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Welsh Wizard

FM16: AFC Ajax - de Godenzonen

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Thank you for your quick response. Do you achieve that said cover with some tweaks or you rely only on the default instructions?

Yes, there appears to be a mechanism in the match engine which makes players in the MR or ML position drop deeper in the absence of fullbacks. The holding midfielder also drops back if anyone is out of place. It's a very fluid shape, I regularly see a back 5 formed.

Here's a shot to show that we're not conceding too many and in fact, more via through ball than cross.

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2018/19 End of Season Update

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Not too much to say here. We continued the second half of the season where we left off the first. Finishing unbeaten was a satisfying achievement.

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Retaining the Champions League was the major achievement of the season. The final against Juventus was a fitting finale, as I have mentioned a few times they are now one of the strongest sides in Europe.

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Interestingly, the final was back 3 vs back 3. Juventus are a strong, experienced team with a lethal counter attack. They were largely set up to sit deeper, whilst we would press aggressively. We had the best of possession, and could possibly have scored a couple more. Odegaard topped off a fantastic season with a Man of the Match performance and is now up there with anyone else in Europe.

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Barcelona and Real Madrid both look like frail imitations of their former selves. Both have made poor managerial choices and are continuing to play older stars. The real threats are Bayern, Juve and the English clubs.

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Thank you. I am really enjoying it. Probably my most enjoyable save of the year.

Yes, I can appreciate a no-signing policy will make things difficult. I have made signings but reasonably few and I think they keep with the typical Ajax approach very well. The major issue with no signings is going to be the lack of tutors and, for me, tutoring is one of the most important aspects of developing a youngster.

What's your youth intake typically like? In comparison to other teams I have managed, I notice a much higher level. Most are going on to become decent Eredivise players with 1-2 potential stars which I then supplement by scouting and poaching other youth teams, particularly Africa. The challenge is that <10% have desirable personalities so I am tutoring extensively. Cech, Veltman, Kallstrom, Drogba, Olic, Klaassen and van Ginkel have all had major influences on the squad. My assigned tutors are almost constantly tutoring which means the strong personalities are spreading through the squad. It feels like an Alex Ferguson team where we "are never beaten, sometimes we run out of time". :D

The Eredivise is certainly a younger league. I think my average age is a little higher as I have actively tried to sign experience whilst I wait for my own players to develop.

At the moment, 6 out of my first XI have come through the academy. Next season that'll be 7 with my first regen starting.

You can check my thread in Career Updates forum. I'm now in 2018 and just uploaded my squad. Also there are overviews about each season youth update.

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Nice, I'll check it out!

Interesting summer for me, leading into the 2019/20 season.

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The major news is that Zivkovic was subject to a big bid from Real Madrid and wanted to leave, so I cashed in. The #56m listed there doesn't include all the clauses, I believe the full total was #70m+.

Ake also made way for Van Leeuwen with Ayew joining as backup on a free transfer. Nwakali was slightly odd business from me. I'd scouted him for the first few seasons and he looked good but Man City never let me near him. When he came up for free I snapped him up, but by the time he arrived his stats had plummeted so he's gone straight out on loan to try to recover.

With the rest of the team stable, happy and on nice long contracts, replacing Zivkovic was the main order of business. After scouting far and wide I did come up with a few options such as Dybala and Gabigol at Juventus but I didn't feel that a big money signing was inkeeping with the Ajax philosophy so I opted to give Kuijpers and Patrascu. The opportunity.

Zivkovic managed 30+ league goals last season and lead the scoring charts across all competitions so some big boots to fill. Kuijpers and Patrascu are very different players, which gives me options. Kuijpers is more of a False 9 - very technical, intelligent and creative. Patrascu is one of the best out-and-out finishers in Europe, but offers nowhere near as much to the overall game.

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Kuijpers starts as first choice. Only slight concern is that I run the risk of getting a bit "tippy-tappy" here. We have lots of attacking midfielders and no finisher (replacing a world class player with two free transfers and overloading with attacking midfielders - sound familiar? :D). I am hoping to dominate games and create so many chances goals spread across the squad a bit more. If we can't score, Patrascu can be my super-sub.

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The rest of the squad is also quickly gaining experience. Almost all are established internationals and soon to be able to start tutoring. Actually facing a dilemma as I could sell most of these for big $$$ and do have youngsters to replace them. If I sell, I don't have tutors enough tutors for future generations. If I hold on, I don't have space in the first team squad for enough youngsters..

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This is the result. I am Chelsea. It's not the end of the world, but it means their game time and training is out of my control. Players like Hoogland, Baric, de Vries and Kayode really deserve a shot.

Nice Champions League group. Atleti aren't the force they once were. Simeone was a real driving force in that team and now he's at Bayern. I'll take that.

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Finally..

My contract is up at the end of the season - I am going to see how this season goes but I am starting to feel like a new challenge. We have zero competition in the Eredivise and with the players coming through, that's just going to get worse and worse. Barcelona, Real and Atletico are all struggling - rebuilding could be fun, or it could be a good time for a new club to challenge? The money in the EPL has created new super clubs who haven't quite made it in Europe. Bayern and Juve have great squads which could be fun for a year or two, or another side from Italy / Germany to challenge their dominance?

Look at the venue for the Champions League final as we go for 3 in a row.. who says romance in football is dead ;)

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The 2020 season finished with one of the best moments of my FM career..

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Bashing PSG with a side made primarily from home-grown talent for a fraction of their budget.

My contract expired at the end of the following month and I decided not to renew. After such an epic run in the Champions League, I felt it is time for a new challenge. I'm keeping tabs on where the stars of this Ajax side end up as I'd love to reunite with some of them in a more challenging league.

Looking seriously at England, Spain and Germany. No vacancies right now but I will be keeping close tabs.

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This is how my team looked by the end of the season. If anyone's interested in the tactical side, I've opened a discussion in the tactics forum and your insights would be very welcome - Johan Cruyff's 3-4-3 Diamond (Very Fluid).

Enjoy your games.

Adios!

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The Tactics

Classic Dutch 4-3-3. Very fluid shape and very intense pressing. Worked very well.

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I'm interested to know what TIs and PIs you used for this tactic. Would you care to share? I'm guessing....Higher D-line + Close Down Much More + Be More Expressive + Play Out Of Defense + Prevent Short GK Distribution.....Am I close?

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I'm interested to know what TIs and PIs you used for this tactic. Would you care to share? I'm guessing....Higher D-line + Close Down Much More + Be More Expressive + Play Out Of Defense + Prevent Short GK Distribution.....Am I close?

I believe you're actually spot on correct!

There are a couple of PIs. Striker moving into channels. Wider CMs given appropriate PIs based on their ability. GK is quick distribution to the playmaker.

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I believe you're actually spot on correct!

There are a couple of PIs. Striker moving into channels. Wider CMs given appropriate PIs based on their ability. GK is quick distribution to the playmaker.

Ha, really?! Man, I'm good...:D I wasn't sure between Be More Expressive and Pass Into Space. I was just using association from the TIs you posted for your other tactic (3-5-1-1).

I'm starting an Ajax save using a similar 4-3-3 as it is also my preferred system. I have both IFs on Support but one has Get Forward PI. My WBs are also on Support...for now.:) My CMs are split similarly to yours - one is more aggressive (get forward, dribble more, riskier passes), the other is more restrained and possession oriented (shorter passing, dribble less, shoot less). The DLP also has Shorter Passing. The CF has no PIs for now as I prefer him to stay more central rather than move into the channels, especially since I have one of the IFs getting forward more.

At some point though I will go for Cruyff's 3-4-3 diamond interpretation myself. However I think I will try something like this:

________SK-S___________

__CB-D__BPD-D__CD-D___

________HB-D___________

W-A__CM-S__DLP-S__WM-A

_________AM-A__________

_________CF-S__________

And see how it goes.

p.s. I meant to ask you...can you please explain why aren't you using a Sweeper Keeper since you have very high D-line? Also have you experimented with using Offside Trap?

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I use a Sweeper Keeper because of the high defensive line. There is so much space behind our defence it's helpful to have him slightly more aggressive. It's also useful in possession. For example, if one centre back is under pressure and in trouble he can pass the ball back to the keeper who can re-distribute to the other flank & disaster averted.

Be careful with the half-back. Personally, I don't like that role. He'll drop deep - in my opinion, deeper than is necessary as he takes himself out of the game - and you'll lose your diamond.

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Ha, really?! Man, I'm good...:D I wasn't sure between Be More Expressive and Pass Into Space. I was just using association from the TIs you posted for your other tactic (3-5-1-1).

I'm starting an Ajax save using a similar 4-3-3 as it is also my preferred system. I have both IFs on Support but one has Get Forward PI. My WBs are also on Support...for now.:) My CMs are split similarly to yours - one is more aggressive (get forward, dribble more, riskier passes), the other is more restrained and possession oriented (shorter passing, dribble less, shoot less). The DLP also has Shorter Passing. The CF has no PIs for now as I prefer him to stay more central rather than move into the channels, especially since I have one of the IFs getting forward more.

At some point though I will go for Cruyff's 3-4-3 diamond interpretation myself. However I think I will try something like this:

________SK-S___________

__CB-D__BPD-D__CD-D___

________HB-D___________

W-A__CM-S__DLP-S__WM-A

_________AM-A__________

_________CF-S__________

And see how it goes.

p.s. I meant to ask you...can you please explain why aren't you using a Sweeper Keeper since you have very high D-line? Also have you experimented with using Offside Trap?

I'm interested on your thoughts behind the IF(S) PI 'Get Forward More' I currently am using an IF(A) but not happy with the support he offers defensively. I suppose they will both act the same with that extra PI but the IF(S) will help defending, correct?

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I'm interested on your thoughts behind the IF(S) PI 'Get Forward More' I currently am using an IF(A) but not happy with the support he offers defensively. I suppose they will both act the same with that extra PI but the IF(S) will help defending, correct?

They won't act the same. On Support duty he will start deeper and then get forward, while on Attack the player will be higher up the field to begin with. Another difference is decision making on the ball. But you are correct about the defensive side of things - with Support duty the player will help more.

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7-1 extra time victory over the United States? 1-1 after 90, 7-1 after extra time? That's falling apart for you.

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Followed the topic closely, so here's my journey with Ajax so far :)

Took over in 2016-2017 after a season in the English Lower Leagues, adopted a possession based tactic but despite dominating possession, we didn't do much else! Turned to Ö-zil to the Arsenal's tactics and thinking around his 3-6-1 and adopted much of it with my Ajax team.

We dominated the League, going unbeaten last season with a 31-3-0 record, scoring over 100 goals on the way.

Sold most of the original players, all got unhappy for various reasons and despite placating them for a few months, they'd start up again when Transfer Window came around!

Finally won the European Cup in the 2022-2023 season thanks to good victories against Barcelona (QF), Spurs (SF) and Monaco (F) using this

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Same TI as Oil's 3-6-1 but dropped the D line to Normal and lost the AMC for a flat back 4. I found that even with my quick defenders, we would get done with balls over the top and through the channels, especially if the opposition were playing with 3 or more attackers.

For games I know we can win, I adopt the 3-6-1. For difficult away games I adopt the 4-5-1.

Some of the newgens from the Academy. We're blessed with lots of wingers (infuriatingly!) but few defenders.

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Relying purely on the Academy now to keep me sustained!

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After a prolonged period away from the game, I loaded back up last night and had a bit of a play.

I'm maintaining my 4-2-3-1 as it is turning up some great results and the service that Schone, Andrija Zivkovic and Viktor Fischer provide for Milik is irresistible at times. I've had a bit more squad movement in the January window but the big challenge was keeping a hold of those four, albeit losing Bazoer to Real Madrid for £16m (replaced by Nuri Sahin - £3m). My issue is that Fischer and Milik all have low release clauses (most sub £15m), sadly it was the only way they would sign the contract and now obviously I can't remove them. I signed Lincoln and Maxi Romero as I've found myself a bit short up top a few times, Lincoln obviously the long term replacement for Schone when he moves on.

So the squad following January looks like this:

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I shall update in due course.

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Great thread.

if I pick the team for my reserves or youth team, is that the team that will play? Or will the coach/manager change it?

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