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Changing Identity (And Saving My Job)

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I've been playing the game almost as long as I can remember, first taking it seriously with CM 03/04. Throughout that time I've evolved from downloading the 'Diablo' tactics to eventually learning to create my own upon the discovery of TT&F 09. My first major success in tactic creating has been the development of a Barca-esque 4-3-3/4-6-0 (as seen in wwfan's Barca thread) which finally got 'perfected' in this year's version. However, having tried to play the same way for such a long time I've become bored and would like to try and create something different.

Here is the situation; I started a new game as Hoffenheim thinking I could create history for the club with my tiki-taka obsession, and after two seasons of mid-table mediocrity and the previously mentioned boredom, I thought I would try and make a 4-4-2 with an unbeatable 'Italian' style defence. The problem was I didn't really know that much about playing that way other than my stereotypical assumptions of an Italian defence and what I was able to find and read about Arrigo Sacchi's Milan, which has resulted in a terrible season so far and the board have told me I am on the verge of being sacked. This then lead me to try and be inspired by something much closer to home - Roy Hodgson. That is when I found this article http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2012/jun/05/euro-2012-roy-hodgson-england-tactics

There are others (notably zonalmarking.com), however this article gives a pretty good outline of what I want to try and achieve and here is what I've been able to glean from it:

Zonal marking

Diagonal balls

Overlapping runs from deep

Prioritise possession

Know when to sit back, defend, and soak up pressure

Hard pressing

High offside line

Counter attack with long passes behind the defence

"stifle initiative, and turn players into robots"

People pushing up

Getting the ball forward into the final area much more quickly

Obsessed with shape

Fair amount of freedom to express in attack

Strict zonal positions in defence

'Put a shift in'

"When out of possession, the back four stays perfectly in line, moving forward and back as though one unit, the midfield four (or five) rippling according to where the ball was, one advancing, the other three (or four) forming the blanket of cover behind, maintaining a gap of no more than 15 yards, often less, to the defensive line."

Formation - 4-4-2

GK - GK(D)

DR - FB(S)



DL - FB(S)

MR - W(A)



ML - W(A)



I've just gone for basic roles as there is no real need for specialists, although I could consider changing the supporting midfielder to a DLP/AP or maybe making one of the strikers a TM.

Fluidity - Very Fluid (We want the team working as a collective within the system, not individuals with specific instructions)

Mentality - My first assumption would be Counter, but with the team mentality system being so confused I'm not sure.

Team Instructions - Here I'm struggling.

I don't know how you'd go about prioritising possession whilst playing long diagonal passes behind the defence, except just not instructing anything and leaving it 'Mixed'.

Look For Overlap seems to fit for penetration, and maybe Exploit The Flanks.

Shape is a bit easier as it seems we need to Push Higher Up, and maybe Stick To Positions (although that may be too restrictive for attacking freedom).

For defending I guess we'd use Hassle Opponents and Play Offside Trap

Finally, Be More Disciplined is probably the best option. Again it may restrict attacking freedom, but hopefully this would be covered by an increased creative freedom from the Very Fluid philosophy.

So there are my basic thoughts, can anyone offer advice on how to improve this or see any fundamental reasons why it shouldn't work? My players aren't entirely suited to the formation after two years of playing so differently, however they are good enough to adapt and should at least be able to see me safe until I can rebuild in the summer.

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