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DeeDee

Trying to create defensive tactic, but having little success.

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Upon having a break from the game, I've decided to start a journeyman save and travel everywhere bringing nothing but clean sheets and breaking defensive records... unfortunately, this has been near impossible for me to achieve. The aim is to sit behind the ball, be very hard to play through and be a counter attacking threat. Think Trapattoni or Mourinho at Inter Milan (in European games) and that's the aim. So here I am asking for help!

I settled on the Counter mentality with the logic being I would sit deep with men behind the ball, denying the opposition any space and nailing them swiftly on the break. I coupled this with a Very Fluid philosophy in order to make sure the whole team contributes to the strategic aim of nullifying the opposition attack.

Formation wise (due to the players available) I went with the following formation and roles:

4-4-1-1

GK-D

FB-A

LD-X

LD-D

LFB-D

W-S

CM-D

BBM-S

W-A

T-A

AF-A

I added the following TIs:

Be More Disciplined

Stay On Feet

Much Deeper Defensive Line

Unfortunately, I'm seeing little in the way of clean sheets and even less in terms of counter attacks or goals. I'm in dire need of help so if anyone could offer any advice that would be great!

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With the counter mentality your team are already deep so choosing a much deeper line will have your team defending so far back that you're just inviting the opposition on and will struggle to have any chance of ever getting out. I'm no tactical expert on FM, but what if you were to try and play Counter, Narrow(we might already be narrow enough to not need to use this), pass into space, High/much higher Tempo, Stand Off and perhaps stay on feet (unsure whether to use fluid or very fluid).

You could try a DLF or CF if you find your AF is somewhat isolated. I wouldn't have a stopper at the back as we want to keep shape so I would opt with 2xCDd.

I would go for something like this:

GK-D

FB-A - stay wider, run wide, mark tight

CD-D -

CD-D - short passing

FB-S - run wide, mark tight

W-S - mark tight

DLP-D/CM-D - close down less

B2B - short passing, mark tight

W-A - mark tight

AMC-S - mark tight

DLF-A/AF-A/CF-A - (move into channels?)

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I too have been playing around with defensive tactics. I still am, some of my shouts I'm not too sure about. What strikes me about your setup is the LDs and the LFB. I tried using those as well, but didn't have any aerially strong players. You may have that, but the T-A and AF-A suggests you might not. The LD and LFB roles will generally seek to clear the ball right away. That means hoofing without aiming. For that to work you need someone who can win the ball.

I found the most important thing in a defensive team is your out-ball. I mean, it's tempting to park everone right in front of your own goal, but if you invite pressure like that without providing a threat to your opponent they will eventually score.

The shouts I've been using, that I think are relevant the defensive side of the game, are the following (I'm grouping them by purpose):

Deep Defensive Organization

Drop Deeper

Stand Off

Easy Tackling

Getting the ball out of the danger zone and allow time to reorganize

Clear ball to flanks

Pass into space

Shoot on sight

*Optional* Route One (If you have someone who can win the ball, which I don't)

This works in two ways. First of all, my players are well organized behind the ball during established play. The main problem defensively will be defensive transition (When we lose the ball). To counter the danger of the transition phase I use the second set of shouts to ensure we lose the ball as far away from our own goal as possible, preferably by letting the ball go out of play.

You need to look at wwfan's defensive shouting strategies thread.

My setup is not quite the same as yours so you need to look at the thread and figure out what works for you. Primarily I'm concerned about the lack of an out-ball in your tactic. There seems to be a mismatch between your defensive and your attacking players' roles. I'm also not sure I would use a BBM, but that's another story.

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I'd be willing to drop down to Fluid.

Also, swap the Wingers for Wide-Midfielders, that role provides more defensive stability on the wings and isn't so singular in its nature as the winger role for me. Of course, getting the type of player for the WM role is a bit trickier...

I'd also drop the Striker to a DLF, Target Man or even a Defensive forward (if you want him harrassing the line) and have the Treq be an AP, or failing that make him the more attacking outlet (so the shadow striker or whichever.)

That's just my thoughts though.

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With the counter mentality your team are already deep so choosing a much deeper line will have your team defending so far back that you're just inviting the opposition on and will struggle to have any chance of ever getting out. I'm no tactical expert on FM, but what if you were to try and play Counter, Narrow(we might already be narrow enough to not need to use this), pass into space, High/much higher Tempo, Stand Off and perhaps stay on feet (unsure whether to use fluid or very fluid).

You could try a DLF or CF if you find your AF is somewhat isolated. I wouldn't have a stopper at the back as we want to keep shape so I would opt with 2xCDd.

I would go for something like this:

GK-D

FB-A - stay wider, run wide, mark tight

CD-D -

CD-D - short passing

FB-S - run wide, mark tight

W-S - mark tight

DLP-D/CM-D - close down less

B2B - short passing, mark tight

W-A - mark tight

AMC-S - mark tight

DLF-A/AF-A/CF-A - (move into channels?)

I'm content with defending ridiculously deep, that's the plan. I do see your point about not being able to get out. I do disagree about the shouts you have suggested though, it seems as if those shouts would create constant attempts of counter attacking plays, however I only want to commit numbers when the break is on. Steady, cautious and patient.

I too have been playing around with defensive tactics. I still am, some of my shouts I'm not too sure about. What strikes me about your setup is the LDs and the LFB. I tried using those as well, but didn't have any aerially strong players. You may have that, but the T-A and AF-A suggests you might not. The LD and LFB roles will generally seek to clear the ball right away. That means hoofing without aiming. For that to work you need someone who can win the ball.

I found the most important thing in a defensive team is your out-ball. I mean, it's tempting to park everone right in front of your own goal, but if you invite pressure like that without providing a threat to your opponent they will eventually score.

The shouts I've been using, that I think are relevant the defensive side of the game, are the following (I'm grouping them by purpose):

Deep Defensive Organization

Drop Deeper

Stand Off

Easy Tackling

Getting the ball out of the danger zone and allow time to reorganize

Clear ball to flanks

Pass into space

Shoot on sight

*Optional* Route One (If you have someone who can win the ball, which I don't)

This works in two ways. First of all, my players are well organized behind the ball during established play. The main problem defensively will be defensive transition (When we lose the ball). To counter the danger of the transition phase I use the second set of shouts to ensure we lose the ball as far away from our own goal as possible, preferably by letting the ball go out of play.

You need to look at wwfan's defensive shouting strategies thread.

My setup is not quite the same as yours so you need to look at the thread and figure out what works for you. Primarily I'm concerned about the lack of an out-ball in your tactic. There seems to be a mismatch between your defensive and your attacking players' roles. I'm also not sure I would use a BBM, but that's another story.

That's a valid point to be fair, hadn't considered the effects of those roles, I mainly play to the role most favoured by the personnel I have. I think the reason it didn't cross my mind is I do have some pace up front and I figured that would compensate for the lack of an aerial threat up top.

Thank you for the shout suggestions, they sound pretty spot on. Have they worked for you? I like to try and limit my TIs to 5 to avoid any kind of contradictions. I think a move to a more rigid philosophy would be appropriate to limit creative freedom and open room for more defensive shouts.

Out of interest where do you think the mismatch of roles within the set up are? I don't want a lack of players that are able to get forward on a possible break so I've tried to include some more direct attacking roles. I'm tempted to add 'Close Down Less' to my B2B midfielder as he seems to act like a headless chicken and throw us out of shape.

I'd be willing to drop down to Fluid.

Also, swap the Wingers for Wide-Midfielders, that role provides more defensive stability on the wings and isn't so singular in its nature as the winger role for me. Of course, getting the type of player for the WM role is a bit trickier...

I'd also drop the Striker to a DLF, Target Man or even a Defensive forward (if you want him harrassing the line) and have the Treq be an AP, or failing that make him the more attacking outlet (so the shadow striker or whichever.)

That's just my thoughts though.

This is something I've considered as Very Fluid appears to be too 'open' with people willing to step out of position to close down rather than be disciplined and keep shape.

I prefer wingers, I have pace out wide so I want to exploit that and make them play as direct as possible. With them being in the MR/L slots they're deep enough to provide adequate defensive cover I feel.

Only problem with changing the role of the striker is that I don't have a player in my squad capable of playing those roles, they're all pacey and small so having them looking to break the defensive line consistently is my best way of using them I think - unless you have a different suggestion?

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I'm content with defending ridiculously deep, that's the plan. I do see your point about not being able to get out. I do disagree about the shouts you have suggested though, it seems as if those shouts would create constant attempts of counter attacking plays, however I only want to commit numbers when the break is on. Steady, cautious and patient.

Only problem with changing the role of the striker is that I don't have a player in my squad capable of playing those roles, they're all pacey and small so having them looking to break the defensive line consistently is my best way of using them I think - unless you have a different suggestion?

Sorry I just assumed that you wanted to be solid and absorb pressure then hit back with quick fire attacks. As this is not the case then ignore my team shouts however I would say by defending so deep you'll just be inviting them on and eventually they will score either from a corner (they will have lots especially if they're attacking down the wings), a long shot (unless you can get it spot-on with the defending from your midfield).

You said you have small, pacey strikers, could any of them play the DLF role? failing that, how about playing with no striker and perhaps playing with an AP/AM and shadow striker?

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Sorry I just assumed that you wanted to be solid and absorb pressure then hit back with quick fire attacks. As this is not the case then ignore my team shouts however I would say by defending so deep you'll just be inviting them on and eventually they will score either from a corner (they will have lots especially if they're attacking down the wings), a long shot (unless you can get it spot-on with the defending from your midfield).

You said you have small, pacey strikers, could any of them play the DLF role? failing that, how about playing with no striker and perhaps playing with an AP/AM and shadow striker?

Not a problem, I should have been a bit clearer! I've got a squad of tall defenders (one is 6"8 I think) so I should be competent in defending corners and crosses although it could be troublesome. If I lose to a quality strike from range then that's okay, but they're rare and with a good goalkeeper that should be at a minimum.

I've considered playing without a striker, but then that would further reduce my 'out ball' as even more players would be in deeper positions. Although I may change the Trequartista to a Shadow Striker to be more potent going forward.

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Actually having moderate success with a 4-4-2 I have created with AFC Telford.

I've only conceded 10 goals in the 18 games I've played and scored 23 (I think). All that results in a 55% win percentage and moving the team from bottom of the league to 16th.

I also made it to the 3rd round of the FA Trophy if that's impressive? I'm not too sure. Plays out well and I've just got it fluid for the last two games and used defensive positioning as match prep and it's all looking very solid. There's two variations depending on the amount of pressing from the opposition. I'll post screenshots either tonight or tomorrow, it's just I'm very busy with University work at the minute so haven't had chance to post my progress.

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