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Need Help w/ Man Utd Defense Tactic

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I want to play Chris Smalling and Daley Blind similarly to how they are played in the real world, with Blind adopting a Ball-Playing Defender role to launch dangerous balls and start counter attacks, with Chris Smalling next to him doing whatever he does... generally being in a good position and covering well?

Anyone got any suggestions? What roles and Player Instructions should I use to get the desired effect?

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Ball Playing Defender/Central Defender

Not to sound ungrateful, but... wow. How very helpful. Great advice. Thanks.

Seriously, I'm looking for Player Instructions, perhaps some advice on how I should play my Full Backs and Defensive Midfielder to work well with them. What you just said, is pretty much the only thing I already know, and already wrote.

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Sometimes, the simple answer is the correct one. :brock:

Ok, I'll reiterate. I'm already using Blind as a Ball-Playing Defender, and Smalling as a Central Defender. At the moment, I'm using Blind as a Stopper to mark people, as I guessed that given his lack of height or aerial ability, he would be better off being in front of Smalling and tackling from the feet, rather than being behind Smalling, just in front of De Gea, as by being in this position he'd be marking the furthest forward Striker and therefore be expected to head the ball away more often. Also, by being further forward, that in theory would help him to launch dangerous passes to start counter attacks. Smalling is usually switched between Defend and Cover, depending on the opposition i.e. the speed of their striker, number of strikers etc. This means that he is the last defender and is expected to sweep up any through balls, as well as mark the furthest forward striker and prevent crosses to their head. The former is better for Smalling, as he possesses slightly more pace than Blind.

However, with all of the above, Smalling seems to achieve good ratings and performances regardless of which position, role and responsibility I play him as, while Blind has struggled to end a match with a higher rating than he started with.

So does anyone (preferably someone who actually has some kind of tactical knowledge and experience) have any suggestions of their own for Player Instructions that would perhaps help Blind to perform better in the role that I'd like him to play?

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Ok, I'll reiterate. I'm already using Blind as a Ball-Playing Defender, and Smalling as a Central Defender. At the moment, I'm using Blind as a Stopper to mark people, as I guessed that given his lack of height or aerial ability, he would be better off being in front of Smalling and tackling from the feet, rather than being behind Smalling, just in front of De Gea, as by being in this position he'd be marking the furthest forward Striker and therefore be expected to head the ball away more often. Also, by being further forward, that in theory would help him to launch dangerous passes to start counter attacks. Smalling is usually switched between Defend and Cover, depending on the opposition i.e. the speed of their striker, number of strikers etc. This means that he is the last defender and is expected to sweep up any through balls, as well as mark the furthest forward striker and prevent crosses to their head. The former is better for Smalling, as he possesses slightly more pace than Blind.

Stopper/Cover doesn't work like that in FM, nor is traditional Stopper/Cover marking how United play in real life. Stopper duty just makes a player pressure more aggressively when they're the nearest defender to the ball whilst Cover duty makes them more likely to stand off. Yes, the tooltip says otherwise, but it was never accurate and it's outdated. Watch the ME and you'll see that the positioning is just default zone positioning regardless of which duty you use. If anything, Smalling would be more suited to FM Stopper duty with Blind as Cover, though IMO, there's no compelling reason not to just use Defend if you're looking to emulate United.

Again, you don't really need PIs given that the default settings are already the closest approximation of their roles in real life. You may also have noticed that PI options for Central Defenders are very limited, so the default roles are pretty much your only options.

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Stopper/Cover doesn't work like that in FM, nor is traditional Stopper/Cover marking how United play in real life. Stopper duty just makes a player pressure more aggressively when they're the nearest defender to the ball whilst Cover duty makes them more likely to stand off. Yes, the tooltip says otherwise, but it was never accurate and it's outdated. Watch the ME and you'll see that the positioning is just default zone positioning regardless of which duty you use. If anything, Smalling would be more suited to FM Stopper duty with Blind as Cover, though IMO, there's no compelling reason not to just use Defend if you're looking to emulate United.

Again, you don't really need PIs given that the default settings are already the closest approximation of their roles in real life. You may also have noticed that PI options for Central Defenders are very limited, so the default roles are pretty much your only options.

Well, that was the more informative response that I was looking for, although I still don't understand a couple of things.

I've been using the roles Central Defender and Ball-Playing Defender with default Player Instructions as you said for a while now. Yet Daley Blind hasn't been performing anywhere near as good as he does realistically, and instead consistently lets me down with poor performances. If he's being played similarly to the real world, as you say, then why isn't he performing similarly?

But then, if the instructions are as outdated as you say, I wouldn't be surprised if it's just lack of realism.

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It's because, in game, Blind just isn't a good centre back.

Perhaps get him to learn "tries long range passes" if he's not launching attacks enough?

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I've been fooling with Man U for a good while now. Turns out the starting back 4 and its respective backups are a mess.

Blind is a bad CB in FM16 simply put. I always prefer to use him on the midfield. You're much better off buying a new CB.

Also, i'd like to give a quick advice on the team here: Phil Jones and Rojo have average at best composure-related mentals so I strongly advise against using both on the same line-up unless you're using Rojo as a LB (Which he works best out on FM16, by the way). Player or team instructions won't really help Blind beating Diego Costa, Lukaku and etc. because SI didn't see him as a CB at all when they updated his stats.

In a funny enough way, Carrick would be a monster CB on Cover if he wasn't so slow.

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I've been fooling with Man U for a good while now. Turns out the starting back 4 and its respective backups are a mess.

Blind is a bad CB in FM16 simply put. I always prefer to use him on the midfield. You're much better off buying a new CB.

Also, i'd like to give a quick advice on the team here: Phil Jones and Rojo have average at best composure-related mentals so I strongly advise against using both on the same line-up unless you're using Rojo as a LB (Which he works best out on FM16, by the way). Player or team instructions won't really help Blind beating Diego Costa, Lukaku and etc. because SI didn't see him as a CB at all when they updated his stats.

In a funny enough way, Carrick would be a monster CB on Cover if he wasn't so slow.

I can see you've been fooling around with them for a while, this is all stuff I've learnt too! I've turned off budgets in the first window, to make the game more of a challenge. I've never played as United before without immediately buying a centre-back, but I was determined to make Blind work.

You're right about Rojo - he is a far better left-back than he is a centre-back, and I'd like to say for the record that I believe that's quite realistic. He's been playing in that position a lot for United recently and he's always getting forward, overlapping the wide midfielders and launching deadly crosses into the box.

Of course, Jones is injured at the start of the game, which doesn't leave me with many alternatives in the centre of defense. I'm keeping McNair, Borthwick-Jackson and Fosu-Mensah at the club for emergency backup but I'm still open to using Blind, Rojo and Jones. Carrick has performed really well for me as a last resort centre-back, but only ever following a regular centre-back being sent off.

I'd be interested to know, if you have a lot of experience playing as United, how you make Rooney work? Striker or Attacking Midfield? What role?

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It's because, in game, Blind just isn't a good centre back.

I agree. I would probably sell Blind unless I wanted to start messing around with some unique sweeper/libero/half back-centric formations. Even then, his limited ability in the air will kill his ratings.

I would also sell Rooney (easier said than done). If forced to use him, I would use him as a F9(s) or DLF(s). I just think there are better options out there for a big club, especially if building for the long term.

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I can see you've been fooling around with them for a while, this is all stuff I've learnt too! I've turned off budgets in the first window, to make the game more of a challenge. I've never played as United before without immediately buying a centre-back, but I was determined to make Blind work.

You're right about Rojo - he is a far better left-back than he is a centre-back, and I'd like to say for the record that I believe that's quite realistic. He's been playing in that position a lot for United recently and he's always getting forward, overlapping the wide midfielders and launching deadly crosses into the box.

Of course, Jones is injured at the start of the game, which doesn't leave me with many alternatives in the centre of defense. I'm keeping McNair, Borthwick-Jackson and Fosu-Mensah at the club for emergency backup but I'm still open to using Blind, Rojo and Jones. Carrick has performed really well for me as a last resort centre-back, but only ever following a regular centre-back being sent off.

I'd be interested to know, if you have a lot of experience playing as United, how you make Rooney work? Striker or Attacking Midfield? What role?

At a first glance, if you're loyal to the current United Squad and want to keep the most of its current players at the club, you only really need to buy a CB with low injury proneness and high natural fitness. Because i'm on my 3rd United save (And the only reason i choose it was because of the facilities and it's not predicted to win the league on the first season) i'm doing a tycoon save. Got rid of Rooney because i hate him (off the pitch wise) and brought Jackson Martínez to tutor Martial. Except for the defence, every single position has a solid starting player and a backup. The midfield is way too crowded (I never keep Fellaini no matter what, even though I like the player IRL, he doesnt really fits the style i like on FM). But i'll give you some useful advice if you're keeping most of the squad:

Just don't expect anything from Andreas Pereira, Paddy McNair, Jesse Lingard, and, to a much, much lesser extent, James Wilson. They're all average at best with the CB being just horrible. James Wilson could be a 1st team player in Crystal Palace or Norwich, but he's a backup at best on United as far as the current database is concerned.

Midfield: With the only downside of being slow, Schweinsteiger is still a world class midfielder and will surely fit either AP, RPM or CM(D)/DM(D)/HB/DLP roles, so he's very versatile on the midfield. Ander Herrera has good enough aggression, work rate and stamina to work as a box-to-box midfielder or CM(S). Schneiderlin can be used very effectively as a BWM(S), works nicely as a B2B and if you want him to be played as CM(D) or anything that holds position in the DM, just get rid of his Gets Forward PPM. Carrick is a technical monster, but he is very slow. Somewhat reliable in the first season, he is great for tutoring youngsters. I never renew his contract and in most cases just the extension for a backup in the 2nd season is nice. Juan Mata and Januzaj can be employed out wide in 4-man midfield formations, but never do that with Memphis Depay: His decision making is by far his biggest weakness in the game and that attribute plays a big role when playing "out of position". Still viable to use him as ML, though.

Strikers: Rooney and Juan Mata are your biggest names here for the first season, with Ashley Young and Memphis Depay being solid options as well. 19-year Martial isn't good enough to be a backup for a team as big as United but because of his huge potential you can't just put him on the U21s. Januzaj also has a lot of potential but he's a player i'm always too lazy to make work: His stat distribution isn't the best and his PPMs are just annoying to get rid of, but he can still be very good so don't just take my word as definite. Even though I hate Rooney to the point i got rid of him on the first season, he's a VERY good player to have when you're on the pitch. He can be played pretty much everywhere. He has decent versatility attribute making him a solid option even in CM, which is funny as heck, because with his insanely high Aggression/Work Rate attributes, he can be a truly solid ball-winning midfielder. Striker-wise, I think he's played best as a deep-lying forward, a very creative role, but not as creative as a False-9 or a Trequartista, because he's not that much of a playmaker. Juan Mata could be played in most attacking positions as well, but i strongly suggest not using him as your team's playmaker because he has the Gets into Opposition Area PPM and a nice 16 finishing attribute. (Playmaker roles shoot less often).

Simply put: You need to revamp the squad's defence and find out how you're gonna use your attacking players. Your best CF is still too young to make a big impact and the England captain is just not my favorite player, but he can be a solid #9 or #10 because he's very skilled. Memphis Depay can also be played as a striker, just as Martial can also be played as an inside forward. If you asked me the most interesting possible way to use United's current squad, i'd set a 4-4-1-1 with Memphis on the ML as an inside forward, Young on the MR as a winger, Rooney on the AMC as a Shadow Striker/AMC(A) and Juan Mata in the STC as a Treq. But that's just personal preference. Quick tip: SS(A) and Treq on the AMC can work for strikerless formations.

Fun fact: Young can also work as a striker, his high work rate helps a lot with that. Keep in mind he wouldn't be the best defensive forward ever though, because his aggression is very low.

Fun fact #2: Phil Jones can be a great RB.

Fun fact #3: Fellaini can be a great striker.

Fun fact #4: You can emulate Bayern/Germany with Rooney doing the same role as Thomas Muller.

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I'll give you some useful advice if you're keeping most of the squad:

Just don't expect anything from Andreas Pereira, Paddy McNair, Jesse Lingard, and, to a much, much lesser extent, James Wilson. They're all average at best with the CB being just horrible. James Wilson could be a 1st team player in Crystal Palace or Norwich, but he's a backup at best on United as far as the current database is concerned.

Pereira sits in my U21 squad for the forseeable future. McNair has always been my backup in defense but I've never ended up using him because he's behind Smalling, Rojo, Blind, Jones and Carrick (in that order). In fact, I might have even used Fosu-Mensah because I'd rather let a younger player get experience. I have to disagree with you on Lingard - he's given me a lot, most often from the left wing as a substitute, in a wide Advanced Playmaker role. He makes for a very reliable backup at worst, and a regular when he's at his best. Wilson is being loaned out, as he needs experience to fuel his potential and he won't get any here.

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Without going into too much detail, this is the tactic I'm currently using the most often. I have several modified versions, including replacing the DM with an AM slot for Rooney, but this allows me the most flexibility in midfield which I find important given how crowded it is, as you pointed out. Similarly, I also sell Fellaini every. single. game. which makes this save particularly interesting for me, as the absence of first window budgets means that I'm not selling players and instead am looking to use him.

The roles in midfield are what grant me this flexibility. The defensive midfielder is expected to link the defense to the midfield, and this role tends to suit Carrick perfectly. His passing skill and work rate means that he has no problem filling the gap between my defensive and midfield lines. However, this position can also be occupied by Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger or Blind, as all of them have the skill required to do this job. Optionally, I can change this role to be a Half Back if using Carrick or Blind, to assign them more defensive responsibilities.

The centre-midfielder is used similarly to the defensive midfielder, in that their main responsibility is to pass the ball around the field. This position is often filled by Schweinsteiger, and is probably the least flexible role on the pitch, as to my knowledge and experience so far, only Carrick can fill in during Bastian's absence. However, it is the only central midfield position that remains static and is not expected to move around, as the DM slot often has defensive responsibilities, and the other CM slot moves up and down the pitch constantly. Edit: Herrera also does well here.

The box-to-box midfielder is usually someone who can both attack and defend, and therefore Schneiderlin tends to perform the best in this role. Herrera and Fellaini also do really well in this position, as they are both dangerous in front of goal and have the stamina to get back when needed. Whatever tactics I'm playing with, I tend to make sure I have at least three central midfield positions to manage the crowded midfield ranks, often sacrificing wide midfield positions to instead rely on wing-backs much like end-of-2015 van Gaal.

As for the player flexibility. I'm aware that Martial can play on the wing - in fact, that's where he plays most often. I try to play Rooney as much as I can up front (I'll explain why later), and as you said, Depay is often utterly useless on the wing.

I'm personally going to avoid playing Young up front unless it's absolutely necessary, as I'm confident that I'll always have better options. Jones doesn't have the pace to be as effective as I want my right-backs to be, and definitely doesn't have any ability crossing the ball into the box. I've used Fellaini up front before and scored plenty of goals doing so, and it works especially well with my overlapping full-backs lobbing balls into the box.

I prefer to use Rooney up front as a Complete Forward literally as much as I possibly can, because it's rare that he finishes a 90 minute game without having at least 2 goals (and I can't stress the amount of times I've been sat on the tactics screen hovering over Martial or Rashford waiting for Rooney to get his hat-trick so he doesn't whine at me later for subbing him). In fact, in my most recent United save, I brought in Ibrahimovic and popped him up front, with Rooney behind him in a Shadow Striker role. Not only did The Great Zlatan go through a five-game dry spell without scoring a single goal, but Rooney still popped in a goal or so every game.

Edit: Actually, I play Herrera more often than Carrick now. For obvious reasons.

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Idk about you guys, but Martial scored 30 goals for me in the first season. He doesn't have the best stats to start with but I've found he grows very fast. He starts the game with 2 star current ability i think, and by end of the first season he was already at 4 full stars.

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Idk about you guys, but Martial scored 30 goals for me in the first season. He doesn't have the best stats to start with but I've found he grows very fast. He starts the game with 2 star current ability i think, and by end of the first season he was already at 4 full stars.

He's fast and already good in all they key areas, make him first choice right off the bat, striker or on the wing.

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I only used Blind at CB in emergencies and he didn't really do well. Typically I used him in DM (double pivot), mostly as a backup with Carrack to Schneiderlin & Schweinsteiger.

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