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burdinho

Struggling badly to understand whats going wrong...

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I started as leeds and lost the PO final in my first season, despite having an objective of a mid-table finish. All good, I signed some good players and all worked well.

Second season – 17th at xmas and on the verge of the sack…some loanees left but I thought they were decent replacements…anyway I was on the verge of the sack when I suddenly got offered the sunderland job, who had been relegated from the Prem.

It started badly and went downhill even more…I had a system which worked so well on FM14, 4231 counter…my back up tactics were 442 and a 4-1-4-1

Sunderland def hada squad worthy of challenging for promotion…but I joined when they were 16th and they were leaking goals for fun. The side was:

Bogdan

Fabio – FBS or CWBA depending on opposition

Van anholt - FBS or CWBA depending on opposition

Vergini - LDD

Iston-merin (or something close, a signing from Monaco) - LDD

Cattermole or muntari in DM

Rodwell as DLP

Adam johnson WA

Esseric – AP -

Callum mcmanaman or seb Larsson WA or APS

Steven Fletcher AFA

After 10 or so bad games I changed to “control” and things got better but not good enough.

My team instructions are generally close down more, use the flanks, drop deeper (for counter) or push higher up (for control)…look for overlap, higher tempo, look for overlap

My style is to micro-manage and give instructions according to a players strengths as much as possible…and I use a “flexible” approach.

I tried looking at the analysis tab and particularly why we were conceding so many….my 2 CBs def positioning was woeful more often than not and I conceded more goals from near post corners than I care to remember….so infuriating…

To me that’s a very strong side at champ level….but I just couldn’t get it working….

So im asking – how do you guys work out whats going wrong…..and any ideas on what I was doing would be very welcome! Just to add, Im not crying "bugs" or saying that FM15 is rigged!

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Control + close down more + push up higher means your team is playing an extremely high d-line. I'm not too sure about the way you concede your goals. If it's over the top kind of passes, you may want to drop TIs that increase your d-line.

For corners defending, you may want to assign 2-3 players(decent marking but good on jumping and heading) on zonal marking if you have yet to do so.

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Burdinho, do you watch your matches in full, at least for a good stretch at the beginning? This is the number one best way for me to tell what is going right or wrong. There is no real substitute. The analysis tab is handy, but it lacks context.

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Try dropping your tempo to low as this will inherit a more possesion based style designed on keeping the ball and being patient to work for an opening.

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thanks guys some really helpful feedback here.

Dr Hook - yes I started to watch but wasnt able to see any major errors/flaws...but I have read Cleon's article and I know it recommended watching in full.

Im definitely not interested in whizzing through seasons as quickly as possible.

I did eventually get sacked but have a save going back 2/3 months and I can apply some of these learnings...

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Sunderland def hada squad worthy of challenging for promotion…but I joined when they were 16th and they were leaking goals for fun. The side was:

Bogdan

Fabio – FBS or CWBA depending on opposition

Van anholt - FBS or CWBA depending on opposition

Vergini - LDD

Iston-merin (or something close, a signing from Monaco) - LDD

Cattermole or muntari in DM

Rodwell as DLP

Adam johnson WA

Esseric – AP -

Callum mcmanaman or seb Larsson WA or APS

Steven Fletcher AFA

After 10 or so bad games I changed to “control” and things got better but not good enough.

My team instructions are generally close down more, use the flanks, drop deeper (for counter) or push higher up (for control)…look for overlap, higher tempo, look for overlap

My style is to micro-manage and give instructions according to a players strengths as much as possible…and I use a “flexible” approach.

I tried looking at the analysis tab and particularly why we were conceding so many….my 2 CBs def positioning was woeful more often than not and I conceded more goals from near post corners than I care to remember….so infuriating…

Lets see what stands out;

Limited Defenders (LDD?) will just hoof ball it, detrimental to any possession based tactic.

If you're going with the 4-2-3-1 there's nothing wrong with your midfield pair, DM + DLP is a decent enough combination to hold the middle of the park, where you might falter though is the wingers, they realistically only have one or two men to aim at from their crossing game.

For a 4-2-3-1 the following is generally the basics of the formations:

a) Attacking fullbacks (or wingbacks whatever) - width is vital but also because;

b) Double pivot midfield pair (Sitting midfielders who don't join the attack as much) - this means you'll always have 3-4 on defence so you want those wingbacks forward or they're just wasting your time and your attack will be blunt.

c) Inverted wingers - This doesn't have to be inside-forwards, but they generally tend to be wing players who sit inside as opposed to traditional out and out wingers. AP, Raumdeuter, Inside Forwards all fit the mould, but in FM some people like to have an IF/W combination to 'stretch' the pitch, especially when the opposition play a very narrow formation as you're just going to run into a sea of bodies.

d) An enganche AMC - This is obviously flexible but I've noticed a lot of football tactical guides (NOT FM guides) talk about the AMC as an 'enganche' and not necessarily as a Treq. That being said, the AMC role is 9 times out of 10 a playmaker of some sort, I don't see the issue with an AP or an Enganche, but obviously there needs to be some movement as if he gets marked out of the game it can be a deal breaker.

e) A goal scorer in the FC position - In theory, easy to mark out of the game again, but the general idea is that with 3 creative players behind him PLUS two attacking wingbacks overloading the opposition, this guy should be having a field day if he gets any shots on target.

Those are the tactical basics that you'll find explained over and over in most football tactical guides outside of FM. Obviously following the basics is always a good thing before going from there and modifying to your own tastes. But anyway the 4-2-3-1 appears to enjoy winning possession back from high, pushing higher up and pressing quickly is almost vital because so many players are in the AM strata. It is difficult to attack from deep, quite tricky to pull off a 'counter' philosophy with it as the formation is quite exposed on the wings.

Wide players do track back but I don't think they line up in solid banks with the forward furthest forward. In my observations often times an 'inside forward' or 'winger' can be further forward than the striker depending on the roles (when defending), so I'm not entirely convinced FM models the defensive play of a 4-2-3-1 very well. Conventional wisdom on here is to play a 4-1-4-1 or 4-4-1-1 which can be modified to play as a 4-2-3-1 in attack but give a better defensive model when you're defending.

The other thing to note;

When you counter and control you say you drop deeper and push higher respectively. You don't need to do this unless you're after a double-effect. Counter automatically drops deeper anyway, so telling the team to drop even more deeper is asking them to basically camp in and around the penalty area - this is likely to offer the opposition lots of space to pass around you and invite unnecessary pressure (combined with Limited Defenders scrambling it away, you're asking for trouble.) Likewise, Control is already set with a high line, pushing higher compresses the space in the opposition half, meaning you have a sea of bodies to smash through and you leave tons of space behind you for an easy counter, particularly as you have a central four; clearances down the wing may cause them to split, while long balls over the top may entice defenders to move into the DM strata (If your midfielders are in the MC strata) and expose their positioning and/or pace.

Also when you go control, the tempo and directness is increased, so by asking them to go higher tempo you're asking them to play at breakneck speed. You need to recognise the inherent settings of the play before you can go modifying team instructions. Counter sits deep enough that you can ignore instructions about the defensive backline and ask yourself 'am I deep enough?' If so, leave it alone. In fact you may consider pushing higher up in some cases when under a counter strategy, particularly if an opposition team is taking advantage of your generosity in giving them space, though 9 times out 10 you'll let them have it as that is what allows you to exploit them.

Hope that helps.

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I have played this formation a lot and have noticed the following:

1. Too many team instructions is bad. Let the players role and duty do their job most of the time. Your micro-management might be your downfall. I doubt this happens a lot in real football. You have to trust your players to a certain extent. With this formation and with the right roles and duties, you won't need to 'look for overlap' at all.

2. Push up / drop deep has to be contextual vs. who you are playing. Push up too much and you'll get done on the counter by opposition hoofing (CB© might mitigate this a little). Drop deep to much and you'll invite too much pressure in your own half. Neither of these might be a problem depending on what formation your opposition is playing.

3. Don't let your goalkeeper hoof the ball up field. Control the build up by instructing him to distribute to full backs. Instruct your full backs to pass shorter and they'll then either give it to a wide man or to someone in midfield and then you've almost immediately got possession of the ball with the players in your side who are creative and can do something with it.

4. Never have your center forward as an attack duty. Always support. One of your wide men has attack duty, your AMC has attack duty and one of your full backs has an attack duty. As someone points out above this mitigates having your primary goal scorer marked out of the game. I usually use CF(s) or DLF(s) combined with a SS(a) in AMC.

5. Have your Center forward 'Close down Much More'. He'll need decent stamina to do this, but to be a lone center forward he'll need that anyway. This gives opposition defenders / goal keeper a lot less time on the ball and more prone to mistakes, so you get bacvk possession easier.

6. As pointed out above, have one of your wide players come inside. Either as a winger with a prefered move and/or PI or as an IF / Raumdauter. This does a couple of things. Gives opposition CBs something else to think about other than your lone CF. Gives space for fullbacks to overlap

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thanks guys some really helpful feedback here.

Dr Hook - yes I started to watch but wasnt able to see any major errors/flaws...but I have read Cleon's article and I know it recommended watching in full.

Im definitely not interested in whizzing through seasons as quickly as possible.

I did eventually get sacked but have a save going back 2/3 months and I can apply some of these learnings...

All the advice here is good, depending on the nature of your problems. Is it primarily conceding goals that is getting you? Are you happy with how your offense it working? If so, then you have to look at those times where you conceded (excepting set pieces, I think, as they are different) and get a sense of how your team is positioned. The types of goals you are giving up is also critical to know. Are your CBs getting caught out? Is there someone getting loose into space in a dangerous area? These are some diagnostic questions which in no way mitigates the advice some have posted for you, but it can be more or less helpful if it doesn't address your specific issues.

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Something that hasn't been mentioned yet is the timing of runs vs tempo.

A wide 4231 is a tactic with four players in the Forward (striker + attacking midfielders) area, and is therefore not very different from a 424 in that respect. The difference is that you have a player sitting between the midfield and the striker who is meant to connect them. As someone mentioned, he is usually a playmaker type, and he wants movement in front of him so that he can do his playmaking thing. The thing is that when he gets the ball from the midfielders against an organized defense, the three guys in front of him are usually already being marked. If the two midfielders behind him aren't moving forward any time soon, and the full backs are set to support so that they'll wait a little bit before making those forward runs as well, then there is absolutely nothing for him to do except trying to dribble or pass backwards (depending on team mentality). Against a disorganized defense (you win possession of the ball on your own half or in the midfield area), he has plenty of options, though, but those situations are probably going to be rare against a defensive side - and in FM15 most AI opponents are rather careful.

Therefore, such a 4231 tactic is probably best served as a high possession, short passing tactic where you patiently probe for openings and the AMC is the one who is supposed to pick those passes from around 20-25 meters. One defensive midfielder is enough to provide cover when you do these long-winded attacks, along with the two central defenders. The other central midfielder should be set to a support role. A Poacher or an Advanced Forward will try to get into the box asap, and while that is nice enough, he won't be a big part of your passing game alone up there. A pass to such a player must come quite early to let him be a regular threat, something which is normally prevented by a slow passing game. This is why you are adviced to use a striker who comes deep (support). A DLF-A, however, will both look to run onto through balls and drop deep to hold up early passes for the rest of the team to move up into attacking positions - so that is a possible solution (he won't do the latter as efficiently as a DLF-S). Full backs on Attack run forward into attacking positions quite early, which is nice, but they are also more attack-minded and you may find them taking too high risks and also try early crosses into the box while there are only 1-3 men in there. They will primarily look for passing options in front of them, even though the opposition defense is organized and the players they can see are all marked out of the game. That is incidentally also what -everybody- looks to do when you have set their mentalities to Control or Attack. Even at Standard they are not looking too much backwards for a safe pass. Another negative consequence of using attacking full backs is that they leave their defensive positions early to join the attack, and thus the defenders could be left with the long punt as the only viable option if you build up from the back... especially when you're using limited defenders.

In short, WHEN runs happen and WHEN passes happen must coincide :)

If I were you, I would make a very basic version of the tactic with few (1-2 max) Attack duties and pretty basic roles, no team or player instructions (perhaps except the keeper to roll it out) set to Standard... and see what happens. Then change based on the specific needs of that game.

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Then change based on the specific needs of that game.

Are you saying you tweak your tactic based on what's happening in a particular match? You've always been a big opponent to that.

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Are you saying you tweak your tactic based on what's happening in a particular match? You've always been a big opponent to that.

I haven't managed to find a stable tactic yet. Big ups and big downs isn't good enough.

I'm tired of it now, so I'll try some more.

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Are you saying you tweak your tactic based on what's happening in a particular match? You've always been a big opponent to that.

There is nothing wrong with making small tweaks to roles in a game, so long as you don't make a major one like putting 3 across the park instead of 2. I have made slight changes to roles and I find its ok. I don't think its a good idea to do it for every game, but I do think that the engine is better now, in that we don't get as badly punished as we used to. In one of my systems of play for the 4132 I experimented with 5 different permutations in one game, and finally settled on one that work...all those changes happened within 20 minutes of game time. To do stuff like this you need to be on comprehensive highlights, and you need to know what you want to look out for. Its not generally advised, but its possible, and the payment isn't high.

There are games when I make other kinds of tweaks, and some of these are major, at least by my standards. I can often go from defensive - control - attacking in one game, swapping between short passing and high tempo, and changing tempo as well.

In some games I need to react to a sudden change by the AI, and I do this by observing its tactical grid, the moment I see something fishy like a dot dropping slightly or moving up or a wholesale change, I can make sweeping changes to my system. For example, I have a 4312 with attacking wingbacks, whenever a side like chelsea decides to chase the game by hopping to a 424, I immediately change my wingbacks to fullbacks and change their PIs in the game. I HATE having to use ONE tactic without having to make ANY changes in any game. I think thats unrealistic, some change is good, at least it keeps me immersed.

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There is nothing wrong with making small tweaks to roles in a game, so long as you don't make a major one like putting 3 across the park instead of 2. I have made slight changes to roles and I find its ok. I don't think its a good idea to do it for every game, but I do think that the engine is better now, in that we don't get as badly punished as we used to. In one of my systems of play for the 4132 I experimented with 5 different permutations in one game, and finally settled on one that work...all those changes happened within 20 minutes of game time. To do stuff like this you need to be on comprehensive highlights, and you need to know what you want to look out for. Its not generally advised, but its possible, and the payment isn't high.

There are games when I make other kinds of tweaks, and some of these are major, at least by my standards. I can often go from defensive - control - attacking in one game, swapping between short passing and high tempo, and changing tempo as well.

In some games I need to react to a sudden change by the AI, and I do this by observing its tactical grid, the moment I see something fishy like a dot dropping slightly or moving up or a wholesale change, I can make sweeping changes to my system. For example, I have a 4312 with attacking wingbacks, whenever a side like chelsea decides to chase the game by hopping to a 424, I immediately change my wingbacks to fullbacks and change their PIs in the game. I HATE having to use ONE tactic without having to make ANY changes in any game. I think thats unrealistic, some change is good, at least it keeps me immersed.

Except that there is very little to gain from incrasing team mentality and pushing up higher/closing down more. I started using a Defensive wide 433 and the first three matches were very good. Created lots of chances, scored goals and kept them from creating anything. Then I stopped creating a lot of chances and eventually stopped playing well. Why? Well, perhaps they were just more defensive than me?

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Except that there is very little to gain from incrasing team mentality and pushing up higher/closing down more. I started using a Defensive wide 433 and the first three matches were very good. Created lots of chances, scored goals and kept them from creating anything. Then I stopped creating a lot of chances and eventually stopped playing well. Why? Well, perhaps they were just more defensive than me?

You should read post 127 in here

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/421921-The-School-Of-Defensive-Arts-2015-The-3-4-3?p=10233525&viewfull=1#post10233525

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I do the exact same things you do.

One question, though; will attack-duty players look to pass mainly forward even on Defensive? Is Close Down Much More increasing mentality? The problem is not that I do not defend compactly, and I do really do everything in my power to make the team play patiently when a counter-attack is not on. The problem is that no matter what I do my players will still look to finish the attacks too early. They are taking pot-shots and hopeful crosses against a packed defense, before my attacking wing backs even enter the final third! My BBM still finds himself well outside the area when my wingers or striker finishes, which explains why I am not managing to stretch their defense to create holes.

And yes I have short passing, work ball into box, play out of defense and Play Slower all ticked. When I tick Retain Possession, chance creation stops entirely. I guess setting most of the players to Support and Defend will fix this, but then there will be no movement and I will always play against a packed defense because apparently I have to tell them to do either one; be patient OR furiously desperate to score a goal - I cannot tell them to be patient when a quick attack is not on, but go for a quick attack when the opposition is out of balance (not counting actual Counter-attacks, where every player on my team gets max attacking mentality and rushes forward; they are there but usually too chaotic to result in anything good).

In either case I am ending up playing football management's version of Starcraft, stacking orders for them to do anything sensible. I'm more the Gratuitous Space Battles player...

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One question, though; will attack-duty players look to pass mainly forward even on Defensive?

They will pass forward when they think that's the better choice but they'll play cautious and look to retain the ball more even on attack.

Is Close Down Much More increasing mentality?

No just closing down it has nothing to do with mentality.

I guess setting most of the players to Support and Defend will fix this, but then there will be no movement and I will always play against a packed defense because apparently I have to tell them to do either one; be patient OR furiously desperate to score a goal - I cannot tell them to be patient when a quick attack is not on, but go for a quick attack when the opposition is out of balance (not counting actual Counter-attacks, where every player on my team gets max attacking mentality and rushes forward; they are there but usually too chaotic to result in anything good).

Not true at all.

[video=youtube_share;1TBuCv56Kws]

Bristol have a packed defence yet rather than shooting unnecessarily or giving possession away we retain the ball and don't rush play, we are patient against them yet looking to attack at the same time in the areas they struggle in or when they lose shape for a split second.

[video=youtube_share;6rKi1emJ5HY]

Same game but this time we win the ball back and break quickly but the opposition recovery their defensive shape so rather than shoot wildly or give the ball away we stretch play instead.

You can achieve both it's all down to the roles you use and how they all interact with each other during the different phases of play.

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There is nothing wrong with making small tweaks to roles in a game, so long as you don't make a major one like putting 3 across the park instead of 2. I have made slight changes to roles and I find its ok. I don't think its a good idea to do it for every game, but I do think that the engine is better now, in that we don't get as badly punished as we used to. In one of my systems of play for the 4132 I experimented with 5 different permutations in one game, and finally settled on one that work...all those changes happened within 20 minutes of game time. To do stuff like this you need to be on comprehensive highlights, and you need to know what you want to look out for. Its not generally advised, but its possible, and the payment isn't high.

There are games when I make other kinds of tweaks, and some of these are major, at least by my standards. I can often go from defensive - control - attacking in one game, swapping between short passing and high tempo, and changing tempo as well.

In some games I need to react to a sudden change by the AI, and I do this by observing its tactical grid, the moment I see something fishy like a dot dropping slightly or moving up or a wholesale change, I can make sweeping changes to my system. For example, I have a 4312 with attacking wingbacks, whenever a side like chelsea decides to chase the game by hopping to a 424, I immediately change my wingbacks to fullbacks and change their PIs in the game. I HATE having to use ONE tactic without having to make ANY changes in any game. I think thats unrealistic, some change is good, at least it keeps me immersed.

Which is all fine and well, but some people enjoy other aspects of FM and don't want to pay that much attention to tactics. Each to his own, regardless of what's considered "realistic".

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Which is all fine and well, but some people enjoy other aspects of FM and don't want to pay that much attention to tactics. Each to his own, regardless of what's considered "realistic".

You don't have to concentrate on tactics though if you don't want. You have to pay attention to it and can't completely ignore them but you don't have to over analyse or anything either. Myself and Rashidi have both done threads before with a basic system highlight how you can play just changing mentality and no other changes. Considering the above post was in the tactics forum though, you have to expect that people posting in this section are more into tactics though ;)

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I seem to have found a tactic that works for me now.

It's a defensive 424 :p

Keeps us updated if it achieves what you want in the long run. :)

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