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It's been a while hasn't it. My focus in the last few weeks has been split on many fronts  as I invest more and more time into my upcoming book. Yes, and I finally figured out what to call it, as ever I won't apologise for my lack of creativity - Bust the Net - The Football Manager. So there I am knee deep in beta testing, fervently finishing up with FM16 Torino Diaries when lo and behold God decides to hand me a yellow card. I become bed stricken with a series of viruses. And these all come one after another. Now I know what it feels like to be on the end of viral hat-trick. You go deaf and grumpy,  but you know wha? it hasn't affected my desire to write. So here it is the evolution of Torino, and this is probably the best fun I've had playing an FM save since I created Scramjet.

Football Manager is a game that's evolved over the last few years, what I find interesting is that at the highest level of gameplay it's evolved as well. Back in 2007 I was already writing about strikeless formations. On the forums I was messing with a whole series of systems that had no clear centre forward. For me it was fun to see what was happening in Europe being translated into the game, and then of course we had Spain romping to a Euro triumph in 2008 in a smashing display of dominance which morphed as the tournament progressed. They may have started out with a clear centre forward, but for each game they played, you could see subtle differences. I had no doubt they would win it. How do teams even play against another that keeps the ball so well? While some observers claimed it was boring, I was amazed at how Rinus Michels' vision was been interpreted by the Spanish.

My eyes then turned to Spain, Barcelona and Johan Cruyff. This was the son of a fruit seller, fatherless at 12 he was already exposed to Ajax through his mother. The boy idolised Alfredo de Stefano and it seemed almost a matter of destiny that this boy who would lead Ajax to three successive European Cups, would almost certainly be snapped up by one of the Spanish giants. It was easier for Barcelona to snap him up -  they had an English manager in Viv Buckingham. They bought him over and the Catalans were never going to be the same again. By 1974 cryuff-ajax-1972Cruyff was regarded as the best player in the world and he was Rinus Michels's Total Football prodigy. And guess who learnt from Cruyff? Pep Guardiola. In fact Pep Guardiola learnt from nearly everyone. He traversed the world seeking out other coaches before his appointment like a sponge seeking out water, he had one thing in common with the Dutchman - they were moulded in the same place.

Think about it, Spain just outplayed Germany with their brand of total football, and a few years later - Counter Pressing takes hold. Let's not  politely forget that Arrigo Sacchi should be regarded as the first coach to win a major European trophy with a counter pressing system in the late 80s, but the trend was there all along. By the time Spain started playing we were seeing teams play with narrow depths and High and Middle Blocks, packs of players moving as a unit and 11 players all showing perfect positional interchangeability. Not to be outdone, over in Germany,  a young manager by the name of Jurgen Klopp was being announced as the newly manager of Borussia Dortmund. Within 2 years they were champions of playing with a brand of Counter Pressing, unique to them. The only difference between him and Pep's system was that Klopp's had a deadly thrust after winning the ball back, whilst the Spaniards Counter Pressing system was more intent on maintaining its tactical shape. That's principally why Guardiola's side's have been labelled boring and Klopp's swashbuckling. Now the Germans',  victims of the Spanish Counter Press in 2008 had turned into marketing genius. They gave the German version a unique name - "Gegen Pressing". After all Spain had boring "Tiki Taka".

Wait we're not done yet, let's cut across the English Channel near the coast in 2013. How many of you could honestly put up your hand and name me 3 clubs Maurico Pochettino had played for? This relatively unknown Argentinian, brought his High Block/High Defensive line style of playmauricio_pochettino_2016 to England and Southampton suddenly looked scary. The last time anyone was scared of playing the Saints was when they had legendary Matt Le Tissier in their ranks. Counter Pressing was moving like a virus across Europe. What had started with Johan Cruyff lacing his boots in the 1974 World Cup Final was now being translated into an active vision played in different styles across different nations in Europe. It's no wonder that Alex Ferguson decided to retire and Arsene Wenger,  one who had started with a great vision of play, now a Frenchman lost in an ever changing experiment without a goal in mind. His Invincibles were the manifestation of a vision,  that today, is a victim of his own experiments. Arsenal don't seem to have coherent style anymore.

Which brings us to my Torino save for 2017. If you have been following BusttheNet, my Youtube channel, you probably are aware that the first season is turning into an epic race for the title. I have to thank every viewer who posted a question about a different tactic. In my attempts to answer these questions, I used Torino to explain. In doing that, I started seeing more and more possibilities. Well my virus has laid me out in a way that's prevented me from hearing my own voice when I speak, so those videos are on hold, but the save is still going! So this is the plan - 3 of the shows I managed to record will still go out. That will bring us to the end of the season. Season 2 on the other hand will be different. I will have been halfway through or maybe even nearly complete, so there will be a written story showing the tactical evolution of Torino.

We started out playing a 4231 and some 433 variation. My Arrigo Sacchi model of Counter Pressing was how I played the first season. None of you noticed I bet, because even I hadn't perfected it yet to be confident that it was working. Season 2 started a bit on the odd side. I had an offer for Andrea Belotti that I couldn't very well ignore, so along with a few others he's off.  That kind of forced me into entering the market prematurely. You never shop in a hurry right, so I went and landed Ze Gomes from Portugal. Well he isn't the same one from 2016 - bummer. Our side experimented yet again with how we played, cos now I gotta go all Klopp and get everyone else to score. I literally played a different system each match, but the principles by which I play always remained the same, so generating results wasn't much of an issue. What was interesting was how we evolved over time. And that's what I plan to do. The next episode of the show will condense wherever I am to-date with a "how we got there tactically" which should reveal more than a play-through and to top it off, I will do a more condensed writeup here. I found my evolution interesting, I can only hope you do to.

 

Apologies for the formatting, but I am too lazy to do it all over again...I just copied and posted from my blog. This is the start of my counter pressing adventure

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Football never felt this good

I don't think it should come as a surprise that I returned to Torino. That club's grip on me is greater than West Bromwich Albion ever was.  The season started like any new save on FM - an absorbing period of analysis and planning.  I find that getting to know your club is usually a good thing when a new game comes out. So my first act was rather impetuous. I decided to go to the board and ask for more coaches, the audacity! Naturally, they gave me a quizzical look and told me to get the hell out of their offices. "You haven't even played your first friendly yet!, you may not even last a month". I could sense the putrid smell of disgust emerging from the room as I left.  Sometimes we forget that this game has a massive restart every season...we need to prove ourselves over and over and over again.

1st Season Friendlies
1st Season Friendlies

That Chievo testimonial, was the only blip. I opted for a narrow 4231 to see what kind of quality I had in the team. It's good to try out these 2 man midfield systems just to find out if your side can hack it or not. In midfield we had Marco Benassi and Joel Obi. I deployed Daniele Baselli in  advanced midfield since he seemed like the only player in the club who could do some magic with the ball. 3 shots out of 7 on target seemed to suggest we were still some way from being ready for the season.The 61% possession numbers really didn't mean anything at all. For this friendly I kept what I thought were the best 11 on the pitch for as long as possible and only really made 1 change after the break. This group of 11 weren't my best. It was time now to  apply myself. Out came the notebook and a cup of coffee, let's go all analytical with the squad.

Club DNA
Club DNA

We needed a plan and you can't make a plan, if you don't know what your starting point is. My professional project management and leadership skills would need to be deployed. Who was I kidding, I ain't a football manager. I am just good with numbers. So we popped a list up and filled it quick. - Pace, Acceleration, Concentration, Decisions, Composure, Crossing, Finishing, Passing, First Touch, Off the Ball, Teamwork.  I then added match statistics like Interceptions, Key Passes, and Passes Attempted per 90 mins. At a glance I wanted to find out what my club was like. Were they fast? Could I play a system which allowed my players to break behind a defensive line? Could they hold the ball under pressure? I needed to know if I had good crossers in the group and whether these boys would die for each other. We were going to play friendlies so I figured it would be good to start tracking  interception numbers. If our interception numbers were going up then I knew that our system was improving. I rather we intercept a ball than tackle a player with it.  If you intercept you break the horse even before you need to get up into the saddle. Tackling numbers were not important. That's just a reactive stat. It's like finding out how many fires you were able to put out last week. I rather find out how many fires never even got started. That's the real secret behind football management. Not being a fireman, silly, but about breaking a team's attack before it even has a chance to settle. That way you can hit em and hit them hard, cos they will always be out of position.

It was time now to go deeper into my team. We needed to sort the players out by destroyers, creators and scorers. Its my favorite way of looking at a side, because ultimately thats how you play. You have some players to destroy the team's attack, you have others you depend on carving out chances and finally you need those ever-reliable boys that make you go "Woot!".

It's the first match of the season, and I can sense the boys don't trust my methods yet.

Chievo again. This time they almost peppered us out of existence. 27 shots on our goal, we only had 10, but wait. We had 6 on target compared to their 9. So we performed a heck of a lot better. We could have won the game had it not been for a lucky equaliser in the 83rd min. Final score 3-3. Our next match - a home match so I went back to the system I know best - the 4312. Could Torino pull it off?

It's not really an easy system to play. You need a solid hardworking group of players and a properly set up defensive and midfield group. To top it off I had no faith in my strikers. Final score 1-0 win, 61% possession. We were doing well. A 433 in the first game, a 4312 in our second. It took 3 matches in the opening season before we kicked into a stride. The Lazio  defeat seemed to suggest we had the players for a 433DM, I was still not convinced. It's a system that demands 2 world class attacking midfielders who can dribble, beat players, cut inside, score and they have to be fast. You just don't pick out Barcelona in the game play with it. Come on people! Furthermore, you need some Houdini in midfield who can unlock defences.

We weren't that good. I kept reverting to my 4312 because I felt that playing with a triangular strike pattern upfront was more efficient if you have a side that's average. If you want to go with a split attack like a wider 433DM then those 3 boys better be really good. We just don't have that. So I formed a plan. Lets play with a narrow 4231 and a 4312. I had the midfielders, I just needed more players to be upfront to score, it sounded like a plan, but I knew it was going to be dangerous. So along the way I remembered how Arrigo Sacchi used to play with tougher European opposition - he isolated the opposition.

So in came a new plan. Continue playing with the High Block but start looking at dropping the Defensive Line so we could isolate any wide 433 attacking us. It worked a treat. Every 433 that came up against us, got swatted away. Few if any sides in Italy were playing Fluid, they were all so structured. You could see it on the pitch, clear as daylight. The fullbacks took an eternity to move into wide areas on transitions and the forwards would seem to hold up the ball that bit longer while support came. What if  we kept them waiting longer? Wicked. Thank you SI for allowing me to play like Sacchi. We had a great run, only some arrogant management by me allowed Napoli to slam 3 past us as we went unbeaten into November.

Torino Run
Torino Run

And then just when I am smoking my cigar and sipping my whiskey Inter and Juventus come knocking. We only take a point. And then Valdifiori gets injured and with that my 4312 goes out the window. He is central to the way I play the system. In my 4312 with the way we press, if need a quick lock picked, there is only one player with all the keys - Valdi. His injury forced us into a mini crisis. We could only play the 433DM wide now. It wasn't a system that suited us, but as long as he was out, it was a system with a defensive midfielder. That would mean that we could hold out better teams with their mobile attacks with our static defence. Maybe we don't win so many games, but we needed not to lose. Juventus weren't far away on the table.

Torino Bad PatchTorino Bad Patch
 
 
 

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By the time our season ended, we were a picture of consistency. Gone were the doubts about who to field. All I had to do was revert to a system I loved. We used a lot of good common sense in building this side together, but there was one denominator. If you didn't have teamwork of at least 12, you weren't even considered for the bench. Our reserve list of players was piling up. It was going to be a new plan for 2017.  Our 4312 is the same 4312 you will find me talking since forever. Maybe I am not using BWM in the side midfield slots but you may as well call them that. The only reason why they are CM(S) is because I can make them pass the way I want from the Player Instructions. You see I like to go all mental with things like that.  Next season will be a different matter entirely. We don't have Belotti anymore, I now need to plan on how to play like Klopp! I can't use Sacchi as my muse anymore.

Crowned champions on the Serie A on the final day, our win against Bologna would be Joe Hart's last game. We had to depend on a player who wasn't going to be on loan. If we were to plan for the future, then we needed to win with a solid squad. Out tactic on the last day was fairly simple, it was still the same 4312. By now we had an assured line-up so all I had to worry about was my trident attack up front. Something still didn't sit right with me

Torino Final Game.jpg

To play a 4312 well, you absolutely need to control 3 zones on the pitch. So we set about planning for how we would set the team up. We still hadn't sorted out the attack patterns yet, but my plan was simple. If you want to win the ball you need to do it in specific areas of the pitch when you attack. And if you lose the ball there while attacking, you're toast. So the zones encircled in yellow were my hot zones. I had to make sure if a ball was lost there, we needed to win it back at all costs. This meant a near perfect player selection each time. One mistake and I would see it falling apart. The system was set up to take advantage of the fact that we had a hardworking team but not everyone was like that. I counted only 12 players who fit the bill for my style of play. So it was time to look at their player preferred moves to see what else needed to be added to the mix.

Some of them had the ability to drop deep, we would need that. Other's didn't dive into tackles, there were almost a certainty to join the list. I hunted around for the one-two passers and the players who could get forward and move into channels. These boys would be vital for the upfront mobility I was looking to generate. Finally the roles. This was an area of the game I knew my team still struggled with but if they were determined to succeed then they would need to see out their training sessions. I kept a sharp eye out for those who were making the grade and those who adapted to my style of positional training. If they wanted to play in my team they would have to play in the positions I wanted them to. It took a year, but Puci finally accepted the fact that he needed to dual-hat as an attacking midfielder and a striker.

We had sorted the roles out, now the hard grind was going to start. Every match was an exercise in observation. I needed to make sure that my 11 were the best. But as our first season rolled on,  it became increasingly difficult to tell. I focused on my grids, if their roles demanded they cover and they didn't then I had to analyse to see whether I had picked the player based on the wrong attributes or whether I had made a mistake with the roles. Funny thing is, I know it wasn't the roles, they were nearly perfectly balanced. The problem was in some of the duties, and picking the right kind of player. The single biggest contributing factor to underperformance is choosing the wrong player for the task. Get that right and if your team fails to win on the day, then its on your head.

 

Transfers out.jpgI

t took us a season, and I still wasn't convinced we had the right players to play my style of football. I wanted them to press in key areas of the pitch, I wanted them to be able to drop deep when I needed them and push up high. Our defensive line was a mobile one, and our mentality was like a gear stick in a Ferrari sports car. Playing my way required player concentration at levels they had never been accustomed to. We came to the end of the season, and I knew we were still a few players short. but with only 5 million in the bank, the 60 million Bayern lured in front of us was too good an offer to pass up. With the money we added 6 to the roster. Andrea Poli from AC Milan who was a bargain at 6million, for a player valued at 16m. Giuseppe de Luca, one for the future, Aissa Mandi, an unheard of defender, who's attributes promised something else. Along with that lot we added Rodrigo de Paul, Christian Ramos and Ze Gomes.

Preseason of Season 2 was now underway and we would need to plan things right. I needed to test things out so we went off on a run of using quite a few formations. Each formation was used to test something out in our plans. We needed to test the Counter Pressing system to find out which shape worked, and guess what we won nearly every match, bar two. Our system was a simple one, sometimes our roles made no sense, but if you study each shape carefully, there is a kind of logic in how each one controls space. As long as your tactic controls space, the only thing holding you back is your individual settings. The first step in any solid tactic is Player Selection and Roles, you can use any tactic in the world and win with it, almost any. If you don't select the right man for the job you are going to fail each and every time.  By the time my experimentation was done, we were knee deep into our second season and our results started to show. Against Bologna we were more keen on shutting out any good chances and working on preventing counter attacks, we could worry about possession later. I wanted my team to get used to me shifting the Defensive Line, and using it to strangle lone forward systems. If you can isolate their strike force when they launch an attack, and they need for players to come up in support. You know its a structured system. And that is their weakness. Isolation. So my wolfpack jumped on them. They did manage to get some possession in the middle of the pitch. I needed to find out more

41221.jpg451.jpg312231.jpg433D.jpg52313.jpg4231N.jpg4231.jpg

4312.jpg

Against Napoli I chose the wrong system and we were immediately on the back foot. This time I had no choice I had to isolate my own defence and switch the battle to midfield. This was one time I was grateful for working on set pieces. You never know when paying to a set-piece routine will save your day. By the time we met Roma, we were beginning to master the art of pressing them to prevent counter attacks. They only real thing missing was hitting them pack with our own counter. In a counter press, you need to win back possession, when you lose it, just when the opposition is about to launch a counter. That way you break them up. The only difference is what you do with the ball. We still hadn't perfected that yet, but we getting better at holding them at bay.

By the time we played our matches against Shakhtar, the big match which I had nearly spent half of our second  season preparing for was looming. Time was running out. I had to iron out our form of Counter Pressing. Real Madrid were next, and then it all came together as our first leg away turned into a master class of possession. We made sure each time we lost the ball we could do something with it, it's a pity our strikers were poor. In spite of Madrid's formidable attacking prowess, they failed to generate a single counter attack against us the whole match. They may have won the possession but we shared the spoils. They would come to us next and this time, we pressed and denied them and emerged with all 3 points. Madrid were stunned.

 

1RBologna.jpg1RNapoloi.jpg1RShaktar.jpg1RMadrid.jpg1Rmadrid2.jpg

COUNTER PRESSING AT WORK

When we lose the ball after surging into their half, its absolutely vital we close down their lanes quick, so player movement is dependant on concentration, anticipation, work-rate and acceleration, it requires a lot of positional awareness, and ultimately you as the manager need to be able to spot the key moments in a transition.

Creative PassingA.jpg

When the opposition begin their counter attack, we need to move. 

.CounterpressB.jpg

CounterPressC.jpg

As our players make their way I pay a lot of attention to the blocking of lanes, only then can we close down the man on the ball as a pack.

 CounterPressD.jpg

CounterPressE.jpg

It's taken 1 and a half seasons, but we are nowhere near perfection yet, More work needs to be done.  The matches will be covered on my Youtube channel as well. I just have to write them up cos I am nearly stone cold deaf at the moment

 

5231 LE.jpg

 

 

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ELEMENTS OF COUNTER PRESSING 

As always a short video explaining what to look out for is essential. What I plan to do is to tie video examples and explanations with what I am writing here. There is more to come, on this topic. In this short  video I am in a champions league match against Feyenoord ironically. So we turn out a display that includes elements of the counter pressing style I was talking about. In the first half we were rather cautious, as I approached the game trying to understand where their main threats were coming from. By the second half we changed and proceeded to apply the necessary pressure. Counter pressing involves many elements to work together in the game, and I am certain, that I haven't been able to perfect it at all. The engine after all is driven by in-game decision making which coincide with phases in the game. So its quaint that ultimately, the success/failure of this lies in the hands of my players

 

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The Wolves Experiment - Crossover - The Holiday Mode Test

So if you've been following my Torino Diaries lately, I have been talking about Counter Pressing. I don't claim that we can produce or replicate the 3 styles entirely, but I do believe we can capture the essence of the systems in tactics that we make. I do believe that these systems need to be well thought out and we need to give a lot of thought to who plays. So I decided wouldn't it be interesting to cross over to a club in the Championship, that isn't a favorite for promotion and try and see if the principles worked? So the goal of the experiment is to find out how a side would do after being set up to follow these principles, the assistant manager will be in charge of all games while this game is run on holiday mode.

  • Counter Pressing Principles
  • Prevent Counter attacks
  • Dominate games
  • Fluidity of roles
  • Working together as a unit

How do we Counter Press and achieve the goals?

451Tactic.jpgWe will be using a 451, this system plays with 2 Inside Forwards and 1 Striker

Attributes (Teamwork, Work-rate)
Players need these attributes otherwise, they don't have the quality needed to have positional fluidity. By positional fluidity I am only explicitly expecting them to support transitions. They need to work as a unit.

Fluidity 
We need to play on Very Fluid mentality, to allow for more players to participate in transitions

High Block/Medium Block 
Players in the forward strata are given close down much more. Depending on the grid you want closed down, selected players in midfield strata are given close down much more

Short Passing
To dominate games, Wolves need to ensure they don't give the ball unnecessarily, so selected players will be given short passing, these include those that don't have roles that explicitly require them to create. These positions will also be told to play less risky passes. 

Roles
Attack roles increased since we will be playing Very Fluid, I need a bit more movement to generate chances.  3 Attack Roles, 4 Support Roles. Each strata placed with one attack role to allow dynamic movement. This is to ensure that even with very fluid, we get more movement vertically across the pitch. I require this for some positional flexibility. Right roles are vital, we need pivots in every area we want our attacking thrusts to come from. For example if I plan to drive through the middle and come in late from midfield there must be an Attack Duty in midfield and a Support/Defend duty in attack to encourage vertical movement. 

Defensive Line
For this experiment the Asst Manager will run the whole season, while I watch television. To encourage the High Block we will play on a pushed up defensive line.

Tempo will be increased slightly

To encourage lateral movement around the final third we will use the Work Ball into Box instruction

Prevent GK short distribution - this shout seems extraneous because we are not operating with a narrow attack and 3 in the box, we will still leave it in

 

TEST CONDITIONS

I will play the first season match with the tactic, assure myself of the squad that will play the whole season, and then HOLIDAY till 8th May, hopefully I don't get fired.

 Asst Manager attributes:
 Determination 15, Tactical 16, Man Management 17, Motivating 18, Judging PA 7

Since his PA is low, I really can't give him too many options in the squad, we shall leave the squad strength at 28 players. That should be enough to cover injuries and allow for sufficient rotation.

 

So how will the side do? Will I get fired before the season ends? Or will this end in tatters. When I want to find out if a particular systematic way of playing works, then I run holiday tests. The longest holiday test I have run is 10 seasons

 

RESULTS

 

Season Overview

So why did I run this experiment, it was for a simple purpose, could the Ass Man do a decent enough job without me being fired. Naturally I felt like running back and forth between the computer, cos I really don't want to end up looking like a fool. As the calendar wore on, I saw one image. Wolves(1st) in Jan playing against Norwich. So I want to grab a drink go watch television. This actually reminded of the days of playing with super tactics.. I would run what we like to call "soak" tests, then at the end of the season, I'd get up go through the squad make some transfers and wait to start playing in the promoted division. Well this test for just to find out what the results would be with the assistant manager. What was I looking for:

Results
Would the team perform well? How would they perform, stats etc

Would the Ass Man make the right selections
This was important, for one thing, if he didn't then SI would need to know about it. To some extent I would expect him to play the "best" player for the role. However my definition of best is specifically tuned for two attributes. The Ass man uses "role-based" choices so he could be looking for the best role across several attributes.

 

Experiment1a.jpg

Wolves finished as Champions of the league. The test was stopped just before the playoffs. All league games have been played. So lets first take a look at how they did from a macro point of view. In terms of league position they finished 2 points ahead of Newcastle who should be regarded as favourites

Wolves - End of Season Report

They had the best passing numbers, possession numbers which I kind of expected. Wolves was also provided with a custom corner routine meant to maintain possession and a custom free kick routine as well. I play with a short corner routine, its currently my preferred option for possession centred systems. The one stat that stood out for me was the passing one.  They had 28023 passes completed in the league, Newcastle their nearest finished 8000passes behind.  And Wolves average possession was 60%, now that's big for an ass man run game. The thing about setting an ass man in charge, is that he can only use that tactic you have given him. He can't adjust the defensive line, he can't change tempo and he can't do mentality changes. I would assume that a human manager who could would have generated an incredible run.

What stood out for me was Wolves poor SOT, that's what I was worried about when running the test. Wolves don't have good strikers, so them finishing 4th in goals scored wasn't that bad. They capped that off with conceding the least number of goals. There were some interesting matches, and this is what stood out for me. The key to playing well, lies almost entirely to how you select your players and also role selection. Most tactics, let's be honest, they are fine. You can create a decent tactic almost on a whim. What distinguishes good managers from poor managers in the game is role/duty selection and player selection.

Against Newcastle Away Wolves did fairly ok. They managed to control possession, keep a tight ship and win the game. Now I will be analysing the games closely on my next YT show, but what was interesting was their home game.  At home the ass man made decisions on player selection I never would have made.

Experiment 1i.jpg

Wolves vs Newcastle

Experiment1g.jpg

Newcastle vs Wolves

My first instinct when choosing players to play in this system is that they have Teamwork and Work-rate. For my midfielders this is paramount, because I track their interceptions every few games to ensure the best player is there. It was good to see that the Ass Man generally kept to the lineups I was hoping to see. However he never played my No 1 choice where I would have played him. And he didn't play the permutation I really wanted in midfield. In the loss against Newcastle, he played Prince and Romain together. Prince is my 4th choice. I would have played Romain in the key position I needed but Romain was always played in a position I never wanted him to play. So as far as I could tell, the ass man wasn't perfect with player selections, which to be honest I entirely expected.

Experiement 1j.jpgExperiment 1k.jpgExperiement 1l.jpg

 

In terms of interceptions I was happy to see the numbers. My midfielders did 5 per game on average. The outlier was Prince who did 10. He had 234 interceptions

Experiement1f.jpg

in 22 games. That is around 10, a really high number. So generally I was pleased with how the team did with interceptions. Apart from the anomaly that is Prince, everyone else performed within expectations.

What I also expected were the losses, the ass man picked a few players to play who I would never have played. I daresay that if the AM had used my 4312 system the championship win would have been even more comprehensive, because of the way I designed it to control space.

No surprise to me that their biggest win was an away win, both the largest home and away wins were by a 4 goal margin. 

Experiement Away.jpgExperiment Home.jpg

Tactical Decisions

Well the ass man's hands were tied, in every game. He had no choice but to play counter. If I had been in charge, I would have played with mentality a bit and definitely with the defensive line, to take advantage of specific systems, like Newcastles 4231. Without a doubt if any of you had taken this match with the same setup, I have no doubts that the results would have been just as good or even better. This does reassure me that the ultimate decisions you need to make in a game are actually simple ones - Mentality, Roles and Duties and perhaps defensive line changes. Now I wonder should I let this challenge continue? How will Wolves do with an absentee manager in the premiership. They certainly won't win it, but I would safely say they'd have relegation fight on their hands without any changes to the side.  I plan to take a detailed look at some of these matches, I will probably cover them on YT as I look at the games to analyse how the players closed down.

The next time you play your game, have a good think about the players in your side, do they have the right attributes to fight for the win?

League Table.jpg

 

 

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Football Manager 17 tries to mimic or simulate real football where it can, and once again I'm going all thematic with my posts. For the last few weeks, nearly every post on Torino has focused on how I've slowly evolved the team into a Counter Pressing side. If you need to catch up on some of the principles I was discussing then you should read a few posts. The one in particular where I break things down is the series when I started doing the Crossover Event with Wolves. Here I discuss the principles, the posts then evolve as I lay more and more layers to it, finally culminating in a test where I ask the ass man to manage the side while I go on holiday. 

So why did I start this series? I reckon there are so many ways of playing this game, the challenge is for people to let go of their preconceived notions of the sport. You may be right in how you see the world of football, but not everyone may share the same view. So I don't expect anyone reading this to think that I am trying to assert a specific style for people to follow. In fact I believe there are many ways to climb this mountain, I just love finding different paths to the top. So take everything I say, consider it, but please, don't ever presume that I am asserting there is only way to play.  This is probably one of the more advanced ways of playing the game. Where we tell beginners not to mess with Team Instructions and Player Instructions, here we are telling players that we can. So one needs to know what they are doing.

Counter Pressing isn't a new thing, the principles have been at play for a long time. The saying "defend from the front" is a form of counter pressing. The whole goal is to win the ball and do something with it. Now in my posts I did say I was looking into mimicking three different styles Sacchi, Guardiola and Klopp, it's possible to do all three, however I also feel they have intrinsic weakness. The objective of this post, isn't to talk about this in isolation but how we can apply it to different systems. The first thing we need to know is whether we can.

KEY REQUIREMENTS

Attributes:
Key Attributes : Teamwork/Work-rate, they need to be +1 above the mean for the league. So if the mean for the premiership is 12, then we want 13. If the mean for non league is 9 then we want 10. These are the two key attributes I look at.

Block Players: In other threads I spoke about the High Block, Medium Block and Low Block. A high block is one where the front attackers do close down much more and hard tackle, a medium block is just close down much more, and I don't play with a Low Block. Players who are required to Block need Teamwork, Work-rate, Composure, Concentration, Passing, Tackling. Where they do not have acceleration they need positioning. I still feel though, that a Counter Pressing system requires that you have players with acceleration, off the ball, stamina. The differences between the quality of block will lie in other attributes, each attribute does different things. A player with all these and high decisions and passing will probably play the good pass after winning the ball. A player with good anticipation positioning and acceleration could probably cover huge tracts of ground and be almost anywhere.  The combination of attributes and player preferred moves just makes the sheer variety of combinations so interesting that simplifying it to a list just seems wrong.

Block players need to get in, they need to close down. When they don't that's the time when you start evaluating them. These players should typically get 5 interceptions a game. If they don't  you need to start observing them in games.  These players will not do pressing for 90 minutes. You can't expect that. What you should be looking for is lane blocking and interceptions. There will be plenty of moments when they look like they are pressing but the key here is to look at whether the lanes are being blocked. If they aren't then you need to start looking at whether it's worth going up a notch in mentality. 

Once I have identified the players then its time to look at our system. I have tested out counter pressing on various systems and they all play differently. 

STRATEGIES

Different Tactics

Tactics handle Counter Pressing in different ways. Any system that is overloaded in front can counter press and leave you with easy balls to pick off in midfield, provided your players work hard.  Systems that have less then 2 in front are challenged with other factors, such as loss of positioning in midfield. If you counter press hard in a 442 that is played on structured you could gift space. So here you could be looking at counter pressing in key areas of the pitch.  We can add this form of pressing into most tactics but it's how we adapt to changes that will see you nett the results you want. I have used elements of counter pressing on all shapes, and it plays out differently. 

When you use counter pressing with a very fluid system, you tend to create systems that will appear to be more congested. This will force you to pick roles. players or both that can make space for others. If you are playing with a narrow system, then it gets that much harder.  Assume you are using a 4312, its narrow, and you go very fluid, then those gets upfront, they usually will have a much harder time. So you need really good players or you need to adapt your system. 

Let me explain:

Let's say you are playing a team thats very good and you have a 4312 or a 433, you've set up a defensive/very fluid system  You're faced with a team thats a lot better than you and seem to be able to attack you along your defensive line easily. You are spending a lot of time in your half. You could change your passing to more direct. You could go to the TI or your system could be embedded with key creative roles that have not had their passing changed. Then once you go direct, only these roles are affected. You could also choose to set your frontline on attack duty. In this case, you could be defending deep, and while you are deep you win the ball. Your transition could be lightning fast because the ball goes to your playmaker and because passes are direct and your attack line is on Attack duty, you could open them up in a hurry. 

You have another option. You could leave everything unchanged and step up mentality and go wide, and then you start observing how deep your backline can go without being isolated by adjusting the defensive line.

And there's yet another option. You could go take a defensive mentality, maintain the short passing PIs, except for a few key players you depend on for key passes.  Make sure that you have at least one support duty in every strata and then go Structured. In this scenario, your team opens up a bit more. Can your players take advantage of the spaces? This will be entirely reliant on what you are playing against. Have you ever noticed the glee in my voice when the AI changes to a 4231, it's like a see "WIN". Whenever I go structured, I am usually worried about the Middle Block. There is a distinct possibility any aggressive closing down opens up too much space.

There are two ways I handle this: If I were playing structured I could use a high block and a low defensive line with a Low Block. Here my midfield is around only to mop up loose passes from the AI. My low defensive line acts like a zone that isolates systems that play with lone forwards or in this case a system that has a distinct attack and defend group. Once again we need to observe how the AI handles transitions, you want to hit the AI when its transition from defence out. In other words I want to force the AI to play the long ball from their backline because their attack is isolated. Here my goal is to make sure their 2 CMs and the two fullbacks don't get to play or influence the game.

Another way of playing it is to go very fluid, and once again like in a previous example, turn my frontline into attack duties with some key players on direct passing.

Counter Pressing in itself works well, when you think things through. It can work with a lot of tactics, but you need to plan the grids where you want the battles to be played out. And you need to observe.

 

 

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Nice work Rashidi i was watching your video Today and try with arsenal defensive- structured tactic.

Brilliant game against Burnley home 5-0 and Cheslea away 5-0. I must admited that opponents havnt chance against me he havent game and thats good for me.

My SS against Chelsea

 

Capture.PNG

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Currently on a verge of a neck break from switching from this to the clasico and again to this. A read as good as the best show in the world :)

Edited by TheJanitor

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1 hour ago, BojanVu said:

Nice work Rashidi i was watching your video Today and try with arsenal defensive- structured tactic.

Brilliant game against Burnley home 5-0 and Cheslea away 5-0. I must admited that opponents havnt chance against me he havent game and thats good for me.

My SS against Chelsea

 

Capture.PNG

Did you make and changes at all or did you use what Rashidi suggested in the video. I never thought the set up would work at home against weaker teams because they are going to sit deep and wait to hit you on the counter. Against Chelsea it would work because they will come at you. Also did you use the narrow 4231 or 4231 wide. 

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31 minutes ago, James9 said:

Did you make and changes at all or did you use what Rashidi suggested in the video. I never thought the set up would work at home against weaker teams because they are going to sit deep and wait to hit you on the counter. Against Chelsea it would work because they will come at you. Also did you use the narrow 4231 or 4231 wide. 

I used suggest from Rashidi 4231 narrow with team and tactic instruction. 

Look at my SS. I playing defensive structured home and away against big a small teams. I am dominant team. My SS speak for yourself. :) I cant believe.

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5 hours ago, Rashidi said:

They bought him over and the Catalans were never going to be the same again. 

This is 100% true.

 

5 hours ago, Rashidi said:

Barcelona is like a breeding ground for tactical development. La Massia, their academy,  as always been serious about good football and they have been hiring great coaches since the 1950s. You remember the Marvellous Magyars, the great Hungarian team of the 50s? Well La Massia roped in three of their players to learn from them.

This is simply false. 

A) Until 1979 La Masia was not an academy. Barcelona was not producing young talents regularly before 80's. And nowadays, to be honest, is not producing top level prospects anymore (Aleña may be the exception). It seems it was something that happened quite randomly, the same way Madrid had Butragueño, Michel, Martin Vazquez (quinta del buitre) in the 80's.

b) Barcelona hasn't been serious about good football. Barcelona won 2 League titles in 30 years, so there is no history of success. The problem during this years (more or less 1960-1990) is that there was no idea behind the club. Only signing (or trying to) the best players available, changing the coach almost every year. Barcelona was a totally loser team, always behind R. Madrid and sometimes Athletic de Bilbao. The way Barcelona plays football nowadays starts with Cruyff manager. Before him, there was no idea. To be honest, I don't like Cruyff but I have to admit he had an idea (not the best, in my opinion, but at least an idea). Before that, as I said, only trying to sign the best players available (Krankl, Neeskens, Schuster, Maradona...) with a slight preference to physical players instead of technical ones.

c) Hungarians. You are talking about Kubala but what you say doesn't match with reality. I don't know where you've read it but it is totally false. You may read a little bit more about "Barça de les Cinc Copes".

 

5 hours ago, Rashidi said:

Xavi explains: "What is the key to this Barcelona? that the majority of us are from this "House", from here, this is our team."

This is totally lost in translation. When Xavi says "House" means "casa" in Catalan which is related to people born in Catalunya. Xavi is secessionist and that's what he is talking about.

Politics are very important in Barcelona. Do you know what "més que un club" means? If you write a word about FC Barcelona you must be aware of it. Otherwise whatever you write will be wrong.

 

 

I'm sure your tactical vision is extremely succesfull in fm, but be aware you initial analysis is absolutely wrong.

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, looping said:

This is 100% true.

 

This is simply false. 

A) Until 1979 La Masia was not an academy. Barcelona was not producing young talents regularly before 80's. And nowadays, to be honest, is not producing top level prospects anymore (Aleña may be the exception). It seems it was something that happened quite randomly, the same way Madrid had Butragueño, Michel, Martin Vazquez (quinta del buitre) in the 80's.

b) Barcelona hasn't been serious about good football. Barcelona won 2 League titles in 30 years, so there is no history of success. The problem during this years (more or less 1960-1990) is that there was no idea behind the club. Only signing (or trying to) the best players available, changing the coach almost every year. Barcelona was a totally loser team, always behind R. Madrid and sometimes Athletic de Bilbao. The way Barcelona plays football nowadays starts with Cruyff manager. Before him, there was no idea. To be honest, I don't like Cruyff but I have to admit he had an idea (not the best, in my opinion, but at least an idea). Before that, as I said, only trying to sign the best players available (Krankl, Neeskens, Schuster, Maradona...) with a slight preference to physical players instead of technical ones.

c) Hungarians. You are talking about Kubala but what you say doesn't match with reality. I don't know where you've read it but it is totally false. You may read a little bit more about "Barça de les Cinc Copes".

 

This is totally lost in translation. When Xavi says "House" means "casa" in Catalan which is related to people born in Catalunya. Xavi is secessionist and that's what he is talking about.

Politics are very important in Barcelona. Do you know what "més que un club" means? If you write a word about FC Barcelona you must be aware of it. Otherwise whatever you write will be wrong.

 

 

I'm sure your tactical vision is extremely succesfull in fm, but be aware you initial analysis is absolutely wrong.

 

 

 

 Wow I should hire you as a fact checker for the forums. 

Guillem Balague in a book where Sir Alex Ferguson wrote the foreword, was my source. He is the author of Pep Guardiola, " Another way of Winning"

 

In the 50's they the Catalans recruited Kubala, Kocsis and Czibor, key members of the best national team in the world. Perhaps I erred in citing them as "coaches", but they certainly wanted to figure out how they were doing it in Hungary. That is what's in Peps Biography. You want me to take an image for you?  Since its offended your sentiments I have removed it.And there is no argument about  the early history of the club. Sid Lowe writes fairy eloquently about the political undertones in " Fear and Loathing in La Liga". I never saw the point of talking about the political rivalry, because that was never my intention. When Xavi mentioned " house" he wasn't just referring to La Massia, he was referring to the whole club every person in it..He called them all "cules", "We're all Barca fans...." - that is why wrote it as "House" and not house.

Maybe I got La Massia and "Academy" confused and my transliteration of Cas was not perfect, but that was apparently the best way Guillem actually could put it in his book.  Yes Barca were nowhere near the levels they were till they brought Cruyff there...or maybe that was lost in translation too. I never once asserted that they were as good as anything in the 50s, in fact Spanish football was a big zero till Cruyff brought them to the modern age..which is why Pep learnt from Cruyff. 

Thank you for correcting the fact that La Massia was not an academy till 1979,that portion I shall remove, . I shall stop talking about this and let this thread go. 

 

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2 hours ago, Rashidi said:

fact Spanish football was a big zero till Cruyff brought them to the modern age..which is why Pep learnt from Cruyff. 

The best club in Football history is Madrid.

Cruyff is more a myth than anything. Cules had to suffer him and his stupid decisions based on his vanity. He tried to win LaLiga with his soon and his son-in-law among other superstars like Escaich, Sanchez Jara or Oscar Arpon. 

Great mind, too much vanity and his results... And Guardiola.. How many things under the hood... Barcelona is extremely related to politics and a lot of information is lost due to this circumstance.

That's not the discussion so I'll better shut up. Not my intention to hijack this thread, I just wanted to provide some context.

 

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Great read as always. Got two episodes left which I'll dive in tomorrow. Can't wait.

 

1 hour ago, looping said:

The best club in Football history is Madrid.

Cruyff is more a myth than anything. Cules had to suffer him and his stupid decisions based on his vanity. He tried to win LaLiga with his soon and his son-in-law among other superstars like Escaich, Sanchez Jara or Oscar Arpon. 

Great mind, too much vanity and his results... And Guardiola.. How many things under the hood... Barcelona is extremely related to politics and a lot of information is lost due to this circumstance.

That's not the discussion so I'll better shut up. Not my intention to hijack this thread, I just wanted to provide some context.

 

HjQAo.gif

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great read as always! :) I've seen the video and you talk about the side midfielders dropping on the wings to cover for attacking wingbacks. I've been struggling to replicate this kind of movement in a consistent fashion with the CM(S), even though team width was maxed out and the workrate for those players was really good. The DM(S) with an instruction to get further forward though does the mezz'ala job to perfection! As I've been saying in my latest thread, it's an incredibly useful role if set-up correctly and ends up even further up the pitch than the CM's(S) do in attacking transitions. Just a thought :)

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5 hours ago, looping said:

The best club in Football history is Madrid.

Cruyff is more a myth than anything. Cules had to suffer him and his stupid decisions based on his vanity. He tried to win LaLiga with his soon and his son-in-law among other superstars like Escaich, Sanchez Jara or Oscar Arpon. 

Great mind, too much vanity and his results... And Guardiola.. How many things under the hood... Barcelona is extremely related to politics and a lot of information is lost due to this circumstance.

That's not the discussion so I'll better shut up. Not my intention to hijack this thread, I just wanted to provide some context.

 

 

Yes Spanish football was a big zero, they hadn't won an international tournament till the Barca influenced national team emerged with their brand of possession football at the Euro. They also became the first side to achieve a EURO-WC-EURO, but who are we to argue to history. Your dislike of Guardiola and his methods are clear, I am indeed grateful that you have opted not to hijack the thread. I have never claimed that his methods are revolutionary. In fact, I believe that there are inherent weaknesses in his system. And these have been exploited by many teams in the past. His time at Manchester City reinforces my view that his systems are entirely dependant on a specific brand of player. This was so evident when Yaya Toure had such a hard time adapting during his time with Pep. 

Thank you for observations, I am sure that readers of the forums are intelligent enough to draw their conclusions, after all we are not here to offer definitive discourses on historical development, but instead offer up insights into how tactical development can be incorporated into the FM game.

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I think the Barca/Cruyff/Pep topic warrants a new thread and it would be really interesting tbh.

As for the Torino diaries, I absolutely love the series and found it very educational. Perhaps the most useful thing for me was the detached way you evaluate your squad.  That is something I've always been reluctant to do, mostly because of my personal biases as a football fan, and my own neurosis of getting too much "into" the game and micromanagement.

It's always difficult to drop your flashy winger or because, on second or third thought, his attributes just don't cut it for the system.  Watching your videos there are times I would disagree with certain choices you would make, but seeing the process of maintaining your systems has been absolutely essential to my own renewed enjoyment of the game.  Keep it up, sir, and thank you for years of valuable input.  I remember your posts from the CM4 days, where you spiced that Screamjet system with tidbits of real life football logic that probably set a lot of us on their way to becoming creative with their tactics. The Torino series should be essential viewing not only for FM, but also football fans.

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Some people are so picky ffs :kriss::D

I've been following this series since day one and I love it. Rashidi is probably one of the very few people that I enjoy listening to and reading about how he plays the game. It's always interesting and informative no matter how much or little you understand the game. He'll be approaching a third decade of helping people in a couple of years, which sounds crazy :lol:

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Am very interested to see the changes between your tactic at the end of season 1 and the one used in the above posts in season 2.

Massive changes or simply subtle tweaks ?

.....  knowing the way you play the game from your posts and videos I'm sure it'll be the latter :)

Its a forum so remember not to have an opinion ..... on anything :brock: :idiot:  

Edited by Fritz13

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So where is the difference in the pressing between Sacchi, Pep and Klopp? And how it is represented in FM in terms of instructions?

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45 minutes ago, yonko said:

So where is the difference in the pressing between Sacchi, Pep and Klopp? And how it is represented in FM in terms of instructions?

There's quite a few differences but replicating them on FM is difficult because the tactic creator isn't very nuanced with pressing. Klopp has his teams press the ball and the space around it whereas Pep prefers his teams to press the passing options

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Hi Rashidi could I ask you when you would use Standard Mentality over say Control Mentality. I see most of games you start with Defensive Menatlity and I wanted to know if you used defensive mentality even when you are at home against weaker opposition or when you away against teams who you expect to beat. 

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3 minutes ago, James9 said:

Hi Rashidi could I ask you when you would use Standard Mentality over say Control Mentality. I see most of games you start with Defensive Menatlity and I wanted to know if you used defensive mentality even when you are at home against weaker opposition or when you away against teams who you expect to beat. 

 

I don't want you to fall into the trap thinking there is one mentality that you should for breaking a team down or another for away, anyone who says that does not know the game. Period.

You can use defensive mentality from start to end and win every match. I once played a team that was relegation bound, they had a counter mentality, I had a defensive mentality. They had 1 shot on goal I had 23. We won the match because we never let them out...they were allowed out of the box. The game is about managing Mentality/Shape/Roles & Duties and Instructions. At its fundamental level if you start any match, your tactic if its been set up well should be enough to win without changes.

What happens in the game, is one of several things:

a. Your team cannot break them down
b. You score and they decide to change mentality and come at you harder..so they change mentality
c. You overwhelm them and score a few and they decide to shut up shop
d. You concede and they shut up shop

 

The AI always adapts. Always. Instead of changing tactics like it used to do in the past, since FM16 (when I really noticed it) it will change mentality and if things don't look good, it will go mentality/shape.

My tactics are set up optimally for my side, actually this season its even crazier. This season I do one or more changes. I start nearly every game Defensive, cos I just love seeing the other team with 20% possession while I stroke the ball around and camp. If I find that its a particular tough side to break down, I may push my defensive line up more, or go wide, but I still say defensive. I will wait patiently. In most cases I win. That happens because I have given a great deal of thought at who plays where. If I see a player fail to close down a zone I expect him to, then I check for outliers (i.e., is he tired, are we leading and is he complacent) We actually had one game where I was leading comfortably by 3-0 and my defender ended up on the wrong side of winger. That allowed the winger a run at my goal. At that point I knew his concentration was off, it was their first attack well into the 70th min.  So I knew in the future, I had to watch him like a hawk. 

In this match, I was playing a relegation bound team, and we broke down a team that was Parking a bus playing a defensive mentality.

There have been matches where I went changed to standard or control. In an ECL match I had, the first half ended 0-0, in fact I think its the Gengen video I put up. I changed mentality and maintained a normal defensive line, we scored 1-0, I went back to defensive and scored 2 more.

I watch each game and adapt, its the best way to play. I only change mentalities, if I think : "Well, this side isn't really coming out to play, let me go Control, but I will pull my defense a bit deep, just in case they try something sneaky like booting a ball behind my boys", Once I score: "Good, now they can come out and play, we can sit back and see how they do, can they come out?" If they can't then I stay on defensive, but like there are some sides, they come out like a hurricane. Then I can't stay too deep, I then decide to push my mentality up and adjust my dine to make it hard.

 

At all times I am organised and extremely hard to break down.

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21 hours ago, yonko said:

So where is the difference in the pressing between Sacchi, Pep and Klopp? And how it is represented in FM in terms of instructions?

The differences are quite a few, I would say that Sacchi and Pep, seem to favour a doctrine of universality, even though Klopp seems to do that , he reminds me of Keegan. Sacchi was attacking orientated, Pep, defensive and Klopp, he's just mad. I will do my best to cover more of this soon.

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Great thread, Rashidi. Really appreciate the content you, Cleon and others provide to help struggeling FMers like myself?. I usually prefere written FM content, but the torino diaries on bustthenet is just quality. Keep up the good work!

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9 hours ago, Rashidi said:

 

I don't want you to fall into the trap thinking there is one mentality that you should for breaking a team down or another for away, anyone who says that does not know the game. Period.

You can use defensive mentality from start to end and win every match. I once played a team that was relegation bound, they had a counter mentality, I had a defensive mentality. They had 1 shot on goal I had 23. We won the match because we never let them out...they were allowed out of the box. The game is about managing Mentality/Shape/Roles & Duties and Instructions. At its fundamental level if you start any match, your tactic if its been set up well should be enough to win without changes.

What happens in the game, is one of several things:

a. Your team cannot break them down
b. You score and they decide to change mentality and come at you harder..so they change mentality
c. You overwhelm them and score a few and they decide to shut up shop
d. You concede and they shut up shop

 

The AI always adapts. Always. Instead of changing tactics like it used to do in the past, since FM16 (when I really noticed it) it will change mentality and if things don't look good, it will go mentality/shape.

My tactics are set up optimally for my side, actually this season its even crazier. This season I do one or more changes. I start nearly every game Defensive, cos I just love seeing the other team with 20% possession while I stroke the ball around and camp. If I find that its a particular tough side to break down, I may push my defensive line up more, or go wide, but I still say defensive. I will wait patiently. In most cases I win. That happens because I have given a great deal of thought at who plays where. If I see a player fail to close down a zone I expect him to, then I check for outliers (i.e., is he tired, are we leading and is he complacent) We actually had one game where I was leading comfortably by 3-0 and my defender ended up on the wrong side of winger. That allowed the winger a run at my goal. At that point I knew his concentration was off, it was their first attack well into the 70th min.  So I knew in the future, I had to watch him like a hawk. 

In this match, I was playing a relegation bound team, and we broke down a team that was Parking a bus playing a defensive mentality.

There have been matches where I went changed to standard or control. In an ECL match I had, the first half ended 0-0, in fact I think its the Gengen video I put up. I changed mentality and maintained a normal defensive line, we scored 1-0, I went back to defensive and scored 2 more.

I watch each game and adapt, its the best way to play. I only change mentalities, if I think : "Well, this side isn't really coming out to play, let me go Control, but I will pull my defense a bit deep, just in case they try something sneaky like booting a ball behind my boys", Once I score: "Good, now they can come out and play, we can sit back and see how they do, can they come out?" If they can't then I stay on defensive, but like there are some sides, they come out like a hurricane. Then I can't stay too deep, I then decide to push my mentality up and adjust my dine to make it hard.

 

At all times I am organised and extremely hard to break down.

Because I play with Arsenal I get a lot of respect and I rarely come across teams who come out at me like a hurricane even the big teams show me some respect. 

I do tend to start defensive/structured normal defensive line. I tend to push the defensive line up and go a bit wider if I am trying to break down a really stubborn team.

Do you ever use defensive fluid/Flexible 

I now only changed to control when I am really struggling to break a team down that is sitting deep. I will also stay on structured and will change to Flexible or Fluid if I need to push more players in the transitions

j just have a question from one of your videos which you used defensive structured and more direct passing and you removed work ball into boxDid you used more direct passing because of the players you had 3 where on Attack duty and did you remove work ball into box because of the more direct passing.

I think you did a video where you had a defensive mentality but still used work ball into box and mixed passing. 

Edited by James9

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6 hours ago, Rashidi said:

The differences are quite a few, I would say that Sacchi and Pep, seem to favour a doctrine of universality, even though Klopp seems to do that , he reminds me of Keegan. Sacchi was attacking orientated, Pep, defensive and Klopp, he's just mad. I will do my best to cover more of this soon.

I'm very curious to read how you've managed to represent that as much as possible in FM.

I've already read somewhere else that at one point your pressing system you were using was strictly based on PIs - much more closing down for the front 3, close down more for the midfield and default for the defense. 3 waves of pressing so to speak. But I don't think this represents any of Sacchi, Pep or Klopp. 

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I am only trying to get the pressing game going. In essence, the goal is to create a pressing style that's unique. If you saw the video, you'd notice that I aim to reduce passing lanes and close down by grids. And that is principally what they all try to do. However the differences between all three styles lie largely on what they do when they have the ball. And that, I am afraid is down to the "decision making" in the engine. It's not something we have absolute control over.


When all 3 managers employ their pressing game, it's to ensure that the opposition don't get to launch counter attacks. That I have achieved. For Pep, its about closing down passing lanes, but give the side the option to maintain their shape and rebuild. That is possible. As far as getting positional flexibility is concerned, it's a lot more complicated, it involves training, ppms. Players need to be flexible in various roles and have to perform these roles in positions they normally aren't in. When you look at Sacchi, he employed several kinds of pressing, partial, total and fake pressing.  

Real life is a lot more complicated than FM, getting FM to reproduce everything is almost impossible. What I am trying to do is to get the essence rather than reproduce the whole thing. It's to achieve the goal of pressing. And if I use that approach, then its a lot easier.

My pressing has not simply been a matter of PI's, its never been that case since day 1. I use a combination of elements in the game to achieve what I want. The video I put up is one where I used a combination, instead of just using PIs. You can't do it with PIs alone I am afraid.

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Stop thinking of mentalities as negative or positive. It's simply about how you use the ball. Why would I drop WBIB? Why would I go direct? It's simple, I go direct cos I have roles that take advantage of them, they get up fast. Then I remove WBIB, cos I want them to drill the box, before the AI can reposition itself. I use strategies in-game to unbalance the opposition.

I have used Defensive/Fluid Defensive/Very Fluid, right up to Attacking/Very Fluid. I am comfortable playing on nearly all settings.  You just need to know how to make use of the space

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1 hour ago, Rashidi said:

Stop thinking of mentalities as negative or positive. It's simply about how you use the ball. Why would I drop WBIB? Why would I go direct? It's simple, I go direct cos I have roles that take advantage of them, they get up fast. Then I remove WBIB, cos I want them to drill the box, before the AI can reposition itself. I use strategies in-game to unbalance the opposition.

I have used Defensive/Fluid Defensive/Very Fluid, right up to Attacking/Very Fluid. I am comfortable playing on nearly all settings.  You just need to know how to make use of the space

Thanks Rashidi thanks for clearing that up for me. The think with Arsenal is they do have good players with intelligence, creative and good first touch. The likes of Sanchez, Ozil and Cazorla come to mind and then they have players who are good all round players. I know I do not like risky football so defensive mentality is fine for me. I also like to have control on what the players are doing and I like them to follow instructions so structured is fine. Now if want to push more players into transitions then I look at Fluid or very fluid but still play a defensive mentality. 

I think I looked at defensive mentality and only thought that weaker teams played defensive football and stronger teams played attacking football. 

I am learning a few things from you

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4 minutes ago, James9 said:

I think I looked at defensive mentality and only thought that weaker teams played defensive football and stronger teams played attacking football. 

 

And therein lies the reason why so many people on the forums have issues.

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6 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

And therein lies the reason why so many people on the forums have issues.

I thought with Arsenal the only way to play was either on Control or Attacking mentality with a fluid shape. I could not understand what was wrong and why my world class players could not perform better. I now understand that you can use a defensive mentality and make it even more attacking than a attacking mentality. I just need to work harder on getting my vision to come to life. 

Now I will only go to attacking fluid when I go in search of goal but I also drop the d Line just in case they try to boot a ball over the top. 

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1 minute ago, James9 said:

I thought with Arsenal the only way to play was either on Control or Attacking mentality with a fluid shape. I could not understand what was wrong and why my world class players could not perform better. I now understand that you can use a defensive mentality and make it even more attacking than a attacking mentality. I just need to work harder on getting my vision to come to life. 

Now I will only go to attacking fluid when I go in search of goal but I also drop the d Line just in case they try to boot a ball over the top. 

I linked you a thread highlighting exactly this months and months ago :seagull: :D

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1 minute ago, Cleon said:

I linked you a thread highlighting exactly this months and months ago :seagull: :D

Sometimes it takes a while to fully understand. Thank you for all the help and support you have given to me and others on the forums. Don't beat yourself up mate you are a good tutor and long may it continue 

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I can't accept that i will manage Arsenal and play defensive football just to beat stubborn teams. This has nothing to do with real life football. Top managers have clear philosophy and 90% they play that way. They will be some games against other top teams that will be more cautious but that's it. Rashidi as has many times stated out knows this game very well and knows how to beat the AI. I am not a fan of the way he plays cause it is unrealistic and has nothing to do with real life football management. The thing you all need to answer especially those who moan about the game is this: Why do i play this game ?

I play it cause i have a clear philosophy and want my team to play the closest i can replicate it on the pitch. I do not mind losing if i play it my way but i would be frustrated if i copied someone else tactic and didn't have a clue for what reason i lost. So i urge all of you who are trying to copy Rashidi,Cleon or other guys on these forums first to understand that you are in charge of the team you manage and it is your decision what tactic,formation players you will choose. 

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6 minutes ago, James9 said:

Now I will only go to attacking fluid when I go in search of goal but I also drop the d Line just in case they try to boot a ball over the top. 

The last part makes no sense to me, why do you need to go attacking/fluid and drop the line????

You can increase DLINE with defensive/any shape.. 

You can change shape --any mentality

YOU can change roles/duties any time

You can sub a player

It all depends on the circumstances and what you want to achieve

Cleon and I have shown over the last 3 decades like so many ways of doing this, but people still think its a function of one thing. 

 

If you go attacking/fluid and drop the dline, yeh thats ok in some circumstances, but what will it do to you under the circumstances of that particular match you are playing..that's why you can do so many things to turn a result, and its the reason why I hate uploading my tactics. Cos people down load the tactic and flood me with emails on how to play it.

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7 minutes ago, fmjeros said:

I can't accept that i will manage Arsenal and play defensive football just to beat stubborn teams. This has nothing to do with real life football. Top managers have clear philosophy and 90% they play that way. They will be some games against other top teams that will be more cautious but that's it. Rashidi as has many times stated out knows this game very well and knows how to beat the AI. I am not a fan of the way he plays cause it is unrealistic and has nothing to do with real life football management. The thing you all need to answer especially those who moan about the game is this: Why do i play this game ?

I play it cause i have a clear philosophy and want my team to play the closest i can replicate it on the pitch. I do not mind losing if i play it my way but i would be frustrated if i copied someone else tactic and didn't have a clue for what reason i lost. So i urge all of you who are trying to copy Rashidi,Cleon or other guys on these forums first to understand that you are in charge of the team you manage and it is your decision what tactic,formation players you will choose. 

OMG where does setting defensive mentality = playing defensive football?

 

Ok if I show you stats that showed this:

Real Madrid 0 - 1 Torino 
35% vs 65%
2 Shots on goal vs 20 shots on goal

That match was me playing with a defensive mentality, true, but I also controlled the match, all areas of the pitch, allowed them no counter attacks, instead I was the one to control the match and pepper them with goals. It's because you are so rigid in your own definitions of the game that you can't see the possibilities that lie in front of you.

 

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1 minute ago, fmjeros said:

I can't accept that i will manage Arsenal and play defensive football just to beat stubborn teams. This has nothing to do with real life football. Top managers have clear philosophy and 90% they play that way. They will be some games against other top teams that will be more cautious but that's it. Rashidi as has many times stated out knows this game very well and knows how to beat the AI. I am not a fan of the way he plays cause it is unrealistic and has nothing to do with real life football management. The thing you all need to answer especially those who moan about the game is this: Why do i play this game ?

I play it cause i have a clear philosophy and want my team to play the closest i can replicate it on the pitch. I do not mind losing if i play it my way but i would be frustrated if i copied someone else tactic and didn't have a clue for what reason i lost. So i urge all of you who are trying to copy Rashidi,Cleon or other guys on these forums first to understand that you are in charge of the team you manage and it is your decision what tactic,formation players you will choose. 

I accept your comment but I do not like playing risky football and I prefer to have more control on what my team is doing. I see your point about Arsenal because I felt the same that Arsenal should be playing lovely attacking football all the time. But in real life that is why Arsene Wenger struggles because he his stuuck in is ways of playing attacking football all the time. You see most teams in the league just wait for Arsenal to make a mistake and then boom they score 

i chose to play defensive because I want to play risk free football

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Fact is defensive mentality = Make good use of the ball when you have it, and move well

Attacking Mentality = Take chances do anything you want with the ball, and how you move.

Wolves.jpg

This is Wolves first game with me in charge playing defensive mentality, but does it look like defensive football, if you were watching the game, it wouldn't

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Well defensive mentality certainly means defensive football - i really can't help you if you don't understand this. There are variations of defensive football Simeone, Mourinho but it is defensive football! Keep men behind the ball and try to launch quick counter attacks. In real life when you play defensive you do not have possession, in FM when you play defensive you end up with better possession most of times, that is unrealistic and needs to be addressed. 

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7 minutes ago, fmjeros said:

Well defensive mentality certainly means defensive football - i really can't help you if you don't understand this. There are variations of defensive football Simeone, Mourinho but it is defensive football! Keep men behind the ball and try to launch quick counter attacks. In real life when you play defensive you do not have possession, in FM when you play defensive you end up with better possession most of times, that is unrealistic and needs to be addressed. 

OMG you don't understand the GAME!!!! This is not about  your or my understanding of real football.  Or do you have a serious issue reading what I say and interpreting it?  I have said it a 100 times and I will not say it again. DEFENSIVE MENTALITY In the game assigns how you use the ball, it doesn't = DEFENSIVE football. Only narrow-minded people like you see it that way

 

Just think about this way. If I were to upload at a tactic, and just put the screenshots up, and said this is a winning tactic. Would u think that those stats were produced playing counter attacking football or attacking football? When a side plays deep and counter attacks, it typically has low possession and hits side off the break. A side that controls areas of the pitch and produces high possession and shots, may seem attacking. Would you after downloading the tactic see defensive mentality , and think "oh **** this is a counter attacking tactic?" then if is I can't help u

 

 

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First of all i didn't ask for your help. And secondly as i said in my first post i know that your aim is to beat the AI something that i do not agree. I completely understand the game has serious flaws and it is something that needs to be done about it. 

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22 minutes ago, fmjeros said:

Well defensive mentality certainly means defensive football - i really can't help you if you don't understand this. There are variations of defensive football Simeone, Mourinho but it is defensive football! Keep men behind the ball and try to launch quick counter attacks. In real life when you play defensive you do not have possession, in FM when you play defensive you end up with better possession most of times, that is unrealistic and needs to be addressed. 

A classic mistake of mistaking defensive mentality for defensive football. They're different things. Mentality is the base which your team works from, so choosing a defensive mentality will mean players work the ball better with less risk as opposed to an attacking mentality. Mentality does not equate keeping players behind the ball. It's about risk more than anything not positioning, that is determined by roles and duties. A player in a defensive mentality will not be that much different from his starting positioning compared to someone on an attacking mentality. Roles and duties influence this more than anything else.

Look at me dominating the game here by passing and moving, passing and moving. We aren't taking risks for the sake of it, instead we are playing patient football and probing the opposition waiting for an opening. We commit men forward, we have people making intelligent runs. If there is no chance on we recycle the ball.

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19 minutes ago, fmjeros said:

First of all i didn't ask for your help. And secondly as i said in my first post i know that your aim is to beat the AI something that i do not agree. I completely understand the game has serious flaws and it is something that needs to be done about it. 

yes the first thing SI should do is stop calling those Settings Defensive - Attacking, and that I totally agree with you. 

I don't see how beating the AI is something that is wrong, thats just confusing me. Unless you think I am "gaming" the engine, then I completely disagree. People ask how is it possible for the AI to come back and hammer me, it changes mentality. People ask why is it that the AI midfielders always drop back to support and mine, don't, answer its mentality., So yeah I agree the biggest flaw in the game at the moment is mis-labelling cos that is where all the confusion is coming from. And yes it is ultimately your vision as a manager that you want to translate into the game. I was addressing James9 for your information. He wanted to know how he could attack well and defend well at the same time. And that answer has everything to do with how you set up mentality, shouts, roles and duties

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And i quote from the in-game description as to what is defensive mentality: This mentality is best employed for matches that you are favorites to lose and in which you expect your opponent to put you under extended pressure. It aims to keep men behind the ball, to restrict space in your half, to slow things down and to frustrate the opposition. It relies on direct balls to the forwards followed by sharp and quick passing to score goals on the counter.

Pretty accurate and similar to real life defensive football. But then comes someone like Cleon or Rashidi ( which i respect for the help you have given to the FM community) and says hey don't be silly you can play defensive and dominate games, it is risk free football. I certainly can't argue with what you are saying but i cannot accept that it is realistic. And when i play this game i try to play it in realistic football terms.

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2 minutes ago, fmjeros said:

And i quote from the in-game description as to what is defensive mentality: This mentality is best employed for matches that you are favorites to lose and in which you expect your opponent to put you under extended pressure. It aims to keep men behind the ball, to restrict space in your half, to slow things down and to frustrate the opposition. It relies on direct balls to the forwards followed by sharp and quick passing to score goals on the counter.

Pretty accurate and similar to real life defensive football. But then comes someone like Cleon or Rashidi ( which i respect for the help you have given to the FM community) and says hey don't be silly you can play defensive and dominate games, it is risk free football. I certainly can't argue with what you are saying but i cannot accept that it is realistic. And when i play this game i try to play it in realistic football terms.

Like I said earlier, which you need to learn how to read, is SI needs to stop "mislabelling things" and giving people the wrong impression. In-game descriptions of many things are off, and these need to be fixed.

 

This is my explanation of mentality:

This defines everything about how your team plays. The first thing you need to understand is that mentality affects how much risk a team is willing to take to score goals. The lower the mentality the less risk they are willing to accept. The higher it is the more chances a side will take to score a goal. It also affects these areas:

    •    Tempo

    •    Width

    •    Passing Direction

    •    Time wasting

    •    Defensive line

    •    Closing down

 

So whenever you increase your mentality you will increase tempo, width, change your style of passing, reduce time wasting, increase your defensive line and closing down. A team playing at counter mentality is likely to take less risks passing the ball around than one that is playing on an attacking mentality. If you use the Team Instruction Retain Possession with that shout, you will encourage the side to keep the ball more, using this shout will reduce tempo and passing directness. A team can play possession football with an any mentality too, but this requires that you may specific changes to passing directness and telling key players to take less risks when passing. So while the attacking players are willing to take chances, those on support and defensive duty will be more risk averse.

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