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San marino youth challenge in depth tactical help, Help!

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Soooo.... I'm running a sm youth challenge save. Im about 5 seasons in and i've developed the club from perennial relegation battlers to mid table/ top halfers. The youth I've developed have come good in a big way but there are problems...this mainly stems from my hoyd who is great (always bringing through spirited, resolute, proffessional prospects) but hates strikers. I only have 2 strikers: a deep lying forward and a poacher.

Now the problem: the problem is that my poacher (18yrs old) has a much higher pa than my deep lying forward so i have to develop him to pursue the dream of serie b footballl. He can score (18apps, 9gls, 3ass), but i can't develop a system using a lone poacher. Overall my players suit a 4231, this might be the famed "dna" of the club, but the system works better with the dlf than a poacher. I have strong cm, ams, and wingers (amr/aml) and i am retraining a cb to dm to give me more options tactically.

I feel like this team could push for the playoffs. We frequently go on long runs with lots of wins draws against upper and lower opposition but we seem to get figured out. What follows is a long period of losses, tactical changes, and general bs (losing games despite more chances, shots, possession etc).

What i need is advice on poacher formations. How to structure my midfield to bring the best from a poacher. Can I play a 41231 effectively without a striker dropping deep to allow overlap? should i go two up front (i've never been able to make a 442 in fm work) and also is it possible to develop a system that won't get found out after ten matches/ or how to tweak a formation.

anyway any help is much appreciated I can post screen shots etc or whatever you need to help me with this conundrum. also if there are any threads that can help please link them to me here.

CHeers! Liam Hoskini (san marino manager)

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If you lack strikers you could retrain some of your midfielders into strikers if they suit the way you want your striker to play

What is your tactic/ formation and roles then we could work out what the best type of striker you need

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hey, thanks for the quick response

My shape is a 4231 (I don't have any natural dm's or natural lm/rm). I have thought about retraining players but I noticed a lot of the time it prevents the player from reaching their true potential...dropping from quality/ key players to useful/ decent most of the time. As I'm only using players from the youth academy i need them to develop properly.

my roles are:

gk: sweeper keeper

full backs: support or defend depending on opposition


cm defend

cm defend

Ifr att

ifl support



I close down alot aand run standard/ control, at the moment i use a structured shape though I want to change it to flexible after reading Cleons post.

This i a new tactic i developed and I've picked up 4 wins and 2 draws in the first six games but I the draws have been back to back and i can feel a seachange coming.

I like the enganche role as he holds the ball up which seems to bring the best from the poacher

anyway thats the set up. any advice much appreciated

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You might want to have a look at this thread for some general advice.


I'm actually doing the very same thing as you, (Youth challenge with San Marino), and I'm a little ahead of you in 2027.


What I would say is that it is a real marathon and not a sprint and I generally try to judge a tactic over a longer period that 6 or so matches.

First of all I would say that I have absolutely zero/zilch/nada experience with an enganche, and as such I'm finding it a little hard to look at your tactic and work out how it works. (My initial reaction is you have your DC's defending and your MC's defending and sometimes also your full-backs on defending, (depending on who you are playing), and that's a lot of defensive duties, (especially in a structured shape).

Please don't take this as gospel though because I am far from an expert.

What I found was that I struggled to produce players in certain positions early in the save and it really left me weak as a result. In your tactic, just about everything seems to come through your Enganche. This is a player who is the creative influence, but when I read the info on him, there is something very specific that jumps out at me......

The Enganche is the side prime creator. A hook that joins midfield and attack and operates behind the strikers and a playmaker who sticks to his position and becomes a pivot to his team as they move around him. Unlike the Treq, it is a more stationary role as the Enganche acts as the focal point instead of moving around into larger areas of space.

strikers plural. It doesn't say striker or strikers. It specifically says strikers. Does that suggest that it might me a role that is more suited to playing with 2 strikers? Maybe your 2x IF's count as strikers, (but maybe not).

The next thing that jumps out at me is a bit of guess-work on my part, (so could well be wrong), but you mention that you are playing with a SK and you also mention that you...

close down alot

...and this suggests a relatively high line at least, (benefiting both the SK and closing down the opposition). The problem is that it also restricts the space that your sides prime creator will have available to him. If you weren't playing with a high line and things were more stretched then it would seem to fit better, but like I said I have never used and Enganche so what do I know.

Something that I have just thought of though is that rather than the AI, "sussing you out" or however you described it, what is potentially happening is that they are just looking at how you play and thinking, "better close that bloke down and maybe mark him tightly because everything seems to go through him", (if you imagine the tables were turned then that's exactly what you would do), and it obviously reduces the effectiveness of the player in the Enganche role, (and thus the team as a whole).

If I take it a step further, where is the movement going on around this "stationary pivot". Both the central players behind him are on defensive duties. Sometimes the full-backs are also on defensive duties. The IF are on support/attack so there is some.....linking options there, and then we have the poacher who isn't really interested in being part of the build-up. He just wants to make the run, get the ball, stick it in the net and take the adulation.

To my mind, the Enganche needs options about him in order for him to make the most of his role, (and I assume ability), but what you are doing, (this reads really poorly but please understand I am not having a pop and honestly trying to offer constructive criticism), is limiting the space he has to work in, (high defensive line), and then also limiting the options that he has in front of him, (poacher looking to run in behind and 2x IF's).

Just playing devil's advocate for a second here, but what if you gave him more options on the pitch in which to pass to? What if you spread the areas that the opposition had to worry about?

You seem sold on the idea of a poacher, (not a problem), but you have the poacher running in behind centrally looking to score and you have both your wide players attacking a similar area, (albeit from a different starting point). All 3 players are looking to attack central areas and what do you have out wide now......? Defensive full-backs on occasion. Do you have other midfielders with the freedom to roam and exploit these spacious areas? No. You have 2x defensive duties midfielders who will be content to "sit deep"

If I was trying to use and Enganche, (and I'm sure you will get better advice than this and I'm only offering it because of the way you are playing and where), I would try to have at least 1 player who stays wide in an attacking position, (could be a full back, a winger or even a wide playmaker or Target Man depending on your preference), but I would also be looking for at least 1 of the sitting midfielders to be given a role and duty that allowed them to get beyond the Enganche and give the opposition something to think about.

The other option of course is that you go the whole hog and dispense with one of your sitters and play a 2nd player up front who is going to stretch the defence back this way and create gaps for the IF's and P to get into.

Anyway, good luck and feel free to take this whole post with a large pinch of salt.

I'm in 2027 and am still in Serie B so I can't be that good can I? :lol:

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Your tactical system never gets found out or sussed out by the AI managers. Ever.

What tends to happen is if you go on a decent run of success, the AI recognises that and will start to tighten up against you. It'll play more defensively against you, and so try to hit you with more counter attacks. Because the AI has tightened up the space that your own tactic was perhaps exploiting to enjoy your success, that space is no longer there and your goals dry up. Worse, because you are still trying to attack in the same manner, the AI simply sits back, soaks up the pressure and hits you on the break.

Hence, what you term as being "general bs (losing games despite more chances, shots, possession etc)" isn't anything of the sort. Of course you get more chances, you haven't changed - but the opposition have and will quite happily score the odd goal from hardly any chances and win. The opposition has adapted, so you need to adapt accordingly.

In terms of using an Enganche, it's best not to guess about what it does. Read through this article (it was also posted on these forums) https://sisportscentre.com/meet-the-enganches/.

Like any playmaker in the AMC position, the player needs space to play in. He'll find it himself (an Enganche isn't as static as the in game description makes him out be), but he'll also benefit from his team helping to create space for him. Inside Forwards and Poachers are not necessarily the best players at creating space.

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