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What's the key to consistency?

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Okay, so I have just finished the first season of a save with Southampton on FM14. The reason I am making this is not to showcase my tactics or seasons results, but is to find out the key to keep performing consistently. I am looking for a response or a thread showing how to keep a team performing consistently at the end of a season. Do I have to change my tactic, spend big in January or change my training methods.

So I signed Ryan Shawcross (CB), Harry Kane (ST), Dan Harding (LB) and Lee Nicholls (GK) in the summer transfer window and sold Guly Do Prado (AMC) and

Paulo Gazzaniga (GK). And in January I sold Steven Davies (CM) and brought Will Hughes (CM). I only strengthened the areas that i thought were necessary.

For training, All individual training was set to heavy and match preparation differed depending on my next opponent.

My tactic was 4-5-1 with full backs, ball playing defenders, an anchor man, box to box midfielder, advanced playmaker two inside forwards and a complete forward. My team instructions were to retain possession, play out of defence, run at defence, look at overlap, much higher defensive line, hassle opponents Much higher tempo.

My full backs stayed wide to stretch the pitch and overlapped the inside forwards who stayed narrow when attacking.

At the start of the season, I masterminded some giant killings such as a beating Man Utd in the Capital One Cup 1-0, beating Man City 3-0 in the premier league and

Chelsea and Arsenal 1-0 within the same week. I was even offered a new contract by December and had a very secure job status and was only 5 points behind 5th place Everton. However, the second half of the season was up and down (Apart from winning the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup). I lost to a lot of small teams such as

Fulham 4-2 and Stoke 1-0. In the last 5 games of the premier league season, I was third from bottom with only one win from five.

My question is, am I doing something wrong which is meaning that I am inconsistent or is this just a bug in FM

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It's a little counter intuitive but as you find more success, the more defensive you have to play.

Teams that you beat comfortably previously are going to park the bus against you now. The more bodies you throw forward the more likely you're going to get countered, and once you concede that single goal, it's game over. So you might find yourself starting the game with Standard or even Counter when you've previously started with Control. I've found some games I have to start with Defensive or Contain.

Against the bigger teams like Chelsea and City etc, you can probably get away playing the same sort of style because their perception of you hasn't changed.

Once you're perennially successful and the gulf in quality in players is so high, you can play any style you want and still win.

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The key to consistency is knowing how to create space for your attack without compromising your defence. When you're a talented side without a big reputation, your opponents will give you space naturally, as they will push up to win back possession when defending and commit more players forward in attack. This makes the tactical aspect a lot easier from the attacking end since that means your attackers can always just transition quickly into gaps down the channels or just hits through passes behind the opposition defence. These are the simplest ways of attacking (though intelligent and well coached players will know how to do it more effectively) and most tactical set-ups will carry it out naturally.

As you become more successful, teams will focus more on consolidating in their own third and denying both depth and central space for you to attack. At that point, you need to begin taking more care with how you line up your side to ensure that your players are creating space for the sort of chances that they need to work at their best. This doesn't have to mean you become more patient and possession-oriented. United, for example, dominated for decades with high tempo wing play, but whatever approach you choose, you need to make sure you have the players suited for it. The most common mistake you'll see FM players make is to buy a lot of diminutive AMs and then tell them to try to force their way through the middle with short, high tempo passing.

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