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Bust the Net - Football Manager Tactics

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Why would it even matter? Whether you have offside trap or not depends entirely on how attacking you want to be. Sometimes its even easier to play with an offside trap if you have only one player who needs to worry about having to catch others offside. My only rule is if I want to be attacking, have offside trap on regardless of how my backline is set up, I just need the extra security. If I am on anything less than standard I take it off.

That's a fantastic answer that I had never thought of before re "only one player who needs to worry about having to catch others offside". Brilliant. It's so logical when you think about it but most of us just see an offside trap as four across the back having to be in synch.

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Ah, Rashidi, I wanted to say that I took the time to read your blog. Fascinating stuff, very educational.

If I had one criticism, it would be what one of your commentators said, that you assume the common FM player has skills beyond what they usually do. Still, it was very insightful! I particularly enjoyed the training articles, and the method you went about creating a team focus. I also especially liked the fact that you identified key attributes that existed outside of a 'role', that was needed across the 'team ethos'. For example; Composure, first touch and passing being at least 12 for any passing/possession based side. Also, the bit on bravery for defensive players was interesting.

What tickles me though, was I used to do something like that in the past, always making sure players had a minimum attribute in specific areas and 'chopping' them off if they failed to meet my expectations. I noticed when I was reading your work that I was nodding along to a lot of it, some of it I was saying 'yeah, that's obvious' and 'yeah, I do that'. And then I realised, actually, no, I don't, I stopped doing that at some point. Then I saw you mentioned getting complacent, or allowing the ego to get in the way, and I thought to myself, "hmm, sounds like I've done that really."

One other thing, I looked at your template tactics, in fact I downloaded and installed FM15 again to have a look at them in depth. A lot of it makes sense, but as I always struggled with a 4-2-3-1 I had a look at that and what struck me was the Full backs on Support. I know you covered it in a video, but I'm deaf, so I can't listen to it without subtitles, but I was curious enough to ask; were they given the FB-S role in order to supplement the midfield as a passing outlet AND to ensure the defence doesn't get overwhelmed by quick flank attacks, as might happen with a flying attacking fullback? I know my limitations, I know I can't be happy with the 4-2-3-1, but I still love looking at it and trying to see how people make it work.

Anyway, excellent work, keep it up.

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Rashidi, can I ask your advice? Been trying out a 4321 recently and it plays some good stuff and creates loads of chances but not too many goals. Really struggling to get the striker scoring and despite now having Lukaku, Sakho and Valencia to pick from I just can't get them scoring goals. Hoping you may see some glaring errors in the tactic?







TI's--------------Play out of defence, play narrower, prevent gk dist, stay on feet.

PI's---- AF/A----Tackle harder, close down much more.

---------AM/A---Tackle harder, close down much more. move into channels, roam from position

---------WB/S---Less risky passes

First game was very pleased with a 4-1 win with two open play goals from the CM A and one each for the striker and left sided AM. 31 shots on goal but only 16 on target. Next game 30 shots with 15 on target and 5 CCC's but only 2 goals, then next 26 shots but only half on target and only 1 goal. And it continues in this vein. Decent possession in all games so not quite sure how I can up the on target and goals ratio. Any thoughts would be appreciated?

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I bet Dybala would be awesome in the false 9 role of your 4312. His PPM's mean he would be a perfect fit. I think.

His technical ability and the way he protects the ball, would make him a good player for that role, only thing I would like to remove would be playing to back.

Beta's being betas, its fair to say one shouldn't form too many quick opinions, they tend to make dramatic shifts once the data update is released. I do plan on detailing how I prep for a beta and get it done, there is a specific way I play betas and that may be helpful for some.

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It's truly amazing that the strategy we employ for Football Manager is portable across every version, including the latest one FM16. Fact is, when you begin playing any version of FM, you need to follow a simple methodology. Some people are waiting for an intrepid author to write a substantial discovery piece on FM16, I guarantee a long wait. Most articles will be revisions of earlier work, so the goal you need to adopt is having a standard approach for the game. I assure you if you do, then you will nail each version every time it comes out within a few games of the season. Some things on the forum never fail to surprise me.

There I was again, reading another forum thread, and the same issue keeps being replayed in every iteration of the game. Managers have all the right intentions and then they go out set up a tactic and have issues. You then get people like Hunter, myself, Cleon, THOG, wwwfan who go in and try to help - the result is either revelation, which we are thrilled about or despair.

Fact is this is such an easy game its really hard to get it wrong. The only time we do is when we let our personal attachments to players get in the way, and this is especially so when we take a team where we have current stars in the side, and then we expect this side to play like world beaters. If they were world beaters they would win every game. This game is all about numbers. When I started out with WBA, we had a tough first season, and then I started to plan. It took me a while: 2 seasons prior to my unbeaten streaks. During that time, I did say I had plans on using a 4312, but I had to get the right players first. The system looked fairly solid in my head, but I knew the issue was always going to be the players. It took me 5 seasons to get the right players and then the 300 streak started. I think it was sometime in the 2021-2 season that the boys started to string together unbelievable runs. How did we do this? When I started managing lower league sides I realized how hard it was to set the team up right. And I want to share this with you now.


The first thing I did was excise emotion from player selection. I brutally went through the side and looked at pace. If you were less than 12, the player had to prove that he was right for the position, if he had less than 12 for bravery, he was out. I didn't' care who the player was. The only players who were excused were the strikers. I knew my system would only work with a fully functional midfield screen, and it was these players who got a serious look-in. Any player who fell below the threshold for pace and bravery was on the slow boat to China.

I can't overstate how important this was, players would be shortlisted as candidates for sale, simply based on these two characteristics, I knew stuff like composure, first touch and passing could be trained, but bravery - no way. Things got even more brutal for my defensive lynchpin, whether they were the ball winners in midfield or the defenders, if they had no anticipation or concentration and poor first touch, these guys also got the ticket to board the boat. Then it was time for the fullbacks. I knew this lot had to beat the man, and get in the cross. For this group, bravery was important, but acceleration was doubly important. For the way I played, if they couldn't beat the man for a cross, they may as well stay on the bench, or get a ticket to board the boat.


The midfield screen. Oh my god, how many times do I need to see pkms. This is almost a plea to people. If your defenders have a poor screen in front of them they will always step up and out of your line. Its basic, even if you take to the field and play football, if you find that the defensive midfielder has been late to go in, and you see a potential threat unfolding you will step up. Its second nature. So get the screen right and know your system. If you want to play a 4231 you have NO screen. Those 2 better be able to tackle in midfield and the back four better be top class. If you are playing with 5 at the back, you need to make sure your backs can get up and down the flanks. Its so easy.

Get these 2 basic steps right and I can assure you, you will win more than you lose, but first you need to discard any emotional attachment to the players. Trying to fit a player into a system can sometimes be as frustrating as fitting a square peg into a round hole. Ask Brendan Rodgers that, he may quickly become the premier leagues leading proponent of that.


ALWAYS start with FMT, if you need to come to grips with the match engine. Trust me a day or two on FMT and you will have your tactics sorted, it took me 10 games to nail a 4312 out for FM16, now I am working on a 4141 and then the Defiant, and a few other asymmetric systems. I want to focus more of my time on writing interesting stories about the game on the blog, and not waste precious time "testing". I used to spend entire seasons testing out one tactic after another, today I don't have the time. So if you start with FMT, you will spend your time more efficiently. In fact, I always have an FMT save lying around, if someone on the forums asks me a question about a tactic, and I need to replicate an improved version, I'd test it there before explaining it. That usually takes like 20-40 minutes of testing.


Baseline your players. Establish a DNA for your club based on the kind of football you want to play. I think I was reading a thread on the forums, where someone wanted to play a Direct, possession based game. In itself that sounds like a contradiction. How do you achieve direct passing with a possession-centric game? You might see 51-49% splits, or even 52-53, but you won't be seeing 60-40 splits. Direct passing aims to get the ball quickly up the pitch. So know your players, find out if they can play the type of game you want. And most importantly, find out where they stand against the rest of the league.

Say for example your fullbacks have 13 for passing, check and see if the other team has players who can intercept the ball. Their work rate, off the ball, decisions and teamwork will be important attributes to look out. If your side has low teamwork, remember how that affects your team. Low teamwork affects defensive postures a lot. It means player have a tendency of being selfish. So if I have low teamwork, and my midfielder is in trouble, do I abandon my instructions to look for space and go forward? Or do I assist him by giving him an easy outlet? Teamwork will affect this, and so will a few more attributes. And if you don't know your DNA you don't know your team. If you don't know how you stack up to the opposition, then you could have issues.


KISS, I see a lot of bad assumptions when it comes to Shape settings, to this day this is one of the features I want to see binned. People are still assuming certain states for each shape. If you know for a fact how shapes affect your teams ability to move up and down, then go ahead and be experimental, if you don't, either stick to structured or flex, or just spend a few hours on FMT testing things out.

Where do we go from here?

What have we learnt about FM16? Well, its not so much different from FM15, 14, 13, 12 ...the approach is the same. Understand a basic football shape, set it up to be as balanced as you can. Understand where its weaknesses are and adapt. In this season's FM16, there are ever so slight changes to closing down and defensive lines, but these aren't game-breakers. Just have fun.

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Hi rashidi1, nice to see you back on FM16, and the work and videos you've done, well..., are just amazing and made me play the game in a way I've never done before. Now, I try to understand it and play it like I should instead of just giving up and download a tactic.

I am trying to make (with some succes) an attacking 4-3-1-2 for FM16. I've kept the rolles/duties of the original Fm15 tactic, but changed some TI's and PI's and the tactic does well in front, where the boys are creating the chances, but I think the overall skill of my squad makes it to score few.

In the back I have the problem with the space left behind the CWB's as it seems the midfielders doesn't play like they did in FM15. My BWM's doesn't cover that space as they did back then anymore, nor they win the ball high up the pich. The changes to TI/PI doesn't allow me anymore to ask the team to Close Down More and then ask the 3 upfront to Close Down Much More in the same time wich leave me to the problem that my SC's and AMC doesn't put pressure on the opposision D-Line. I don't really know how to solve the problem, maybe a change of player roles to the my 3 players in attack will do it, I will try this a bit later today, but this is a minor issue.

The real problem comes in deffensive, where I seem to conceed either by my opposition exploiting the space behind my CWB's either with balls launched over my defence. For the first problem I switched my CWB's to FB's(S) and it seems to solve it to some extent, for the second one I tryed what you sayed in you last video: drop the the D-Line. Well, this solved the problem of the balls over my defenders but lead me to another one: the space between my D-Line and my midfielders wich leave me exposed for through balls. Like you sayed in you blog post, if there is no wall, then the DC's will go forward.

So here I am with all this problems hoping for a piece of advice.

Furthermore I would like to ask you if you would keep the same player roles/duties as the counter tactic you made for an attacking 4-3-1-2 or you would change some of them. If, yes what are those.

Thank you, and I hope for an answer.

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Hi there, Sharky

I tend to take short breaks and these usually happen close to when the last match engine update is done, and then I take a break right until before a new FM version is launched. It happens nearly every season. Sometimes I stick around for some time, but I take at least a month off from the game all the time. I do tend to come back. There was one major exception when there was just too much real life stuff that needed to be handled.

There are some challenges in FM16, broadly put, there is now a clear difference playing narrow vs wide systems. You can see counter attacking systems generate less possession because they sit back most of the time. Indeed, this is a welcome change. However, this raises a lot of new challenges for us. For a long time, we had it easy. All we needed to do was stick a tactic out, attack and overpower. And, this was a one-sided situation favoring human managers. My ridiculous record breaking 200 game unbeaten streak should never have happened. I am just glad that more has been done now that will make it harder for anyone to achieve that.

If you are playing a 4312, its going to be almost defaulted narrow. The space in front of the fullbacks will be exposed space. This leaves a big challenge for your midfield strata. If they spend too much time defending you lose time creating. If you increase closing down across the board you run the risk of having your system ripped apart, as you have no doubt found out. You are playing a 4312 attacking, some understanding of the 4312 may help.

The 4312 is a narrow system on FM, you would need to have a TI to make it wider. Secondly your system is attacking which means your players are already closing down more. So you don't need to do anymore than that. What you could do is to get your fullbacks to start closing down a bit later by adopting a deeper defensive line. I wouldnt even run the risk of attacking fullbacks unless my midfield screen and my defenders are world class. And even then, I would want my fullbacks to be masterful at getting back. The most I would go is support.

Since I have gone a bit deeper, getting the ball up now would be more of a challenge. This means I may even need a water carrier in midfield, my two MCs on the outer sides need to tackle win and distribute. So I would start with orthodox midfielders on support roles, and adjust them individually.

If your flanks are too weak, too slow or just can't anticipate, then I would definitely keep them at support at most. Furthermore, I would just tell them to play short. If I were setting up a counter, the roles would be the same, but I would change their tackling and get them to tackle harder. I would keep an eye out on my midfield in preseason, use prozone to track the passes received of my midfield to make sure they are moving to the right spots

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I wouldnt even run the risk of attacking fullbacks unless my midfield screen and my defenders are world class. And even then, I would want my fullbacks to be masterful at getting back. The most I would go is support.

I'd noticed this with narrow formations already, it was one of the first things I tried.

I think this is great news, last year it was a little too easy - once I got top quality players I never used anything but CWB/A's - it was all reward and no risk. It definitely requires some more balance this year, which I like!

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I've already started working on articles while I can, that cover the tactical creation process. The plan is to focus on everything I can in parts. I've already done some work on my blog and will be posting stuff up here. Its all part of a bigger project I have planned. I do believe that the process of making tactics is fundamentally very simple. So simple that it surprises me when people get the basics wrong, there are a lot of occasions when people over complicate the process, so while I have already begun work on looking at the training process I will also do one on tactics.

Part 1 - Making tactics: Defending, attacking and most importantly managing your transitions

Part 2 - Detailed look on creating tactics as broad templates. Basically, how do you take the best from one tactic and move it to another

Part 2a- Tactical Replication - Atletico Madrid

Part 2b- Final Analysis - Atletico Madrid

Part 3- Creating Bottlenecks

Part 4- Advanced tactical components - Setting up Offensive Pivots - Focusing attacks, identifying weak points in opposing systems

Part 5 - Player Instructions - High Block and Bypass Midfield custom shouts

Part 6 - The WBA Journey - The 4132 and Opposition Instructions

Part 7 - 4132, 4312, 41212, 442 Templates

Part 8 - Players roles and Spatial Control

Part 9- Getting Real - Adapting to tactical weaknesses of other systems - 424, 442, 4312, 4231, 4231N, 4231W (Ongoing)

Part 9a - Adapting to Sampdoria's 442

Part 9b- Adapting to Chelsea deep 4231 and 424

Part 9c- Adapting to Wolfsburgs 442

Part 9d - Adapting to Southamptons 41221

Part 9e - Adapting to Spurs 4231

Part 9f - Adapting to Man Utd 4141 and Shaktar 442

Part 9g - Adapting to Real Madrid 442 and Watford 4231

Part 9h - Failing to adapt to Arsenal 4141

Part 10 - BusttheNet has its own Youtube Channel

There is also a basic guide to tactics and training for FM15 here on the forums

I've had to bring this post in line with my blog, which naturally has more information on it since its easier to categorise stuff there than it is on the forum. The general goal of this thread is to take people through the creative process of making tactics. We start with some ideas in the game and then broken these down and applied them to various systems. We have replicated one system based on a request on the forums, and then used that as an example of how users can create their own tactics. It essentially lists out a methodology that one can use and how we would use certain roles, ppms TI's and PIs to get us there. Once that is done we deal with certain advanced factors that let users understand and apply. Where possible I have dumbed down the process as far as possible. There is also a section where I show how one can use opposition instructions to influence the course of a game. Once the Atletico journey is down, I get down to the crux of the game, and show how through the use of simple roles one can make a variety of systems, and I list these down as templates.

Finally we get down to the business end of the game, where I show how I use one tactic the 4312 to play the game. We have been using the system now for almost 9 seasons i think, and I show how we adapt to changes in a game, and as the journey progresses you will see that we make minimal changes. I lost count of the number of games covered, fair to say its almost 2 pages long at the moment and its ongoing. The whole goal of this thread is to show one can simplify the entire tactical process and make it almost irrelevant, you can enjoy the game without too much fuss, provided you understand the basics, and how to analyse where you've gone wrong. I hope you find this useful and if you have any queries please feel free to raise them within this thread.

rashidi edited: 18/5/15

I am not following real time football for more than 10 years and I don't miss it, so real teams tactics is nothing I am looking at.

I am still playing FM2013 and I was wondering if you have mede any similar thread for that version?

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Err my approach to fm hasn't changed since FM12, so everything I talk about relates to older versions. The only thing thats different are sliders, and to be honest even then I was telling people to keep it simple by adopting a similar approach to what I've outlined

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FM Tactics - The Supersystem just got stronger

What is a FM Supersystem? It's even more powerful than a super tactic. In days of old, we used to make tactics that would break the engine. There were 2 notable engine breakers - Diablo and Scramjet. Each of them had the ability to generate unbelievable results. You could set the game on holiday with the ass man and come back crowned a champion at the end of the season. All you did was make a cup of coffee. So SI spent a fair bit of time working on a system of play that would make it harder for people to do this, and yes, I did play a part in this. I submitted Scramjet and explained the logic of the system and how I used it to win. Today, we don't have super tactics anymore, we do have something better.

For those who want to play the game, its the FM Supersystem. Its a total way of playing,and it has several elements and you should learn to master them all.

a. Club DNA

The first thing you do is set up a club DNA, this is a list of attributes that define your style of play. You select players that fit a certain mould and you have transfer policies in place to scout and sign them. You also set up a training system that focuses on these areas for players. When doing such a system you have two ways to go: You could use a training system that's micro managed every quarter in which you set the training schedule to favour the attributes that are in your DNA. It is also possible for you to choose a balanced training program, and here, your focus will then be on individual areas of a player. Both work, the latter though can be more reliable, since it requires little to no micro-management. The former requires a great deal of attention to detail, so if you are the sort who likes to minimise your training portion of playtime, then I suggest going Balanced. Personally because of my limited time to play the game, I am venturing towards Balanced myself. I do feel that the gains for micro managing are good, however this is a case of min-maxing the performance of your side.

b. Tactics

This is my pet bane. There is no such thing as a home/away tactic. And I hate the numbering system, it has never made sense to me. That was invented by journalists not football managers. Just ask any professional manager when they hand you the team list. When a team list is handed to the television directors, it's just the team sheet. The manager doesn't tell the tv crew that they are playing a 442, its the interpretation of the tv channel. That's why I hate the discussion of the home and away tactic. It has no place in FM. People may disagree, but everyone is entitled to their opinions. This just happens to be mine.

For the sake of keeping things simple on FM, I will suggest this: Find a formation you like, you know and finally at least have the players for. Then take that formation, and understand how to make it more defensively robust, and how to make it more attacking.

If you watching any of the

, you will know what I mean. Recent Torino games will show you how I do this. I keep the same system, and make a role change here, or a change to a few team instructions there. I keep it really simple, and it works.

c. Supersystem Fundamentals

These are the things you need to master tactically for you to become good at this:

  • Know how to manage Defensive Line changes - This is the single biggest feature you need to master. You need to know when your Dline is in danger and when you can afford to push up. Episode 4 and 5 of the Torino Diaries cover these in a typical game scenario
  • Know your Attacking and Defending Shouts - When I play, I prefer to use a sequence of shouts based on my style of play. I like to play with a high press and I love to do direct passing in the opponents half. I also play high up the pitch when I attack. I know that if my players tackle too soon, they will be over-committed, leaving pockets of space around them. So I have mitigating shouts. Watch the videos and see how and when I make these shout changes.
  • Understand the Opponent AI - Sometimes the AI throws everything at you, kitchen sink and all. You need to know when to buckle down and hit it on the counter. And your system MUST have the kind of set up for this to work. So if I am playing a 4231, I will actually drop my 2 MCs into the DMC strata and go structured.
  • Understand the impact of shapes - Basically understand the differences between Fluid and Structured. There are stark differences and these affect your team. In a structured system, players focus on their individual jobs during phases of a game, in a fluid setup, they are more likely to forgo their individual roles.

d. Players

Avoid getting too emotionally attached to either players or those stars under the potential rating. When you select your system, ensure you know where the cog or the heartbeat of your team is. In my system its my 3 midfielders. I know that for Torino to play well, they have to be good. And when I scout players I have a view of finding players to enhance aspects of my play. If you are struggling for performance, there is a strong possibility that you are doing one of several things wrong:

You are choosing the wrong player - assume you have a team, and you see a player with 15 for tackling and you decide he makes a great anchor. Analyse the attributes that counter these : bravery, concentration, acceleration, positioning etc. Even a lack of teamwork will see this player underperform. If you find that player is just standing there and not tackling, I would look at attributes first to determine why before I analyse the system.

These are just the broad areas you want to look at in FM16 before you embark on your merry adventures, get these sorted and may the FM force be with you. I have covered supersystems before on this site. You can find more information:

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Loving the Torino series Rashidi. On the third video from 7.46 to 8.11 there's no sound.

This is my pet bane. There is no such thing as a home/away tactic. And I hate the numbering system, it has never made sense to me. That was invented by journalists not football managers. Just ask any professional manager when they hand you the team list. When a team list is handed to the television directors, it's just the team sheet. The manager doesn't tell the tv crew that they are playing a 442, its the interpretation of the tv channel. That's why I hate the discussion of the home and away tactic. It has no place in FM. People may disagree, but everyone is entitled to their opinions. This just happens to be mine.

We share the same view. This was actually brought up when I completed my last coaching badge that I got. We discussed how people pigeon hole the shapes used and how the media thinks of home and away systems rather than understanding concepts as a whole. No-one plays the same in two home games, no matter what there is always changes even if the viewer can't see it. People seem to think home and away games are different but they;re not. What matters is the opponent and how they offer a threat, it doesn't matter if the game is home or away or whether the team is a big club, mid table or a struggling side. Each one will pose a different kind of threat.

People need to start thinking in terms of DNA and concepts to be successful in modern day football. That's why the way I write and what I focus on has changes and is all about showing people the basics of different concepts rather than showing them systems.

Good to see you posting again :)

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Yeah there are long pauses in the third video, though I do think I did speak sporadically in that one. Odd. Been so busy lately I only spent 10 days in Nov and Dec at home. Been on the road for the last few weeks sorting some stuff out. Thought I'd get some FM videos out of the way, and then the mike stopped working. I guessed you share the same opinions about this whole home/away thing, its just nonsense. I love the fact that you've gone all defensive lately with your systems as well. OH MERRY XMAS...it just turned midnight here...I gotta run

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I probably went from Control to Attacking mentality when I was saying that. I tend to use the same shouts each game. So shouts I use when I am in control are the same as attacking.

I apologise for not being clear, most of the time I am speaking on YT or writing my post on the fly. And now I even considering going Twitch, but it will all depend on whether I get the right number of subs.

One thing I recommend is understand the impact of shouts and that can only be done minimally. And this also depends on my system of play. In some systems I favour "run at defenses" while in others I don't .

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Hi Rashidi, bit like the previous i have tried to emulate and adopt your defiant system .

Instead of a Ramdouter i have an IF, as i believe IF can contribute more to the defensive side of the team. I just dont trust my LB. To be honest ive more often than not, reverted one of the fullbacks to defend as i wasnt sure how to counter opponents attacking threat. I believe this is down to my lack of understanding or ability to judge the defensive line.

I do know if balls are coming over the top and opposition is getting chances on goal , chances are its set too high and i often go deeper. However when i go deeper i seem to surrender to much space in front to goal. So im kinda stumped and would appreciate if you could point me in the right direction. Is it possible to work it out from prozone ?

Also whilst i have your attention, I also seem to be having some trouble with squad/team management. I have role filters (13 for every attribute -premiership mid-table) which im using to find suitable targets for my side, however this approach doesnt give me a decent pool of players. So i am not sure what attributes to ignore at my peril, would you have any advice.

The torino youtube videos are brilliant, keep up the good work. :thup:

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If you are giving up too much space in front of goal then I would think that your screen in front of the back four is not effective. Are your players ball watching? If they are start thinking of their attributes. At the moment, I find that moving the Dline works sometimes, but its down more to whether that midfield screen is putting in the tackle. That's what I look for all the time. When it comes to selecting players I would definitely prioritise attributes. Even though First Touch is super important to me, I know I can focus train the players. So sometimes if I am short on choice I go for the key ones only. It all depends on how you set your system out.

In the first season with Torino, I knew i had to outrun and outlast the opposition, so physicals were my main ones.

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Wasnt sure if this needed a spoiler but still

Congrats on winning the title with Torino, brilliant season. Taught me so much

You were spot on with your analysis of my game. The midfield wasnt covering effectively. I was playing players that couldn't tackle in the middle. Im now starting to track attributes more closely. Just because player can offensively match all the stats if he has a job to do in defense he wont play there.

The results have improved but i still have a long way to go. thanks for replying

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Hey Rashidi,

First I want to say that I absolutly love your show and thank you for taking your time to answer people questions.

What I want to ask is something that asked some time ago in one of your Torino videos but I didn't get an answer. I would like, if you can of course, to talk a bit about PI's. I know you use PI's for your forward players, and I know what are those and why you use them, but I would like to see what PI's you use in midfield.

I am especially interested too see what you ask you MC/s and AMC. Thank you.

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Hey Rashidi,

First I want to say that I absolutly love your show and thank you for taking your time to answer people questions.

What I want to ask is something that asked some time ago in one of your Torino videos but I didn't get an answer. I would like, if you can of course, to talk a bit about PI's. I know you use PI's for your forward players, and I know what are those and why you use them, but I would like to see what PI's you use in midfield.

I am especially interested too see what you ask you MC/s and AMC. Thank you.

Were you referring to PIs for the 4231 system I am using in season 3? That is one system which is almost devoid of PIs

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I was talking in general, not referring to a particular system. I was asking because I've seen you don't use any of this fancy roles like SS or Roaming playmaker or w/e and you prefer simple roles in those positions like CM and AM and I was curios if you ask those players to do special things trough PI's or you just leave them on default.

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Hi Rashidi thanks for all the info here, it is very valuable to new players like myself looking to start a new save. One thing I may ask and I am not sure if has already been answered here but how am I able to see the opponent player positions/roles? Also, for lower league types which are often void of any creativity which systems do you usually see trump the rest, if there are any in that case?

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Hi Rashidi thanks for all the info here, it is very valuable to new players like myself looking to start a new save. One thing I may ask and I am not sure if has already been answered here but how am I able to see the opponent player positions/roles? Also, for lower league types which are often void of any creativity which systems do you usually see trump the rest, if there are any in that case?

At the moment I know of only one skin called the cfm skin which you can find in the Skins Hideout. For lower league management, i have always favoured physical attributes first, and then done my best to find players with first touch in critical areas of the pitch (eg pivots)

I have started doing more for the Youtube videos that I put up under BusttheNet. For FM16, the Torino Diaries cover me using a tactic each season. In the first season I was using counter/structured systems like the 4141 and the 4411. We're now in Season 3 and I have started using more attacking systems such as the 4231. I plan to do a different tactic each season, and for each show I look at stuff like training, scouting, finances and how to make simple changes in game to achieve desired results. I believe that people may find it easier to understand them in a video format. I will continue to post here and on addictedtofm.com as there will always be people who prefer the printed word.

My goal is to show that you can play the game in the easiest way possible, without having to spend hours fiddling away trying to understand different things. For more a more detailed look at the match engine I have also done a series of videos called Mastering the Match Engine. For things like skins, views and filters, there is another show called the Football Manager 2016 Essentials. If people have any questions or would like to see other youtubers contents covered, please look me up on twitter (@BusttheNet), find me on my website (addictedtofm.com) or just drop me a note here. I will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible and also do more by highlighting great content from other sources on the internet.




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Would you say 4312 is a specialist formation? idk I'm just having a play round with it and seems heavily reliant on the correct fullbacks

yes those two fullbacks and the lateral mids are key to the system.

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For the side midfielders I am thinking athletes so work rate, stamina, acceleration, tackling, teamwork, anticipation, passing, first touch. Am I far off?

They absolutely have to be good in the tackle as you will need them to get the ball off the opponent. I am using a 4-1-3-2 or 4-3-1-2 (situational) and have gone for BWM (S) in the two lateral roles to get out and cover the flanks. I had some weak tacklers there initially and paid a steep price for it :D

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I have done a new show essentially more and more of my content is moving to Youtube, with the content in this thread still relevant. The whole of BusttheNet is to ensure that we keep things simple. Demystification of the engine is the goal and I hope it makes a positive difference in people's lives when they play the game. I don't want to spend hours figuring things out, so a long time ago, I came up with a way to understand the engine is the quickest amount of time and then apply it to every version of the game. Currently I divide my time sharing this in a few different ways:

1. Written - this thread and my blog at addictedtofm.com. Its a whole lotta information

2. Video - Broken up into a few: There is always a season save, where I apply all the principles in one show, including scouting, training, tactics and adapting

FM Essentials - Which include the broad concepts and things like views, and finally a new show called Tactics Bootroom, which is all about helping people who have issues with tactics. Its not a fix it show, its more like an assessment of your tactic. I look at your tactic and run it past a team I benchmark against (ie, if the best team in the world can't play it noone can) and then use it with the team you have picked.

Now the first show was meant to display my methodology, in future shows it will be a lot shorter in duration, as mammoth 40 min shows are just too long. If I do future shows they will be shorter and I may skip the first part showing how Barcelona use it.

I just wanted to keep people updated on where this thread is heading.

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I know how that feels. Ok simple steps first. Use these as a guide:

a. Watch on Key Highlights to sense the flow:

Key highlights is just that..key, if a side is attacking you a lot then you know, they have the upper hand, if a lot of that is happening and its happening along a specific side of the pitch you know something might need shoring up

b. Since you have watched on comms you are probably used to using ratings, keep using them If you expect a player to be winning the ball in midfield, then track his ratings. Here you need to identify who your key players are. You don't need to focus on the whole team, just the key players in midfield.

c. Every game is about the midfield screen. Each and every one. I just started working on someones tactic they submitted to Tactics Bootroom my new show. In it, he was using a 424, but he was intentionally playing direct and his shape wasn't fluid. When you think about any tactic, just sit back and ask yourself, where is the weakness. In his case its apparently midfield. So i compressed his team vertically, by changing roles and shape. Then because he is using 2 in mid and 4 in attack, i pushed the backs to (A). Strange as it may seem, its logical. It handles transitions. Now when he loses the ball in midfield he will have 4 players there instead of 2. Then I changed the centreforward to DF(D), and he had 5. All I did after that was sit back and watch them play football. Sweeping football

The key is knowing your own weakness, then once you know that..Thats what you are looking for. Are your weaknesses being mitigated by your selection of roles/shape? If not could it be the player > check attributes. If yes, change. If no, change role/duty

Thats how you handle the game. I don't see the match engine I see the game, I see 11 players running around and I am trying to keep things simple in my head. Usually works.

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Coming from commentary mode, I would definitely recommend using 2D first, as this will show you the shape of your formation more easily. What you want to do is to spot these transitions:

When your keeper plays the ball out from defense, how does your team transition the ball up. If its at a slow tempo you want to see how your formation changes from defense to midfield, where they start stroking the ball. Once the ball passes the halfway line, you will notice support players move up. Thats your next spot. How quickly do they get into position, are you holding the ball well. Are players getting into the right positions?

Imagine watching a real game, sometimes you see sides move the ball around without penetration. We always look to see if players are running off the ball well, whether there are ball carriers willing to hustle the ball down the pitch and whether there are enough players in support. Same principles apply in FM. If you want to use 3D use prozone only. The advantage of using commentary is that you have already been accustomed to writing off loss of possession to other factors. You are not looking at the animation and getting frustrated. The animations are still ineffective depictions of real life. They have improved, but the whole myriad of human behaviour has yet to be translated.

When it comes to attributes, once again, adopt a real life posture. Don't be English though. Historically the FA and English coaches have been xenophobic. Whilst the rest of the world moved on to first touch and composure, english academies were still prioritizing physical attributes such as pace and strength. When Arsene Wenger came to England, there was a collective, "who the hell is this guy?", which explains to a large extent why english players can't become utilitarian players. If an English player is left footed, he is left footed. When Neymar emerged as a kid, his coaches began developing his weaker foot, so that he could play on both flanks.

What you need to do is to be like the best, and adopt a DNA for your club. Decide how you want to play football. Do you want to play a physical game, or, a combination of guile and brutality? Based on your preferences assign your scouts. Then filter the results based on your preferred attribute list. Once that is done, you can use the stars rating, however, I would caution you when you do this. Using the stars rating is ineffective. Vardy is a good example. IRL Vardy would be considered a late bloomer. If he was 16 your coaches in game would probably rate him as a 2 star. If you are playing based on stars, you would have ignored him

In all my games, I use filters. They are easy to set up, and if you have issues let me know. I will do another FM Essentials show and display how you can customise filters. The thing is, I have on many occassions found 2 star players who FIT my DNA profile. The end up being mainstays in my side. I remember my stafford save from a few seasons back. I had a defender who had 2 stars playing in Division 2, he continued doing that when we got promoted. And by the time we were in the Champions League, he was already in his last season. I made him captain for that season, it was truly emotional even for me playing a game of pixels to see him lead the time out in Europe. This was a 2 star player who had been with the side all these years.

As long as they fit your DNA profile you should be fine. Just decide what that profile should be this will be entirely up to you.

When it comes to attributes, what you will find on the net, are the ideal distribution of attributes for the roles listed in the game. Everywhere you go you will find the same thing, and those who tout their lists are just using a complete set which imho is bollocks. The ideal distribution is next to impossible to find. What you need to do is to determine your priorities as a team, and then shortlist players. For instance:

Assume you are playing LLM football, and your goal is promotion:

Pace, Strength and Composure, will set you apart from the rest. Why? Everyone is short on technicals, if you are faster than the rest and your players have better composure they will do better under pressure allowing you to play either possession or counter attacking football. This is a powerful combination. Everyone doesn't need to be fast, but if your strikers are then you will be a handful. So elect to acquire players in key positions who fulfill those requirements.

Assume you are in the top flight:

Here you want to set yourself up, you can still use the same DNA as LLM, pace, strength and composure, but here you can add, first touch and passing. Every player in your team needs a combination of these attributes as a baseline then you go about looking for players in key roles.

Naturally these are BASELINE attributes, you need more to set yourself apart, and this is where you need to decide on your personal style

When it comes to roles:

Defenders need: Concentration, Tackling, Jumping Reach, Pace, Strength as a baseline

Midfielders need : First Touch, Passing, Anticipation, Decisions, as a baseline

Attackers need: Pace, Off the ball, first touch, composure, finishing as a baseline

These are jsut your baseline attributes, now decide how you want to play. Counter? Attacking? Possession? Each will require different attributes. If I were you. Stick to one style of play, then experiment. In my next Tactics Bootroom, I am looking at someones 424. Its an interesting system, and such a finicky one. The wrong players lead to terrible results. Some tactics are so heavily dependant on players its crazy. Nearly every top heavy system is attribute dependent, and every neutral system is the opposite. A top heavy system is one where you have loads of players in the opponents third. Here the players have to be good enough to unlock teams on their own. If you end up with Cristiano Ronaldo's then you end up with a team of scorers who don't track back. Here the manager has built a tactic (433) where he has ignored their teamwork attribute.

So know what you want, then build accordingly. Trust me, when I say this. If you understand the basics of the approach I use, I guarantee you EVERY VERSION of FM will be easy!

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Hi Rashidi,

I have a few specific questions regarding my 4123 DM Wide Tactic.

I read or post, in particulary the ones related with the 41221 tactic that played with Sporting Lisbon.

So, the tactic i want to implement is this:






Mentality: Control

Team Shape: Fluid


1) Should i swap positions between my MC(a) and AP(s) so that the MC(a) don't stay on the same side of the WB(a)? I thought my attack would be more balanced with a Support-Attack-Support-Attack combination:



But this lead to potential risky situation in my defence because i have the MC(a) and the WB(a) on the same side.

2) Playing with Fluid team shape, is it too risky having a player with attacj duty in defense (the WB)? I ask this because of the increase creativity that the Fluid team shape gives to the players.

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You mention a midfield shield - how do would you set up 3 men in the centre, I'm having problems with mine currently I have 1 BWM with a support duty, 1 CM with AP attacking and a CM support - am I right in think the BWM and AP with roam from their positions to either close down or in the AP case receive the ball, assume this is why I'm conceding - they're vacating that midfield area.

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I am surprisingly finding out that there have been certain tweaks in FM16 that have affected the (D) role in a 3 man midfield, so much so that sometimes I think that the (D) role drifts too deep, this leaves a chasm in front of your two DCs that allows them to be pulled out. I will post something soon. In my Torino save, I have switched to a 4312 this season, and its not been playing as I had expected, forcing me into some changes. I will update this post soon

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On the Liverpool 4-2-4 and moving the full backs to attack. Was a concern when doing this how quickly they recovered when attacks broke down and one of the reason you went fluid? Or would they have been fine on say flexible

It was purely positional, i was vary of going flexible. To me the less risky option was to get the fullbacks to move to attack, this way their without ball positions would be higher, thus bringing them closer to the midfield and giving the midfield a 4, when we had to go for 50-50 balls. Whenever I create any tactic or system, my focus is entirely on transitions. I will adjust shape and roles so that I get the best positioning with or without ball. It's a fairly easy process.

I watch on key highlights: If the highlights are more of my side attacking, then I look for how the ball transitions. If I see a particular phase which breaks down, then I look for the positions on the pitch that are being affected.

If the key highlights don't feature my team, then I know I need to make more drastic changes. These will more likely involve a role change, or a mentality change.

Shape changes play a part, they help to affect how your team transitions. Flexible would be fine for most neutral systems, but for top heavy systems I tend to prefer either structured or fluid.


Looking at your system you have two roles in midfield that appear to be almost the same. A CM on attack could play like a playmaker as well. You must remember the game has generic roles that can play like specialist roles with the right PIs. So its fairly hard for me to judge. What I would do if I had doubts would be to turn the two wingbacks to fullbacks first. Then I would start watching the game closely and determine how transitions are happening in midfield. If you find that you are not winning the second ball, then I would focus on the roles of the two central mids.

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