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Journeyman save, change of team, change of tactic. Cue the Questions.

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I was hoping you guys could help me out. I am currently on a journeyman save that has so far taken me from MK Dons, to Blackburn, to Ajax and now to the Dutch National side. I have had varying levels of success at each side. I played fairly gungho football at mk dons and blackburn and it took me to the league one title and Johnstone's paint trophy in the first season and a solid 5th placed finish in the second season (at blackburn). I then moved onto ajax and had a fairly decent time there. I won the league twice on the trot, but failed miserably in the cup, super cup and champions league. Which brings me onto my questions.

I played a possession style of football at Ajax, would be a shame not to. But I got a bit fed up to losing to big teams, PSV in 4 domestic finals and then the higher seeds in europe. As I have now moved on from Ajax I thought it would be an ideal time to build myself a new tactic, one that is completely different to what I've used before. I was frustrated with conceding a fair few goals, especially against the big teams. I have been a little inspired by the Catenaccio thread by Ackter as this is a similar style as what I wanted to play. Nowhere near the complexity of his formations and instructions, but the same sort of style. I want to be able to keep it tight at the back, soak up pressure, defend extremely well and organized, and then hit on the break. I am not really fussed what type of formation I use to achieve this, I initially quite fancied the idea of a 4411 but I had worries about if I was hitting teams on the break, my front man and potentially the amc may be a little isolated. I then toyed with the idea of a 433 (4-1-2-2-1) but again, I wasn't sure if the front man would be isolated and indeed if the wingers would offer enough defensively. My first question is how would most others set up their tactic if they were looking to set up a defensive, counter attacking tactic? What sort of team instructions would they use? I would have thought something along the lines of:

Drop deeper

Stay on Feet

Be More disciplined

Pass into space

More Direct

Along with perhaps a Rigid and Defensive/Counter strategy?

Secondly, on a slightly different topic, how do people tweak their systems on a game to game basis? For example, I could look through a scouting report for the opposition and note that they have a really creative AMC, usually i would just get my dmc to man mark him. However, if I have looked through and seen that they have a left winger that is creating a lot of chances, how would I go about shutting him down?

I did have another question but I have forgotten it, hopefully this will create some talking points to give me a hand in the meantime though!

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Its a bit of personal preference of choosing formation to fit a counter attacking style of play. Like you said in a 4411 if rigid then you might isolate the AMC and ST, since players in the AM strata behave as forwards, not as midfielders.

I play the 4411 as standard. And as a counter attacking variation of it I play 4141 as a counter tactic.


WM(a) DLP(d) CM(a) WM(a)


WB(s) DC(d) DC(d) FB(s)

This is the formation. What i want to achieve with it is very fast attacks, no long build up play but i don’t not want any long balls either from my back four, because such wasting of possession would mean inviting too much pressure in the match as a whole. I want to play out of defense, they pass around a bit find a winger or the DLP and then the attack begins. After two more passes from there the attack usually ends. When the attack ends i want the team to get into a defensive shape, to fall back.

the team instructions to achieve the above that i use are:

mentality: Control/rigid

play out of defense

drop deeper

stand off opponents

the back four has individual instructions to pass it shorter, the wide midfielders to run more with ball, the DLF to roam from position

it is a defensive counter tactic since for the majority of the time i just defend and I rarely develop attacks that involve more than the wide midfielders, the central attacking midfielder and the DLF. All my attacks are carried by four people, sometimes the WB(s) gets up too but not that often.

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Do you not find that sometimes your wide midfielders struggle to get into the game as they are both on the same settings wm-a? Having 3 of the midfielders on an attack duty is a bit cavalier for me!

I have actually been thinking a bit more about other formations I could use today and I am incredibly tempted to have an attempt at "The Wingless Wonders" of England's 1966 world cup winning team when Sir Alf played a 4132 from the quarter finals onwards, I just need to have a look around to find a few articles on it and perhaps a video or two so I can have a look at how they played. I do seem to remember though that aside from the final, England did have a very good defensive record, so I may look to try and bring that into my play somehow!

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I would probably mix up the duties a bit, but the general essence of that suits a well-organised defensive system.

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You could mix it up a bit, but it is not a big problem with having two wide midfielders both on WM(a). WM(a) offers varied approach, they run into space, dribble, make thru balls, cross and shoot, they do little bit of everything. It would be a problem if both were on W(a) as the winger has a more one-sided approach. I do change sometimes the left WB on attack and the left WM on support, however that is a riskier approach and in the case of playing a WM(s) I really think that it is more suitable to have a "wrong footed" player for the side i.e. a right footed player on the left WM(s) position in order so make the "cut inside" more natural so that the wing back shoots ahead and overlaps.

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Yep, I understand, I had system on a 442 that had a wrong-footed winger that sat narrower to allow a full back to bomb forward past him. Worked quite well as it meant we had additional numbers in the middle of the park too.

I have been researching a 4132 with a narrow 3 in midfield a bit and I have found that as I am a little unsure how to set the 3 midfielders up how England did in the 1966 World Cup, I may set them in those positions but alter the roles and duties so it actually plays out more like a 41212 narrow formation. I'm not sure if that is immediately going away from what I originally intended though which is quite unfortunate. How would you guys set up the central midfield 3 in a 4132? I've pretty much settled on an Anchorman in the DMC position.

I was also considering using a more static midfielder on one of the sides of the midfield 3 to enable a full back to bomb on down the same side as I figured with a lack of width from the midfield we would need the full backs to contribute and with an Anchorman sitting in front of the defence, I could probably afford to release one of my Full backs. On the opposite side to that full back I was tempted to make the wider of the three midfielders run wide with the ball or play wider so that he could provide width and a variation to the attack. I would couple this on the same side with perhaps a DLF-support to drop into space. I am unsure of the other roles that I could use though, I am just brainstorming there, would be interesting to get others views too!

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