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santy001

Turning Goals to Possession

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For this FM I've moved my line of thinking to a stance of not how I can attack the opponent so much, nor how I can defend against them, but rather how I can mould and shape how they attack me. It works, in general 

I started out with a standard 4-4-1-1 with the two central midfield positions being defensive roles, before moving to a 4-1-4-1 (support on the DM, Defend on one CM, attacking role on the other) and eventually came to settle on a 4-4-2 with 2 DM's.

1ac18022538ff997c6625177b6a88999.png

Here's the tactical options:

c4fd3e8aaf1667a441bfcb52dd44c208.png

It's probably quite immediately obvious how this tactic defends, the passing preference varies from short to direct but the width is only ever fairly narrow or narrow. It pushes teams either out wide and cuts off their short passing options inside, and generally once they come inside they're just surrounded by bodies. 

When it works well it tends to work like this:

4-1 win over Tottenham:
https://i.gyazo.com/5d0fd9bae14048c05b3872e908145030.png

5-1 win over Braga:
https://i.gyazo.com/f76b4f8bc125133b6eb481ef6d391608.png

The Tactics Strengths

The tactic causes most teams to waste a lot of effort, and it certainly helps to create frustration and other morale issues for the opposing team to miss so many chances. By allowing them to play as freely as they want for around two thirds of the pitch it can lead to the opposition becoming more drained than my own team because once their eventual attack breaks down this goes straight for the throat. I don't know if I'd quite class it as a counter attack formation, it certainly wasn't designed to be that, it was designed to control how the opposition attacks and then wield the hammer whenever possible to smash the opponent. The Braga game is probably more indicative of this, even with far less passes the amount of actual attacks were more than Braga managed.

So What's the Issue?

Wonder goals aside, the biggest problem is once you have the lead it's not wise to keep inviting pressure and there needs to be an outlet or means in which to retain the ball. It's very easy just try and keep the ball only to pin yourself in, get closed down and collapse which is the biggest issue I've had. On the flip side, keep pushing the attacks constantly and you are open to a counter. When the full flow of an attack is in place, if its build-up is delayed then a slow attack will see 5 players quite high up the pitch. The aim is to suck the life out of the game, but I'm not quite sure how to go about that.

For the comedy value, here's an example of where I did get it spectacularly wrong, by deciding to try and play for a draw before kick-off.

4-0 defeat against Man Utd:

https://i.gyazo.com/99eeb305de17bf6a2ed278a9a831e173.png

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Looks like you were lucky to get away with just 4 goals vs Man Utd.  Ouch.

Rather than type out a long answer I'll link the following taken from my 4-4-2 thread.  I went through a similar process when taking on attacking teams (Man City is used as the example) and you may find some of things I discuss sound familiar.  https://community.sigames.com/topic/364527-developing-my-4-4-2/?do=findComment&comment=228775

You also mention having an outlet when facing this kind of constant pressure.  With your 2 central midfielders sitting so deep, without changing formation I guess the possible outlets become either the wings and/or the strikers.  Clear ball to flanks along with exploit the flanks may be an option, and perhaps even setting the DLF as a TM instead to encourage longer or more direct clearances.  However, keeping a playmaker role in the centre may reduce the effectiveness as your players could look to get the ball to him first a little too often before the ball gets played wide or up to the TM.  

Thinking about it, that might be all it could take - just change the RPM role to, say, a DM(S) with suitable PIs to reduce how often your team try to play through the playmaker when under so much pressure.

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I don't mind too much adjusting the formation. The experience I had was once I brought the two DM's up I was very easily overrun by opposition with 3-man central midfield, whether that was a DM & 2 CM's or a CM & 2 AM's. 

I assume Man City are playing with a similar set-up in that screenshot, but I notice you do have a marker on each of the 3 (or at least Toure is being closed down, with all others being marked) which one of the problems I encountered was just not getting that to happen once I pushed the line up. It quickly became a situation of piggy in the middle with my 2 midfielders getting pulled apart by teams with 3. 

I will try a switch to DM(s) once I'm next in the lead.

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Have you tried starting difficult matches on defensive-fluid ? I thought it would invite pressure but it works most of the time for me, less riskier approach and keeps possession better. 

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The start of games isn't so much of an issue, neither is potentially going behind early. Quick attacks help stretch opponents who are looking to sit and defend quite well, particularly as this kind of play naturally tends to draw even opponents playing conservatively high up the pitch.

When the passing success rate is below 70% its quite hard to control the game, when its below 60% its almost certainly a case the tactic is being overwhelmed and shut-down at every turn and a defeat is on the cards without some dramatic changes. 

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I still don't understand how you want to play the games out, you say you want to frustrate the opposition, so I assume you want to control possession and then hit them hard when you have the chance? So do you want to sit deep and control one third of the pitch or control most of the pitch? You are playing on the Attacking  setting which does encourage your team to play with a lot more risk. This could lead to a turnover of possession, furthermore the way your DMs are positioned, you could soak and hit them really hard. So I just want to try and understand how the mentality setting gells with your goals. I am asking because I don't really see the connection

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7 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

I still don't understand how you want to play the games out, you say you want to frustrate the opposition, so I assume you want to control possession and then hit them hard when you have the chance? So do you want to sit deep and control one third of the pitch or control most of the pitch? You are playing on the Attacking  setting which does encourage your team to play with a lot more risk. This could lead to a turnover of possession, furthermore the way your DMs are positioned, you could soak and hit them really hard. So I just want to try and understand how the mentality setting gells with your goals. I am asking because I don't really see the connection

I struggle with the terminology 'direct passing'... as a TI the spectrums are short vs direct so I would take direct to mean 'long ball' ... but that doesn't really tie in with the attacking mentality playing [paraphrase] direct football where you expect to dominate...

Lets use long ball man Pullis as example... I wouldn't call his Stoke or West Brom teams attacking, far from it.. but they play extremely direct. it's about low block, compact defense... clearing the ball long to TM or even just into space on the flanks (Rugby territory style), winning throw ins, corners, free kicks and then committing the big men forward.

So is short vs direct more about ... risk... shorter being simple, easy risk free passing... direct being higher risk ... such as through balls, cross field balls.

What's your interpretation of the direct style mentioned in the attacking mentality and how does it help you dominate in the final third opposed to say ... a low tempo short passing style?

thanks

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Direct does not mean long ball, there is a long ball setting in the game and its not direct. If you want long ball then its risk-free lob the ball out. If you direct passing, its accurate high tempo passing to specific people or directed spaces. It's actually harder to pull off. In the TI the settings are generally on the direct side. Personally I think Direct is very risky passing, if you don't have the players to pull it off. It can be great for Structured systems, but the passing needs to be applied through PI not left to the TC, cos if you left it to the TC, the whole team thinks they are Beckham.

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@santy001 when I look at that I think the short passing and normal tempo contradict your 'attacking mentality' as it states it's all about high tempo and direct passing. Was it a conscientious decision to go that way ... if so what is the thought process behind the attacking mentality?

As a sub point... if I choose a certain player role ... some PIs are fixed or unavailable... if the above is a contradiction... why aren't some TIs likewise fixed/unavailable based on the strategy we select. i.e. if I choose Overload can I really use the TIs low tempo, short passing, retain possession... (wait as I write this I think some are unavailable). but even with direct it should limit some of the TI spectrums.

edit: by conscientious I know you obviously meant to select those instructions... but was it a case of treating each as isolated and not thinking of the bigger picture... or did you think ... well high tempo makes sense with attacking football... but I'm choosing normal because of reason 'X'

Edited by westy8chimp

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37 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

I still don't understand how you want to play the games out, you say you want to frustrate the opposition, so I assume you want to control possession and then hit them hard when you have the chance? So do you want to sit deep and control one third of the pitch or control most of the pitch? You are playing on the Attacking  setting which does encourage your team to play with a lot more risk. This could lead to a turnover of possession, furthermore the way your DMs are positioned, you could soak and hit them really hard. So I just want to try and understand how the mentality setting gells with your goals. I am asking because I don't really see the connection

The aim behind the shape of the team is to control how the opposition attacks me. Trying to leave false space for opponents to attack without it being much of a threat, which is very far out-wide or through the middle but with two banks of four coming to rest in front of them. I figure that with a fairly sensible shape and set-up the attacking and actual defending processes themselves take care of themselves, so influencing how the opposition can attack you allows you to really impose a structure on the game.

From there, the only purpose is once we have the ball to attack. Milik/Jokkelainen/Bojan fill the DLF position, offering different options. 

 

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I'm actually playing nearly the same as you.  Theory is the same (defend the middle strongly and let the opposition tire themselve out) but instead of attacking/fluid I play very structured/counter.  What it does is let my attackers focus purely on attack and the defenders become focus on defending.  You do need playmakers though so there is someone who will create and transition.  I actually plumped for a RPM too.  With this formation you need to fill the space in front of the DM's.  I do this by telling them to get further forward.  I also try and play a lot wider via exploit both flanks and clear ball to flanks but I am now playing very narrow as well.  What I am hoping is it will allow me to still be strong in defence but allow space for counter attacks.

The last thing I did was put a trequartista in a striker role.  The players I have used here are Besart Berisha and Robbie Kruse.  Neither of these players fit the mould of trequartista but I didn't want them to.  I wanted them to be a target for the ball to be played to without drawing the ball like a targetman does.  If you did go down this path I would have the player learn to play a simple passing game if he can't thread a pass, otherwise, use the role as a position to draw the ball before the other striker (for example) pounces.

 

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I agree with Nick, I would favour a structured system with specific good passers on direct. I now understand what you are trying. 

You want to lure them in and hit em like a coiled snake full of venom. I like the idea a lot. Damn now u want me to go to make one.

I would look at counter or standard structured and make sure those that receive have attack duties. Structured gives you more space to exploit. 

You would have two ways of playing with and without ball. With ball you could keep the back line on short passing, if ur fullback has good decisions vision and passing give him the option of launching those balls along with one player in the DM group.

That should also take care of without ball. Cos if you counter u have 2 players who can play the killer ball.

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Indeed, it's not so much a case of looking to sit back and see what happens from there but rather "Here's your space, go attack it" followed by the aim that as soon as my team gets the ball, we go for the kill. 

I need a chance to have a bit more of a play around and see whether these tweaks are enough to resolve the strange weakness that exists when there is only a 1 or 2 goal lead. It can be good fun to play this way though, the Tottenham game and Braga game were completely under control despite all the stats suggesting the opposite. They would try to build through the middle, get just into my half, go wide, and then either shoot long or it would break down. It's very interesting to watch how it works because naturally players move into the available space, and you're leaving it there for them, just so that when you do get the ball as many of their players are out of position as possible.

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This "strange weakness" you talk about, what is it? For me personally when I take a one goal lead it can be a bit taxing, as I am waiting for the AI to change to Attacking/Fluid and have a go, it sometimes goes Overload and very fluid, which is like the ultimate extreme of the AI and how it plays. I find that whenever the AI is chasing a goal, if it is the Favourite for the match, it will throw everything at you. When I was managing clubs where that was the case, it was pretty common. This does require a change in shouts, if you were attacking to begin with, at the very least a drop in defensive line. Your system it would seem is built to defend and perhaps play for those I nil games. I daresay the fun begins in the 85th min.

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It's when I actually switch to a more see-the-game-out mentality. Or try to. Perhaps its a lack of bravery on my own behalf to persevere with the formation as it is. It typically tends to be carved apart quite quickly when I try and keep the ball a little more. I was actually pushing the defensive line up though, in an attempt to compress defence & midfield in an attempt to make it so there would be more readily available passing options.

The most recent example was against West Brom, I conceded early on with direct passing as a TI (passing success rate was around 55%, so immediately changed it back to short) and then quickly took a 2-1 lead. My team were having more possession and even though I had the lead it didn't feel quite right so I pushed the defensive line-up and tried to retain possession. It was followed by quickly conceding 2 goals. 

Seeing whether some simple augments to the base system are probably a better bet than trying to impose an entirely different approach on the side though having read some posts here. 

In regards to late game, the chances are if I get there winning its a formality because strangely enough this style of play seems to exhaust opposition teams (an awful lot of goals come 70th minute onwards) Manchester City finished a game against me recently that was 1-0 to them thanks to an Aguero wondergoal but the majority of their team were sub-60% condition, while my own team were above 70%. Is the opposition morale visible in any way during a game, or the same of assistant feedback on the opposition players? I've wondered if being able to force an opponent into so many wasteful shots causes the opposition to end up underperforming through frustration with themselves. 

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In essence the very style that you are trying to achieve is holding you back. However a simple change in roles should suffice, along with judiciously applying  the "use less risky pass" option, alternatively you could use the retain possession shout. Personally I don't think raising a defensive line is usually the right move to see a game out, its more a shout to compress the pitch and deny another team kinda shout. If you raise the defensive line, you are already playing with 2 DMs just seems to make the space on the right harder to defend, because their Closing Down kicks in during the lower third transitions. So you have a few options with roles as well, Support roles should see them push out a bit, and you could have PI stay deep, you kinda make this guy into a box to box defensive midfielder.

There is usually a mentality that you will be comfortable with, considering the fact that you are playing with DMs I reckon playing at least on standard/structured should be fine with a normal defensive line, and perhaps the retain possession shout. The shout in essence removes the Try through balls option, that does have the undesired effect of you removing it from everyone. However if its a proper AI induced counterattack, they will play along their own logic and be immune to the shouts.

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21 hours ago, Rashidi said:

I agree with Nick, I would favour a structured system with specific good passers on direct. I now understand what you are trying. 

You want to lure them in and hit em like a coiled snake full of venom. I like the idea a lot. Damn now u want me to go to make one.

I would look at counter or standard structured and make sure those that receive have attack duties. Structured gives you more space to exploit. 

You would have two ways of playing with and without ball. With ball you could keep the back line on short passing, if ur fullback has good decisions vision and passing give him the option of launching those balls along with one player in the DM group.

That should also take care of without ball. Cos if you counter u have 2 players who can play the killer ball.

I just adjusted the tactic I was using along the lines you mentioned here - gee it is a lot more stable!  More possession and a hell of a lot more damaging!

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This weekend I'm finally going to get some FM time back to try and play around with this. With a new match engine as well, it'll be interesting to see if the success I was getting was due to it actually being some semblance of a reasonable approach, or if it was just getting the better of some element of the ME/AI.

There was the mention before about what more direct passing means, and the impression I get from that is it essentially boils down to more risky passing right? Rather than just looking to go forward, it may look for a more dangerous pass to try, but with better potential pay-off? 

So that raises the question about route one football, its something that I'll be honest, I've never used in FM. How does that play out? With a relatively handy targetman like Milik (or Finnish youngster Jokelainen) could pose an interesting option as well.

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17 minutes ago, santy001 said:

This weekend I'm finally going to get some FM time back to try and play around with this. With a new match engine as well, it'll be interesting to see if the success I was getting was due to it actually being some semblance of a reasonable approach, or if it was just getting the better of some element of the ME/AI.

There was the mention before about what more direct passing means, and the impression I get from that is it essentially boils down to more risky passing right? Rather than just looking to go forward, it may look for a more dangerous pass to try, but with better potential pay-off? 

So that raises the question about route one football, its something that I'll be honest, I've never used in FM. How does that play out? With a relatively handy targetman like Milik (or Finnish youngster Jokelainen) could pose an interesting option as well.

yes as previously in this topic -  I was particularly interested because I thought Direct equated to long ball.. purely because it's the other end of the spectrum from Short. (maybe short should be called 'safe'). Rashidi corrected me that direct is related to risk taking not long ball... but eluded to the fact there was a long ball option... so I assume he is pointing me to 'go route one'. Likewise I've never used it... seems to come with a 'desperation' connotation.

What I'd like to know therefore, is a classical long ball strategy (diagonal long passes to a TM or full backs playing long balls down the flanks into territorial space) implement-able? I may answer my own question and go build a tactic...

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There's no set mentality now really for how I'm playing, it slides along the scale from defensive to attacking, but I did change the tactic to structured or highly structured (going for highly against stronger opposition).

9fe9b5ddf18ab58d41c212ed4f076525.png

The goals have actually slowed down a little, but the games are a lot more controlled, a lot more organised. I don't really have any great passers in my side, Joe Allen is probably the best but he is 29 and just come back off a very lengthy 9 month injury. 

796f44f8610f8faab82df0b943cd0c7b.png

So I've used him in the RPM position and it's been a pretty big success. Only 3 defeats in all competitions, two from before the latest session and one against Man Utd. Only a narrow 1-0 loss, and I halved the shot count from the last screenshot, although my DM getting sent off after 12 minutes made that game a lot harder to try and control. Especially as we were already 1-0 down by the time he got sent off.

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I meant to revisit this a touch earlier.  I have adjusted my winger to a WMa with dribble more, cross more often, cross from byline, sit narrower and run wide with ball.  This may look like a typical winger (it nearly is) but I had begun to notice there was space inside while my winger was trying to work the sideline.  I can't ask him to sit narrower as a winger so made the role of the 'narrow winger' so he could receive the ball then move wide for dribbling and crossing.  This adjustment really helped retain a bit more possession when coming down the right wing.  it may also help for you too.

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