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DeathJester

My Tactical Woes: how to overcome them?

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Fistly i am in the English premiership, and the media predict that i should be in the top 7, uefa cup qualification spots. I am cureently siting in 12th position and we are just after Xmas and I'm tearing my hair out at the inconsistancy of my team.

I had thought that I was happy with my tactic (I will show below), and in fact i dominate most games. Having the better of posession and chances.

I will beat the league leaders one week, and then struggle against bottom of the league the next. Seem to be better away from home and then struggle at home (but generally always dominating the game, not scoring with our chances and conceding when the opposition have little in the way of goalscoring chances.

Admittedly I do have a young team - but the players I have are of good quality.

Why is this happening?

I play a very fluid, control, normal tempo, high closing down with a normal defensive line. Play out from defence, normal passing. Mark Tighter, get Stuck in and whipped crosses. I use a 4231 formation.

Here is how I line up:

Goalkeeper

Left Inverted Wingback - Support

Centre back Defend

Centre Back Defend

Right WingBack - Attack

Left Centre Mid - Deep Lying Playmaker defend

Right Centre Mid - Box to Box Mid - support

Left Attacking Midfielder - Winger - Attack

Right Attacking Midfielder - Inside Forward - Support

Centre Attacking Midfielder - Enganche

Striker - Complete Forward - Support

The idea behind my setup was partly inspired by Bielsa but in ways slightly toned down (ala Sampaoli). I wanted a engance behind a forward three, the winger stretching the opposition defence, the inside forward running between the full back and centre back, the enganche supplying the balls to them as well as being a goalscoring threat himself. The attacking right wingback also stretching the opposition from deeper, whilst you have the box to box midfieldefr making late runs and the inverted wingback making late angled runs towards the opposition penalty area. The idea was to have as many variations of runners supporting the attack as possible.

To summarise my problems seem to be :

Not dominating enough at home

weaker opposition give me more problems than they should

Not taking the many chances that come my way

Conceding goals from only one or two oppsition chances

Any advice, tips or insight that you guys can offer me? Many Thanks in advance

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Next to tactics, team talks are important. It's different to motivate squad against top teams or rivals and then against weaker teams. My experience says that team morale and team talks are not to be underestimated.

Your tactical setup looks quite okay itself. What team instructions and shouts do you use? What is your starting mentality against bigger/smaller teams?

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I always use a control mentality, team instructions in addition to what I 've used above I wouldnt change a lot, maybe go defensive if trying to hold on to a lead, or attacking if needd to grab a goal late on, show player on weaker foot, go in hard etc.

I start every game as above irrespective of opposition

I have a good grasp of teamtalks, almost always sufficientl;y motivate the players before a game.

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Would playing at a higher tempo Lead to my players rushing their scoring chances. I wanted to play a higher tempo game, already am using the control mentality, which would already increase tempo a bit if I'm not mistaken. Along with that I play a normal tempo.

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To try to conced less you should try slightly higher or higher defensive like because if you use closing down and your defense should be higher up so it supports the rest of the team when they press, otherwise your team will become stretched and your opponents will have a lot of room to comfortably make passes. Also, if you up your D-line you should change to sweeper keeper so he supports the high D-line and deals with the long balls. Also, you should check if the tempo is alright by watching full match or comprehensively until you can acurately jugde whether the tempo is fine for you (usually a few minutes).

And I have one question (off-topic): Does the inverted wingback work like you want it to? Does it actually go inside?

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Try:

1. Losing the wb on attack. Turn him to a cwb on support.

2. Why do you have a winger on attack and an IF on support? Makes better sense to have them the other way round. I would have the IF on attack with instructions to sit in and shoot more and the winger to stay wide, move up field (to cross from byline) and shoot less.

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Try:

1. Losing the wb on attack. Turn him to a cwb on support.

2. Why do you have a winger on attack and an IF on support? Makes better sense to have them the other way round. I would have the IF on attack with instructions to sit in and shoot more and the winger to stay wide, move up field (to cross from byline) and shoot less.

Why and why? Not having a dig, but it's much better if you can explain reasoning, rather than just put forward suggestions.

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I will beat the league leaders one week, and then struggle against bottom of the league the next. Seem to be better away from home and then struggle at home (but generally always dominating the game, not scoring with our chances and conceding when the opposition have little in the way of goalscoring chances.

Admittedly I do have a young team - but the players I have are of good quality.

Why is this happening?

It sounds like your players suffer a bit from the pressure of playing at home and just lack a bit of know how in certain situations. I wouldn't make dramatic changes, but if it was me, I'd look to sign two or three more experienced players that could help your younger players develop and take the pressure off them. I think it could give your team a better balance too!

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I wonder if the issue is that when you play away from home, your opponents play a more open game at their home ground which allows your team to make use of any space they concede. When you play at home, the AI might be more cautious so that space mightn't exist so you are potentially getting countered.

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Just out of curiosity, what are you seeing the weaker teams do? Could they be sitting back enough to pull your front 4 forward and as a result the B2B is getting close to the attack to, along with the attacking wing back, then hitting you on the break down that side? As the B2B and Wing Back attack are on the same side which could leave a pretty big gap to exploit if countered well.

Conceding goals from one or two chances, is it from similar patterns (a bit like I've said above) or say a cross and losing in the air etc.? There could just be something you notice is happening most times.

The last thing I've noticed is whipped crosses...the only two players with attack duties are the Engache and the winger in the front four, I can't see the Engache getting in the box that often, while the IF and CF may not be getting into the box in time to reach this quick whipped crosses (especially if it is a cross from the winger, I imagine they are more likely to connect when coming from most likely the RB?), so could this be wasting chances sometimes for you?

Also what highlights do you have? Full/Comprehensive/Key etc.? Just wonder because you could be dominating against these weaker teams, but if you have it on key, you're only seeing the goal scoring chances, so every time they counter it could be showing this and it is making you think you aren't dominating, when in fact you are, you are just not creating any good goal scoring chances.

Same with your chances missed, is there any patterns you are noticing or a suspect player?

I think a higher tempo would make someone rush their chances a bit more, as they are trying to move the ball quicker to catch the opposition out, so I guess with the chances missed, that could be something to consider definitely as Control will raise the tempo a little, but not loads.

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I'd be tempted to move your striker from a complete forward to being a poacher. I've just looked at your line up again and I hadn't realised it was such an attack minded set up. From the looks of things the one thing I think you don't have is someone there just to finish the chances off. For my team I use a poacher (alongside a DLF) and it really works well. He misses a few, but scores loads (at the moment anyway).

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The problem seems to be being hit on the counter. The team will have one or two chances scoring at least once, whereas I will have twenty shots and struggle to score once.

The goals against me seem to come via a through ball through the middle mostly.

Couple other things I've noticed. I have my gk on roll the ball out yet still continues to hoof the ball upfield.

Too often my team will attempt an ambitious high ball out to the flank only to be cut off.

My striker keeps being caught offside.

I have made a few changes to my tactic since I posted.

I now use the following: control, very fluid, higher tempo, balanced width, slightly higher defensive line, closing down as much as I can set it, prevent gk short distribution, tighter marking, get stuck in, play out of defence, exploit the flanks, mixed passing, whipped crosses

I changed my striker to deep lying forward on support, my attcking wingback to complete wingback support, my winger on support and inside forward attack

I added get further forward to the inverted wingback also.

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I'm no tactical expert, but I do think your team could be too attack minded, because going forward you've got potentially 7 players who are moving forward and only 3 defensive players from what I can see. Personally I never use wing backs so can't comment too much on them, but I feel that they could be part of your problem because they may get in the way of the wingers if they are too adventurous. I always like to play full backs because I think that they can counter-act wingers better, and they can help keep things tight at the back.

Also I would be tempted to play your striker on attack duty, because he's leading the line so I would want him to be the focal point of me team. Maybe try that? To be honest I hate using 1 striker, i'm more old school because I like a strike partnership, but if I was using 1 striker i'd certainly try him on attack duty because i'd hope he would be harder to defend against. Ideally, I'd try and force the opposition defenders into making mistakes to create space that way.

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Here's what I was trying to achieve with my tactic.

It was to be inspired by the likes of bielsa and sampaoli in that I wanted to restict the play and my team into a 25 metre area on the pitch. Heavy pressing / closing down with the aim of winning the ball as high up the pitch as possible.

In the transition I wanted plenty of runners getting forward enabling me to play quick, short passes to get forward and only playing the long ball (sometimes vertical) to send my forwards or runners through on goal or heavily in space but also to keep the ball when that option is not available.

I want to create width higher up the pitch creating two v ones down the flanks (Bielsa uses inverted wingback at times to "underlap" the wingers to get into the box)

I have also been trying to use the Bielsa 3313 formation against two opposition strikers and this seems to work quite well. I also have been tweaking and trying a sampaoli 3412 formation.

What I was finding was that my winger or wingback would get into space out wide to stick in a cross but would delay as there wasn't enough of my players in the box to receive the cross. This meant more often than not my cross was blocked, ending up in a corner or losing posession. With the sampaoli formation with two up front this seemed to remedy that somewhat.

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What do you expect "Very Fluid" to do to your tactical plan? You seem to have a very specific idea about what you want your team to do and the roles within it. Very Fluid gives a lot of creative freedom to break from the roles you give them, so the changes and specific tweaks you make to the roles will have less effect than more disciplined structures. You've added exploit the flanks but you still have an Engache and DLP in the centre? I think your throwing too many instructions into the pot to see if it helps.

I would suggest going simpler and looking at what was wrong with your original tactic:

Counter Weakness

This is probably due to using Wingbacks (on support or attack), they make more forward runs which leaves your CB's exposed more often with just a DLP-D holding position. A BBM will roam from position so is also more likely to be missing from CM when you lose the ball. Are your CB and DLP good at defending space and winning 1v1's. If not then a 4231 will always be risky due to the space all around your CB's when your WB's get forward.

Consider:

1) Changing your BBM to CM-S or another more static supporting role. You have an Engache and want runners, but maybe there are too many runners and no enough support to pull players out of position for the runners to exploit the space? Maybe a more static CM role will help both defensively and offensively.

2) A more defensively minded fullback such as FB-S so you have a 3-1 defensive shape more often than a 2-1 when attacking. He will still get forward, especially on Very Fluid + Control but will be slightly later in the transition/attacking phase compared to a WB-S.

If you can improve how you stop counter attacks that could add to the pressure you build on teams and potentially counter the counter.

Players deviating from your plan

You have movement you want to create and passing plans but then you've effectively told your players "play your natural game" by using Very Fluid. If they aren't doing what you want then maybe you need to restrain them and get them to follow your plan. Try moving down the Team Structure slightly, it won't make a huge different in how close your players are.

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