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Building A Tactic From The Beginning - THE DISCUSSION THREAD!

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I also have both set to close down more/mark tighter. Dread to think how they'd be without those :D

What's odd is that I often start with Control but find I'm far better playing Overload...

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I only ever sign players with the attributes I need for the role they'll be playing. I never take star rating into account ever. It's not unusual for me to buy a striker and play them as a fullback or defender depending on what their attributes are. So in short pick the player based on his attributes he has and ignore the position he plays.

Hi Cleon - sorry this a question relating to quite an old comment. Do you re-train players for the new position before doing this? I thought playing players out of position cause a rreduction of their stats or something

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Hi Cleon - sorry this a question relating to quite an old comment. Do you re-train players for the new position before doing this? I thought playing players out of position cause a rreduction of their stats or something

I do it while retraining them. I'm currently finish off a post now which should be on the blog later about a leftback I've turned into a striker.

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Hey Cleon and everybody else in this thread,

First I want to say that this thread and the analysis you make helps me , A LOT. I know that you said that this is your opinion and your take on things and we shouldn't follow it blindly, but I'm going to treat this thread like my FM Bible, because I see that your tactical knowledge is way above mine ( I read that you also have some coaching badge's - congratulations on that).

So, what I will do is follow your thread and try to create a tactic, step by step like you explained it. I started out with creating squad views with all the different approaches you explained and with the attributes you thought would be needed for that style of play. That resulted in the fact that my team is suited for a counter attacking style ( I started Unemployed and got a job in the Vanarama Conference North). Is this an ok way of thinking? I know you said don't follow things blindly and I don't feel like I did it blindly, I'm just trying to understand it the way you do. I read the description for the attributes and I understand why they are there. Did I start this ok with evaluating what the squad is capable of or should I try to implement my own style and try to get the players fit in that system?

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That's a good way of playing, especially as you spent time and created some custom views to see such things. That shows you have a bit of patience and think things through imo. I like that you've had a look and think counter suits what you have to work with, I like the reasoning behind it. However the decision is down to you whether you go that style or try and create something a bit different long term. It's what you are comfortable with and what you think will be easiest based on how successful you normally are and how you play the game.

I'll advise but I won't give you definite answers for how you should play :)

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What is the best formation for aggressive pressing?

There is no best as such. But one that has players high up the pitch will be able to press higher up obviously and faster. So in that case you'd want something with a lot of bodies in and around MC/AMC positions. Or one that enables you to get at the opposition quickly due to how the players are positioned. That's if your going for a full on aggressive approach. Some people like to create aggressive system that come into play in deeper areas and then you'd need something that allowed to sit back to a certain extent before going fully aggressive.

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Hey Cleon, you stated that you wanted to be aggressive when you don't have the ball, so you opted for the TI "Close Down More". But then I saw that you also added the TI "Stay on Feet", which I would argue is more suited to retain the shape and not really to be aggressive. What was the reason behind your preference for that TI?

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That's a good way of playing, especially as you spent time and created some custom views to see such things. That shows you have a bit of patience and think things through imo. I like that you've had a look and think counter suits what you have to work with, I like the reasoning behind it. However the decision is down to you whether you go that style or try and create something a bit different long term. It's what you are comfortable with and what you think will be easiest based on how successful you normally are and how you play the game.

I'll advise but I won't give you definite answers for how you should play :)

The last thing I want is definite answers because I need to be able to understand the whole thing and be able to create other tactics in the future, not just this one right now, and then come back with the same questions over and over again. I'm very patient about this and going to give it a lot of time just to make sure I get it.

I understand that I shouldn't stick to a style of play only if my team is suited for that but I should also look for something that makes me comfortable and maybe something I have a little bit of tactical knowledge of. I decided to stick with counter attacking style because that is the style I like in real football and I think that at lower levels this style could get me results against teams that have much better players.

I forgot to say in the previous post that these questions are for everyone, I realize that you have other things to do as well; I'd like opinions from everyone, I know there are quite a few people here with a lot of tactical knowledge.

Onto the next step, I realized that in your guide you decided on a style of play and moved on to Team Instructions. For some reason, I always picked Player Roles before that and then used Team Instructions to fit them, I think I realize now that it might have been a wrong approach. In the end, it's a mixture of both I guess.

I chose the 442 formation because I have good wingers, pretty good strikers but I am lacking quality in the center of midfield. Also, to be honest, because you explained the pros and cons of the formation really well, so I have a basis. Now to the strategy : I picked Counter because like I said my players were suited for it and because I like that style. The way I see it, my team should defend deep and then counter at pace. In more detail, I want most of my players to quickly Drop Deep when we lose possession but some of the more attacking ones to close down heavily and maybe try to get the ball back. I think that in a 442, the strikers are the ones fit for that. Am I wrong?

The rest of the players should defend deep and when we regain possession maybe send the ball to the flanks and use the wingers' pace to counter. I realize that I need both enough players to defend but also players that are high up the pitch so I have someone to counter with.

I don't have much tactical knowledge, this is just from what I see teams playing. Is this ok for a start?

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Hey Cleon, you stated that you wanted to be aggressive when you don't have the ball, so you opted for the TI "Close Down More". But then I saw that you also added the TI "Stay on Feet", which I would argue is more suited to retain the shape and not really to be aggressive. What was the reason behind your preference for that TI?

Close down more = pressing

Stay on feet = tackling

You can close down aggressive and not be dirty or risk bad tackling. By playing stay on feet my players should only tackle when they are confident of winning the ball rather than making a needless tackle that they can't win. Which can be an issue when pressing so heavily due to the player being caught out of position at times or because he's running towards someone running at him.

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The last thing I want is definite answers because I need to be able to understand the whole thing and be able to create other tactics in the future, not just this one right now, and then come back with the same questions over and over again. I'm very patient about this and going to give it a lot of time just to make sure I get it.

I understand that I shouldn't stick to a style of play only if my team is suited for that but I should also look for something that makes me comfortable and maybe something I have a little bit of tactical knowledge of. I decided to stick with counter attacking style because that is the style I like in real football and I think that at lower levels this style could get me results against teams that have much better players.

I forgot to say in the previous post that these questions are for everyone, I realize that you have other things to do as well; I'd like opinions from everyone, I know there are quite a few people here with a lot of tactical knowledge.

Onto the next step, I realized that in your guide you decided on a style of play and moved on to Team Instructions. For some reason, I always picked Player Roles before that and then used Team Instructions to fit them, I think I realize now that it might have been a wrong approach. In the end, it's a mixture of both I guess.

I chose the 442 formation because I have good wingers, pretty good strikers but I am lacking quality in the center of midfield. Also, to be honest, because you explained the pros and cons of the formation really well, so I have a basis. Now to the strategy : I picked Counter because like I said my players were suited for it and because I like that style. The way I see it, my team should defend deep and then counter at pace. In more detail, I want most of my players to quickly Drop Deep when we lose possession but some of the more attacking ones to close down heavily and maybe try to get the ball back. I think that in a 442, the strikers are the ones fit for that. Am I wrong?

The rest of the players should defend deep and when we regain possession maybe send the ball to the flanks and use the wingers' pace to counter. I realize that I need both enough players to defend but also players that are high up the pitch so I have someone to counter with.

I don't have much tactical knowledge, this is just from what I see teams playing. Is this ok for a start?

It sounds like a good starting point and you already know how you want the players to react with and without the ball it seems. That's more than a starting point imo, you have something to aim for now and work towards :)

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Close down more = pressing

Stay on feet = tackling

You can close down aggressive and not be dirty or risk bad tackling. By playing stay on feet my players should only tackle when they are confident of winning the ball rather than making a needless tackle that they can't win. Which can be an issue when pressing so heavily due to the player being caught out of position at times or because he's running towards someone running at him.

Ah I think understand your thought! But with that I answer I fail to see when should be worth to play with the TI "Get Stuck In" (I always thought it was more about trading some defensive shape for possible more possession). Does the TI "Get Stuck In" have its uses?

Thank for the reply!

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Ah I think understand your thought! But with that I answer I fail to see when should be worth to play with the TI "Get Stuck In" (I always thought it was more about trading some defensive shape for possible more possession). Does the TI "Get Stuck In" have its uses?

Thank for the reply!

if you want to tackle hard and don't really care about picking up cards or giving fouls away. It can be useful against nervous teams or players who lack bravery etc.

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It sounds like a good starting point and you already know how you want the players to react with and without the ball it seems. That's more than a starting point imo, you have something to aim for now and work towards :)

Great :)

Now onto the next step. This is where I feel I get things wrong and where my tactics seem to fail. After deciding how I want my team to play, I have to translate that into FM terms.

I decided to go for a Structured shape because I need my players to be disciplined and I only want to give creative freedom to the players I choose and fit for it. Also I feel that this approach give a certain "ridigity" to players, hence why I guess it was called like that last year. So my Wingers will just run with the ball and look for a cross and not try to be too creative.

I now need to pick my Team Instructions. Reading back what I wrote about how I want my team to play, the first thing I noticed was that I want my players to Drop Deep when out of possession. Now I know that using Counter strategy does that without me needing to select Drop Deeper as a Team Instruction, or am I wrong? Next thing, I wanted my Strikers to Close Down to maybe get the ball back quickly, I feel this is more of a Player Instruction. About the next thing I'm a little confused. I want my team to go straight for the opposition goal when getting the ball when there is an opportunity to counter, but I don't really want to play a direct type of football where my team always want to go for the goal. If there isn't an opportunity to counter I would prefer my team to try to work the ball into the box. I'm debating on using Short Passing or Direct Passing, i was thinking if maybe I could just leave nothing selected with just work the ball into box and use Player Instructions on the players I want to be more Direct in their passing and which I feel can actually do that. Is this a good idea?

I also see that quite a few players have a good dribbling stat and I feel I should take advantage of that by using Run At Defense and that could also be helpful when countering.

I noticed you used Float Crosses and you stated that the reason you used it was that the ball would hang more in the air and maybe more players would get in the box, I like that reasoning and I feel it would suit my counter attacking play, so I also want to opt for that. The last thing, I'm not sure if More Disciplined is needed, since the Structured shape already tells the players to be disciplined and I don't want them to be overly disciplined and turn into robots with no ideas of their own.

So in the end, my TI's would look like : Work ball into box, Run at Defense and Float Crosses. I've never had such a small amount of TIs selected and I'm not sure if the way I thought it all out was ok, can you please give me your opinion ? Where am I doing wrong?

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I will offer advice yeah. But why not try it first and see how it plays rather than seeking advice before you've even seen how it works? It might seem like I'm being harsh, but I think you'd be better giving things a go first before seeking approval or asking advice. Play the game out and make notes. You know how you want to play and you've chosen settings based on what you think will work, so just take the next step and play a game.

You already think you've done wrong and seeking approval before even playing a game and seeing it in action, that's crazy :D. People shouldn't be seeking approval instead they should be asking for help with things that are going wrong in the game.

It's just the way I work sorry for being so harsh. I'd rather the user have a go first or give them a nudge in the right direction so they can create tactics that work themselves without me giving them the answers.

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I will offer advice yeah. But why not try it first and see how it plays rather than seeking advice before you've even seen how it works? It might seem like I'm being harsh, but I think you'd be better giving things a go first before seeking approval or asking advice. Play the game out and make notes. You know how you want to play and you've chosen settings based on what you think will work, so just take the next step and play a game.

You already think you've done wrong and seeking approval before even playing a game and seeing it in action, that's crazy :D. People shouldn't be seeking approval instead they should be asking for help with things that are going wrong in the game.

It's just the way I work sorry for being so harsh. I'd rather the user have a go first or give them a nudge in the right direction so they can create tactics that work themselves without me giving them the answers.

Yup totally agree with you, will do exactly that. I guess the reason I already sought approval was because I always mess things up and knew that somehow I did the same right now.:D Will take your example , complete the roles and TIs and let the game play out, rewatch it and try to see the issues without making any changes during the match. Hopefully this will make me see what needs changing

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I'm back after playing and trying to analyze the first match. I stuck with your approach and decided not to change anything during the game just to see how the team behaves with my current setup.

My TIs were : Work ball into box, Run at Defense, Float Crosses, for the reasons I stated before. Counter strategy with Structured shape.

Roles and Duties:

CWB(A)

CD(D)

CD(D) - PI: More Direct passes - the reason I chose this is because he has 10 passing and I thought some counters could start directly from him.

CWB(A)

W(S) - PI: More Direct passes, More Risky Passes - the reason is because I want him to act like a wide playmaker because he has 10 passing and 11 vision, but also as a Winger. I wasn't sure which one to pick, I went for the Winger honestly just because he was rated green for that role and was yellow for wide playmaker.

RPM(S)- PI:More Direct passes, More Risky Passes, Shoot less often - the reason for this is because I want him to be the playmaker guy and is also my best player. 12 passing, 10 vision, 8 decisions , he's very good passer for this level. I went for roaming playmaker because he also drops deep and I need defensive cover. This player also has 17 flair which makes me think he would be good even as an advanced playmaker but i'm not sure about the defensive cover. Shoot less often because he has 6 for longshots.

CM(D) - For the same reason you picked him in your team, I need defensive cover and want him to act like a 3rd defender when attacking. I was debating between this or an Anchorman, but I thought having him at MC would make him link better with the RPM.

W(A)- PI:Fewer Risky Passes - I want him to get forward and probably be the one who leads the counter attacks from deep. He has good pace, good dribbling and crossing and also workrate, only 6 at passing which is the reason why I chose fewer risky passes.

AF(A) - PI: Close down Much More - The reason is the one I stated in the previous post , I want my two strikers to press heavily. I chose an Advanced Forward because I think he fits in a counter attacking strategy because he is the one who is almost always up top, and unlike a poacher also passes from time to time.

DLF(A) - PI:Close down Much More - Same reason as before. Not sure about the role though, I want him to drop deep, but not too deep. I would like my forwards to be the ones up top and the rest of the team to defend. I went for DLF because he also helps with the build up play.

I played my first game with full highlights and tried to spot any issues. Now I don't have the tactical eyes some of you guys have, I can provide a .pkm but hopefully I can be the one who spots things, else I don't think this would help be very much.

I took a pen and paper ( writer habits) and wrote down the issues I thought my team had:

1. Play is too wide - too predictable. Obviously my set of wingers and CWB(A) are at fault for this. This was clear from the start, they do kind of the same thing and I need players who also cut inside. Not sure though what do change because my wide players seem to be able to play just the Winger role, judging from their attributes. I can even try to make them play something else or maybe even change my wingbacks to Inverted Wing Backs and have them cut inside.

2. Noticed a lot of backpasses from my CM(D) because he was ofter without options to pass. Also, he's composure is 5 and concentration 4, so maybe he is just very nervous on the ball. I'd rather have him do that do than just lose the ball, but he also hoofed the ball upfield in similar situations. I need to provide more options for him, or force him to pass closer with Pass Shorter PI.

3.GK losses a big amount of balls. I will tell him to pass the ball to defenders.

4.Even though my strikers are forward and provide options, they don't link as much as I thought. I could maybe change the DLF to support, or maybe the Advanced Forward to something more supportive, maybe CF(A).

5.Saw a lot of long balls from my players, trying to rush the play. I think this because of the Counter strategy, but I will try using Short Passing as a TI, leaving Direct Passing to the players I want to play more direct.

As a +, the game ended 1-1 against a much better team. I felt I was unlucky , could have won the game, their goal came after one of my defenders headed the ball away to one of their players and he smashed it with a long shot in the net. My goal made me very happy, because it was a counter started from my defender with the 10 passing attribute, went to the AF who crossed the ball for the DLF. Exactly how I imagined, but this only happened once.

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I'm back after playing and trying to analyze the first match. I stuck with your approach and decided not to change anything during the game just to see how the team behaves with my current setup.

My TIs were : Work ball into box, Run at Defense, Float Crosses, for the reasons I stated before. Counter strategy with Structured shape.

Roles and Duties:

CWB(A)

CD(D)

CD(D) - PI: More Direct passes - the reason I chose this is because he has 10 passing and I thought some counters could start directly from him.

CWB(A)

W(S) - PI: More Direct passes, More Risky Passes - the reason is because I want him to act like a wide playmaker because he has 10 passing and 11 vision, but also as a Winger. I wasn't sure which one to pick, I went for the Winger honestly just because he was rated green for that role and was yellow for wide playmaker.

RPM(S)- PI:More Direct passes, More Risky Passes, Shoot less often - the reason for this is because I want him to be the playmaker guy and is also my best player. 12 passing, 10 vision, 8 decisions , he's very good passer for this level. I went for roaming playmaker because he also drops deep and I need defensive cover. This player also has 17 flair which makes me think he would be good even as an advanced playmaker but i'm not sure about the defensive cover. Shoot less often because he has 6 for longshots.

CM(D) - For the same reason you picked him in your team, I need defensive cover and want him to act like a 3rd defender when attacking. I was debating between this or an Anchorman, but I thought having him at MC would make him link better with the RPM.

W(A)- PI:Fewer Risky Passes - I want him to get forward and probably be the one who leads the counter attacks from deep. He has good pace, good dribbling and crossing and also workrate, only 6 at passing which is the reason why I chose fewer risky passes.

AF(A) - PI: Close down Much More - The reason is the one I stated in the previous post , I want my two strikers to press heavily. I chose an Advanced Forward because I think he fits in a counter attacking strategy because he is the one who is almost always up top, and unlike a poacher also passes from time to time.

DLF(A) - PI:Close down Much More - Same reason as before. Not sure about the role though, I want him to drop deep, but not too deep. I would like my forwards to be the ones up top and the rest of the team to defend. I went for DLF because he also helps with the build up play.

I played my first game with full highlights and tried to spot any issues. Now I don't have the tactical eyes some of you guys have, I can provide a .pkm but hopefully I can be the one who spots things, else I don't think this would help be very much.

I took a pen and paper ( writer habits) and wrote down the issues I thought my team had:

1. Play is too wide - too predictable. Obviously my set of wingers and CWB(A) are at fault for this. This was clear from the start, they do kind of the same thing and I need players who also cut inside. Not sure though what do change because my wide players seem to be able to play just the Winger role, judging from their attributes. I can even try to make them play something else or maybe even change my wingbacks to Inverted Wing Backs and have them cut inside.

2. Noticed a lot of backpasses from my CM(D) because he was ofter without options to pass. Also, he's composure is 5 and concentration 4, so maybe he is just very nervous on the ball. I'd rather have him do that do than just lose the ball, but he also hoofed the ball upfield in similar situations. I need to provide more options for him, or force him to pass closer with Pass Shorter PI.

3.GK losses a big amount of balls. I will tell him to pass the ball to defenders.

4.Even though my strikers are forward and provide options, they don't link as much as I thought. I could maybe change the DLF to support, or maybe the Advanced Forward to something more supportive, maybe CF(A).

5.Saw a lot of long balls from my players, trying to rush the play. I think this because of the Counter strategy, but I will try using Short Passing as a TI, leaving Direct Passing to the players I want to play more direct.

As a +, the game ended 1-1 against a much better team. I felt I was unlucky , could have won the game, their goal came after one of my defenders headed the ball away to one of their players and he smashed it with a long shot in the net. My goal made me very happy, because it was a counter started from my defender with the 10 passing attribute, went to the AF who crossed the ball for the DLF. Exactly how I imagined, but this only happened once.

You seem to like the use of PI's :D. Myself I only use them to fine tune a players role rather than start using them straight off the bat. In fact in the 3 tactics I use on the 3 saves I have, I only use 1 PI across them all. I'm not saying you shouldn't use them but just giving you food for thought.

It seems you got a real sense of how you played in this game and know what's wrong which is good. That means now you can try fixing them. Have you got any idea on how you'll approach the changes you listed? Is it worth fixing just a few of them first or are you going for wholesale changes straight off the bat?

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I had planned on updating with the third piece today but I forgot I was travelling to see the parents today so won't get the time. I'll try and update Thursday though :)

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You seem to like the use of PI's :D. Myself I only use them to fine tune a players role rather than start using them straight off the bat. In fact in the 3 tactics I use on the 3 saves I have, I only use 1 PI across them all. I'm not saying you shouldn't use them but just giving you food for thought.

It seems you got a real sense of how you played in this game and know what's wrong which is good. That means now you can try fixing them. Have you got any idea on how you'll approach the changes you listed? Is it worth fixing just a few of them first or are you going for wholesale changes straight off the bat?

I use them because I thought that maybe by telling players personally how to behave it would help my team play the way I want them to, but honestly I'm not really confortable using them. I want to try and make my team play good without using PIs, maybe just a few to "fine tune" as you said. Judging my the fact that my level is pretty low, tactical wise, I think that keeping things as simple as possible at first is the way to go.

I'm thinking that first, I want to play another game without the PIs just to see the difference they make. Then I will change things one at a time, because I think that will be easier for me too notice.

The thing that is constantly on my mind is that I probably missed other issues my team had during that game just because I don't have a trained eye for it.

I noticed those problems in the first match but i can't know for sure those are the only problems.

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I should first start by saying I had a shocker with FM 2014, I only had one save that lasted more than 3 years, in the other 10/11 saves mostly involving Leeds United I was soundly sacked every single time. I waited for 2015, it came and the same stuff, couldn't work the tactics, played as Oxford started okay but then went on a slump and got sacked.

I had a three week holiday from work so I thought 'screw it let me read through the forums and seek help, went through all the sticky's even the old FM 2014 threads, and finally I've nailed it! And I should say Cleon's threads were the most helpful.

I always like to start a new FM game from the bottom like my main man Drake so I picked Southend because they had a nice kit ..... and some rivalries (I need my rivalries) anyway, I'm not a fan of tiki taka, the idea that's total football is BS to me. I like quick direct devastating football, wing backs and wingers bombing forward. Bombarding the opposition with crosses.

My first target was to get in the players suitable for what I wanted to do, luckily for me Southend had a fair few of these players at the ready. The most important players were the RIGHT BACK/LEFT BACK/RIGHT WINGER/LEFT WINGER and TARGET MAN. But I also wanted quick centre backs because I wanted to push teams far back especially in home games and if I got countered I wanted pace, it's not too hard to find two centre backs with at least a 12 speed and acceleration.

- My wing backs had to have above 12 for STAMINA/PACE/WORKRATE, Southend had Binnom Williams(LOAN) (he's a better LEFT BACK than DEEP LYING FORWARD ;) and David Worrall so I was sorted, although Worrall wasn't as good and it showed in the assist count.

- My wingers had to have above 12 for CROSSING/PACE/DRIBBLING, Southend had Myles Weston and I brought in David Foley.

- My Target man had to have above 12 for STRENGTH/WORK RATE/PACE/OFF THE BALL, Southend had Shaquille Coulthirst(LOAN).

- For my CB's I got in Breinburg and Jean-Francois.

I started with a flat 442 because it seemed obvious but I had a shocking pre season, I sat and watched games against non league opposition and I was awful. My wingers weren't getting forward enough, my target man was getting in the way of the other forward and my two cm's were non existent. So I scrapped it and went for 433 DM WIDE.

Things picked up sharpish, it was actually quite insane the difference just moving a few players around made. Anyway I won promotion at the first attempt, never changing formation once, through the whole season I didnt once lose back to back games. I would occasionally tweak a few things but generally things remained the same.

At home I did this - CONTROL STRUCTURED

10730938_10152941797885086_4670524969723880510_n.jpg?oh=2a50364932d2df2b4c438a50c18158cf&oe=5508ABAC

Away - STANDARD STRUCTURED

10434014_10152941797890086_1071082185880369455_n.jpg?oh=055d7d75a116f6e68fd1a19f0e304697&oe=54DCD9E1

Positions

10385484_10152941746705086_12610316534461604_n.jpg?oh=fd1d24180ab952fd05fafeb2065574e6&oe=55151608&__gda__=1427392432_3a54314dc10bb1df99d7f320296a0f38

I stayed away from PI's as advised by Cleon, with only my TM being given tackle hard/hold position and close down much more. I thought holding position would mean he'd be static but that wasn't the case. I also did reduce long shots for my cm's because they kept thinking they could score from 25 yards.

To say everything went according to plan would be to understate, my team played exactly how I wanted them to. My central players pinging the ball to the wide men and smashing in balls in the box. The wingers also got in the box when crosses came in from the opposite flank.

The stats for the season for my front three were as follows

Weston LW/Coulthirst TM/Foley RW respectively

10791_10152941866650086_3891408635255737007_n.jpg?oh=09704ae02dafb9585be1f79d11cbd6e9&oe=54DDDA4A

Coulthirst must have scored about 15 headers, my LB also got 11 assists, it was beautiful to watch

NEGATIVES

It wasn't all plain sailing, I didn't always have Pablo Aimar and Eidur Gudjohnsen. My original central midfielders were quite generic, no special stats anywhere but it was league two so I got away with it but generally they were quite poor on the ball, a lot of their cross field ping balls would go wayward and I'd concede silly possesion.

So I brought in Gudjohnsen and Aimar due to their ability on the ball, re trained them as CM's and there's been a massive improvement in my long passing from central areas, they're also a lot more disciplined.

I knew going into League One I'd also need a better RB, so I brought in Hodson from MK Dons. I also somehow managed to sign Andreas Pereira LW from United as he was released. But 6 of my League Two line up remain in my first eleven.

I made a mistake in the first game of the season. I went cautious away and changed my strategy to 'COUNTER', big mistake, Counter basically nullified half of my team instructions, I got dominated and lost so reverted to standard and this is the start I've made to League One.

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Overall, it's gone well, because of how teams set up at home this tactic despite not being a 'counter' tactic, works a treat away from home because the switch from back to front is so quick and devastating. I've scored more goals away than at home.

It's great at home too, you dominate games generally but you can get frustrated by deep compact defences but all it takes is one cross to strike the fatal blow and they can never really get back into it without exposing themselves.

it doesn't leave you too open at the back as long as you have quick centre backs and a BW DM, they generally don't push too forward, same with the CM's. Admittedly your wing backs get caught upfield a bit but I'm happy to sacrifice that.

So yeah thanks to Cleon and co, I can play Football Manager again after the shambles of last year

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Excellent work mate :)

I'm glad you are now having some success and you've done all the work yourself, its a hard learning curve at times and one that is/can be full of frustration. Credit for sticking with the game though and reading up a little bit about what works and finding new ideas. You seem to enjoying the game again and it's all down to yourself and the little bit of work you've put in. Well done :)

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Excellent effort and work there iownyou and kuldaniss - the effort you have made will serve you very well in future games too.

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hi cleon. my team are good team for counter attacking tactic,except,their speed. the fast player just my winger. another speed is decent.how to deal with this?

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hi cleon. my team are good team for counter attacking tactic,except,their speed. the fast player just my winger. another speed is decent.how to deal with this?

Still give it ago and see how it plays out? If they have all the other attributes then it could work out fine for you.

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Excellent effort and work there iownyou and kuldaniss - the effort you have made will serve you very well in future games too.

Thank you . Just like iownyou, last year was very bad for me and I'll definately not let that happen again, hence why I'm trying to follow every guide I read on this forum.

To follow my last post, I took off all the PI's from my players and decided to follow how they behave "naturally". As for the other issues, I decided to take them step by step and evaluate how things develop after making smaller changes than just changing the whole picture. I decided to deal with the " way too wide and predictable play" by changing my left winger to a wide playmaker(attack) because I felt that with the attack duty he will still act like a winger at times, which is what I wanted. My left back was changed to a WB(A) rather and CWB(A), honestly just to see how he behaves, I thought he would be better defensively ( and he is) but not as good forward, still debating on this. On the right I still have my winger but the I changed the CWB(A) to FB(A) because I felt that the CWB and Winger often got in the same area. Another thing to try is change this fullback to Inverted Wing back.

After these changes, the results were definately better than before, I feel that my team is very solid defensively. My last 3 games where all draws but against much better teams, the issue is that the last 2 were 0-0 where I felt I could have taken the edge. Attacking play still isn't the best, I need to experiment with my forwards a little bit more, I feel that the DLF doesn't drop in the right positions or drops too much at times and the AF is often found just lurking around. Also, another thing that popped into mind is that maybe a TI can help with this, like Pass Into Space, because I have quick players and they could get to the ball faster than the opposition players. It also suits a counter attacking system I feel. Will try to make these changes one at a time and keep watching the games.

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Just added part 3 of the current mini series.

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Do you find it surprising that CMd closes down more by default? Does "hold position" negate this some what so that he presses in his zone rather than "go looking for it" style of the BWM? I guess the heavy press was turning him into a BWM for all intents and purposes? I find something similar when I use DMd in my possession pressing tactics he steps quiet high into the midfield which I like because he is ready to press early.

Nice considered post, sometimes you need to exhale :) Looking forward to the DLF CF dynamic this time

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Do you find it surprising that CMd closes down more by default? Does "hold position" negate this some what so that he presses in his zone rather than "go looking for it" style of the BWM? I guess the heavy press was turning him into a BWM for all intents and purposes? I find something similar when I use DMd in my possession pressing tactics he steps quiet high into the midfield which I like because he is ready to press early.

Nice considered post, sometimes you need to exhale :) Looking forward to the DLF CF dynamic this time

Hold position is more about what he does when attacking but yes I find this can negate it somewhat indirectly because if he closes down heavily then wins the ball, he is out of place and I risk being countered. In essence he does become a bit similar to a BWM yeah.

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It's weird I always considered the CM(D) to be a bit like an Anchorman but higher up the pitch. Just so you can see what my level is , I never even thought to check the grey-ed options and make note of which ones are " already available". I feel that maybe SI could color these options differently, so people can spot " already available" and " can't use for this role". Watching my CM(D) play, he does close down at times but not too much and I like at times how he positions just near my centre backs. But I guess this has to do with the fact that I don't use close down more or push higher up and also use a Counter strategy in a Structured shape.

Guess the next step in my FM document is to create a list with all the roles and the PIs already active for each.

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It's weird I always considered the CM(D) to be a bit like an Anchorman but higher up the pitch. Just so you can see what my level is , I never even thought to check the grey-ed options and make note of which ones are " already available". I feel that maybe SI could color these options differently, so people can spot " already available" and " can't use for this role". Watching my CM(D) play, he does close down at times but not too much and I like at times how he positions just near my centre backs. But I guess this has to do with the fact that I don't use close down more or push higher up and also use a Counter strategy in a Structured shape.

Guess the next step in my FM document is to create a list with all the roles and the PIs already active for each.

Yups the TI's I use and the control mentality make him more aggressive which in turn makes me lose my shape in the centre :)

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Yups the TI's I use and the control mentality make him more aggressive which in turn makes me lose my shape in the centre :)

Can't wait for you post then when you will explain how these things work this year. You said that it's not really 1+1=2 and I'm curios how exactly the TI's, mentality affect the players this year.

Also looking forward for your next post where you explain how you change during a match depending on the opposition. For instance, right now I'm at half time leading 2-1 and the opposition switched to a flat 433. I'm not really sure if maybe I should move my CM(D) back a little and make him an Anchorman, or sub in another defender to deal with the extra striker. I also realize that they are very narrow right now, so I could maybe exploit the flanks when countering to try to get another goal.

Anyway, really curious to see how you deal with different situations, if you change tactics, shouts, or just players roles. Or all of them.

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Weak Teams

Teams like Palace, West Brom and Burnley are classed as weak teams in season one. So to begin with the options you have might be limited. You can still play any formation you wish player and transfer budget allowing. But the style which you play will be could initially be hampered. If you want to be attacking then you need to ensure you’ve got a good knowledge of the the system you’ll be using and understand its strengths and weakness If not then you’ll struggle especially against better sides. As these teams are classed as weak sides almost everyone in the league is better. So even before you start you’re already on the back foot. The good thing about being a weak side though is teams will underestimate you and try and impose themselves in the match and force you to adapt to them rather than the other way around.

That can be a good thing at times as this will mean regardless of how you set up majority of teams you face will set up to be attacking and slightly more aggressive against you and we know what that means don’t we? SPACE. Bigger sides when they attack automatically leave you space to use somewhere on the pitch, it’s impossible to be attacking/aggressive and not concede space somewhere on the pitch or risk certain players being exposed at times. So regardless of your sides limited capabilities this is something you should be looking out for as you can really cause the opposition some difficulties if you can spot this

I understand what your saying with this section on playing as a weak team. However this is something that I have always seemed to struggle with; being successful as a weak team. Whenever I get the new edition of FM I always load up a save with a relegation candidate in the Premiership, that way I know a little about the team and how they look to play in real life. I always seem to with Crystal Palace as I think they have enough pace in their team to counter-attack quite well. In terms of playing on the counter attack, I'm aware of the aspects of the ME that causes counters to become 'active' and so on but that's more of different topic. In terms of the part that I bolded about exploiting the space that that opponents will give when attacking; it's something I struggle to get my head around properly in FM.

For example, if the space is surrendered behind the opponent's fullbacks, due to them being very aggressive and positioning themselves high up the pitch in the attacking phase. What's the best way to try and exploit this? 'Exploit the Flanks*' would appear to be the best option, however I was thinking more about instantly exploiting it with direct balls once I have won the ball back deep in my own half, when the their fullbacks are at their highest. I'm guessing I need players either in this space or moving into it in order for it work? I understand I will depend on what shape I'm using, roles and instructions. However my initial thoughts would be to have a striker 'move into channels' or have an AMR/L whom isn't interested in tracking back and instead sitting the space surrendered by the fullback? Then obviously you'd need supply from deep to get the ball into the space, therefore a DLP esque player, or can a direct passing style be enough?

I know how you are with giving advice, so I'm not expecting you to give me the answer! However I was hoping if I have the right sort of thinking or perhaps point me in the right direction? :)

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I understand what your saying with this section on playing as a weak team. However this is something that I have always seemed to struggle with; being successful as a weak team. Whenever I get the new edition of FM I always load up a save with a relegation candidate in the Premiership, that way I know a little about the team and how they look to play in real life. I always seem to with Crystal Palace as I think they have enough pace in their team to counter-attack quite well. In terms of playing on the counter attack, I'm aware of the aspects of the ME that causes counters to become 'active' and so on but that's more of different topic. In terms of the part that I bolded about exploiting the space that that opponents will give when attacking; it's something I struggle to get my head around properly in FM.

For example, if the space is surrendered behind the opponent's fullbacks, due to them being very aggressive and positioning themselves high up the pitch in the attacking phase. What's the best way to try and exploit this? 'Exploit the Middle' would appear to be the best option, however I was thinking more about instantly exploiting it with direct balls once I have won the ball back deep in my own half, when the their fullbacks are at their highest. I'm guessing I need players either in this space or moving into it in order for it work? I understand I will depend on what shape I'm using, roles and instructions. However my initial thoughts would be to have a striker 'move into channels' or have an AMR/L whom isn't interested in tracking back and instead sitting the space surrendered by the fullback? Then obviously you'd need supply from deep to get the ball into the space, therefore a DLP esque player, or can a direct passing style be enough?

I know how you are with giving advice, so I'm not expecting you to give me the answer! However I was hoping if I have the right sort of thinking or perhaps point me in the right direction? :)

The next post is actually about this. But yes your sort of thinking is all the stuff I'd be exploring.

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Cleon, in the other thread you said something about the TIs and PIs working differently now compared to previously. I'd like to know a bit more about this. For example if I have a TI "close down much more", but then have a player with PI "close down more" and another one with "close down less". How does it work? You said PIs don't override TIs, but it's not like 1+1=2 either.

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Cleon, in the other thread you said something about the TIs and PIs working differently now compared to previously. I'd like to know a bit more about this. For example if I have a TI "close down much more", but then have a player with PI "close down more" and another one with "close down less". How does it work? You said PIs don't override TIs, but it's not like 1+1=2 either.
To be fair I agree that some clarity on this would be very useful. It's difficult to fully understand without reference points. If you could post something explaining this in a little more detail when you have time I'm sure that would be hugely appreciated :)

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To be fair I agree that some clarity on this would be very useful. It's difficult to fully understand without reference points. If you could post something explaining this in a little more detail when you have time I'm sure that would be hugely appreciated :)

He stated in his last post that he will give more details about that at a later point so I'm sure he will clarify this. Right now, the way I see it, Cleon has a plan with this magnificent thread and he structured it in a logical way so people learn things step by step. Honestly when this whole thread is over I will print it and keep it around, it's such a good "tutorial" that I feel maybe SI should implement it ingame.

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He stated in his last post that he will give more details about that at a later point so I'm sure he will clarify this. Right now, the way I see it, Cleon has a plan with this magnificent thread and he structured it in a logical way so people learn things step by step. Honestly when this whole thread is over I will print it and keep it around, it's such a good "tutorial" that I feel maybe SI should implement it ingame.

Thanks, you sum it up nicely :). It just goes to show who actually read the comment in the post :D

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He stated in his last post that he will give more details about that at a later point so I'm sure he will clarify this. Right now, the way I see it, Cleon has a plan with this magnificent thread and he structured it in a logical way so people learn things step by step. Honestly when this whole thread is over I will print it and keep it around, it's such a good "tutorial" that I feel maybe SI should implement it ingame.
Thanks, you sum it up nicely :). It just goes to show who actually read the comment in the post :D
Gents, I know - I just meant it would be appreciated when he does get to that part :)

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Gents, I know - I just meant it would be appreciated when he does get to that part :)

Eventually I will but its more likely to be a separate thread as it will confuse everyone and this thread needs to be simple to follow and less confusing imo. No time scale though as I got a lot going on :(

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Try actually reading your PM's Yonko maybe rather than derailing the thread............

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I've wrote a lot today about a game I've played in the cup against Manchester City. I hope to have it up sometime this weekend. It will be a lot of analysis though, far more than I've done so far in the thread.

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I've wrote a lot today about a game I've played in the cup against Manchester City. I hope to have it up sometime this weekend. It will be a lot of analysis though, far more than I've done so far in the thread.

That'd be great. Would love to have something to look over this weekend and I really like detailed analysis. I try to do that on most of my games but I don't spot all the "details".

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That'd be great. Would love to have something to look over this weekend and I really like detailed analysis. I try to do that on most of my games but I don't spot all the "details".

Agreed! I would say that learning how to analyze a game is the hardest thing for those like me that don't really know what to pay attention in the match, and an important step to really feel like a manager on the game and enjoy it. So it's great to hear that more analyses are coming and the more you do, the more grateful I will be!

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Interesting to see this "4-4-2" thread from you, Cleon, especially since you chose to go with a double MC pivot (I know from most of your threads that you prefer to have a more solid midfield). It's something that a lot of FM players tend to go with but also something that needs far more work and attention when you set it up. Don't get me wrong; I know that creating any system needs work but, at least for me, it seems far more easier to build up a 3-5-2 system or a 4-3-3/4-5-1 one because of the extra bodies you have in the center of the park. I cannot wait to see the chapter with the Manchester City game since they play 4-2-3-1 and it's interesting to see how you deal with the AMC operating between the lines.

Also I would ask if you intend to talk in this thread about defensive and offensive transitions. I consider them VERY important in a football match. Actually more important than the defensive/offensive action itself.

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That'd be great. Would love to have something to look over this weekend and I really like detailed analysis. I try to do that on most of my games but I don't spot all the "details".
Agreed! I would say that learning how to analyze a game is the hardest thing for those like me that don't really know what to pay attention in the match, and an important step to really feel like a manager on the game and enjoy it. So it's great to hear that more analyses are coming and the more you do, the more grateful I will be!

Hopefully if all goes as planned it should be sometime this afternoon. It's quite long though and is at 3500 words already and not finished yet.

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Interesting to see this "4-4-2" thread from you, Cleon, especially since you chose to go with a double MC pivot (I know from most of your threads that you prefer to have a more solid midfield). It's something that a lot of FM players tend to go with but also something that needs far more work and attention when you set it up. Don't get me wrong; I know that creating any system needs work but, at least for me, it seems far more easier to build up a 3-5-2 system or a 4-3-3/4-5-1 one because of the extra bodies you have in the center of the park. I cannot wait to see the chapter with the Manchester City game since they play 4-2-3-1 and it's interesting to see how you deal with the AMC operating between the lines.

Also I would ask if you intend to talk in this thread about defensive and offensive transitions. I consider them VERY important in a football match. Actually more important than the defensive/offensive action itself.

Probably at a later date. First I want to stick to the plan I have and give people the basic tools needed to understand stuff like that or how to get the much tougher concepts of tactic making to work. That's why I'm trying to stick to the format I currently have laid out and not stray too far to begin with, so people can see how I work and in what order :)

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Updated the thread with a lengthy piece about playing stronger opposition

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Great update as always. :)

A question, crucial for some I might add: how did you know you should switch from control to counter exactly? Yes, you saw you were too aggressive and needed to drop down a bit to enable counter-attacking possibilities, but that could've meant:

a) using shouts like drop down and close down less

b) switching to standard mentality

c) switching to counter mentality

Now, you were certain to got for option c), but I imagine it's not that clear cut of a decision for a lot of average users here.

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