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Cleon

The School of the Defensive Arts

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I am using the same approach (Very Rigid-Defensive-Same Instructions) but with different formation.

-----F9---AF

Ws------------Wa

-----A---RGA

FBa-CD--CD---FBs

Being solid at the back, and exploiting very nicely the space in front of DMs and behind STs with the Right RGA - Left F9 combination.

I really cant understand how you managed to achieve such consistency.

There wasnt a single game to go wrong? I managed to play 10 games undefeted and conceed only 3-4 goals (none from corners) but then this game came were i conceeded three (two from corners one from free kick) and there was nothing my team could do to prevent it.

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Just a thought, but to me, after doing my own experiments with similar styles of tactics, it seems that Team Mentality tends to affect your team more when you are off the ball and Player Role/Mentality affects what they do on the ball.

Which is why you seem to be able to make tactics like this and some of the others found around the place based around a defensive mentality be very fluid looking and deadly whilst attacking, yet I, as of yet, have had no success making an attacking mentality tactic have success defensively.

To an extent maybe, but depending on mentality a certain players first thought/main goal when he gets the ball will be different. Having read through THOG's thread several times, it is apparent that different roles play quite differently depending on Philosophy, and even more so mentality.

I have to be honest, I didn't completely understand it all 100% I don't think that matters to much though. Trying to use it practically to put together a tactic is quite difficult, but not impossible. What I took from it, is that in an attacking mentality, you need to be sure you don't have to many attacking roles, or your team is going to be disjointed somewhat, and really open to counter attacks, also you get a lot of those games where you batter the life out of teams, but can't score because basically there is no room to work in. On the flip side a defensive tactic will need or maybe a better term is allow you to have a few more attacking roles, or your tactic will become very bland, and not much forward movement going on. Obviously you can't take that too literally, but I think it needs thinking about when constructing a tactic.

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really great thread :thup:

cleon i was wondering, do you think it is possible to do the opposite and create a tactic that is all about scoring?

i guess for that your team needs adjust to all the different defenses and have a variety of offensive tactics

what do you guys think?

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Park the Tank (+1) achievement using the 442 i posted before with Cleon TI (plus Move Into Chanells for the AF and Direct Passes for F9).

Goal i conceeded in the 12th match, a corner.

http://oi59.tinypic.com/2h49tao.jpg

I am delighted :D

Scoring problems isnt an issue if you see the Match Stats. Its more a result of the fact that i have only three players in my squad with good finishing/composure attribute.

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hey cleon i really would like to see how your second season was going in the premier league because you were mostly the underdog and the opponents were a lot tougher

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hey cleon i really would like to see how your second season was going in the premier league because you were mostly the underdog and the opponents were a lot tougher

I've had little time over the last few months for anything let alone to write about FM :(

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I've really enjoyed this thread for a number of reasons:

1. I would never have believed it possible to play such dominant attacking football with a "defensive" tactic.

2. I'm so pleased to see someone enjoying great success while leaving press conferences and team talks to their assistant and ignoring OIs (these are the aspects of the game that I find the biggest drag)

3. Success without wide players - even though I love wingers, I also love a front 2, and playing with both usually leads to a 4-4-2 which I am a little bored of.

4. Very Rigid mentality but still a lot of movement off the ball (I'm fool enough to still subconsciously equate the rigidity with a lack of movement)

5. I like the fact that you have imposed a system on a squad - in more recent versions of FM I have come to the conclusion that to get the best out of the players you need to use them in their best roles, and so your tactic is half dictated to you before you even start. Clearly I'm wrong!

This has really opened my eyes to a whole new range of possibilities. I just hope I've learned something that will stick!

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Great thread, Cleon. I've read it through a couple of times and it's now bookmarked for refreshing my memory when I'm struggling.

It's also of particular interest to me because my current save is Sheffield United. I'm nearly a decade on, but those are still my boys and it's great to see them in a system that they work so well in. I still monitor Baxter and Murphy hoping I can hire them as coaches when they retire from playing. I don't know if they will make the best coaches, but they're still in my best 11 overall and it seems like the right thing to do.

Anyway, one thing that I'm curious about is how you got on with fouls with your tactics. You aren't using hassle opponents or slide into tackles or anything, so I assume you get fewer fouls than most. Is that the case? In particular how is Harry Maguirre doing about that? The guy was a red card machine for me who didn't seem to care how much I fined him for it. If he stepped on the pitch, odds were he was getting two yellows or a straight red. He's one of the most capable guys on the team, but I had to sell him because of his red card problems.

If you could talk more generally about not using hassle opponents that would be great. Every time that I have tried to not use it, I run into severe issues against high quality teams. They're able to retain possession far too easily and get deep into the box. Most of the time that eventually gets cleaned up, but if you give great squads enough opportunities with the ball around your 6 yard box, they will eventually score. Was this an issue in you cup match against Liverpool? If you were to run into this problem, how would you go about fixing it? Would you use hassle opponents or would some other shouts be your first options?

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Cleon,

Awesome thread obviously, ta. No change from all your other threads and posts really.

Ive been utilising strategies (and especially the Defensive one) the same way you do since I remember but your combination of it with a deep line (which I was hitherto afraid to use cos I felt I should not give the opposition space in which to move and hurt me, and because irl I like pressing and aggressive play) and cwbs/hb/treq has been an eye opener.

I also go for reactive management also, esp in matches as i think thats where the game (both the real one and FM) becomes exciting.

Ive been coming back to this thread a lot since I first saw it and have tried to incorporate ideas you posit in my own tactical set up which is designed to be flexible for reactive management and therefore amenable to tweaks.

However, if I fall behind (which happens rarely) I cant for the life of me turn things round without losing the deep line and if you lose that it defeats the whole purpose. So Ive ended up having a second tactic/formation learnt which I turn to in the rare occasions I do fall behind.

Now Ive seen comments you make about this issue in this thread, and Ive read previous posts (incl for past versions) of yours on the issue of what you do when you fall behind, but Id really like to know what you do when you use the formation/idea that you propound here if you fall behind and, do you do different stuff if you fall behind to a better team than to a weaker one? I understand that it may be impossible to have a set number of things you do every time you fall behind and that it may even seem to defeat the whole point of this thread (being a riff off your ideas) and the whole point of reactive management (ie to react to particular opponent and/or what is happening in a particular match) but Id be very interested to hear your general ideas at least.

On another side issue, I encompassed your ideas not only in a 41212 but in other "narrow" formations but in all of them my trusted assman gets stressed out claiming I am overrun in mfield. Do you get that any also?

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After having some fun with more attacking tactics, I've come back to wanting try conquer using a more defensive approach. I'm using Vitesse Arnhem in The Netherlands. They seem like a club with a lot of potential and there is some quality in teh squad. The intent is to start out using essentially this but evolve it and learn. There are some real quality wingers in the Eredivisie so I forsee that being something of a challenge to tackle. Having some success in the early friendlies but those are hardly indicative. Trying out different roles up front and ni the center to see what I can get to work is a fun thought.

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Cleon, this might be off-topic but it's relevant to the formation you're playing and how it plays out.

I've used this shape before and it's worked well. Like you, I put the CM(A) on the same side as the advanced striker. This time I'm looking to utilize a central winger but on the side of the DLF. My thinking is that the central winger/CM(A) could drive into the space the DLF creates, overload the flank with the WB(A) and play crosses into the far post to the Advanced Forward. I don't want to do this on the other flank because the I have the WB(A), CM(A) and AF all makes runs from deep often with no one dropping deep. So to sum up, on the left flank the wing-back and advanced forward making a lot of runs and the treq pulling wide into the channels to offer support and movement. On the right flank the CM(A) and wing-back making runs and the deep-lying striker offering movement and pulling defenders out of position. Do you think this could work if the CM(A) was told to move into channels, run with ball etc.?

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Amazing thread, and more important, amazing results.

I have two questions though:

- in your example against the 4-5-1 formation you didn't change the roles to your wingbacks, despite the opposition's numbers in the flanks. So is that a change you make only when you're facing quality wingers?

- why did you put the CM(a) behind the AF(a) and not behind the DLF(s)? Wouldn't the CM occupy the space of the DLF when he drops deep?

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Cleon, this might be off-topic but it's relevant to the formation you're playing and how it plays out.

I've used this shape before and it's worked well. Like you, I put the CM(A) on the same side as the advanced striker. This time I'm looking to utilize a central winger but on the side of the DLF. My thinking is that the central winger/CM(A) could drive into the space the DLF creates, overload the flank with the WB(A) and play crosses into the far post to the Advanced Forward. I don't want to do this on the other flank because the I have the WB(A), CM(A) and AF all makes runs from deep often with no one dropping deep. So to sum up, on the left flank the wing-back and advanced forward making a lot of runs and the treq pulling wide into the channels to offer support and movement. On the right flank the CM(A) and wing-back making runs and the deep-lying striker offering movement and pulling defenders out of position. Do you think this could work if the CM(A) was told to move into channels, run with ball etc.?

My best bit of advice is to try it out and experiment. Have a look at how the whole system plays with those changes and try to understand what the new problems are when you make the change then see if its something you can cope with. For some depending on their players they'll be fine but others not. So its just a case of making the change then learning how it actually works by watching it in action :)

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Amazing thread, and more important, amazing results.

I have two questions though:

- in your example against the 4-5-1 formation you didn't change the roles to your wingbacks, despite the opposition's numbers in the flanks. So is that a change you make only when you're facing quality wingers?

- why did you put the CM(a) behind the AF(a) and not behind the DLF(s)? Wouldn't the CM occupy the space of the DLF when he drops deep?

1 - Well if I did change the fullbacks then I'd be creating even more trouble for myself down the flanks because I'd not be making the oppositions wide men have anything to do. So by attacking I became more defensive as it meant they had to retreat to deal with my own attacks down the flanks. Their is being cautious and then their is being over cautious, this change would have fell under the latter for me.

2 - I needed the more aggressive CM to support the AF in the box and get beyond the treq. I wanted him to be more of a threat and an actual outlet of some kind. Had I had him behind the DLF then they'd have probably linked up more which isn't something I wanted as the CM would be more inclined to pass then hang back. I actually needed him to bridge the gap between the AF and midfield as the gap between them would be quite big if I didn't use the more attack minded one behind him. I didn't want the CM to occupy space that a player was already using, instead I wanted to bridge the gaps elsewhere and make other links so my attacks can be more varied and not rely on only one source from the same area.

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Hi Cleon,

Thanks for this thread your time and effort is really appreciated. Reading this thread has made me realise that I cannot and will not ever be bothered to go as in depth as this and have therefore deleted FM14 from my computer. How you manage to do so well every save you have is beyond me, there is no way I have the time or patience to sit and do what you do. I'll await FM15 and hope it's more user friendly.

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It's a Pity that Cleaon has not the time to update the thread ones more :) I would love to see how he did in the Premiere league and how he adjusted there. Come on Cleon, don't let us beg :) it is one of the best threads it is almost the only thread about defensiv play ;)

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@Stonebiter

I don't think there are anymore updates that would be worth it. He seems more than happy to reply to any questions we have in this thread though. :) And that can be more useful than updates.

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Cleon - thank you for your time sharing your thoughts. Learning a lot! How would you play against a 541 (33211 ultra defense)? Not retain possession but higher tempo? And what about 343 (Vitesse, Japan, Chili)?

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Hi Cleon,

Thanks for this thread your time and effort is really appreciated. Reading this thread has made me realise that I cannot and will not ever be bothered to go as in depth as this and have therefore deleted FM14 from my computer. How you manage to do so well every save you have is beyond me, there is no way I have the time or patience to sit and do what you do. I'll await FM15 and hope it's more user friendly.

Well if your having issues you can't expect to fix them instantly without putting effort in. No matter what changes we see in FM15 and beyond if you don't understand the basics now then you'll still struggle in those games too. And what I do isn't time consuming, it takes about 15 seconds to make the changes I do, I probably play the faster than most people.

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It's a Pity that Cleaon has not the time to update the thread ones more :) I would love to see how he did in the Premiere league and how he adjusted there. Come on Cleon, don't let us beg :) it is one of the best threads it is almost the only thread about defensiv play ;)

I honestly don't have the motivation/drive currently to update any thread. I have very little time currently and the time I do have seems to be writing and preparing the next editions of www.clearcutchance.com so this takes up a lot of my FM writing time. I doubt I'll be doing anything else before FM15 I don't see the point I'm afraid :(

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Cleon - thank you for your time sharing your thoughts. Learning a lot! How would you play against a 541 (33211 ultra defense)? Not retain possession but higher tempo? And what about 343 (Vitesse, Japan, Chili)?

It all depends but I'd probably play similar to the 451 and see how the game was going.

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Great thread! I manage to create a tactic after reading this within 5 min's using the system 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 in game, pick a random team in a new save just for testing, and while the tactic is not 100% so far after 10 league games 4 victories 5 draws and 1 game lost, and the tactic is around 50% in familiarity. And this was picking weakest link in the league and not adding new players at all.

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Well if your having issues you can't expect to fix them instantly without putting effort in. No matter what changes we see in FM15 and beyond if you don't understand the basics now then you'll still struggle in those games too. And what I do isn't time consuming, it takes about 15 seconds to make the changes I do, I probably play the faster than most people.

Little or no effort does not resemble the 1,800 hours of FM manager 14 gameplay I have, Nor the hours I've spent trawling these forums looking for answers. The problem is the lack of explanation about what each team instruction/player instruction does. If I use an attacking mentality for instance, it already says in the explanation that it is played to a fast, direct style of play - so why would the TI's off to play at a much higher tempo or a more direct style of play? Surely those type of TI's should be greyed out. Let's forget the fact you've just won the league cup and runners up in the FA Cup with a League One team for a second, the fact you only conceded 9 goals all season is absolutely ridiculous. There are far too many ways in which if a user does not fully understand every aspect of what SI want then the tactic fails. I'm no expert and I'm no novice, I have the odd successful save within that 1,800 hours, but I do not feel an emotional attachment to any save due to the inability to see consistency in any two games in a row.

I wish to god the 1,800hours of fm14 I've played resembled the saves I have and the enjoyment it should bring, but reading your accomplishments further reinforces the fact that this game has lost its soul. It's not a go at yourself at all, I've read this thread with great admiration at the time and effort you put in, but for me FM14 is a huge step backwards in the series and FM15 will be my last go. Anyway I'll quit clogging up your thread and let you get back to helping people.

Edit: One more thing that gnarks me - You are using a defensive strategy and the very last line in the description of the defensive style is 'it relies on direct balls to the forwards followed by sharp and quick passing to score goals on the counter.' Yet your TI's completely contradict that.

Retain Possession - The reason for selecting this is I want to keep the ball and no rush forward too quickly. I want to pass the ball around and use the space that I’ll have and be cautious

But that's exactly the opposite of what the defensive strategy is described as. It seems that the descriptions are not very well thought out.

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Edit: One more thing that gnarks me - You are using a defensive strategy and the very last line in the description of the defensive style is 'it relies on direct balls to the forwards followed by sharp and quick passing to score goals on the counter.' Yet your TI's completely contradict that.

That's one of the glaring examples of how you really need to invest a lot of time to get to know what instruction/role/duty does exactly before you use this "it takes me 5 mins to set up a tactic" approach. Yes, you can do it, but it comes with a price. Cleon himself said somewhere it took him a lot of effort once upon a time to learn what does what when it comes to tactics. Of course, now he can play like he does, but a lot of people are not that interested in tactics and don't want to "sacrifice" that amount of time to study a video game.

Luckily enough, there is an alternative approach, but it requires more patience. Focus on squad building, which in FM terms means "buy high PA regens every year and keep playing them, eventually you'll dominate with any club". You just set up a basic tactics, using llama3's thread about pairs and combinations, for example. That you way you set a tactic with no glaring issues and just stick with it and focus on scouting, building your squad and developing youngsters. It's very possible to dominate like that, just look at dafuge and his saves.

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That's one of the glaring examples of how you really need to invest a lot of time to get to know what instruction/role/duty does exactly before you use this "it takes me 5 mins to set up a tactic" approach.

Excuse my sarcasm but I'd have thought that reading the description written directly in the game would be sufficient to give me a generic idea of how it works. Why would they write the description but mean something completely different?

I'm sure there's a good, well thought out answer - but there's just no mistaking this years FM is a massive fail. Miles seems too caught up in the amount of people playing rather than the amount of people enjoying the game, judging by his tweets.

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Excuse my sarcasm but I'd have thought that reading the description written directly in the game would be sufficient to give me a generic idea of how it works. Why would they write the description but mean something completely different?

I'm sure there's a good, well thought out answer - but there's just no mistaking this years FM is a massive fail. Miles seems too caught up in the amount of people playing rather than the amount of people enjoying the game, judging by his tweets.

The lack of proper documentation has been recognized and hopefully noted by SI a few months ago. We've had countless threads discussing the apparent lack of in-game information about everything when it comes to tactics.

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We've had loads of threads about documentation before and everyone agrees it currently lacks, so lets not destroy this thread with stuff we have no control over please and keep it for the main intention behind doing it, and that's to help people.

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Little or no effort does not resemble the 1,800 hours of FM manager 14 gameplay I have, Nor the hours I've spent trawling these forums looking for answers. The problem is the lack of explanation about what each team instruction/player instruction does. If I use an attacking mentality for instance, it already says in the explanation that it is played to a fast, direct style of play - so why would the TI's off to play at a much higher tempo or a more direct style of play? Surely those type of TI's should be greyed out. Let's forget the fact you've just won the league cup and runners up in the FA Cup with a League One team for a second, the fact you only conceded 9 goals all season is absolutely ridiculous. There are far too many ways in which if a user does not fully understand every aspect of what SI want then the tactic fails. I'm no expert and I'm no novice, I have the odd successful save within that 1,800 hours, but I do not feel an emotional attachment to any save due to the inability to see consistency in any two games in a row.

I wish to god the 1,800hours of fm14 I've played resembled the saves I have and the enjoyment it should bring, but reading your accomplishments further reinforces the fact that this game has lost its soul. It's not a go at yourself at all, I've read this thread with great admiration at the time and effort you put in, but for me FM14 is a huge step backwards in the series and FM15 will be my last go. Anyway I'll quit clogging up your thread and let you get back to helping people.

Edit: One more thing that gnarks me - You are using a defensive strategy and the very last line in the description of the defensive style is 'it relies on direct balls to the forwards followed by sharp and quick passing to score goals on the counter.' Yet your TI's completely contradict that.

But that's exactly the opposite of what the defensive strategy is described as. It seems that the descriptions are not very well thought out.[/QU

I totally agree with all your points and I'm very much frustrated at this game also. It appears the only way to succeed at this game is to the know the hidden secrets like Cleon obviously does. Like you have pointed out already his tactics contradict completely with what SI state. I will never buy another FM series again.

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Little or no effort does not resemble the 1,800 hours of FM manager 14 gameplay I have, Nor the hours I've spent trawling these forums looking for answers. The problem is the lack of explanation about what each team instruction/player instruction does. If I use an attacking mentality for instance, it already says in the explanation that it is played to a fast, direct style of play - so why would the TI's off to play at a much higher tempo or a more direct style of play? Surely those type of TI's should be greyed out. Let's forget the fact you've just won the league cup and runners up in the FA Cup with a League One team for a second, the fact you only conceded 9 goals all season is absolutely ridiculous. There are far too many ways in which if a user does not fully understand every aspect of what SI want then the tactic fails. I'm no expert and I'm no novice, I have the odd successful save within that 1,800 hours, but I do not feel an emotional attachment to any save due to the inability to see consistency in any two games in a row.

I wish to god the 1,800hours of fm14 I've played resembled the saves I have and the enjoyment it should bring, but reading your accomplishments further reinforces the fact that this game has lost its soul. It's not a go at yourself at all, I've read this thread with great admiration at the time and effort you put in, but for me FM14 is a huge step backwards in the series and FM15 will be my last go. Anyway I'll quit clogging up your thread and let you get back to helping people.

Edit: One more thing that gnarks me - You are using a defensive strategy and the very last line in the description of the defensive style is 'it relies on direct balls to the forwards followed by sharp and quick passing to score goals on the counter.' Yet your TI's completely contradict that.

But that's exactly the opposite of what the defensive strategy is described as. It seems that the descriptions are not very well thought out.[/QU

I totally agree with all your points and I'm very much frustrated at this game also. It appears the only way to succeed at this game is to the know the hidden secrets like Cleon obviously does. Like you have pointed out already his tactics contradict completely with what SI state. I will never buy another FM series again.

whilst i agree mate, this is a thread that Cleon is helping everyone out on and should be kept at that - we're venting at the wrong people. I just hope cleon understands that when he says he's challenging peoples thought processes that their thought processes are skewed by what the game is telling us!

Cleon,

I reinstalled and have set up a brand of defensive football with my team York, currently 4th after 9 games. Turns out I was watching the game in not the right view to spot things more easily,I was using elevated but TV seems much easier to spot things going on - by no means perfect but best start I've had with York (and I've had many!)

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whilst i agree mate, this is a thread that Cleon is helping everyone out on and should be kept at that - we're venting at the wrong people. I just hope cleon understands that when he says he's challenging peoples thought processes that their thought processes are skewed by what the game is telling us!

Cleon,

I reinstalled and have set up a brand of defensive football with my team York, currently 4th after 9 games. Turns out I was watching the game in not the right view to spot things more easily,I was using elevated but TV seems much easier to spot things going on - by no means perfect but best start I've had with York (and I've had many!)

I'm not having a go at cleon just very frustrated.Just out of interest as you are also playing lower leagues, do you play your players in their best position?

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I'm not having a go at cleon just very frustrated.Just out of interest as you are also playing lower leagues, do you play your players in their best position?

As best as possible, but with lower league teams you can't really afford two players for each position but I try as hard as possible to get at leasta squad of 11 out that are accomplished in their positions, doesn't always work though.

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After reading this delicious thread I had a small try with a 4-5-1 with these basic principles but I wasn't entirely happy with it, as the presence of wingers somehow took away the 'close the shop' effect of the 4-1-2-1-2.

So I searched for similar tactical shapes and stumbled across Uncle Sam's old but still fantastic threads about the brazilian 4-2-2-2 tactic (threads here, here, and here), and decided to give it a shot.

I'm managing Corby in the Skrill North and I am currently employing the following settings:

Fluidity: Very Rigid

Mentality: Defensive

Team Instructions:

Retain Possession

Shorter Passing

Be More Disciplined

Stick To Positions

Play Narrower

Drop Deeper

This is Cleon's setup for his 4-1-2-1-2 and I decided to keep the same settings as they make sense in the 4-2-2-2 as well. In the end the 4-2-2-2 and the 4-1-2-1-2 are very alike as the only major difference is the absence of an attacking midfielder in the former.

In the logic of the very rigid/defensive setup I had to balance the squad for it not to become overly defensive, so the player roles are the following:

GK: Goalkeeper (D)

DR/DL: Complete Wing Back (A)

DCs: Central Defender (D)

DMCR: Defensive Midfielder (D)

DMCL: Regista (S)

MCR: Box-to-Box (S)

MCL: Central Midfielder (A)

STCR: False Nine (S)

STCL: Advanced Forward (A)

There are some roles that I am not fully convinced but after some experiments this was the setup that seemed to work better. From what Cleon showed us, the Trequartista is a key player on his tactic because of his (relative) freedom to play. Since I don't a AMC I tried to distribute that freedom to other players.

As of right now I'm not sure if this tactic can be so prolific as the 4-1-2-1-2 because I have one more player with defensive characteristics that Cleon's, which is the DMCR. That's why the roles in the midfield are still work in progress. There are, although, some alternatives I have considered:

For the DM slots:

#1: Defensive Midfielder (D) and Deep-lying Playmaker (S);

#2: Defensive Midfielder (S) and Deep-lying Playmaker (D);

#3: Regista (S) and Defensive Midfielder (S).

For the CM slots:

#1: Central Midfielder (S) and Central Midfielder (A);

#2: Advanced Playmaker (A) and Central Midfielder (A);

#3: Central Midfielder (A) and Central Midfielder (A).

I feel the need to have all four midfielders in roles that aren't just defensive-minded to make up for the lack of the Trequartista. I could use a Trequartista on a striker role, and I tried it, but what happened was I had only 9 players behind the ball because both him and the Advanced Forward stayed forward, one because it's his job, the other because he has no defensive tasks. So I chose to assign the second forward a False Nine role because it's a role that makes him come deep, has creative freedom and is a part in the defensive process. I also considered a Deep-lying Forward (S) but I feared there wouldn't be enough creativity in the front.

In conclusion, what I'm asking is if this makes any sense and what's the best way to implement the defensive mentality on this tactic, keeping a strong attacking process.

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After reading this thread I'm still confused about what I'm doing wrong. I need some advice from far more experienced players than myself please.

1. If I have 2 players in the same position and one has better attributes but the other has better current ability stars who should I pick?

2. Should you play players in their best position?

I would appreciate any help on this as this is something I don't understand.

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I must say KingJericho - i am really impressed at the set up of your box midfield. It is hard to get it right, as you have to balance so many factors, and make sure the movement links and players do not end up doing identical jobs etc. It looks good. Box and Diamond offer some interesting challenges for sure.

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I must say KingJericho - i am really impressed at the set up of your box midfield. It is hard to get it right, as you have to balance so many factors, and make sure the movement links and players do end up doing identical jobs etc. It looks good. Box and Diamond offer some interesting challenges for sure.
Thanks :thup:

To be honest I'm far from having it right, because even though I had a good start to the season (5W 1D 1L, 16GS 4GC) the midfield is not quite there yet. My box-to-box always performs at 6.5 or 6.6 and my CM (a) only has 1 assist and 0 goals in 6 matches, plus I thought he'd be getting into the box more often than what's happening.

With this very rigid approach I need to have non purely defensive roles in the box midfield but I think I need to make it even more attacking. At the moment they're mainly participating in the attacking process as support to the strikers and the wing backs, I'd like to see the CMs attacking the box more.

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1. If I have 2 players in the same position and one has better attributes but the other has better current ability stars who should I pick?
This is never a straight answer but as an advice you should see which players has the best attributes for the role you want him to play. For instance you have Yaya Toure and Fernando: Yaya will have more 'stars' but if you're using an Anchor Man then probably Fernando is the right man for the spot.
2. Should you play players in their best position?
Yes, but again they might be better in another position, depending on their attributes. For example take Alexis Sanchez, iirc he's a natural AMR and can also play as a atriker, but he's not natural at it. But if you want to play with a Poacher breaking the offside trap then Alexis should be an excellent candidate for the role :thup:

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This is never a straight answer but as an advice you should see which players has the best attributes for the role you want him to play. For instance you have Yaya Toure and Fernando: Yaya will have more 'stars' but if you're using an Anchor Man then probably Fernando is the right man for the spot.

Yes, but again they might be better in another position, depending on their attributes. For example take Alexis Sanchez, iirc he's a natural AMR and can also play as a atriker, but he's not natural at it. But if you want to play with a Poacher breaking the offside trap then Alexis should be an excellent candidate for the role :thup:

Thanks for that.

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After reading this delicious thread I had a small try with a 4-5-1 with these basic principles but I wasn't entirely happy with it, as the presence of wingers somehow took away the 'close the shop' effect of the 4-1-2-1-2.

So I searched for similar tactical shapes and stumbled across Uncle Sam's old but still fantastic threads about the brazilian 4-2-2-2 tactic (threads here, here, and here), and decided to give it a shot.

I'm managing Corby in the Skrill North and I am currently employing the following settings:

Fluidity: Very Rigid

Mentality: Defensive

Team Instructions:

Retain Possession

Shorter Passing

Be More Disciplined

Stick To Positions

Play Narrower

Drop Deeper

This is Cleon's setup for his 4-1-2-1-2 and I decided to keep the same settings as they make sense in the 4-2-2-2 as well. In the end the 4-2-2-2 and the 4-1-2-1-2 are very alike as the only major difference is the absence of an attacking midfielder in the former.

In the logic of the very rigid/defensive setup I had to balance the squad for it not to become overly defensive, so the player roles are the following:

GK: Goalkeeper (D)

DR/DL: Complete Wing Back (A)

DCs: Central Defender (D)

DMCR: Defensive Midfielder (D)

DMCL: Regista (S)

MCR: Box-to-Box (S)

MCL: Central Midfielder (A)

STCR: False Nine (S)

STCL: Advanced Forward (A)

There are some roles that I am not fully convinced but after some experiments this was the setup that seemed to work better. From what Cleon showed us, the Trequartista is a key player on his tactic because of his (relative) freedom to play. Since I don't a AMC I tried to distribute that freedom to other players.

As of right now I'm not sure if this tactic can be so prolific as the 4-1-2-1-2 because I have one more player with defensive characteristics that Cleon's, which is the DMCR. That's why the roles in the midfield are still work in progress. There are, although, some alternatives I have considered:

For the DM slots:

#1: Defensive Midfielder (D) and Deep-lying Playmaker (S);

#2: Defensive Midfielder (S) and Deep-lying Playmaker (D);

#3: Regista (S) and Defensive Midfielder (S).

For the CM slots:

#1: Central Midfielder (S) and Central Midfielder (A);

#2: Advanced Playmaker (A) and Central Midfielder (A);

#3: Central Midfielder (A) and Central Midfielder (A).

I feel the need to have all four midfielders in roles that aren't just defensive-minded to make up for the lack of the Trequartista. I could use a Trequartista on a striker role, and I tried it, but what happened was I had only 9 players behind the ball because both him and the Advanced Forward stayed forward, one because it's his job, the other because he has no defensive tasks. So I chose to assign the second forward a False Nine role because it's a role that makes him come deep, has creative freedom and is a part in the defensive process. I also considered a Deep-lying Forward (S) but I feared there wouldn't be enough creativity in the front.

In conclusion, what I'm asking is if this makes any sense and what's the best way to implement the defensive mentality on this tactic, keeping a strong attacking process.

I like the set up but I think it might need either a CM to be more of a playmaker or the striker. I can see the midfield getting cut off at times and not being able to supply the ball to the front 2 players. The F9 will drop off but its still quite an attacking role. I just don't see any kind of creative role in the final third so at times I can see how the link up of the midfield/strikers not working. You have runners and people moving but I'm not sure the Regista can do enough in the final third to link it all together on his own.

Btw the Treq does do defensive work he just doesn't close down aggressively that is all. It's a misconception when people say he won't do any defensive duties. He will drop a lot deeper than the F9 so I'm a bit confused about your comments about these 2 roles.

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After reading this thread I'm still confused about what I'm doing wrong. I need some advice from far more experienced players than myself please.

1. If I have 2 players in the same position and one has better attributes but the other has better current ability stars who should I pick?

2. Should you play players in their best position?

I would appreciate any help on this as this is something I don't understand.

1 - Never ever pick anyone based on stars. Its the stats what matter, the stars aren't used in how well a player plays in the ME.

2 - You should always use roles that work together in the system you've created more than playing players in their best position. For example you might have a player who is the ideal winger and is great at crossing. Yet up front your striker might be better played as someone who drops deep because he lacks any kind of physicality, height and is really lightweight. In a scenario like this the striker is going to struggle to consistently get on the end of any kind of crosses so even though the winger is best suited for the winger role in the grand scheme of things it doesn't actually work.

You need to focus on how the roles you use all function together not how the individual works or what's best for him because that doesn't always equal what's best for the team in 99% of cases.

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I like the set up but I think it might need either a CM to be more of a playmaker or the striker. I can see the midfield getting cut off at times and not being able to supply the ball to the front 2 players. The F9 will drop off but its still quite an attacking role. I just don't see any kind of creative role in the final third so at times I can see how the link up of the midfield/strikers not working. You have runners and people moving but I'm not sure the Regista can do enough in the final third to link it all together on his own.

Btw the Treq does do defensive work he just doesn't close down aggressively that is all. It's a misconception when people say he won't do any defensive duties. He will drop a lot deeper than the F9 so I'm a bit confused about your comments about these 2 roles.

Thanks for this.

I'll have a look at the Trequartista striker again. That was my first option when I designed this tactic but I felt like he wasn't much of a help defensively.

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Any suggestion on how I can improve on this?

pbFpKqO.jpg

By KISS I only apply additional TI such as 'Higher tempo' or 'Play narrower' on a match by match basis and I don't use much PI other than the WMs in front of WBa told to get further forward and CFs to dribble less and move into channel to create space

I know Cisse and Riviere aren't the greatest around, but I feel like my CFs rating is always low probably due to isolation of himself up top or lack of penetration from CMa and WMa.

Also what do you do when your team concedes? Do you stay defensive and alter instructions such as removing 'Be more disciplined' and 'Drop deeper' or you go a little more attacking by changing mentality?

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I can't tell you what you can improve on because you've not really gave any details or gone into specifics for me to be able to do that. So I don't actually know what the issues are you are facing or why the CF is getting low ratings.

And in the diamond I use I do stay defensive when I go behind yeah because its a naturally attacking tactic even though I'm playing defensive, it will always create chances due to the players and the areas of the pitch they play in.

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I've tried this with a couple different clubs and have found some solid success. In looking to learn from it, I've found that switching the AMC from a Trequarista to an Advanced Playmaker results in better overall results. The player is more involved, creating chances, and often scoring themselves. They seem much less effective as a Treq. Most of the AMCs I've used have the skills to make an effective Treq. i like the idea of the freedom of movement with a Trequarista but their overall contribution seems less. The AP would have less freedom of movement and more defensive duties. Would there but much else difference between the roles?

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I've tried this with a couple different clubs and have found some solid success. In looking to learn from it, I've found that switching the AMC from a Trequarista to an Advanced Playmaker results in better overall results. The player is more involved, creating chances, and often scoring themselves. They seem much less effective as a Treq. Most of the AMCs I've used have the skills to make an effective Treq. i like the idea of the freedom of movement with a Trequarista but their overall contribution seems less. The AP would have less freedom of movement and more defensive duties. Would there but much else difference between the roles?

The AP defends less than a Treq as he doesn't drop as deep or roam around as much. People see that the Treq closes down less than the other players and think this equals less defending when that's not true. The AP just presses harder initially that is all but that isn't always a good thing.

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Hi Cleon, thanks for the work and allow me to gain more understand behind this game more. Appreciate you(also other moderators) try to teach us to fish rather then feeding = ) I've tried this with my club, and had some success time with this formation. However, it seems like i just cant win over Dortmund with this formation, regardless i tried to save/load several times. I'm not fans of save/load to get my goals , but i try to understand TI/PI better.

In my save, Dortmund remain strong side (with same manager, J.Klopp) with his always same tactic 4-4-1-1, playing at their home, and i did some changes over this setup as following:

In my first save:

Did not change any TI or PI

Result: lost 4-0 :mad:, 3 of them they scored from open play, 1 from corner, all of them second half

Second save:

- Retain possession(want to get past their flat 4 midfield and explore DM strata hole)

+ Higher tempo (same reason as above)

Result: lost 3-0 :mad:, 3 of them they scored from open play. Concede 2 goals in first 25mins.

Im completely clueless to play against them. In my past 5 season, played 10 times home and away, i managed won 1 draw 1 lost 8.

Every time i play against them, i tend to lost emotinal control, feel like to kill Klopp:D pointing at screen and shout the magical F word, :mad::mad:

I feel worst especially when i have quite good/first class players, because i knew the problems is down to me, not the players in screen. :(

So, what problem i have here ? Seems like not very good idea to attack a good side especially playing away, counter I'm marginally slower than them, tried several options but didnt work.. :confused:

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You should look back at the type of goals you conceded and pause the game too to see where your players are positioned. Losing 3-0 or 4-0 doesn't tell us anything about how you lost or why, it's like the rest of the stats when isolated and is pretty useless in terms of figuring out why you lost. To understand that you really need to know what type of goals and what issues you faced during the match. With any kind of context myself or anyone else can't help you.

Btw I don't understand why you'd retain possession if you wanted to get past their midfield and exploit their DM. That makes you stay on the ball more, surely being more direct would have been more logical surely? Especially as you went with higher tempo....

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Btw I don't understand why you'd retain possession if you wanted to get past their midfield and exploit their DM. That makes you stay on the ball more, surely being more direct would have been more logical surely? Especially as you went with higher tempo....

Thanks for reply, I put the negative before, so means i drop(-) the Retain possession and add(+) Higher tempo. The goals normally concede is from open play, many of them is their player anticipate and faster to get to the thru ball, and then lay the ball to others players and shoot. In short, Most of their assist is from wings.

Anyway, i tried and give another go just now. want them to play counter with this formation. Drop Retain possession and shorter passing, Add pump ball into box, higher tempo. CM and BBM change to AP(s) and AP(a), 2x CWB change to WB(a) and (s) on other side, it seems like the team playing counter attack thru middle and won me the game.

Back to topic, any commend bout those changes? against those heavily atk my wings and playing attacking strategy and more heavy tackle is what i can notice from the game.

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Playing higher tempo and pump ball into the box is not counter attacking. Counter attacking happens naturally when you out number the opposition the tempo/mentality will be maxed out when the ME parameters for this are met. Playing high tempo means you are always trying to force the ball forward quickly, this isn't counter attacking and just means you play fast paced. Pump ball into the box also means long balls. So basically you played fast and long ball.

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The AP defends less than a Treq as he doesn't drop as deep or roam around as much. People see that the Treq closes down less than the other players and think this equals less defending when that's not true. The AP just presses harder initially that is all but that isn't always a good thing.

Interesting. I was thinking that the players were maybe seeing better ratings as AP if they were doing a bit more defensively, but maybe not. It really seems like they get involved more with that role than Trequarista. Odd. But if it works better, sticking with it.

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