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Loversleaper

Tactical Central & Insight: FM 2016

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INTRODUCTION:

This thread is designed to show people how I play the tactical side of the FM game. For me, it is not about creating that one tactic that conquers all, but more of an insight on how I use strategies to make my team perform better than worse over the course of a season. I try to use the descriptions of the in-game Strategies to build sound tactics and try to fit them into my game.

CONTENTS:

Part 1: The Football Club - post #2

Part 2: Strategies - post #3

Part 3: The Opponent - post #4

Part 4: Duties and Mentalities, Hold Positions and Forward Runs - post #5

Part 5: Roles and Individual Settings - post #6

Part 6, Section 1: Building the Team Shape with Roles - post #7

Part 6, Section 2: Building the Defense - post #8

Part 6, Section 3: Building the Midfield - post #9

Part 6, Section 4: Building the Attack - post #10

Part 7: The Manager and Tactical/Strategy Implementation - post #11

Part 8: Formations and Countries - post #12

Part 9: Squad Handling - post #13

Part 10: Training and Match Preparation - post #13

Part 11: Finishing it up - post #13

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Part 1: The Football Club

When I take over a club, the club will have a goal on what they want me to achieve with them and here I decide what kind of Manager I am going to be for the current upcoming season (during a career this might/most likely will change along the way). Once I have chosen (or simply taken over) a club I will put myself in one of these three categories:

The Master Class: For those teams going for the top spots in the league

The Relegation Battler: For those teams fighting the drop

The Tactician: For those teams inbetween the two above

I think it is important to know where I stand, because each of these type of teams require slightly different tactical outlooks (strategy use) from eachother. The Relegation Battler wants to avoid relegation and move into the Tactician category. The Tactician wants his team to do as best as possible to grab a Euro spot to better the club Reputation, get better players and hopefully move their team into the Master Class category. The Master Class wants to win the trophies and be top of the food chain. I find that If you know how to transition yourself through these categories - you will have no problems dealing with '2nd season blues' or opponents 'who figure out your tactics'. This aspect enables me to know what to change and how to combat (at times) a resilient opponent.

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Part 2: Strategies

There are 7 different platform strategies, which might look quite complicated. To simplify things I break them down into categories: Attacking (2), Defending (2), Middle (1) and the late-on strategies (2). So, when I look at it like this, I have two different strategies I will use to attack, two variations of defending, and a middle tactic that allows you to move up or down strategies with very few clicks of the mouse. The late-on tactics I rarely use because usually if I chose the more or less best starting strategy for the game in hand then I won't really need to change anything during the game.

The platform strategies have different settings within them so they have different 'types of behaviors' from Contain all the way up to Overload. When I choose which strategy to use for the upcoming game - this is usually based on if I am favorite or underdog which gives me a better picture if I have to be defending more or should be attacking more (or maybe a little bit of both) - then I simply use the platform strategy and then add some Team Instructions that goes along with mind-set of the strategy. Some settings represent more attacking traits and others represent defending traits.

I always make use of the three strategies my team can familiarize itself with so I can cover more settings that I will use during the season. Usually, it will be one of the attacking strategies, a middle strategy and a defending strategy.

The Attacking Strategies:

Attacking Strategy has more people running forward and more Attack Duties and 'on the tin' this strategy is designed to break down a high time-wasting* and very tight/defensive opponent (*high time-wasting opponents are a key in noticing how defensive the opponent is playing and visually I can spot it during a match). I use this strategy to basically get a sufficient number of players forward to break down the opponents defensive stance. Attack Strategy is a good Home Ground tactic when my team is considered to be very large favorites.

Control in it's structure has less Attack Duty and more Support Duty players that allows you to attack but still be aware of an opponent who is Counter Attacking you - which is also written in the strategy description. Most teams outside of the Master Class attack like this at Home ground - slight home favorites or slight underdogs where the odds are quite close. Away from Home, I use this strategy if my team are large Away favorites because it enables me to try and control the game but still be aware that the opponents will inevitably try to get men forward in front of their Home fans.

The Defensive Strategies:

For me, there are two different ways to defend, but it is important for me to come to terms with exactly how strong my team's overall strength matches up with the opponent. Generally if I am large underdogs Away from home and/or the quality in my team is very poor (like a Relegation Battler's team) I might have to except that I have no other choice but to try to do as good as I can and try to grind out a result. Being large underdogs Away from home is going to be tough no matter what, but playing defensively gives me a much better chance to grab a result - especially if I can frustrate the opponent (this requires of course the more or less correct settings along with the Strategy to be most effective). If I do have quality players (pace is a real plus here) then I can go for the Counter Attack and be very effective. Also good choice for me in those tricky Away games in the Euro Competition fixtures.

The Middle Strategy:

Standard is mentioned as a very important Strategy in it's description because it allows me to easily move up (to Control) or down (to Counter) because the Mentalities and Duties will be basically the same (or very close) regardless which of the strategies you use or switch to. I can easily adjust them without too much shifting around - but still the subtle strategy change can really make the difference. At Home ground I will use this as large underdog because it gives me time to see exactly what the opponent is doing and it's sturdy enough to fight off most of what the opponent can throw at my team. As large underdog at home, I can decide to start with the Counter Strategy - but if my opponent is playing Control, I might be playing straight into their hands (tactically). If I react too slow in adjusting the strategy in this situation, I could find myself behind resultwise and all of sudden in a very tight spot. If I start with Standard and my opponent is trying to Control my team's Counter - then I won't be falling into the 'trap'. If my opponent is also playing Standard then we are going to have that type of battle where quality/luck might decide the game. In this situation you have to be more aware of what's going on because grabbing points in these fixtures can very very useful for Relegation Battlers (that usually find themselves in the large underdog at Home situation more than the other Managers) at the end of the season when points can make all the difference.

Away from home this is a good tactic for the better teams that find themselves as a slight favorite away from home. If the opponent is also playing Standard against me in this situation then the quality of the teams usually make the difference - and my team being the favorite usually puts my team in a very good situation. Playing Standard in this situation also enables me to quickly adjust up or down (as explained above) - because again, for the better teams these situations offer a good opportunity to get those points, plus if I do well against my direct rivals in the league as well, then my team can be in a better position to grab those top spots.

The Late On Strategies:

Overload and Contain. Overload looks a lot like the Attack Strategy in terms of Duties and Forward Runs, but the Strategy goes a lot more for the 'desperate goal' that you essentially need late on in the fixture. I don't employ it until the last ten minutes when I basically have no other choice because the result is a make or break situation. Using it wrong can really backfire, though, so I really rarely use it.

Contain is basically the same as Defensive Strategy in terms of Duties - but you can take it one step further and really use more Defensive Duties and employ the 'Very Narrow' Team Setting. Use this also really late on because you don't want to give the opponent too much time to be able to use the space to their advatage. Contain usually can hold off an opponent for 5-10 minutes ---- maybe! and only maybe! a little longer, so be carefull.

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Part 3: The Opponent

At Home: The good teams in the league and the opponents that consider my team to be far inferior will no doubt use the Attack Strategy against me. Defending against them will be difficult so I make sure I know my overall quality compared to the opponent and maybe use a formation that has more of the natural defending positions to be more sound at the back. Also in European Competions (like Euro League and the Champions League) Reputation generally plays a big part so I take that into consideration as well. Just because on paper my team might look just as strong as the opponent - I have to realize that I will be playing against a very good opposition Manager who is tactically very advanced in dealing with these type of games.

The opposition Tactician Managers will usually try to Control at Home so I am always aware of the chance of falling into their trap. My team might be good enough to cast that aspect aside so I can still go for the Counter, but I am prepared to adjust because playing away to these opponets will be tricky. Doing well against these type of teams usually causes them to 'rethink' their Strategy - it pays off to know when that happens so that I can start to put them under pressure and turn the tables where I will attempt to 'Control' the game. But this can be a 'gradual' evolution and it can take time (and good results) to be in that situation. If I do this correctly, then I will be able to get around the situation of my tactics 'all of a sudden drying up'. The opponent, you will find, will be a Dynamic one - knowing this can give you the edge over them in the long run.

The Relegation Battlers will usually also play Control if they think they have a chance - if they don't, expect them to either Counter Attack you or play a Standard Strategy and try to force you into a real Battle Ground type of game. If I can control these games, or hit them where it hurts, is something I will really have to work on with my Team/Individual Settings on top of just being Strategically sound.

Away From Home: The good teams will no doubt try to Control the game in some form or force you into a Battle Ground situation where the quality between the teams might make the difference. It takes a little adjustments here and there at times but if I have sound Strategies with the right Team settings from the get-go, I won't have to adjust that much if anything at all.

The Tactician Managers will usually Counter Attack you or play Defensive - depending how strong they think my team is. If they decide to play Defensive or the team is considering themselves not having much of a chance (like the Relegation Battler usually does) then expect a very hard team to break down if you do not have the quality to play a more Attacking type of game. Here I look at the time-wasting aspect, if they are taking their time then it usually indicates that they are playing very Defensive. Usually though, if my Strategy settings are sound and I use the roles/duties correctly - I should be doing better than worse.

The Last Note on this Subject

Every Manager will get things wrong from time to time - it's just the reality of it. Learning from them is a very important aspect, noticing certain teams or a specific team I struggle against (for example a fierce rival) and how they do against my team. I notice what I did (in terms of strategy) and try to adapt for future games. I have room to move with the Strategy Ladder and it really does give me different options that either fit my tactical 'philosophy' or can battle a resilient opponent. Sometimes I have to move away from my own personal views on how the game of football should be played just to get the result - teams play differently against Barcelona than they would against, for example, Braintree Town. It's like that out in the real world and it's like that in the game as well. It takes time to build my team and philosophies so I am prepared to work for it and learn how I can be more Strategically spot on before I can fully implement the style of football I want to create. Familiarity and Reputation are aspects that you should not reject, but embrace it and work with it because along the way things will change. Knowing what and when to change will give you the possibilities to deal with some of these aspects in the game and you will no longer struggle...

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Part 4: Duties and Mentalities, Hold Positions and Forward Runs

These things here build up the 'core' or 'base' of my Strategies. I want them to work in conjuction with my Strategies because getting them wrong causes my tactics to be either bent out of shape or not effective enough in certain areas. For example, if I play more defensive/cautious strategies but implement too attacking mind-sets or vice-versa then I am causing a conflict within my Strategy/Tactic that could ultimately backfire. Each Strategy differs with Mentalities, Closing Down, Defensive Line (being the more important settings) and also other settings such as Tempo and Creativity amongst others. The general 'behavior' of the Strategies are different from one and other and more designed for specific tactical 'tasks'. That's why if I chose a Strategy that is more Defensive and I employ too many Attacking mind-set players, due to the settings mentioned, I could be in a situation where my team are launching Attacks from way too deep to be effective and ultimately causing myself problems because they are not doing their 'Primary Task' of actually defending - which the platform Strategy is initially designed for. The opposite occurs if I want to Attack and use too cautious Duties, this could cause my team to be too far forward whilst trying to Support/Defend which might make my team not be able to pressure the ball enough and leave my opponent with too much time to punish the gaps I leave behind my pressure line. My personal opinion is that this aspect is very important to understand becuase this is one of the areas I personally think that most Managers actually struggle with.

These settings can vary in relation to the Formation I am using because of the natural 'positioning' of the players within that formation - but they do follow a trend. If I have 4 at the back, or 3 or 5 at the back, non-winger formations or winger formations can all have a slight effect on how I implement these 'core' settings.

Overload and Attacking Strategies:

- Attacking Duties: 4 to 6 players

- Support Duties: around 2 players

- Defend Duties: 3 to 4 players

- Forward Runs: 4 to 6 players

- Hold Positions: 3 to 4 Players

Control and Standard Strategies:

- Attack Duties: 2 to 3 players

- Support Duties: 4 to 5 players

- Defend Duties: 3 to 4 players

- Forward Runs: 2 to 3 Players

- Hold Positions: 3 to 4 players

Counter Attack Strategy:

- Attack Duties: 0 (Lone Striker Formations) or 1 (two or three Striker Formations)

- Support Duties: All the other players not using Attack or Defend Duties

- Defend Duties: 3 to 4 players

- Forward Runs: 2 to 3 players

- Hold Positions: 3 to 4 players

Defensive and Contain Strategy:

- Attack Duties: 0 (Lone Striker Formations) or 1 (two or three Striker Formations)

- Support Duties: 3 to 4 players

- Defend Duties: 5 or 6 Players

- Forward Runs: 2 to 3 players

- Hold Positions: 5 to 6 players

*with Contain you can take it one little step forward (defensive winger and or Defensive Forward on Defend Duty) but using the Team settings (like Very Narrow, Much Deeper) can also be enough - I must admit, I hardly use Contain!

Last Note on Subject: If you are struggling with your tactics, this part could very well be the reason. Check if you are generally in these areas because you could use this theory above to make your tactic more sound if you are struggling - it won't hurt to try at least ;)

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Part 5: Roles and Individual Settings

After I have the general idea of Duties and Runs in place, I will have to choose what type of Roles I am going to implement (or want to implement) because they are going to effect several things: like Team Shape (Structured, Flexible or Fluid) and how sound my tactic becomes - this can be more important than you think!

You can play around with this and if it works for you then fine! But here are some of the things I personally do in this field:

First, some of the Roles offer a 'focus point' where other team members will try to look more to pass to. I don't want too many of them and especially standing too close to eachother. I restrict this to one in each line (Defense - Midfield - Attack) at the very most. For example, having a Target Man next to a Complete Forward might cause some tactical clashes that might not do well for my attacking structure. Generally having too similar players in the same areas is not always a good idea.

Second, there is a Closing Down balance that I look at when choosing Roles. For example, I want to use a Traquartista or an Enganch (low Closing Down) so I might want to have a Defensive Forward (high Closing Down) either next to him or just in front of him. Having too many players with high Closing Down could cause my team to be bent out of shape or having too many players with low Closing Down might cause my team to be over-run. I try to balance them out as best as I can.

Third, the Risky Pass is also something I like to spread out a little. If I have, for example, an Advanced Play Maker on Attack Duty in the AM slot behind a False 9 on support and a Complete Forward on attack duty, this could cause an absolute mess due to all of them having Risky Passes and this can hamper my attacking structure.

Fourth, Dribble More is similar to above. The treo I mentioned in the Risky Pass also all have Dribble More in all of their Instructions and this could also cause further problems.

Fifth, Roam From Position. I restict it to 1 player if I can or 2 at most, but if it's 2 then I make sure that they are not on the same line.

Sixth, Moves into Channels. I also restrict this to maximum 2 players (on different lines as well if possible).

Seventh, Hold up on Ball. I tend to restrict this to 1 player.

I think if you restrict most of those settings to a couple of players and you spread them out a little, you will get a lot more out of your tactical structure. If you follow this rule, it makes it easier to also choose what roles you can implement in your tactics. Again, a personal veiwpoint.

But there is another side to this reality, and that is I can do the opposite and not have enough of those settings to actually penetrate or stabalise my tactical stucture. For example, if I have a Target Man next to a Poacher - I might find that my team is not penetrating the opposition defense. That is why I think it is important to at least consider these settings and try to 'make a plan' with how you are attacking.

This will also effect the different Formations that I could choose. In Lone Striker Formations, I find that it is much better to use Support Duty up front so he doesn't get diconnected from the rest of the team. I usually don't want him having Risky Passes either if he has no support from pushed up wingers/inside forwards running forward in the AML/AMR slots because he will have no one to pass to and he will make those passes where you think 'what is going on?'. Well, I instructed him to do so - so in that way, it's kind of my fault. Choosing an Attacking Structure can be the deciding factor on my scoring stats so I give this some thought. Later on under the 'Building the Defense, Midfield and Attack' in this thread - I will go a little more into detail.

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Part 6, Section 1: Building the Team Shape with Roles

After reading wwfans '12 Step Guide', I took in his viewpoint regarding the 'Specialized Roles' and have adopted the theory into my tactical outlook. It is, of course, all up for debate.

One thing that kind of stands out is that in Very Fluid, mentalities tend to look more closer together throughout the team in the ME - where on the other hand, Very Structured seems to spread them more out maybe to give more room for those players that behave differently than the more conventional (normal) 'roles'. Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine...

I like the theory because it's quite fun to utilize and it gives me sort of a set rule to kind of follow (especially if I have trouble deciding on what's best). We might not look at it exactly the same, but I am following wwfans mind-set on the matter pretty closely, none the less.

Normal Roles:

Goal Keeper

Center + Limited Center Back

Full Back + Limited Full Back

Wing Back

Half Back

Defensive Midfielder

Center Midfielder

Attacking Midfielder

Wingers + Inside Forwards

Deep Lying Forward + Advanced Forward

Specialized Roles:

Sweeper Keeper

Ball Playing Defender

Complete Wing Back

Anchor Man

Regista

Ball Winning Midfielder

Roaming + Deep Lying + Advanced + Wide Play Maker

Box to Box Midfielder

Enganch

Trequartista

Shaddow Striker

Ramdueter

False 9

Target Man

Complete Forward

Poacher

Defensive Forward

Team Shape:

0 to 1 Specialized Roles: Very Fluid

2 Specialized Roles: Fluid

3 Specialized Roles: Flexible

4 Specialized Roles: Structured

5 Specialized Roles: Very Structured

*Specialized Roles should be used by more or less exceptional players for your league to make full use of them. It is a lot more easy to use Very Fluid with Nomal Roles because I can replace those players more easily if I have injuries and suspentions or lack of depth in those positions. It is a lot harder to play Very Structured if I do not have enough squad depth to cover those areas.

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Part 6, Section 2: Building the Defense

Center Area: I always have the Center Backs Close Down a little less (1 option less than the default) compared to the other players and add Mark Tighter instructions in all of the Strategies. I do this so that they don't abandon their position (too much) in hope that other players can get in the way first and the Central Defenders become the last line of defense. This should limit the 'balls over the top' as well or have them get caught out too easily. In Three Man Formations I tend to stick in a Ball Playing Defender if possible.

Full Backs: Here the Forward Runs become very important (for me) to use correctly in relation to the Strategy. In Attacking Strategies (Attack and Overload) I think getting them Forward Often (Attack Duty) works good to help/assist in getting enough players forward to put more pressure on the opposition - giving them Dribble More, Cross From Byline and instruct them to overlap helps as well and this is something I always tend to do. You can try them in Counter, Standard and Control if your opponent is using a Formation that doesn't employ wingers - but if they do or are getting into wide areas, then you can expect your Full Backs to be caught out eventually and your team can be punished. Just because they are on Support Duty, it doesn't mean they won't get forward - they might just do so at better times and minimise the risk of getting caught out at the same time. In Defensive and Contain Strategy I find it's best to have them not Run Forward at all (Defend Duty) - because it helps in stabalizing my defense against a very Attacking opponent. Generally, I advise Managers to have the Full Backs follow the team mentality and an easy way to do this is simply by leaving them on Automatic Duty.

Wing Backs: You can easily use them in a 4 man defense, but I would restrict it to the Attack and Overload Strategies personally - again, you can use them against Formations that don't use wide men, but I think it's wise to be aware of eventual threats. In a 5 man defense I can easily have the normal Wing Back Role where they are moving forward regardless of Strategy - in Attacking and Overload I have them on Attack Duty, Dribble More and Crossing from Byline. Generally, I have them Dribble More in most of the Strategies because I tend to find that most tactics need at least a few players dribbling up the pitch to 'break through the opposition's lines'.

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Part 6, Section 3: Building the Midfield

3 Man Flat Midfield: Here is a good option to use a Ball Winning Midfielder (left-center) on Support - Deep Lying Play Maker on Defend Duty (or a simple Center Mid on Defend Duty) - and a Center Midfielder that follows the Team Strategy Mentality in the right-center position (either automatic or manually), so this guy is on Defend Duty in the Contain/Defensive Strategy, on Support Duty for Counter/Standard/Control and on Attack Duty for the Attack and Overload Strategies. The Ball Winning Midfielder puts my general Closing Down a little higher than 'normal' so that I have a more combative midfielder. You can play around with the Roles as you see fit, but keep this in mind if you struggle. Generally, I advise Managers to have the Duty aspect in check as described above when choosing the 'roles' you will implement.

3 Man Flat Midfield with a Defensive Midfielder position: Here I can have a different outlook. The Defensive Mid I will use these Roles perferably - Defensive Midfielder or Half Back (I generally use the Half Back as he works very good in this midfield set-up) on Defend Duty. On the left center I think the Roaming Play Maker (add Risky Passes) works good along with a centrally positioned Center Midfielder on Attack Duty in the Standard/Control/Attack/Overload Strategies or a Central Midfielder on Support Duty in the Counter/Defensive/Contain Strategies - but I add Forward Runs here. On the right-center have a Center Midfielder on the Team Mentality. Again, you can play around with the Roles - but keep the Duty aspect intact if you can.

3 Man Center Midfielder with two Defensive Midfielders: Here I have a really good option to use the Regista (Support Duty) so I try to pair him up with a Normal Defensive Midfielder or a Ball Winning Midfielder on Defend Duty. The Center Midfielder in front of these two, I find that it is best to use just a normal Central Midfielder that follows the Team Mentality and you might want to add Risky Passes (or Through Balls) if you don't have enough players with this instruction.

4 Man Flat Midfield: Here I will use the Winger option over the Wide Midfielder - this might be a personal viewpoint but I like the idea of wingers getting forward and putting in crosses. Wingers are on Support Duty with added Forward Runs in the Defensive/Counter Strategies and should be on Attack Duty in the Standard/Control/Attack/Overload Strategies - unless you play 3 at the back, here my wide men will be Defensive Wingers on Support. If I do employ a Wide Play Maker on the wing, then I make sure that I have a Winger getting Forward on the other side and a Forward/Midfielder somewhere also getting further up the pitch to ensure I have enough players getting forward. Then I will have at least 2 players getting Forward so I don't hamper my attacking structure. Centrally I use one player on Defend Duty and the other Following the Team Mentality.

5 Man Flat Midfield: Here I have the possibility of using a Box to Box midfielder - especially if he doesn't have a Defensive Midfielder behind him or an Attacking Midfielder in the slot in front of him where those places are already occupied. The most central midfielder I make sure has a Defend Duty and, either the center-left or the center-right, I will have this player on the Team Mentality.

2 Man Central Midfielders: These formations usually have a Defensive Midfielder behind them or an Attacking Midfielder in front. Both of these Formations usually with two pushed up Winger Forwards. With the DM I will have one of the CM's to be on Support (because the DM, for me, should perferably be on Defend Duty) and the other following the Team Mentality. With the AM in front of them I will have one on Defend Duty and the other Following the Team Mentality.

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Part 6, Section 4: Building the Attack

The Lone Striker without support: This is a difficult situation, for me, to get right for several reasons as the striker is alone up there without Winger Forwards or an Attacking Midfielder behind him for support. On Attack Duty he becomes way too isolated so this is not a good option for me - you can try, but if it doesn't work out - then now you know why. I always make sure he is on Support Duty so he connects better with the midfield. The Defensive Forward is a pretty good option here because he fights for the ball, he makes few Risky Passes so he will try to pass more safe (backwards in other words where his team mates are positioned) and he still will get Forward and Dribble Sometimes. You can go with a Complete Forward, Deep Lying Forward or a False 9 - but the Risky Passes (in other words: Through Balls) could become annoying. Using a Target Man is personally a bad option, I think, because if you are not getting enough players forward to connect with him, he could struggle due to his Dribble Less + Hold up on Ball instructions which could make the attacking structure not penetrating enough.

The Lone Striker with the Attacking Midfielder: Here, I think, it is pretty important that the AM doesn't have instructions where he is running into the same space as the Lone Striker - this kind of also hampers the Attacking Structure. I can use the Trequartista or Enganch, but due to their Closing Down settings, I think it is best if I use the Defensive Forward (higher Closing Down) to compensate them. If I want to use a different type of Lone Striker then I find it's best to use the Advanced Play Maker or better yet - the simple Attacking Midfielder on Support Duty to give my Lone Striker more space to operate in. As a rule, I have Lone Strikers always on Support Duty so they do not get disconnected from the rest of the team - but do what you think works best for you. It is good in this combination (AM + ST), I find, to have one of them Roaming and/or Moving into Channels - but I try to avoid having them both with these type of instructions because I find that they will occupy the same space at times and not having enough diversity to be effective. That goes for Risky Passes as well.

The Lone Striker with Winger Forwards (pushed up Winger/Inside Forwards): Since I have two wide men Moving into attacking positions, it's a good idea to have a player dropping deep and trying Risky Passes that can split the opposition's defense. False 9's, Complete Forwards and Deep Lying Forwards suit well in these Formations. I can easily use a Target Man type Role here because he quickly get's support from those wide players - especially if you are using Direct Passing then the Target Man/Complete Forward is a good option. I find that the Wide forwards/winger work best if I use either two Wingers or one Winger and one Inside Forward. My experience is that two Inside Forwards are hard to make work thoroughly and it requires certain instructions/Roles to get right - I will include that personal viewpoint in the tactics I will eventually add over the Tactic Down Load Section (Sub-Forum).

The Lone Striker with two Attacking Midfielders: Here you have a 'spear head' type of scenario where the two attacking midfielders can Run Forward without directly running into the Lone Striker's position. A great opportunity for me to employ the Shadow Striker Role - but I just have to remember to try to be creative in getting the consolation right (in regards to Risky Passes, Roaming, Moving into Channels and Holding on the ball). This is difficult but it can be done!

The Lone Striker with two Winger Forwards and an Attacking Midfielder: This formation is very attacking position-wise so I think it is best just to keep it simple with Roles. Wide Forwards should be Wingers so they don't run into the player in the Attacking Midfielder's position - if you simply have to use an Inside Forward/Raumdueter due to preference, then I would try to limit it to only one of them on one of the sides. If you do attempt to use them on both sides and the player(s) struggle (ratings, goals, assists) then maybe this could be the problem. The Attacking Midfielder and Lone Striker, I find, works best on Support Duty. This formation works very well with the Target Man because he has lots of support.

Two Strikers: Here we are looking at an Attacking Partnership - getting the instructions with them spot on can make a deadly force, so I need to have the plan that can penetrate the opposition's defense. There are certain Partnerships that I want to avoid as they can effect negatively the attacking structure. First, I find it's important that they do not share instructions to be most effective - like Roaming, Moving into Channels, Risky Passes and Hold up on Ball. I have them do different instructions so that they cover most of these areas if possible. As explained elsewhere, if I want to use the Trequartista, I remember to pair him with the Defensive Forward - but if I do use this Partnership up front, then I will still make sure that I have at least two players further down the pitch Running Forward - to have that penetrating effect that I feel my team needs to be more effective. I avoid pairing two Forwards that don't Dribble More and don't attempt Risky Passes because I most likely tend to struggle in creating an efficient partnership. I keep one on Attack Duty and one on Support Duty throughout the strategies.

Two Strikers with an Attacking midfielder: Here, I find, it is easier to have the Attacking Midfielder Running Forward with an Attacking Duty as he will move into the space between the two forwards - this makes it more of a three man attack. Usually, for me, it's best to do this in the Attack/Overload Strategy *unless* I am using a Formation that doesn't have Wingers - then I can easily use the Attack Duty option in Control and Standard Strategies (and moving the Duty to Support in Counter/Defensive/Contain Strategies). The two Strikers usually follow the normal two striker explanation above, but due to the Attacking Midfielders Role/instructions, I might have to limit what Partnership I have up front to not clash the instructions within this treo.

Three Strikers: Here I think it is important to have one of them as a Defensive Forward so that you can move him to Defend Duty in the Defensive/Contain Strategy, this ensures that I can make up the numbers that constitute those type of Strategies. The other two I just versify so I follow the basic Two Striker theory.

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Part 7: The Manager and Tactical/Strategy Implementation

Now that I have gone through the part of how I build tactics, I would like to get back to the Strategy choices that I want my team to get 'Familiar' with. This is important, for me, because I can use this to be more in the area where I want to be tactically and using all three tactics gives me a wider range to be able to cope with the different situations I will face during my Manager career. When I have an idea of what 'category' my team is in - media predictions are always a good indication of my team's strength in the league and reputation - then I have a better idea of what type of tactics/strategies suit my team more.

The Master Class: Here, my team is going for the top spots in the league, Champions League is usually on the program. There might be a slight difference in quality up at the top, but it won't be that much. If I am in the Barcelona/Bayern M range, that means I am really on top and basically better than everyone else in the league.

The three Strategies I want my team to be 'Familiar' with:

Attacking Strategy. For basically all of my Home games - I might change down to Control for some of those games where I feel I should be more 'safe', like against some of the other real 'World Class' teams - but no matter what, I will have this Strategy part of my overall game-plan because most of my home games I will/should be large favorites.

Control Strategy. For basically all of my away games because more times than not, I will most likely be large favorites. For those times where I am slight favorite I might want to change down to Standard Strategy and maybe move up or down from there (if necessary). Since my Standard Strategy will almost likely look exactly like my Control Strategy (in terms of Team/Individual Settings), a simple click will move my team there quickly.

Counter Strategy. For those tricky away matches against direct league rivals or those tricky away fixtures in European Cups.

*Neutral Pitches - here in these situations I will usually be in one of the Cup Finals. As bigger favorites I will try to Control the match because on Neutral Pitches you lose the home advantage which enables you to Attack a lot more in front of your Home crowd. If odds are close, I can go with the Standard type of game and see where I can go from there (stay, go Control or Counter). If I am underdog and expect a difficult game against a good opponent, that most likely thinks they will beat my team, I will start with Counter and adjust (usually first much later on in the match). This Nuetral Pitch situation can apply to all Managers and not only the Master Class.

The Tactician: Being tactical spot on can make or break my season. If my team is tactically competent and resultwise very good, I will expect the opponents to also be very tactical against me at one point. That means in other words, usually the opponent teams (early on) come more at me, but if I show that I am pretty solid - then they will 'rethink' their strategic plan and become much more tactical/cautious along the way to try to 'frustrate' my game-plan.

Control Strategy. For those home games where odds are close because my team's quality will be close to the majority of teams in my league. If I do very well, later in the season usually, I might have to have an Attack Strategy somewhere ready close by just in case I start having difficulties in those Home games where I expect my team should have a good chance of winning. Those teams are no longer Countering my team (which Control handles quite well) and have moved down to Defensive Strategy to try and frustrate my team by being more hard to break down. When I start using Attacking Strategies against that type of opponent, I am aware that my team might struggle a little the first/few games, but once they handle it, it puts me in a very good position to really push for those positions higher up that give my team access to European Cups.

Standard or Counter Strategy. I personally would choose Standard, but here you can determine what might be best for your team. Standard does well as large underdogs at home against the big teams and a good option if my team does well with results so that my team starts to become slight favorites away from home. Counter (if my team has general good pace attributes) will do well away from home against those lower quality teams. They are pretty close in terms of settings so adjusting them during a season doesn't really effect the 'Familiarity' aspect that much, I find.

Defensive Strategy. For most of my away games where I will find myself as a underdog. I might have to Counter some of the bottom placed league opponents as slight underdog to get the result - but slight adjustments should be able to move me there quickly. Usually if I find myself in a slight favorite role (usually due to good away form), I find that it's better to use the Standard Strategy personally.

The Relegation Battler: I will be pretty basic with the strategy choices and during a season I might not have to be as tactically aware as The Tactician would be - although if I vastly overacheive, I might have to adapt later on in the season. Usually the *transition phase occurs after the season.

Control Strategy. For my Home games where I think my team has a good chance of winning (close odds).

Standard Strategy. For my Home games where I think my team will struggle heavily. Better here sometimes to use Limited Full Backs even though it doesn't always follow the Duty theory explained earlier in the thread and also maybe implement slightly more Narrow width than normal.

Defensive Strategy. For all my away games. Countering, I find, is too risky for these teams - especially to start with. It might change - but then again, it most likely won't the first season. I will use more Limited Defenders if my team's quality/reputation is really poor.

The Lower League Manager: Generally I play more like the Relegation Battler or The Tactician Manager and can easily use the three 'Familiar' tactics in the explained outlooks above.

*Transition phases: this is how I get around that tactics eventually 'dry up' or that they become less efficient over a course of time. For example, I might start out behaving like a Relegation Battler due to media predictions and general match odds - but could find myself doing a lot better than expected thus moving up the 'Manager Ladder'. By slighty adjusting my strategy outlook and behaving more like one of the other types of Manager (in other words: when my team moves into a higher area) usually tackles better the Dynamic AI opponent.

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Part 8: Formations and Countries

If you study Formations, you can easily have an idea which formations are more defending, pretty basic or very attacking just by the shape and positions the players in the formation take. You can either stick to a standard formation and work from there or use more positional advantages within the Formations. For example, if you use the 4-3-3 type tactics you can use the 4-1-4-1 tactics to play more defensive or if you attack with the 4-2-3-1 Formation then you might use the 4-4-1-1 or the 4-2DM-3-1 formations to play more conservatively. Lots of room to move in if you go through them, it could tighten up defensively or loosen up more attackingly and it could give you the edge that you need.

Down below, I will share a personal viewpoint of how I see the different countries style of football. It might be a lot more simple than I have described it, but you can call this maybe a real-life interpretation mixed into FM. I have glanced over certain teams and played against some of them, which has given me an indication of what they might be doing and/or what we could be doing as well. It's a game after all...

The British Style of Football: Mostly they are in the Very Fluid and Fluid type of Football because they tend to just want to get on with the game, using more Direct fast paced Football - which also works well with the weather as you tend to have a lot of the wet type of weather (especially in the winter months). Continental Managers (Van Gaal and Koeman for example) have brought more Flexible/Structured styles of play - but this style is harder to employ due to the difficulty sometimes in getting enough back-up players to keep the style of play intact during a whole season where you have injuries and suspenstions. It's more work and with the ammount of games you play (large leagues, two different Cups at least to play in, and maybe Continental Football games also on the menu) you might have difficulties keeping the style intact.

Typical Formations:

4-4-2 & 4-4-1-1 : pretty standard to set up and the Fluid styles of play make the game pretty basic. You might want to use a Deep Lying Play Maker or Attacking Play Maker in midfield depending on your Strategy Mentality/preference.

The Spanish Style of Football: Mostly they will be in the Fluid/Flexible style of Football with the exception of Atletico Madrid or Bilbao who tend to be more Structured. The weather permits them to play more shorter/mixed passing in general and they tend to like to play a technical type of football.

Typical Formation:

4-2-3-1 : offers several options in regards to roles without overdoing it. They emphasize more on getting the attacking part of the play to work and use more Specialized Roles up front. False 9's, Trequartistas or Attacking Play Makers are good to use with the shorter passing/creative philosophies.

The Italian Style of Football: They tend to be more in the Structured area. They are more desciplined but still employ shorter passing - because they usually also have good, sunny weather. A kind of technical cautious mix that still is pretty result-orientated.

Typical Formations:

4-3-1-2 & 4-3-2-1 : These more Narrow Formations work very well with shorter passing and they focus play more through the center. In real life they love the Trequartista role and the more technical Forwards - but they tend to stick in a Target Man here and there. Ball Playing Defenders are also a part of their footballing culture.

3-5-2 & 5-3-2: Are also tactics that you will encounter and here they tend to deviate from the more shorter passing and can go more Mixed/Direct. If you use the 5-1-2-2 formation at any point of time (a la Conte), it is a good option to use the Anchor Man because he uses Few Risky Passes and that works well with 3 Center Backs behind him and 2 Wingbacks that are on his positional line so he spreads out play quite nicely.

The Germanic Style of Football: German Football is pretty Flexible but they tend to mix it with a more desciplined style of football. They will play more direct because it fits the weather more, of course, but it also makes their style of football more result-orientated as well. The team and winning are more important than the stylish football - although Gaurdiola has successfully brought about a different style.

Typical Formations:

4-2DM-1CM-3 : Perfect formation to use the Regista (The Schweinstieger type of player) and use the Raumdueter - who drifts inward - as it gives space for the player to move effeciently.

4-1DM-3-2 Narrow : A defensively sound formation that can make modest teams over-perform. Here the Roaming Play Maker is a good option who is hard to track and the right player can be very effective.

The Continental Style of Football: Continental football is usually more Structured and more Tactical or can be very creative and Fluid. Depends on the circumstance or the Manager - but being good at determining what you can do to be thoroughly successfull can require a lot of thought and planning. Continental Managers usually try to Retain Possession and/or Work the Ball into the Box because their teams usually have the quality to do so.

Typical Formations:

4-1DM-2-3 & 4-2-3-1 : More Fluid with more creativety, shorter passing and Higher Pressing. Teams that want to rule the world usually try to use this philosophy: Getting the best players possible, giving them more simple tasks and let their talents shine. Mourinho, Guardiola, Wenger and Enrique are in this category, I pressume.

4-4-2 : To get up there playing with this formation requires a lot of Structure, I find. Being tactical and using the roles correctly can really be very effective - even against the best of the best. Managers like Sir Alex and Simeone fall into this category.

The Lower League Style of Football: Usually you just want to get on with it and concentrate on getting better players to get you through the ranks. Best to use just Normal Roles, direct passing and have them stick to their positions. Playing Direct makes it easier to handle and you won't have to worry too much about the weather or if your team has the quality to handle more shorter/technical football.

Typical Formations:

4-4-2 & 4-4-1-1 & 4-1DM-2-3 : Pretty standard Fluid styles with direct passing and be more normal/narrow to restrict space and connect better.

4-1DM-3-2 Narrow : Seldom used by other Managers, but can be a very good option as you might find it difficult to find wide men. Tactically sound and effective. Direct and play more through the middle - a good Target Man can make it quite effective if you can find a good Striker Partner (False 9 if possible).

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Part 9: Squad Handling

There are several tasks that I take and other assignments I give to the other staff. Foremost, I find it is important to praise the players from time to time (playing well, scoring or assisting multiple goals, defending well). It is just as important to warn players underperforming and even fine them at times to stop persisting bad performances or poor descipline (suspensions). You might suffer because of it, but I find that I have little choice if I really want to 'stamp my authority' on the team. I might have to challenge some of the players which can lead me into having to get rid of them - but luckily, there usually are good replacements here and there so I might have to bite the bullet and change things around a bit from time to time. Warning players for training poorly (which usually causes drops in their attributes) is also an important aspect if I want my team to be generally training well. I tend not to slack off in that department or it could effect my team's performances on the pitch.

But other than that, I tend to get an Assistant Manager with high Motivational/Player Handling Skills and let him take most of the Team Talks and Press Conferences.

Part 10: Training and Match Preparation

I keep it real simple. Before the season starts, I have higher Fitness training with Tactics/Team Cohesion Match Prep (if anything) just to rise your Fitness Attribute Levels and get 'Familiar' with tactics/strategies. A week before my first important match, I will shift to Balanced (helps general attributes rise) and the Match Prep is something I usually get advice on from the other staff. I might use Attacking Movement if I were Master Class or Defensive Positioning if I were a Relegation Battler, but I guess it's good to change up every so often and maybe use it to strengthen up an area in regards to your next opponent. Individual training regimes I will usually leave to the assistant, but will just glance over it just to see if I want to adjust a player here and there. PPM's are good to teach your players as is teaching them to play in positions where you need players can also be benefitial. Not an area I want to put too much effort in, but will still just monitor the situation from time to time...

Part 11: Finishing it up

With the TC and the set-up I have explained above, it becomes really easy for me to make tactics (within minutes) - because it's not really the tactics that make the difference in my opinion... It's more about when to use them that is the key. We are playing against a Dynamic opponent that uses the strengths of the Strategies and their settings to make a tactical game of football. If you know when you can Attack or should Defend, then the game becomes a lot easier to handle. You can break all the so-called 'rules' if you want to and if you are successful then great for you! - but this is simply an insight in how I do things (and have been doing this for several FM generations now) and to be totally honest, it can be a very successful way of playing once you get good at it.

I will as soon as I can put some tactics and explanations up for down load over in the Sub-Forum which might give a better idea on how I do things. I hope this has been a worthwhile read and if there is anything anyone would like to add - please feel free to do so...

Good Luck

LL

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If I understood correctly, if during a match things are not going your way, you'll move up or down on mentality ladder? How do you decide where to go? On what highlights are you watching your games?

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Thank you for the time and effort you have put in to help the community. This approach is how I like to play the game and have been doing it this way with my own tactics successfully for a number of years. A great read and will be interesting to see what your tactics look like when they are available.

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@shirajzl

usually if I chose the more or less best starting strategy for the game in hand then I won't really need to change anything during the game.

I don't switch around just because I go a goal down or a goal up. You might change something during a match maybe a couple of times during an entire season - maybe even not at all - if you feel comfortable with your starting strategy. Usually it might be for crucial games where you want to pay a little more attention than you normally would - like a cup final or something. I think it is more important to pay attention to some of the games you struggle generally with and then see if there is something you want to change - it's not all about one game. If you are using Standard Strategy as described in the thread - it just gives you a easy access to Counter and Control. Usually the scenarios where you might want to use Standard can be tricky, so it's just an option to move quickly around if you feel you need to.

Look at match stats and see if a pattern emerges over a periode of time - that's one of the best ways (if you want to view matches at a minimum) to see if you need to change something in the long run.

I tend to start out viewing comprehensive to see how the patterns of play pan out in the different match scenarios, but as soon as it looks pretty solid and match stats seem to be pretty stable - then it's easy to just view highlights. I think it's more of a personal preference when it comes down to it...

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It's really really good to see you back Loversleaper. I enjoyed reading through the thread and cannot wait to try out your downloadable tactics :)

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Love your work. Also looking forward to getting my hands on your sets. I had the greatest success ever using the previous sets

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Credit where it is due.

Much better presented now. Always interesting to see how other people view the game and I can appreciate the effort you have put into this.

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This was a very interesting read.

I hope you still plan on uploading some tactics to the sharing centre. I've only recently started trying to make my own tactics and so far I've failed miserably, so I'd love to see some of your examples.

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This was a very interesting read.

I hope you still plan on uploading some tactics to the sharing centre. I've only recently started trying to make my own tactics and so far I've failed miserably, so I'd love to see some of your examples.

If you have any questions regarding tactics you might be best creating a new thread with some of your examples and what you feel is going wrong with them, everyone here can help. Downloading tactics I find never help you truly understand what is going wrong with them and why, which is when others talking about it is a much bigger help.

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If you have any questions regarding tactics you might be best creating a new thread with some of your examples and what you feel is going wrong with them, everyone here can help. Downloading tactics I find never help you truly understand what is going wrong with them and why, which is when others talking about it is a much bigger help.

I agree with your post, but also feel this would be sort of an exception to that rule. With a lengthy post such as this where the thoughts behind the tactics are revealed, I think actually seeing some example tactics, would help me better understand it. My intention is not to plug in the tactic and then just spacebar my way to 2030, but to look at the tactics and this post in combination, to better understand what makes tactics good and stable.

Thanks for the advice :)

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This is top top class. Thank you mate.

Can you also give some advices about team instructions?

This was a very interesting read.

I hope you still plan on uploading some tactics to the sharing centre. I've only recently started trying to make my own tactics and so far I've failed miserably, so I'd love to see some of your examples.

I won't be able to give a tactical viewpoint if we are talking about a specific tactic and to make it work in all situations. Foremost, the starting strategy you will use against a certain type of opponent is, for me, the most important thing to get right. Everything else basically boils down to your style of play or what type of settings will compliment your team. Of course, some settings help your defensive structure and other settings compliment your attacking structure - and some is best employed with great teams. It depends on what you want to do and what you want to achieve - and it's best to be realistic when you are assessing your team!

Things like: are you fighting relegation or are you going for the Champion spot --- what strategies will you be using, what type of players do you have?

These questions are pretty relevant when choosing TI's and other settings. For example, you play Direct Passing and you notice that your front man (men) have 15 header attempts and they only win one of them might indicate that you should be attacking differently or you play short passing and some of your players have poor pass completion stats --- things like these kind of shape the settings.

You can do things the other way around and have a philosophy that you want to implement - but then you are going to have to be sharp on the tranfer market to get players that fit the bill...

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These questions are pretty relevant when choosing TI's and other settings. For example, you play Direct Passing and you notice that your front man (men) have 15 header attempts and they only win one of them might indicate that you should be attacking differently or you play short passing and some of your players have poor pass completion stats --- things like these kind of shape the settings.

That stuff implies watching matches in detail and making changes on the fly, while the overall tone of your Insight theory is that it's enough to just set up a tactic (following the "rules" you laid out) and then flip mentalities according to match predictions and your own stature in the league. Quite a bit of difference between the two.

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That stuff implies watching matches in detail and making changes on the fly, while the overall tone of your Insight theory is that it's enough to just set up a tactic (following the "rules" you laid out) and then flip mentalities according to match predictions and your own stature in the league. Quite a bit of difference between the two.

Maybe I was a little vague - but I hope I didn't imply that I change TI every game I play because that is not the case at all. TI's create more of a style of play that I want to implement or compliment the tactic and usually keep the style intact pretty much all the way through - of course, my defensive strategy might have other settings than my attacking strategy, but I am not making a huge restructuring every match and watching games in full...

I tend to look at match stats/player stats after games if things are not working out from time to time to see if I can spot a small problem somewhere - which gives a lot better picture than watching games in full...

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Maybe I was a little vague - but I hope I didn't imply that I change TI every game I play because that is not the case at all. TI's create more of a style of play that I want to implement or compliment the tactic and usually keep the style intact pretty much all the way through - of course, my defensive strategy might have other settings than my attacking strategy, but I am not making a huge restructuring every match and watching games in full...

I tend to look at match stats/player stats after games if things are not working out from time to time to see if I can spot a small problem somewhere - which gives a lot better picture than watching games in full...

Ah, that's more in line with what you were saying in the opening posts. :)

I'm not saying that actually watching matches and making changes is bad, quite the contrary. We've seen some amazing stuff by people who actually do that. However, some people don't want to do that still, and you seem to be offering the alternative; tactical sets from which a user can pick the most suitable for that match and just plug it in without any changes. The process then repeats for the next games.

Have I got that right? If so, when do you plan to release your tactical sets? I remember seeing them and reading about them a few years ago when we still had sliders. FM 12 maybe it was, not sure. :)

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I won't be able to give a tactical viewpoint if we are talking about a specific tactic and to make it work in all situations. Foremost, the starting strategy you will use against a certain type of opponent is, for me, the most important thing to get right. Everything else basically boils down to your style of play or what type of settings will compliment your team. Of course, some settings help your defensive structure and other settings compliment your attacking structure - and some is best employed with great teams. It depends on what you want to do and what you want to achieve - and it's best to be realistic when you are assessing your team!

Things like: are you fighting relegation or are you going for the Champion spot --- what strategies will you be using, what type of players do you have?

These questions are pretty relevant when choosing TI's and other settings. For example, you play Direct Passing and you notice that your front man (men) have 15 header attempts and they only win one of them might indicate that you should be attacking differently or you play short passing and some of your players have poor pass completion stats --- things like these kind of shape the settings.

You can do things the other way around and have a philosophy that you want to implement - but then you are going to have to be sharp on the tranfer market to get players that fit the bill...

No, exactly the contrary to this specific post, I would like to read your general thoughts about some TI s, lets say the most common ones you use.

Im really enjoying this thread because it is s real GUIDE, and not a specific tactics introduction. Ive been playin this game for ages, had some great careers but I must say my whole insight has changed.

To cut things short on my side and not type a huge post, you might tell us a bit about the TI s you often use in your different platforms (attack-counter-standard), which I am really curious about.

Once again, this is great work and thanks for your time.

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Okay, I thought I would give this a go as I have enjoyed thoughts from LL in the past.

Background:Using my own tactics in a career save (the only one I have played so far in FM 16) I have so far managed to win back-to-back promotions with Sheffield United before going on to Ajax where we also won two league titles and the Dutch cup. I then joined Liverpool and have won two Premier league titles, got to the final of the Euro cup where we lost in the final and we also won the capital cup in 2021. Therefore, I would consider my current Liverpool side as a masterclass team in terms of strategy.

Therefore, I have set up three formations and according to this thread as follows;

Attacking 4-2-3-1

GD (d) FB (a) CD (d) CD (d) FB (a) CM (auto) BWM (d) W (a) AM (s) W (a) DLF (s)

The defence has the two central defenders closing down less and tight marking. The two fullbacks are instructed to get further forward, dribble more and cross from the byline (I could not find a way of instructing them to overlap and assume this just happens in the mentality)

Control

Same formation as above. However, fullbacks are now on automatic duty and do not have instructions to get further forward, dribble more or cross from the byline. They have no instructions other than what is embedded in the automatic rule for the control mentality. Central defenders are set up the same way.

Counter 4-4-1

GD (d) FB (auto) CD (d) CD (d) FB (auto) CM (auto) BWM (d) W (s) AM (s) W (s) DLF (s)

Formation now has a flat four in the middle. Therefore, the wingers are instructed to get forward. The central defenders are set up the same way as the other two strategies. As the wingers have been pushed back to give more defensive structure I have instructed the attacking midfielder to move into channels and roam from position.The fullbacks are again on automatic duty with no further instructions.

All of the three strategies use a very fluid team shape as the ball winning midfielder is the only specialised role.

None of the strategies have team instructions as I add them as and when necessary. The ones I use the most are retain possession, increase closing down or work ball into the box instead of retain possession. If there is space out on the wings I sometimes go to play wider or exploit the flanks.

Anyway, as I have enjoyed your stuff in the past I will give these a go and any observations on my setup would be gratefully received based on your detailed thoughts in your thread.

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To cut things short on my side and not type a huge post, you might tell us a bit about the TI s you often use in your different platforms (attack-counter-standard), which I am really curious about.

Just some of the standard TI's I use:

Contain - Narrow, Deeper D-Line, Tight Marking, Exploit the Middle, More Disciplined

Defensive - Fairly Narrow, Tight Marking, Exploit the Middle, More Disciplined

Counter - Tight Marking, Pass Into Space

Standard - Tight Marking

Control - Look For Overlap

Attack - Higher D-Line, Close Down Much More, Wide, Play out of Defense, Look for Overlap, More Creative, Higher Tempo

Overload - Go Route One, Pump Ball into Box, Fairly Wide, Higher Tempo

Passing/formation/team quality will effect a few things like Play out of Defense, Creative/Discipline, Retain Possession and Roaming instructions in some of the Strategies... In the Defensive Strategy I might add Pass into Space if I have wide men and playing direct - for example or - Formations without wide men = Exploit Middle >>> just to name a few of the things I might take into consideration when using TI's.

As loisvale said above, he has a base and works from there and it depends on what your plan is along the way...

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Okay, I thought I would give this a go as I have enjoyed thoughts from LL in the past.

Background:Using my own tactics in a career save (the only one I have played so far in FM 16) I have so far managed to win back-to-back promotions with Sheffield United before going on to Ajax where we also won two league titles and the Dutch cup. I then joined Liverpool and have won two Premier league titles, got to the final of the Euro cup where we lost in the final and we also won the capital cup in 2021. Therefore, I would consider my current Liverpool side as a masterclass team in terms of strategy.

Therefore, I have set up three formations and according to this thread as follows;

Attacking 4-2-3-1

GD (d) FB (a) CD (d) CD (d) FB (a) CM (auto) BWM (d) W (a) AM (s) W (a) DLF (s)

The defence has the two central defenders closing down less and tight marking. The two fullbacks are instructed to get further forward, dribble more and cross from the byline (I could not find a way of instructing them to overlap and assume this just happens in the mentality)

Control

Same formation as above. However, fullbacks are now on automatic duty and do not have instructions to get further forward, dribble more or cross from the byline. They have no instructions other than what is embedded in the automatic rule for the control mentality. Central defenders are set up the same way.

Counter 4-4-1

GD (d) FB (auto) CD (d) CD (d) FB (auto) CM (auto) BWM (d) W (s) AM (s) W (s) DLF (s)

Formation now has a flat four in the middle. Therefore, the wingers are instructed to get forward. The central defenders are set up the same way as the other two strategies. As the wingers have been pushed back to give more defensive structure I have instructed the attacking midfielder to move into channels and roam from position.The fullbacks are again on automatic duty with no further instructions.

All of the three strategies use a very fluid team shape as the ball winning midfielder is the only specialised role.

None of the strategies have team instructions as I add them as and when necessary. The ones I use the most are retain possession, increase closing down or work ball into the box instead of retain possession. If there is space out on the wings I sometimes go to play wider or exploit the flanks.

Anyway, as I have enjoyed your stuff in the past I will give these a go and any observations on my setup would be gratefully received based on your detailed thoughts in your thread.

Pretty close to how I would do it in your situation. In Team Instructions you have the 'Look for Overlap' in the Attack section

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Pretty close to how I would do it in your situation. In Team Instructions you have the 'Look for Overlap' in the Attack section

Great post Loversleaper. Really appreciate your hard work. I just have a question with regards to the playing with a Target Man and Attacking Midfielder Support Combo. With the Target Man in Support will he still get in the box and score goals. I am playing with Atsenal and my central midfield pair consist of a Central Misfield Sefend and Deep Lying Playmaker Support. I remember reading another thread that explained, if you played with a Target Man then all the team will do is look for the Target Man and bypass the midfield. You also mentioned that it is best to play with Wingers when you have a player in the AMC position. Because the aim of a winger is get to get balls into the box. I am concerned that the team will not score enough goals. Could you offer me some advice in this area please.

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Great post Loversleaper. Really appreciate your hard work. I just have a question with regards to the playing with a Target Man and Attacking Midfielder Support Combo. With the Target Man in Support will he still get in the box and score goals. I am playing with Atsenal and my central midfield pair consist of a Central Misfield Sefend and Deep Lying Playmaker Support. I remember reading another thread that explained, if you played with a Target Man then all the team will do is look for the Target Man and bypass the midfield. You also mentioned that it is best to play with Wingers when you have a player in the AMC position. Because the aim of a winger is get to get balls into the box. I am concerned that the team will not score enough goals. Could you offer me some advice in this area please.

The Target Man usually gets onto the end of crosses/passes with movement - it's only when he has the ball under control that the Dribble Less and Hold Ball makes them become more stagnant. That's why it is important that he has support, an Attacking Midfielder that moves around should be sufficient - but since you are Arsenal, you have plenty of players that can play out wide as well, so it shouldn't be a problem having players that support him relatively quickly.

In your more attacking strategies a Target Man with AMR/L Wingers and a normal Attacking Mid role should be enough to get quite a few goals. If you want your wingers further back (in the MR/L slot) then maybe switch the Target Man role to Complete Forward (Giroud can play both roles easily) if you feel that you are not getting enough goals.

I haven't tried Arsenal myself, but just looking at the squad gives the impression that you shouldn't have problems creating a very good attacking structure...

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I really think the concept of philosophy makes it difficult to emulate certain modern styles from the fact that Creative Freedom and compactness are still tied together. This means it is problematic when trying to assign philosophies to real-life styles as you have in section 8.

Let's take Juego de Posicion, a concept quite popular in Spain and the Netherlands (http://spielverlagerung.com/2014/11/26/juego-de-posicion-a-short-explanation/). Initially, the creative freedom you would think to assign to emulate this would be Highly Structured right? But there is no way to get the sort of movements required in this philosophy to work using such a mentality as the low CF prevents players from making any such movements in the first place. Therefore you need to start from a much more Fluid system than you would like.

Another area I find problematic is the concept of "compactness" (http://spielverlagerung.com/2015/05/08/tactical-theory-compactness/). The only way to achieve this is to set a more Fluid philosophy even though you may not necessarily want high CF. I do understand why CF is tied to vertical compactness and mentality but it does make it difficult to emulate certain styles directly. You almost have to implement a totally different system that works in a completely different way but somewhat behaves like the one you want. I apologise if this is not coming across well as it's a difficult concept to try and explain.

Really what I'm trying to say is that I feel it's much more difficult to emulate a certain style of football than how you have done it in section 8. My intention isn't to take away from the rest of your post but to try and create some discussion around philosophy and how to successfully emulate certain styles with it.

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You do? Why?

Why do I understand it or why is this the case?

If you want to know why this is, you need to know how they originated. The philosophies are based on the Tactical Theorems and Frameworks:

http://fmsweden.se/upload/filer/tactical_theorems_and_frameworks__09.pdf

Up until this years edition the way mentalities and philosophies interacted was different. If you look at the PDF you can see what mentalities each player has in each strata. The CFs and mentalities are linked in a way to give context to the managerial type they were based on. For example Very Fluid is based on Global Mentality, with everyone on the same mentality (11) but with high CF to emulate the style described. Now in this years version the philosophies have increasingly compact vertical length as you go up in Fluidity. I don't know the official reason behind this but I imagine it was done to make things easier. Not only that but as mentalities become closer together, you tend to require higher CF for attacking action to take place, particularly on more defensive systems. If everyone has a low mentality for example, attacks would be few and far between as everyone wants to play low risk football. This is because you can't dictate the movements of players as in Juego de Posicion, you can only rely on their creativity to break away from their set mentality to attack.

This means more Fluid structures tend towards Collectivist systems, while more Structured systems tend toward Individualist systems. For example, take this analysis on Crystal Palace: http://spielverlagerung.com/2015/10/25/crystal-palace-analysis-overachieving-with-individuality-and-wing-focus/

If you want to play with Individual focus like this, you need to give space to your most potent attackers. You want them to do most of the heavy lifting, and you don't want your less creative players to have any CF. This is why if you wanted to emulate this team you might opt for a Highly Structured approach.

My concern is the other spectrum - that collectivist systems don't necessarily need to have high CF if you can dictate and model player movement better in real life. But as you can't do so, if you try and emulate certain football systems from their descriptions (as people commonly do when trying to translate a tactic from real life to in-game), then you will find it hard to succeed in some cases.

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I know where it originated from - not that it particularly agreed with or understood the link with mentality framework and CF in the past. I thought you understood why they're linked now, ie whether it has some real-life basis to keep it existing.

Besides, very rigid/structured always has been more compact than rigid/structured and balanced/flexible with a striker on attack duty, while it was on a par with fluid. The whole thing never even used to be consistent.

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Really what I'm trying to say is that I feel it's much more difficult to emulate a certain style of football than how you have done it in section 8. My intention isn't to take away from the rest of your post but to try and create some discussion around philosophy and how to successfully emulate certain styles with it.

I have, of course, read through your two posts and wanted to say thanks for putting in your thoughts with some detailed explanations and viewpoints.

Overall I think the overall case is that there are not enough 'sequences' (or patterns) of play encoded into the game to cover the vast areas that the tactical side of the game can have. But I have been close to some of the styles of play, like possession types of football, being more structurally sound or being more result orientated. It's going to be hard to make it exactly like real life - sometimes it's even hard in real life ;) - but I think I will be able to show some of the styles of play that you mentioned along the way.

But foremost right now - I would really like to see that we do get some more patterns of play than we see currently because I feel that it kind of looks too repetitive at times which overshadows the other elements in the game. Movement of the players (at times) seem to defy logic...

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I just wanted to say a quick thank you for the thoughts you have laid down in this thread. I have been applying your thoughts to the formations I listed earlier with great success. As I said in the previous post it is the way I have always played the game i.e. moving through the mentalities and shaping the formations, roles and instructions to suit. What you have outlined here helped to firm up some of these thoughts and give me some more ideas/rules to work with. My Liverpool side is going from strength to strength based around these thoughts.One of the things I have always liked about this approach is that it tends to be patch proof and you don't need to keep tinkering following patches like you might have to do with a plug and play tactic. However, I have always understood there are many different ways to play and enjoy the game.You should think about posting these thoughts on FM base where I'm sure this work will be appreciated as well.

Many thanks - great work and much appreciated.

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This has really got me thinking about tactics now and this will be the first time I have done a tactics set myself.

My only question for now is what sort of styles (Short passing / gengenpressing / direct / slow tempo / quick tempos) and team instructions work well with which strategies?

If fact to improve this guide even more maybe a section on how to and when you shopuld implement a certain style of football. Also one that explains TI's and a guide to using them and when to not use them would be amazing.

Its definitely the best guide I have read so far and these would complete it for me.

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Part 6, Section 1: Building the Team Shape with Roles

After reading wwfans '12 Step Guide', I took in his viewpoint regarding the 'Specialized Roles' and have adopted the theory into my tactical outlook. It is, of course, all up for debate.

One thing that kind of stands out is that in Very Fluid, mentalities tend to look more closer together throughout the team in the ME - where on the other hand, Very Structured seems to spread them more out maybe to give more room for those players that behave differently than the more conventional (normal) 'roles'. Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine...

I like the theory because it's quite fun to utilize and it gives me sort of a set rule to kind of follow (especially if I have trouble deciding on what's best). We might not look at it exactly the same, but I am following wwfans mind-set on the matter pretty closely, none the less.

Normal Roles:

Goal Keeper

Center + Limited Center Back

Full Back + Limited Full Back

Wing Back

Half Back

Defensive Midfielder

Center Midfielder

Attacking Midfielder

Wingers + Inside Forwards

Deep Lying Forward + Advanced Forward

Specialized Roles:

Sweeper Keeper

Ball Playing Defender

Complete Wing Back

Anchor Man

Regista

Ball Winning Midfielder

Roaming + Deep Lying + Advanced + Wide Play Maker

Box to Box Midfielder

Enganch

Trequartista

Shaddow Striker

Ramdueter

False 9

Target Man

Complete Forward

Poacher

Defensive Forward

Team Shape:

0 to 1 Specialized Roles: Very Fluid

2 Specialized Roles: Fluid

3 Specialized Roles: Flexible

4 Specialized Roles: Structured

5 Specialized Roles: Very Structured

*Specialized Roles should be used by more or less exceptional players for your league to make full use of them. It is a lot more easy to use Very Fluid with Nomal Roles because I can replace those players more easily if I have injuries and suspentions or lack of depth in those positions. It is a lot harder to play Very Structured if I do not have enough squad depth to cover those areas.

This is something i'm looking for a while. Although it still not clear yet because i see cleon use 4 specialized roles in flexible shapes and still get success but i will give it a go. Thanks a lot for sharing, dude :D

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The Club

Always a good way to start simple is to choose a Lower League team where there won't be much difference in quality between the teams and here is where I normally make the 'base' or 'core' of the tactical settings.

In this save I have chosen Boston United in the Vanarama NL North in England.

Media Prediction 9th

With training simply started out with High Fitness training and Tactic Match Prep until the 4th August. After that switched to High Balanced and Attacking Movement Match Prep. Regarding the Match Prep during the season - I did follow the coaching staff advice on which one to use before every match.

The Manager

I started out with the lowest coaching badge and as a Sunday League Player reputation:

5eHy0oz.jpg

And a view of My Profile page:

yVHbKxF.jpg

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The Tactics

I have, of course, been using the theories of how I use tactics/strategies mentioned in this thread. The three tactics/strategies I have chosen to 'familiarize' my team with are Control - Standard - Defensive. All in all, I have kept the settings with in them really, really simple.

At Home: as favorite or slight underdog, I played Control - and as large underdog I played Standard (which was really rare).

At Away: as underdog I always went with Defensive - as slight favorite I used Standard - and as a very large favorite I use Control

In the beginning of the game, I tend to struggle for several reasons: new manager, have to get my team gelled and coherent with the tactics. Usually the opponents will come at my team playing more aggressive tactics because I am an 'unknown' so, of course, for the first part I am playing Defensively away from home and Standard at home if I find myself as a large underdog. If and when my result form starts to get good and the AI no longer sees itself as a favorite against my team, they will start playing a lot more cautiously to try to frustrate my team and avoid defeat. When the AI does this, I mostely will just be playing Control for most of the matches. If I were in the top leagues, Control might not be enough at home to defeat the really stubborn/defensive AI opponents and this is where I would be playing Attack at home and maybe Counter Attack away in the tricky fixtures. In the lower leagues I tend to stay away from Attack and Counter because, first of all, I don't feel it's necessary and second, I find that my teams don't always handle the settings these strategies have.

With roles I keep things really simple and stay away from the more 'advanced' roles (especially the ones that 'roam from positions') and think it is wise to have the Team Setting: Stick to Positions. If I have players with 'roaming', then it is not a good idea to have that with Stick to Position. So, here in the lower leagues I find it better just to have the players instructed with simple tasks and kept the team in Shape as best possible.

CONTROL

I have the keeper Roll out to Center Backs - I have the Center Backs Tight Marking and Closing Down Less

guEyCeb.jpg

STANDARD

I have the Center Backs Tight Marking and Closing Down Less

1ZCFuW6.jpg

DEFENSIVE

I have the Goal Keeper taking Long Kicks - the Center Backs with Tight Marking - and the Wingers Getting Forward

aIJnNcS.jpg

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The Fixtures and League Table

I suffered two really bizarre home game defeats at the beginning of the season where my team made a crazy own goal to lose the match in each of those games. I dominated them entirely, though, indicating that the tactics are good - but due to the 'familiarity'/'gelling' aspect, I expect that can happen, especially in the beginning. I did go on a 12 match undefeated run in the league at one point and hopefully will carry on this form in the second half of the season.

caYAnKN.jpg

z8a9ZTw.jpg

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The Save Game Aspect

I created the game Wednesday evening where I think I used around 6 hours to look for players and staff and generally set up the team as best I could. I played all games on 'Comprehensive' but I could have gone down to Key Highlights after a few games and saved time. So, last night I managed to find time to play a full 9 hours without saving stretching from the 4th August all the way to the last game of the year on 28th December where I saved again.

27VwnRY.jpg

Last Note

If any one has a good site I can upload this save (I have separated them into Part1 = 4th August - and Part2 = 28th December) then I will happily do so. Then you can take a thorough look into all details in the game and/or try them yourself :)

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Final Analysis

With a rookie Manager and a very young squad, I think I did pretty well. In the secondhalf of the season I took a risk and ditched my normal captain and central defender for a young promising center back. It probably wasn't the best decision but luckily it worked out in the end.

P4IRpU5.jpg

My front three did incredibly well and formed a sort of lower league MSN (Messi Suarez Neymar) and they combined scored a total of 77 goals. At times we actually did really play some good football and the match commentary was mostly very good.

KMZYNXa.jpg

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