lying Playmaker - Support

Central Midfielder - Attack

AML - Inside Forward - Attack ( Ozil plays this role). If Theo or Ox plays then it is Winger Attack

AMR - Inside Forward - Attack Cazorla - If Podolski plays then i switch this position to Winger Attack - I give Cazorla PI to sit narrower

Forward - Complete Forward - Support

THOG - Could you let me know if you can see any faults in my set up and allocation of player roles. I have decided that I want to CounterAttacking Football. Basically when I win the ball from the opposition then I want to break quickly but I want my team to make good use of Counter Attacking Oppodtunities and just kick the ball forward. Can you tell me what team instructions would achieve this style of play

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A DM is only a problem if the AM is operating centrally in front of the defensive line. If you use him as a treq or tell him to move into channels, he'll drift out of the DM's zone and find space in wider areas.

For your shape, you should consider your style of play. If you want to transition quickly, it helps to keep more players forward, but then, you'll want to defend aggressively to avoid spending too much time defending deep without sufficient defensive support. If you defend deep or you're playing an aggressive opponent, you'll want more than two MCs to shield your defence. Players who track back will also tire sooner, so you'll want to consider might affect a player's performance in the later stages of the match.

If an AMC has 'Roam From Position' selected, could this help escape the DMC?

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THOG I have decided to use the 433 set up which is - Fluid Counter - with shorter passing and push higher up

GK - Defend

Wing Back Attack DR

DL - Wing Back Attack

Central Defender - Defend

Central Defend - Defend

DMC - Halfback

Deep Lying Playmaker - Support

Central Midfielder - Attack

AML - Inside Forward - Attack ( Ozil plays this role). If Theo or Ox plays then it is Winger Attack

AMR - Inside Forward - Attack Cazorla - If Podolski plays then i switch this position to Winger Attack - I give Cazorla PI to sit narrower

Forward - Complete Forward - Support

THOG - Could you let me know if you can see any faults in my set up and allocation of player roles. I have decided that I want to CounterAttacking Football. Basically when I win the ball from the opposition then I want to break quickly but I want my team to make good use of Counter Attacking Oppodtunities and just kick the ball forward. Can you tell me what team instructions would achieve this style of play

This is for playing against larger sides, right? The tactic is fine. You might want to tell your CF-S to move into channels (this should be active by default but there's some ambiguity on the issue at the moment). You might also benefit from playing more direct and channeling passing up the flanks (i.e., play wider) so it gets distributed quickly to Cazorla or Ozil.

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If an AMC has 'Roam From Position' selected, could this help escape the DMC?

Yeah, if he roams, he'll be drifting around looking for space and that'll help.

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This is for playing against larger sides, right? The tactic is fine. You might want to tell your CF-S to move into channels (this should be active by default but there's some ambiguity on the issue at the moment). You might also benefit from playing more direct and channeling passing up the flanks so it gets distributed quickly to Cazorla or Ozil.

THOG this would really be my main tactic for home and away games. I was going to use it against the smaller clubs that i like to park the bus also. Do you think I need to make any additional changes to the tactics for when I am playing smaller sides or when I am playing at home

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THOG this would really be my main tactic for home and away games. I was going to use it against the smaller clubs that i like to park the bus also. Do you think I need to make any additional changes to the tactics for when I am playing smaller sides or when I am playing at home

The fundamentals are sound, so without a specific situation in mind, I wouldn't say anything would be obviously beneficial across the board.

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THOG, I have started a save with Italy and I am looking to set up something similar to Prandelli when he used a 4-3-1-2. I was wondering is it possible to play without a defend duty in midfield or is this asking for trouble? How's this set up?

pDYzJJM.png

GK - D - Distribute To Defenders

WB - A - Stay Wider

CB - D - Short Passing

CB - D - Short Passing

WB - S - Stay Wider

BBM - S - Dribble Less

DLP - S - Roam From Position

BBM - S - Get Further Forward

TREQ - A

AF - A

CF - S - Moves Into Channels

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It's possible, but it carries the obvious risk of having your defence totally exposed on the break. That risk won't be too high with a DLP-S since he tends to hold position off the ball, but he can cause problems if he takes the ball and tries to carry it forward with no cover.

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It's possible, but it carries the obvious risk of having your defence totally exposed on the break. That risk won't be too high with a DLP-S since he tends to hold position off the ball, but he can cause problems if he takes the ball and tries to carry it forward with no cover.

Thanks for the reply mate, appreciated. I always play a defend duty in midfield but I just wondered if it was possible without one & to try something different, I thought about trying to make one of the BBM more defensive somehow. Do you think I should remove Roam From Position from the DLP-S & are my team instructions ok for the Formation & mentality chosen? When it comes to tactics I'm pretty poor so I like to try and keep them basic.

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I would not use "Exploit the Middle" with a narrow formation since it sets all central players to get forward and attack the area (with the idea that the wide players will stay back and provide cover). If you're using a narrow formation, you'll effectively be exploiting the middle anyway. :) There are probably some situations where that combination would work, but I would not take it into every match.

Honestly, I don't know how much telling the nominal holding player to roam will have an effect since it's not something I've ever tried. I would guess it would increase the risk of your DLP-S being caught out of position further, but I can't say how great that risk would be. The fact that he's the only holding mid may discourage roaming anyway. If you're curious, try it and see.

I would not suggest using a BBM as the deepest mid. They tend to make unpredictable runs into the area which can leave your defence exposed to counterattacks.

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That actually makes a lot of sense, I never knew Exploit the Middle done that so I will remove it. Think I will probably just use a DLP-D instead of DLP-S, don't want to make the game harder for myself when I am already quite rubbish lol. Thanks for all your help though.

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THOG: I was wondering if you could help me.

I play as Manchester United using a 4-4-1-1 system, which aims to be explosive on the counter attack, but patient and probing when there is no break available, using lots of movement and interplay in attack. I use a 'counter' strategy as this seems to be the most suitable, with the following player roles:

GK - defend

WBR - support (cross less often)

CB - defend

CB - defend

WBL - support (stay wider, cross less often)

WMR - attack (roam from position, run with ball, get further forward)

CM - support

DLP - defend

WML - attack (roam from position, sit narrower, cut inside)

AP - attack (roam from position) OR AM - attack (roam from position)

DLF - support (roam from position)

Against weaker teams we press up the pitch, against similar strength sides away from home, we sit deeper and try and hit on the break with swift attacks.

I wanted to ask which philosophy you would recommend? I've been using 'fluid' this past season as I've read that it separates the team into two bands - a more cautious defence allowing forwards freedom to attack, but we've struggled. We've not scored nearly enough goals and struggle to break effectively. I've won 1 away match in my past 14!

Would rigid be more suitable for a counter attacking system? Or perhaps balanced, which looks like it gives more precedence to player duty, meaning more runs from deep?

What would you recommend?

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Thank you so much THOG for this very very very useful thread :)

... but I've still a doubt :( you say that choosing your Formation you choose your desired defensive shape and that you get your desired offensive shape with roles, duties and tactical priorities, so following your approach for example you suggested that to get a 4231 in the offensive phase maintaining a good defensive shape the best way is to start for example with a 4141

but how to apply this approach to team full of offensive players like Arsenal for example? If I want Cazorla, Ozil and Walcott playing at the same time in their best role I'm forced to start with a 4231 that for sure is my desired offensive shape but not the defensive one :( In such a situation how can I have playing all my best players in their best roles maintaining a good defensive shape in the defensive phase?

Many thanks

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Hand of God, your information regarding all of this is astounding. I've been trying to get my team to play a certain way that resembles Conte's Juve with Pirlo as a regista. In this case, a 4-3-3 with the playmaker in the hole in front of the defenders and I want him to lob them long balls to the wingers/inside forwards while also letting the team have high possession as seen by Conte's Juve. Reading earlier posts in this thread, I understand "Play out of Defence" should NOT be ticked and regarding the philosophy, Balanced-Standard would allow the regista (DMC) to "Recover Possession Immediately". On another note, I think what I want is the Balanced philosophy because personally, I don't like my AML/AMR to "Shuttle Ball Through Defence" which I assume means long balls to the box as stated by both of the Rigid philosophies as I want more one-twos between my players. Am I right to assume this ?

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If you're relying on the counterattack mechanism to get your team to break forward quickly, your fluidity isn't particularly relevant since that mechanism briefly switches your entire team to Very Fluid-Overload (i.e., everyone on a maximum mentality). If the counterattack mechanism doesn't activate, Counter will default to a slower, probing style. If your style is based on fast transitions, you may just one to try increasing your mentality against certain opponents.

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Thank you so much THOG for this very very very useful thread :)

... but I've still a doubt :( you say that choosing your Formation you choose your desired defensive shape and that you get your desired offensive shape with roles, duties and tactical priorities, so following your approach for example you suggested that to get a 4231 in the offensive phase maintaining a good defensive shape the best way is to start for example with a 4141

but how to apply this approach to team full of offensive players like Arsenal for example? If I want Cazorla, Ozil and Walcott playing at the same time in their best role I'm forced to start with a 4231 that for sure is my desired offensive shape but not the defensive one :( In such a situation how can I have playing all my best players in their best roles maintaining a good defensive shape in the defensive phase?

Many thanks

Playing attacking players out of position doesn't have that great of an effect and I do it all the time. The research just needs some revision in this area.

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Hand of God, your information regarding all of this is astounding. I've been trying to get my team to play a certain way that resembles Conte's Juve with Pirlo as a regista. In this case, a 4-3-3 with the playmaker in the hole in front of the defenders and I want him to lob them long balls to the wingers/inside forwards while also letting the team have high possession as seen by Conte's Juve. Reading earlier posts in this thread, I understand "Play out of Defence" should NOT be ticked and regarding the philosophy, Balanced-Standard would allow the regista (DMC) to "Recover Possession Immediately". On another note, I think what I want is the Balanced philosophy because personally, I don't like my AML/AMR to "Shuttle Ball Through Defence" which I assume means long balls to the box as stated by both of the Rigid philosophies as I want more one-twos between my players. Am I right to assume this ?

Yes, Play Out of Defence will set the Regista's passing range to the minimum setting.

On that setting, the Regista will still be possession oriented with his passing, so if I'm understanding you correctly, it is a good idea to play balanced if you want the AMLR to stay slightly deeper and look for Pirlo to distribute to them. You might also want to use the "Play Wider" TI to encourage this specific passing pattern. I would interpret "Shuttle Ball Through Defence" as meaning the player will look to pick up the ball in midfield and quickly work it into the attacking third, it doesn't necessarily mean long balls into the box though, just the player will show for the ball and try to get it into an attacking position. But generally, yes, a more cautious setting will encourage possession play around the area.

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Yes, Play Out of Defence will set the Regista's passing range to the minimum setting.

On that setting, the Regista will still be possession oriented with his passing, so if I'm understanding you correctly, it is a good idea to play balanced if you want the AMLR to stay slightly deeper and look for Pirlo to distribute to them. You might also want to use the "Play Wider" TI to encourage this specific passing pattern. I would interpret "Shuttle Ball Through Defence" as meaning the player will look to pick up the ball in midfield and quickly work it into the attacking third, it doesn't necessarily mean long balls into the box though, just the player will show for the ball and try to get it into an attacking position. But generally, yes, a more cautious setting will encourage possession play around the area.

Ahhh alright. And yes, exactly that! Except of course I don't want the entire game to be relied upon just the regista but let the somewhat key long ball passes to the forwards come from him...which philosophy/match strategy would you pick if you were looking to play that specific passing pattern while at least keeping possession with one touch passes/flair in the final third ?

Thanks!

EDIT: Also, I'm assuming the tempo has to be slow to let the players pass to him to let him lob that final ball.

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You might try Balanced or Very Fluid/Standard with shorter passing team instructions, the Regista given a PI to be more direct and the attacking players given PIs to discourage crossing.

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If you're relying on the counterattack mechanism to get your team to break forward quickly, your fluidity isn't particularly relevant since that mechanism briefly switches your entire team to Very Fluid-Overload (i.e., everyone on a maximum mentality). If the counterattack mechanism doesn't activate, Counter will default to a slower, probing style. If your style is based on fast transitions, you may just one to try increasing your mentality against certain opponents.

Thanks. So fluidity doesn't affect the movements of players in the counter attacking phase? I was (wrongly) under the impression that it would.

I guess it's back to the drawing board for my tactics then. 10 league defeats, one win in 15 away games is far from what is expected. I was hoping I'd accidentally set a fluidity that was unsuitable for my preferred style of play - guess it needs some more thought...

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Thanks. So fluidity doesn't affect the movements of players in the counter attacking phase? I was (wrongly) under the impression that it would.

I guess it's back to the drawing board for my tactics then. 10 league defeats, one win in 15 away games is far from what is expected. I was hoping I'd accidentally set a fluidity that was unsuitable for my preferred style of play - guess it needs some more thought...

Exactly. There are two different kinds of attacking phase: a standard attacking phase and a counterattacking phase. The standard phase uses the fluidity/mentality settings you set while the counterattacking phases overrides your fluidity/mentality settings.

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Exactly. There are two different kinds of attacking phase: a standard attacking phase and a counterattacking phase. The standard phase uses the fluidity/mentality settings you set while the counterattacking phases overrides your fluidity/mentality settings.

Okay, so I'm going back to the drawing board with my tactics and wondered if you think the following looks sensible:

I want devastating attacking through forward interplay and counter attack/quick transitions. With 3 or 4 attackers with creative freedom to try to unlock defences but also able to break at speed, supported by 2 or 3 linking players (a midfielder and the full backs). I also want the flexibility to adjust shape and player roles depending on opposition. The inspiration is the Manchester United side that won the Champions League in 2008 - a highly flexible team that could control a game but also soak up pressure and counter attack with incredible efficiency.

The base formation would be 4-4-1-1 or 4-1-4-1. Fluid and control look like the best set up from what I can tell. TIs to be changed according to what we want to achieve in a certain game, though I'd usually want to use 'roam from position'.

GK

WBR - support (cross less)

BPD - defend

CD - defend

WBL - attack (stay wider)

W - attack

CM - support (attack in 4-1-4-1 system)

DLP - defend

WM - attack (cut inside, play further forward, cross less)

DLF - support

The final player would either be a regista in the 4-1-4-1 or a AP (attack) in the 4-4-1-1 system.

This would be with some tailored shouts - e.g. 'drop deeper' with 'pass into space' if I want to draw teams out.

Does this look like a sensible approach?

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Yeah, the set up is sound, but you'll obviously want players who fit the system. If you're playing a fast-attacking 4-1-4-1, you'll generally want a forward who holds up the ball well, and for quick transitions against more defensive teams, you may want AMs or another ST to stay forward with him.

Keep in mind, some teams just won't be drawn out, and in those cases, you'll need to find a way to overwhelm them or pick them apart.

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Yeah, the set up is sound, but you'll obviously want players who fit the system. If you're playing a fast-attacking 4-1-4-1, you'll generally want a forward who holds up the ball well, and for quick transitions against more defensive teams, you may want AMs or another ST to stay forward with him.

Keep in mind, some teams just won't be drawn out, and in those cases, you'll need to find a way to overwhelm them or pick them apart.

THOG no matter how I watch the game in full I cannot seem to identify the teams that refuse to be drawn out.Could you give me some advice on what I should be looking for. I read the tactical approach of the AI manager but I still cannot seem to identify the difference. Also for the teams who come out i tend to play on the Balance Counter Pass Into Space (would that be the best set up to use). Would you recommend any other team instruction or shout to use. Could you advice me on what to do for the teams that wont be drawn out and how to identify these teams.

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THOG no matter how I watch the game in full I cannot seem to identify the teams that refuse to be drawn out.Could you give me some advice on what I should be looking for. I read the tactical approach of the AI manager but I still cannot seem to identify the difference. Also for the teams who come out i tend to play on the Balance Counter Pass Into Space (would that be the best set up to use). Would you recommend any other team instruction or shout to use. Could you advice me on what to do for the teams that wont be drawn out and how to identify these teams.

Keep an eye on whether their fullbacks get forward.

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Keep an eye on whether their fullbacks get forward.

Thanks THOG. What would you recommend i do tatically when the teams refuse to come forward how do create the space to break them down.

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Thanks THOG. What would you recommend i do tatically when the teams refuse to come forward how do create the space to break them down.

You can try to pick them apart slowly or overwhelm them if they sit deep. How you go about doing that depends entirely on the qualities of the players at your disposal.

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You can try to pick them apart slowly or overwhelm them if they sit deep. How you go about doing that depends entirely on the qualities of the players at your disposal.

Thanks THOG. My plan for those teams that sit deep and do not want to come out is Fluid Control Run at Defence and Higher Tempo. I think this might work but I am not sure. Would you recommend going Attacking or additional shouts. I am playing with Arsenal and my formation is either a 4-1-4-1 or 433.

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Thanks THOG. My plan for those teams that sit deep and do not want to come out is Fluid Control Run at Defence and Higher Tempo. I think this might work but I am not sure. Would you recommend going Attacking or additional shouts. I am playing with Arsenal and my formation is either a 4-1-4-1 or 433.

I wouldn't suggest one mentality is necessarily better than another in general. There are too many variables to consider, and even then, breaking down a confident and well disciplined defence is always going to be a challenge where you'll be largely dependent on your players being able to produce a moment of pure quality.

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Hi THOG,

Im trying to do a defensive tactic very similar to your Plan C (not for 1st option, just to play against bigger teams), but for a team very much worse than Liverpool. Im currently managing Tirsense (3rd level league in Portugal, 1 star rating, in general the players are like the ones you found on Blue Square Premier in England), and im struggling getting balls to my ST, even if i choose to use two wingers instead OFtwo wide midfielders. Another thing that pisses me off is how easily oposition players can get in my area, despite the fact that im playing defensive.

Here is the tactic and instructions that im trying to implement:

GK: Goalkeeper (Defend) : Distribute to defenders

DE: Wing Back (Attack)

DD: Wing Back (Attack)

DC's: Central Defender (Defend)

MDC: Defensive Midfielder (Defend) : More Direct Passes

A Box-to-box midfielder and a ball winning midfielder in MC's position (Support)

Two wingers (Support)

Complete Forward (Attack)

Mentality: Defensive

Fluidity: Balanced

Team instructions: Drill Crosses, More Direct Passing, Higher Tempo

Another thing: in 424 (to desperately seek for a goal), what team instructions and roles do you recommend to keep players linked, but at the same time attacking-minded?

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My dissertation wasn't as well written as this. And I got a 1st. I can't believe I've only just read it. It reads like an academic paper and you should be applauded accordingly. Sterling work.

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I love your thread THOG but i fear you've messed up my mind!

What i want to achieve is Mourinho-like-tactics. I got 3 tactics in mind; 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 and 4-4-2, when desperate for goal.

I will primarily use 4-2-3-1. When I'm a favorite and the game plan allows it i want to dominate my opposition. But when the opposition is giving me a hard time i want to solidify my defense.

Im playing as Vitesse and my problem so far is that my defense is all over the place. What i want to achieve is a low block, but my defenders run all over. This is my set up:

GK:Defend

FBL/R Attack/Support

DCx2 Defend

WMl/AMl

CMl Defend

B2B

WMr/AMr

AM: Adv. Pl support/attack

ST: Poacher/Target man

I use rigid philosophy and with a control mentality. More direct passes, much deeper defensive line. Should i play with a defensive mentality and push up? Should i stand off and stay on feet to minimize the pressing?

Im totally lost.

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Hi THOG,

Im trying to do a defensive tactic very similar to your Plan C (not for 1st option, just to play against bigger teams), but for a team very much worse than Liverpool. Im currently managing Tirsense (3rd level league in Portugal, 1 star rating, in general the players are like the ones you found on Blue Square Premier in England), and im struggling getting balls to my ST, even if i choose to use two wingers instead OFtwo wide midfielders. Another thing that pisses me off is how easily oposition players can get in my area, despite the fact that im playing defensive.

Here is the tactic and instructions that im trying to implement:

GK: Goalkeeper (Defend) : Distribute to defenders

DE: Wing Back (Attack)

DD: Wing Back (Attack)

DC's: Central Defender (Defend)

MDC: Defensive Midfielder (Defend) : More Direct Passes

A Box-to-box midfielder and a ball winning midfielder in MC's position (Support)

Two wingers (Support)

Complete Forward (Attack)

Mentality: Defensive

Fluidity: Balanced

Team instructions: Drill Crosses, More Direct Passing, Higher Tempo

Another thing: in 424 (to desperately seek for a goal), what team instructions and roles do you recommend to keep players linked, but at the same time attacking-minded?

You might want to tell two of your midfielders to play more risky passes. Your CF-A is going to be quick to push forward, and without someone willing to pass into space, your central players will struggle to get the ball to him.

You might also try putting one of your wingers on an attack duty or telling them to wait to play crosses until they hit the byline. With a CF-A and two support wingers, you might be seeing a lot of early crosses when you only have one player in the area.

With a 4-2-4, you might want to try an Advanced Playmaker in one of the AMLR slots. He'll tend to sit a bit deeper and players will look to get the ball to him, allowing the other three to focus on pushing into goalscoring positions. You might also want to tell him to "Run Wide with Ball" so he pulls away and helps create space for the other 3 forwards.

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I love your thread THOG but i fear you've messed up my mind!

What i want to achieve is Mourinho-like-tactics. I got 3 tactics in mind; 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 and 4-4-2, when desperate for goal.

I will primarily use 4-2-3-1. When I'm a favorite and the game plan allows it i want to dominate my opposition. But when the opposition is giving me a hard time i want to solidify my defense.

Im playing as Vitesse and my problem so far is that my defense is all over the place. What i want to achieve is a low block, but my defenders run all over. This is my set up:

GK:Defend

FBL/R Attack/Support

DCx2 Defend

WMl/AMl

CMl Defend

B2B

WMr/AMr

AM: Adv. Pl support/attack

ST: Poacher/Target man

I use rigid philosophy and with a control mentality. More direct passes, much deeper defensive line. Should i play with a defensive mentality and push up? Should i stand off and stay on feet to minimize the pressing?

Im totally lost.

If you want to focus on keeping shape and luring the opposition out, you can either try a more defensive mentality or use "Stand Off Opponents" combined with a much deeper line. With a Control mentality, even if you use a lowish block, your players are still going to be taking more risks to win back possession simply due to the team mentality, but "Stand Off Opponents" will correct that to a great extent... though it may be too extreme for what you're looking for (still, you can give it a try).

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