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Cleon

Building A Tactic From The Beginning - THE DISCUSSION THREAD!

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Wow that post was just amazing ! You clearly prove that you may be able to win every single match, but not with " broken tactics", by carefully reading the play and reacting to it. I hope I can get to that level and spot things the way you did. I like the fact that you almost always consider every mistake a tactical mistake. I had games where my left CWB(A)/ WB(A) was out of position and the opposition took advantage of that and I always blamed the player for not being able to track back and was thinking of getting a proper replacement. I guess the problem could have been with me all the time. One question though : You highlighted all those spaces City left, did you do anything to tell your players to exploit them? Or did it come just naturally from your roles/the way you told them to play ? ( like Pass into Space TI)

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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.

I knew it wouldn't be shouts as I class shouts as extremes. I knew the team looked okay in the opening 60 seconds so the shouts I already had selected were working, there was no need to tough them at all.

I wasn't certain about the mentality change at all I just selected an option. There is no 'knowing' which to you. You just see you are being too aggressive and make a decision which less aggressive option you use. I think people get a bit hung up on what option to select rather than just thinking 'Oh this is leaving me exposed I need to tone it down' then its just trial and error using the less aggressive ones until you find one that suits. if I'd have chosen that and found I was too deep then I'd have tried standard. There is no secret I have its just common sense. If you see your too aggressive you try a less aggressive option. If that then becomes not enough aggression you then try something else and so on.

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That was quality! The genius as always is in the simplicity of your actions, it's small changes but massive dividends. I must admit I would have left that initial City breakaway go on for a few more times before changing, it's a strange thing, maybe it's a psychological arrogance :lol: I'm interested in your attack inside the channel ( think it was the city right, your left in the screenshot), is that an overload? I mean is it two attacking duties down that side, the Raumdeter and some other attacking central midfield role? I love a strategic overload, after it wrecks havoc I then usually switch back to a more conservative role for one of them.

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Wow that post was just amazing ! You clearly prove that you may be able to win every single match, but not with " broken tactics", by carefully reading the play and reacting to it. I hope I can get to that level and spot things the way you did. I like the fact that you almost always consider every mistake a tactical mistake. I had games where my left CWB(A)/ WB(A) was out of position and the opposition took advantage of that and I always blamed the player for not being able to track back and was thinking of getting a proper replacement. I guess the problem could have been with me all the time. One question though : You highlighted all those spaces City left, did you do anything to tell your players to exploit them? Or did it come just naturally from your roles/the way you told them to play ? ( like Pass into Space TI)

It came more natural due to the positions my players were taking up based on strategy and role/duty. I will be talking more about that in part 3 though and giving users alternatives that they could try to exploit those pockets of space :)

I do see every mistake as a tactical one yeah. I think it's better that way as then rather than getting frustrated with the individual I look at altering his settings/role/duty to compensate for his issues even if it is a player mistake. You can nearly always make up for his mistakes/fault/flaws in some capacity and limit them.

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That was quality! The genius as always is in the simplicity of your actions, it's small changes but massive dividends. I must admit I would have left that initial City breakaway go on for a few more times before changing, it's a strange thing, maybe it's a psychological arrogance :lol: I'm interested in your attack inside the channel ( think it was the city right, your left in the screenshot), is that an overload? I mean is it two attacking duties down that side, the Raumdeter and some other attacking central midfield role? I love a strategic overload, after it wrecks havoc I then usually switch back to a more conservative role for one of them.

Which screenshot, this one?

ana4.jpg?resize=300%2C145

if so that's a raumdeuter and my DLF support.

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Which screenshot, this one?

ana4.jpg?resize=300%2C145

if so that's a raumdeuter and my DLF support.

Yeah that's the one, they've overloaded that channel. The DLFs, that's brilliant movement from his role, do you get consistent movement like that from him?

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It came more natural due to the positions my players were taking up based on strategy and role/duty. I will be talking more about that in part 3 though and giving users alternatives that they could try to exploit those pockets of space :)

I'll definitely look forward to that !

I do see every mistake as a tactical one yeah. I think it's better that way as then rather than getting frustrated with the individual I look at altering his settings/role/duty to compensate for his issues even if it is a player mistake. You can nearly always make up for his mistakes/fault/flaws in some capacity and limit them.

Totally agree with you, from now on at least. Seeing players make mistakes got me very frustrated and I blamed the level at which I was playing ( vanarama north) but if I take those mistakes as tactical ones and make them my own mistakes, at least I know I'm the one who needs to change something.

Another quick question: Is your 15 min analysis on full your rule of thumb? Did you get to this because you realized that 15 mins are enough for you to spot problems? Also, if you change to comprehensive/extended afterwards, do you still keep a "widget" with opponent's tactical formation to see if they change it and then go back to full to consider new changes to how you play? I know you said that on the City game you stuck with full highlights, but I'm curious how you do things when you don't stick with that.

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Yeah that's the one, they've overloaded that channel. The DLFs, that's brilliant movement from his role, do you get consistent movement like that from him?

Yeah constant, I think I highlighted it in another screenshot too;

ana5.jpg

Doing a similar thing in this one. He links up well with the raumdeuter.

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Yeah constant, I think I highlighted it in another screenshot too;

ana5.jpg

Doing a similar thing in this one. He links up well with the raumdeuter.

Ah this is the shot, the City right back is not picking up the Raumdueter, the right sided city centre back tries to shift across to the Raumdueter and your DLFs just can't help himself to all that room, devilish :lol:

The quick transition catches Zabaletta out of position? Is that key to the move as well?

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Totally agree with you, from now on at least. Seeing players make mistakes got me very frustrated and I blamed the level at which I was playing ( vanarama north) but if I take those mistakes as tactical ones and make them my own mistakes, at least I know I'm the one who needs to change something.

Another quick question: Is your 15 min analysis on full your rule of thumb? Did you get to this because you realized that 15 mins are enough for you to spot problems? Also, if you change to comprehensive/extended afterwards, do you still keep a "widget" with opponent's tactical formation to see if they change it and then go back to full to consider new changes to how you play? I know you said that on the City game you stuck with full highlights, but I'm curious how you do things when you don't stick with that.

I've always done the first 15 minutes since I can remember. I do find that it gives you enough time to see how your side is playing initially. I believe a lot of games are won/lost in this time period and if you do have issues its easier to sort them out early on rather than later in a game. After that I normally switch to just key highlights but keep an eye on the individual player stats. I also have the oppositions team shape widget open and the stats obviously.

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I've always done the first 15 minutes since I can remember. I do find that it gives you enough time to see how your side is playing initially. I believe a lot of games are won/lost in this time period and if you do have issues its easier to sort them out early on rather than later in a game. After that I normally switch to just key highlights but keep an eye on the individual player stats. I also have the oppositions team shape widget open and the stats obviously.

I have the exact same widgets active because I also think they are really helpful. The only issue I have is that I'm not really comfortable with just 15 minutes on full because I don't think at my level I'll spot things as easily as you, maybe I need to see the same thing twice or three times do realize that it is an issue. Or 15 minutes might be enough even for me if I go really in depth like you did, which is something I never did. Anyway, nothing forces me to stick to 15 mins, I think at first I will play every game like you played your City one, with the whole match on full, just to get an idea of things.

Thanks again for this example of detailed match analysis, it made me see things through a different perspective.

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I have the exact same widgets active because I also think they are really helpful. The only issue I have is that I'm not really comfortable with just 15 minutes on full because I don't think at my level I'll spot things as easily as you, maybe I need to see the same thing twice or three times do realize that it is an issue. Or 15 minutes might be enough even for me if I go really in depth like you did, which is something I never did. Anyway, nothing forces me to stick to 15 mins, I think at first I will play every game like you played your City one, with the whole match on full, just to get an idea of things.

Thanks again for this example of detailed match analysis, it made me see things through a different perspective.

The more you watch the better you'll become and spotting things becomes easy. It's just if you mention watching full games to a lot of people they instantly switch off and stop reading :D but how do you expect to lern how your team is playing if you just watch highlights? You cant

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I guess the point I was trying to make above to shirajzl was that it's better to do something rather than nothing when you know there is an issue. Even if you get it wrong, you still tried. Then when it happens again you'd try something different and so on. To get better at the game you have to experiment and use trial and error.

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I guess the point I was trying to make above to shirajzl was that it's better to do something rather than nothing when you know there is an issue. Even if you get it wrong, you still tried. Then when it happens again you'd try something different and so on. To get better at the game you have to experiment and use trial and error.

This is exactly my conclusion as well. I spot things, I have an idea what to do to stop them and then proceed with making changes. But I can't know for sure I made the correct change, or that change might lead to more problems etc, so I guess the best way to spot them is keep watching the game ( on full, if possible) to get feedback.

I think that you have the " luxury" to switch to highlights because you have the tactical knowledge and the game experience in your arsenal, but ,for me at least, the best way to get there is to keep watching on full after every single change and try to realize if it helped or not. Trial and error as you said

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This is exactly my conclusion as well. I spot things, I have an idea what to do to stop them and then proceed with making changes. But I can't know for sure I made the correct change, or that change might lead to more problems etc, so I guess the best way to spot them is keep watching the game ( on full, if possible) to get feedback.

I think that you have the " luxury" to switch to highlights because you have the tactical knowledge and the game experience in your arsenal, but ,for me at least, the best way to get there is to keep watching on full after every single change and try to realize if it helped or not. Trial and error as you said

Agree 100%. Then in a few days/weeks/months when you start to feel more comfortable you might decide you no longer need to watch any part of a game or decide to watch less. It's about finding what works for you and allows you to play at a speed that is comfortable for you. From the posts I've seen you do in this thread and elsewhere its clear you are one of those who want to learn and absorbs stuff, so hopefully it'll not be too long until you feel more confident with what you change and why in a match scenario :)

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This is exactly my conclusion as well. I spot things, I have an idea what to do to stop them and then proceed with making changes. But I can't know for sure I made the correct change, or that change might lead to more problems etc, so I guess the best way to spot them is keep watching the game ( on full, if possible) to get feedback.

I think that you have the " luxury" to switch to highlights because you have the tactical knowledge and the game experience in your arsenal, but ,for me at least, the best way to get there is to keep watching on full after every single change and try to realize if it helped or not. Trial and error as you said

If I were you I'd pick a save, any team and play the way Cleon has mentioned, no pressure for results or anything, just a save where you try to implement counter actions to what you see unfolding. You can't help but get better at the game doing this. In fact, this is the method to learning anything in life, make a thousand mistakes, each one makes you wiser, far better than inaction which teaches you absolutely nothing.

The thing is just take this save as a no pressure tinkering around save, trying things you might be afraid of trying in a real save worrying about results

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If I were you I'd pick a save, any team and play the way Cleon has mentioned, no pressure for results or anything, just a save where you try to implement counter actions to what you see unfolding. You can't help but get better at the game doing this. In fact, this is the method to learning anything in life, make a thousand mistakes, each one makes you wiser, far better than inaction which teaches you absolutely nothing.

The thing is just take this save as a no pressure tinkering around save, trying things you might be afraid of trying in a real save worrying about results

Yup this is sort of what I'm doing, I started in the Vanarama South to get a team with no pressure to get extraordinary results and try to build my way up on my own pace. I just want to concentrate on the tactical part of the game, not just looking to buy wonderkids and things like that. If I build my way up to the Premier League and there won't be any known players left, I won't have a problem with that because I want to concentrate solely on the tactical part of things and buy the players that fit my system and scout them properly.

I know this is a long learning curve, which is why I'm following this thread and others and keep posing questions to make sure I'm heading the right way.

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6-1 is impressive against ManCity, but I would be interested how this tactic works differently with the new hotfix.

As I saw, all of your goals (most of them?) happen through passes or crosses from the wings, which is a nice exploitation of the old ME.

But if SI tweaked the defending of crosses and wide defending correctly, this should not happen that often...

I mean, in real life, a quality fullback will (most of the time) block you cross and a quality centerback will win the header against a striker.

(and there cleary was a quality difference between the teams which makes it even more unrealistic)

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6-1 is impressive against ManCity, but I would be interested how this tactic works differently with the new hotfix.

As I saw, all of your goals (most of them?) happen through passes or crosses from the wings, which is a nice exploitation of the old ME.

But if SI tweaked the defending of crosses and wide defending correctly, this should not happen that often...

I mean, in real life, a quality fullback will (most of the time) block you cross and a quality centerback will win the header against a striker.

(and there cleary was a quality difference between the teams which makes it even more unrealistic)

The game was on a new save with the hotfixes so what now? Why when good plays happens do people always expect its a exploit? The 2 through balls by Baxter was world class because he saw and read the reaction of the player he was aiming for.

Not all the goals were from crosses or passes from the wing either. 1 was a freekick, 1 was a pen, 1 was a cut back across goal from near the 6 yard box, 1 was from a little chip inside the box to the striker. That leaves 2 goals that were from crosses.

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Hi Cleon

Top notch stuff, it is invaluable when people who have great insight in to tactics explain thoroughly their thought processes behind what they see and how they alter things. It really is a massive help.

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The game was on a new save with the hotfixes so what now?

You posted a screenshot of exactly the same match on twitter on Nov. 23rd, the new hotfix was released on Nov. 27nd, so I suppose you played it on 15.1.3 without the newest fixes.

I am not talking about crosses only, the wide defending in general seemed bad (until the new patch at least). It was a 4-4-2 against a 4-4-2 and you dominated the wings despite

beeing a (much) lower quality team, seems not logic und unrealistic to me...

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You posted a screenshot of exactly the same match on twitter on Nov. 23rd, the new hotfix was released on Nov. 27nd, so I suppose you played it on 15.1.3 without the newest fixes.

I am not talking about crosses only, the wide defending in general seemed bad (until the new patch at least). It was a 4-4-2 against a 4-4-2 and you dominated the wings despite

beeing a (much) lower quality team, seems not logic und unrealistic to me...

Or I'm a tester and had the patch before maybe?

Plus I didn't dominate the wings at all, I controlled the centre not the wings. Due to the play in the centre this made my wide play look better than it was. I didn't really have much wide play, the wide playmaker roams and cuts inside and the roamdeuter does the same. This meant that when I did have possession my players were all closer together centrally.

Maybe it was more to do with City being less effective due to me making them stretched and defending more than they thought they would?

If all you are going to do is pick spots though and look for a reaction you may as well just take your discussion elsewhere as I have no time for time wasters. This thread is for those who want to learn, not those who try scoring points by nitpicking (and even then wrong in their assumptions and assessments)

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Cleon, what are your thoughts on playing a direct, high tempo and high pressing game with the Attacking mentality. I'm Hamburg so I don't have the strongest squad in the league, and it might be a bit insane playing away at Bayern and using such an attacking mentality. But, I tried both Standard and Counter mentality with 4-1-4-1 and 4-4-1-1 2DM, but found that my players dwelled on the ball too much in midfield, and we played so slow, didn't matter if I had Higher tempo or More direct passing activated. I then changed to an Attacking mentality and we started playing much more direct and the transition from defense to attack was quick. For this 4-1-4-1, Attacking mentality, I only use Close Down Much More, Stay on feet and Tighter Marking. What are your thoughts on developing this further? I want to win the ball early and hit them with a lightning fast counter. I'm thinking maybe another shape, or adding Higher tempo, but that might mean crazy high tempo when it's paired with Attacking mentality.

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Not sure if I missed it in the thread or not, but what Fluidity did you settle on and why?

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Not sure if I missed it in the thread or not, but what Fluidity did you settle on and why?

Not spoke about it really yet but will at a later date. It's not important though and I've left it out on purpose so people focus on what's written rather than trying to copy the tactic itself. The information is important not the settings :)

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The game was on a new save with the hotfixes so what now? Why when good plays happens do people always expect its a exploit? The 2 through balls by Baxter was world class because he saw and read the reaction of the player he was aiming for.

Not all the goals were from crosses or passes from the wing either. 1 was a freekick, 1 was a pen, 1 was a cut back across goal from near the 6 yard box, 1 was from a little chip inside the box to the striker. That leaves 2 goals that were from crosses.

It may be an after-effect of people telling those who were successful in previous versions that they were using an exploit, knowingly or unknowingly. Like the plentiful of posts around the time 13 came out about 'you were exploiting the lack of collision detection!"

As always, interesting read, I like that set up you've managed.

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Hey Cleon,

I'm having a difficult time trying to figure out what mentality to use to make my team play the way I want them to. I want to play fast counter attacking football, but I realized that with Counter mentality my team played a slow build up play and were very defensive. I read more about Counter mentality and what it does and realized that even with Higher Tempo, my team would still play cautiously and a defensive game when not countering. I felt it didn't suit my team, even if I was the weakest team in my league, at least on paper, playing defensive didn't help. I have a document where I copy pasted different quotes from people on counter attacking play, and different things from your thread and others to help me with FM in general, I read back the part about Weaker Teams that you wrote in the beginning of this thread and you said that playing attacking might be harder for a weaker team because they don't have the player quality, and I agree with that. But what if my players don't really have the intelligence to play a solid defensive game and are rather good physical players, with pace and maybe good dribbling skills? I think that would make them suited for an attacking play.

The thing is, I still want to stick to the fast counter type of game and I read somewhere that it can be achieved even by playing with Attacking mentality. This is what I have on my document about attacking mentality :

Attacking Mentality

Description: The team will look to press the opposition into their own third and overwhelm them with a relentless series of high tempo attacks.

Passing Settings: Direct for attack duty, Very Short for defend duty, Standard Moderate for support duty

Defensive Line: High

Tempo: Very Fast

Width: Much Wider Attacking Build-Up

Offside Trap: Yes

Roaming Roles: High Positional Fluidity

Now obviously I need to tweak this a little bit because I want my team to still be solid in defense and play a counter type of game. Do you advise to play a game just with this mentality and see what needs changing and not use any TIs from the start? Or should I try to use the TIs I think are needed and then change after watching the game? Because the first thing that comes to mind is that I needed a deeper line, less closing down, I don't want my players to roam that much and I wouldn't want an Offside Trap. So if I chose Drop Deeper, that affects my Defensive Line. Also, does that affect closing down in a way? The quotes I have written about closing down say that it triggers when a player is in the proximity of another player, so I figured a deeper line woull make my players further from the opposing players so closing down is toned down a bit, is that true ? And is there a way to tell my team not to play Offside Trap?

I asked you because I know you have the game and tactical knowledge for this, but anyone else can answer to this if they know or have any experience with this.

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But what if my players don't really have the intelligence to play a solid defensive game and are rather good physical players, with pace and maybe good dribbling skills? I think that would make them suited for an attacking play.

You need intelligence to play at faster speed where everything is faster and decision making is faster though.

Have you ever thought about just staying on standard and using that? Then just change the mentality based on how the game might be going?

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You need intelligence to play at faster speed where everything is faster and decision making is faster though.

Have you ever thought about just staying on standard and using that? Then just change the mentality based on how the game might be going?

Will definitely give it a try, I was scared that playing attacking might be too risky so I guess standard would be a more cautious approach. Counters do happen on every mentality right ? It's just the frequency at which they happen that changes?

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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 :)

Fair enough :) Did you invert the duties of your strikers after all? I'm asking this because I have the same pairing upfront and I'm quite pleased with it. Even if the DLF drops very deep sometimes, I have players that step up and connect very well with the CF so he doesn't become isolated. I'm with a 3-5-2 and I have a CM on attack duty that steps in and links up with the CF, the wide player (a CWB in the WB strata) and a BBM that overloads frequently the space created by the DLF.

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Fair enough :) Did you invert the duties of your strikers after all? I'm asking this because I have the same pairing upfront and I'm quite pleased with it. Even if the DLF drops very deep sometimes, I have players that step up and connect very well with the CF so he doesn't become isolated. I'm with a 3-5-2 and I have a CM on attack duty that steps in and links up with the CF, the wide player (a CWB in the WB strata) and a BBM that overloads frequently the space created by the DLF.

I did change them back yes to what's in the original post but not updated further yet.

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Interesting stuff, this.

I'm playing a similar system (4-4-2 with raumdeuter) and have been having mixed results. In fact, I've been forced to bring my raumdeuter deeper when playing against sides that break with width, as his lack of tracking back just overstretches my whole shape when defending counters. Is this something you've encountered? Have you any potential solutions that don't require sacrificing the raumdeuter for a deeper wide midfielder/wide playmaker/winger?

Also I was going to ask how you go about breaking down more stubborn sides with your system, but it seems that will be in your next post. Keep it up, interesting reading.

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I have managed to get a tactic working finally, but every time I get to a 5 match winning streak, I either lose a game or 2 then go on another unbeaten run. How do I combat this?

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I have managed to get a tactic working finally, but every time I get to a 5 match winning streak, I either lose a game or 2 then go on another unbeaten run. How do I combat this?

All you can do is to watch those games and try to understand better why you are losing. Are you weak against specific formations, or particular types of play? Review past defeats - do you seem weak against a particular type of attack? There may be something you can spot that will highlight a weakness (generally or in that specific type of situation).

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I already thought the thread was amazing, but the adding of the "Standing on the shoulders of giants"-part really gives me some insight into where I'm struggling myself; Once you've established a way you wanna play how to analyse games (or at least how you do it). I'm really looking forward to the other parts as well, seeing how sometimes I struggle against lesser opponents (since I'm playing at a bigger club).

Still have one question/remark though, since mostly the mentality is based upon a way you wish to play changing that kind of gives that a way. Is that the "price to pay" if you wish to be successful? Sometimes you do need to adapt "that much"?

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I have managed to get a tactic working finally, but every time I get to a 5 match winning streak, I either lose a game or 2 then go on another unbeaten run. How do I combat this?
All you can do is to watch those games and try to understand better why you are losing. Are you weak against specific formations, or particular types of play? Review past defeats - do you seem weak against a particular type of attack? There may be something you can spot that will highlight a weakness (generally or in that specific type of situation).

Exactly this. See why you are losing, there is always a reason as to why you lose.

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I already thought the thread was amazing, but the adding of the "Standing on the shoulders of giants"-part really gives me some insight into where I'm struggling myself; Once you've established a way you wanna play how to analyse games (or at least how you do it). I'm really looking forward to the other parts as well, seeing how sometimes I struggle against lesser opponents (since I'm playing at a bigger club).

Still have one question/remark though, since mostly the mentality is based upon a way you wish to play changing that kind of gives that a way. Is that the "price to pay" if you wish to be successful? Sometimes you do need to adapt "that much"?

I view it differently, the roles/duties/TI's/PI's are what create the style, the mentality is just how aggressive I choose to be in my approach. So for me its not changing style at all even if I change mentality, I still play how I want but I'll either be slightly more attacking or cautious. But the ethos is still the exact same.

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One thing I'm finding interesting - I've started viewing games in full now, and I don't feel like my players are making any real attempt to play possession football, despite my instructions. It's all end-to-end blood and thunder stuff, with my players trying to move the ball quickly from front to back.

They are making a lot of poor decisions to concede possession, a lot of mistakes per game and the forwards constantly being caught offside. I thought I was doing OK, but having watched a couple of matches in full I instead appear to have a lot to do!

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One thing I'm finding interesting - I've started viewing games in full now, and I don't feel like my players are making any real attempt to play possession football, despite my instructions. It's all end-to-end blood and thunder stuff, with my players trying to move the ball quickly from front to back.

They are making a lot of poor decisions to concede possession, a lot of mistakes per game and the forwards constantly being caught offside. I thought I was doing OK, but having watched a couple of matches in full I instead appear to have a lot to do!

What mentality do you use?

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I'd hoped to get a new bit out this week but I'm far too busy so it'll be weekend at the earliest :(

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What mentality do you use?

Control, generally. I've found that adding in 'Less Tempo' tightens things up a lot, and generally boosts my pass completion rates by around 10% but without totally sacrificing the forward momentum.

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After starting a new game with the idea of just trying out tactics and understanding the game better I finally got better. I got to understand the game and finally managed to create a tactic and get good results by watching the game on full and analyzing the game. Of course there is still a lot to learn and I'm still watching games on full to figure out things, I spot some things, others I won't spot at first but it's definitely better than before.

I picked one of the worst teams in the Vanarama South, St Albans, with the objective to fight bravely against relegation. I am now on 3rd place, 2 points behind the leader, playing some solid football. Right now I fell into a trap, because results are starting to count and I would like to push for the first place in my first season and get overachieving to the next level, hence dropping the idea of just trying tactical things. One of my biggest problems is opening up opposition and games against teams that are supposed to be closer to my level. I think these teams are the hardest to breakthrough and I often found myself being 1 down and trying to get back in the game. Sometimes I did it with the correct changes, some other times I didn't and I want to get better at that. I know that Cleon said that he will publish an article about opening up opposition and exploiting the free space left, I can't wait to read that as I'm sure it will help me a lot.

My current setup is like this :

QK - WB(S) CD(D) CD(D) FB(S) - DM(D)- DLP(S) AP(A) - Reumdeuter W(S) - CF(S)

Flexible, Standard.

TI: Pass into Space, Play out of Defense, Run at Defense, Float Crosses

The idea behind this team is a solid defence , quick counters at times, creating and exploiting space. I do have a solid defense, I changed to DLP(S) after a few games, started with a Box to Box but the DLP(S) is more solid. I counter nicely at times, but that happens mostly against big teams through my Reumdeuter. The main issue is creating space against teams that sit back and play 451 / 41221 or a defensive minded 442 at times. I feel that my setup is too defensive at times and try to alter that by changing to Control, then adding Direct Passing, Higher Tempo or whatever TI i feel needed after watching the game. Like I said, there still is much to learn for me and I will keep trying things out, I have already got much better that when the game came out, I have to thank Cleon and plenty other people that created incredibile threads on this forum.

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Such a fascinating thread again Cleon, what it has taught me is that I always tend to focus on why my defenders concede rather than where we turned the ball over. Classic case was me focusing on the Full Back being caught way too high up the pitch and the forwards exploiting the space behind him. Then you start to breakdown why he is so high up the pitch and I realised he is doing his job getting forward and indeed it is the CM'er who is trying silly passes and turning the ball over often allowing the counter.

In times past I would have changed the FB to a more conservative role, instead I toned down the CM'ers passing so he was not gifting the ball and the problem was instantly solved. Makes so much sense but some-times the tactically deficient just can-not see it.

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Hi Cleon, how do you utilise Jamie Murphy, Campbell-Ryce and Jose Baxter? Trying to get the best out of them all, but it just doesn't seem to be happening. I play Baxter just behind Higdon, sometimes O'Grady but neither really benefit from having Baxter doing what a false nine should.

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In the set up posted Baxter is either the roaming playmaker or the DLF. Murphy is the Raumdeuter and Campbell-Ryce the wide playmaker. However in the set up you use you need to look and find out why your striker doesn't play well along side Baxter. Have a look at what the striker is doing with and without the ball and what kind of positions he's taking up. Also do the same with Baxter and see if he is linking up well with them or being selfish etc. Knowing how I utilise them isn't very helpful to yourself, you need to figure out how you are using them and how you can make them better by studying the game and stats.

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Hi guys! I've been a silent reader of this thread but now it's my time to post here. So, I've taken some of your advices, specially the one about do simple things and I must say I've seen some improvements in my experience with the game. I'm still in FM14 but it's the same thing.

I've started with Benfica, my beloved team. The plan is to stay here for 4/5 building a legacy and a model of play. Last year, we had a very good team, pretty strong in all areas. From the context in real life, I've assumed that, in FM terms Benfica will always be a top side, at least in the national league/competitions. So, with this in mind, I started to think about my setup. I knew I wanted to play with wingers and playmakers. Also, I'm a fan of counter-attack, rapid transitions and sides that are very good in covering the spaces. This will be easy as Benfica has the likes of Gaitan, Salvio, Markovic (FM14) to play as wingers and good playmakers as André Almeida, Bernardo Silva, etc (in FM terms). Mixing the roles and duties in the drawing board I've come with the following setup:

4-1-4-1 Very Rigid, Control. TI's: Drop Much Deeper, Stand off opponents. Some others, like shorter passing, retain possession, exploit the flanks/middle, etc might be added depending on the context of the game and opponent.

GK (D)

CWB (A), CD (x2), CWB (A)

RGA(S)

WM (A), CM(D), AP (A), WM (A)

CF (S)

The thinking

The idea being is to create space and then make quick counters. Both WM have cut inside as PI as both are good inside and create game. The CWB's are very good going forward and give width to the team. I'm aware of some potential weaknesses like the wings being too open at times but each thing at each time. Might change the roles of fullbacks to simple wingbacks, with attack duty, to give width only and not cutting inside with the ball or being too gung-ho.

As for mentality I want us to be quite agressive, specially sitting so deep. So it was natural to choose that mentality. For fluidity, it was simple too. As I want to be here for such long time, I really want to develop good playmakers and force the play through them. I've added "be more disciplined" to TI's but it was reducing too much the creativity in other players like Gaitan. It was really simple.

Reviewing the 1st game

So, after pre season, some minor changes and trying the 4-4-2, I've come to the first game of the season against Belenenses, a much weaker team. The game was at their stadium. They come up with a 4-4-1-1. It was man for man in the middle but this wasn't a issue as I've seen later.

I've won the game 4-1 in a pretty confortable way. We had the space that I want to be created and created nice goals with the striker, on a support duty, assisting for 3 goals. Exactly what I wanted.

Only make 2 substitutions and didn't touch a thing. I've reviewed the game back and, as result suggests, it was an easy away win with little too concern about. I wrote what I thought in my book and have things too look for in the next game. Their goal was a bit my fault as we were already 3 up and I should tone the mentality down a bit to be less aggressive. A through ball behind my full back, created by their AMC. The AMC runned from the space of my Regista, give it to the winger and he crossed for the striker. But well, I didn't want to change a thing for the purposes of analysis at the end of the match. For the next time, I know that I need to pay attention on this as this goal might be avoidable. I don't know for sure but it's a thing to look for. Didn't notice many of this balls though. Maybe with a situational thing.

The next point was the supply from the wings to the striker. He was missing headers and I wrote it again in my book. Might add some TI regarding crossing to prevent this.

I was pleased with the attacking phase.

Conclusion

This has taken me almost an hour to analyze, review it back, look for everything and trying to look at it with a managerial view but I was feeling like a real manager and it was a nice feeling. This is only the first step, I know, but it was very rewarding after many hours of studying football and some ideas to implement in the game.

So, follow what Cleon says, think about it and adapt it to your game trying to be as simple as you can. Fabio Capello once said "The best manager is the best thief", stoling ideas and concepts and then adapt it to your game.

To you Cleon, just continue to help and post the further developments on this thread. It is great and very good to learn! Like almost all of what you post.

Cheers

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Fantastic post, I'm really glad you are getting satisfaction out of the game and seeing all your hard work pay off in terms of results. It's not easy and it can be frustrating but for those of you who stick with the process you'll be fine for any future versions of the game too because its all simple and logical :)

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I've not give up on this thread btw, I've just been really busy and taken a few days off from writing just to do something else and break it up a bit. I will hopefully have the second part of the mini series up at the weekend or start of next though.

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Thanks Cleon. Really appreciate your words.

Just beat Sporting, one of my major rivals, at their home by 3-1. Great result and specially in the way it was achieved.

Was 1-0 down at the half but could get back to the game achieving a nice victory.

Never seen it but we've 100% in the tackles won and fair bigger amount of interceptions than Sporting. It is great for me as I like my teams to hold shape and don't make silly decisions.They only managed 1 shot at the goal and it was their goal. A bit desappoiting but it is already on my notebook. My left defender (CWB) is leaving too much space in behind. I know it is a recompense vs risk situation but I might change his role to a little bit more conservative. I know that I might lose power upfront but almost all chances that I suffer against is on his side and in his back. I've seen if there was a problem of the fullback doubling on him or if he wasn't receiving adequate cover from the WM but that wasn't the case. Food for thought, specially against bigger sides in the CL. In the league this might not be a problem due to the quality of the other sides but I really want to become champion with the best defense. The attacking part "doesn't interess me" that much. You get my point.

Other than this we're defending great. We concede space upfront and the players only start to press in our own half. Then counter and goal. :D

Other thing that I want to talk here is the versatility of this formation and how it can become attacking with the right settings. Often becomes a 4-4-2 ( AP to MC with attack duty) which is great against less quality sides, giving space to RGA to think our attacking game. Now I understand better what you say about movement and give other teams things to consider. The MC going so much forward makes that the other MC track back and it gives space to my RGA. In all 3 games he achieved more than 80 passes with very good % rates.

Against Sporting (them with a 4-1-2-2-1), maintaining the AP, the formation becomed somewhat a 4-2-3-1 which was great too. Their wingers never tracked back and he had the space, along with the RGA, to dictate our game and get dangerous attacking movements.

Again, thank you for this. It is very time consuming but really gives things to think and feel like a real manager (along with setup the training, facilities, staff, etc). Recently read Capello's biography and he always says that you don't get anything if you don't work hard. This is the case.

Cheers!

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I'm trying to create a working tactic for my Aston Villa save, so I've made a 4-3-3.

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Now my only problem is, I struggle with the rest of making a tactic such as the mentality and team shape.

For the Team Instructions, I was thinking:

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But again with the instructions I'm not 100% sure, this is my first time making my own tactic. But I would like the build up to be focused in the middle and have the wide men as a second outlet.

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