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AndyRich

Dominating Games, Barely Winning... Help?

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Hi guys,

I'm currently playing with Reading FC on an 2016/17 Database, here's my problem:

I'm about half way through my first season, and in the first half of the season I was using a relatively unsuccessful 4-2-3-1 formation. I was getting mixed performances, and inconsistent results.

I've recently changed to a 4-1-3-1-1 formation, which has seen a dramatic improvement in the consistency of performances, although I can't quite get it spot on...

In matches I'm having around 15-18 shots per game, multiple half chances and about 60% possession. I'm beating the opposition in all the key stats, yet I can't score consistently.

Where I struggle is in clear cut chances, and finishing. How can I dominate so many games and draw/lose so frequently?

Of course stats aren't everything, but playing so well every game and rarely coming away with three points due to a lack of goals is very frustrating.

I have two good strikers, who are (according to my reports) good/leading championship players. Clearly they are getting the service due to the amount of shots and half chances we're having, so how do I get them scoring?

I'm frequently seeing my assistant manager feedback that our finishing if costing us, and that our finishing is letting us down despite dominating possession.

Can anyone offer some advice on what to do, or some explanations on why this is happening?

Details:

Formation:

GK

LB - FB (attack)

CB - CD (defend)

CB - CD (defend)

RB - FB (attack)

DM - BWM (defend)

LM - W (attack)

CM - BBM (support)

RM - W (attack)

AM - AP (attack)

ST - AF (attack)

Instructions:

Retain Possession, Shorter Passing, Pass into Space, Play out of Defence, Run at Defence, Work Ball into Box, Exploit the Middle, Look for Overlap, Push Higher Up, Close Down More, Get Stuck In, Use Tighter Marking, Be More Expressive, Much Higher Tempo, Prevent Short GK Distribution, Play Much Narrower

Player Instructions:

None, occasionally ask to specifically mark a dangerous player.

(I would attach a screenshot of all this, but I don't know how to via URL!)

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Wow!! That's a lot of TIs which aren't really needed. Yes you might be having 15-18 shots per game but are they good chances? Examples of game play may be required as we can't tell what type of chances you are creating.

My first piece of advice would be get rid of some of those TIs. Reduce some of the attacking roles and state what mentality you are using?

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Mentality is set to control, and what do you mean by reducing the attacking roles?

Which TIs would you say aren't really needed?

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Mentality is set to control, and what do you mean by reducing the attacking roles?

Which TIs would you say aren't really needed?

Control, which is already quite aggressive. Your attacking players will have direct passing set so as soon as they get the ball they will attempt to get it from A-B as quickly as possible. But you have conflicting TIs:

Retain Possession - reduces passing length and risky passes

Short Passing - reduces passing length even further

Pass Into Space - increase risky passes, conflicts with retain possession, no?

Play Out Of Defence - Reduces passing length for all players with defend duties, nice if you want to play from the back, but with control defend duties already have short passing.

Run At Defence - Thought you wanted to play a possession based with the two previous shouts selected.

The amount of shouts you have select is just silly and isn't really required.

How do you want your team to play?

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I agree with what's already been pointed out. We won't really know till we see some in match examples, and with all those TIs selected it's hard to really determine what's causing what anyway. If you're not absolutely certain that a TI is important to the way you want to play, leave it unchecked. I know a lot of players feel like they don't really have control if they use standard options instead of tinkering with everything, or they feel that they're tactics are generic or boring or not very good, but that's not the case. If you don't have a very clear idea of how a TI will improve your playing style, you're basically just hoping that checking boxes will make your team better. Thing is, it might make your team worse, and rolling your XI out in a pure vanilla 4-4-2 without any specialist roles on standard/flexible/no TIs will see most decent. well rounded sides do OK. Getting fancy without knowing what you're doing is just blindly gambling, which is no way to find consistent success.

Assuming that you are indeed playing pretty good football and creating several real chances a game, there are a couple reasons why you could be missing them. First is personnel problems- your forwards just aren't good, they lack composure/decisions/balance/strength/technique, which can all affect ability to finish efficiently even for forwards with 16+ finishing, or their morale isn't very high (this can see strikers in good positions experience crises of confidence and go scoreless for ages). You also have a definite tactical problem as regards your finishing. Too often players assume they have no influence on the rate at which their players finish, but this isn't strictly speaking true. You're playing on an aggressive strategy, and you've also settled on a much higher tempo, meaning you are playing at breakneck speed. This has its benefits, but composed finishing is not one of them. You are demanding that your places make decisions immediately upon receiving the ball, while also prejudicing them towards direct, aggressive actions via your roles, duties, and TIs. That's not conducive to creating high quality chances and taking them efficiently, as decisions made at a fast pace are more likely to be bad ones. Players in a rush don't always have time to gather their composure, pick out the best place to put the ball, and calmly execute their technique, and may also miss the opportunity to make one more pass to a teammate in better scoring position.

Taking all that into account, my advice is to strip down and simply your tactics, and then watch a few matches on comprehensive, or go back to the analysis tab on previous matches and check out all the shots your players took. Don't focus on the stats or get hung up on how many goals you think you should have scored, just watch for patterns, focusing on whether your players are doing what you want. Are they rushing their shots or making poor decisions? That's probably the excessive tempo and mentality. Not finding enough space in the box? That might call for a tactical rework to draw the opposition out a bit or change the way your forwards and midfield link up. Just plain old inexplicable wide open misses? Probably a confidence/morale man management problem

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Are you actually dominating games or just dominating possession and taking pot shots at goal rather than creating good chances? Your high pressing style is probably winning you the ball back but what your doing with it is really unbalanced.

Your roles and duties will cause players to occupy similar areas, limiting options. FB-A and W-A will play very similar and in the same areas, playing high and looking to run behind. But if it was FB-S and W-A then your FB would stay deeper, giving a simpler option to recycle possession and should create more space for the W-A to attack. I get the feeling when you aren't winning your just adding more and more instructions and more attack duties, but that doesn't equal better a attack.

I'd be utterly confused as a player with so many instructions, you've asked them to "Retain Possession" but then told them to play more risky passes into space, dribble more, much higher tempo (less time to think what the best option is) and be more expressive on control mentality. You want me to be attacking and do risky things quickly but retain possession?

W-A, AP-A and AF-A already dribble lots, so why add more dribbling to other players in the team?

Your using two W-A and two FB-A who will tend to stay wide and look to cross, but Work Ball into Box reduces crossing so what do you expect them to do from those wide areas? Who are they going to cut the ball back to with no one really supporting?

Play Much Narrower will reduce the space to create space, defenders won't have to go as wide to close down so less space to cut inside or to run/pass into.

You have two W-A who will look to push up and make runs in behind or dribble at defenders and then get a cross in (well not cross because of Work Into Box) but then you've told them to hold up the ball (Look for Overlap) to allow FB's time to overlap.

My advice would be get rid of all the attacking instructions, look at your wide roles & duties and try to create some more depth and variety in your play. See how things look then add instructions to tweak things gradually.

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