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bluehefner

Looking for tactical advice for my Man Utd save

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I’m looking for some tactical advice regarding how to setup my United team and tips on how I can be better away from home more specifically, I have had success on the previous FM but even despite this I was never going into away games confident that I had my tactics nailed, I just went with whatever and it seemed to work or at least I’d get a result without always being convincing, maybe I’m aiming too high for perfection but what I’d usually play at home is the following.

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Note that Pogba's role almost changes from game to game as i struggle to get the best out of him, sometimes he'll be RP, BBM or an attacking AP. Rooney would usually play up front with Cavani on the right and Mata in behind but he's injured. I find this to be a good way to keep possession without prioritising keeping the ball, i don't want to do what LVG does IRL and have no creativity, i do sometimes wonder if more expressive AND fluid is overkill but any advice would be appreciated, I will also put retain possession on as I get more comfortable in the game, I’ll also lower my width, tempo and my team shape as I go, generally this seems to work well for most home games, vs the bigger teams i would probably go Standard mentality.

Now away from home I recently played Sunderland twice as a test and drew 1-1 and lost 2-0, in the 1-1 game I started with an attacking mentality from what I can remember although I can’t remember the rest i didn't go for it as much as in the tactic above. I did have more shots and possession but Sunderland frequently got in behind, so in my next test game vs them I set similar to this...

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They got in behind less but they still scored via that route, in both games they played 5 at the back, a deep midfield and 1 lone striker, maybe vs teams like Sunderland i should be pushing right up on them and taking the game to them, similar to how i play at home, but then i think that is a risky business with Defoe available on the counter.

I’ve often thought, should be be going more expressive away from home? That seems to be the one instruction i use that seems constant in every game i play, should I not be closing down as much? Should I try to ‘Control’ away games, at home i can get away with more risk taking but not so much away so should i be more disciplined? Is sticking to positions beneficial? Would love to know what other users use when they are away from home, what are big no no's etc. it’s also very annoying that if a team is setup to defend I see world class saves, blocks, tackles over and over yet as a team who mainly attacks (I never ever use defensive) I rarely see my keeper have a blinder…ever.

I know there's no right or wrong way to play the game, but i've played the game so long that at this point i'm probably a bit blinded by the tactics i've always used so i don't see anything wrong in what i do, it's been a number of years since i've done any save for longer than 2 or 3 years though, even if i win trophys playing how i play there's probably more room for error if you're a team like United, as the quality of players will get you through, and i'm looking to change that.

Cheers.

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I would use Control for away games against weaker teams being they will be on Counter most of the time. I was having the same issue with Chelsea.

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The first thing that jumps out at me is your two fullbacks with an "automatic" duty while you use an Attacking mentality will actually be playing with attack duties.

Add to that your two attack minded inside forwards plus Pogba as an advanced playmaker, which probably results in your two central defenders having poor old Schwiensteiger being pulled around all over midfield desperately trying to provide their defensive screen single handedly.

The attacking mentality is already a pretty aggressive set up - with some of those roles and duties layered on you will be leaving big gaps down the flanks, in your DM area and behind your defenders for the opposition to exploit. Probably fine in most cases as with Man Utd you will just steamroller opponents anyway, but toning down the aggressiveness sometimes will help.

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I would use Control for away games against weaker teams being they will be on Counter most of the time. I was having the same issue with Chelsea.

I could use control against teams that have the pace to hurt me on the break, Sunderland do in Defoe, Johnson and Larsson are no slouches either, but if i'm playing a poor side with little pace then i guess i would have licence to 'go for it' more, i would also guess that against teams at my level or better than control wouldn't work as well seeing as though it'd be harder to control a game vs those sort of opponents. Would i setup to completely control the game though and prioritise retaining possession? etc. My only worry with control is finding that balance with controlling the game but still trying to score, after all i am United and i should be ripping Sunderland a new one.

The first thing that jumps out at me is your two fullbacks with an "automatic" duty while you use an Attacking mentality will actually be playing with attack duties.

Add to that your two attack minded inside forwards plus Pogba as an advanced playmaker, which probably results in your two central defenders having poor old Schwiensteiger being pulled around all over midfield desperately trying to provide their defensive screen single handedly.

The attacking mentality is already a pretty aggressive set up - with some of those roles and duties layered on you will be leaving big gaps down the flanks, in your DM area and behind your defenders for the opposition to exploit. Probably fine in most cases as with Man Utd you will just steamroller opponents anyway, but toning down the aggressiveness sometimes will help.

I always thought that on 'Automatic' that they will switch to defensive/attacking/support on the fly regardless of overall team mentality, although having them on attack for home games probably isn't a big deal, away it will certainly hurt me. Would you suggest a support role for most away games or would support be a general good idea for most games? with possibly player instructions for Shaw and Fernandes to bomb forward more?

I always had my wingers/inside forwards on attack, especially seeing as though my AMC is on support most of the time. At one point i did think Pogba would be good as Box to Box, he has the attributes to help out in defence, plus that role allows me to give him specific player instructions that allow him to play how he wants, advanced playmaker doesn't allow for freedom of movement or allow him to shoot, despite the fact he has 19 in long shots.

Something i've always done up until recently is to tell my centre backs to close down rarely or less in order for them to not leave gaps, i didn't do it on this save as i was worried that it could cause problems in other areas, always liked the idea of it though.

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I always thought that on 'Automatic' that they will switch to defensive/attacking/support on the fly regardless of overall team mentality.

No - "Automatic" will reflect the team mentality you have set. So an attacking mentality = attack duty, defensive mentality = defend duty and so on. A player with an Automatic duty will only change their duty during a match if you change mentality.

Watch the games. If opponents are getting in behind your fullbacks too often then reconsider the duty. The same goes for Pogba's role - if Schwiensteiger is running all over the place trying to provide cover, then consider switching Pogba to something to help him out.

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Sorry to say, there is no balance in your sistem. Way too many attacking duties for one tactic and a lot of playmakers. The 4 2 3 1 is a sistem that tends to get overrun in midfield as it has only 2 MC's. They need to control the park; I would keep both on defend and ask them to tackle. I would set my FB's on support and ask them to play short passes (maybe few risk pass?!?) so they actually link the play with the midfield. AMC/S instead of AP/s as you need some1 to carry the ball in front.

Attacking + high close down = high D-line = problems. I don't recomend it, but if you want to go with it like that at least try offside trap. I don't like the high tempo either and the maxed width. I wonder how your boys finish the game, they must be so tired.

You are Man U. and playing attacking footbal, try to create from defenders. Turn down the close down a notch or two, try a lower tempo, and maybe let the width on default and ask only the 3 att players upfront to close down much more and tackle harder and maybe TI prevent GK short distrib. to force opp to not create from the back. 4 2 3 1 is wide by nature.

Good luck.

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Sorry to say, there is no balance in your sistem. Way too many attacking duties for one tactic and a lot of playmakers. The 4 2 3 1 is a sistem that tends to get overrun in midfield as it has only 2 MC's. They need to control the park; I would keep both on defend and ask them to tackle. I would set my FB's on support and ask them to play short passes (maybe few risk pass?!?) so they actually link the play with the midfield. AMC/S instead of AP/s as you need some1 to carry the ball in front.

Attacking + high close down = high D-line = problems. I don't recomend it, but if you want to go with it like that at least try offside trap. I don't like the high tempo either and the maxed width. I wonder how your boys finish the game, they must be so tired.

You are Man U. and playing attacking footbal, try to create from defenders. Turn down the close down a notch or two, try a lower tempo, and maybe let the width on default and ask only the 3 att players upfront to close down much more and tackle harder and maybe TI prevent GK short distrib. to force opp to not create from the back. 4 2 3 1 is wide by nature.

Good luck.

The thing is i ALWAYS like playing a deep lying playmaker in a defensive duty, i find they tend to sit and never move which provides good cover for my midfield, i agree that having Pogba as a playmaker along with Mata/Herrera is AMC may be overkill, i'm not very inclined to play 2 defensive minded midfielders because i believe this would prevent my midfield from linking with my front line, putting Pogba on Box to Box seems to be a good compromise, i like the idea of supporting full backs though with short passing.

Would going more expressive be advised away from home? i'm think of leaving it on default but i don't wont to end up not going for the win playing this way, even though i lost and drew both games i still created more chances and had more possession, is there any issue with keeping it short away from home, for some reason i've always favoured a more direct approach in those sort of matches.

I'm thinking about putting both Depay and whoever i sign in right wing on the inside forward (support) role, the AMC to the attacking midfielder (attack role) so i have someone supporting my striker but i gain more possession and shape from the supporting inside forwards, and the attacking AMC should still help with possession and shape, switch Pogba from advanced playmaker to box to box, this will give me support in both attack and defence, when at home i will give him instructions to get forward, dribble more etc

Also i'm thinking if i put my Inside forwards on support and i could keep my full backs on automatic (for home games at least) with overlap ticked, so i'll go from having 5 x attack duties (including the automatic full backs) 2 x support & 4 x defend (including goalkeeper) to 4x attack duties, 3x support and 4x defend, not sure if this is still unbalanced but it's better.

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They got in behind less but they still scored via that route, in both games they played 5 at the back, a deep midfield and 1 lone striker, maybe vs teams like Sunderland i should be pushing right up on them and taking the game to them, similar to how i play at home, but then i think that is a risky business with Defoe available on the counter.

I’ve often thought, should be be going more expressive away from home? That seems to be the one instruction i use that seems constant in every game i play, should I not be closing down as much? Should I try to ‘Control’ away games, at home i can get away with more risk taking but not so much away so should i be more disciplined? Is sticking to positions beneficial? Would love to know what other users use when they are away from home, what are big no no's etc. it’s also very annoying that if a team is setup to defend I see world class saves, blocks, tackles over and over yet as a team who mainly attacks (I never ever use defensive) I rarely see my keeper have a blinder…ever.

I know there's no right or wrong way to play the game, but i've played the game so long that at this point i'm probably a bit blinded by the tactics i've always used so i don't see anything wrong in what i do, it's been a number of years since i've done any save for longer than 2 or 3 years though, even if i win trophys playing how i play there's probably more room for error if you're a team like United, as the quality of players will get you through, and i'm looking to change that.

Cheers.

Bold bit... Why? Do you assume the likes of Sunderland go more attacking when they come to Old Trafford than when they are at home?

What usually happens is that for your home games, teams are shutting up shop and just doing damage limitation, you can usually get away with just brute forcing them to a victory as they invite so much pressure on them, you could throw on an extremely unbalanced and offensive tactical plan and still come out with the win.

When you go to their place, they're still cautious but they're more aggressive in terms of trying to hit you, either on the counter attack or just by flat out dominating you if they can. So by being attacking, pushing up the line and throwing men forward, you do exactly what they want you to do. Fall into their counter-attacking trap, where they nick a goal off you from over the top. Not only that, you're still not being subtle, trying to brute force your way through to a victory, packing the box with bodies resulting in lots of congested battles where shots bounce around or get blocked. If a team that set outs to defend against you maintains its concentration, then your route of winning is a moment of individual brilliance or an individual mistake.

This is why you see those 'blinding saves' and 'blocks' and tackles. There are bodies there, your strikers are under immense amounts of pressure, usually with one or several defenders pushing onto them when they get a chance. The torrent of attacks and saves and blocks causes a knock on effect. Imagine if you will, if you, yourself was shooting over and over and constantly being denied, sure, some people will dig in and grind it out until they score, but I reckon most would start to get demoralised, start to lose faith around the 10th shot being saved. You don't see your own team pulling off those wonderful saves and whatnot as chances are, their strikers are getting good chances, one on ones, or chances where only one player is really pressurising them.

This is especially so as your own tactic invites trouble by only leaving three men back to defend at any one time. Normally this isn't a massive issue, but they are so high up the pitch and quick to close down the opposition that they're likely to be spread out, or moved out of position, meaning a quick ball over the top, or a nice one-two will effectively eliminate your entire midfield (of Bastian) and most likely your own defence.

Another point to mention is the 4-2-3-1, in the way you set it up is always going to be vulnerable to that type of attack, even with the recommended 2 sitting midfielders (I.e. DLP and a CM/D), that's just part and parcel of having players pushed forward so much. The wing players in the AMR/L slots for example, are more accurately forwards than they are midfielders, and what you see on the screen with the formation is usually your defensive shape without the ball, so lots of gaps around the wings and behind the midfield. Plus their defensive work is likely to be more suspect. That's not necessarily an issue, but you haven't done anything to try and fix that. Remember, Sir Alex use to always try to accommodate Ronaldo by having someone available to pick up the slack because he was useless in defence! - Eventually he ended up throwing Ronaldo central for those tough games and putting Rooney out on the wing because he could at least do a defensive job. In a sense you've set up to have two Ronaldo's on your team, with no one to cover them.

That's about all I'm confident in analysing unfortunately. Hopefully this helps, though some of the mods here may be able to give better detail and understanding than I can. I do advise checking out the sticky threads, as they cover a lot of things in regards to building a tactic. Also Cleon's tactical threads cover a lot of common mistakes, including stuff to do with the 4-2-3-1 and the mentalities of attacking/counter etc.

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Bold bit... Why? Do you assume the likes of Sunderland go more attacking when they come to Old Trafford than when they are at home?

What usually happens is that for your home games, teams are shutting up shop and just doing damage limitation, you can usually get away with just brute forcing them to a victory as they invite so much pressure on them, you could throw on an extremely unbalanced and offensive tactical plan and still come out with the win.

When you go to their place, they're still cautious but they're more aggressive in terms of trying to hit you, either on the counter attack or just by flat out dominating you if they can. So by being attacking, pushing up the line and throwing men forward, you do exactly what they want you to do. Fall into their counter-attacking trap, where they nick a goal off you from over the top. Not only that, you're still not being subtle, trying to brute force your way through to a victory, packing the box with bodies resulting in lots of congested battles where shots bounce around or get blocked. If a team that set outs to defend against you maintains its concentration, then your route of winning is a moment of individual brilliance or an individual mistake.

This is why you see those 'blinding saves' and 'blocks' and tackles. There are bodies there, your strikers are under immense amounts of pressure, usually with one or several defenders pushing onto them when they get a chance. The torrent of attacks and saves and blocks causes a knock on effect. Imagine if you will, if you, yourself was shooting over and over and constantly being denied, sure, some people will dig in and grind it out until they score, but I reckon most would start to get demoralised, start to lose faith around the 10th shot being saved. You don't see your own team pulling off those wonderful saves and whatnot as chances are, their strikers are getting good chances, one on ones, or chances where only one player is really pressurising them.

This is especially so as your own tactic invites trouble by only leaving three men back to defend at any one time. Normally this isn't a massive issue, but they are so high up the pitch and quick to close down the opposition that they're likely to be spread out, or moved out of position, meaning a quick ball over the top, or a nice one-two will effectively eliminate your entire midfield (of Bastian) and most likely your own defence.

Another point to mention is the 4-2-3-1, in the way you set it up is always going to be vulnerable to that type of attack, even with the recommended 2 sitting midfielders (I.e. DLP and a CM/D), that's just part and parcel of having players pushed forward so much. The wing players in the AMR/L slots for example, are more accurately forwards than they are midfielders, and what you see on the screen with the formation is usually your defensive shape without the ball, so lots of gaps around the wings and behind the midfield. Plus their defensive work is likely to be more suspect. That's not necessarily an issue, but you haven't done anything to try and fix that. Remember, Sir Alex use to always try to accommodate Ronaldo by having someone available to pick up the slack because he was useless in defence! - Eventually he ended up throwing Ronaldo central for those tough games and putting Rooney out on the wing because he could at least do a defensive job. In a sense you've set up to have two Ronaldo's on your team, with no one to cover them.

That's about all I'm confident in analysing unfortunately. Hopefully this helps, though some of the mods here may be able to give better detail and understanding than I can. I do advise checking out the sticky threads, as they cover a lot of things in regards to building a tactic. Also Cleon's tactical threads cover a lot of common mistakes, including stuff to do with the 4-2-3-1 and the mentalities of attacking/counter etc.

Many thanks for this advice, i will be using this and everything else suggested in this thread to help my tactic and then start a fresh save this weekend.

I did play Sunderland again using this tactic...

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I won 3-0, they had 3 shots and i had 9, which i think is too low for me, i think i should be testing them more, however i did control the game and was most definitely more efficient and more sold defensively.

I put Shaw on attack as this played to his strengths but to balance it i put Depay on support, with Mata as attack on the right and Darmian in the defending duty, it was definitely noticeable that Darmian was instructed to stay back and meant i had 4 players defending as apose to 3, however like i say, i didn't create too much, so maybe pushing my AMC on a little more would help, or getting Pogba further forward (i didn't add this instruction until later)

I also intended to go out with 'sometimes' under closing down which i later switched to when i went 1 up, but it worked i guess, also in hindsight im thinking is 'look for overlap' as effective if you only have 1 full back getting forward? maybe that should be removed.

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