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Something odd regarding possession

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I was playing with Lazio for three seasons and was unable to make a possession based tactic that would give me a majority of possession in most games. I've tried many formations: 4-1-2-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2, 4-1-4-1, 4-4-1-1 and neither gave me what I wanted. During home games I was expected to dominate against bottom feeder clubs ,often I'd have 40% compared with theirs 60%. Obviously I've tried with control mentality and retain possession shout with short passing and work ball into box. I've tried counter,standard,attacking. I've tried droop deeper, I've tried push higher. I've tried wxploit the middle. I have tried everything. Btw, I am no noob. I've been playing this game since CM '93 on Amiga so I more or less I know what am I doing.

So, obviously I have a strange feeling that something is odd with this match engine, because Control + retain possession +shor passing +work ball into box against bottom feeder club at home should give my team at least 60% of possesion,no? But I am getting played of the park in terms of possession against a club like Bari, Carpi or Empoli.

So I loaded up Real Madrid save beacuse I thought, well maybe my Lazio squad really aren't as good as I believe it is. So I set up a basic 4-2-3-1 formation. Two central defenders on D, left back as wing back/A, right back as full back/S. In midfield, central mid/D and deep lying plym/S. AMR as inside forward/A, AML as inside FWD/S, AMC as AP/A and striker a DLF/S.

Mentality control + retain possession, short passing,play out of defence and work ball into box.

No player instructions.

I've picked a first team squad. Navas,Marcelo,Pepe,Ramos,Danilo,Modric,Casemiro,Ronaldo,James,Bale,Benzema

So i start a friendly against Monaco. A good team but not in the same ballpark as Madrid. So after 90 minutes, I've had 4 shots on goal with 34% possession, compared with Monaco's 27 shots and 66% possession.

So, my question is..how on earth didn't my team at least dominate possession with the TI I used and the quality of players in my team? I'm not even go into a debate about shots on goal. Monaco didn't counter me. No, they have dominated possession and destroyed me like I was managing Dundee United ffs!

Is there something odd going on with the ME?

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Btw, I am no noob. I've been playing this game since CM '93 on Amiga so I more or less I know what am I doing.

You might not be one but just to be clear here, the amount of time you spent playing a game doesn't have to necessarily mean you know what you're doing. The amount of times I see people come out with this statement in a day and it turns out they don't have as much of a grasp as to how the game works is incredible. So don't think because you've played since 1993 that means you know the game. Overall you're not as good as you believe you are at creating tactic which isn't a bad thing. But thinking your the oracle because you've played x amount of years is a bad thing. Forget all of what you think you know and put effort into learning what you are trying to create. Think of how the roles link up with each other and how they compliment the style you are trying to create. After all if you knew what you was doing, you'd not be posting here struggling would you powgw9.gif

So, obviously I have a strange feeling that something is odd with this match engine, because Control + retain possession +shor passing +work ball into box against bottom feeder club at home should give my team at least 60% of possesion,no?

And here we have an example of what I was talking about above. Why do all these settings added together mean you should have atleast 60% of possession? Why do you believe this is a given? Not only are you wrong here it also shows you don't have a grasp of the game and how things work like you claim above. The oppositions shape will also play into this and not only that, but their own game plan which you don't seem to have considered once, at least not in terms of what you expect based on this post. On top of all this you've missed one really important factor - The roles and duties you use. Just because you use the TI's you mention doesn't mean they work in the setup you use. The fact that you suffer the same issues regardless of team you manage or tactic you use - You might want to sit down for this bit as it might shock you......then the issue is more than likely you. Yes really I'm being serious.....

In order to play possession football of any kind you need roles and duties that allow this and that compliment the style you want to play.

So I set up a basic 4-2-3-1 formation.

By pure definition the 4-2-3-1 isn't actually possession focused like people believe. The 4-5-1/4-3-3/-4-1-2-2-1 whatever you want to call it is better suited for a possession based system. However the 4-2-3-1 is better at distributing the possession that the other shape I mentioned. That's not to say that a 4-2-3-1 can't be used to create possession but realistically for that to happen you're looking at making it very aggressive with lots of closing down etc which isn't always a good thing.

Two central defenders on D, left back as wing back/A, right back as full back/S. In midfield, central mid/D and deep lying plym/S. AMR as inside forward/A, AML as inside FWD/S, AMC as AP/A and striker a DLF/S.

Do you not see the issue here? You want to create a possession based system yet your roles don't allow for this. Look at your front 4 they are disconnected from the defence and two central midfielders, even with a support duty their disconnected. You have huge gaps between players and don't make it easy for the defence to link with the attack, which is vital for a possession system.

Mentality control + retain possession, short passing,play out of defence and work ball into box.

No player instructions.

These just further add to the issues. Instructing to play out of defence when you have a disconnection between the defence and attack, you may as well thing of them as two separate functions inside this kind of set up as they're not playing a unit, which is important for any possession based system. It's not balanced and what you say you want is totally different to what you translate to the game.

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The simplest way to bump possession is to drop tempo, reduce crossing and risky passes. The thing is, when you are a stronger side at home you will play sides who themselves adopt a low Mentality which itself will have a default low tempo, so you need to find a way to get the ball off them or they will be able to patiently move the ball around and drive the possession in their favour. It's also easier to retain possession with deeper formations, and without Attack Duty Roles at the back whose passing and crossing settings can't be tweaked through PIs.

As I always say, I really don't see why people seem so pre-occupied with the idea of dominating possession. It's just a stat.

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Great, so it' perfectly normal for you that a team like Elche is able to have 60% of possession against Real MAdrid? I'm sorry, I admit I am not a tactic guru like you Cleon, and I respect everything you wrote in your post. But ok, this set up is wrong for possession..(ignore the fact that on FM15 apparently it created around 60% of possession for Marseille and Barcelona teams I've managed). So on this ME clearly it's not working. But how do we explain that this players with this tactic can not create any chances against Monaco? Not one key chance?

And btw did I not say in my post that I've tried various formations with various TI?

I'll give you example of another one.

Formation 4-4-2. I want direct counter attacking style with wing play as primary offensive weapon.

So, TI are more direct passing,exploit the flanks, fairly wide. Counter/flexible.

Defence CD/D and full backs are LB on FB/A and right on support. CM's are DLP/S and CM/D with ML on WM/S and MR on W/A. Strikers are DLF/S and AF/A.

From all the threads on this tactic forum this should be a good set up.

Playing with ManUtd away to Everton. I got absolutely hammered. I won the game but it was pure luck. And I didn't see one good counter attack from my team. Like suddenly nothing I do works in this game..is this ME soooo different from FM15 or what?

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Great, so it' perfectly normal for you that a team like Elche is able to have 60% of possession against Real MAdrid? I'm sorry, I admit I am not a tactic guru like you Cleon, and I respect everything you wrote in your post. But ok, this set up is wrong for possession..(ignore the fact that on FM15 apparently it created around 60% of possession for Marseille and Barcelona teams I've managed). So on this ME clearly it's not working. But how do we explain that this players with this tactic can not create any chances against Monaco? Not one key chance?

And btw did I not say in my post that I've tried various formations with various TI?

I'll give you example of another one.

Formation 4-4-2. I want direct counter attacking style with wing play as primary offensive weapon.

So, TI are more direct passing,exploit the flanks, fairly wide. Counter/flexible.

Defence CD/D and full backs are LB on FB/A and right on support. CM's are DLP/S and CM/D with ML on WM/S and MR on W/A. Strikers are DLF/S and AF/A.

From all the threads on this tactic forum this should be a good set up.

Playing with ManUtd away to Everton. I got absolutely hammered. I won the game but it was pure luck. And I didn't see one good counter attack from my team. Like suddenly nothing I do works in this game..is this ME soooo different from FM15 or what?

You tried to play counter attack against Everton, as MAN UTD, and you didn't create any chances? Its not that impossible to imagine, as Everton would likely also be sitting back and countering.. so where is the space to counter into?

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You tried to play counter attack against Everton, as MAN UTD, and you didn't create any chances? Its not that impossible to imagine, as Everton would likely also be sitting back and countering.. so where is the space to counter into?

Apparently Everton had 71% of the possession and 21 shot on goal. They were opening me up for fun. Clearly not countering me. So there you go...

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Apparently Everton had 71% of the possession and 21 shot on goal. They were opening me up for fun. Clearly not countering me. So there you go...

Well you were on counter, so you were letting them have possession and sitting back.

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And btw did I not say in my post that I've tried various formations with various TI?

You said;

I've tried many formations: 4-1-2-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2, 4-1-4-1, 4-4-1-1 and neither gave me what I wanted

So you clearly did but whatever if you want to keep lying or don't say what you really mean then no-one will ever be able to help you and it becomes pointless trying.

Great, so it' perfectly normal for you that a team like Elche is able to have 60% of possession against Real MAdrid?

So you didn't actually read what I said about the shape you used and the roles? If you had you wouldn't ask a silly question like this.

(ignore the fact that on FM15 apparently it created around 60% of possession for Marseille and Barcelona teams I've managed

So many variables here I don't know where to start? Different players, different conditions, full tactical familiarity etc.

So on this ME clearly it's not working. But how do we explain that this players with this tactic can not create any chances against Monaco? Not one key chance?

So now you want to change the focus from possession and it become about shots now because you're to blame for the possession? Your role allocation is quite poor it's no wonder you struggle to score or get shots on target. But let me guess you'll still be adamant its not you right?

I'll give you example of another one.

Formation 4-4-2. I want direct counter attacking style with wing play as primary offensive weapon.

So, TI are more direct passing,exploit the flanks, fairly wide. Counter/flexible.

Defence CD/D and full backs are LB on FB/A and right on support. CM's are DLP/S and CM/D with ML on WM/S and MR on W/A. Strikers are DLF/S and AF/A.

From all the threads on this tactic forum this should be a good set up.

Link me all the threads on this forum that specify the above is a good set up please.

You want to play a direct counter attacking style focused on wing play as the primary weapon right? In order to have a counter attack you need to have players low down the pitch so you get the numbers advantage when you win the ball back, that's how you counter attack, by having the numbers advantage. Now add to this you want it to be focused on wing play, then why do you have one of your wingers and fullbacks on attack duties? How can they attack or be a threat if they aren't involved in the initial counter attack because they'll be higher up the pitch. By them also being high up the pitch you risk not having the numbers to trigger a counter attack. You also realise that by using direct passing certain players will be looking to get the ball forward far quicker than normal and this can work against counters at times because the ball is going to the front players far too quickly. When a natural counter attack happens the players mentality, tempo and passing are all maxed out for the duration of the counter attack.

The strikers are set up properly but nothing else is. Again it comes down to your ideas in your head not matching what you are trying to create. Is it actually a counter attacking style you want to create or is it just getting the ball from A to be in the quickest possible route? Because that differs drastically from a counter attack.

Also counter attacking isn't a possession tactic. Something you seem to be confusing. You keep mentioning possession and then instruct your players to play counter. You also try playing a counter attacking system against a side who is more than likely sat deep themselves. So please explain how you expect to counter attack them?

Playing with ManUtd away to Everton. I got absolutely hammered. I won the game but it was pure luck. And I didn't see one good counter attack from my team. Like suddenly nothing I do works in this game..is this ME soooo different from FM15 or what?

Until you admit your the issue because your ideas don't match what you're doing in game then no-one will ever be able to help you.

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Apparently Everton had 71% of the possession and 21 shot on goal. They were opening me up for fun. Clearly not countering me. So there you go...

You sat back trying to counter attack and conceded possession to them due to this. Are you really that surprised to learn they took the game to you? Your role/duty allocation doesn't allow for counter attacking football. Add to this you play wide which will stretch the two central players.

Do you even watch games back? All of these issues will have been clear watching 5 seconds of any game.

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OK; CLeon I admit my systems are catastrophic evidently.

So you're telling me if you want to play counter attack using wide players, do not play direct, do not have your wide players on attack duty? Is that what you are telling me here? So do not instruct players to play direct passing if you actually want them to pass direct and do not have your winger on attack if you want him to attack?

Why are my cenral midifelders in this set up with wrong roles? why is deep lying playmaker and central midfielder wrong roles? player x wins the ball back, pass it to deep lying playmaker who then needs to find a wide player ready to counter. What is wrong with that?

I'm playing counter mentality with default settings, so I understand team is sitting deeper so why are you telling me I'll have problems with my players sitting higher up the pitch?

And last if Everton was also sitting deep, wouldn't the game be a boring contest with low number of chances?

I don't understand your aggressive attitude towards my posts? Obviously I've no clue how to create anything on FM16, so can you give me some input about where I'm making wrong moves?

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So you're telling me if you want to play counter attack using wide players, do not play direct, do not have your wide players on attack duty?

The further upfield they are the less numbers you have deeper to start counter attacks. Also you wanted to focus on counter attacks down a specific area i.e the wings. So obviously you need them deeper no? I'm telling you to think about what you want then use roles that actually allow for this. Your whole system relies on the wingers. 90% of what you create will come from the wings.

So do not instruct players to play direct passing if you actually want them to pass direct and do not have your winger on attack if you want him to attack?

No stop reading between the lines and actually read what puts. To create what you wanted to do then you need to think more about the duties you used down the wings. Remember this advice is just for the example you used, it was based on that. The quoted comment above you're trying to make it about all things FM when I'm on about the setup you posted.

Why are my cenral midifelders in this set up with wrong roles? why is deep lying playmaker and central midfielder wrong roles? player x wins the ball back, pass it to deep lying playmaker who then needs to find a wide player ready to counter. What is wrong with that?

No-one said you had the wrong roles. I'm not sure what you're actually reading but it's clearly not what's written in here. Stop making things up and take your time to take the information in.

I'm playing counter mentality with default settings, so I understand team is sitting deeper so why are you telling me I'll have problems with my players sitting higher up the pitch?

I told you exactly why having players higher up the pitch was an issue for the style you was supposedly creating. And just because you use counter mentality it doesn't mean that attack duty players aren't high up the pitch. It just means they'll be further back than on an attack duty.

And last if Everton was also sitting deep, wouldn't the game be a boring contest with low number of chances?

Clearly they weren't sat deep they took the game to you and dominated shots and possession.

I don't understand your aggressive attitude towards my posts?

You came in with the arrogance that you knew what you was doing. Also have you ever had a chat with someone in real life and your talking to them and they just keep saying 'hmm, yes, hmm, hmm' and you know that they're not really listening? Well that's the attitude you give off with your posts. Yet you're the one who need help not me, I'm trying to offer it you but you keep coming back with silly replies like you know best. So you either want help or you don't?

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I came here with the attitude you percieve as arrogant because in FM15 I had no trouble making a good tactic. Especially with a team like ManU or Madrid. The same tactic doesn't work in FM16. So I don't use it any more, but I'm trying to make something that does work but am unable to and I'm using the same logic I used playing FM15. So I don't understand what has changed so drastically that I can't put a decent tactic for ManU. So ok, I accept I can't make anything work and need help.

You've said that only strikers were set up properly. Now I asked you why is my central midifeld set up wrong and you say that nothing is wrong with my roles. I'mnot arrogant, I'm trying to understand what am I doing wrong. So if I want to play counter attack, I should not have players on attack duty? My idea was for central mids to get the ball and spray it direct on the wings. I thought attack duty for wingers is the proper way to go. But if I put them on suppoert I'm left with only AF as a player with attack duty. I'm worried that I won't have enough players going up the pitch without attack duty.

So anyway, I'd appriciate some advice regarding this tactic and the previously mentioned 4-2-3-1?

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To be fair to luka, I've often set up 442 counters in almost the exact same way he has , as looking at it, it seems incredibly logical to set it out that way if you want to get to ball to your front players quickly and have your wingers quite central to fast paced counters.

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A good start would be to stop thinking that in a counter attacking side, that you need players on attack duty in order to bomb up the field and attack..

The most important aspect is getting the ball back, which requires a good majority of your players being in a structured deep role, they will automatically get up field once they have possession, but it's no good you having 5 players dedicated to try and win the ball back and one fancy dan winger who's only priority is to run 100 yards up field the second you have the ball.. he will always be too far from the action to be useful, and more than that, he'll leave glaring gaps where the opposition can exploit.

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I've been using Counter Mentality with Parma to good effect (promoted from Serie C/A at the first attempt) using deep lying formations: generally a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-2-3-1 with 2 DMs and the "3" across the MC line.

As others have said, you need that inherent depth in the formation to get it to work more frequently (anything with an AML/R just isn't suitable really). The reason you don't need attacking Roles all over the place is because when a Counter is triggered the Mentalities effectively get a boost, but you can't easily trigger a Counter if you have loads of men ahead of the ball. It's all about patience and balance.

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To be fair to luka, I've often set up 442 counters in almost the exact same way he has , as looking at it, it seems incredibly logical to set it out that way if you want to get to ball to your front players quickly and have your wingers quite central to fast paced counters.

That's a different style to creating a counter attacking system that is focus on the wingers being the integrate part of the counter which is what he wanted. Getting the ball as quickly as you can to the front players isn't counter attack, that would be a direct game. A counter attacking system by pure definition is when he has the numbers advantage and then burst at speed with numbers forward. Playing how you mentioned can be fine but it's not counter attacking so it's not the same as what the OP posted.

So I don't understand what has changed so drastically that I can't put a decent tactic for ManU. So ok, I accept I can't make anything work and need help.

Was tactic familiarity fluid? I have a feeling it wasn't because I think you mentioned you started the game and created a friendly. Also were all players match fit? Also friendly matches work different to competitive ones and players don't always give 100% in them. All of these can be a factor. Also remember the team you probably had towards the end of the last FM you played was more than likely completely different to the starting team of now on the new game, especially if you'd played a lot.

You've said that only strikers were set up properly. Now I asked you why is my central midifeld set up wrong and you say that nothing is wrong with my roles

Well your set up to bypass the midfield so it doesn't really matter how they're set up as they're only there for the defensive side.

So if I want to play counter attack, I should not have players on attack duty?

For a true counter attacking style you'd have 1 or two attack duties probably. But any more than that and you'll not trigger counter attacks because you'll have far too many players in advanced positions to begin them. However if its just a direct game you want to create then you can possibly have more.

My idea was for central mids to get the ball and spray it direct on the wings.

Most of the time the defenders will be trying to hit the wings when they have the ball because you've instructed to exploit both flanks. Also this will have a knock on effect with possession and actual completed passes especially if the wide players are to high up the pitch.

I thought attack duty for wingers is the proper way to go

It can be but for what you described on how you want to play, it's definitely not the best way. Remember your instructing the players to play wide in 442 and exploit the flanks. You're basically bypassing the midfield or not utilising them as often. So it's the same as I mentioned above, your defence are 905 of the time looking to get the ball out wide.

I'm worried that I won't have enough players going up the pitch without attack duty.

It's not an issue because when a counter attacking move is triggered by the match engine the mentality, tempo, and passing for all players involved will all be maxed to full for the duration of the move. So this means players will get moved to attacking duties and have direct passing and so on.

Edit - Welsh's opening line is spot on in his reply.

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I've been using Counter Mentality with Parma to good effect (promoted from Serie C/A at the first attempt) using deep lying formations: generally a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-2-3-1 with 2 DMs and the "3" across the MC line.

As others have said, you need that inherent depth in the formation to get it to work more frequently (anything with an AML/R just isn't suitable really). The reason you don't need attacking Roles all over the place is because when a Counter is triggered the Mentalities effectively get a boost, but you can't easily trigger a Counter if you have loads of men ahead of the ball. It's all about patience and balance.

Did you use a defensive forward in your 4-1-4-1 by any chance?

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Did you use a defensive forward in your 4-1-4-1 by any chance?

I want to do that, but the guys I have available (I don't have much money) aren't really suited to that. I tried to use an out of position DM up there as a Defensive Forward and I preferred his general positioning and harrying to the Role I settled with (DLF on Support), but he was technically awful and his off the ball movement was lousy so I had to revert to using a conventional forward who didn't really have high enough work rate for a DF Role.

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So would something like this be the way to go.

Counter/flexible..direct passing,play out of defence,be more disciplined,exploit flanks

GK/D - WBR/A,WBL/S, CD/D,CD/D - WL/S, DLP/S, BWM/D, WM/S - DLF/S,AF/A

I put play out of defence shout because I don't want the defenders to spray the ball to flanks, I want them to pass to DLP.

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Getting the ball as quickly as you can to the front players isn't counter attack, that would be a direct game.

I don't really understand this statement. If you want to counter by playing quick balls to your front players while the opponent is out of position.. isn't that still a counter attack?

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I don't really understand this statement. If you want to counter by playing quick balls to your front players while the opponent is out of position.. isn't that still a counter attack?

No it's not. Getting the ball to the front players is nothing to do with a counter attack. A counter attack is committing players forward from deep to take advantage of the numbers game in your favour. It's not about the 'ball' as such. All you describe is a very fast paced direct game. Both are different. Counter attacking football is more about the bodies than getting the ball from A to B in the quickest possible time. Or using the pitch to it's full extent while having players run from deep. It's all about speed and movement.

So would something like this be the way to go.

Counter/flexible..direct passing,play out of defence,be more disciplined,exploit flanks

GK/D - WBR/A,WBL/S, CD/D,CD/D - WL/S, DLP/S, BWM/D, WM/S - DLF/S,AF/A

I put play out of defence shout because I don't want the defenders to spray the ball to flanks, I want them to pass to DLP.

You're still exploiting the flanks though. Why not drop the shout for now and see how it goes without exploiting the flanks? You might not need use that as you still want the MC's to be involved in link up play it seems. Use the shouts to refine your stsyle if you think it's not working after seeing how it plays.

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No it's not. Getting the ball to the front players is nothing to do with a counter attack. A counter attack is committing players forward from deep to take advantage of the numbers game in your favour. It's not about the 'ball' as such. All you describe is a very fast paced direct game. Both are different. Counter attacking football is more about the bodies than getting the ball from A to B in the quickest possible time. Or using the pitch to it's full extent while having players run from deep. It's all about speed and movement.

Hmm, ok, I sort of see what you are saying. But surely the definition of counter attacking football is quickly transitioning from defence to attack, in order to attack an opponent at their weakest moment, when they've just lost the ball. That could be a series of short passes, or direct passes to more forward players.

If a team has attacked you and they have left their 2 central defenders exposed, you have 2 strikers up and a fast winger, you pass it quickly to any of them, then they are 3 against 2. Thats a counter attack surely?

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Remember - the ME decides when to say a counter attack is on or not. It's therefore up to us as managers to set the team up in such a way to encourage the ME to start counter attacks more often. Could we just set up any old way and see the odd counter attack in match? Yes of course we could, but setting things up properly in the first place will encourage counters so that we get that sort of play more often - which is the whole point.

When a counter is on, players involved in said counter will be given attacking mentalities by the ME, regardless of what role/duty we have selected for them. If we give too many players an attack mentality, or poorly position them in our formations, this will discourage the ME from starting counters. We are dealing with a numbers game here, not actual people on a pitch, and if the numbers don't stack up it won't happen. We're trying to get the numbers on our side.

A long ball to a player positioned high up the pitch is just that, nothing more. 5 players suddenly breaking forward from defence with the ball is what we're aiming for, and for that we need players to start from a proper position.

If you can find it, watch Robben's first goal in the recent Bayern v Stuttgart match. A brilliant counter attacking goal, several players breaking forward at phenomenal speed, and not a single long pass in sight.

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Remember - the ME decides when to say a counter attack is on or not. It's therefore up to us as managers to set the team up in such a way to encourage the ME to start counter attacks more often. Could we just set up any old way and see the odd counter attack in match? Yes of course we could, but setting things up properly in the first place will encourage counters so that we get that sort of play more often - which is the whole point.

When a counter is on, players involved in said counter will be given attacking mentalities by the ME, regardless of what role/duty we have selected for them. If we give too many players an attack mentality, or poorly position them in our formations, this will discourage the ME from starting counters. We are dealing with a numbers game here, not actual people on a pitch, and if the numbers don't stack up it won't happen. We're trying to get the numbers on our side.

A long ball to a player positioned high up the pitch is just that, nothing more. 5 players suddenly breaking forward from defence with the ball is what we're aiming for, and for that we need players to start from a proper position.

If you can find it, watch Robben's first goal in the recent Bayern v Stuttgart match. A brilliant counter attacking goal, several players breaking forward at phenomenal speed, and not a single long pass in sight.

I thought the ME decided on whether a counter was on based on whether your attackers outnumber their defenders? In that case doesn't it make more sense to have more attackers?

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I thought the ME decided on whether a counter was on based on whether your attackers outnumber their defenders? In that case doesn't it make more sense to have more attackers?

It's not based on attackers outnumbering the defenders, it can be any player. It's based on the opposition committing men forward and then you winning the ball back. So no it doesn't make sense to have more attackers for reasons mentions throughout the thread.

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I thought the ME decided on whether a counter was on based on whether your attackers outnumber their defenders? In that case doesn't it make more sense to have more attackers?

Taking that logic through to conclusion, you'd end up with 10 attackers on your team. I'm exaggerating of course (no offence intended), but do you see what I mean?

The key (I think) is to get the opposition to overcommit players - if you keep a few / several players on an attack duty, the opposition won't overcommit in attack as they'll keep players back to mark your team positioned high up the pitch. If you keep your players deeper, the opposition should then commit more men forwards leaving themselves exposed to your well positioned deep players to counter. In a counter, you aren't trying to get the ball forwards quickly to a player positioned high up the pitch - that's just a direct long ball - you are trying to get the ball forwards quickly with several players in close support to overload the poorly positioned opposition defence. It's about positioning, not passing.

Like I said above, any set up can produce counter attacks on occasion - what we want to do though is load the bases in our favour to produce counters on a more regular basis.

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Are ME counter attacks still initiated on contain?

If so could you choose contain (more likely defensive because the other 90% of the time you'll probably be toothless) and have say 2 wingers on support, a dlp-d, a cm-d a dlf-s and an af with a default defensive line (You'd probably concede too much space for it to be viable otherwise) you would probably trigger more counters?

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Counter attacks are primarily initiated using the Defend, Counter and Attack mentalities. Counters "can" occur with any mentality I believe, however they are far more likely to occur using those 3, especially with the right set up. If you want to play with some form of Counter attacking style, one of those 3 mentalities should really be your pick.

Contain is pretty much just going to look to sit deep and not do much else no matter how you set up. Think Roma vs Barcelona earlier in the season. I wouldn't go lower than Defensive.

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Are ME counter attacks still initiated on contain?

If so could you choose contain (more likely defensive because the other 90% of the time you'll probably be toothless) and have say 2 wingers on support, a dlp-d, a cm-d a dlf-s and an af with a default defensive line (You'd probably concede too much space for it to be viable otherwise) you would probably trigger more counters?

It's not no because contain is focused on not attacking and just defending for their lives.

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I finally managed to create a tactic that gives me possession (not 60ish% but usually I end up with more possession than opponent) and chances. Finally my team creates chances! So, I ditched the idea of counter attacks because it just didn't work for me at all.

I switched to 4-1-2-3 formation. Control/flexible; TI:tight marking,pass out of defence,work ball in to box,short passing.

GK/D - De Gea

DR/WB/A - Darmian

DCR/Co - Smalling

DCL/D - Javi Martinez

DL/WB/S - Shaw

DM/D - Schniederlin

MCR/BBM - Dembele - PI: fewer risky passes

MCL/RPM - Schweinsteiger

AMR/AP/S - Mata - PI:Sit narrower

AML/IF/A - Depay - PI: Stay wider; fewer risky passes

STC/ CF/A - Rooney - PI: Close down much more,roam from postition,move in to channels

Now when in possession I have Mata coming inside and playing centrally often while Darmian is looking like a winger for the right side, Schweini and Dembele both are a threat outside the box. Depay is streching the defence on the left and making room for Rooney to find space in the middle. It's looking quite good actually, although I'm not scoring much, at least I see good chances being created. The key i think is the midfield duo of RPM and BBM who are both involved in the build up and they support attacks high up the pitch.

Also, watching games in comprehensive helped a lot, you can really see the dynamic of the match and react on time. I've used to watch key highlights but now I'm switching to comprehensive for sure.

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