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Cleon

The School Of Defensive Arts 2015

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My questions regarding your 'aggressive' post are:

1) You often talk about doing the opposite against teams who defend deep. So instead of going attacking, you go counter, slow it down, try and play around them and draw them out. I'm guessing that since you are playing defensive already that your set up to do that... so why the need to be more aggressive.. how do you know where the sweet spot it. (btw, I've done exactly as you've said with my side and it seems to work well now that I'm top of the league and most sides are deciding to hold back)

2) The other thing was that your midfield looked quite narrow and your front line looked narrow against them, so I didn't really see where you could be getting goals from. Surely in that situation you want to be using width? Was that not an option?

3) Also, at times they seem to only have one striker up front, but you've held back 3 defenders against him. Did that worry you?

1 - Well if I'm really deep and the opposition are really deep how am I going to be able to penetrate them and break them down if I don't push up that little bit higher, or close them down that little bit more? We'd both just be passing the ball around needlessly in our own half. That isn't going to win the game so sometimes you might need that little bit extra aggressiveness to make things happen. There is no sweet spot, you make a judgement call based on what you see happening currently in the game. If you are keeping an eye on the game then you know how its playing. If you don't then how are you supposed to know what's happening? The context of what is currently happening in a game is more important than anything else.

2 - It's supposed to be a narrow shape. The midfield does have width though when needed. Why do you see an issue with goals? How did you come to that conclusion based on how narrow/wide someone is? It's the supply the players get that is more important and how they link with the rest of the side. The screenshots don't show me that narrow though its just normal shape of the formation I am using. Three strikers majority of the time playing against 2 defenders, who do you think has the advantage in these situations? :D I always have the spare man!

3 - Why would I change something that works and worry about the AI for? I allow them to worry about me and don't really change my approach and the type of football I'm creating. Plus because I was slightly higher than normal and my defenders were on the half way line I also increased the risk of me being hit on counter attacks. The key to dealing with counter attacks is to not overcommit men forward and still have players positioned defensively to deal with such things :)

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I don't disagree with that the 4-1-4-1 is more defensively solid, why wouldn't it be. my own attempts at "defensive football with a punch" with that formation though all never made me feel that my team was consitently a threat going forward. The team in general was too deep (which somehow seemed to worsen when I used an Advanced forward or poacher. I can see one issue which is that playing s Bayern you have a really really hard time getting the opp to commit players forward most of the time. My defensive style 4-1-4-1 got me a 4-0 away win at Dortmund and a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge (which really should've been more like 5 or 6-1).

Against the teams sitting back and playing contain from minute 1 I generally hardly was able to regain possession and once we got it back either ran into a deep wall (yes, players running at defenses helps, but seeing players disrupt an ultra deep 4-5-1, 4-1-4-1 or 4-4-1-1 which are the most common formations you'll face in the Bundesliga with some running from deep has unfortunately been a rare sight. As said, my general feeling was that a lack of bodies in higher areas of the pitch prevented any sort of danger from unfolding before the other team was back in position as the lone striker was not able to mak the opp make decisions with all the defenders around him and no midfielder or winger was supporting early enough to make them pay for staying "home".

Again, I might've just used the wrong roles or shouts, maybe both. Maybe I was just not patient enough I don't know.

I had also tried the defensive approach with a flat 4-4-2 and it worked a lot better with the additional forward being there making runs and helping to pull away whatever defenders stayed back to allow the runners from deep to really attack space.

If I were you, I would probably move my MR/ML in AMR/AML spot and keep rest as it is. I mean, if your setup is solid defensive and you leak punch upfront, it is maybe because you only have one player upfront who can instantly put a pressure or threatening the space that defensive setup creates by sitting low. Both defensive setups from Cleon operate with formations which includes three men upfront. Diamond formation have two strikers and one AMC, 3-4-3 have three strikers. Yes, their roles are different, but the strategy is the same – sitting low and hit the opponent on the break. If you don’t have numbers higher on the pitch when you win the ball, is useless. Players who win the ball needs to have options higher on the pitch, if not they will pass it back or hoof – especially if they are under pressure.

Another thing you can do is implementing TIs like “push higher” up and “closing more” when you struggle to break down teams who sits deep, as Cleon have explained.

One thing that I don’t have answer to, and something that I’m still wondering, is role of players in AMR/AML (maybe Cleon can elaborate on this). Maybe not as much question about the role as question about mentality/duty – are they more effective being attacking or support. So far I keep it simple – if I have AMR/AML on support duty, then my fullbacks are attacking. If my AMR/AML are attacking, my fullbacks are on support. I don’t have any worries sending my fullbacks up as long my DM is on defending duty. And as Cleon have explained, I always have my striker on attacking duty in defensive setup.

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One thing that I don’t have answer to, and something that I’m still wondering, is role of players in AMR/AML (maybe Cleon can elaborate on this). Maybe not as much question about the role as question about mentality/duty – are they more effective being attacking or support. So far I keep it simple – if I have AMR/AML on support duty, then my fullbacks are attacking. If my AMR/AML are attacking, my fullbacks are on support. I don’t have any worries sending my fullbacks up as long my DM is on defending duty.

I like to see how they'll be operating on the the pitch then make a decision. So if I'm using an attacking mentality for example then they'll be placed really high and by giving them an attack duty it'll push them even further up. So for me, I'd be more inclined to give them support duties so they are deeper if it was a winger, IF or AP so they could use and influence the space in deeper situations. Those type of players you want to be effective in deeper positions rather than extremely high up the pitch. Plus on support they should do more defensive work, even if it isn't much it will still be better than someone shoved really high up the pitch. If I use a more defensive mentality like contain/defe/counter then I'd probably do the opposite as they'd be deeper to start with so they shouldn't be extremely high on attacking duties.

It's more complicated than that obviously due to what I'm wanting the player to do, the system used etc. But that's the gist of how I think about this kind of stuff :)

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If I were you, I would probably move my MR/ML in AMR/AML spot and keep rest as it is. I mean, if your setup is solid defensive and you leak punch upfront, it is maybe because you only have one player upfront who can instantly put a pressure or threatening the space that defensive setup creates by sitting low. Both defensive setups from Cleon operate with formations which includes three men upfront. Diamond formation have two strikers and one AMC, 3-4-3 have three strikers. Yes, their roles are different, but the strategy is the same – sitting low and hit the opponent on the break. If you don’t have numbers higher on the pitch when you win the ball, is useless. Players who win the ball needs to have options higher on the pitch, if not they will pass it back or hoof – especially if they are under pressure.

Another thing you can do is implementing TIs like “push higher” up and “closing more” when you struggle to break down teams who sits deep, as Cleon have explained.

One thing that I don’t have answer to, and something that I’m still wondering, is role of players in AMR/AML (maybe Cleon can elaborate on this). Maybe not as much question about the role as question about mentality/duty – are they more effective being attacking or support. So far I keep it simple – if I have AMR/AML on support duty, then my fullbacks are attacking. If my AMR/AML are attacking, my fullbacks are on support. I don’t have any worries sending my fullbacks up as long my DM is on defending duty. And as Cleon have explained, I always have my striker on attacking duty in defensive setup.

4-3-3 Wide is certainly offering more punch but you sacrifice defensive solidity in particular since at least one of those wide forwards needs to be on an attack duty otherwise they will track back a fair bit on defense duty (which is perfectly fine since it is only realistic. It takes me back to the point I made though - achieving the same playing style (defensive with a fair amount of "punch") seems to require at least 2 players in the AM and F stratas (both in the F or one in the F and the other one wide in the AM strate with an attack duty more likely if just 2 to be honest, I was also struggling to keep AMCs high enough up the pitch).

More closing down and a higher defensive line are quite natural things to deploy if you see teams keep ball in their own half, passing it around that poor fella up front that chases after the ball. it's another issue I have with the 4-1-4-1 - I struggle mightily to achieve any sort of high press with it. when teams go contain my wide midfielders happy mark and press the wide midfielder/a central midfielder of the opp, but nobody will get near the full backs or defensive mids - that's another story though and one that I get a felling might be ME related looking at the match stats of AI vs. AI teams as well.

Just about to set up another defensive ball retention tactic. Let's see how the 3-4-2-1 fares - it's a more natural fit for the players at my disposal than the 3-4-3 narrow...

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With respect, no, I think you've misinterpreted my issue.

Not really, I've just used what you've told me in this very thread, it's all there to see. You said you have issues and pinpointed which ones, I've explained why it happens and its down to you wanting to play a certain way yet instructing the players to be differently. There is no 2 ways about it :). You play defensive yet are crying out for something more aggressive or don't fully understand what using the defensive mentality entails. You've said yourself you are seeing players dwell on the ball and wasn't wanting that, you want more urgency in attacks or transition phases. Defensive mentality isn't the strategy you want.

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Cleon, one thing you never mention is set pieces. Do you use any custom instructions for those or just run default?

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Cleon, one thing you never mention is set pieces. Do you use any custom instructions for those or just run default?

I always leave default :)

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I wondered. I find the default setting are quite adventurous with every player set to "stay back if needed" leading to a lot of occasions where only one player holds the fort - a nightmare when multiple opponents leak out after an attacking corner. Arsenal just put 2 past me that way.

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Not really, I've just used what you've told me in this very thread, it's all there to see. You said you have issues and pinpointed which ones, I've explained why it happens and its down to you wanting to play a certain way yet instructing the players to be differently. There is no 2 ways about it :). You play defensive yet are crying out for something more aggressive or don't fully understand what using the defensive mentality entails. You've said yourself you are seeing players dwell on the ball and wasn't wanting that, you want more urgency in attacks or transition phases. Defensive mentality isn't the strategy you want.

No, you've misunderstood what I'm saying. I don't want aggressive. My problem with the wingbacks isn't that they're not rampaging up and down like Nilton Santos, it's that they're holding positions that leave them out of position in both attacking and defensive phases. I want the transitions slower so players can move cautiously into position. I've got the behaviour I want in a Defensive/Structured 4-2-3-1; I haven't been able to duplicate it yet in a system with wingbacks.

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It still comes back to the same thing, you are trying to implement two different strategies into one with the settings you use and roles used. So what is happening is you aren't playing either of them, you have some hybrid system which doesn't work. The roles you use do not suit what you are wanting. You want slower play from the wingbacks and for them to be more involved at times and be able to keep up with the ball. Well then don't use a TQ or RPM who both attract the ball centrally and take away from any kind of play out wide because the team channels play through playmakers. The wingbacks won't be able to keep up with play this way. Your roles don't compliment the style you want to create and this means the roles don't suit the tactic or work together as they should.

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I really fancied a game with them the other week but resisted for now. On older FM's I used to manage all 3 Sheffield teams, it took a bit of time but was incredibly enjoyable. Only fault was when I got so far and all competed in the same leagues :D

I have some PPM's in mind to enhance the style which I hope to post up this weekend. They are mainly for the roaming playmaker, defensive forward and ball playing defender though.

Apologies if I missed this, but what ppms did you choose for these roles?

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My next creation :-)

343-Diamond-formation-tactics.png..

I got an idea of how I want it to work, and am looking forward to running with it..just got the shape...gonna find me some time, and work on the roles...later

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this is an amazing thread and I've been following it intently.

This is one of three formations I currently have and familiiarity is still only halfway so Im not expecting it work to its maximum potential yet. However match training is set to tactics only, so hopefully this should be achieved in 6/8 more weeks.

I gave it a try in my last game, I'm at bristol city in 2016 in league one. I won my first 3 games and have assembled a decent squad who are capable of playing with defensive wingers, a DLP and a good defensive forward, Jon Walters.

I lost the game 3-0 at Preston but had 62% poss and 15 shots, the same as Preston. The goals conceded were a 25yd free kick, a free header from a set piece and the third was a breakaway goal as I was being more aggressive and conceding space in the final few minutes.

But I was genuinely impressed with how the tactic worked and I did create some good chances. And again, when I have higher familiarity, I think it will work even better.

Reading this thread has blown me away and shown what opportunities exist and how you can move away from formulaic formations if you're willing to invest a bit of time and thought into how you play.

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Apologies if I missed this, but what ppms did you choose for these roles?

I've not added it yet, didn't get the time like planned as I broke my ankle again :D

My next creation :-)

343-Diamond-formation-tactics.png..

I got an idea of how I want it to work, and am looking forward to running with it..just got the shape...gonna find me some time, and work on the roles...later

This is what I'd be playing if Libero worked but it doesn't on FM15, they don't go forward even with the perfect player with PPM's. It's like they hit an invisible wall once they reach DM spot and regardless of space and options they have, they drop back off and go back and defend :(

this is an amazing thread and I've been following it intently.

This is one of three formations I currently have and familiiarity is still only halfway so Im not expecting it work to its maximum potential yet. However match training is set to tactics only, so hopefully this should be achieved in 6/8 more weeks.

I gave it a try in my last game, I'm at bristol city in 2016 in league one. I won my first 3 games and have assembled a decent squad who are capable of playing with defensive wingers, a DLP and a good defensive forward, Jon Walters.

I lost the game 3-0 at Preston but had 62% poss and 15 shots, the same as Preston. The goals conceded were a 25yd free kick, a free header from a set piece and the third was a breakaway goal as I was being more aggressive and conceding space in the final few minutes.

But I was genuinely impressed with how the tactic worked and I did create some good chances. And again, when I have higher familiarity, I think it will work even better.

Reading this thread has blown me away and shown what opportunities exist and how you can move away from formulaic formations if you're willing to invest a bit of time and thought into how you play.

Glad you enjoy the thread and are able to implement the ideas in your own save :)

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Cleon. I know you have had success with defensive football before, (both defensively and offensively), and I know you will not be sticking rigidly to a particular mentality with this, but... with the exception of contain, (which you have already spoken negatively about within this framework), would you care to expand on some of the other options?

The reason I ask is because I have done relatively well defensively with both standard and control, (14 goals conceded through a full Serie A season), and 3 of those goals came in the last 4 games of the season when I/we got sloppy.

Just as you have seen attacking football played with defensive mentality, do you agree that you can also play defensive football with more attacking mentalities?

(Apologies if I have stolen your thunder from a future post).

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You can be defensively solid and retain the ball and win it back as early as possible high up the pitch. That's different to defensive football though as you aren't sitting back hitting teams on the break and being patient, you'd be going full on pressuring to win the ball back as early as possible and not allow the opposition space and time.

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Ok so there I am in my 4th season at WBA, and my scout returns to me with news that I should be securing the signature of this 18 year old

PtEGRQ0.jpg

Hesitate no way!, so i decide to build an entire system to showcase his talents, and I will be making that 343 diamond i showed earlier...only thing i noticed, like you and others have rightly pointed out is the entire absence of a libero, and because I absolutely need one for my system of play i could experiment with a halfback or DM(D) in that position, not ideal but it could be fun for league cup matches. I messed with it in our last league cup game and won that handsomely 3-0. This should be fun.

LOL and 1 game in and the tactic is FLUID :-)

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Excellent thread as ever, brilliant at helping to understand the ME and how to react to the opposition.

Also beginning to inspire me to an attacking, high pressing 3-4-3...need to think about how to implement the roles. Wondering whether to fill the team with roles that naturally press and if I could finally use a BWM successfully. Just as a first thought thinking along the lines of...

SK (D)

CB (X)

CB (S)

CB (X)

DW (S)

BWM (D)

RPM (S)

DW (S)

SS (A)

DLF (S)

DF (D)

Main thing I'm wondering initially is will my front '3' all be coming from too deep and will the cm offer enough protection to the defence.

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The challenge I have is desperately wanting someone to play even like a libero, and since i know in attack the system will look a lot different, I am pretty comfortable using a DM using 2 DCs only. So far its worked quite well...he drops back to form a 3 and sometimes I can even get a 5.

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This was my first attempt..gonna put up a series of images that showcase my first goal in our first game that we used this version, we have since played 15 games and I have settled on a system thats slightly different from the one i posted here. We started out this system system..

0YfP3Q3.jpg

I wasn't happy with the static LPD, cos he hardly moved out of his zone, so I did tweak the settings somewhere during the game. to get this series of screens. The circled guy here is supposed to be the LPD

WgJhWEa.jpg

36hY5s2.jpg

And transitioning to attack, note how deep my wingbacks are, not nice.

YnYlR1h.jpg

TXr7bh7.jpg

I need to tweak some of the settings, but I am leaning more and more towards just using a DLP there to get the libero effect.

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cleon.

now is it time to show your top scorer and number of goals scored?

Why is it? What purpose does it serve to the thread and the idea behind it? By me adding the amount of goals scored and my top scorer (which is a lot btw) what does it add to the whole thread and current discussion? I fail to see why it's important or needed.

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Why is it? What purpose does it serve to the thread and the idea behind it? By me adding the amount of goals scored and my top scorer (which is a lot btw) what does it add to the whole thread and current discussion? I fail to see why it's important or needed.

its not at all. im just curious

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As it adds no purpose then it won't be added. I haven't played FM for 3 months.

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i think this thread is great so i have decided to have ago myself. i will be using man united with the aim of conceding as little as possible. im hoping to create a counter attacking tactic (probably not an idea with me being man united but i like the sound of it)

forgive me for implementing some ideas from various other threads but im only learning!

this is the formation i have gone for (similar to cleons i know)

UzMx88y.jpg

the idea is the DM defends the area between the def and mid. hopefully helping to start the counters with a simple pass to the DLP.

CM to help with the supply to the top two the BWM to help hassle the opposition high up the field to again assist with counters.

the DWs are simply to give width and to defend the flanks from marauding wingers.

The DLF to drop deep to pick up the balls from the midfielders, using his strength and vision to feed a pass for the poacher who hopefully will be looking for space to move into.

these are team instructions. i want to keep it simple as im unsure about these? i must add im using a fluid mentality due to the lack of specialist roles.

Y0bKuqX.png

i know im on about countering but i have selected to stand off as im hoping to compact any space there might be by using the selected roles?

i have probably got this all wrong but thats what these forums are for, right??

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I haven't had much luck with those type of setups mate. The DWs can get too far forward and that space behind him will be expioted. I would rather try a 3-1-4-2 or a 3-5-2 instead if I were you

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Great work as always Cleon! Would be interested to see a thread using the same shape but an attacking mentality to see how the roles and instructions would differ.

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i think this thread is great so i have decided to have ago myself. i will be using man united with the aim of conceding as little as possible. im hoping to create a counter attacking tactic (probably not an idea with me being man united but i like the sound of it)

forgive me for implementing some ideas from various other threads but im only learning!

this is the formation i have gone for (similar to cleons i know)

UzMx88y.jpg

the idea is the DM defends the area between the def and mid. hopefully helping to start the counters with a simple pass to the DLP.

CM to help with the supply to the top two the BWM to help hassle the opposition high up the field to again assist with counters.

the DWs are simply to give width and to defend the flanks from marauding wingers.

The DLF to drop deep to pick up the balls from the midfielders, using his strength and vision to feed a pass for the poacher who hopefully will be looking for space to move into.

these are team instructions. i want to keep it simple as im unsure about these? i must add im using a fluid mentality due to the lack of specialist roles.

Y0bKuqX.png

i know im on about countering but i have selected to stand off as im hoping to compact any space there might be by using the selected roles?

i have probably got this all wrong but thats what these forums are for, right??

Can't really see this working at all, the two defenders will be run ragged and leave the middle exposed when they go out wide and deal with the threat from the flanks. Even if the DMC ended up being okay and picking people up, it still won't be enough.

Great work as always Cleon! Would be interested to see a thread using the same shape but an attacking mentality to see how the roles and instructions would differ.

Everyone already writes about the more aggressive tactics already so I doubt I'll be doing anything more.

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You can play defensive without using the defensive mentality...

I will try something like this:

DC x

BPD c

DC x

DW s

Bbm s

Dlp d

Dw s

T a

Dlf s

AF s

I know it isn't full flat...

Ti

Retain

Short pass

Play out defence

Work ball

Play narrow

Be more discipline

For the future will be the low tempo

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Can't really see this working at all, the two defenders will be run ragged and leave the middle exposed when they go out wide and deal with the threat from the flanks. Even if the DMC ended up being okay and picking people up, it still won't be enough.

Everyone already writes about the more aggressive tactics already so I doubt I'll be doing anything more.

ha yes you were right i kept losing. will try another formation

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I really love this thread - it's given me an answer to why my 5-2-3 seems to be better at putting pressure on enemy defences when on 'defensive' than on 'attacking'.

One question - would you say that, say, that the style of the real-life Spanish national team would be 'defensive', when put in FM terms? They seem to be mostly slow and patient in their attacks and seem to use their possession as a way to reduce risks. The main difference, of course, would be that in FM terms they'd be on very high closing down and very high defensive line which helps their possession stat but also hurts their shape.

Second question - since the point of having a static attacking player (such as a TM or poacher) is to provide someone high up the pitch to aim at to relive pressure on the defence - would a trequartista in one of the striker spots work? I know that is the complete opposite of a static role, but if I want someone to aim for in the opponent's half (and don't have tall strong strikers), I would want to 'clear' the ball to a player that I can consistently find in space.

Thanks!

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what are everyones thoughts re: using defensive wingers on support vs using wide midfielders on support? i think the defensive winger holds position a bit better but is prone to getting caught in possession in the final third while running with the ball for too long. the wide midfielder is great for a possession based system as they don't run with the ball too often and rather look for a pass into the middle of the park. but this is from watching games on extended highlights, i simply don't have the time to run matches on comprehensive or even full. any thoughts? why do people tend to go for defensive wingers?

I went for defensive wingers because it suited what I created more than wide midfielders. I also didn't want to leave myself fully exposed down the flanks so opted for a role that works very hard in defensive phases and is more focused on defending than attacking. They still attack but are a lot more cautious.

Hi Cleon,

Thanks for the great thread. Could I ask how have you found your tactic performing during the winter period; does the short passing game still perform well in poor pitch conditions?

The reason I ask is I have read many times on these forums that a short passing tactic becomes unstuck during matches played in poor conditions but I am unsure if this only happens in tactics that are more attacking based with high tempo and short passing.

Thanks again :)

Remember that it doesn't mean the whole team have shorter passing, it just sets the passing shorter based on their role and mentality used. So for most players it will still be more normal/direct and will be slightly shorter than normal. It's not actually short passing. So in the winter months it's still okay.

I really love this thread - it's given me an answer to why my 5-2-3 seems to be better at putting pressure on enemy defences when on 'defensive' than on 'attacking'.

One question - would you say that, say, that the style of the real-life Spanish national team would be 'defensive', when put in FM terms? They seem to be mostly slow and patient in their attacks and seem to use their possession as a way to reduce risks. The main difference, of course, would be that in FM terms they'd be on very high closing down and very high defensive line which helps their possession stat but also hurts their shape.

Second question - since the point of having a static attacking player (such as a TM or poacher) is to provide someone high up the pitch to aim at to relive pressure on the defence - would a trequartista in one of the striker spots work? I know that is the complete opposite of a static role, but if I want someone to aim for in the opponent's half (and don't have tall strong strikers), I would want to 'clear' the ball to a player that I can consistently find in space.

Thanks!

The thing about real life tactics is they can be multiple different things depending on the situation or scenario. So it's possible they are defensive and it's also possible they could be counter attacking, controlling and attacking. It all depends on the phase of play.

If you clear the ball then you aren't really focusing on a player to aim for, you're just hitting it long in the hope someone gets on the end of it. A treq would be rather deep and almost like a MC though at times so it's probably not the best role to use if you want someone to aim for in the final third. You'd want a role that didn't drop as deep.

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I might have an update for this thread sometime this week if people are interested and I actually get it finished.

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As would I. Thanks for your help!

One more question for Cleon - I usually struggle (especially when using a similar formation to yours) when my opponents play a flat 4-3-3. As in, if they are chasing the game and switch to a formation with three central midfielders and central strikers. I find that having 3 central defenders to their 3 strikers in a 3v3 means that any mistakes I make are punished very quickly. Also, even though I have 4 in the midfield, the wide midfielders are too wide to get involved, so they have a 3v2 advantage in the middle of the pitch. This means that when my opponents attack, they consistently have a 5v4 advantage moving forwards. The only way I was able to mitigate the risk somewhat was to increase closing down, to try and scupper their buildup play before their forwards can get into position. However, that comes at the cost of compromising my own defensive shape.

Have AI teams used a flat 4-3-3 against your defensive 3-4-3 before, and what tweaks (if any) did you use to counteract that?

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I'm really surprised no-one has mentioned or asked a single question about the analysis in post 127 especially as a lot of you have been asking how to be a bit more aggressive at times.....

So when you added the push higher up, close down and higher tempo shouts did you keep any of your previous shouts such as shorter passing and retain possession?

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There are two big myths on this version of Football Manager and they are, it’s impossible to keep clean sheets and you can’t use tactics that aren’t attacking or any that use low defensive lines. Those are simply not true and you can play that way and be successful, "you just have to understand what you are creating."

You just have to understand what you are creating? You mean, you have to understand the minds of the creators of this game to be successful. The game is overall a air plain mess. Nothing realistic about it.

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Please don't post in this thread again unless you can be constructive. Although I suspect your time on these particular forums is about to end.

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Cleon, a couple of questions if you don't mind to answer:

Regarding to a defensive 4-4-2

1)What kind of tactical measures would you take when facing a team with a formation that has more players on midfield than a 4-4-2?

2)How important is it for strikers to help in the defensive phase? Is it possible to create a consistenly defensive 4-4-2 tactic with striker neglecting their defensive responsabilities?

3)Is it possible to replicate in the current ME the defensive behavoir of modern strikers/attacking midfielders in real life tactics? Im talking about the way managers like Simeone and Mourinho instruct their strikers to drop off and not press the opposition's defenders but to actually cut down the passing angle towards their MC's, lining up in a 4-4-2-0 of sorts. I'm sure you understand the concept :D

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Cleon: What type of player suits the defensive forward role in your front three? And what is his job? I get that the poacher occupies the centre backs and plays on the shoulder, the DLF links the midfield and the attack, but I can't really see what the DFd does as his primary job (other than closing down). I also don't really know what type of player to put there, I'm currently playing Alexis Sanchez in the DFd role because of his high work rate and teamwork.

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Cleon: What type of player suits the defensive forward role in your front three? And what is his job? I get that the poacher occupies the centre backs and plays on the shoulder, the DLF links the midfield and the attack, but I can't really see what the DFd does as his primary job (other than closing down). I also don't really know what type of player to put there, I'm currently playing Alexis Sanchez in the DFd role because of his high work rate and teamwork.

It's an hard working role, defending from the front so to speak. He hassles defender's, DMC's and forces them to make choices they wouldn't normally have to do and a lot of times he causes them to make mistakes or pick the wrong options.

The player you use there all depends on what you are wanting from the front 3 and how it complements your style. Then you pick a player who fills those requirements. It'll be different for everyone.

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I don't use match training. The thread is also about understanding the concept of defensive football and how some can judge it to mean shutting up shop and staying camped in your own half, yet in fact, defensive football can be as positive or negative as you like and there is no reason it can't be attacking and play really good football. I also wanted to showcase something RT picked up on and that was slow patient play in the final third, a lot of people believed this not to be possible and players always shoot and waste good opportunities rather than being patient they always rush things. I'm disproving that myth and you'll see a lot more of the same kind of stuff posted in the 120 second clip I posted above.

Jose Mourinho approves of this thread!

Apart from the start of this season, I think Chelsea's style reflects this approach

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Any thoughts on how I can adapt this style of play to a 4141 in FM16?

I'm currently playing:

Defensive

Flexible

Retain possession

Shorter passing

Much lower tempo

Work ball into box

Play out from defense

Be more disciplined

GK - GKd

RB - WBa

CB - CDd

CB- CDd

LB - WBs

DM - DMd

MR - Wide playmaker support

MC - CMa

MC - DLPs

ML - WMa

ST - Poacher

I'm hoping to sit deep and hit teams on the break, when the counter isn't on I just want to keep possession and play a low risk game. Possession hasn't been an issue, but my team just isn't countering. Cleon is adamant about having a static striker on an attack duty, so I've gone with a poacher, but he's very isolated. The WMa and CMa just aren't supporting him quickly enough.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Cleon is adamant about having a static striker on an attack duty, so I've gone with a poacher, but he's very isolated.

But Cleon doesn't say to have a lone striker as a Poacher - in the 343 the static striker is closely supported by two other pseudo-strikers. A Poacher as a lone striker will always be isolated.

In your set up, you need your striker to be able to hold the ball up better for your midfield runners to support, and probably someone who will drop deep. Try a DLF instead.

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Lone striker formations have come up in this thread a few times already and an attack duty striker has been recommended each time by clean.

I initially used a DLFs, and then a CFs, before switching to a poacher. The support strikers were always too deep to be a proper outlet imo, and the poacher is an improvement on that. However, whenever he gets the ball he's all on his own and ends up losing it. TMa might be something to experiment with, since he'll hold up the ball once he gets it.

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Lone striker formations have come up in this thread a few times already and an attack duty striker has been recommended each time by clean.

I initially used a DLFs, and then a CFs, before switching to a poacher. The support strikers were always too deep to be a proper outlet imo, and the poacher is an improvement on that. However, whenever he gets the ball he's all on his own and ends up losing it. TMa might be something to experiment with, since he'll hold up the ball once he gets it.

Actually I am not adamant on a static striker. I am for the set up I used but that's not a hard and fast rule applied to everything. It was just for this very specific style that is all.

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