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Jambo98

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Cheers chaps, lets see if the approach can work for a third consecutive season. After that i might start the far bigger challenge of making it work for QPR!

Close Season

So i wont go into all the detail i did last time around what i do between seasons, since its clearly the same thing! With promotion again there are more staff slots available and we can now scout the entire world, both of which impact my decision making.

I will detail a little of what i looked at in tactical changes and recruitment.

Tactical

Overall, its hard to fault a tactic which brought us back to back promotions. I do have one concern, which is that we are not getting goals from out ST position at all. Gardyne got 8 last year, Jordan Moore got 2. The January loan from Milan, Baretta, was a disaster and didnt score in 8 games. I think in total, including a couple of reserves, we got around 14 goals from the ST for the entire season. Both our BBM and CM(a) out scored the ST for the second season in a row.

Of course the way the tactic is set up, with a DLF(s), the striker is not expected to be a 30 goal per season man, but i would like a little bit more. Therefore my only change to the tactic between seasons is to change the DLF(s) to a F9. On paper, that doesnt seem like it will suddenly change his goal scoring potential, but i have had reasonably good experience in the past getting an F9 to bang in some goals, with the right type of player.

The rest of the tactic stays unchanged - We are now massive underdogs for every game (tipped to finish last, we are 2000/1 to win it, the next worst is 500/1) but i believe my system is not tied to being favorites or not.

Recruitment

Well this was a huge challenge. As mentioned above, we hit 2 problems. Firstly, we had been reliant on our chairman who had pumped in money regularly when we were making a loss to keep us fairly even. He never gave us more than about a 60K transfer budget, but his investments meant we were able to sustain a good wage budget despite often making a loss. When we got promoted, 2 things happened. Firstly we had to install undersoil heating, which cost us almost a million. Then i decided to ask for a youth facilities upgrade as i really want my youth to develop more. The board agreed, but that was another 800K.

This meant that the wage budget for next year was reduced by nearly 30%. Luckily i had been no where near using it, but it did mean that i had next to no room once promotion raises had been applied. The transfer budget was also tiny, so not much room to adjust using that.

Then the take over nonsense starts and we get hit by an embargo 4 days after the window opens, which is not removed until 2 weeks before the window closes. So our pre-season cant be used to bed in new players. The take over is a french guy and he pumps in the crazy sum of £95K when taking over....well that ought to help......

So recruitment is a little behind the curve, and our squad building ends up with:

GK - We secured young Juve Keeper Emil Audero on a bosman. At 19 he is already great for this level and can grow, also has an U21 cap for Italy. To save wages we sold both last years experienced keepers, and we revert to having a youth backup keeper.

LB - We go with the same pairing. Antonio Luque has not really developed much and is now 22, but he will just about be passable for now. turned down £90k from Alaves for him on deadline day. David October continues as backup and unlike Luque he has actually improved quite a bit, so will push for more starts.

RB - Losing our loanee here and not being able to get anyone in during the Embargo hurt. We hit the loan market and picked the best looking available attacking RB from the loan list, who is Ondrej Herc, a 23yr old Czech from Slavia Prague. For the third year in a row Michael Miller will be backup, and whilst he is poor technically he doesnt moan and can cover a few positions so not a bad bench player.

CB - A bit of a quandry. Sean Crichton has been consistently one of our best performers, but he doesnt really look SPL quality looking at his attributes or Ass Man CA rating. But he performs, so he stays. Willie McNamara, in his 3rd season of development is really growing so he is a starter candidate. Last years Dane signing, Morten Koch is rated our best CB, and we found another young dane, Rasmus Nicolaisen who is even higher rated. So its 2 danes and 2 scots, and no clear first choice pairing so far.

DLP - Paul Lawson looks rather poor for the SPL but with funds tight he will need to do. His backup, Tisder was too woeful to keep and our young Scottish prospect in the position went to Dundee on a bosman. One of last seasons youth signings, the portugese Fabio Esteves has shown great development and will come into fight for this position. Good to see a youth signing progress

CM / BBM - These are fairly interchangeable. We again have quandary. Joe McKee and Ross Forbes have been with us since League One, and our 2 best players the last 2 seasons. Forbes has top scored both years from midfield. Again though, neither really looks like they should be that good based on attributes and rating! However, we stick with them and give them a chance. Rotating in across both positions is Lewis Milne, who is on paper our best midfielder. The 4th role goes to a young Scot we signed last year and loaned out - Jack Blake, at 21 is a former Notts Forrest prospect and a good fit for 4th choice

ML - We stick with last years combo again. Serge Nyuiadzi and his electric pace were brilliant last year and he looks more than good enough for the SPL at this stage. Florien Julien backs him up and has versatility across 3 or 4 positions making him again a useful squad piece

MR - Another where we lost our starter when a loan expired. We lucked out here, scouts finding Kevin Tano on a free. Dutch/Ghanian he has real ability and is right away the highest rated player in our squad. Connor Pepper returns as backup, despite being not really good enough for the SPL.

ST - The last real need for us in the window was to find a striker. Jordan Moore didnt pan out, a stalled prospect who i released to free up wages. We struggled to find a suitable player, most of the free agent market wanted wages above what i could afford on my meagre budget. So we hit the loan market. A 20yr old Spaniard from Juventus reserves, Hector Otin comes in on loan. He has real ability by the looks of it, but we have to hope he settles better than last years loan from a top Italian club! Michael Gardyne sticks around as backup, aided by the fact that he can also play on either wing if called upon. We have a couple of nice ST prospects in the U21s who might get some game time.

So on we go - Pre-season was again just a bunch of friendlies against cannon fodder to get morale up, and its time for the real action to start!

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August

League Cup - Annan 0 v 3 Morton - Comfortable against lower league team. This was pre embargo lifting, so pretty much last seasons squad minus the ended loans at this point. No tweaks

SPL - Morton 1 v 1 Ross County - Again not a strong squad yet so a point is a decent start. No tweaks, at this point letting the tactic run a few games to see how it sits at the higher level

SPL - Dundee 4 v 1 Morton - Ouch. Rude awakening time. We had a man sent off in only 36mins and couldnt cope with 10men. No tweaks, and not over reacting since the sending off changed everything.

SPL - Morton 4 v 0 Rangers - Now thats more like it! Still no signings by this point, but what a satisfying result. No tweaks as we looked comfortable throughout

SPL - St Mirren 5 v 2 Morton - And back to earth....Poor game, one new signing now in the side (Tano) but we were all over the shop at the back. No tweaks as still just letting things run

League Cup - Morton 2 v 0 Raith - Rotated squad, still only Tano of the new signings available but still came through with a nice win and total domination throughout

SPL - Morton 1 v 0 Partick Thistle - Important win for us. All the new signings now in, but lacking in fitness at this point. Gardyne off the bench with a nice winner and we didnt tweak even though i was tempted near the end.

Summary

Overall a fairly good first month, particularly considering the recruitment situation. We sit 7th in the league at the end of August with 7pts from 5 games. Defense looks to be the worry, as going forward we are equal top scorers at this early stage.

I will start to use my 2 in game tweaks a little next month likely. We have drawn Rangers away in the league cup which should help the finances a bit.

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September

SPL - Inverness 0 v 2 Morton - An accomplished away performance. The young Spaniard getting his first 2 goals and we were in command from early so need to tweak

SPL - Aberdeen 1 v 1 Morton - A very good away point. We were a goal down early but battled to stay in it. We used "exploit flanks" at 55mins as they had a narrow formation, we then flipped to defensive at 80mins as they were on top and we had already equalised. Worth settling for a point at that stage

League Cup - Rangers 0 v 2 Morton - We do love playing rangers! A nice win, another goal and assist from the Spaniard had us in control by HT and we played it out with no tweaks.

SPL - Morton 2 v 2 Dundee Utd - A great game, 3 days after the Ibrox trip meaning we had to rotate quite a bit so it was a weaker side. We found ourselfs 2 down in the first 20mins against the run of play. We battled hard and dominated from then on, getting back to 2 all with 35mins to go, and laying siege from the on. 5 Great chances to win it, but a point is still a good result against Utd

Summary

We are nicely placed in 4th at the end of this month, and into the League Cup quarters. We lost out backup LB for 5mins to injury, so a youth is promoted as cover. Elsewhere the Spaniard up front looks lively and we are still rotating our Scots/Danish partnerships at centre back.

Early days for the season, but the simple approach appears to still be working nicely :)

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October

SPL - Morton 4 v 0 Hearts - Wow. We couldnt beat them last season, but an absolutely cruise this time. 3 nil by half time, the slight worry being that Hector Otin, after scoring again, picked up a 3 week injury. No tactical tweaks

SPL - Celtic 1 v 3 Morton - And what a follow up! We go to parkhead, home of the champions, without our star striker, and we are 3 nil up after 70mins! I go defensive just to make sure at that point, they get one back but what a victory

SPL - St Johnstone 0 v 1 Morton - Much more of a grind out, a set piece goal and we go defensive at 70mins to protect the win which will take us to the top of the SPL!!

League Cup - Morton 2 v 0 Dundee Utd - 2 more goals for the returning Otin, with an otherwise heavily rotated squad doing the business again as we make it 10 games unbeaten (with 8 wins). No tweaks needed

Summary

Unbelievable Jeff. One round of SPL fixtures complete, and we sit proudly at the top of the SPL. We also have a cup semi final against Aberdeen, with Celtic out of that cup we could have a shot at glory. The team is playing great, the new signings mostly fitting in nicely (Tano has been a bit injured and inconsistent) and the youth i promoted, Esteves, has 3 goals in 5 games from DLP. Everything is going well. Too well im sure! No way i see us keeping this up but we are already pretty much assured of exceeding expectations.

I appreciate this is a bit of a "wierd" thread, since the tactical updates are actually "non updates" because the entire point is not to manage the tactic. Hopefully its still making sense to some people and not becoming like a career thread, which it is absolutely not intended to be. Its showing that you can manage simply and do well - Even the tweaks i do make are almost always simple overall mentality modifications (and just accepting the knock on changes that come with it)

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I'm so impressed by this thread, you've brought the fun back.

What would you say was the main factor in your success then? Is it simply using the correct players within a tactical framework, then finding even better players each year? Could it really be that simple?!

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November

SPL - Morton 4 v 1 Dundee - Another easy win. We went behind in only 2mins to a pen, but quickly bounced back to lead 3 v 1 by half time. 2 more for Otin and no tweaks needed

SPL - Ross County 0 v 2 Morton - Another nice away win where we were not dominant, but never looked threatened. A first half goal from Otin set us on the way and i didnt tweak, Milne adding a second on the hour made me feel safe enough

Scottish Cup - Morton 1 v 1 Dunfermline - Winning run ends at 6 as we draw at home to a L1 side. Very disappointing, even with a bit of rotation. We went attacking at 60mins, scored to take the lead at 79 so switched to defensive, only to concede a 92min goal from a set piece.

Summary

Another good month in the league, and we remain top at the end of the month. The cup draw at home was a poor result and hopefully not the start of a slide. We have a couple of injuries but nothing long term other than the second choice LB, and Otin up front continues to be the main man.

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I'm so impressed by this thread, you've brought the fun back.

What would you say was the main factor in your success then? Is it simply using the correct players within a tactical framework, then finding even better players each year? Could it really be that simple?!

Thats a great question actually and an important one. If anyone else tries to just "copy" this and apply it and then gets annoyed because they dont win the league, it will likely be down to not understanding why it works.

There are a few aspects in my mind:

Get the basics of the tactic right - The tactic you use must be fundementally sound. Its not a super tactic, but it is well thought out and most importantly balanced. It doesnt rely on one type of play or exploiting one type of situation - This means its less likely to be impacted by other teams adapting

Get the rest of the basics right - Set up set pieces correctly. This can really make a difference. You might no think it, but can be worth a 10 goal swing a season, which might translate to as much as 10 - 12 pts. Think how different the league table looks with or without that

Manage the squad - Its a long season, you need to manage morale, happiness, match fitness and balance it against the need to keep the team on the pitch strong. Throw in the desire to develop youth somewhat, and this is a really big and important part of the game

Use the right players in the right positions - This seems obvious, but you need suitable players. In my setup for example, the left and right fullbacks are totally different. So having a defensive type RB and a flying LB would knock things totally out - I need players who have some of the right qualities for the role i am asking them to play

Improve your squad whenever you can - This is key. Scouting is important, judgement of what you need in a player is too. Take every advantage available. Steal amatuer players, use the loan market, sign players you know about from other saves. At the same time, consider gelling and try not to replace everyone at once.

Manage training and staff - Again, basics of the game. Get your staff right, get the best coaches, physios and scouts available to you. Then set up training properly. No need to micro manage, but make sure you have team training and match prep set up to suit your preference, get your tactic fluid in pre-season and make sure individual training is set up

Have reasonable expectations - This is absolutely key and maybe doesnt come across in the thread so far, since i have been promoted twice. This approach is not likely to take a small team and make them win the league right away. Do not take over Sunderland and expect to get into the champions league in season one. You need to build on smaller over achievements. I think if/when i get round to trying this at QPR this might come across more. If you want to win the league with Hull inside 2 years, it wont happen with this approach. To do that you need to exploit the AI, otherwise the game just is not realistic.

Accept a slump - Linked to the above, and probably where most people give up with this. You might lose 4 in a row at one point, you might go 6 without a win. It happens, and you cant micro manage your way out of it. Look at the bigger picture, the overall season and dont rage quit.

Those are the bits that come to mind :)

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December

SPL - Rangers 3 v 2 Morton - hmm. 3 nil down at half time produces a rage team talk and and a move to attacking to try and battle back. ALmost worked but not quite enough. We are lacking confidence at the back currently

Scottish Cup - Dunfermline 3 v 3 Morton (Dunfermline win on Pens) - This is becoming a concern. 2 nil down, then 3 v 1 down. We went attacking at 2 nil down, overload at 3 v 1 and battled back to 3 v 3. We were out on our feet and pens again cost us

SPL - Morton 1 v 1 St Mirren - Again decent performance, but only a draw. We had to come from back from behind again but chose not to tweak as we try to break out of this mini slump

SPL - Partick 1 v 0 Morton - Ok officially a slump now. Game could have gone either way, we had marginally the better but we couldnt get a goal and gave away a pen. Couple more injuries now pilling up. No tweaks

SPL - Morton 0 v 1 Inverness - And it goes to 6 without a win and we look a shadow of our formal side. We were by far the better team, Inverness had a total of 3 shots and only one on target, which was the goal. I didnt tweak again, nothing is working at the moment. Time for a team meeting.

SPL - Morton 3 v 0 Aberdeen - Now that is more like it. Couple back from injury, a team meeting to sort morale and a lovely win. We added "retain possession" at 3 nil up in the 55th minute just to keep it under control and played so much better than recently

SPL - Dundee Utd 1 v 3 Morton - A test for the recovery as Utd went ahead in the first half. We roared back and only tweak was to go defensive at 75mins at 2 v 1 in the lead, and again we added on an insurance goal late. We are back on form.

Summary

A mixed month. We started it with an awful slump. Including the end of November, we went 6 games without a win in all contests, including 4 defeats (counting the pens game as defeat). However we bounced back and we hit the half way mark in the season in an incredible second place. 4pts behind Celtic but also 4pts clear of 3rd place. 9pts clear of 7th place means it would be a bit of a disappointment now not to make the top 6. That would be quite an over achievement.

Its also transfer window, but we are in a bad place financially. I cant see us adding anyone unless we are forced to sell. We have very little wage budget free and no transfer budget, with an overall debt of nearly half million. We just hope not to lose anyone at this stage.

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Thats a great question actually and an important one. If anyone else tries to just "copy" this and apply it and then gets annoyed because they dont win the league, it will likely be down to not understanding why it works.

There are a few aspects in my mind:

Get the basics of the tactic right - The tactic you use must be fundementally sound. Its not a super tactic, but it is well thought out and most importantly balanced. It doesnt rely on one type of play or exploiting one type of situation - This means its less likely to be impacted by other teams adapting

Get the rest of the basics right - Set up set pieces correctly. This can really make a difference. You might no think it, but can be worth a 10 goal swing a season, which might translate to as much as 10 - 12 pts. Think how different the league table looks with or without that

Manage the squad - Its a long season, you need to manage morale, happiness, match fitness and balance it against the need to keep the team on the pitch strong. Throw in the desire to develop youth somewhat, and this is a really big and important part of the game

Use the right players in the right positions - This seems obvious, but you need suitable players. In my setup for example, the left and right fullbacks are totally different. So having a defensive type RB and a flying LB would knock things totally out - I need players who have some of the right qualities for the role i am asking them to play

Improve your squad whenever you can - This is key. Scouting is important, judgement of what you need in a player is too. Take every advantage available. Steal amatuer players, use the loan market, sign players you know about from other saves. At the same time, consider gelling and try not to replace everyone at once.

Manage training and staff - Again, basics of the game. Get your staff right, get the best coaches, physios and scouts available to you. Then set up training properly. No need to micro manage, but make sure you have team training and match prep set up to suit your preference, get your tactic fluid in pre-season and make sure individual training is set up

Have reasonable expectations - This is absolutely key and maybe doesnt come across in the thread so far, since i have been promoted twice. This approach is not likely to take a small team and make them win the league right away. Do not take over Sunderland and expect to get into the champions league in season one. You need to build on smaller over achievements. I think if/when i get round to trying this at QPR this might come across more. If you want to win the league with Hull inside 2 years, it wont happen with this approach. To do that you need to exploit the AI, otherwise the game just is not realistic.

Accept a slump - Linked to the above, and probably where most people give up with this. You might lose 4 in a row at one point, you might go 6 without a win. It happens, and you cant micro manage your way out of it. Look at the bigger picture, the overall season and dont rage quit.

Those are the bits that come to mind :)

These are very nice take aways on the approach.... It seems very easy and logical when you read it but the hard part is to actually practice this when you start playing. I belive that the devil is the detail day-one and into the pre-season.... After that you should have the details in place and it should not be necessary to do any major changes.... If you do then you have failed - either in not having a solid plan, understanding it or not sticking to it.

I would say that once started you should stick to the initial plan at least until the January window before evaluating or even considering changing anything major. Unless you got your plan all wrong you should be able to start producing results fairly quickly - and all good plans contain a plan A, B or even C :)

Take Jambo's list and use it as a checklist before you press continue.... And maybe even before that you can get inspired by reading Jambo's DNA thread or Rashidi's Bust the Net.... Again Managers with a clear plan and approach.

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Thats a great question actually and an important one. If anyone else tries to just "copy" this and apply it and then gets annoyed because they dont win the league, it will likely be down to not understanding why it works.

There are a few aspects in my mind:

Have reasonable expectations - This is absolutely key and maybe doesnt come across in the thread so far, since i have been promoted twice. This approach is not likely to take a small team and make them win the league right away. Do not take over Sunderland and expect to get into the champions league in season one. You need to build on smaller over achievements. I think if/when i get round to trying this at QPR this might come across more. If you want to win the league with Hull inside 2 years, it wont happen with this approach. To do that you need to exploit the AI, otherwise the game just is not realistic.

Accept a slump - Linked to the above, and probably where most people give up with this. You might lose 4 in a row at one point, you might go 6 without a win. It happens, and you cant micro manage your way out of it. Look at the bigger picture, the overall season and dont rage quit.

Those are the bits that come to mind :)

This is maybe one of the things that tend to affect me more than anything. Seeing so many genius threads on here, seeing people like Cleon wipe the floor with the game and the in depth tactical approaches turned me into an over analytical machine. I assumed I could win every game if I got my formation and tactics just right at every moment. And I would tinker constantly trying to figure out what works... and then just rage quit.

But sometimes you have to see the bigger picture, accept you are gonna lose sometimes, be realistic. So now I just play games, let it all happen, try to make some general adjustments to help fix problems. I now enjoy the game far more than I used to.

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January

SPL - Morton 0 v 3 Celtic - The revival comes to a bit of a halt as we are outclassed as we expected by a much better Celtic side. No tweaks as the game was gone from about 50mins really

SPL - Morton 3 v 2 St Johnstone - Offt. One for the "AI Comebacks" thread :D - We were 2 nil down in 48mins. I went attacking after going 2 down. Still 2 down at 61mins. By 66mins we were level, and at 80 we were 3 v 2 ahead. Immediately switched back to defensive at 80mins to hold on for a valuable win.

SPL - Hearts 1 v 1 Morton - Disapointing result, mainly because we were by far the better side. Created plenty, just gave away a silly goal and had to come from behind again. Attacking and exploit the flanks at 64mins was the tweak

SPL - Morton 1 v 0 Ross County - Another close game but we played well enough to merit the win. No tweaks as we didnt look threatened really

League Cup - Morton 0 v 1 Aberdeen - Just missed out on a cup final :( A horrible game, both teams poor and barely a chance to speak of. Aberdeen sneaked it with a thunderbolt DFK right through my keeper with 15mins to go. Chucked overload at 80mins but nothing doing.

Summary

A mixed month. Some decent results bookended by 2 defeats against what are admittedly superior teams. We still sit second in the league, some 4pts clear of third place, but Celtic are sprinting away. A title challenge was never really on, i would be utterly amaxed to get European qualification really, particularly given the lack of finance to build in Jan.

Transfer window wise, we were quite until near the end. On deadline day we still had around £2K in wages free, and our backup RB signed a pre-contract with motherwell so i punted him then for £2k. I had a veteran Portuguese free agent, Rui Miguel on my radar. At 31, a real journeyman most recently with Rapid Bucharest. He has some nice technical skills and comes in to give me a better option at DLP. Paul Lawson is rubbish and my youth who has played a lot in that position isnt ready to play every week so Miguel will come in for at least a half season. If Lawson moves on, then maybe will squeeze another half season after that out of him.

To balance things, Connor Pepper had been moaning for months so i sold him to Livi for nothing, we have enough cover between a couple of versatile players and a youth winger who is ready for some games. Lastly, with the backup RB going, we singed former Motherwell man Tom Hateley on a free to fill in at RB when needed.

Not really any great improvement to the squad there, but the current lot are exceeding my expectations massively, and all this still using the simplest of approaches :)

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I think it's important to say to others that are learning that it genuinely does pay dividends to read up and learn to analyse tactical problems, but it isn't necessary to play like that to have success. I guess that's the point of this thread. Get together a system that works and doesn't have glaring problems and you can achieve above expectations, whilst still getting the squad building/development enjoyment.

There in lies the rub.... My problem has always been getting a basic system that works. I seem to get something basic wrong and spend lots of time tinkering only making it worse.

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This is maybe one of the things that tend to affect me more than anything. Seeing so many genius threads on here, seeing people like Cleon wipe the floor with the game and the in depth tactical approaches turned me into an over analytical machine. I assumed I could win every game if I got my formation and tactics just right at every moment. And I would tinker constantly trying to figure out what works... and then just rage quit.

But sometimes you have to see the bigger picture, accept you are gonna lose sometimes, be realistic. So now I just play games, let it all happen, try to make some general adjustments to help fix problems. I now enjoy the game far more than I used to.

Yup i think its a bit of an unfortunately side effect of some of the amazing experts and FM veterans we have here. The achievements of Cleon, Rashidi et al are superb and they deserve nothing but credit and thanks for how they do it and how they take the time to share it.

The flip side, through absolutely no fault of theirs, is that it creates an expectation that everyone can win the league with West Brom, or have Sheff Utd beat Man City in season one. The truth is that few will reach that level of game knowledge, understanding, AI manager understanding and ability to look at it and react to the situations perfectly.

Most of us will lose a few games, and might take us 3 years to win the league even with Liverpool or Spurs. Thats fine, thats quite realistic really :) I still enjoy the detail level of play like i have had in the Bilbao DNA thread of the 451 refining, but there are many ways to skin a cat, as they say :)

There in lies the rub.... My problem has always been getting a basic system that works. I seem to get something basic wrong and spend lots of time tinkering only making it worse.

IMO, the most common mistake when trying to get a basic system is starting too attacking. All the 4231 and 433 tactics on here, people forget that your formation is your defensive shape, your roles and duties and various other factors make up the "shape" when attacking. That is not to say 4231 and 433 cant work - They can be deadly when fully understood and used properly. But as a base. 4411, 4141, or 451 are by far the most realistic and likely to be solid :)

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February

SPL - Dundee 1 v 2 Morton - An important win away from home. We went to defend after scoring an 84th min go ahead goal as i wanted to hold out.

SPL - Morton 1 v 1 Rangers - We were marginally the better side, but didnt create enough in front of goal. A few players out of form and we dont really have the depth quality to replace them so have to play through it. No tweaks

SPL - St Mirren 2 v 0 Morton - Grr. We were just not at the races. Morale isnt tanked but its dropped a bit. We went attacking when one nil down at 70mins and they scored a 91st min penalty to condem us.

SPL - Inverness 1 v 5 Morton - Well thats a bounceback. 4 nil ahead by half time, so no tweaks. Shows our inconsistency really, which i kinda expect in a young team newly promoted

SPL - Morton 2 v 1 Partick - Back to back wins for the first time since December. Traded early goals then scored early second half. Moved to defend with 15 to go and held out fine

SPL - Aberdeen 2 v 0 Morton - Acht. This was a big game. They were 6pts behind me and my nearest challenges, but we were not at the races. They play a 4321 Xmas tree which always gives us issues. Chased the game with "attacking" for the last 15 but made no impact

Summary

Another sort of mixed month. The aberdeen defeat was painful. We could almost have locked up second place with a win there but it will now be a real struggle to stay ahead. We added a veteran free agent in Charlie Adam, who will give us more guile in midfield i hope. Still, with 9 games to go to still be clear second place is outstanding.

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I'd add to Jambo's "most common mistakes" adding to many team and player instructions. I know Jambo has touched on this a lot in most of his threads. Firstly making the effort to understand what you are actually doing when you select them, and also how they combine with teams settings and so on. It can be quite difficult for even experienced players to truly understand it all, I absolutely recommend using them sparingly, and adding them once you have seen how things work without them. I have learned loads from reading on here, but I think I have learned as much by doing this and seeing how they actually change things in game with my own eyes.

Great thread, loving it. Can be frustrating when you are a team with not much money trying to compete with better teams, a lot of my saves have been like that over the years. Ultimately they are very rewarding though.

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I'd add to Jambo's "most common mistakes" adding to many team and player instructions. I know Jambo has touched on this a lot in most of his threads. Firstly making the effort to understand what you are actually doing when you select them, and also how they combine with teams settings and so on. It can be quite difficult for even experienced players to truly understand it all, I absolutely recommend using them sparingly, and adding them once you have seen how things work without them. I have learned loads from reading on here, but I think I have learned as much by doing this and seeing how they actually change things in game with my own eyes.

Great thread, loving it. Can be frustrating when you are a team with not much money trying to compete with better teams, a lot of my saves have been like that over the years. Ultimately they are very rewarding though.

Concur with absolutely everything here, Torksus.

The best tactics I have created have been very light in the Player/Team Instructions department. Like you say, it's important to realise what each instruction does and that there will be both positive and negative effects when using them... Something I tell myself (not sure how "true" it is) is that a lot of the instructions only impact very specific scenarios and events in the match, so the more you add, the more you focus on very specific and possibly rarely occurring scenarios. Therefore your tactic becomes very predictable and one/two dimensional. It's one thing focusing on the strengths/mitigating the weaknesses of your team, but it is another to limit their actions to specifics that may not work out. If you only have one way of creating chances, you need to make sure it's a really good one!

Once again, Jambo. Great thread. You're really showing that getting the basics right pays off, as well as having patience in the face of better teams and poor results. Keep going with Morton!

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Hello everyone, hope you're all well - enjoying this thread a lot as it plays out a lot like my approach at the moment (even though I am still playing FM13 2149/50).

I favoured 3-at-the back for an awful long time, but began to experiment with strike partnerships and wingers when youth intakes began to flood me with wingers and forwards and then began to wonder if I could have my cake and eat it and develop an all-in-one tactic where I can mimic 3-at-the back, have a strike partnership, use wingers and a man-in-the-hole.

So this is the tactic I've used for the past five seasons...I've only won the league once in that time, multiple cup wins make up for that a little, but it is nicer (for me at least) to see strikers well into double figures, lots of assists and key passes etc.

from left to right, rigid, standard, shorter passing, zonal marking, work ball into box, pass into space, GK has Defender Collect ticked

GKd

WBa, CDd, CDc, FBs

CMd, DLPs, Wa

APs

DLFs, AFa

It just about mimics a 3-4-1-2 approach, and, of course, it is viable in FM13 but I don't like the idea of using a DWs/a to get my width because of the maximum closing down settings I do not like the 'headless chicken' approach to defending. Also, Naks once mentioned about attacking from different depths so I've tried to achieve this by using the WBa as part of a flat back four, as it was further noted by Cleon that in FM13 WB's in the DM-line were a touch broken.

All tactics have points that can be attacked by the opposition, in my case a lone WBa on the left hand side is the obvious weakness so I've opted to play a DLFs and CMd on the same side and made work rate and teamwork the primary attributes when putting players in these slots because I know that the WBa will need support when defending or in transition when attacking.

Because I'm playing FM13 I'm avoiding using Play Narrower, Play Wider in isolation because I don't like the idea of play being directed in one particular way, instead I have the same tactic set up in the two remaining tactical slots with Counter and Control and Default/Direct passing so that I can use a narrower/wider team shape, adjust passing according to weather conditions, still keep mixed team passing and keep tactical familiarity at 100% or as near as dammit.

So that's my ode to simpler times format for playing FM13 - same tactical setup and shouts, change to Counter or Control to control width and defensive line, change to Direct/Default passing according to the weather.

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IMO, the most common mistake when trying to get a basic system is starting too attacking. All the 4231 and 433 tactics on here, people forget that your formation is your defensive shape, your roles and duties and various other factors make up the "shape" when attacking. That is not to say 4231 and 433 cant work - They can be deadly when fully understood and used properly. But as a base. 4411, 4141, or 451 are by far the most realistic and likely to be solid :)

I would also add from bitter experience that the "advanced" formations are more dependant on you having the right players. Especially the 4231, where there is no DM plugging the hole between midfield and defence. A 4-4-2 overcomes this limitation because because the wide midfield players come back to help out more readily, whereas the gap in a 4-2-3-1 is exploitable if your central defenders and midfield players have low attributes.

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March

SPL - Morton 0 v 1 Dundee Utd - Back to back defeats mean Aberdeen actually move above us. Frustrating game, we had twice as many shots and more possession and chances but didnt score and Utd scored a nice goal. No tweaks as were generally on top anyway

SPL - Celtic 2 v 1 Morton - Just the fixture you dont want when your on a mini bad run! We actually started well and went ahead, but 2 quick goals from Pukki condemed us to a spirited defeat. Went attacking with 15mins left to chase the equaliser but didnt come

Summary

Weird short month. Combo of internationals and Scottish Cup (which we are out of) mean we only play twice, and we lose twice :( The performances were not bad, and Aberdeen didnt pull away from us so if we turn it round we can still get second.

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April

SPL - St Johnstone 2 v 3 Morton - Great game. We went 2 up and were pegged back with 2 second half goals. We went attacking with 10 to go and snatched a late winner!

SPL - Morton 7 v 1 Hearts - Er......wtf! This game was 7 v 1 at HALF TIME! Understandably, no tweaks were needed! We are back on form......

SPL - Rangers 1 v 1 Morton - A solid away point, but could have been more. We let in an 87min equaliser. I should have switched to defensive before then but i didnt. Managerial error

SPL - Morton 3 v 0 St Mirren - An excellent performance and always in control. No tweaks needed and Aberdeen lost for the second week in a row

Summary

Much more like it! We are back to winning ways and now moving clear in second place again. Aberdeen are now tanking. We are coming good just at a good time, only a few game left now!

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May

SPL - Morton 2 v 0 Aberdeen - Massive. This clinches second place for us. It was a reasonably close game but we were 2 nil up at half time. I went "retain possession" at 60mins and then "defensive" at 75mins to make sure we held on to this crucial win.

SPL - Morton 0 v 0 Celtic - A good solid draw against the champions. We just about matched them, not many chances either end and no tweaks required

SPL - Morton 1 v 2 Inverness - Wierd game. We went one up and were in control, before an insane 90secs. We conceded two pens and had a man sent off in that time! We went attacking with 20mins to go to chase it, missed 2 sitters but condemed to a silly defeat to end the season

Summary

A nice finish to a truley over achieving season. Winning the key game against Aberdeen then holding Celtic. I will post up a season summary in another post now to show just how much we over achieved this season, with the most simplistic tactical approach :)

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@Jambo98

Hi Jambo, curious as to why you would have your CM(d) instead of DLP with the quality of players that you have?

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Season Summary - Season 3 - Simplicity paying off

So season 3, and a huge step up in quality. We would now be real rank outsiders. Could we defy expectations and over achieve, using the simplistic tactical management?

League Table

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So the league table tells a very nice story. Second place, well clear of the rest of the pack and not a million miles away from the 5 in a row champions Celtic. We also scored the equal most goals, which is a great vindication for us. Defensively is where we could have done with improving, but part of that is down to the quality of player at our disposal. We had a very young keeper and centre back partnership and they struggled a bit to be up to the standard we need.

Squad Stats

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Hector Otin, the loanee form Juve was clearly a big key to our season playing in the F9 position. 18 goals and 15 assists is a brilliant combination. Lewis Milne played in the BBM role for me all season, and his return of 14 goals and 17 assists was equally sensational. Also an interesting note there to those who think you cant get players from the CM strata into the box. Not only is he in the CM strata, but he is only a support duty........

Ross Forbes was our CM(a) and he chipped in well, and Serge Nyuiadze played as a winger and showed again how effective wide men from deep can be.

League Stats

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One of the best examples of our over achievement. Lowest wage bill of the division by some distance.

B6CDB34B184729FBF28E32A7DD11D8DA26501690

Very pleasing set of average ratings for my squad of players.

Summary of how it was achieved

Worth stopping to pause and reflect what this experiment was all about doing. Above you can see what it achieved, but how? Some key points:

  • We started each game this season with the exact same single tactic
  • We never made more than 2 tweaks in any single game
  • In circa 70% of games we made no tweaks at all
  • We never tweaked a PI during game all season
  • We never used any OI
  • We only ever used 3 TI tweaks - 1) Retain Possession 2) Exploit the flanks 3) Waste Team
  • The most common tweaks were to simply use the global mentality modifier - We went "defensive" often, "attacking" now and then and "contain/overload" very rarely. Control and Counter never used

So i think we can class that as tactically very simple and low maintenance. Of course to make this work, you need to focus heavily on the other areas of the game. Player recruitment was key, finding value, selecting the right type of players for each position, managing the squad and morale. The other massive key, which is were many people would fail at this, was not rage quiting when we lost 3 on the bounce...... :D

I want to give this a try at a different level, QPR were who i had in mind from the start (hence the blue and white hoops) so i might fire up a save with them. It would be far more difficult to over achieve in the EPL, particularly with Harry's horrible squad.

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@Jambo98

Hi Jambo, curious as to why you would have your CM(d) instead of DLP with the quality of players that you have?

Hey fanir.

I started with a CM(d) as i felt that role can be filled by a lower quality player than a DLP. A DLP is going to see more of the ball (since his team mates will look for him marginally more often) and in the early season the players i had there were woefully short on quality.

As i managed to get a couple of players in that slot who i was more comfortable with as "on the ball" types, i switched to DLP as its one of my preferred roles. I like the defensive stability and ball recycling.

Started up the QPR attampt now. God that squad is a mess. Junior freakin hoillet on 52 grand a week........

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Making it work on the bigger stage - Cleaning up 'Arry's mess.

So in reality, as crazy as the over achievement for Morton was over 3 years, its time to see if we can make this work in slightly more challenging surroundings.

It doesnt come much more challenging than the bottom of the Premiership. I chose QPR as i see them as having the most unbalanced, if not worst, squads in the league. They have ageing veterans, over paid average players and foriegn misfits. They are somehow tipped to finish 17th, which i think is a stretch. But anything above that would be over achievement.

I will follow the exact same process and parameters as i did with Morton. Originally i considered going with 2 alternating tactics, but I think i wont go there until season 2. For season one, we will work from the same base which brought us success in Greenock.

The tactic has a minor tweak. Rather than have W(a) and WM(s) on the flanks, we flip the duties. I want to play Vargas as a deep starting inside forward, which means the WM(a) role. To keep balance i will draw my winger back to support duty. To match up, the BBM and CM(a) switch sides. The fullbacks remain the same and no other changes to any instructions.

The setting up of the club is also the same process. I wont repeat the detail around pre-season, scouting, staff etc.

I will quickly summarise the transfer movements, as they are relevant. I had 2 choices really - I could stick with the utter dross of a squad at QPR, benefit from some gelling or i could bring in mass change and ride out the bad gelling stage. I chose closer to the second options.

Transfers Out

Rob Green - Free to Soton - Massively overpaid and no better than Alex McCarthy

Bobby Zamora - Free to West Ham - Again, over paid and way past his best. Offered nothing for a big wage

Clint Hill - Released - A 4th choice CB at best, on a massive downward curve and big wages. No one would take him even for free so i took the cash hit to free up weekly wages

Richard Dunne - Released - Same as Hill. I already am stuck with one ancient relick living on past glories in Rio, so dont need any others

Adel Taarabt - £4.4million to Sevilla - Amazed i got this much for him. Lazy, bad personality and on another big salary.

Karl Hendry - Released - Group him with Hill and Dunne. Overpaid and taking a huge wage and offering zero ability really

Junior Hoillet - Free to Burnley - I had to swallow 50% of his crazy £65K per week wage to get rid of him. Surely one of the worst contracts in EPL history??

Unfortunately no one would take the second worst contract, SWP is stuck in my reserves with his bloated contract. Even offering to absorb 50% of it no one was interested. Also tried to get rid of Alex McCarthy but no takers. Likewise with Armand Traore. Such awful holes in his game but couldnt give him away.

Transfers In

Federico Bernardeschi - Loan from Fiorentina - Young and very talented winger, who is already well rounded and twice the player of Hoillet or SWP.

Marko Vejinovic - £2.8million from Vitesse - Not a big name but very versatile and good at the basics - Passing/Vision/Decision/Off the ball/First touch/Technique all at 14/15/16 and throw in 15/15 for team work and work rate and we have a bargain

Grant Hanley - Loan from Blackburn - Cover at the back and actually a decent player at this level. Amazed to get him on a free loan. Not sure i want to start him every week but much better squad piece than Dunne/Hill

Giovanni Marchese - £1million from Genoa - Cheap LB to compete with the korean dude. Solid track record in Serie A. Wont set the world on fire but dependable in my experience in other saves and has 2 years in him and cheapish wages

Pedro Lopez - £1.1million from Levante - Again good value. A RB with good stats going forward, nice PPMs and good stamina. If he wasnt 30yr old, he would be worth 7 or 8 times what i paid. For now he provides good squad cover again for a year or 2

Pablo Sarabria - £4.6million from Getage - A bit more expensive but a tricky left winger with good PPMs for my system. Has speed, agility, crossing, dribbling as well as the basics i like - Technique/first touch/vision/passing all 15+

Gaston Gil Romero - £6million from Estudiantes - A well known prospect, provides depth and future replacement for Sandro and Fer, both of whom have form for being injured. Year one he will rotate in, likely to become key after that

Mattia Perin - £4.5million from Genoa - The keeper to replace Green, since i didnt trust McCarthy either (especially after an early season howler). Already as good as him, and much higher potential. Won his first Italy cap shortly after signing

Simone Pepe - Free transfer - Late depth signing, after Juve released him. Only wanted £17K per week and if he stays fit, he is 3 times the player of Hoillet for 1/3rd the salary. His Natural Fitness of "1" is a horrible bit of research. I know he has had a long term injury but thats extreme rating!!

A bit of a motley crew, but i think it meets my aims to make the squad younger and importantly better at key parts of the game. Good Technical skills and match of attributes to desired roles were important factors. I would have loved to go more home grown, but the value isnt in the market. I almost accepted £10million from Soton for Austin but i would only have got 25% of it back to spend ,so i declined. Most of the transfer fees were split between upfront and instalments, and of course the flexibility i got by getting rid of some of the obscene wages helped :)

On to the season we go!

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August

EPL - QPR 2 v 0 Southampton - Very nice start, second half goals from Onuoha (on for a surprisingly injured Rio...) and Charlie Austin gave us a deserved win and a clean sheet. At 2 nil up, we added "retain possession" at 65mins then "defensive" at 80 to make sure

EPL - Crystal Palace 2 v 1 QPR - We actually led one nil, but then a woeful bit of goalkeeping and am equally bad bit of defending put them ahead. We had to chase by going "attacking" at 70mins but to no avail. Even match but individual errors cost us

Cap 1 Cup - Swindon 1 v 2 QPR - Scoreline looks closer than the game, we were always on top and goals from Fer and Vargas put us into the hat without any need for tweaks

EPL - QPR 2 v 3 Hull - Painfull one. An Austin double was bested by a Hernandez hattrick. With the game poised at 2 all with 5mins to go i went attacking, and it backfired. They scored in the last minute. Maybe should have been a bit more cautious

Summary

A mixed start, but the win over Southampton gives me some hope. Hull was a missed opportunity for us. The squad are still gelling so anything that keeps us out the bottom 3 at this point is fine by me.

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September

EPL - Man Utd 7 v 0 QPR - Outclassed from begining to end. The decision to start at old trafford with the same tactic as any other game being exposed here. We deserved a hammering, but 7 was a bit harsh on us! Morale nose dives from this of course. I didnt even bother trying to tweak......

EPL - QPR 1 v 0 West Brom - Massive bounce back win for us at home. We dominated and Bernardeschi scores his first goal for us to give us a lift. Went defensive at 70mins to hold out

Cap 1 cup - Arsenal 0 v 2 QPR - Well hello. That wasnt expected. ARsenal had more of the game but no repeat of the outclassed Man U game. We scored early through Sarabria and looked comfortable. I didnt tweak and Austin sealed it with 12 mins to go

EPL - Arsenal 1 v 1 QPR - Back to back trips to the Emirates and we come away unbeaten. Maybe this team has something about them! Again Arsenal were marginally better but a Joey Barton equaliser gives us a good point. We went defensive after the equaliser for the last 15mins as an away point here is a good result

Summary

A month that started in the worst possible way, but got better from there. West Brom was a big win, they might well be in and around us all season. The 2 Arsenal results were bonuses, although i would have taken them the other way round to get another 3pts! Its very early days, but the approach is certainly not flopping at this level. We sit 13th at the end of September having had 2 big teams away from home already.

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October

EPL - QPR 2 v 1 Liverpool - Another nice bonus win. We battled hard, Liverpool had more shots but we took a 2 v 0 lead through Fer and Barton. We went defensive at 75mins, Mario got one back on 78 to make it squeaky bum time but we held on for a great win

EPL - West Ham 4 v 0 QPR - The good run comes to a shuddering halt. Caulker got sent off in 11mins and we never adapted to 10 men and got slaughtered. I maybe should have tweaked (Besides moving the DLP into the vacant CB slot) but i didnt and we take a beating

EPL - Sunderland 0 v 0 QPR - Ironically this time Sunderland had a man sent off inside 10mins. Sadly we couldnt copy West Ham and run away with it, they sat in and we couldnt break through. Went attacking with 15 to go but still nothing doing. An away point is still an away point at this stage though.

Cap 1 cup - Bristol City 0 v 2 QPR - Rotated the squad as much as i can, with some injuries and a fairly small squad to start with. Never in doubt really, early Zarate goal settled us and Vargas added a second off the bench. No tweaks needed

Summary

Aside from the West Ham disaster, which we put down to the early red card, that was a pretty good month. Beating Liverpool of course the stand out result. I didnt think the approach would work this well at this level, and clearly the odd time its limitations have been shown up (the Man U and West Ham games in particular). But sitting 12th with QPR after 3 months is still well above expectations for me :) Simplicity continues :)

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November

EPL - QPR 2 v 2 Swansea - A good game, we had the better of it but after going defensive at 2 v 1 up with 15 to go, Sigurdsson equalised.

EPL - Leicester 0 v 1 QPR - An important win and well deserved, Leicester barely in it, and a 70th minute goal from Zarate off the bench gave us the win. Didnt even tweak to hold on as we looked in control

EPL - QPR 3 v 1 Burnley - Routine is how id descibe this. 2 from Austin, one from Vejinovic had us 3 nil up. No tweaks, Danny Ings popped up in the last minute to ruin the clean sheet though

EPL - Stoke 1 v 1 QPR - Hard place to go so musnt grumble. An Austin goal brought us from behind, and a point was a fair result. No tweaks as i didnt feel it was right chase, nor did i need to overly hold on

Summary

Still comfortably holding our own in mid table, into the top half just. The squad isnt great and fitness and injuries are starting to make it difficult, particularly since the U21s and U19 have zero talent.

The thread is in danger of becoming a complete monologue! I shall see out the season to try and demonstrate that simplicity can work at the EPL level then let it die :)

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I just love this :-), you are demonstrating that simplicity can work!

I have been plöaying this way for years, and sure I could optimise a little, but it is not worth the effort to me. I rather focus on areas of the game I find entertaining, like youth development mainly.

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November

EPL - QPR 2 v 2 Swansea - A good game, we had the better of it but after going defensive at 2 v 1 up with 15 to go, Sigurdsson equalised.

EPL - Leicester 0 v 1 QPR - An important win and well deserved, Leicester barely in it, and a 70th minute goal from Zarate off the bench gave us the win. Didnt even tweak to hold on as we looked in control

EPL - QPR 3 v 1 Burnley - Routine is how id descibe this. 2 from Austin, one from Vejinovic had us 3 nil up. No tweaks, Danny Ings popped up in the last minute to ruin the clean sheet though

EPL - Stoke 1 v 1 QPR - Hard place to go so musnt grumble. An Austin goal brought us from behind, and a point was a fair result. No tweaks as i didnt feel it was right chase, nor did i need to overly hold on

Summary

Still comfortably holding our own in mid table, into the top half just. The squad isnt great and fitness and injuries are starting to make it difficult, particularly since the U21s and U19 have zero talent.

The thread is in danger of becoming a complete monologue! I shall see out the season to try and demonstrate that simplicity can work at the EPL level then let it die :)

Please don't, I'm really enjoying this.

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I don't find it monotonous, Jambo... Sure it reads like a story thread a little but you are sticking to the principles you outlined and showing that simplicity has value.

I'm really hoping others will read this and it will help them out. As I've said before, I've felt that in recent months I've come full circle to a realisation that my original style of play was fine; I just needed to understand a few of the game mechanics/details a little better.

The thread may benefit from some sort of a summary at the end. Maybe an edit of the opening post or a direction to the post number of the eventual conclusion? As long as you tie it in and show how little you tweaked tactically after starting off with a well thought out setup.

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December

EPL - QPR 2 v 2 Man City - Gutted. We played very well, had a 2 nil lead within 22mins. They pulled one back in first half injury time. We then matched them the entire second half. With 15mins to go i went "defensive" but an awful bit of defending by Rio allowed Jovetitc to equalise in the 90th min :(

EPL - Aston Villa 1 v 0 QPR - Oh dear. We totally dominated, 61% possession, all the shots. One moment of Agonlahor pace in behind and we were undone. Not our day, and a risk of a slump developming. No tweaks in this game

EPL - QPR 0 v 1 Spurs - Another tight looking game, but in truth this time Spurs out played me. They are excellent with the attacking 4231 and we were lucky it was only 1 v nil. Tried exploit the flanks and go more direct at 60mins then attacking at 75 but wasnt making any difference. We are now in a slump officially.

Cap 1 Cup - Leicester 1 v 1 QPR (Leicester win 7v6 on pens) - No goals in 90mins as we rotated the squad, even game where we had more possession but not many clear chances. We scored in the first min of ET and went to defend, but then gave away a pen to be clawed back. In this simple approach, my teams are terrible in shoot outs. Inevitably we lost. Again.

EPL - Newcastle 3 v 1 QPR - Confidence is now tanking. We were actually one up n this game, but as soon as they equalised we just folded. 3 second half goals and an awful performance. Some slack as we were short of fit bodies after 120mins a few days earlier and a weak squad. However i need to manage out of this slump. No wins in my last 6 games, including 3 league defeats.

EPL - QPR 2 v 0 Chelsea - A boxing day delight! That is how you get out of a slump. Early Onuoha goal, then in 62mins Bonucci gets a straight red and we score from the free kick. Didnt even need a tweak. Great win in the context of our season

EPL - Everton 3 v 0 QPR - Ouch. Too many fixtures in too short a time. We struggled for players over 90% fit going into this and so it proved. 3 nil by half time, game over. No tweaks. Take it on the chin and move on.

Summary

SO there it is. As regular as clockwork, the December/Jan form slump comes along :) The win over Chelseas saved this from being an utter disaster of a month and we need to lift morale again. We still sit 12th in the table, and the window is about to open. We need to very carefully manage this transfer window. We want to improve the team and create a deeper squad. We do have £5mill to play with and a decent buffer of wage bill (120K free) so additions are possible, but they have to be well thought out.

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January

EPL - Southampton 1 v 0 QPR - Not a great start to the new year. We played okish, but Saints were better and we toiled. No tweaks this time, probably should have though

FA Cup - Shrewsbury 1 v 0 QPR - Are you kidding me!!! Toys out the pram after this. Raging at my team. We totally outplayed them, yet again we cant score and give a way a silly goal. Thats its, this is a catalyst for major changes to the squad. Bunch of overpaid, under performing idiots!!! Also had gone attacking from 60mins onwards

EPL - QPR 1 v 1 Crystal Palace - Well a point is a start at least. Again the better side, but we have issues infront of goal. Austin is on an awful run, and to be fair to him my system doesnt suit him. No tweaks today as we take a building block point.

EPL - Hull 0 v 1 QPR - Again small steps, but a good win. Took a set piece goal to do it, and we went defensive for the last 10mins to hold on

EPL - West Brom 1 v 0 QPR - Recovery stopped in its tracks then. We shaded possession and chances, but we defended badly thoughout and a familiar story as we slump to a one nil loss. No tweaks

Summary

Another pretty rotten month results wise. We did pick up 4pts at least which ensures we are not getting dragged to far down the table. We are just not fluent. The goals are a real issue. We have to make a change and we have. We have tweaked the roles in my tactic to go back to my "old" 451. Same formation, same mentality but its now 2 x DLP either side of a CM(a) and 2 WM(a). The striker is a F9 in both systems which doesnt suit Austin really.

Transfer window

So after the FA cup embarrassment i lost the rag. It was time to change this bunch of idiots. We got rid of 4 of the players i didnt rate, and took a big bank balance hit to do so:

Out

Rio Ferdinand - Released - He was woeful for me. Lots of mistakes and no pace of fitness. Couldnt give him away with 6 months on his contract so paid it up.

Armand Traore - Released - Another who is not cut out for this level. Was 3rd choice at his position and i had tried to give him away all season so took the balance hit

Joey Barton - Released - Had actually contributed ok on the pitch, but i had no intention of keeping him past the end of the season and had to free up a big chunk of wages to convert into transfer kitty

Matt Phillips - £1million to Palace - At least someone paid for him, is about the best thing i can say about him.

Mauro Zarate - Loan Terminated - Was a bit inconsistent and we are paying his full wage which is just too much

Niko Kranjcar - Loan Terminated - Same as above, too expensive, wont be in my long term plans

INs

Jose Manuel Jurado - £5million from Spartak - I really liked the look of this guy and he fits into my revised system. He can get forward from CM (good PPMs). Also ticks the boxes for the player type i want (technically good)

Khouma Babacar - Loan from Fiorentina - Replaces Zarate, much younger and also more rounded. Also has a £5million clause, if he can fit in i might consider it longer term

Faycal Fajr - £875K from Elche - An interesting cheap 28yr old. Good PPMS for playing CM(a) and also nice balance of attributes. Wont set the world alight, but at taht price its a good depth piece

Fabian Noguera - £5million from Banfield - Young 21yr old that i had targeted to replace Rio. An Aerial beast (19/18 in heading and jumping) and also strong and good in the tackle. Still some room for improvement according to my scouts and not crazy expensive

Kasper Kusk - £4million from Twente - A great little player whom i have liked for a year or so. Surprised to get him so cheap. He is technically good, fast, great PPMs and can play any of the 4 attacking roles in my team. Essential squad part going forward

Adam Zrelak - £975K from Slovan Bratislava - My only real "youth" signing - scouts like his potential and although he is already 20, he can also contribute right away as evidenced by Palace and Hull both immediately asking for him on loan

I will pay a penalty for such wholesale changes with poor gelling, but i judge that i should be safe enough this season to stay up and at least meet expectations, and towards the end of the season as we click i expect we will be a better side for it. Its for the long term gain, with some short term pain!

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I am still reading this thread, even though I haven't posted for ages. Still loving it. Have been struggling to get time to play FM lately myself but anyway a question I have for you if you don't mind.

Do you have any structure for your scouting ? How do you go about sending your scouts out to get the best results. I've found it very difficult to get my Scouting Knowledge up (if that's the right term) Think I played about 12 seasons in my Walsall save and I was still only on about 40% I realise it can go back down as well as up.

You seem to find players so well, I end up signing the same old players in my games often, which is okay to an extent, obviously it becomes a bit different 12 seasons in cos it's mostly regens. You seem to find players with ease, obviously knowing what you are looking for helps, I am okay with that, but the better you knowledge of players, the more you have to choose from.

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I am still reading this thread, even though I haven't posted for ages. Still loving it. Have been struggling to get time to play FM lately myself but anyway a question I have for you if you don't mind.

Do you have any structure for your scouting ? How do you go about sending your scouts out to get the best results. I've found it very difficult to get my Scouting Knowledge up (if that's the right term) Think I played about 12 seasons in my Walsall save and I was still only on about 40% I realise it can go back down as well as up.

You seem to find players so well, I end up signing the same old players in my games often, which is okay to an extent, obviously it becomes a bit different 12 seasons in cos it's mostly regens. You seem to find players with ease, obviously knowing what you are looking for helps, I am okay with that, but the better you knowledge of players, the more you have to choose from.

Well i think with Scouting, there are quite a few factors. I scout a lot. I employ as many scouts as i am allowed and cover as much ground as my board will allow me to. A few things I guess:

  • You can boost your scouting knowledge in different ways - First up look for scouts who have knowledge of different countries to start with. That widens the players in your "player search" right away.
  • Also other staff members can bring knowledge. I often end up with foriegn staff which i think helps boost the world knowledge?
  • Feeder clubs also help, take an overseas feeder if you can
  • Employ as many scouts as you are allowed, and look for a few with good JPA/JCA
  • Scout different areas. No point having 3 scouts scouting La Liga. Scout some hot beds of talent (Argentina, Croatia, France, Holland) and also go to scandanavia and eastern europe.
  • Dont be afraid to just use the player search after a while. As your pool of players builds up and your knowledge of different areas grows, more seem to appear on this
  • Use your own knowledge - I know of players from so many saves, i go looking for them. No shame in that
  • Its a little sad, but i have quite a detailed knowledge of world football. I read alot about football, follow various leagues over europe and south america. So real life knowledge never goes wrong
  • Overall i guess, its just being thorough. Make sure your scouts are always out there, soon as they finish, start them on something new.

Hope that helps. My scouting is never perfect. Signed my share of Duds over the years!! I do try to careful consider signings though, look beyond the obvious i say :)

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Cheers for that very detailed as always.

Nothing sad about having a knowledge of world football. I used to be the same once upon a time. Life is more busy these days, so I have to manage my time more carefully, so football pretty much comes down to following my own club (Walsall) and watching some games mainly from the Premiership on Sky, and Match of the Day, so I don't have the knowledge of foreign players like I used too, apart from some Champions League games. With all the football available on TV these days, it's a shame I don't get more chance to take in more games.

Look forward to reading more about your Q.P.R save, and how your new signings change things.

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February

EPL - QPR 0 v 5 Man Utd - Damn Utd kill me in this game. The wierd thing is, we had more shots, more chances and more possession! They were just lethal and we were not. 3 nil by HT, no point in tweaking.

EPL - QPR 0 v 0 Arsenal - Somewhat the converse to the above. Arsenal outplayed us, although not hugely, but we held on for a good point against a big side. Went defensive with 10 to go to hold out for a morale boosting point

EPL - Liverpool 3 v 0 QPR - The fixtures gods are not smiling upon us. 3rd game against a top side in just 6 days takes its toll and this time totally outplayed. No tweaks as the game was gone early and were tired/not match fit in places

EPL - QPR 2 v 0 West Hame - Now our new look side can come into its own. Kusk gets his first goal and we completely dominate. Just 3 shots in 90mins from the Hammers. Didnt need to tweak

EPL - QPR 1 v 1 Sunderland - A draw when a win would have been nice, but no disaster. We pummeled them. They had 2 shots the entire game and scored 1 :(. Still its all steps on the recovery trail. Vargas moved upfront from the wing and got the goal

Summary

A better month, despite 2 heavy defeats. Utd and their 4132 are hard to counter without tweaking so the approach i take suffers somewhat in those games. A point from Arsenal is good and the win over West Ham brought us back up to near mid table (we sit 12th at the end of this month). The new boys are starting to settle and we have a bit more depth about us.

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March

EPL - Swansea 0 v 1 QPR - Good win at a difficult top 8 side. We scored early and although Swansea then were the better side, we held on after going to "defensive" at 75mins

EPL - QPR 2 v 0 Leicester - Important win against the basement boys. Austin scores for the second consecutive game and we dominate. No tweaks

EPL - Burnley 4 v 1 QPR - Talk about crashing down. The recovery was looking good. We rotated in 3 players, one at the back enforced, and we were all over the shop. Awful at the back, gifted them easy goals. Rage team talk. We through away a good chance at 3pts before a very difficult fixture list coming up. We went attacking with 15 to go at 3 v 1 down but made no difference.

Summary

A short month, 2 wins is nice but that awful Burnley performance ruined it. I have to expect a bit of inconsistency with so many new players but still annoying. We sit 10th after 31 games (although one team are 3pts behind with a game in hand) which is still very encouraging overall to be fair. Anything above 17th would be an official over achievement, anything above 14th would be a real over achievement in my eyes.

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April

EPL - QPR 2 v 2 Stoke - Frustrating. We were ahead twice, as is now the pattern, we had most of the game and chances but pegged back by a late goal caused by the annoying bug of keepers not reacting to rebounds. Nothing i could do. No tweaks

EPL - Man City 1 v 0 QPR - Spirited performance but City just too good. They had slightly the better but we were competitive until the last. Went attacking for the last 10min but to no avail

EPL - QPR 0 v 0 Aston Villa - Poor game. If anyone was going to win it, we were but only one real chance. We toiled a bit, no tweaks as i decided a point in the bigger picture wasnt bad

Summary

Not a great month. Draws with Stoke and Villa could/should have been wins, and whilst the city performance was good, we came away with nothing at the end of the day. With 4 games left we sit 11th in the league but its a tight bunch from around 9th to 15th. The last 4 are tricky fixtures so we will do very well to finish top 12 in my opinion.

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May

EPL - Tottenham 2 v 1 QPR - ARRGH. We led 'through an early Jurado goal, Spurs were always a little on top but we held on until 77mins when a dreadful bit of defending by our LB set up Kane for an equaliser. We went defensive to hold on, but in the 91st minute a wonder goal left us empty handed :(

EPL - QPR 0 v 2 Everton - Everton are top 4 and a touch too good for us. We matched them in possession and shots but 2 wonder goals knocked the stuffing out of us. No tweaks

EPL - Chelsea 4 v 0 QPR - With our form and morale we were never taking anything from the Bridge. Costa scored all 4 and we were outclassed again

EPL - QPR 3 v 2 Newcastle - A game to sum up our season. We raced into a 3 nil lead within 68mins, deservedly so. Then Perez got one back out of nothing on 82mins and we had a major wobble. 4mins later we let the same player waltz through defence and score again. I had to go contain for the last 4mins to avoid a total collapse. That second Perez goal ended up costing us a league position, as West Brom sneaked above us by 1 goal on GD, and we had better goals scored than them. Raging at that.

Summary

Another overall poor month, although we must admit they were hard fixtures. Chelsea and Everton are top 4 and Tottenham always had to beat in FM. We end the season in 13th place, should have been 12th but for the late perez goal we leaked. I will do a full season summary shortly, but is a wierd feeling. Overall, no doubt we over achieved our media prediction and board expectation by a good 4 places, but i we were really bad at times, had several long slumps and put in some bad performances.

WIll do the season summary with screenshots etc shortly :)

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Season Summary - QPR Season 1

So in summary, did we over achieve with the approach i have laid out throughout? Yes, i think we did. If QPR were to finish 13th this year in real, i think any Rangers fan would be delighted. It was clearly nothing like the successful Morton seasons.

Final League Table - Showing 13th place finish

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Past Postions - To show the ups and downs of the season. As you can see, we were never really in the top half after the first game.

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Squad - Showing the goals and assists, very clear where our problem is here!

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So to summarize, we achieved this with QPR in season one, using the parameters laid out in the OP - We didnt micromanage in games, we never tweaked more than twice, we used the same tactic (subject to mid season change in roles and duties). We focused on the other areas of the game - Squad management, recruitment, training, staff building.

I will try and follow on with a second season, repeating the approach and see if we can show year on year progress without micro managing the tactics :)

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Season 2 - The Offseason

Ok so if we are to overachieve again using simplistic tactics, we need to improve the squad big time. That means doing well thought out and researched recruitment (would also have meant youth but my intake was woeful). We will also review the staff, set up pre-season properly etc - All the stuff covered at the end of the first Morton season, so i wont repeat it all.

However to context the second season, we need to look at the transfer business:

Out

Simone Pepe - Released at contract end - Woeful signing, never fit and never started a game. Thank goodness i only gave him one year contract

Nedum Onuoha - £3million to burnley - Never really felt like a first team player and with a big contract it was worth cashing in

Alex McCarthy - £500K to swansea - £20K per week is too much for a backup keeper so let him go

Alejandro Faurlin - Released at contract end - Never recovered from his injury, might almost still have been useful but i cut him loose

Brian Murphy - Released at contract end - 3rd choice keeper with no value

Giovanni Marchese - £250K to Latina - Only lasted a year, with Jack Robinson returning from loan i had no place for him and he moaned a lot about first team football

Charlie Austin - £5.5million to newcastle - Big decision, and not really getting the value i would like but he had a down season and just doesnt fit my system so had to cash in

Yun Suk-Young - Released - Couldnt give him away and had no place for him, and wanted the wage budget so took the hit

Samba Diakite - Released - Same as above.

In

Aaron Creswell - £6million from West Ham - The ideal attacking wingback for my system, home grown english and in the prime of his career. A good price too. Right into the first team

Eder Alvarez Balanta - £6.5million from River - A well known quantity, couldnt afford before now but he is a world class CB. Pushes Jan signing Noguera into a backup role which means we have good depth

Junior Caicara - £3.5million from Ludogrets - Showing the value of scouting eastern europe. This guy is a great attacking right back. Jon Flanagan was my first choice but he went to Fulham, so i signed the 26yr old

Nicola Leali - Free Transfer - Good young backup keeper with potential and on a free.

Rodrigo - Loan from Valencia - The stiker that suits my system. Only on loan but with a £6million buy clause. I see him as my main striker now. I needed mobile/agile type and he is that

Djordje Basanovic - £1.3million from Cukaricki - A youth signing, again showing value in eastern Europe. he is just good enough to be my 4th CB, and young enough not to moan at the lack of game time that comes with that tag

Fede Cartabia - £6million from Valencia - The last big signing. Real quality and with him, Kusk and Sarabia we have 3 top quality wide options

Victor Moses - Loan from Chelsea - The last depth piece. A 4th wide man who can also play as a striker gives me enough depth for the squad

Lucho Gonzalez - Free - Last minute free pickup. The veteran actually ticks every box in what i look for in my DLP(s) role and i had some concerns about my existing options there so i took him as a low risk freebie.

Couple of youth signings as well, but that completes the recruitment phase for season 2. On to the season we go :)

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Not much to add but I did want to share my appreciation for your tactical experiment here, Jambo. Your results are good food for thought on the importance of tactics vs squad management, player recruitment, development, etc. In a way I think you're simulating the experience of all the John Everyman out there who never visit the forums.

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August

EPL - QPR 2 v 1 West Brom - A good start to the season with a come from behind win. We bossed the game and goals from Jurado and then a IFK goal from Caulker give us an invaluable win on opening day. No tweaks

EPL - Liverpool 2 v 1 QPR - We actually took the lead but were quickly pegged back and to be honest, out played by an excellent Liverpool side. We went "exploit the flanks" at 55mins but didnt get anywhere with it

Cap 1 Cup - QPR 2 v 1 Fleetwood - Scoreline closer than the game. We were massively on top despite rotating all 10 outfield players. No tweaks

EPL - QPR 0 v 0 Spurs - Happy enough with a point against tough opposition. For once against Spurs we were the better side, so a draw is not a bad thing

Summary

A good first month as the new look squad start to gel. Liverpool are still a class above, but matching up to Spurs was nice. Also avoiding a banana skin in the cup despite full rotation bodes well for the squad depth

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September

EPL - QPR 2 v 1 Swansea - Tale of 2 pens. We missed an early one (off the post, rebound right back to the taker who ignores the ball. that bug seriously must be fixed next year!!!!). We then went behind but battled back level. near the end we won a second pen and no mistake this time. No tweaks and a good win

EPL - Fulham 0 v 1 QPR - An accomplished performance but with just the one goal it was a bit tight. Cartabia scored his first for the club and we went "retain possession" from 75mins and held on nicely

Cap 1 cup - Blackpool 0 v 3 QPR - Another full team rotation and our backup striker comes in and hits a hatrick. Nice....... No tweaks again

EPL - Burnley 1 v 2 QPR - Another nice away win. We went 2 up in the second half, no tweaks and a last minute consolation cost us a clean sheet.

Summary

A clean sweep month! I think my first at QPR. The new squad is really coming together. Would like Rodrigo to start scoring (only 1 goal so far) but we must not grumble when sitting 5th after 6 games

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October

EPL - QPR 7 v 0 Wigan - Woaaah. 4 nil up by 10mins, 7 nil up by 43mins. Insane performance and win! No tweaks needed, obviously :D

EPL Norwich 1 v 2 QPR - A good come from behind win. Gave away an early goal but battled back and goals from Kusk and Sarabria put us back in front. We went defensive with 7mins to go as we took the lead.

EPL - QPR 0 v 2 Man City - Aguero just out classed us, as did city. 2 goals from him and we didn't really threaten to make a game out of it. We went attacking with 15mins to go but couldn't break through

Cap 1 Cup - Cardiff 2 v 2 QPR (Cardiff win 18 v 17 on pens) - Ah my old nemesis penalty kicks...We rotated all 11 players so wasnt a fluent performance and an insane shoot out put me out (another bug noticed, if one team has 10 men the other should have someone sit out the shoot out - FM doesnt do that).

Summary

Mixed month. Again we are not on the same level as the big 4/5 that much is clear. A disappointing cup defeat as well, but we continue to win the games against lesser sides. We sit in 7th which is way above expectations again so cant complain at the moment.

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Just dropping in to say keep up the good work.

That first season would've put many people off continuing with the save, but as you say, the team technically still overachieved and after a big overhaul of the squad. Looks like you have a decent lot now though. Too early to set your sights on Europe?

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Just dropping in to say keep up the good work.

That first season would've put many people off continuing with the save, but as you say, the team technically still overachieved and after a big overhaul of the squad. Looks like you have a decent lot now though. Too early to set your sights on Europe?

And i think that is it in a nutshell - Thats a lot what this was about. People would give up after a first season in which they take QPR to 13th - You are absolutely right, that is a lot of the mentality of a lot of forum users and probably in particular those who complain that you cant "play the game" without micro managing. Of course you can, you just cant expect to do crazy things like take a rubbish team and make them finish 8th.

The media prediction is 12th this season, i promised the board "mid table". Anything in the top half would be over achieving for me :) Europe is incredibly hard, when you consider the teams we would have to get ahead of in order to qualify.

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