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Cleon

The Art of Possession Football

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How much are people altering their tactic to play away from home? I've seeing great success at home, usually losing maybe 1-2 per season but away from home its about 50/50. I've had some away games where i've looked like the home team with 70% possession, more shots etc at other times i'm getting hit 4-0 or something along those lines.

I play the same tactic home and away. I make small adjustments to my 4-1-4-1 possession tactic depending on how the opposition plays and how my team reacts. If we have plenty of possession but don't create chances against a 4-4-2, I'll add the shout Exploit the Middle. Against a 3-5-2 I will Exploit the Flanks, as long as I have Keep Possession on as well. If we are up against a much bigger team that is pinning me back, I have recently went strikerless with a 4-1-4-1-0. The strikerless tactic creates fewer chances, but is better for possession.

In big matches I try to watch the first 5 minutes just to get a feel for the game. After that I switch to Comprehensive.

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Hi!

Been using possession tactic for a while now and start was great as I won very easily championship and promoted to premier league, and next season finished 3rd and everything went very good.

On third and fourth season much less luck, even thou players in almost every position has been greatly enhanced!

I dont seem to suffer from teams dropping very deep but pressing hard and causing lots of misplaced passes etc and not getting ball to my forwards almost at all, and almost all my scoring coming from random players rather thank striker/inside forwards.

my goal differences show this a little

Championship 90 / 23

premierleague s1 56 / 27

premierleague s2 35 / 33

mine base tactical instructions were same as Cleons starting tactic so conrol/highly structured, lower tempo, play out of defence, retain possession, roam from positions, prevent GK distribution, much more pressing.

Been experimenting different sort of changes like higher tempo etc but what kinda of changes experts often make? I feel akward putting high tempo when trying to be slow possession team?

Lots of my concedings seem to come from through balls and a bit less from crosses.

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this system (tactic) is eficient to use with lower league teams?

I´m playing with AO Kavala (3rd division of Greece) , and done 1 game and draw 1-1 at Home against the last. -.-

cheers

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This is a brilliant guide Cleon, thank you.

I recently started as Liverpool with the aim to create an attacking, quick tactic. With the team in 12th, the board wanted 11 points from our 5 games, I got 9. Sacked.

Took over a very poor Charlton team about a third way into second season, they were sat in the relegation zone. I managed to save the season by digging in and using a counter attack system to nick some wins and finished 17th in the end. So onto my second season and I started by selling my best player for 14.25m and revamped the team for a more technical hard working team. I now wanted to create a tactic that was solid at the back and dominated possession.

This was the final tactic (Control, Flexible - Retain possession, Clown down more and Lower tempo)

lcbyzMZ.png

Final table for the season (Least games lost and least conceded)

j58Vnyr.png

Final possession stats, just hit 60% after the last league game.

jeKORgS.png

My first 3 games I noticed we conceded all of our goals from crosses (My fullbacks were originally FBs and FBa). So I changed them both to FBd with the hope of curbing the crosses. What I then noticed was that in attacks the full backs were deep enough to be an option to help the team recycle possession so I kept them like this. When the attack broke down or their were no options inside, the team had an easy pass to my anchorman or deep full backs and we could start again.

Key to the tactic though was the late runs from the 2 midfield men, the CMa was nearly always and option in the box and the BBM wasn't too far behind him which created loads of chances. I now understand why you stress the need for late runners into the box!

So thanks again Cleon, probably the first time I've had genuine success using my own tactcs. Now onto the enviable task of staying up in the Premiership.

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So my possession tactic looks a little different at the moment. One thing I really wanted to try getting to work was a 4-2-3-1. My issue with this is the disconnect between the midfield and the defence. So a question I have about this is that would I, by setting the line to be 'slightly higher' or 'higher', get rid of that space between the midfield and defence or does it just push everyone up further? As it stands my formation is like this:

SK (S)



WB (S) - CB (D) - CB (D) - WB (S)

CM (S) - DLP (S)

IF (S) - SS (A) - IF (S)

F9 (S)

Team instructions, mentality and structure are pretty straightforward. Control, Highly Structured with Lower Tempo, Higher Defensive Line, Play out of Defence, Close Down Much More, Retain Possession, Work Ball into Box and Roam from Position.

Similar problems to some others in that this tactic doesn't seem to work that well away from home, and I find against lower teams that look to defend and hit on the counter I have a hard time creating good scoring chances despite having 60-70% possession and a fair number of shots. Still the information I learned from this topic has been really helpful in designing tactics for possession and they've mostly been successful I guess I'm just on that quest for 'perfection'.

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Hey just wanted to share some credit where credit is due. I ended up learning a lot from this post as I was having some major trouble adapting to FM16 and I was getting pretty frustrated before I read Cleon's detailed and incredibly insightful info. Here you'll find screenshots of how I'm getting on as Liverpool after multiple failed saves where I could barely win a game against the weakest of Chinese sides. Hope it doesn't take up too much space or go against the topic.

ZKMuYvu.png

MJEgYeL.png

utzwSsM.png

2Cgtf2v.png

8byOh23.png

The tactic I'm pretty proud of. Most possession tactics I've seen have been 4-3-3 based or 4-1-4-1, etc, and at first I was having a really hard time getting the 4-2-3-1 to work, especially without DMs. The combination of roles and some extra TIs (much higher line mostly) really smoothed it out.

A9ubdoR.png

Now obviously I don't stick strictly to this tactic with no adjustments. I watch the games and make tweaks occasionally depending on how the game is going and how the opponent is playing. Usually against big sides away from home I'll set my mentality to counter, slightly deeper line, normal tempo and add pass into space.

Anyway, just a very giant kudos to Cleon for teaching a peon such as myself how to play the game properly.

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There have been some Bug Reports which complain that wingers narrow too soon in the final third.

Here's an example of that. Both these wingers are WM-A duties with a "Stay Wider" PI.

Rubbish%20winger%20positioning_zpsy5qdjcpn.png

This is what I'd expect from the PI's I'm using:

Ideal%20winger%20positioning_zpsus1eji9k.png

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Here's an example of that. Both these wingers are WM-A duties with a "Stay Wider" PI.

Rubbish%20winger%20positioning_zpsy5qdjcpn.png

This is what I'd expect from the PI's I'm using:

Ideal%20winger%20positioning_zpsus1eji9k.png

My IF's always end up like your second screenshot.When i want them to be where your WM's are.If only i can get to where you don't want to be LOL.

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Thanks to Cleon (The Art of Possesion), THOG (Lines and Diamonds) and some own ideas (basing my formation and roles on PPMs) I archieved some good results I want to share wth you:

The two tactics:

iFGgHtf.jpg

GoEWvMR.jpg

The TIs:

C4kheWR.jpg

Archievements in my 3rd season:

v7mVA0e.jpg

Some 3rd season stats:

BFylJvy.jpg

I changed the mentality.

Beginning of my 4th season stats:

2kKTehj.jpg

Thanks again

JoaMei aka corax3d

PS: A question: Does Inside Forwards cut inside even if the player hasn't the "Cut Inside From Both Wings" Preferred Player Move ?

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Just wanted to share my work in progress possession tactic.

ayNrXTR.jpg

Control + Structured

TI: More Expression, Slightly Higher Line, Retain Possession, Fairly Narrow, Prevent Short GK Distribution

GK PI: Roll it Out, Pass to Centerbacks, Less Risky Passes.

MR PI: Sit Narrower, Cut Inside, Dribble More

DM PI: Hold Position.

Fairly standard to cleons 4123 DM Wide, i've used a few less instructions and allow more unpredictability due to the quality of the team.

I'm currently very interested in the WM role having not really used it in previous FM's, I always used wide AM strata roles or nothing. Having both in the same tactic makes the positioning differences when out of possession very clear.

WB-D is a first for me to, i'm using it to just keep depth behind Sanchez to create space for him, I don't really want the LB crossing or pushing up towards the box. I am looking for a very strong defensive player (Ivanović type) but who can pass a bit to recycle possession and cover for when the IF and BBM get into the box or the DM pushes up with his support role. I'm considering shifting Paulista out there with his mobility and decent passing but I would need another central defender to give cover, Galloway (Everton) is a player I have my eye on for this role.

It's successful so far but i've only played Chelsea (charity shield), Leicester and Man utd, I have one issue with it though. Playing out from the back if the ball goes to the left side the right side is very far away and the AP-S doesn't really move over or deeper. I wanted to give the AP-S More Roaming but that's not allowed. I already have told my MR to Play Narrower.

I see four options:

1. Tell the team to play even more narrow.

2. Change the AP-S role to one who can roam.

3. Change the LB to a FB-S and add PIs to Hold Position + Cross Less Often so he pushes up a bit more so has closer support and isn't so isolated deep.

4. Change the DCL to a BPD-D so he is more adventurous with the ball, Stones could bring the ball foward and have the LB cover him.

Edit:

Removed Retain Possession and added Shorter Passing; With the players I have and roles selected I want the players to follow there roles than playing safer.

I've made my RB a WB-S to reduce how often he runs into dead ends and be a bit more patient.

Added Get Further Forward to my AML so he makes more runs from deep rather than pushing onto the shoulder as often as an attack duty would.

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Hello Cleon, excellent work here.

I have created a similar tactic for my current save with Tottenham Hotspur. It's basically the same but the BBM and the RPM are ob opposite sides, same with the AP and IF and the FB-A and FB-S. I have had particularly excellent performances from the midfield pairing. I have Marcelo Meli and Lucas Romero as BBM and a choice of Ryan Mason, Bentaleb and Delli Ali for the RPM. All of them have done awesomely well. I planned to play Christian Eriksen as the AP but he got injured so Chadli has played there and done decently while Son has been awesome as IF and is my top scorer.

The only player I struggle to get the best out of is Harry Kane up front. When playing as a F9 or DLF with support duty, he has the More Risky Passes ticked and there is no option to remove it so he just ends up giving the ball away from trying a glory ball to theIF all time. TM support didn't work either and it spoils the style of Football I want to play. I got him on DLF attack now which works better but I'm still not getting the best out of him.

I assume at Swansea, you played Gomis up front? What instructions did you use to get the best out of him?

Any ideas on how I can get Kane performing well in such a system? Thanks.

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Hello, i play with Liverpool and used a possession tactic. The problem is with de ST role, i put F9 but the ratio of goals it's less than MPI/MPD players (inside forward).

Control-Flexible.

TI: Retain Possession, shorter passing, work ball into box, play out of defense, low crosses, higher up, roam from positions, close down more, tihter marking, offside trap, prevent shor GK distribution and lower tempo.

F9 PI: Shoot less often, tackle harder, mark tighter, roam from position, pass it shorter and default (dribble more, more risky passes and move into channels).

Changed the role to advanced forward? Or changed some players instructions?

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I found much the same with the false 9, he didn't score much (quite frankly it's what you'd expect) and really didn't seem to contribute much beyond being an extra passing option. I had a pretty versatile striker capable of doing everything (for my level) so switched him to complete forward (on support) and so far am very happy with the results. He adds goals now, and I didn't notice any negative side effects of less possession or less space being created for my other runners. But I don't use Cleon's settings, I've drifted into a slightly different direction, I'll post my setup later when I'm at home.

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I found much the same with the false 9, he didn't score much (quite frankly it's what you'd expect) and really didn't seem to contribute much beyond being an extra passing option. I had a pretty versatile striker capable of doing everything (for my level) so switched him to complete forward (on support) and so far am very happy with the results. He adds goals now, and I didn't notice any negative side effects of less possession or less space being created for my other runners. But I don't use Cleon's settings, I've drifted into a slightly different direction, I'll post my setup later when I'm at home.

Do you find the Complete Forward still gives the ball away too often? I believe he has the More Risky Passes PI as default and this cannot be removed.

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I have same problem with Arsenal and Giroud. He seems to not fit this system he is not a F9 and when him as a DLF (S) or CF (S) the play more risky passes is added to both roles and that makes him try all kind of passes which results in him giving the ball away at crucial times. I would be very interested in hearing if anyone uses a DLF (A) in this type of possession set up and how successful it was.

If I could also ask Cleon how it took him to train Ozil has a F9.

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Do you find the Complete Forward still gives the ball away too often? I believe he has the More Risky Passes PI as default and this cannot be removed.

I haven't really noticed that, but I do have two IF/As running into that space so I need my forward to feed them balls.

This is my home setup:

yYXRF0u.jpg

Player instructions:

GK - distribute to full backs

BBM - get further forward (to get him to play kind of like the CM/A, but without being purely focused on attack)

And the away setup:

8tnekNf.jpg

Player instructions:

GK - distribute to full backs (same as home tactic)

BBM - get further forward (same as home tactic)

both WM/As - dribble more, cut inside with ball (to get them playing more like IFs, just starting from further deep)

This is working pretty well for me lately, I started with a setup that was pretty much in the middle of both, but strangely it's drifted into two completely different setups for home/away. What happened is that in too many away matches I found the AI is more aggressive and either took advantage of our very high closing down game line by playing lots of dangerous through balls (hence I took off "close down much more"), or took advantage of the silly overpowered crosses, hence I brought the IFs down into ML/MR positions.

The other differences are "get stuck in" which helps us a little in the home setup to further assert our dominance, as well as the DM pushed to MC, the idea is to really embrace the pressing game, really hassle the opposition. Since in the away tactic I'm more cautious and the plan is not to do that as much, I try to compensate for the deeper formation and give them a little extra movement through "roam from positions". I tried this on the home tactic but found it unnecessary given the front trio is already in natural finishing positions, and instead tended to drift away from there where I wanted them.

Other things I tried but scrapped were "dribble less" (I wanted this to make my team all about pass-and-move but it made the IFs contribute very little, and I didn't have enough runners from midfield); telling some people to "shoot less", I feel it's unnecessary now, the tactic gives us a good balance of quality shots as it is; "lower tempo", it just didn't play out any better.

The tweaks I do sometimes is to pull back one of the IFs to support duty, this helps drawing the opposition out when they're parking the bus, but in most other matches it works better this way; or get rid of "get stuck in" in the home tactic if we're making too many fouls and getting too many cards which is very rare tbh, the refs are very kind to the home team.

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I had a lot of success in my first season with Aston Villa using philosophies discussed here and making some adjustment thru the season, however in season 2 I still seeing a great deal of possession but the scoring chances are drying up / being snatched at.

Have my fellow managers experienced this if so can someone point me in the right direction, I only need a nudge

thanks

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I had a lot of success in my first season with Aston Villa using philosophies discussed here and making some adjustment thru the season, however in season 2 I still seeing a great deal of possession but the scoring chances are drying up / being snatched at.

Have my fellow managers experienced this if so can someone point me in the right direction, I only need a nudge

thanks

We need more info, what's your current instructions, and what kind of goals were you scoring that you aren't now.

To me the likeliest explanation is the opposition rates you higher now and has started playing more defensively, therefore you probably need to draw them out more, try one or two less aggressive roles or switch someone from attack to support like I do with one of my IFs.

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I'm really enjoying this formation. The RPM is always performing brilliantly (especially Alli). We don't concede too many goals even though Alderweireld has been out for the first 7 games.

Kane as DLF-A is working quite well and I'm reasonably happy with this. He holds the ball up well and retains possession - essentialI in this system - only plays glory balls where necessary and is in a decent position for the rare crosses that come in.

However, we don't get enough shots on target so this needs addressing. If this is solved then the league title is there for the taking.

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We need more info, what's your current instructions, and what kind of goals were you scoring that you aren't now.

To me the likeliest explanation is the opposition rates you higher now and has started playing more defensively, therefore you probably need to draw them out more, try one or two less aggressive roles or switch someone from attack to support like I do with one of my IFs.

I have been playing

Highly structured

Control

Lower tempo - Shorter passing - retain possession - work ball in to box - close down slightly more- roam from position - play out of defence - Dribble Less- slightly higher line

GK - (D)

RB - Full back (A)

CD - (D)

CD - (D)

LB - Full back (S)

DM - (S)

RCM - Roaming Play Maker (S)

LCM - BBM (S)

RW - Advanced Play maker (S)

LW - Inside Forward (A)

F9

I like the way my team move the ball around and my RB usually has lots of space to run into however I would like him to cross the ball a bit more.

You are correct the opposition appear to be more defensive, I need assistance in the best way to draw them out, should I sit deeper? switch to standard mentality? I like my overall style of play and want to keep true to that, I just need a couple of option that I can experiment that will take me in the right direction.

thanks

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Blackbag- yes, dropping mentality a bit can absolutely open up space for you. Standard would be a good spot to start, and you can adjust as you go. I have had matches where I had to go defensive to get the space I needed! Another thing that might help you with the scoring chances is to drop either the retain shout or work ball into box. Incidentally, this is likely why your FB is not crossing as much as you like as work ball instruction reduces crossing. The larger point I am making though, is that against well organized defenses, sometimes looking for the extra pass will be a pass too much. While you want to look for good opportunities, sometimes it helps to be a bit more shoot oriented. I encounter this sometimes and so need to up the tempo a bit or be more direct to penetrate the packed defenses. Nothing radical that will alter your basic style, but just a little, like dropping one of those shouts, or upping your tempo a notch, or even just your passing setting.

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Blackbag- yes, dropping mentality a bit can absolutely open up space for you. Standard would be a good spot to start, and you can adjust as you go. I have had matches where I had to go defensive to get the space I needed! Another thing that might help you with the scoring chances is to drop either the retain shout or work ball into box. Incidentally, this is likely why your FB is not crossing as much as you like as work ball instruction reduces crossing. The larger point I am making though, is that against well organized defenses, sometimes looking for the extra pass will be a pass too much. While you want to look for good opportunities, sometimes it helps to be a bit more shoot oriented. I encounter this sometimes and so need to up the tempo a bit or be more direct to penetrate the packed defenses. Nothing radical that will alter your basic style, but just a little, like dropping one of those shouts, or upping your tempo a notch, or even just your passing setting.

Thanks for your advise, now I have an idea of what to look at

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Cleon - as I mentioned in the "First 15 Minutes" thread, I have adapted aspects of this to my Burton Albion (L1) team. My first match using it, an FA Cup tie at Forest Green (L2), I dominated possession 66% - 34%, had a passing completion rate of 81%, a team rating of 7.80 and won 2-0. The midfielder who's been holding the ball too long and coughing it up consistently was PoM and scored a goal. The next time out, the Johnstone's Paint Trophy quarterfinal at home against Morecambe with four first team players being rested, we dominated possession 61% - 39%, had an 85% completion rate, a team rating of 7.11 and won 1-0. I'd been using a 4-1-2-3 as my go-to formation anyway, so your tactic as written was a good fit to begin with. My biggest challenge is that, at the L1 level, I can't find a capable RPM so I've tried a CM-Su and an AP-Su alongside the BTB midfielder instead. Conceptually, I think I like the AP idea better, as I think he'll get up into the attack more quickly but I'll have to test it further in game play to be sure. It also comes down to which role is a better fit for the player I'm using in that slot on a given day. Also, I've been keeping the mentality set on "Control" for the most part, but in the Morecambe match, when we were scoreless at the half, I started the second half on "Attack", got a goal in the first ten minutes of the half, then returned to "Control".

Cheers!

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Hi!

Been using possession tactic for a while now and start was great as I won very easily championship and promoted to premier league, and next season finished 3rd and everything went very good.

On third and fourth season much less luck, even thou players in almost every position has been greatly enhanced!

I dont seem to suffer from teams dropping very deep but pressing hard and causing lots of misplaced passes etc and not getting ball to my forwards almost at all, and almost all my scoring coming from random players rather thank striker/inside forwards.

my goal differences show this a little

Championship 90 / 23

premierleague s1 56 / 27

premierleague s2 35 / 33

mine base tactical instructions were same as Cleons starting tactic so conrol/highly structured, lower tempo, play out of defence, retain possession, roam from positions, prevent GK distribution, much more pressing.

Been experimenting different sort of changes like higher tempo etc but what kinda of changes experts often make? I feel akward putting high tempo when trying to be slow possession team?

Lots of my concedings seem to come from through balls and a bit less from crosses.

I would remove retain posession and replace it with work ball into box. This would encourage your players to play slightly more direct at times which should hopefully bypass the opposition press.

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Hi Cleon,

This is a great thread, but the tactic you put doesn't work very well in my team.

It is becoming passing passing and passing. (without score)

Then when I see your new thread "The Art of Attacking football", I have an idea what if I can somehow merge it with this to become Possession based attacking football

It is still a working project, but as always, after 1 to 2 season, I find that I have no other thing can change but still don't satisfy with the result yet.

Therefore, I hope the original creator(or any other more experience players) can give me some feedback if possible:D

I try to list the difference and the reason behind it

Difference here:

TI difference:

Team shape- fluid - I want the team work as a unit , forward can create chance and midfielder can score, etc... and also unlock creativity

Tempo - standard , lower tempo is not good for attacking

pass into space - This is the main weapon I want all my player to use except CD, and it is the TI that i don't know why it is not put in the Cleon 's attacking tactics

Mark tighter - I try to modify the whole defensive line closing down level with this change. Now the cd have closing down much less and wb have closing down less. So the defensive line can maintain the shape while I still keep the TI closing down much more to let the midfielder and forward do the closing down. I find that the possession tactic in this thread somehow lose mark because the CD closing down too often.

Role difference:

APs-> WINGERs - provide good crossing for extra weapon and overlap with WB . I find the winger behave quite interesting. If the ball in another side, he would cut inside(without ball). If it is in his side, 3 situation may happen. The result can be, WB cross, he cross or he cut in side. I found that winger still cut inside depending on where he take the ball. if he is already in the more middle position, he may choose to cut inside and pass into space or other player by short pass. I found this one is very good because he provide a lot of variance. Since my WB stay wide, it is very likely he is not that wide and may do cut inside or cross depend on the situation.

IFs -> IFa - I think I need one guy more offensive and can take more risk

Two FB become WBs - This is interesting change, it seems that it is working quite well and it is not often to see opponent exploring this in counter attack. This two WB provide width as well as crossing support and can overlap with Winger in one side

Last words for role: Cleon's midfield role setup is perfect that I can't find any change I can make it better!

PI:

CD - closing down much less

WB - closing down less, cross more often, stay wider

According to the attacking football thread by Cleon, what it need for attacking football are

Penetration - A lot of through ball

Support - I think it is based on the role assigned and formation to give enough support

Mobility - I think roam from position and through ball provide enough mobility

Creativity - fluid to unlock it

Width -WBs provide it

In overall, I think all these things are the same thing - space

What we should try to do is to optimize is the space in the field

For this tactics, I am not creating all out attacking football. Instead I still try to maintain certain balance in defend.(Actually, the mentality can be changed to attacking and push the defensive line higher when you really need to attack)

And for this tactics to working, I think most player need vision, decision, passing and first touch as I have see quite a lot of long pass flowing around.

Also, the midfielder should have finishing as well. (I see quite often that my F9 pass through ball to b2b and he score)

So that's it, anyone can help me improving is welcome :)

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This is a great thread, but the tactic you put doesn't work very well in my team.

Your first mistake is thinking I put a tactic up for download because I didn't. I discussed the concept and idea of possession football but nowhere, have I put a tactic up to be used or for people to download and anyone who thinks that clearly has not read the thread because I state this about 50 times during the thread.

I've also removed the download link you put up as that's not the point of the thread.

Penetration - A lot of through ball

Support - I think it is based on the role assigned and formation to give enough support

Mobility - I think roam from position and through ball provide enough mobility

Creativity - fluid to unlock it

Width -WBs provide it

In overall, I think all these things are the same thing - space

No they're not, there different things and space alone isn't enough. If it was then all formations that sit deep would always be superior.

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Your first mistake is thinking I put a tactic up for download because I didn't. I discussed the concept and idea of possession football but nowhere, have I put a tactic up to be used or for people to download and anyone who thinks that clearly has not read the thread because I state this about 50 times during the thread.

I've also removed the download link you put up as that's not the point of the thread.

No they're not, there different things and space alone isn't enough. If it was then all formations that sit deep would always be superior.

First, I don't mean that you put an tactic for download. However, I do understand why everyone would put your tactic to try.

It is because even there are a lot of theory behind in your thread, the easier way to see how it works is to put it into a team and try.

I am not meaning you put a tactic for me to download. Instead putting it to try and see how it works and see if it is possible to improve it or change it into what I really want.

In order to do this, it really need to know how it works and why it works or why it doesn't work.

I do understand that player quality or ability may affect this as well.

For providing a download link, actually it is just easier to provide a fast way for you or other to try it themselves. If that causes any trouble, delete it is ok since I already put all difference here and the reason behind it.

For the last part, about the space, i think if I can use only one word to describe it, that is the word come into my mind.

Space not mean just sitting deep, it is how you can use every space in the field and how you disrupt the opposite(like break the bank of four of opposite defender)

Even dribble pass a player can affect the space in the field, this is what i want to express.

sure you can disagree with this, that's just my understanding and it can be wrong.

Last words, I will be glad if you can still comment on the change i make, or give me some hints anyway:)

I always come here to learn thing and I think you did be a little bit too sensitive on people saying they follow and deploy the tactic and it is not working.

You may just come into the conclusion too fast that they don't read through your post. (Actually I read it several times to make sure I understand it, but the thing is, I still have to put it to try and see if it is working in my team or anything i need to change in order to get it work)

Actually, no matter work or not work, understanding or not understanding the theory behind, putting it to try is really one of the step that everyone does.

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[video=youtube;5V6TYI8Y1ds]

Seeing some amazing football thanks to your ideas Cleon.

Are you using the base tactic or a tweaked version?

Amazing football indeed ;)

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So I just upgraded from 13 to 16, and boy have things changed. Before I start up on a long term save that I'm actually invested in, I figured I'd give it a spin for a season on a throwaway save, just to get the hang of all the new features that have been introduced over the last three years, as well as the new match engine. I picked Barcelona, as I know their players and don't need to worry about signings or the style of play that suits us best or anything like that, and I also find it's harder for me to judge tactics when your team isn't doing well and morale is low. Long story short, we're doing ok, but we're not ruling the world as we should, and we've been overly vulnerable to bad luck results where we dominate play and put 15 shots on target but only get one goal, etc. On the surface, everything looks good, with lots of possession, particularly in the opponents third, lots of shots, and some CCCs, but I've found those numbers flatter to deceive. When I watch matches that play out fully, I find that my team is good at pressing (in FM terms at least), does a fairly good job of keeping possession but that we're A) a little too aggressive and B) rely on a combination of individual brilliance and sheer volume of shots/corners/crosses to score most of our goals. The first problem is fairly easily solved. More Disciplined or lower mentalities should do the trick. The second is in part a natural consequence of teams sitting deep against us, choosing to face a huge quantity of chances rather than fewer quality ones, but I know we can do more. As I said, we're doing well, but we're doing well because dominating possession and letting Messi and friends spend a quarter of the game on the ball in the opponents third turns out to be a reasonably good way to score goals. In short, I'm not seeing enough from my system. In particular, there just isn't enough dynamic movement, even though I've set up my roles with precisely this in mind. As a result, we often knock the ball about nicely between defenders and central mids, then try a ball over the top to our center forward or a field stretching angled ball to a wingback. I'd prefer a more gradual buildup and a nice slipped through ball into the box, or a quick one on one dribble to find space to shoot.

Team Shape and Mentality

I've chosen to go Very Fluid. My thinking is that I want to be compact to help with both pressing and short passing, I want a little more creative freedom to break down compact defenses, and I want lots of overlapping and positional interchange, mostly vertically. These things are all achievable in a highly structured system, as Cleon has shown, but I feel they are (theoretically at least) more organic in a Very Fluid setup, and require less tinkering with specific roles and PPMs and all that. I started with a Control mentality, as this had worked well for me with similar squads on 13, but I think the Very Fluid/Control combo offers too much creativity and attacking intent to players. This can be restricted somewhat with Be More Disciplined, but I doubt that will be enough, and it also takes the TI More Roaming off the table, which can be useful when seeking movement and possession. So I'm planning on dropping that to Standard or Counter, possibly depending on the occasion.

Team Instructions

Currently I'm using Higher D-Line, More Closing Down, and Prevent GK Short Distribution defensively. Again, I'm happy enough defensively, and I'll make game-by-game adjustments via opposition instructions, as well as occasionally playing with a slightly deeper line or an offside trap. I'm more interested on working on our game when we're on the ball. I'm using play out of defense and shorter passing for every game, and occasionally altering my crossing or adding work ball into box as matches unfold. I chose shorter passing over retain possession as I feel the two are largely redundant and neuter our attacking threat too much, and I'm inclined to believe that shorter passing will lead us to the short, patient buildup I'd prefer, but leave us more incisive and prone to through balls in the final third, whereas retain possesion with mixed passing would see us be more expansive in all areas, but less inclined to play that final ball. I'm somewhat concerned that the shorter passing radius contributes counter intuitively to some of our more direct play, particularly out of defense with play out of defense active. I'm considering adding exploit the middle to make us less reliant on longer balls to wingbacks, as well as roam from positions to find the space and movement a little more.

Player Roles

Defensively, we're pretty simple. Five in my defensive unit, using two FB(s) out wide, although they often behave like wingbacks due to their PPMs and the available space. Depending on the match situation, I either play CD(D)s, or a stopper-cover combo. My DM role also changes, as I use a HB versus two striker formations or teams like Real who concern me on the counter, use an Anchorman or DM (D) to limit particularly influential AMCs, or a DLP(D) against teams I expect to sit deep and grant Busquets that space to pull strings from deep.

My midfield rarely changes, as I use a RPM and a BBM, with similar ideas to Cleon on how the BBM should start deep but bomb forward while the RPM seeks to always be an option near the ball. On occasion, I'll switch the RPM to a CM(A), as I don't always want the player in that position to be an attacking focal point. I use two IF (s) in the AMR/L positions, looking to overload the middle and take advantage of the deep movement of our striker (usually a F9, but I've played with the idea of a DLF(s), Treq or CF(s)), as well as giving Messi and Neymar the responsibility of attacking defenders on the dribble.

On paper this all looks good, but in the match engine it doesn't work quite as reliably as I want it to. The F9 is reluctant to come as deep as I want (part of this is Suarez has the gets forward whenever possible PPM, but even Messi with Comes Deep isn't quite enough for my taste), and because of this the IFs and the BBM struggle to time their runs, as there isn't quite enough space for them to exploit. Rninejr had an excellent post back on page 4 about how the compact nature of Very Fluid systems may limit such movement, and playing against deep teams that congest the midfield and protect the box may compound this problem, but I'm hopeful that a top team can play intricate football in tight spaces on a Very Fluid setting.

PIs are pretty sparing. I've told my FBs to stay wide to stretch the defense and offer a safe outlet, I've told Messi to tuck inside when he plays AMR to get him more involved and playing more like a withdrawn striker, and I've modified my GKs distribution to allow us to build from the back.

Thats a lot of info, and I hope it gives you a good of idea of how I'm set up, why I've made those choices, and some of the ideas I have for improving. I'm fully aware that no one else can watch my matches, and that experimentation is the only route to real answers, but I won't have much opportunity to play for a few days, so I figured I'd bounce some ideas of the community in the meantime. As for creating the movement and space that I'm looking for, I can see two ways of doing this. The first is to use TIs, perhaps dropping our D Line to try and create a little more space deeper, or playing wider to stretch gaps between players, or reducing creativity to force players to do what I want. More Roaming might also help, although my RPM and BBM are already given license to roam by default. I'm a little hesitant to do this though, as it's going to mess with my tactical fluidity, and will undermine the compact, creative elements I chose Very Fluid for in the first place. Instead, I'd like to see if I can create space and movement by changing roles, as this strikes me as simpler and more elegant. Focusing again on the Striker (playing mostly as a F9 or DLF), there are two things I can do get him moving more. The first is to change his role. A CF(s) role is probably a better fit for Suarez anyway, given his skills and PPMs, and would encourage him to move not just deep, but also to roam wide, creating space for the CMs and the IFs to attack. I could also change the roles of the players around him if I wanted him to come exclusively deep as a striker. Keeping my DM as a HB while switching the RPM (he's the higher CM at the start of moves, and also the playmaker role) to a DLP should my midfield deeper, creating space for the striker to drop into. In theory, at least

As regards TIs, how do you guys think about the choice between Shorter Passing and Retain Possession? How do you like to strike a balance between Roaming, which is important for ball retention, and limiting creativity to retain some semblance of organization? Am I right in assuming that More Roaming bumps creativity up, given that More Disciplined and More Roaming are mutually exclusive in the tactical interface?

I realize that this is largely just me thinking aloud, and that in the end I'll have to try these ideas in the match engine in a few days, but I'm hoping that this post can help others think about how to build possession systems within a Very Fluid setting, and I'm also hoping that others can see things from a different perspective, and maybe point out some other things I could try or some potential flaws in my current or future plans

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If I may be so bold, I'd like to query your ideas with a couple of questions.

I know you say attack duties just increase the risk taking of a role and you can make a perfectly good tactic without them as you obviously have here. But the lack of attack duties between your midfield and forward line goes against alot of what is usually advised here. .. even by you. It just seems like besides your defender, there's no one really breaking lines here. Breaking lines is the key point here. .. which wwfan bangs on alot about. Even in real life possession teams, you usually have at least 2 outfield players consistently breaking lines in a way that you can only achieve with an attack duty in my opinion.

Secondly, it just seems like with the roles n duties of your frontline, they all want to occupy the same space in possession. They are all #10 type of roles looking to create and make passes but nobody really looking to consistently take advantage of them. And I think you have infact advised along these lines in your 'what makes a goalscorer' thread.

There's is also the fact that there is really nobody holding here. It just seems like the same kind of critique of a tactic I'd get from you or any of the mods if I posted a tactic like this with the same role and duty selection regardless of what type of style I was trying to achieve.

Having IF on support doesn't mean that he won't go on attack, it means that he has 2 jobs to do: when the team has the ball help them with transition until they reach attacking third. When that happens he'll be more focused on attack but still may offer support if necessary. If you take a close look on PI for IF on support, you'll see what he's supposed to do.

Get forward is gray which means sometimes. Sometimes is not equal to NEVER, right? But you can change that by ticking that option so he'll do that much often then determined by duty and still be involved in transition phase. Hope that makes sense.

One more thing: having IF or W on support is not a strict rule! It will depend on situation. Sometimes when you play against the team that parks the freakin' TRUCK then you have to use more offensive duties to break them.

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So I just upgraded from 13 to 16, and boy have things changed. Before I start up on a long term save that I'm actually invested in, I figured I'd give it a spin for a season on a throwaway save, just to get the hang of all the new features that have been introduced over the last three years, as well as the new match engine. I picked Barcelona, as I know their players and don't need to worry about signings or the style of play that suits us best or anything like that, and I also find it's harder for me to judge tactics when your team isn't doing well and morale is low. Long story short, we're doing ok, but we're not ruling the world as we should, and we've been overly vulnerable to bad luck results where we dominate play and put 15 shots on target but only get one goal, etc. On the surface, everything looks good, with lots of possession, particularly in the opponents third, lots of shots, and some CCCs, but I've found those numbers flatter to deceive. When I watch matches that play out fully, I find that my team is good at pressing (in FM terms at least), does a fairly good job of keeping possession but that we're A) a little too aggressive and B) rely on a combination of individual brilliance and sheer volume of shots/corners/crosses to score most of our goals. The first problem is fairly easily solved. More Disciplined or lower mentalities should do the trick. The second is in part a natural consequence of teams sitting deep against us, choosing to face a huge quantity of chances rather than fewer quality ones, but I know we can do more. As I said, we're doing well, but we're doing well because dominating possession and letting Messi and friends spend a quarter of the game on the ball in the opponents third turns out to be a reasonably good way to score goals. In short, I'm not seeing enough from my system. In particular, there just isn't enough dynamic movement, even though I've set up my roles with precisely this in mind. As a result, we often knock the ball about nicely between defenders and central mids, then try a ball over the top to our center forward or a field stretching angled ball to a wingback. I'd prefer a more gradual buildup and a nice slipped through ball into the box, or a quick one on one dribble to find space to shoot.

Team Shape and Mentality

I've chosen to go Very Fluid. My thinking is that I want to be compact to help with both pressing and short passing, I want a little more creative freedom to break down compact defenses, and I want lots of overlapping and positional interchange, mostly vertically. These things are all achievable in a highly structured system, as Cleon has shown, but I feel they are (theoretically at least) more organic in a Very Fluid setup, and require less tinkering with specific roles and PPMs and all that. I started with a Control mentality, as this had worked well for me with similar squads on 13, but I think the Very Fluid/Control combo offers too much creativity and attacking intent to players. This can be restricted somewhat with Be More Disciplined, but I doubt that will be enough, and it also takes the TI More Roaming off the table, which can be useful when seeking movement and possession. So I'm planning on dropping that to Standard or Counter, possibly depending on the occasion.

Team Instructions

Currently I'm using Higher D-Line, More Closing Down, and Prevent GK Short Distribution defensively. Again, I'm happy enough defensively, and I'll make game-by-game adjustments via opposition instructions, as well as occasionally playing with a slightly deeper line or an offside trap. I'm more interested on working on our game when we're on the ball. I'm using play out of defense and shorter passing for every game, and occasionally altering my crossing or adding work ball into box as matches unfold. I chose shorter passing over retain possession as I feel the two are largely redundant and neuter our attacking threat too much, and I'm inclined to believe that shorter passing will lead us to the short, patient buildup I'd prefer, but leave us more incisive and prone to through balls in the final third, whereas retain possesion with mixed passing would see us be more expansive in all areas, but less inclined to play that final ball. I'm somewhat concerned that the shorter passing radius contributes counter intuitively to some of our more direct play, particularly out of defense with play out of defense active. I'm considering adding exploit the middle to make us less reliant on longer balls to wingbacks, as well as roam from positions to find the space and movement a little more.

Player Roles

Defensively, we're pretty simple. Five in my defensive unit, using two FB(s) out wide, although they often behave like wingbacks due to their PPMs and the available space. Depending on the match situation, I either play CD(D)s, or a stopper-cover combo. My DM role also changes, as I use a HB versus two striker formations or teams like Real who concern me on the counter, use an Anchorman or DM (D) to limit particularly influential AMCs, or a DLP(D) against teams I expect to sit deep and grant Busquets that space to pull strings from deep.

My midfield rarely changes, as I use a RPM and a BBM, with similar ideas to Cleon on how the BBM should start deep but bomb forward while the RPM seeks to always be an option near the ball. On occasion, I'll switch the RPM to a CM(A), as I don't always want the player in that position to be an attacking focal point. I use two IF (s) in the AMR/L positions, looking to overload the middle and take advantage of the deep movement of our striker (usually a F9, but I've played with the idea of a DLF(s), Treq or CF(s)), as well as giving Messi and Neymar the responsibility of attacking defenders on the dribble.

On paper this all looks good, but in the match engine it doesn't work quite as reliably as I want it to. The F9 is reluctant to come as deep as I want (part of this is Suarez has the gets forward whenever possible PPM, but even Messi with Comes Deep isn't quite enough for my taste), and because of this the IFs and the BBM struggle to time their runs, as there isn't quite enough space for them to exploit. Rninejr had an excellent post back on page 4 about how the compact nature of Very Fluid systems may limit such movement, and playing against deep teams that congest the midfield and protect the box may compound this problem, but I'm hopeful that a top team can play intricate football in tight spaces on a Very Fluid setting.

PIs are pretty sparing. I've told my FBs to stay wide to stretch the defense and offer a safe outlet, I've told Messi to tuck inside when he plays AMR to get him more involved and playing more like a withdrawn striker, and I've modified my GKs distribution to allow us to build from the back.

Thats a lot of info, and I hope it gives you a good of idea of how I'm set up, why I've made those choices, and some of the ideas I have for improving. I'm fully aware that no one else can watch my matches, and that experimentation is the only route to real answers, but I won't have much opportunity to play for a few days, so I figured I'd bounce some ideas of the community in the meantime. As for creating the movement and space that I'm looking for, I can see two ways of doing this. The first is to use TIs, perhaps dropping our D Line to try and create a little more space deeper, or playing wider to stretch gaps between players, or reducing creativity to force players to do what I want. More Roaming might also help, although my RPM and BBM are already given license to roam by default. I'm a little hesitant to do this though, as it's going to mess with my tactical fluidity, and will undermine the compact, creative elements I chose Very Fluid for in the first place. Instead, I'd like to see if I can create space and movement by changing roles, as this strikes me as simpler and more elegant. Focusing again on the Striker (playing mostly as a F9 or DLF), there are two things I can do get him moving more. The first is to change his role. A CF(s) role is probably a better fit for Suarez anyway, given his skills and PPMs, and would encourage him to move not just deep, but also to roam wide, creating space for the CMs and the IFs to attack. I could also change the roles of the players around him if I wanted him to come exclusively deep as a striker. Keeping my DM as a HB while switching the RPM (he's the higher CM at the start of moves, and also the playmaker role) to a DLP should my midfield deeper, creating space for the striker to drop into. In theory, at least

As regards TIs, how do you guys think about the choice between Shorter Passing and Retain Possession? How do you like to strike a balance between Roaming, which is important for ball retention, and limiting creativity to retain some semblance of organization? Am I right in assuming that More Roaming bumps creativity up, given that More Disciplined and More Roaming are mutually exclusive in the tactical interface?

I realize that this is largely just me thinking aloud, and that in the end I'll have to try these ideas in the match engine in a few days, but I'm hoping that this post can help others think about how to build possession systems within a Very Fluid setting, and I'm also hoping that others can see things from a different perspective, and maybe point out some other things I could try or some potential flaws in my current or future plans

Honestly it's just easier to experiment with dropping the fluidity first. I've found that the more structured you go, the more pronounced movement you get from players that run from deep like wing-backs, the BBM or the RPM; or players that are meant to drop deep like the F9. It's daft but it's how it works now.

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Hi Cleon, been a big fan of your work for a number of years. First time I've ever felt obliged to post in one of your threads however.

This year I'm struggling with trying to build a possession tactic, I have certain elements of it working the way I want, but certain other elements are just not clicking. Here's how I currently line up with Man Utd.

-----------------------------------De Gea (GK-D)----------------------------------

Darmian (FB-S)-----Smalling (CB-D)------Blind (BPD-D)---------Shaw (WB-A)

---------------------------------------Carrick (RGA-S)-----------------------------

Mata (WPM-S)---------Schneiderlen (B2B-S)-------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------Herrera (APM-S)-------Depay (IF-S)

---------------------------------------Rooney (DF-D)------------------------------

Team is set up: Structured, Control

TI's are as follows: Normal Defensive Line, Narrow play, Low Tempo, Mixed Passing, Look for Overlap, Close Down More, Prevent Short GK Distribution and Play out of Defence.

My only player instructions are for my Two wide defenders to stay wider, Luke Shaw is also encouraged to run at players more.

What I want to do is keep the tempo low, and control the game but I don't want my players to be too restricted in passing, I want to build out from the back I want my wide attackers to bring the play inside, whilst encouraging overlapping runs from my full backs.

In defence I want my team to be compact which will make us harder to break down and want to ensure the other team doesn't build from the back also. Having a defensive forward in this method helps.

I'm struggling to control possession, and in certain games I'm struggling to even create penetrative football.

Things that are working well.

Shaw / Depay are working well together on the left flank, Shaw getting forward on the overlap and putting crosses in, unfortunately his crosses are hit/miss but that's down to the player rather than tactics IMO, I'll work with him on that.

Rooney is coming deep as I want him to be and is putting pressure on the defence when out of possession, in possession, he's holding the ball up and more often than not he's linking with Mata / Depay on the flanks which stretches the play and creates opportunities with either full back getting forward or else Schneiderlin & Herrera offering support in middle.

Carrick is also playing well, he's the key to my system and his passing is top notch.

Mata is roaming around and finding space and to me is playing how I want him to play, not stuck out wide and attempting to beat players but floating inside and picking off passes.

I'm struggling to control possession, and I believe it's because my team is too deep.

Herrera / Schneiderlin aren't doing what I want, I believe Schneiderlin should be moving up and down with play, but he often seems to be running around like a headless chicken. Herrera is getting on the ball, but his passing has been shocking, perhaps because there's no movement from him, but my complaint with him is that he isn't getting into goal scoring chances.

Previous years, I've often struggled to play penetrative / possession football, but this year I'm struggling to play either or.

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Hi Cleon, been a big fan of your work for a number of years. First time I've ever felt obliged to post in one of your threads however.

This year I'm struggling with trying to build a possession tactic, I have certain elements of it working the way I want, but certain other elements are just not clicking. Here's how I currently line up with Man Utd.

-----------------------------------De Gea (GK-D)----------------------------------

Darmian (FB-S)-----Smalling (CB-D)------Blind (BPD-D)---------Shaw (WB-A)

---------------------------------------Carrick (RGA-S)-----------------------------

Mata (WPM-S)---------Schneiderlen (B2B-S)-------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------Herrera (APM-S)-------Depay (IF-S)

---------------------------------------Rooney (DF-D)------------------------------

Team is set up: Structured, Control

TI's are as follows: Normal Defensive Line, Narrow play, Low Tempo, Mixed Passing, Look for Overlap, Close Down More, Prevent Short GK Distribution and Play out of Defence.

My only player instructions are for my Two wide defenders to stay wider, Luke Shaw is also encouraged to run at players more.

What I want to do is keep the tempo low, and control the game but I don't want my players to be too restricted in passing, I want to build out from the back I want my wide attackers to bring the play inside, whilst encouraging overlapping runs from my full backs.

In defence I want my team to be compact which will make us harder to break down and want to ensure the other team doesn't build from the back also. Having a defensive forward in this method helps.

I'm struggling to control possession, and in certain games I'm struggling to even create penetrative football.

Things that are working well.

Shaw / Depay are working well together on the left flank, Shaw getting forward on the overlap and putting crosses in, unfortunately his crosses are hit/miss but that's down to the player rather than tactics IMO, I'll work with him on that.

Rooney is coming deep as I want him to be and is putting pressure on the defence when out of possession, in possession, he's holding the ball up and more often than not he's linking with Mata / Depay on the flanks which stretches the play and creates opportunities with either full back getting forward or else Schneiderlin & Herrera offering support in middle.

Carrick is also playing well, he's the key to my system and his passing is top notch.

Mata is roaming around and finding space and to me is playing how I want him to play, not stuck out wide and attempting to beat players but floating inside and picking off passes.

I'm struggling to control possession, and I believe it's because my team is too deep.

Herrera / Schneiderlin aren't doing what I want, I believe Schneiderlin should be moving up and down with play, but he often seems to be running around like a headless chicken. Herrera is getting on the ball, but his passing has been shocking, perhaps because there's no movement from him, but my complaint with him is that he isn't getting into goal scoring chances.

Previous years, I've often struggled to play penetrative / possession football, but this year I'm struggling to play either or.

On the face of it your central midfield seems to lack a defensive presence, perhaps changing the regista to a DM(d) might help sure up the defence. In doing so it may open up the possibility of your full backs being able to go forward.

On your right wing you seem to lack penetration. Make either your fullback more attacking allowing him to over lap the cutting in WPM or select a more attacking role for mata. That's all I've got at the moment

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...

-----------------------------------De Gea (GK-D)----------------------------------

Darmian (FB-S)-----Smalling (CB-D)------Blind (BPD-D)---------Shaw (WB-A)

---------------------------------------Carrick (RGA-S)-----------------------------

Mata (WPM-S)---------Schneiderlen (B2B-S)-------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------Herrera (APM-S)-------Depay (IF-S)

---------------------------------------Rooney (DF-D)------------------------------

...

Shaw / Depay are working well together on the left flank, Shaw getting forward on the overlap and putting crosses in, unfortunately his crosses are hit/miss but that's down to the player rather than tactics IMO, I'll work with him on that.

...

Herrera / Schneiderlin aren't doing what I want, I believe Schneiderlin should be moving up and down with play, but he often seems to be running around like a headless chicken. Herrera is getting on the ball, but his passing has been shocking, perhaps because there's no movement from him, but my complaint with him is that he isn't getting into goal scoring chances.

...

I've trimmed down your post to the parts i'm going to focus on.

Consider using Shaw as a WB-S, it will make him still provide overlapping but will look more to pass / cut it back rather than to cross so much. He doesn't really have great dribbling skills so I wouldn't ask him to run at players often, once he has developed more then he can be more of an end product imo. I would then consider changing Darmian to a FB-A (or buying a more attacking FB) so provide width on the right as Mata will drift inside with/without the ball. In my tactic Darmian and his rotation (can't remember who I bought) are both averaging nearly 8 rating over the season.

Look at what is around Schneiderlen, RGA, WPM and a APM all going GIVE ME THE BALL! I personally think he's best as a DM-D, DM-S or CM-D putting his defensive skills to good use before distributing the ball. I try to get him to lose his gets forward often PPM. Herrera played well for me as a CM-S or CM-A with some PI, I had enough playmakers so wanted him to be a bit more consistent and offer more run than a playmaker does.

I'd lose the BPD personally, he should be looking to play to your playmakers rather than risky passes to the forwards who aren't really setup to penetrate.

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Hi Cleon, been a big fan of your work for a number of years. First time I've ever felt obliged to post in one of your threads however.

This year I'm struggling with trying to build a possession tactic, I have certain elements of it working the way I want, but certain other elements are just not clicking. Here's how I currently line up with Man Utd.

-----------------------------------De Gea (GK-D)----------------------------------

Darmian (FB-S)-----Smalling (CB-D)------Blind (BPD-D)---------Shaw (WB-A)

---------------------------------------Carrick (RGA-S)-----------------------------

Mata (WPM-S)---------Schneiderlen (B2B-S)-------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------Herrera (APM-S)-------Depay (IF-S)

---------------------------------------Rooney (DF-D)------------------------------

Team is set up: Structured, Control

TI's are as follows: Normal Defensive Line, Narrow play, Low Tempo, Mixed Passing, Look for Overlap, Close Down More, Prevent Short GK Distribution and Play out of Defence.

My only player instructions are for my Two wide defenders to stay wider, Luke Shaw is also encouraged to run at players more.

What I want to do is keep the tempo low, and control the game but I don't want my players to be too restricted in passing, I want to build out from the back I want my wide attackers to bring the play inside, whilst encouraging overlapping runs from my full backs.

In defence I want my team to be compact which will make us harder to break down and want to ensure the other team doesn't build from the back also. Having a defensive forward in this method helps.

I'm struggling to control possession, and in certain games I'm struggling to even create penetrative football.

Things that are working well.

Shaw / Depay are working well together on the left flank, Shaw getting forward on the overlap and putting crosses in, unfortunately his crosses are hit/miss but that's down to the player rather than tactics IMO, I'll work with him on that.

Rooney is coming deep as I want him to be and is putting pressure on the defence when out of possession, in possession, he's holding the ball up and more often than not he's linking with Mata / Depay on the flanks which stretches the play and creates opportunities with either full back getting forward or else Schneiderlin & Herrera offering support in middle.

Carrick is also playing well, he's the key to my system and his passing is top notch.

Mata is roaming around and finding space and to me is playing how I want him to play, not stuck out wide and attempting to beat players but floating inside and picking off passes.

I'm struggling to control possession, and I believe it's because my team is too deep.

Herrera / Schneiderlin aren't doing what I want, I believe Schneiderlin should be moving up and down with play, but he often seems to be running around like a headless chicken. Herrera is getting on the ball, but his passing has been shocking, perhaps because there's no movement from him, but my complaint with him is that he isn't getting into goal scoring chances.

Previous years, I've often struggled to play penetrative / possession football, but this year I'm struggling to play either or.

Wont DF'd occupy the same space as apm and might actually cross paths with the b2b? This seems counterproductive.. I knew from fm14 that df'd tracked back to the midfield line

Also why not got for an attacker slightly higher up the pitch rather than an IF's.I believe the quartet of APM IF DF and b2b players will be at each other's throats so to speak, occupying a relatively same space

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On the face of it your central midfield seems to lack a defensive presence, perhaps changing the regista to a DM(d) might help sure up the defence. In doing so it may open up the possibility of your full backs being able to go forward.

On your right wing you seem to lack penetration. Make either your fullback more attacking allowing him to over lap the cutting in WPM or select a more attacking role for mata. That's all I've got at the moment

I had considered changing the Right back to attack, but I only want Darmian to push forward when relatively risk free which he is doing. The way I view my play is Mata can be penetrative from the right in a deeper position but via diagonal or sideway balls and this is happening....I'm wondering if my prob

In regards to the regista, I had considered changing Carrick to a HB to help the defence, but teams aren't creating much chances against me...and my full backs are getting forward, perhaps I will try this and this will help my team not being so deep.

I think the key to solving my problem is by tweaking / finding the balance from Carrick (RGA), Mata (WPMS) or Rooney (DFD). Problem is, I'm happy with the way each of them are playing in the purpose I want. Mata is linking up players from a narrow wide position, Rooney is putting pressure on defenders whilst ot of possession and Carrick is doing his best to play the possession play I want. I will try your suggestions and perhaps try Mata with a more attacking mentality.

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Hi cleon,

Just wandering what sort of PPM´s for the midfield up that would suit a possesion oriented tactic.

If you have already responded to this, could you point me in the right direction.

Th.

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I had considered changing the Right back to attack, but I only want Darmian to push forward when relatively risk free which he is doing. The way I view my play is Mata can be penetrative from the right in a deeper position but via diagonal or sideway balls and this is happening....I'm wondering if my prob

In regards to the regista, I had considered changing Carrick to a HB to help the defence, but teams aren't creating much chances against me...and my full backs are getting forward, perhaps I will try this and this will help my team not being so deep.

I think the key to solving my problem is by tweaking / finding the balance from Carrick (RGA), Mata (WPMS) or Rooney (DFD). Problem is, I'm happy with the way each of them are playing in the purpose I want. Mata is linking up players from a narrow wide position, Rooney is putting pressure on defenders whilst ot of possession and Carrick is doing his best to play the possession play I want. I will try your suggestions and perhaps try Mata with a more attacking mentality.

Others have also mentioned it but it seems you have too many conductors in the orchestra with no one to play! With a RGA, WPMs, and APs you have three players all looking to get the ball and looking to thread through passes but no one to run onto them.

Your striker as a defensive striker will not be looking to make runs behind the opposition defence and instead is likely to get in the way of your APs, especially during transitions. Just picture the scenario where you are looking to break, or perhaps you are camped on the oppositions area probing away. Your AP has the ball and instead of seeing people making runs so that he can pick them out, they're all just standing there. A more aggressive striker going forward but who can still hold up the ball might be useful ( CFa/DLFa). Depay would be perfect as an IFa as this would allow him to make runs behind the defence onto the passes from your midfield. Currently on a support duty he won't do that and will merely congest the space in midfield.

If you are intent on keeping Mata as an WPMs, perhaps changing Darmian to a Wbs to offer some additional overlapping support.

Hope this helps

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Cleon,

Apologies if this has already been asked (I searched the thread but didn't see this anywhere) but: Remember the WWFAN post about creating a Barcelona style? He did that utilizing a counter or standard mentality as a baseline to work off of. Obviously, the idea there is that a lower mentality will have the team play with less risk, a slower more patient build up style, and shorter passing among the more attacking players. Wouldn't a lower mentality suit a possession style of play more than something like Control?

Granted, I noticed how you sort of walked back all of the aggressiveness (in attack) of Control by using TI's and a lot of supporting duties, but wouldn't using a lower mentality still make more sense in the long run? Or am I just way off base?

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Cleon,

Apologies if this has already been asked (I searched the thread but didn't see this anywhere) but: Remember the WWFAN post about creating a Barcelona style? He did that utilizing a counter or standard mentality as a baseline to work off of. Obviously, the idea there is that a lower mentality will have the team play with less risk, a slower more patient build up style, and shorter passing among the more attacking players. Wouldn't a lower mentality suit a possession style of play more than something like Control?

Granted, I noticed how you sort of walked back all of the aggressiveness (in attack) of Control by using TI's and a lot of supporting duties, but wouldn't using a lower mentality still make more sense in the long run? Or am I just way off base?

Well the whole point of the thread (as I stated in the opening post a few times) was to show how to create a possession based tactic using an aggressive mentality because people were struggling with it, using a defensive/counter mentality is far too easy. People wanted to know how to create them in higher mentalities.

Not sure where you searched but it can't have been the opening post because the thread tells you why with the very first few sentences at the start of the thread;

Possession football seems a desired play-style amongst the Football Manager faithful, yet it seems to cause a lot of confusion especially on a higher mentality structure like control or attacking. While possession tactics on Football Manager are simple to create, they’re not if you use a higher mentality due to higher the mentality, higher the risk and faster play will be. When thinking about possession on Football Manager you immediately think lower mentalities are better suited because they are more cautious. While this is true to some extent but it’s not the only way of having lots of possession. So for this article I will be using a control or attacking mentality to highlight how to have success this way. . All the current tactics and articles we see always focus on the lower mentalities because it’s easie

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Hi folks. Cleon, thank you for the initial posts and then supporting the thread with help for people.

I've had a fascinating few hours today, reading the first 3 pages, making notes and weighing up my squad with what I'd read in mind. Initially I wanted just to be pointed in the right direction; but the more I read (and followed your explanations of the early screenshots describing build-up movement/play), the more it all made sense. Unfortunately, this made me feel I was just going to create roles and duties identical to your own - something I didn't want to do, and something you didn't intend either. However, when I evaluated my squad it was clear your creation wouldn't suit my players at all - something I was quite glad of really.

My first FM was 07 I think and I had an enjoyable save with Feyenoord, with a kind of 'generic' (if anything a bit direct) 433; it brought good results and I liked the save. So I'm returning to Feyenoord 9 years later but I wanted to create something more defined; and here I am in this thread.

Now, I'd really value help with my midfield three, please. The roles/duties of the front 3 are kind of cast in stone due to my players; there's a bit of flexibility with the fullbacks if required, but I think they're OK.

Feyenoord_%20%20Overview_zpsyp6x0vgs.jpg

The DM - could be a DLP(d/s) or Regista(s), but I'm leaning towards DLPs. The 2 MCs - one should be a APM(s) as all my MCs would suit that, and I'm leaning towards CM(s) for the other (are they the right way round, considering others around them or would you reverse them??); the second one could be a RPM instead of a CM but I think that may be excessive if I do have DLP/Regista and APM too.

That's the variables I'm most unsure of, but I guess confirmation or otherwise of everything else would be good too! :-)

Thanks for any help people.

EDIT: having slept on it I'm going to swap the sides of those MCs and I'll give both the DLP and Regista roles a try out in pre-season to see which one has the best effect. I'd still value any thoughts though.

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Cleon, just wanted to thank you for your tips on possession football. It's really made a big difference in how my team has been playing (all for the better) and eliminated a lot of the frustration this game was giving me.

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Cleon, just wanted to thank you for your tips on possession football. It's really made a big difference in how my team has been playing (all for the better) and eliminated a lot of the frustration this game was giving me.

How have you approached it? With higher mentalities like in this thread or with lower mentalities?

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Mentality was control with a fluid shape. My main formation is 4-2-3-1 Wide and had the wingers shifted to support rather than attack. Hope this helps.

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Hi folks. Cleon, thank you for the initial posts and then supporting the thread with help for people.

I've had a fascinating few hours today, reading the first 3 pages, making notes and weighing up my squad with what I'd read in mind. Initially I wanted just to be pointed in the right direction; but the more I read (and followed your explanations of the early screenshots describing build-up movement/play), the more it all made sense. Unfortunately, this made me feel I was just going to create roles and duties identical to your own - something I didn't want to do, and something you didn't intend either. However, when I evaluated my squad it was clear your creation wouldn't suit my players at all - something I was quite glad of really.

My first FM was 07 I think and I had an enjoyable save with Feyenoord, with a kind of 'generic' (if anything a bit direct) 433; it brought good results and I liked the save. So I'm returning to Feyenoord 9 years later but I wanted to create something more defined; and here I am in this thread.

Now, I'd really value help with my midfield three, please. The roles/duties of the front 3 are kind of cast in stone due to my players; there's a bit of flexibility with the fullbacks if required, but I think they're OK.

Feyenoord_%20%20Overview_zpsyp6x0vgs.jpg

The DM - could be a DLP(d/s) or Regista(s), but I'm leaning towards DLPs. The 2 MCs - one should be a APM(s) as all my MCs would suit that, and I'm leaning towards CM(s) for the other (are they the right way round, considering others around them or would you reverse them??); the second one could be a RPM instead of a CM but I think that may be excessive if I do have DLP/Regista and APM too.

That's the variables I'm most unsure of, but I guess confirmation or otherwise of everything else would be good too! :-)

Thanks for any help people.

EDIT: having slept on it I'm going to swap the sides of those MCs and I'll give both the DLP and Regista roles a try out in pre-season to see which one has the best effect. I'd still value any thoughts though.

Here's my advice:

You don't need to think in terms of the best role / duty. You should think in terms of how does this role/duty work in my system? How does this fit with what we're trying to do? I've learned to throw out the notion that you need some attack, some support, some defend or whatever. Once you start thinking about how it all fits together to structure your overall goal, you'll be in a better position.

Another way to look at it is like this. Instead of worrying about support/attack/defend (in terms of duty) think in terms of what does the description actually say? What will this player actually be doing? You can always fine tune things as you start to watch your team play. You need to get some sort of baseline for your team and the best way to do it, IMO is to just focus on if your choices for roles/duties fit into your desired tactical / systemic goals.

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Mentality was control with a fluid shape. My main formation is 4-2-3-1 Wide and had the wingers shifted to support rather than attack. Hope this helps.

Cheers :thup:

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A few questions for you Cleon, apologies if they've been asked already but the search function doesn't work right for me:

1. When you initially set up your possession system, did you ever worry that you'd be able to score enough goals / create enough chances? A lot of times teams in real life that try to play this way end up with loads of the ball, and lose 1-0 (looking at you Van Gaal!)

2. I'm currently in the middle of an exciting post-winter update save using Schalke. I love their youth and passing ability. Seemed a quality fit for possession football with a lot of room to improve. However, I've felt that we've struggled to score at times. I've gone back and forth and I'm thinking it could be either: relying too much on wide attackers (4-1-2-2-1 formation) or having crap strikers like Di Santo and an aging Klass Jaan Huntelaar. That being said, I've also probably overlooked the importance of NOT using a pure holding player in the middle. In your set up you've got a DM-S, in mine I've used a DM-D (most of the time). I'm probably losing some gusto going forward, but I wanted to have enough cover for my right back who is a perfect FB-A. Long story short, I just feel like we're not offering a consistent enough threat at goal. I'm still tinkering though.

What's really concerning is the inconsistency. Last game before the winter break we win 3-0 comfortably at home. We destroy a few middle-eastern teams in the winter training camp, draw 0-0 twice, and then 1-1, then manage to win 3-1, and 3-0 to kick off the second half, and then drop 4 straight games 0-1, including being knocked out of the Europa League.. 4 straight 0-1 defeats! The inconsistency is killing me. I hate it. I don't know what on earth is going on but I'll figure it out, I guess.

3. This isn't a question but I just wanted to thank you because your threads have really opened up my eyes in terms of how tactics are really built in FM. When you stop thinking inside that box of "support, attack, defend" things really get interesting.

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