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atherton93

Season declining after a good start

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Hi All,

I've noticed that on more than one occasion now, my team has made a solid start to the season, only to then go on a hapless run come October/November time.

I know all teams are suspect to a bad run, but it does seem rather coincidental that after relatively good starts (predicted finish is 19th) I seem to fall apart after 10-15 games.

My thoughts are that it could be fitness based, but the cynic in me says the AI has cracked my tactic, but I'm sure there's more to it than that.

This season:

490db76f964f272073c0cb7dd018afad.png

Last season:

dcb5020aa8e7bf073146e00eabe2e655.png

My tactics, for reference:

c2ccc45c0cf309618a0cdd5f33729d71.png

2f15ef504e8d8d3938bc3ba0d5d1dc36.png

Any advice as to what may be causing this is much appreciated :)

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Hi All,

I've noticed that on more than one occasion now, my team has made a solid start to the season, only to then go on a hapless run come October/November time.

I know all teams are suspect to a bad run, but it does seem rather coincidental that after relatively good starts (predicted finish is 19th) I seem to fall apart after 10-15 games.

My thoughts are that it could be fitness based, but the cynic in me says the AI has cracked my tactic, but I'm sure there's more to it than that.

Any advice as to what may be causing this is much appreciated :)

I know all teams are suspect to a bad run

Not true. I have lost just three games over my last two seasons.

AI has cracked my tactic

This doesn't happen. What 'can' happen is that your threat level will be re-assessed and, as you have pointed out, if you're doing better than you should be then the opposition will take this into account. Thus teams may become more defensive against you or they might be a little more counter attacking.

You need to look at how you are conceding your goals. This is far more helpful for you and us than posting team instructions.

AI has cracked my tactic

Even if this were true, which is it NOT, then the fact that the word tactic is not plural (ends with an 's') will be a key issue. Playing with just one tactic doesn't work (much) anymore. I think Chelsea typify this most. One game Jose will be massively attacking, another he'll sit deep and counter attack all day long. He'll even do the same in a game too.......

In my second season I stormed the league. I played a highly attacking tactic with massive pressing and high tempo. It was not unusual for me to have 25+ shots on goal. At the start of season three I struggled to get going. I wasn't losing but I was drawing more than I'd have liked and was only just snatching games by one goal as apposed to 2/3 goals in season two.

The reason for this, as I aluded to further up, was that my threat was re-assessed and I was considered highly dangerous. Thus teams sat deep, flooded the box and/or counter attacked. I made one major change that solved almost everything. I switch from ATTACK to CONTROL. Now, I'm not suggesting this will work for you. I had, and still do, the quality to control a game. The control just made me a little more cautious.

If you were attacking originally then you were probably catching teams of guard. However now that they are (likely) more defensive and given that your exected position was 19th, I' suggest that you probably lack the player abilities to out and out attack teams that are likely stronger than you AND who are countering you.

All those 0-2/3's shout counter attack to me.

Regards

LAM

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Thanks for your response LAM.

I did consider that it might be down to teams taking me more seriously than before, thus sitting deeper and counter attacking. Indeed in most of the 0-2/3 games I've more than matched teams in terms of shots, chances and possession, which again indicates teams have been playing a counter-attacking game against me.

I like to play a pressing game, with most of my players having high (between 12-18) ratings for both work rate and determination, however taking your point about multiple tactics I guess I may have to put this aside for now and set up a little more cautiously.

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What sort of goals do you concede? Instinctive observations about your system are:

1. Bland central midfield with one sitting and one chasing. No real creativity and a risk that the CM might be isolated when the BWM is up field supporting play, or chasing an opponent

2. Predictable flank play, unless you have layered on PIs

3. Why Play Narrower (which focuses play through the middle) when your mobility is out wide?

4. Way too aggressive. Attacking + Fluid + BWM + Close Down More + Get Stuck In is a recipe to lose any semblance of shape

5. Attacking + More Direct Passing + Higher Tempo + Hit Early Crosses is a recipe for ultra fast football. Are your team good enough to play that quickly and accurately?

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1. Bland central midfield with one sitting and one chasing. No real creativity and a risk that the CM might be isolated when the BWM is up field supporting play, or chasing an opponent

I didn't want to over-complicate the midfield.

2. Predictable flank play, unless you have layered on PIs

Same as above - kept with simple roles due to being in lower leagues

3. Why Play Narrower (which focuses play through the middle) when your mobility is out wide?

Just added that in last game - ignore

4. Way too aggressive. Attacking + Fluid + BWM + Close Down More + Get Stuck In is a recipe to lose any semblance of shape

I'll look into this.

5. Attacking + More Direct Passing + Higher Tempo + Hit Early Crosses is a recipe for ultra fast football. Are your team good enough to play that quickly and accurately?

They were good enough for the first 8-10 games, but same as above.

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Oh, and just to add I've conceded 8 goals in my last 4 games, 6 of which have been penalties.

I'm assuming another consequence for being too aggressive.

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Not true. I have lost just three games over my last two seasons.

This doesn't happen. What 'can' happen is that your threat level will be re-assessed and, as you have pointed out, if you're doing better than you should be then the opposition will take this into account. Thus teams may become more defensive against you or they might be a little more counter attacking.

You need to look at how you are conceding your goals. This is far more helpful for you and us than posting team instructions.

Even if this were true, which is it NOT, then the fact that the word tactic is not plural (ends with an 's') will be a key issue. Playing with just one tactic doesn't work (much) anymore. I think Chelsea typify this most. One game Jose will be massively attacking, another he'll sit deep and counter attack all day long. He'll even do the same in a game too.......

In my second season I stormed the league. I played a highly attacking tactic with massive pressing and high tempo. It was not unusual for me to have 25+ shots on goal. At the start of season three I struggled to get going. I wasn't losing but I was drawing more than I'd have liked and was only just snatching games by one goal as apposed to 2/3 goals in season two.

The reason for this, as I aluded to further up, was that my threat was re-assessed and I was considered highly dangerous. Thus teams sat deep, flooded the box and/or counter attacked. I made one major change that solved almost everything. I switch from ATTACK to CONTROL. Now, I'm not suggesting this will work for you. I had, and still do, the quality to control a game. The control just made me a little more cautious.

If you were attacking originally then you were probably catching teams of guard. However now that they are (likely) more defensive and given that your exected position was 19th, I' suggest that you probably lack the player abilities to out and out attack teams that are likely stronger than you AND who are countering you.

All those 0-2/3's shout counter attack to me.

Regards

LAM

Agree with 95% of what you say LAM, but the bit in bold isnt neccesarily true. I have demostrated it with the simplicity thread - Same tactic to start every game over 3 seasons brought sustained success both in lower leagues and the EPL.

The absolute key is having a solid and sustainable tactic to start with. The OP lacks that very clearly. You will not have sustained success using an extreme mentality like "attacking". Likewise the roles and duties look unbalanced to me.

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Agree with 95% of what you say LAM, but the bit in bold isnt neccesarily true. I have demostrated it with the simplicity thread - Same tactic to start every game over 3 seasons brought sustained success both in lower leagues and the EPL.

The absolute key is having a solid and sustainable tactic to start with. The OP lacks that very clearly. You will not have sustained success using an extreme mentality like "attacking". Likewise the roles and duties look unbalanced to me.

Thanks for your contribution. Could you elaborate on the bit in bold? :)

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Thanks for your contribution. Could you elaborate on the bit in bold? :)

Well, what i think would help everyone giving advice, is if you elaborate on why you picked each role and how you expect it to work :)

For me though, in terms of generic advice, you have a massive attacking mentality, then 2 strikers and 2 attack duty wide men. Everyone is going to be up the pitch at once. Then you also have very conservative duties on both fullbacks, meaning a huge gap between wide men. Also to me it looks like your WM might be ill suited to the role? Thats a total guess based on only looking at the other positions they are comfortable on - You would know best how they fit into your system.

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Oh, and just to add I've conceded 8 goals in my last 4 games, 6 of which have been penalties.

I'm assuming another consequence for being too aggressive.

Make that 8 penalties in 5 games.

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3. Why Play Narrower (which focuses play through the middle) when your mobility is out wide?

RT, this statement confuses me. I thought the "Shape" section of the TI shouts was to do with the defensive shape - ie how high your team sits on the pitch, and how close between players. So if you chose play narrower your team stays compact and offers closer passing support, plus blocking the passing lanes by being closer together. The opposite is play wider where the players push wider on the flanks increasing the space between players.

The "Penetration" section in my mind determines where your team looks to direct its attack. The combination of the two allows you to focus on width on attack, yet defend in a tight formation.

I was reading Rafa Benitez's book on the champions league where he was talking about telling his team to set-up narrow on defence to deny the opposition space in the midfield and this is how I envisioned the Play Narrower TI worked.

I have play narrower/exploit the flanks set in my tactic, where I want to cut down the passing lanes with bodies and then on attack switch the ball to the wings as we transition. It is working as expected for me over 2.5 seasons. Please feel free to correct me if I have this all wrong :-)

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Make that 8 penalties in 5 games.

You've already answered this yourself. Get Stuck In makes your players attempt low probability tackles. A 4-4-2 will already oblige one DC to step out to close the ball down, so you'll sometimes have one exposed DC who you are asking to dive in to win the ball.

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RT, this statement confuses me.

Play Narrower / Wider have always been over-complicated shouts / TIs which affect not only width, but also passing focus. Lots (all?) of us T&T mods have asked a few times for these to be changed so we have separation of control of width and control of passing focus.

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I've readjusted my formation and TIs and it seems to be going better.

That aside, why would all out attack work for 10 games then begin to falter?

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Hi All,

I've noticed that on more than one occasion now, my team has made a solid start to the season, only to then go on a hapless run come October/November time.

I know all teams are suspect to a bad run, but it does seem rather coincidental that after relatively good starts (predicted finish is 19th) I seem to fall apart after 10-15 games.

My thoughts are that it could be fitness based, but the cynic in me says the AI has cracked my tactic, but I'm sure there's more to it than that.

This season:

490db76f964f272073c0cb7dd018afad.png

Last season:

dcb5020aa8e7bf073146e00eabe2e655.png

My tactics, for reference:

c2ccc45c0cf309618a0cdd5f33729d71.png

2f15ef504e8d8d3938bc3ba0d5d1dc36.png

Any advice as to what may be causing this is much appreciated :)

Hi Mate, it may well be a tactical issue but what I do if you can is play a friendly or two against some crap team to raise morale and/or team meetings.

It usually works for me :)

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Hi All,

I've noticed that on more than one occasion now, my team has made a solid start to the season, only to then go on a hapless run come October/November time.

I know all teams are suspect to a bad run, but it does seem rather coincidental that after relatively good starts (predicted finish is 19th) I seem to fall apart after 10-15 games.

My thoughts are that it could be fitness based, but the cynic in me says the AI has cracked my tactic, but I'm sure there's more to it than that.

I think the bolded part is the thing.

Quite often if you are overachieving and your players aren't mentally strong, they tend to get nervous. They just can't handle the pressure of "doing too well".

That can be fixed, it requires careful touch on team talks and also positive interaction with players.

I have seen that many times and quite often i have managed to turn the bad form back to good with well executed man management.

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Play Narrower / Wider have always been over-complicated shouts / TIs which affect not only width, but also passing focus. Lots (all?) of us T&T mods have asked a few times for these to be changed so we have separation of control of width and control of passing focus.

Thanks for the clarification. You can add me to the list of those who want change there.

It seems to me that you want to be able to tell your team to play narrow as a defence set-up, and then explode wider during the transition to attack as you seek to exploit the spaces left by your opposition. What I am getting from your comment is that if you chose play narrower, this will limit your team expanding in transition resulting in tighter play/shorter passing on attack as well?

EDIT: As an aside, one thing that would be a great help would be for the tactics screen to display the net effect of the Role/duty/TI/PI on the players.. i.e. as you move the DLine up, it actually moves up on the pitch - as you tell your players to play narrower they move narrow. If you click on a player you get a shadow effect showing his range of movement - You can't actually change the range like you could with the arrows, but you could see from the shadows where the holes were, and where the players were getting in each others way. A real life manager would know this information, while we can not see this playing out until we go live in a game.

They have started doing this by showing the players moving up and down in the team structure, but there is so much more that they could do to present the effects of your instructions visually. I think if this was available, then people would no longer be stumped by what they are seeing in the game. I don't think it would dumb down the game at all, but it would reduce the frustrations.

Think of this as a sand box from a coding perspective. This is what your instructions will do in isolation - your team will defend like this, and players will move to these areas on the pitch. Of course once you add the opposition, things will change, but if you had an idea of how you planned things to happen you could then react. I think this is the biggest frustration for new players (at least from my perspective anyhow) - is my game breaking because of the opposition, or have I designed a flawed system?

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Thanks for all the advice!

I've changed things up, and my last 12 games read W4, D4, L4.

I guess I'll have to wait until the start of next season now to see how my new tactics fair, as with only 6 league games left I look safe from relegation but a good way off a play-off place.

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Make that 8 penalties in 5 games.

Not always. Normally its reflective of last ditched tackles. But again, it depnds on what you're seeing.

I favour mid-high aggressive players and, without training them, a number of my back 4 combinations have 'slides into tackles', however only rarely do I end up having to make goal saving tackles and as a result I think I have only given one penalty in 1.5 seasons...... and that player doesnt play for me anymore :)

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Also, as I'm planning to play a more counter-attacking game I obviously would like to play wingers, although I believe that playing two wingers (but in the M(L) and M® positions) could leave me outnumbered in midfield? Along with a CM (D) and an AP(S).

Thoughts?

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Why would playing with wingers in a 442 leave you outnumbered? It might leave you out 'positioned' if they are high up the field.

Your assistant will constantly tell you that your midfield it outnumbered in a flat 4, however he tells me my attack is outnumbered in a solo striker formation and that my defence are outnumbered in a '3 at the back' formation.

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Decling after a good start you say? Teach me, because I just keep going straight down after a poor start...

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Now I'm facing the issue of winning easily 4-1 away then getting hammered by a worse team 6-1 at home the next game.

This game really does baffle me.

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Do you play Attacking all the time, irrespective of who and where you are playing?

I've completely changed my tactical setup, playing counter/defensive mainly with more direct passing, drop deeper and higher tempo as only shouts.

Think I'll need to play possession football at home and try draw the defense out of position as they are sitting very deep against me.

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I've completely changed my tactical setup, playing counter/defensive mainly with more direct passing, drop deeper and higher tempo as only shouts.

Think I'll need to play possession football at home and try draw the defense out of position as they are sitting very deep against me.

Probably worth updating this with the newer settings if you want further guidance, or people will assume the first images are still what you're using.

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Okay, I've altered my style of play quite drastically....

efd16db80eeb080497177ff60eb85061.png

ecaec5ee7f33524a7969b10a749bc23c.png

And these are the results...

336be7c411f371ca97638d6efa077cc6.png

Currently sit top of the table so very happy, however the two heavy home defeats (particularly the 7-1 at home to Bury Town in the FA Cup!) have me questioning what approach to take at home.

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Christ, the goals in your games makes me shiver! At what point did you revert to the new system? The run of results from the Macclesfield Away game is nasty.

If you are playing Defensive, why Drop Deeper?

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Christ, the goals in your games makes me shiver! At what point did you revert to the new system? The run of results from the Macclesfield Away game is nasty.

If you are playing Defensive, why Drop Deeper?

At the start of the season. I've noticed that despite sitting deeper a lot of my goals are coming from long balls which my centre backs jump for and miss.

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Deja-vu?

7f7fe490129019ec1de91b290987de0d.png

Game is an absolute joke. Not the slightest change of tactic and after winning 10 out of my first 14 I'm without a win in 6.

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How is your man management? I found that no matter how solid my tactic was due to me being terrible at massaging the ego's of the sociapaths in my team my form would plummet after a while. Even managing Top teams i struggled..but i have now moved onto fm classic and loving the game again.

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How is your man management? I found that no matter how solid my tactic was due to me being terrible at massaging the ego's of the sociapaths in my team my form would plummet after a while. Even managing Top teams i struggled..but i have now moved onto fm classic and loving the game again.

Yeah pretty much non-existent. I never believed that telling players how they had been would make any difference.

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At the start of the season. I've noticed that despite sitting deeper a lot of my goals are coming from long balls which my centre backs jump for and miss.

Yeah I see that all the time and also a lot of different mistakes...can't see how I can change that

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Yeah I see that all the time and also a lot of different mistakes...can't see how I can change that

I wouldn't mind, but it never seems to happen in my favour. Same goes for ridiculously scrappy corners that end up being own goals - must have conceded around 10 of those this season.

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Game is an absolute joke. Not the slightest change of tactic and after winning 10 out of my first 14 I'm without a win in 6.

A poor run of form doesn't mean the game is a joke :D

Look at the evidence: you veered from one extreme to the other; massively attacking , high tempo, high pressing system to low tempo, defensive system which drops deeper. Your issue is that you had a spell of success which you took to be the standard, and when the AI started to pick you off, you overreacted enormously and created a system that makes you a sitting duck. You need to pitch somewhere in between.

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A poor run of form doesn't mean the game is a joke :D

Look at the evidence: you veered from one extreme to the other; massively attacking , high tempo, high pressing system to low tempo, defensive system which drops deeper. Your issue is that you had a spell of success which you took to be the standard, and when the AI started to pick you off, you overreacted enormously and created a system that makes you a sitting duck. You need to pitch somewhere in between.

I've tried pitching somewhere in between, and it culminated in a mixture of draws and losses :lol: At the end of the day, my players aren't good enough to really be challenging for promotion just yet, despite only finishing 6 points off the play offs last campaign (after that awful run, too!).

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Think I may have to give up on this game soon.

bcc20c2c0776e97c464ce8849ff11fd8.png

Varying my tactics and players, giving morale boosting teamtalks, yet nothing.

I remember playing this game when I was 17 years old and had no clue about tactical setups and I had more luck then!

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Varying my tactics and players, giving morale boosting teamtalks, yet nothing.

What do you mean by "varying your tactics", are you losing tactical familiarity? What is your current tactic for that run of form?

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What do you mean by "varying your tactics", are you losing tactical familiarity? What is your current tactic for that run of form?

No familiarity is being lost - my team is fluid with every tactic.

071b7083481342da180a8c34fb350818.png

7b5a68f34b49db1dad845a9a55338835.png

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Have you had a read through Rashidi's thread? I know that some people make a single tactic with fixed shouts and instructions and do well with it without making any changes, but I've always played the game more in the way that he does in that thread (most recent page), which is to make changes based on very simple things like the opposition formation and roles. At the very least I feel that modifying tempo based on how the opposition is playing is one of the most important parts of the game in how I play. If a team is parking it against you, then higher tempo might not be the way to go if your players don't have the work rate, off the ball and technical skills to unlock them that way. Instead you might need to be patient and wait until you can draw them out and create a chance. Also if you are going for a counter attacking style then your fluidity might have your players ending up in positions where they're unable to make the most of a countering situation when you do win the ball back. If I were taking over this save then the first thing I'd look at is how the goals were conceded during your run of bad form. Flat 4-4-2 can be tricky to get working at times, but I have a save with Cambridge where I've done okay with it this year, and with that shape I'm always wary of the midfield, so I tend to go more structured rather than fluid. Just some ideas, like I said I'd be looking at how your goals were conceded before deciding on whether it's down to the tactic or your players' abilities.

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Have you had a read through Rashidi's thread? I know that some people make a single tactic with fixed shouts and instructions and do well with it without making any changes, but I've always played the game more in the way that he does in that thread (most recent page), which is to make changes based on very simple things like the opposition formation and roles. At the very least I feel that modifying tempo based on how the opposition is playing is one of the most important parts of the game in how I play. If a team is parking it against you, then higher tempo might not be the way to go if your players don't have the work rate, off the ball and technical skills to unlock them that way. Instead you might need to be patient and wait until you can draw them out and create a chance. Also if you are going for a counter attacking style then your fluidity might have your players ending up in positions where they're unable to make the most of a countering situation when you do win the ball back. If I were taking over this save then the first thing I'd look at is how the goals were conceded during your run of bad form. Flat 4-4-2 can be tricky to get working at times, but I have a save with Cambridge where I've done okay with it this year, and with that shape I'm always wary of the midfield, so I tend to go more structured rather than fluid. Just some ideas, like I said I'd be looking at how your goals were conceded before deciding on whether it's down to the tactic or your players' abilities.

Watching just on key highlights, a lot of my goals come from long balls over the top which a) my defenders jump on miss or b) their striker is simply just too fast. I tried the 'Drop Deeper' shout but this hasn't resolved the issue. Most other goals come from cross, which more often than not are crossed to single guy in the box who beats 4 or 5 of my players to the ball, either in the air or along the ground.

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Ok, are those crosses being contested? Key highlights is all fine and well I guess, but I make decisions and changes based on what I see hopefully before a goal is actually conceded. Against certain formations, and specifically when a team's crossing comes from either the wingers or fullbacks, you can sometimes get away with specific man marking using your wingers to mark those players, and eliminate those crossing threats. Also, against a 4-4-2 playing direct I'll often set one of my fullbacks to a more defensive approach, to make sure I still have the numbers at the back when they're trying the long balls. What are your CD's attributes like?

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Ok, are those crosses being contested? Key highlights is all fine and well I guess, but I make decisions and changes based on what I see hopefully before a goal is actually conceded. Against certain formations, and specifically when a team's crossing comes from either the wingers or fullbacks, you can sometimes get away with specific man marking using your wingers to mark those players, and eliminate those crossing threats. Also, against a 4-4-2 playing direct I'll often set one of my fullbacks to a more defensive approach, to make sure I still have the numbers at the back when they're trying the long balls. What are your CD's attributes like?

As I was playing counter-attacking I was closing down less and so most of the time crosses were being put in at will. Should I set PIs to close down wingers?

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