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Lawlore

FM15 has me completely beaten, tactically.

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That's it. I've been one of the key people pointing out over and over in GD that the in-game explanations for the tactical side of the game aren't good enough, and that anyone should be able to pick up the game and put together at least a cohesive tactic without needing external help, and that they can't. That there is no suitable explanation of Roles, Duties, Mentalities, Fluidity etc. in-game, or how they interact with one another, and that the learning curve for a new player was much steeper than most of us give it credit for.

I play, and I struggle. But I resisted posting here for FM14 so that I could keep being that voice of those who don't even make it to the forums, and just give up when things go wrong.

Please don't misunderstand me- I recognise there is a lot of great knowledge and depth to this side of the game, particularly in this forum, and I have nothing but respect for those who have invested time and effort into understanding and assisting. I have directed many GD users here in the past, particularly to wwfan's guide.

But, in my heart, I don't care about tactics- the tactical side of the game is of no interest to me whatsoever, and never has been. My fun in the game comes from everything else. I've got by in previous years by setting up a formation and then clicking "Auto Assign Roles" and "Auto Assign Duties". But now, since FM14 and especially FM15, it is impossible to play FM without having a deeper understanding of these things, and the game isn't giving that understanding. Tactics are now arguably the most important part of the game- I don't like that they are, but I recognise that to continue enjoying FM, I need to get a grasp of them. So, reluctantly as it may be, here I am. I am at your mercy, and I am here with an open mind, ready to absorb and learn.

---

The most common problem I'm suffering from is a simple one- whilst I'm building sides and tactics that appear to be matching opponents on the pitch, this isn't translating into results. And this is the case regardless of club or division- at the moment, my journeyman save reads like the saddest travelogue in the world- I'm taking charge of sides with low expectations, and still failing to meet them.

To take an example with my current side, Athlone Town, who want to be a mid-table side, the results since I took over. We were 7th out of 8, we're still 7th out of 8:

Y3YsoPS.png

The point is we're not losing by much- even the Waterford result was against a side who are running away with the league and thumping everyone, and was a result of me going gung-ho to try and catch them off-guard, which backfired spectacularly. It was one of those games that didn't really look like a 4-1.

LOvMHzK.png

So, to tactics.

The basic tactic I've been implementing has been a Wide Diamond 4-4-2, as follows:

----------P(A)-------------
--------------TM(S)--------
---------------------------
------------AP(A)----------
-----W(S)------------W(S)--
-----------BWM(D)----------
---------------------------
-FB(Au)-LD(D)-CD(D)-FB(Au)-
---------------------------
------------G(D)-----------

Depending on the players at my disposal, the Target Man could be a Deep-Lying Forward, or the Poacher could be an Advanced Forward, but the general structure remains the same. Generally, I will have an AML/S or AMR/S available on the bench to switch in for one of the wingers to play as an inside forward if I wish to play more attacking, usually dropping the Advanced Playmaker back to compensate.

I generally start with the following shouts, but am very active with changing them in response to the flow of the match:

  • Retain Possession
  • Shorter Passing
  • Run At Defence
  • Work Ball Into Box
  • Close Down More
  • Use Tighter Marking
  • Get Stuck In
  • Be More Disciplined

This is all coupled with a Control mentality and a Flexible team shape. As with the shouts, I am very much one who switches mentality as a match unfolds, although I generally leave fluidity well alone. I also don't touch individual or opposition instructions.

The idea I'm looking for is a simple, patient passing game with one or two nippy flair players to suddenly take their man on, catch the defence cold, and create a chance.

Defensively, the idea is for the Ball-Winning Midfielder to drop back and essentially form a five-man defence which can win the ball back and get things under control again with simple short passing amongst themselves. I have no qualms about players giving away free kicks or picking up cards if it breaks up an attack- I tend to build quite a large first-team squad.

I'd also like to always stop players shooting from Free Kicks, but have no idea if there's any way of commanding that.

So, please, I ask, tear it apart. Let me know what I'm doing that doesn't make sense to your more experienced eyes, or that is counterproductive to the goal I'm trying to achieve. I'm not looking to become a league-storming powerhouse- I'm just looking to not keep losing and getting the sack time and time again.

HXk2Hug.png

Thanks in advance.

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I'm far from an expert mate and I understand how you're feeling, reading this forum has really helped me a lot with the game recently! Looking at your tactics a few things jumped out at me:

1. You don't have much movement between the lines. What I mean is your tactic is quite predictable, with both wingers having support duties and full backs being set with support mentalities (based on a control mentality for the team, as you are using automatic settings). Have you considered changing one of the full backs to an attack mentality and the winger on the opposite side also to an attack mentality?

2. Your two central midfielders are playing in front of each other rather than side by side, this will create space either side of them for opposing teams.

3. You have a limited central defender which means he will pretty much hoof the ball but you're trying to play a possession based system, this seems counter productive.

Just a few points, I'm sure the experts will help more or correct anything wrong I might have said!

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I can't see the images as my firewall at work blocks images (so I may have some of the below wrong!), but you've provided a load of detail, so hopefully I can make some sort of relevant contribution.

1. A wide 4-4-2 Diamond obviously has a main (critical) area of weakness, the middle. Your Role / Duty selection weakens this area in my opinion, as your designated defensive player (BWM) is not very conservative with his movement. He'll move from that DM position more than a DM (D) or Anchor to close players down. This exposes your defence and vacates the DM>AM area unless the AP (A) is dropping back to help - which he won't be overly inclined to do with a Flexible Team Shape.

2. As an extension of the above, how are other sides lining up in the division? If they tend to be 4-4-2 orientated, you are likely at a numerical disadvantage in midfield more often that not. In very broad terms, you need to look to take account of how the opposition tends to shape up.

3. You lack a clear attacking intent to move the ball from front to back. With Auto Duties, your full backs aren't especially dynamic, whilst your wingers may tend to play crosses quite early. Movement up the flanks is relatively limited. The BWM looks to play a safe pass but he may not have too many options if your conservative wingers are picked up by the opposition wide men, and the AP (A) is covered by a DM or Defensive CM.

4. I can't quite see the logic with the playing style. Control is quite aggressive, but you blunt it with some of the pass oriented TIs. I don't think Close Down More really suits a team without a central midfield, as it will further highlight the lack of numbers you have and draw the BWM out of position again.

5. Be aware that the use of a TM, and an AP in the AM line, will influence how your keeper distributes the ball and how the team passes in general. Again, this may conflict to an extent with the style you want.

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I've been using 4-1-2-1-2 (wide) in FM since I started playing it ('08) and every year that's been my go to formation and I've had a lot of success with it , untill this year. One thing of I tend to do is put an anchor man or DM in the middle , as mentioned before BWM really gives no protection and he will just leave that place free and you're already short in the centre. I just read that you want the BWM to act as a 5th defender , so your best bet would be a HB or Anchorman but it will leave you massivley open in the centre. You might consider putting a wide play maker in as he will sit arrower and that may help but it's all tinkering really.

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Narrow diamond over a wide diamond, for non technical players. A wide diamond requires a lot of skill to handle, and a lot of workrate, there is so much ground to cover for passing and covering.

A simple passing game would do better with a narrow diamond, that DM convert him to a halfback and then set your fullbacks on support or attack, depending on the situation. What you then get is a 5 man defense. I understand the need for the side midfielders, you want to cover the flanks. You could push up your defensive line higher forcing your team to engage near the halfway line. Instead of doing close down more, which makes no sense to me with a wide diamond, play control, push dline up. Then observe: do your defenders always get caught out with long deep passes, if so then drop down to standard.

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The first thing that strikes me when I see your formation and choice of roles, is summed up nicely by RTHerringbone in his 1st point. You need a holding midfielder in the DM slot. A BWM is not that.

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If you have not, I suggest you read Cleon's School of Defensive Arts thread. Obviously, there won't be a plug and play tactic for you, but hopefully you can use some concepts from that thread. He used a 442 diamond that is defensively sound and moves the ball upfield as a team.

I have never used 442 diamond, but I have same concerns about your tactical setup as RTH and rashidi expressed. I would change the wingers to midfielders in a narrow formation and get the width from the FBs.

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A lot of people frustration comes from this and liked posted in the #1 many people doesn't even care about tactics, they want to enjoy the game at their own way, and they are entitled to enjoy it whatever that way is. All explanations, help, guides and so on from Cleon, HoG, RT and many others (sorry for not posting all of you, but you are just too many to list :-) ) are priceless but it shouldn't be necessary to depend so much on these guys and the game should have better tools in order to put light on several issues people have dificulty to understand. Also, in some future edition maybe it would be a good idea to have a possibility for users to choose the real life manager they would like to replicate and FM would automaticaly set things, like I want to play like Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers and the game would set the tactic and all instructions by default. The challenge would be to improve that Liverpool performance and for all the rest we could still choose how do we want to play just like now.

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It absolutely is your money and your game, and you get to choose how to play it, but to take on a football manager Sim and "not care about tactics" and hope for success is not overly realistic IMO. Tactics are a massive part of modern football, more so than ever, and we all want FM to be "realistic" (and we all grumble when aspects of the game are "unrealistic" - usually ME related). So we have to accept that the game is going to go some way towards replicating the need to pay heed to tactics in order to have success.

I think what some people actually want, is a game that simulates the job of DoF or "Sporting Director", not a manager simulation. Nothing wrong with wanting that, its been talked about over many years as to whether such an option should somehow be built into the game. Until it is though, it remains the market leading simulation of football management. Simulating that means tactics will always need attention.

My view would be embrace it - You will find so many new ways to enjoy the game once you grasp tactics. Sure it will be frustrating at times, but so is football management :)

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Thanks to all who have provided feedback here- I've read and taken on board all of it, particularly in reference to the DM and wide positioning. I'll have a tinker and return to the thread once I've given it a chance to settle in and start to see what difference it makes.

In terms of the blurb I put at the top, perhaps "not caring" isn't quite the right wording for how I feel about tactics. My issue isn't with tactics, it's with the implementation. With the introduction of roles, it became that step too complex without adequate explanation in game to make informed decisions. I don't want to be sitting trying to figure out whether someone should be selected as a Defensive or a Deep Lying Forward- I know what I want them to do within the tactic, but I can't communicate that to the game. That isn't a simulation of realism- in reality I'd just tell the players what I want them to do. In FM, it's not that simple.

The descriptions of roles are still awful, and comparing roles with one another is pretty much impossible. What does an Attacking Midfielder do that an Advanced Playmaker doesn't, for example? The in-game descriptions for those two are essentially rewordings that say exactly the same thing, and the same is true all over the pitch. I want my difficulty in the game to come from having challenging AI both on and off the pitch, not from trying to figure out how to get my team to play the way I want them to.

My frustration with tactics is simply that I know what I want my team to try to do, but to communicate that philosophy with the tools available feels much, much harder than it needs to be. The advice in this thread goes to underline that- whilst I don't doubt it's true, there is nothing to suggest in-game that a Ball Winning Midfielder wanders out of that position any more or less than any of the other roles- he's there to close people down, win the ball and give it to someone else. Likewise, the Automatic backs, whose job, in my eyes, is to defend when we're defending and overlap when we're attacking, furthered by the "Control" mentality- and yet, the wisdom I'm receiving here is that they're not set to do a great deal offensively.

I will tinker, and I'm sure things will improve, and I will come back to the thread. I thank you all for your time and effort in setting me on the right track- I figured there'd be some obvious flaws that could be identified by people who had more interest in tactics, but to my eyes as someone who's played the series for years, there wasn't anything glaring. One day, I could well become someone who does some day find enjoyment poring over roles and duties, but at the moment, they're way too abstract and poorly defined in-game. I just don't think communicating what you want your team to do should be this much of a hurdle, and all the time it is, there's not a great deal of motivation for me personally to become more interested in this side of things.

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My frustration with tactics is simply that I know what I want my team to try to do, but to communicate that philosophy with the tools available feels much, much harder than it needs to be. The advice in this thread goes to underline that- whilst I don't doubt it's true, there is nothing to suggest in-game that a Ball Winning Midfielder wanders out of that position any more or less than any of the other roles - he's there to close people down, win the ball and give it to someone else.

It wouldn't take long watching the BWM in a match to see him leaving his position to close down...so it's a lie to say there is nothing in-game to suggest it.

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I have to admit coming from a game of sliders and ticks, takes some getting used to. It actually helps if you understood this in the first place, as it gives us an abstract idea of how roles are applied in the game, which explains why some of the older players who had a solid understanding of them have such an edge. For most who never understood the sliders in the first place, moving to roles and positions can be even more confusing especially when there are a multitude of roles that seem to suggest the same thing. Ball winning midfielder and anchor man come to mind. Or a trequartista and an attacking playmaker. The three central defender roles also can be added to the list, how about the variety of fullback roles?

Faced with such an array of roles it can be frustrating to get these lined up into a perfect system. I have in the football manager tactic thread I started tried to simplify the whole process. I would suggest starting with the whole system in blocks. You seem to have a solid inkling of tactical systems already, take what you already know and apply it into the game in stages.

a. Stage 1 - Make a solid tactical shape

Don't go with any of the exotic shapes, go with something you know and understand, if its the 442 so be it. Make it solid at the back first and get your midfield sorted. Apply some basic roles, and use a shape that makes sense. Apply a simple logic to shape instead of trying to decipher it in its entirety. Either begin with rigid, balanced or fluid. Avoid the rest. These 3 shapes differ very slightly, but in important ways. The difference between rigid and fluid only relate to creative freedom, fluid having more than rigid, and balanced is just that.

b. Stage 2 - Scoring goals

When you are satisfied with your defensive shape, you can begin to look at scoring goals, these will come in 2 primary ways:

- Set pieces -go through your squad and choose effectively, assign the best headers to near post, far post, stand on post, near post flick, get your strikers to attack from deep, and your long shot specialists to lurk.

- Open Play - slightly more thought is required here, determine how you want goals to come, do you have great crossers in your team, do you have good passers with vision, if its the former, you can elect to play a game with wingers, if its the latter, then you have the option of creating a system where you have a midfielder with run with ball and great passing. This is by far the hardest aspect of the game, only because they are a lot of components to it : Player Instructions and PPMs - make it a lot easier.

The AI manager works off a set template, you don't, which is why I always tell people who are struggling to use PIs and PPMs, these give you an added edge, and the AI NEVER uses them to full effect. Opposition Instructions are also good, there is something few people seem to know here...the AI manager depending on his level will use different kinds of OI, good AI managers use OI better than poor ones. If you don't believe me, hire a good ass man and tell him to pick your OI, he will always pick better ones than one who is a poor ass man.

The AI system is still rudimentary, its been my biggest criticism since 2001, and will continue to be. Till the AI starts to copy what we do, we will be able to outperform the AI. If you master these areas you will always outperform..make the AI play your game.

- Change the parameters to your favour by making slightly more though out systems with PIs and PPMs

- Change the parameters by training your side to favour certain styles above others through focused training and focused PPMs

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Why use a target man in combination with shorter passing, work ball into box, and retain possession? If you have a solid target man and want to use him then you should probably increase the tempo, drop all of your possession game shouts, and set one or two of your wide players to attack duty. If you want to play a possession game then you should probably drop one of your forwards for another central midfielder and set your lone striker as an F9, DLF, or CF.

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Well, I said I'd be back, and maybe a little later than anticipated, but I'm a man of my word. I tinkered, I persevered and... I got sacked. Then I took over another club, and won Manager of the Year in the first season, for taking the club to the brink of relegation (seriously, we only survived through a relegation playoff). That was a relegation which subsequently happened in the second year.

Now, I'm currently in the middle of a run of 18 games without a win, across three different clubs.

I really don't know what more I can do- I've read the guides, I've started tactics from scratch, I've looked at what's brought other people success, and I've spent way, way longer considering the tactical side of the game than I had any interest in doing. I can't honestly say I'm enjoying the game any more- football is about more than tactics, but I'm just failing so hard at that side of it that it's dominating everything else. Thank you again to those who did provide assistance and feedback here, I promise you I did take it on board and was receptive to listen to what advice you had and try to apply it in-game. But, while I really, really wish it weren't the case, I think I may just have to accept I'm done with FM. That saddens me, but when the game gets to a point that it's not enjoyable, even in defeat (and I've tasted plenty of that), then I'm better off spending my time doing something else. Thank you again.

pFam1cF.png

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Well Lawlore, you are a wise man if you can recognize that what you do for fun is no longer fun and walk away- or at least go back to an earlier version of FM. I am sorry to see you give up, but hey, why do it if it isn't rewarding. FM now, more than ever, is a watch the matches game. Without that, you can't get a tactic working right. At least not until you've learned enough to get away with lower highlight settings. Hopefully you'll be back for another go after a decent break :)

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Lawlore, I don't know if that's your cup of tea, but it might just be since you've run out of options. There are plenty of good, downloadable tactics around (just not on these forums) which you just plug and play. You won't win everything immediately with them, but you will overachieve more and more as you sign better players. They certainly won't get you sacked.

I know that way of playing is considered archaic and pretty much frowned upon around here, but for a lot of people it's the only remaining way to actually enjoy FM.

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Either begin with rigid, balanced or fluid. Avoid the rest. These 3 shapes differ very slightly, but in important ways. The difference between rigid and fluid only relate to creative freedom, fluid having more than rigid, and balanced is just that.

Woah there fella - are you sure about this statement? I always understood Creative Freedom to be affected by Mentality, not Shape. For me this is about phases of play - The more Fluid, the more likely a player is to contribute to other phases of play than his position would necessarily dictate & vice versa for Rigid.

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Yeah thats not true at all im fairly sure. Shape also effects how mentalities are distributed across roles, for one thing.

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Woah there fella - are you sure about this statement? I always understood Creative Freedom to be affected by Mentality, not Shape. For me this is about phases of play - The more Fluid, the more likely a player is to contribute to other phases of play than his position would necessarily dictate & vice versa for Rigid.

Creative Freedom is established first at a player level by the Role selected, and then at a team level by the Team Shape used. Mentality has no bearing on Creative Freedom.

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Creative Freedom is established first at a player level by the Role selected, and then at a team level by the Team Shape used. Mentality has no bearing on Creative Freedom.

Thanks, but still not sure about this... are you saying that with an Attacking Mentality your players will still have exactly the same CF as they would with a Defensive Mentality (given the same Fluidity/Role/Duty etc...)?

There is also the point that even if this element is correct, Fluidity affects SO much more that just CF as stated in the original point - or have I got that wrong too?

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Thanks, but still not sure about this... are you saying that with an Attacking Mentality your players will still have exactly the same CF as they would with a Defensive Mentality (given the same Fluidity/Role/Duty etc...)?

There is also the point that even if this element is correct, Fluidity affects SO much more that just CF as stated in the original point - or have I got that wrong too?

I think you are confusing mentality with creative freedom. With a more attacking mentalities, your players will be further forward and focused more on attempting risky actions to achieve a result.

Creative freedom is the likelihood that your player will divert from the tactical plan in order to achieve a result.

Ergo, you can have a very attacking mentality but limited creative freedom. Meaning your players will attempt risky actions as part of your overall tactical plan.

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I really don't know what more I can do- I've read the guides, I've started tactics from scratch, I've looked at what's brought other people success, and I've spent way, way longer considering the tactical side of the game than I had any interest in doing. I can't honestly say I'm enjoying the game any more- football is about more than tactics, but I'm just failing so hard at that side of it that it's dominating everything else. Thank you again to those who did provide assistance and feedback here, I promise you I did take it on board and was receptive to listen to what advice you had and try to apply it in-game. But, while I really, really wish it weren't the case, I think I may just have to accept I'm done with FM. That saddens me, but when the game gets to a point that it's not enjoyable, even in defeat (and I've tasted plenty of that), then I'm better off spending my time doing something else. Thank you again.

I'm happy to get deeply involved in this if you want to give it one more go. I'd need to be sure I'm critiquing the actual tactic you are using though. You'll also have to take the time difference into account as I'll not be able to enter too many dynamic conversations.

Is it still the one from the OP or have you made some fundamental changes? There's an awful lot wrong with the system in the OP and nobody has really given you specific feedback on what that is. Happy to do so but don't want to waste my time if you've truly given up.

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I had really struggled with FM15. Normally i can get 2-3 tactics set up early release and then tweak them to adjust to the updates. Wasn't the case for this one, so i ended up having a break from the game and waiting for the final release. In the mean time i spent a lot of time reading the stickies in this forums. I found Llama's 'pairs and combinations' to be incredibly useful - especially since it has been updated for 15. Well worth a read, it helped me make the subtle changes that has really turned my tactics around.

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I think you are confusing mentality with creative freedom. With a more attacking mentalities, your players will be further forward and focused more on attempting risky actions to achieve a result.

Creative freedom is the likelihood that your player will divert from the tactical plan in order to achieve a result.

Ergo, you can have a very attacking mentality but limited creative freedom. Meaning your players will attempt risky actions as part of your overall tactical plan.

Yep - that makes sense and is more akin to my original point. I think I was confusing CF with Creativity/Expressiveness.

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Bite wwfan's hand off, Lawlore. You won't get a better offer than that!

I'd be a fool to turn it down- the last thing I want to do is stop playing a series I've loved for so long, and it's a very generous offer from someone who knows the ins and outs better than anyone.

I have to head to work shortly, but I will put together a detailed post in this thread of where things stand at the moment, the various things I've tried since the OP and my thinking behind them, and get it up in the next day or two. I appreciate I've been one banging on in GD about the tactical side of the game being overly obscure and unrealistic, but I reiterate, as I said in the OP, that I'm here in this thread, not to protest or provoke, but to learn. I have immense respect for those who are experts on tactical matters, and I sincerely appreciate any time spent trying to educate and enlighten me.

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If you can upload some PKM's or a saved game, I can also provide some detailed responses :)

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I'd be a fool to turn it down- the last thing I want to do is stop playing a series I've loved for so long, and it's a very generous offer from someone who knows the ins and outs better than anyone.

I have to head to work shortly, but I will put together a detailed post in this thread of where things stand at the moment, the various things I've tried since the OP and my thinking behind them, and get it up in the next day or two. I appreciate I've been one banging on in GD about the tactical side of the game being overly obscure and unrealistic, but I reiterate, as I said in the OP, that I'm here in this thread, not to protest or provoke, but to learn. I have immense respect for those who are experts on tactical matters, and I sincerely appreciate any time spent trying to educate and enlighten me.

Excellent. To get it started, I'll critique the tactic in your OP.

Shape: First and foremost, what we need to do is get the team's shape correct. In your OP, you refer to wanting "the Ball-Winning Midfielder to drop back and essentially form a five-man defence". As others have pointed out, the role isn't the correct one for what you are trying to do. The BWM presses forward to win the ball ahead of the d-line and snaps hard into tackles. With your extra pressing and tackling, he'll charge even further forward. As a result, you'll find your d-line is going to be horribly exposed every time he misses a tackle. He might win 90% of them, but the 10% of times he doesn't, you'll have players running at a back-pedaling d-line with no cover.

You have a similar issue in attack. With automatic settings, the FBs will push up in support. You have both wide players sitting in support areas. You have the BWM pushing forward. You'll end up with all five players sitting across the midfield, able to play TBs, but not really offering any penetrating movement in the final third. Given you have an AP, I'm assuming you don't actually want all these players sitting behind him as it decreases his playmaking options.

The front three provides a similar issue. The AP/A will push up into the front line between the Poacher and the TM. Neither of them will offer any width, so you'll find final third space hugely compressed. The AP/A will get marked out of the games as he's pushed high trapped between two fairly immobile roles.

Ultimately, you've created a 2-5-3 shape in attack, with your most creative player stuck in the front three, your BWM the creative fulcrum in the centre of the pitch, and the wide players unwilling to commit forward. You'll end up with a bunch of attempted TBs into compressed space which the opposition will pretty easily mop up. You'll be 100% reliant on your front three pulling something special off to score a goal as you'll not be creating anything decent via team-based moves. In defence, you have a 4-3-3, but with no certainty the middle player of the midfield 3 will hold position to cover the d-line. It can often be a 4-2-4 if the BWM gets bypassed early in an attack, which is not a good defensive shape.

Style: You want to play a short-passing, possession-centric game. Firstly, that is going to be difficult with an empty MC strata. You'll find it difficult to play the ball out of defence when nobody is dropping into central areas to pick up the ball and find that, despite having short passing settings, your players are forced to play hopeful long balls after their easy passing options are blocked off.

Your role selection also doesn't suit the style you are aiming at. A Limited Defender clears the ball when under pressure rather than looking for short out passes. The TM thrives off high balls and the Poacher off quick balls. Having a slow, patient build up that works the ball forward completely inhibits their strengths. If you want to keep the ball on the ground, you need to use a more creative forward role and consider an AF rather than Poacher to generate better movement ahead of the possession play.

Solutions:

1: If you want to play possession football with a few flair players, look at playing more players deep and less players up. The 4-2-1-2-1, the 4-1-2-2-1 and the 4-2-3-1 Deep will all give you that extra midfield cover to allow a short passing game and free up space for flair players in the three most advanced midfield positions.

2: If you are wedded to the 4-1-2-1-2 Wide, then restrict the DMs forward movement to protect the d-line and play a more direct game. You don't have to add directness to the passing, but don't reduce it.

3: If you want to be creative with lots of movement up front, avoid the Poacher and TM roles. If you want to be very direct, embrace them. NB: with the correct set up it is very possible to have an effective Poacher ahead of a creative short-passing system, but we need to learn to walk before we can run.

4: If you want move movement, you need to have at least two Attack Duties in your wide positions. Most people use the following:

  • First Flank: FB (Attack Duty), M (Support Duty)
  • Second Flank: FB (Support Duty), M (Attack Duty)

This provides different attacking patterns on each side of the pitch. However, it is possible to have the same setup on each side of the pitch. IF you play a more defensive system, I recommend the Attacking Duties on the FBs. If a more aggressive system, then the Attacking Duties on the wide midfielders.

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If you can upload some PKM's or a saved game, I can also provide some detailed responses :)
Agreed you'd be surprised how much we see from a pkm.

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Lawlore I'm done with the game also. Been playing series from god knows when and loved it but since the beginning of this version I have huge problems with loosing goals from crosses, which drives me crazy. I have tried diffrent formations from 4141 to protect flanks to 3232 to clear the ball but no matter how many players I will have in the box their only striker will score. Its annoying to see marked winger who somehow puts perfect cross to single target surrounded by 4. It can happen sure but when you loose 6-7 goals in a row from headers then its getting stupid. I'm wondering how it's happening that whenever my striker is isolated it's a problem but when I see heat maps and AI team which have two completly isolated players it's not an issue for them - still they are capable of keeping possesion despite two players not being involved - why it's not punished ? Why when the AI team have all players on support(despite isolated striker) they don't have problems with scoring - I mean when I see people making thread's about not being able to break down sides and advices about not having enough runners I start to wonder why it doesnt apply to AI. Why I can't exploit flanks in the same manner as AI. Perfect example it 41221 - try to play it and you will see crosses, crosses more crosses and skinned fullbacks by their wide players yet I can't do the same. I lost patience and came to the point where I don't understand this game. So youre not alone :)

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If it makes you feel better, me too. Definitely it's too complex for me. I've read lots of guides but they are almost repeating all the info but it doesn't seem to work for me. I tried to be rational and make tactics balanced and trying to exploit my strong points but is useless. For example the only tactic that has worked for me it was with a high defensive line and my defense was really slow, doesn't have sense. When I see the match they make my goals through the middle I say to my players to defend narrower and they keep beating me through there, the same on the flanks. Or two guys pressing one guy with the ball and he magically is capable of doing a precise pass through my defense despite he's surrounded. or I see tactics where yhe the teams play narrower and the most of goals are crossing from the r flanks, its confusing. I have tried and infinite amount of saves but just one was more or less ok, and in the second season they got used to my tactic and bye. Just to say that you're not alone. There's a lot of people who doesn't understand the game, maybe for some people is challenging for me I just frustrating. Its a shame cause its almost the only game I play, well or I try.

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The game is only complex if you want it to be, or if you want to have unreasonable expectations.

Most teams will lose games, concede goals, even ones which look avoidable. Its the nature of football. Even top teams often go an entire season where they dont play well (Man U last season anyone? AC Milan the last 2 years, and so on).

You can succeed without making the game complicated, as long as your expectations are reasonable. I have spent a good bit of time documenting it being done and showing how it was done - Exceeding expectations even by a moderate level should be seen as a success for most managers. Managing at the lower depths of football is bloody hard in real life. There are very few modern managers who have managed in the conference and gone on to manage in the EPL (some might have been Championship or League 1, but not down to the depths of teir 5 or even 6).

Would be interested to see the new detail from the OP when it pops up - there are always people willing to help and id be happy to chip in my tuppence, if for no other reason than the fact that the journeyman career posted deserves respect! Thats a lot of slog!

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I understand that youre no gonna win a champions league with Bari for example (that doesnt mean that i havent seens things like that, but let just leave it that if a guy wins a champions league with for example, sparta prague which i have seen, its because he is damn good!) but what im trying to achieve is for example, get to europe with a normal team (lazio mine) and with time and money maybe asidually champions and maybe being a contender. Im not talking about winning a league in the fist season, im not a fool. I know being a manager in football must be really complex, if dont, I would be one earning millons, but after all this is a game, its supposed to be played and to have a good time with it. Its nothing personal, i love the FM series, but this change between lest say FM 12-13 to FM 14-15 is very drastic, at least for some of us.

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Please keep this thread on track. Lawlore has taken the initiative to start a thread to resolve the problems he is having, and hopefully in time that will happen.

If other individuals want help, then please start your own threads. It would be preferable for this one not do descend into a "FM is hard", "No it isn't" thread.

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To add to that,

these threads sometimes become more informative for other people with problems as it allows the user to see a problem and then learn how to identify it and then hopefully resolve it.

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Excellent. To get it started, I'll critique the tactic in your OP.

Shape: First and foremost, what we need to do is get the team's shape correct. In your OP, you refer to wanting "the Ball-Winning Midfielder to drop back and essentially form a five-man defence". As others have pointed out, the role isn't the correct one for what you are trying to do. The BWM presses forward to win the ball ahead of the d-line and snaps hard into tackles. With your extra pressing and tackling, he'll charge even further forward. As a result, you'll find your d-line is going to be horribly exposed every time he misses a tackle. He might win 90% of them, but the 10% of times he doesn't, you'll have players running at a back-pedaling d-line with no cover.

You have a similar issue in attack. With automatic settings, the FBs will push up in support. You have both wide players sitting in support areas. You have the BWM pushing forward. You'll end up with all five players sitting across the midfield, able to play TBs, but not really offering any penetrating movement in the final third. Given you have an AP, I'm assuming you don't actually want all these players sitting behind him as it decreases his playmaking options.

The front three provides a similar issue. The AP/A will push up into the front line between the Poacher and the TM. Neither of them will offer any width, so you'll find final third space hugely compressed. The AP/A will get marked out of the games as he's pushed high trapped between two fairly immobile roles.

Ultimately, you've created a 2-5-3 shape in attack, with your most creative player stuck in the front three, your BWM the creative fulcrum in the centre of the pitch, and the wide players unwilling to commit forward. You'll end up with a bunch of attempted TBs into compressed space which the opposition will pretty easily mop up. You'll be 100% reliant on your front three pulling something special off to score a goal as you'll not be creating anything decent via team-based moves. In defence, you have a 4-3-3, but with no certainty the middle player of the midfield 3 will hold position to cover the d-line. It can often be a 4-2-4 if the BWM gets bypassed early in an attack, which is not a good defensive shape.

Style: You want to play a short-passing, possession-centric game. Firstly, that is going to be difficult with an empty MC strata. You'll find it difficult to play the ball out of defence when nobody is dropping into central areas to pick up the ball and find that, despite having short passing settings, your players are forced to play hopeful long balls after their easy passing options are blocked off.

Your role selection also doesn't suit the style you are aiming at. A Limited Defender clears the ball when under pressure rather than looking for short out passes. The TM thrives off high balls and the Poacher off quick balls. Having a slow, patient build up that works the ball forward completely inhibits their strengths. If you want to keep the ball on the ground, you need to use a more creative forward role and consider an AF rather than Poacher to generate better movement ahead of the possession play.

Solutions:

1: If you want to play possession football with a few flair players, look at playing more players deep and less players up. The 4-2-1-2-1, the 4-1-2-2-1 and the 4-2-3-1 Deep will all give you that extra midfield cover to allow a short passing game and free up space for flair players in the three most advanced midfield positions.

2: If you are wedded to the 4-1-2-1-2 Wide, then restrict the DMs forward movement to protect the d-line and play a more direct game. You don't have to add directness to the passing, but don't reduce it.

3: If you want to be creative with lots of movement up front, avoid the Poacher and TM roles. If you want to be very direct, embrace them. NB: with the correct set up it is very possible to have an effective Poacher ahead of a creative short-passing system, but we need to learn to walk before we can run.

4: If you want move movement, you need to have at least two Attack Duties in your wide positions. Most people use the following:

  • First Flank: FB (Attack Duty), M (Support Duty)
  • Second Flank: FB (Support Duty), M (Attack Duty)

This provides different attacking patterns on each side of the pitch. However, it is possible to have the same setup on each side of the pitch. IF you play a more defensive system, I recommend the Attacking Duties on the FBs. If a more aggressive system, then the Attacking Duties on the wide midfielders.

I may try some of these in 4231 tactic i use sounds rather good IMO

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I thought I'd add my two pence for what it's worth.

First I'd really like to say thank you for the guides put up by Cleon, Llama, WWfan et al. These would have taken a hell of a long time to put together, and as a struggling FM2015er I really appreciate it.

The feedback that I'd like to give, and in the most constructive way that I can, it to simply say that I feel the ME and tactics set up needs to be simplified.

The reason for this is that I find it hard to work out what has gone wrong, and why I'm losing. When trying to deconstruct the match events there are a multitude of factors

Did I have the wrong mentality ?

Did I have the wrong shape ?

Did I have the wrong player roles ?

Did I have the wrong team instructions ?

Did I have the wrong player instructions ?

Were my players fluid in the use of my tactic ?

Was it just bad luck ?

It could be one of these things, it could be a combination of things. Trying to understand this, with the tools available, for me is immensely frustrating. I'm not saying it is broken, clearly it's not, as plenty of people understand how these variables combine and go and win the European cup with TNS. But what I will say is that it has snowballed as the game has grown and is now a very complex beast. If in future versions of the game this process was simplified then perhaps it would be become more accessible.

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