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looping

How to become a total failure

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Following the advice given, I stopped playing for a while.

I came back to fm and nothing has changed. First save, sacked again at the end of the season. I started well and at some point again conceding an outrageous amount of goals. No matter what I do I conced in every match at least 1 goal.

I started another save and what I'm going to do now is to analyze every goal conceded until I find out what exactly happened in each of them. I am already doing that and I've made some adjustments but I have no idea what's wrong here.

There is something wrong because it happened 4 times during the match. I know I didn't conced but it is a clear pattern and I have no idea what is wrong:

https://vid.me/PMRe

 

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I watched your video. Your team looks as if you're playing an arcade game without a "working" tackle button.

Your defending players are like covering for the sake of covering.

By the way Eskisehirspor is a very weak team compared to Malaga.

I want to ask you a question. Could you please try hiring a good assistant manager and let him control the matches just to have an idea?

We could offer manny stuff but we have no idea about your tactic screen.

Or you may just search online for a proper underdog counter tactic, including player type and role and shape your team in a discipline.

Previous years there were patterns in some occasions that you over and over conceede but latest games haven't seen anything like this often.

If you want a short answer put a good defensive midfielder in front of your 4 defenders, tackle hard, narrow your team in the pitch and close more.

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6 minutes ago, sipsi said:

I watched your video. Your team looks as if you're playing an arcade game without a "working" tackle button.

Your defending players are like covering for the sake of covering.

Me too. My players just watch. I've said it in the past, at some point, my players don't defend, just watch the opponent score.

6 minutes ago, sipsi said:

By the way Eskisehirspor is a very weak team compared to Malaga.

Yes.

6 minutes ago, sipsi said:

I want to ask you a question. Could you please try hiring a good assistant manager and let him control the matches just to have an idea?

How can I let my assman to control the matches?

7 minutes ago, sipsi said:

We could offer manny stuff but we have no idea about your tactic screen.

Malaga_  Vista general.png

PI: Camacho hold position, Recio get further forward

9 minutes ago, sipsi said:

Or you may just search online for a proper underdog counter tactic, including player type and role and shape your team in a discipline.

I used downloaded tactics and I lose anyway.

10 minutes ago, sipsi said:

Previous years there were patterns in some occasions that you over and over conceede but latest games haven't seen anything like this often.

If you want a short answer put a good defensive midfielder in front of your 4 defenders, tackle hard, narrow your team in the pitch and close more.

Dm(su) have tackle harder PI by default.

Recio and Camacho:

Recio_ Overview Profile.pngIgnacio Camacho_ Overview Profile.png

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Here is what I'd to stay in top 10 in La Liga;(haven't played La Liga this year)

4 - 1 - 2 - 3 Control, Flexible,slightly higher defence, slightly wider, closing down more, tackle hard, short passing, clear the ball to flanks, use both wings. Your wingers with support duty. Just arrange your crosses fast and try a striker with good anticipation and of the ball.

Just don't use two defensive midfielders in front of defence. It doesn't work in this version. You should attack well to defend.

I think your issue is mainly your attacking not your defence. Just retain possession and you won't conceede. I will write in detailed when i have time.

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7 minutes ago, sipsi said:

Just don't use two defensive midfielders in front of defence. It doesn't work in this version. 

Somebody has won La Liga in their first season with a promoted Getafe using just that so it can work

Edited by LATB

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8 minutes ago, sipsi said:

Here is what I'd to stay in top 10 in La Liga;(haven't played La Liga this year)

4 - 1 - 2 - 3 Control, Flexible,slightly higher defence, slightly wider, closing down more, tackle hard, short passing, clear the ball to flanks, use both wings. Your wingers with support duty. Just arrange your crosses fast and try a striker with good anticipation and of the ball.

Just don't use two defensive midfielders in front of defence. It doesn't work in this version. You should attack well to defend.

I think your issue is mainly your attacking not your defence. Just retain possession and you won't conceede. I will write in detailed when i have time.

 

Just now, LATB said:

Somebody has won La Liga with Getafe using just that so it can work

It is not really important if it works or not, because I don't want to play a 4-1-2-3 for the same reason I don't want to use 3 cb or play strikerless: it's not how I want to play.

4 defenders, double pivot, two men down the flanks and upfront a linker and a scorer. This is not optional.

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Bringing this back to my initial purpose, I'd like to get more answers about what happened in the video I posted.

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Just now, looping said:

4 defenders, double pivot, two men down the flanks and upfront a linker and a scorer. This is not optional.

I was saying that two defensive midfielder has been proven to work in tis version, nothing to with a 4-1-2-3 ? You must have misread me.

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4 minutes ago, LATB said:

I was saying that two defensive midfielder has been proven to work in tis version, nothing to with a 4-1-2-3 ? You must have misread me.

You are right. Sorry for that.

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My adivce to you is since you are not very good at game.....try playing for a rich club with good squad and who does not have lofty ambitions in first season....

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1 minute ago, abhid30007 said:

My adivce to you is since you are not very good at game.....try playing for a rich club with good squad and who does not have lofty ambitions in first season....

I have already tried and I'm sacked anyway. In every save is the same, at some point, I start conceding an outrageous amount of goals and nothing can be done. I tried with Arsenal and Milan and I've been sacked in every single save.

Again, I'd like to know what's wrong in the video I posted.

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I have the exact same problem from your video. I was going to post it in the forums some day. 

The difference is I play a high pressing game, so I don`t know why the defenders simply contemplate the attackers.

I play standard - very fluid with the highest D-line possible, press down much more, tighter marking, prevent gk distribution. I was thinking on ask them to get stuck in, but I think it is too match. The system is a 4-1-2-3 DM Wide. And the roles of the midfielders are DM (D), CM (A), CM (S).

I actually wrote down the problem from a recent match:

Defence stands high, but midfielders or "pressing" players don't try to steal the ball to the attackers, they step in front of them watching them and giving time to the opponents to do a dangerous move/pass. Whenever they try a tackle it is a fault. The play always result in a pass at the back of my defence or to a free player who got the time to do a offensive move to be unmarked.

EDIT: By the way, the pressing players from the midfield have very high points in work rate, teamwork, determination and sacrifice

Edited by bosque

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What's wrong in the video?

Your team didn't press or tackle because it's a preseason friendly and your midfielders are both supposed to sit deep anyway, and the opposition had a shot, which generally happens more than once a game even if your tactics are perfect, particularly as they appear to be playing with two strikers

Edited by enigmatic

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@looping, try to add close down (much) less to CBs (because your CBR has lost a position before their striker broke into the penalty zone) and add press more in TI (+ maybe higher DL) (or go Control) and tackle harder.

Edited by cfkllasdfaslkdfj

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4 minutes ago, enigmatic said:

Your team didn't press or tackle because it's a preseason friendly and your midfielders are all supposed to sit deep anyway and the opposition had a shot, which generally happens more than once a game even if your tactics are perfect.

I accept to receive long shots. In fact, I want to sit deep and force the opponent to take long shots. I don't care if they score from long shots. It's the deal.

The problem here is this was not a long shot. This was a pass behind my defense. I happened 3 or 4 times (i've recorded 3). These are ccc, alone in front of my gk, not long shots which, I repeat, i accept and in fact I'm trying to force.

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7 minutes ago, bosque said:

I have the exact same problem from your video. I was going to post it in the forums some day. 

The difference is I play a high pressing game, so I don`t know why the defenders simply contemplate the attackers.

I play standard - very fluid with the highest D-line possible, press down much more, tighter marking, prevent gk distribution. I was thinking on ask them to get stuck in, but I think it is too match. The system is a 4-1-2-3 DM Wide. And the roles of the midfielders are DM (D), CM (A), CM (S).

I actually wrote down the problem from a recent match:

Defence stands high, but midfielders or "pressing" players don't try to steal the ball to the attackers, they step in front of them watching them and giving time to the opponents to do a dangerous move/pass. Whenever they try a tackle it is a fault. The play always result in a pass at the back of my defence or to a free player who got the time to do a offensive move to be unmarked.

EDIT: By the way, the pressing players from the midfield have very high points in work rate, teamwork, determination and sacrifice

Watching and re watchig the video, I think, and I can certainly be mistaken, my dm are closing down too much, losing shape and leaving gapes, so my cb have to step out and leave more gaps.

But, again, i can certainly be mistaken and I'd like to hear more opinions

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4 minutes ago, cfkllasdfaslkdfj said:

@looping, try to add close down (much) less to CBs (because your CBR has lost a position before their striker broke into the penalty zone) and add press more in TI (+ maybe higher DL) (or go Control) and tackle harder.

I agree, but this send us directly to this:

When your players are not closing down, thats a function of their defensive line and how far they are from their "trigger point". When you are playing any game, you should be looking to identify these trigger zones, and these invariably are a function of mentality and defensive line. To this day I HAVE NEVER USED the closing down slider in the TI, there is absolutely no need to mess with it.

Default is fine. The CD is balanced well already, the only reason they will go in early is if your midfielders are poor. In other words if you see them leave their lines to soon, then its the MC who you need to focus on. Why are they not picking the players up in time?

Not my words. @Rashidi

https://community.sigames.com/topic/385032-learning-how-to-play/?page=3

That's why I think my problem are my dm.

 

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Your two DMs are your midfield, and they'll behave accordingly - stepping up to challenge or tracking runners.  In that clip that is exactly what happens: the DMCL tracks a runner, your DMCR goes to challenge.  While this is happening, both strikers are pushing on but then drop back.  Your defenders track the movement.  One striker receives the pass with his marker (your DCR) stepping up to challenge because your DMCR has pressed ahead to challenge the passer.  This leaves a space behind your DCR which the other striker takes full advantage of and to be fair he should have at least got his shot on target, if not scored.

That's actually pretty good attacking play and your team, believe it or not, have behaved correctly based on your tactical settings.  The DMs challenged/tracked, your defenders marked their strikers, and the opposition strikers successfully managed to separate your defenders with their movement.  It happens.  It's supposed to happen.

Now, if it's happening often then you have an issue.  If it's isolated then you don't.  But neither we nor yourself know that yet as you have only just started to analyse your goals.  All I will say is that you can't just react and start tinkering with tactical settings unless you have spotted regular and consistent patterns of play.  They are what you need to do something about, not individual goals or events.

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3 hours ago, herne79 said:

Your two DMs are your midfield, and they'll behave accordingly - stepping up to challenge or tracking runners.  In that clip that is exactly what happens: the DMCL tracks a runner, your DMCR goes to challenge.  While this is happening, both strikers are pushing on but then drop back.  Your defenders track the movement.  One striker receives the pass with his marker (your DCR) stepping up to challenge because your DMCR has pressed ahead to challenge the passer.  This leaves a space behind your DCR which the other striker takes full advantage of and to be fair he should have at least got his shot on target, if not scored.

That's actually pretty good attacking play and your team, believe it or not, have behaved correctly based on your tactical settings.  The DMs challenged/tracked, your defenders marked their strikers, and the opposition strikers successfully managed to separate your defenders with their movement.  It happens.  It's supposed to happen.

Now, if it's happening often then you have an issue.  If it's isolated then you don't.  But neither we nor yourself know that yet as you have only just started to analyse your goals.  All I will say is that you can't just react and start tinkering with tactical settings unless you have spotted regular and consistent patterns of play.  They are what you need to do something about, not individual goals or events.

I accept moments of brilliance that unlock my defense. I can accept that, even in this case. In addition, as enigmatic said:

 

3 hours ago, enigmatic said:

Your team didn't press or tackle because it's a preseason friendly and your midfielders are both supposed to sit deep anyway, and the opposition had a shot, which generally happens more than once a game even if your tactics are perfect, particularly as they appear to be playing with two strikers

So there are reasons to think there is no way to fix this because it was caused by a brilliant attacking movement and/or my players in a friendly.

 

On the other hand, we have that the opponent is dramatically worse and it didn't happen once: it happened 3 times so it seems to be a pattern, at least to my eyes.

So we have 3 options:

a) There is no pattern, it happened because of 3 moments of brilliance

b) There is a pattern, but it's related to playing a friendly match

c) There is a pattern, and it is caused by my tactic.

 

What I'm going to do is to play another match and see if it happens again.

 

Edit: Unfortunately, my computer crashed and I'll have to restart the season from july, so I'll have to play the same games again. I'm not reloading on purpose, just to let you know if you see the same matches again.

 

 

Edited by looping

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No expert, but you don't have anyone on defensive duty on the mildfield. Both wingers on attack and both DM on support. That means that seems dangerous to me. One thing Rashidi teached me is that it is not mentality that makes a team attacking or defensive! It is more related to roles and dutys. And you have only 2 players on defensive duty. I know that you set the PI to one of them to hold position, but playing on fluid I don't know if the player will do that.

I wouldn't use fluid on the way you want to play. But the problem with the video, maybe you will have to adjust your mildfield, with roles and/or dutys and PI's

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21 hours ago, cfkllasdfaslkdfj said:

@looping, try to add close down (much) less to CBs (because your CBR has lost a position before their striker broke into the penalty zone) and add press more in TI (+ maybe higher DL) (or go Control) and tackle harder.

Bad advice if you are having to do that you have the wrong settings for your midfield or you are using the wrong combination of roles duties and defensive line. I can play on Overload and still keep the AI from getting past my midfield. 

If the opposition has made it inside your 25yard line without even being closed down something is very wrong with your set up.

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First competitive match and...

Malaga_  Senior Fixtures.png

I know it's Real Madrid. I know it.

The result is not the problem. The problem is the way we were completely battered. The results doesn't show what happened on the pitch. Madrid deserved to score at least 10 goals, they even missed a penalty.

On the other hand, we attacked surprisingly well: 1 goal scored + 2 chances to score.

After 3 hours watching and re watching the game, my conclusion is the same than before: my players don't defend, just watch.

The next file contains 4 of the 5 goals conceded. I'd  like to know if there is anything I have to change in my tactics or this was only a bad day.

https://vid.me/BW9l

 

My tactic was:

Malaga_  Overview.png

Before the match started, I went to Defensive mentality, push slightly higher and pass into space, because I didn't want to take risks and I expected Madrid to leave gaps behind. Push higher up is to reduce the space between a very deep defense with defensive mentality.

During the match, I changed shape to structured, dropped def line, changed mentality to counter, add more direct passing, removed more direct passing, slightly higher defense again.... Nothing worked.

 

Edit:

My opinion on the goals:

First goal. For some reason, my left wm, doesn't follow their right fb. Then my defenders are totally unable to clean a low cross.

Second goal: My def line is too high

Third goal: Centerbacks and gk fault. This was very easy to defend.

Fourth Goal: My right fb, what the hell is he doing?

Edited by looping

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1 hour ago, looping said:

my conclusion is the same than before: my players don't defend, just watch.

ok, stop right there.

Your players are doing exactly what they are supposed to do based on a combination of factors, most notably of which are your own instructions to them (roles, duties, mentality, team shape, TIs, PIs, even OIs if you use them).

If they are not doing what you want them to do, it is entirely within your control to change their behaviour.  Yes players can (and do) have bad games, but that's the exception not the rule.  And even then you can still do something about that through substitutions.

Much more important than that Real Madrid match are those matches you played during pre-season.  That's the time you spend to do what you can to get your core base tactical system sorted out.  That's the time you spend asking yourself "are my players doing what I want them to do?".  That's the time you spend trying to identify patterns of play in your own team to make sure the base system is right.  Cleon has long discussed this - set a tactic and don't change anything for at least 3 matches.  Watch how your team plays, see if they are doing what you want them to do against a variety of opponents.

I'll give you an example.  I've recently been playing with a 442 narrow diamond formation.  I started off using the Anchor Man role at the base of the diamond - what I wanted that role to do is protect my defence, destroy attacks before they become too dangerous and provide easy recycle balls back to my more advanced players.  What I didn't want was someone sitting fairly statically in the DM position, but that was exactly what was happening.  I didn't want that, but the Anchor Man was doing that because that's what he was supposed to be doing based on my instructions.  So after a few matches I changed him to a BWM(D) and he suddenly changed to doing what actually I wanted him to do.

During that process I was barely paying attention to what the opposition were up to.  (Re-read that sentence, it's important).  All I wanted to do was:- make sure my DM was destroying attacks; my fullbacks were providing width when in possession and tracking back quickly when possession was lost; my AMC was providing flair, feeding my strikers and offering an additional goal threat; and so on.

For me, that is a really really important concept to grasp (thanks Cleon), but it's also incredibly simple and logical.  Are your players doing what you want them to do?  If not, change it.  If they are, the odds of you not losing dramatically improves. 

I don't think you've spent pre-season doing that.  I think you've launched yourself straight into the first match of the season against an elite opponent without having a clear idea of whether your players actually do what you want them to do or not.  I'm not even convinced you know what you want each player to do.

And if you don't know that, you won't know what to tweak.  That's shown by you changing things before the match even starts and then constant fiddling during the match.  You were just trying things hoping they'd work.

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3 hours ago, herne79 said:

During that process I was barely paying attention to what the opposition were up to....

Heed this advice. It is what friendlies are there for.

I can think of many matches that I've watched all the way through, with a specific player or players highlighted, not paying any attention to what else is happening just to work what they do and how they react to certain instructions.

For example, I watched a few matches with my two wide men highlighted to see the difference between a WB(s/a) and a DW(s). The WBR was a WB on support in the first half and attack in the second, the ML was set as a DW(s). In the next match, the WBR was a CWB (a) and the ML a DW with PIs. From this I was able to conclude that in my system a midfielder in DW(s) actually provides a better defensive option than my left fullback + I can make him act like a CWB(a) (stay wide, get forward, cross from byline etc.) with PIs.

I would never have used a DW(s) from reading the player roles description. I have only made this decision based on watching the individual players and ignoring the rest of the action.

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Looping, your players didn't just watch. They did EXACTLY what you told them to do. You went to a Defensive Mentality, which means very few risks taken and a deep line. That's precisely what your players were doing. They were trying to keep shape, not taking risks in closing down or tackling and they sat deep. You really do need to start blaming yourself instead of your players.

You also got ripped apart by really good and intelligent football. You gave Madrid the space in front of you and they patiently probed until there was an opening. They have the better players, by far, so it was to be expected. Every one of those goals I watched, I nodded my head saying "wow, good goal".

Problem is, you don't seem to make any progress. After a year, you're still using the exact formation and setup you had then. It didn't work then or any of the other 100 times. Why would it now? You're doing the exact same things over and over and somehow expecting that this time will be different. I have images of Vaas from Far Cry in my head now. No, no, no, this time will be different.

You need to see what's wrong here. Number one, you got ripped apart by a better team. It happens. You can't draw a 100% conclusion based on 1 game. You can, however, look at what could improve the next time.

You sat incredibly deep, letting Madrid dictate all the play. If I had to offer input, it would be that your D-line was just too deep and that you had no bite yourself. Have an actual look at that video. A Madrid player receives the ball, your player closes, but then waits for the ball to be passed.

 

1st goal: Yes, their fullback caught out your WM. That's not where the issues are though?? Your issues started way before that? It's been a year, Looping. The video starts with your player close enough to be able to tackle, but not giving the Madrid player enough of a problem. 3 or 4 passes down the line and that same Madrid player gets the ball. What happens? Your player runs right past him. Then after that they were just toying with you. Have a look at how they patiently pass the ball around. They wait until your players get close and then pass. That's how they open you up completely and they push you further and further back. In the end, that midfielder had all the time in the world to Scholes it wide to the winger. THERE is your issue. They pulled you apart in midfield long before the fullback switched off. Long before the cross. The cross also was fine. It wasn't your defence's fault. They got turned and when the cross came in, was still running toward goal. The cross then, was behind them, so in their run, they now needed to suddenly stop and turn. They were wrong footed by some brilliant play and because the midfield let them down.

I prefer 1 of 3 things in a team of mine. Either we're going to sit deep, but bite hard when they get too close (hard tackling), do something in the middle (this includes closing down, tackling and Mentality) or we're going to press hard, but be careful in the tackle, rather forcing mistakes. You've done none of that. You went for defensive and deep, which is fine, but then just rolled over for them. Remember, even if you select Get Stuck In, all you're doing is asking the team to make riskier tackles. Given that your Mentality was Defensive, their risk taking in tackles was quite low. Adding that bit of bite still shouldn't make them reckless then.

 

2nd Goal : See what I mean now? When their winger passes it inside, why isn't your player making the tackle? He dances around the opposition player, waiting for the perfect time to take the ball. There isn't such a time. These players are technically superb and they're much better than your players. They will not make mistakes of giving you easy tackles often. Get in their faces a bit! The D-Line was fine. If anything, it was too deep. Again though, the problem is midfield. You had at least 1 chance to take the ball off them, but didn't. It was a superb pass though, so you can't blame the defence too much.

 

3rd Goal : Look how that central midfielder gets to run free? Why is that? Why is no one hassling him? He seems like a bit of a trouble maker, maybe even a playmaker. Get in his face!?! Instead he gets 'jockeyed' by your midfielder who is giving him about 2m of space. Madrid players eat that much space for breakfast. Then he passes it on to the left winger and your player dances around a technically world class Madrid player. Lord. Clothesline him! He'll think twice next time. Again, it was a good piece of play. You again had chances to get the ball off them; didn't take it. It was a superb run by the goal scorer, being able to leap higher as he was on the run.

4th (or 5th?) goal: Look at how scared your players are to tackle. They're letting the Madrid players waltz all the way to the edge of the box, FGS! Their right winger finds himself in space. Why isn't he being taken out? Your player simply escorts the Madrid player to where he needs to go. Your right FB isn't the issue. The issue is that their right winger cuts all the way across the field with a player of yours as bodyguard. This allows him to have all the time in the world to spot that the left winger is trying to make a run (he even checks his initial run and tries again before the pass!) and then to pick the time and spot for the pass through. Again, very poor defensively. Superb goal, but you could have done so much more here as well.

 

So after a year, you still do the same things. You choose exactly the same setup, do the same things and still look at the end product instead of the actual cause. You've received the same advice more than once, but I hope that this helps you a little to not look at the final pass, but to open your eyes to what happens before that.

 

 

 

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i think the problem is your 2 defensive midfielders, recio should play on central midfield support roles with that listed ppm and camacho is suited in ball winning midfielder role if you intend to play more attacking, your problem can be easily solved if you put recio on central midfielder support duty and camacho on defensive midfielder defend duty with one more attacking central midfielder

the 2 wide midfielder on attack need to have 2 pivots around them meaning the midfielder slot next to the wide midfielder must be one of this roles; dlp defend or support and cm support or defend, so the wide midfielders could cut inside 

the other pivot is the fullback which should be on fullback support duty

i dont think the game wanted you to play 4-4-1-1 just because you have one good player on the central attacking midfielder slot, im pretty sure malaga can play 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 and possibly formation with wingbacks 

you said you dont want to play 4-1-2-3, im pretty sure i have read somewhere about 2 types of manager one being practical with the squad he have and the other one stood firm with his philosophies (top real life managers)

i think you just suited playing with heavy favourites team to win the league with the way you taking on the game

keko is a very good winger by the way

Edited by padelno91

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My take on what you want is that you are after 2 banks of 4 and being very defensively sound right? I may be wrong but this is the impression I get.

Playing fluid is not a good approach when after two strong banks of 4 IMO....Structured is very sound for this purpose as defenders defend and midfielders depending on the roles you have set will either support, attack or also defend. Defensive mentality in the last few versions have worked wonders for me, I totally misunderstood the mentality in past versions. Defensive mentality, keeps the ball without risky passing, you can still be attacking with a defensive mentality just the players will be a lot more cautious when passing, preferring the simple options in order to create space and chances.

This is something I have learnt over the last 2 years. I play all of my save 4-1-4-1 with a AM on defend in the defensive strata. I know you are not after that shape so I would suggest for your save 4-4-1-1 on Structured & defensive with the option to pass in to space. See how you get on, you will be a lot more solid defensively. 1-2 playmaker roles are vital in Structured shapes as these players will be key to creating chances.

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Please, whatever I say, add the following sentence: I'm constantly failing so I can certainly be mistaken on anything I say.

21 hours ago, herne79 said:

Your players are doing exactly what they are supposed to do based on a combination of factors, most notably of which are your own instructions to them (roles, duties, mentality, team shape, TIs, PIs, even OIs if you use them)

Ok, then it's my tactic. When I say my players just watch I'm not blaming them, I'm blaming my tactics and the effect they produce to my players. 

21 hours ago, herne79 said:

If they are not doing what you want them to do, it is entirely within your control to change their behaviour. 

Ok.

21 hours ago, herne79 said:

Yes players can (and do) have bad games, but that's the exception not the rule.  And even then you can still do something about that through substitutions.

I agree.

21 hours ago, herne79 said:

'll give you an example.  I've recently been playing with a 442 narrow diamond formation.  I started off using the Anchor Man role at the base of the diamond - what I wanted that role to do is protect my defence, destroy attacks before they become too dangerous and provide easy recycle balls back to my more advanced players.  What I didn't want was someone sitting fairly statically in the DM position, but that was exactly what was happening.  I didn't want that, but the Anchor Man was doing that because that's what he was supposed to be doing based on my instructions.  So after a few matches I changed him to a BWM(D) and he suddenly changed to doing what actually I wanted him to do.

During that process I was barely paying attention to what the opposition were up to.  (Re-read that sentence, it's important).  All I wanted to do was:- make sure my DM was destroying attacks; my fullbacks were providing width when in possession and tracking back quickly when possession was lost; my AMC was providing flair, feeding my strikers and offering an additional goal threat; and so on.

For me, that is a really really important concept to grasp (thanks Cleon), but it's also incredibly simple and logical.  Are your players doing what you want them to do?  If not, change it.  If they are, the odds of you not losing dramatically improves. 

I agree.

21 hours ago, herne79 said:

I don't think you've spent pre-season doing that.  I think you've launched yourself straight into the first match of the season against an elite opponent without having a clear idea of whether your players actually do what you want them to do or not.  I'm not even convinced you know what you want each player to do.

Don't get it wrong, but... It's been almost a year... Of course I'm trying to do that. I even spotted things I don't like. The problem is a) I don't spot enough and b) I don't know how to fix what I spot.  I'll show you.

Gk. Nothing fancy here

Fullbacks. Cover they flank and make some forward runs supporting wingers.

Centerbacks. Hold the line, defend, don't get pulled out of position. With the ball, simple passes. If closed down, hoof it.

Look here. (I can post videos if you want)

Malaga - FC Nantes_ Terreno de juego Completo-9.png

Llorente, my right centerback, has stepped out without any reason. There was a teammate there, a central midfielder (Camacho). Why he is going there? Why he is leaving that huge gap? How can I fix it? Close down less? I already tried and nothing changed.

Here:

Malaga - FC Nantes_ Terreno de juego Completo.pngMalaga - FC Nantes_ Terreno de juego Completo-2.png

My number 6 (Camacho) is marking their number 10. Their number 3 is marked by two of my players. That's ok. 4 seconds later, Camacho left his position to close down their number 3 who is still marked by two of my players. Why he is doing that? Why is he leaving their number 10 alone?

To fix this I can't tell him to close down less (dm and cm on defend duty are on close down more by default and you can't decrease it). What other destructive role with less closing down can I use?

 

I can provide more examples and you know I can because I've done it in the past but I'm not sure if you will be able to help me...

 

22 hours ago, herne79 said:

And if you don't know that, you won't know what to tweak.  That's shown by you changing things before the match even starts and then constant fiddling during the match.  You were just trying things hoping they'd work

No sudden decisions here. I'm Malaga, away against Madrid, it's not illogical to play with defensive mentality. At least on counter. I don't want to take risks in Santiago Bernabeu. During the match, I started changing what I thought was wrong. I saw a ball over the top so I dropped the d-line, I went to Structured to give more space to my players I ticked pass into space because I saw Real Madrid pressing very high up the pitch. Decisions based on what I see. Maybe wrong decisions based on wrong observation but believe me I tried.

 

18 hours ago, MattP100 said:

Heed this advice. It is what friendlies are there for.

I can think of many matches that I've watched all the way through, with a specific player or players highlighted, not paying any attention to what else is happening just to work what they do and how they react to certain instructions.

This is exactly what I'm trying to do. I've shown. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I'm trying to.

 

16 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

Looping, your players didn't just watch. They did EXACTLY what you told them to do. You went to a Defensive Mentality, which means very few risks taken and a deep line. That's precisely what your players were doing. They were trying to keep shape, not taking risks in closing down or tackling and they sat deep. You really do need to start blaming yourself instead of your players.

I agree. As I said, I'm not blaming my players, I'm blaming my tactics and the effect they produce to my players.

16 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

You also got ripped apart by really good and intelligent football. You gave Madrid the space in front of you and they patiently probed until there was an opening. They have the better players, by far, so it was to be expected. Every one of those goals I watched, I nodded my head saying "wow, good goal".

Some of them yes.

16 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

Problem is, you don't seem to make any progress.

As sure as the day follows the night.

16 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

fter a year, you're still using the exact formation and setup you had then. It didn't work then or any of the other 100 times. Why would it now? You're doing the exact same things over and over and somehow expecting that this time will be different. I have images of Vaas from Far Cry in my head now. No, no, no, this time will be different.

This is not actually true. I've used a 442, 4411, 4411 dm, 442 dm. Fb (s) fb(at), fb (auto), wb (s), cm(de), dm(de), dm (su), cm (su), bbm, dlp (su), rpm (su), ap(su), w(at), wm (at) with and PI and no PI, wm (su), wp(su) wp (at), am (su), am (at), treq, ap (su), ap (at), af (at), dlf (su), dlf (at), p(at), tm(su),.. I've tried any possible and balanced combination of roles and duties using a 442 or a 4411. I think I've tried every single combination. With Ti, and without them. Any mentality (even contain!) and team shape. Not everything I try is posted in this forums.

I even tried with an attacking fb and wm cutting inside, and this is important, even when this is something I don't want, only following advice given.

I have a clear idea of how I want to play and, this is important, following your own advice, I'm sticking to it. Otherwise I would be chopping. Not my words.

I think your words now are not fair to all the hard work I put on here. I'm really trying.

It's not the exact formation, nor roles and duties, nor instructions. You can easily check it. I expect different results because I applied changes.

16 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

You need to see what's wrong here. Number one, you got ripped apart by a better team. It happens. You can't draw a 100% conclusion based on 1 game. You can, however, look at what could improve the next time.

Agree.

16 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

You sat incredibly deep, letting Madrid dictate all the play. If I had to offer input, it would be that your D-line was just too deep and that you had no bite yourself. Have an actual look at that video. A Madrid player receives the ball, your player closes, but then waits for the ball to be passed.

That was my intention. Sit deep and wait. Retain the shape. I don't understand why you say my d-line was too deep. I'm not saying it was not, I'm saying I don't know what signals allow you to identify this. Lack of aggression? Not closing down?

 

16 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

1st goal: Yes, their fullback caught out your WM. That's not where the issues are though?? Your issues started way before that? It's been a year, Looping. The video starts with your player close enough to be able to tackle, but not giving the Madrid player enough of a problem. 3 or 4 passes down the line and that same Madrid player gets the ball. What happens? Your player runs right past him. Then after that they were just toying with you. Have a look at how they patiently pass the ball around. They wait until your players get close and then pass. That's how they open you up completely and they push you further and further back. In the end, that midfielder had all the time in the world to Scholes it wide to the winger. THERE is your issue. They pulled you apart in midfield long before the fullback switched off. Long before the cross. The cross also was fine. It wasn't your defence's fault. They got turned and when the cross came in, was still running toward goal. The cross then, was behind them, so in their run, they now needed to suddenly stop and turn. They were wrong footed by some brilliant play and because the midfield let them down.

I don't get this. During the first 30 seconds everything is ok. Everybody is on position, Real Madrid is short passing but going nowhere. There are no gaps, nobody pulled out of position, there is no space. I think this is good, this is exactly what I want to see. I'm not interested on winning the ball back I just want to deny them chances.

If my wm had followed (as he should have) their right fb nothing had happened. Again, I'm failing constantly so I'm doing something wrong. I want to understand it but I simply don't get what you say. I don't see they playing with me. That Scholes pass you refer was not dangerous if my player had followed the ramping fullback.  I expected an interception there.

I want to understand why I'm wrong.

16 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

2nd Goal : See what I mean now? When their winger passes it inside, why isn't your player making the tackle? He dances around the opposition player, waiting for the perfect time to take the ball. There isn't such a time. These players are technically superb and they're much better than your players. They will not make mistakes of giving you easy tackles often. Get in their faces a bit! The D-Line was fine. If anything, it was too deep. Again though, the problem is midfield. You had at least 1 chance to take the ball off them, but didn't. It was a superb pass though, so you can't blame the defence too much.

Assuming that the problem is my midfield, what can I do to fix it? Higher def line? Close down more TI or PI?

17 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

3rd Goal : Look how that central midfielder gets to run free? Why is that? Why is no one hassling him? He seems like a bit of a trouble maker, maybe even a playmaker. Get in his face!?! Instead he gets 'jockeyed' by your midfielder who is giving him about 2m of space. Madrid players eat that much space for breakfast. Then he passes it on to the left winger and your player dances around a technically world class Madrid player. Lord. Clothesline him! He'll think twice next time. Again, it was a good piece of play. You again had chances to get the ball off them; didn't take it. It was a superb run by the goal scorer, being able to leap higher as he was on the run.

What I'd like to see is my players retaining shape, don't close down, deny passing options. If the player with the ball enters our final third then yes, close down him, but not before. My conclusion after that goal was my right wm going to close down their centerback, losing his position, giving space to their fullback and not being quick enough to track back. Then, of course, a comical performance by my gk.

17 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

4th (or 5th?) goal: Look at how scared your players are to tackle. They're letting the Madrid players waltz all the way to the edge of the box, FGS! Their right winger finds himself in space. Why isn't he being taken out? Your player simply escorts the Madrid player to where he needs to go. Your right FB isn't the issue. The issue is that their right winger cuts all the way across the field with a player of yours as bodyguard. This allows him to have all the time in the world to spot that the left winger is trying to make a run (he even checks his initial run and tries again before the pass!) and then to pick the time and spot for the pass through. Again, very poor defensively. Superb goal, but you could have done so much more here as well.

5th.

4th was a long shot by Ronaldo or Bale I don't remember and this kind of goals are part of the deal. Very long range, again my gk could have done better.

The issue is that their right winger cuts all the way across the field with a player of yours as bodyguard. This is what I call my players don't defend just watch. What can I do about that?

My right fb could also have done better. That was an easy interception, but I agree with you the problem started before.

15 hours ago, padelno91 said:

your problem can be easily solved if you put recio on central midfielder support duty and camacho on defensive midfielder defend duty with one more attacking central midfielder

 

15 hours ago, padelno91 said:

im pretty sure malaga can play 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 and possibly formation with wingbacks 

you said you dont want to play 4-1-2-3, im pretty sure i have read somewhere about 2 types of manager one being practical with the squad he have and the other one stood firm with his philosophies (top real life managers)

I'm not going to move from my initial idea 4411 or 442, not because I don't want (actually I don't) but because I want to stick to my plan until it works.

 

TO SUM UP

It seems I had identified the problem. My players don't defend, just watch. As @Hunter said, they are bodyguards of the opponent and it seems it is caused by my def line being too deep. Am I fundamentally wrong?

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Looping i remember your last thread. I got a lot of useful info out of it myself. This is what I did, it might be wrong but I found it helped me:

 

Picked 3 shapes, 442, 41221, 4141

Set the first 2 shapes to standard, structured. 3rd was counter structured. No TI or PI at all.

 

I then had about 10 pre season games in total and played 3 games for each system on full match and I watched every bit carefully. Was every player where I want them to be? Where are they on transitions? Are they shooting too often? Etc. I then wrote notes like:

 

442 -

lb crossing poor

Cf shoots too often

Bwm good, cbs good

 

41221

Cf not linking with anyone

Apm too deep

 

Etc etc. I also tried to visualise how i wanted to play on paper first. After each game i added a TI or PI one or changed a role once at a time to make the changes i wanted and carefully watched if that worked or not.

 

It really helped me see the whole picture

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5 hours ago, looping said:

I don't get this. During the first 30 seconds everything is ok. Everybody is on position, Real Madrid is short passing but going nowhere. There are no gaps, nobody pulled out of position, there is no space. I think this is good, this is exactly what I want to see. I'm not interested on winning the ball back I just want to deny them chances.

If my wm had followed (as he should have) their right fb nothing had happened. Again, I'm failing constantly so I'm doing something wrong. I want to understand it but I simply don't get what you say. I don't see they playing with me. That Scholes pass you refer was not dangerous if my player had followed the ramping fullback.  I expected an interception there.

I want to understand why I'm wrong.

I did tell you why the first 30 seconds (all of it, really) was bad. If you're not interested in winning the ball, you're not going to. SURELY you see why this is a terrible idea?? You're giving a world class team all the ball the need. At some point, the world class team

will have a world class player do what they do best. You don't even need to regain possession ffs. Just let them know that coming too close will its consequences.

You are asking your team (the WEAKER team too) to be 100% switched on all the time. Madrid patiently probed for an opening and they got it. You want to understand where you're wrong and I told you.

 

6 hours ago, looping said:

Assuming that the problem is my midfield, what can I do to fix it? Higher def line? Close down more TI or PI?

This I answered.

 

6 hours ago, looping said:

The issue is that their right winger cuts all the way across the field with a player of yours as bodyguard. This is what I call my players don't defend just watch. What can I do about that?

Answered this too.

 

6 hours ago, looping said:

It seems I had identified the problem. My players don't defend, just watch. As @Hunter said, they are bodyguards of the opponent and it seems it is caused by my def line being too deep.

If that's your diagnosis, what will pushing the D-Line higher do to change this?

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I feel your frustration looping, a whole year trying to get a tactic to work is ridiculous. I'm in the same boat as you in that I've struggled to make a 4-4-2 / 4-4-1-1 work but I've come to realize that the problem lies with the match engine. All the guys that have tried to offer help to you should be applauded as everything they have said has been sound advice but the problem isn't one that can be solved until the match engine is made to work differently. I know that the 'Wide Midfielder workaround' thread was closed but that issue is exactly why looping is observing the behaviour he is and also others who want to adopt a flat 4 in the midfield.

When I think of a 4-4-2, defensively I think 2 solid banks of 4 which is what the tactic screen shows you and others have stated is the defensive shape. Unfortunately, it is everything but the defensive shape of the team. I expect to see the midfielders (much like the defenders) work closely together to reduce the time and space the opposition has to work the ball through them.

13 hours ago, looping said:

Malaga - FC Nantes_ Terreno de juego Completo-9.png

Look at this screenshot properly, if you view it in terms of there being a problem with the wide midfielders defending you can easily explain why the defender steps out of position to close down the number 10. Look at how spread his midfield is, defensively that is atrocious and the team is just begging to be ripped apart.

Everything is wrong with the defensive shape of the midfielders

1) The left midfielder (no. 10) is on the wrong side of the oppositions no. 11

2) The two central midfielders aren't positioned deep enough to deal with the threat coming from the 2 opposition attacking midfielders

3) A quick shifting of the ball to the other flank and there is absolutely masses of space for the opposition to exploit, you could fit a bus through there for crying out loud

4) Look at how wide the wide midfielders are in comparison with the wide defenders, how can they work well in tandem when not only are they vertically separated but horizontally too?

Why does the defender step out of the defensive line?

He's doing what any defender worth their salt would do and help out his team mates who haven't managed to deal with the threat posed by the opposition number 10, the central midfielders aren't doing it because it's not really their job, their job is to battle for domination of the central midfield and not to deal with threats emanating from the wide midfield. The number 6 is desperately trying to close down the oppositions number 10 but given the players starting position it is a hard task and the central defender who the number 10 is running toward can see that and steps up to help, add to that the number 6's dereliction of duty as he is no longer defending the central midfield and you can begin to see the problem.

It is the wide midfielders job to track the opposition wide midfielders but they aren't doing it either and seem content to just sit wide and contribute nothing defensively which is a catastrophic decision as it causes a massive butterfly effect.  Staying wide means that the 2 central midfielders become isolated which gives them an impossible work load. They not only have to deal with being outnumbered in the central midfield they also have to try and deal with opposition wide midfielders attacking space in between the lines.

13 hours ago, looping said:

Malaga - FC Nantes_ Terreno de juego Completo.pngMalaga - FC Nantes_ Terreno de juego Completo-2.png

It is the same problem again here. Why does your number 6 leaves the opposition no. 10 unmarked?

Because your number 11 is doing nothing defensively and has allowed the opposition number 3 to get in behind him, your number 2 therefore has to step out of the defensive line to deal with the threat posed by the opposition number 3 as he is the closest player. Your defensive duty central midfielder number 6 recognizes that this movement has left a massive gaping hole in behind him. In an attempt to deal with it he then comes across to try and cover the space in behind your fullback. He makes that decision because in your system zonal marking (marking space) takes preference over man marking.

Solutions. Well there is a number of things you can try but before I get into that first of all you need to accept that you aren't going to get any meaningful defensive contribution from your wide midfielders. If you accept that premise then you can do a number of things.

1) Drop your two CM into the DM strata. That way they are better positioned to deal with any opposition players in the attacking midfield strata and won't get pulled about as much

2) Push your defensive line as high as you can (clearly you are going to need to have fast defenders to pull this off) and play as narrow as you can when atttacking, by compressing the gap between defense and midfield hopefully they should be close enough together that the two banks of 4 will remain more solid, by playing very narrow when attacking it will mean easier recovery into a defensive position should you lose the ball

3) Perhaps a strange idea but you could try pushing your ML/MR back into the WBL/WBR positions and play with wingbacks on an attack duty. That way you get attacking contribution and defensive contribution from your wide players

4) Push your LM/RM up into AML/AMR, given that they aren't defending anyway you might as well leave them up the pitch in the hope that they defend in a way by pinning back the fullbacks (defending from the front)

5) Abandon any formation with a flat 4 in midfield (as painful as that may be)

Edited by pheelf

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Is there an issue with wide (and central) midfield defensive positioning?  Yes, SI have acknowledged this and are working on it.

Is it game breaking to the point that anything with a flat 4 midfield won't work?  No, far from it.  If it were, tell me how I just got Plymouth Argyle promoted using a 442.

Blaming Looping's problems on this issue is not helpful.  There are some good ideas here so I won't hide the post, but I won't let this thread carry on further into a "wide midfielder" discussion.  There are plenty of other threads already that discuss it.

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Looking at the screenshots, I don't see (though maybe it's because I don't play either system) how you are playing either a 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2. In both of those formations, I would expect the number 10 (judging by the shirt numbering, this is a friendly and the more 'traditional' numbering is being used) to be either the 2nd striker or the AM / AP / T (whatever role is in use). This suggests that the number 10 is the LWM - to be using the formation above...the number 11 fills the central role? Not according to the first picture which has him tracking the FB. The positioning in the pictures suggest more of a 4-1-4-1.

1) I agree that the #10 is on the wrong side. The only thing I can think of (other than an error) is he is also keeping an eye on the FB and expecting Looping's LB to cover any run made by the #11.

2) The central midfielders are covering the opposition central midfielders...I don't really see an issue there. They are in place to intercept or deal with the short ball infield. If you are expecting the CMs to cover the opp 10 + 11...then what are you expecting the FBs to do? (I'm trying to figure out what you mean by "attacking midfielders...the CM strata or AM strata).

3) A shift to the opposite flank also requires movement from their team...currently the number 10 can challenge 11 (albeit he will need to make up ground); if it's a more fwd pass, the FB steps out to deal with it; if their #8 moves into the space, your #8 should track...only the #6 has the opportunity to move into the space unchallenged and, given that he is in the DM strata, is less likely to do so.

4) On the near side, #11 is tracking the opposition FB (given the advanced position and the space down the flank, that's not unreasonable); #2 would have been tracking the movement of the #10 which, given the relative starting positions, isn't unreasonable. I would concede that, once the danger was passed on to #6, he should have re-positioned a little. On the far side I would expect the FB to tuck in more - this provides an extra body should a CB have to step in to make a challenge and also to defend against a diagonal run from wide right. 

I don't think the CB should be stepping out to help. If you want your players to double up, you'd want the FB to step up and, with #6 (who seems to be positioned as a DM) take care of the IF. If there is then an attack down the left flank (which, logically, would come from the FB), you have a WM out there to track him and the #4 can step across to cover if your #2 is too far out of position. The #2 either stays with the #10 or looks to cover the near post if a cross is likely.

 

I disagree with the 2nd part as well. 

1) Yes, the #11 seems to have been caught out, but the 2nd picture shows that he is getting back and making the challenge. 

2) In that second shot, their #3 has both #2 and #11 looking to challenge - with that being a 2 on 1, I would not expect the number 6 to automatically cover the space. He should only move in if the #10 makes a run into that area. If their #3 manages to get by both #11 AND #2 (which should highlight a personnel problem imo) he will be in a far more advanced position and the #4 should then step out to deal with it - the #6 then drops a little deeper to cover THAT space - which is more logical for a central player than him being dragged out into the FB slot.

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15 hours ago, looping said:

My number 6 (Camacho) is marking their number 10. Their number 3 is marked by two of my players. That's ok. 4 seconds later, Camacho left his position to close down their number 3 who is still marked by two of my players. Why he is doing that? Why is he leaving their number 10 alone?

To fix this I can't tell him to close down less (dm and cm on defend duty are on close down more by default and you can't decrease it). What other destructive role with less closing down can I use?

A/D, HB/D, DLP/D, DLP/S, CM/S are your options.

Admitedly it is very annoying that DM/D and CM/D are set to close down more by default now. It's almost unusable. But you can use the other roles.

 

15 hours ago, looping said:

This is not actually true. I've used a 442, 4411, 4411 dm, 442 dm. Fb (s) fb(at), fb (auto), wb (s), cm(de), dm(de), dm (su), cm (su), bbm, dlp (su), rpm (su), ap(su), w(at), wm (at) with and PI and no PI, wm (su), wp(su) wp (at), am (su), am (at), treq, ap (su), ap (at), af (at), dlf (su), dlf (at), p(at), tm(su),.. I've tried any possible and balanced combination of roles and duties using a 442 or a 4411. I think I've tried every single combination. With Ti, and without them. Any mentality (even contain!) and team shape. Not everything I try is posted in this forums.

I think one of your problems is you're attempting so many different things in different directions. What were the settings in the screenshots above?

It took me some 5 seasons to fully adapt an okay-ish system to something that routinely overachieves. That was when I decided to focus on a single system and carefully evolve it through a TI here, a PI there, a role elsewhere. If you continually change fomations, mentalities, loads of different combinations, you will perpetually spin your wheels. I do encourage a lot adapting to individual situations in every match, but you need to settle on a base and know how that base reacts.

Quote

What I'd like to see is my players retaining shape, don't close down, deny passing options. If the player with the ball enters our final third then yes, close down him, but not before. My conclusion after that goal was my right wm going to close down their centerback, losing his position, giving space to their fullback and not being quick enough to track back. Then, of course, a comical performance by my gk.

I think the other way around is more stable. Chase players around a bit far from your area, but be more cautious when they come near - otherwise your defensive line is pulled all over the place.

You might want to consider a slightly different formation. I agree with @pheelf above that if your defensive plan relies on wide midfielders helping inside in this ME it will capitulate. But there's plenty of other ways to achieve a stable defensive formation. I've been having lots of success with a DM-MC-MC with the plan being the two MCs hassling players, whilst the DM keeps shape. I think this works better to minimize the occasions the opposite will just pass the way into the area as you're witnessing, as it will kill off more moves earlier on. Wingers helping out in this system are just a bonus in here and not absolutely crucial, as they would be in formations with a AM/ST or a pair of strikers instead (with less central players defending deeper by default).

Alternatively, if you do really want to keep a AM/ST or a pair of strikers, and rely on 2 banks of four, I think in this match engine the only way to do this would be to either use some very radical settings to dramatically restrict space to the opposition (I've seen someone do fantastically well with 2 DMs/Very Fluid/super high pressing; and someone else do also incredibly well on Defensive/Structured), or give up on prioritizing a stable defensive standing above all else, be aggressive, and try to outscore the opposition. "Middle-of-the-road" approaches I don't think combine very well with 2 banks of four as it is.

Don't forget that you need to attack, too. *Everything* you change has a knock-down effect on both defending and attacking, and transitions. Don't commit the mistake to neglect attacking when you try to focus on better defending, or you might end up cornering yourself and this might actually detract from your defending too - by not relieving pressure from your backline by moving the ball onto more advanced positions yourself.

 

edit: clarified a few points a bit better

Edited by noikeee

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52 minutes ago, Jorsin said:

Looking at the screenshots, I don't see (though maybe it's because I don't play either system) how you are playing either a 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2. In both of those formations, I would expect the number 10 (judging by the shirt numbering, this is a friendly and the more 'traditional' numbering is being used) to be either the 2nd striker or the AM / AP / T (whatever role is in use). This suggests that the number 10 is the LWM - to be using the formation above...the number 11 fills the central role? Not according to the first picture which has him tracking the FB. The positioning in the pictures suggest more of a 4-1-4-1.

1) I agree that the #10 is on the wrong side. The only thing I can think of (other than an error) is he is also keeping an eye on the FB and expecting Looping's LB to cover any run made by the #11.

2) The central midfielders are covering the opposition central midfielders...I don't really see an issue there. They are in place to intercept or deal with the short ball infield. If you are expecting the CMs to cover the opp 10 + 11...then what are you expecting the FBs to do? (I'm trying to figure out what you mean by "attacking midfielders...the CM strata or AM strata).

3) A shift to the opposite flank also requires movement from their team...currently the number 10 can challenge 11 (albeit he will need to make up ground); if it's a more fwd pass, the FB steps out to deal with it; if their #8 moves into the space, your #8 should track...only the #6 has the opportunity to move into the space unchallenged and, given that he is in the DM strata, is less likely to do so.

4) On the near side, #11 is tracking the opposition FB (given the advanced position and the space down the flank, that's not unreasonable); #2 would have been tracking the movement of the #10 which, given the relative starting positions, isn't unreasonable. I would concede that, once the danger was passed on to #6, he should have re-positioned a little. On the far side I would expect the FB to tuck in more - this provides an extra body should a CB have to step in to make a challenge and also to defend against a diagonal run from wide right. 

I don't think the CB should be stepping out to help. If you want your players to double up, you'd want the FB to step up and, with #6 (who seems to be positioned as a DM) take care of the IF. If there is then an attack down the left flank (which, logically, would come from the FB), you have a WM out there to track him and the #4 can step across to cover if your #2 is too far out of position. The #2 either stays with the #10 or looks to cover the near post if a cross is likely.

 

I disagree with the 2nd part as well. 

1) Yes, the #11 seems to have been caught out, but the 2nd picture shows that he is getting back and making the challenge. 

2) In that second shot, their #3 has both #2 and #11 looking to challenge - with that being a 2 on 1, I would not expect the number 6 to automatically cover the space. He should only move in if the #10 makes a run into that area. If their #3 manages to get by both #11 AND #2 (which should highlight a personnel problem imo) he will be in a far more advanced position and the #4 should then step out to deal with it - the #6 then drops a little deeper to cover THAT space - which is more logical for a central player than him being dragged out into the FB slot.

I'll address each point in the order that you stated them.

I'm glad you agree that the #10 is on the wrong side, this isn't an isolated incident however with this shape though it happens all the time

His central midfielder #6 is not covering the central midfielders as you suggest as he has closed down the opposition #10. Instead it is his #7 AMC that has dropped deep to form the two players you see in the central midfield which isn't ideal because AMCs don't tend to be very good defensively which is a problem. I wouldn't expect the CMs to cover the opposition 10+11 which I explained. That is the job of the wide midfielders. As for the FBs, being in a flat back 4 I would expect them to stay in line with the central defenders until faced with a threat which they would then confront. They are the last line of defence for when the opposition break through the midfield and I would expect them to behave accordingly.

It's a simple switch of play to the other flank and there is a massive hole for the opposition to exploit. A risky pass I'll grant you but certainly not impossible and would be extremely beneficial for the attacking team

It is unreasonable in my book because of the ripple effect it has caused. The #3 is posing no danger what so ever and should he move into an advanced position the right fullback is more than capable of dealing with him. In football it is all about decisions and doing what is most beneficial. The decision to stay wide and mark a player that isn't threatening is a terrible one because regardless of who it is, somebody has to deal with the opposition #10 and the central defender and central midfielder are poorly positioned to do so and have other responsibilities that they need to take care of. Had the wide midfielder decided to track the #10 the other players wouldn't have had to abandon their positions and deal with him which would have been a far stronger play defensively. I agree that the central defender shouldn't be stepping up to help as it disrupts the 2 banks of 4 which is supposed to be the strength of the 4-4-2 but what choice does he really have unless he wants to grant time and space to an opposition player in a very dangerous area?

I agree that he is trying to get back but by then it's too late and the defensive shape has already been broken. He is also trying to get back to the wrong player, the #10 is who he should be dealing with not the #3 full back but because of his wide positioning he won't and this allows the #10 to cut inside unchallenged

I agree with that too but then again he is only having to make that decision because the wide right midfielder isn't defending properly and has allowed the opposition #10 the freedom to cut inside with the ball which set the whole thing into motion. The central midfielder #6 is being dragged out there because he has already been dragged wide by the presence of the #10 who is completely unmarked and needs to be dealt with, when he spots the fullback leaving space in behind he is the closest player available to cover the space left vacated by the right fullback so that is why he makes that move.

Edited by pheelf

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2 hours ago, herne79 said:

Is there an issue with wide (and central) midfield defensive positioning?  Yes, SI have acknowledged this and are working on it.

Is it game breaking to the point that anything with a flat 4 midfield won't work?  No, far from it.  If it were, tell me how I just got Plymouth Argyle promoted using a 442.

Blaming Looping's problems on this issue is not helpful.  There are some good ideas here so I won't hide the post, but I won't let this thread carry on further into a "wide midfielder" discussion.  There are plenty of other threads already that discuss it.

At no point did I say that this issue was game breaking, I have also not suggested that you can't get success with a flat 4 midfield as I have done so myself but it's certainly not optimal and trying to get it to function anything remotely like real life teams which adopt the formation can be downright infuriating at times. I will however say that a lot of Looping's problems are related to this issue whilst not going as far as to say that it is the sole cause. Given that he has rewritten his tactic numerous times with only one thing remaining consistent and that is the use of players in the wide midfield positions what else can it be?

If you look at the video he put in the very first post of this thread the issue is clear to see. At the very beginning the opposition have the ball in the midfield, then almost immediately the critical error occurs which sets off the chain. His wide midfielder allows the opposition #7 to cut inside of him and into space instead of tracking him granting him a huge amount of time and space on the ball. Once that happens his right fullback spots the danger and then comes charging out of his position to try to deal with the #7 additionally his central midfielders come across to try and close down the space which then creates masses of space on the other side. The ball is then promptly passed there.

Given that his left midfielder also suffers from the same issue in that he stays forward and wide this then allows the opposition right fullback to steal a march on him and run into acres of space. Which if the attacker was aware of would lead to a massive issue and give the opposition right back time to measure up a cross or run to the byline. He doesn't spot him so opts to cut inside with the ball. What I find most worrying is what the central midfielder (defend) does next. For some inexplicable reason he turns his back on the ball giving the player who receives the pass all the time in the world to decide what he wants to do with the ball. He then suddenly wakes up and comes charging forward to get the ball which then creates further problems as that now enables the opposition to isolate the two central defenders for a 2v2 situation with a simple pass behind the two midfielders who have rushed to close down the player. They fully exploit the situation and are unlucky not to score. 

I don't wish to discuss the wide midfielder positioning further but thought it entirely relevant to this particular thread. I'm glad that SI are trying to fix it but I appreciate it's not an easy fix and is a balancing issue that is going to require a lot of testing before it's sorted.

Edited by pheelf

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41 minutes ago, pheelf said:

I'll address each point in the order that you stated them.

I'm glad you agree that the #10 is on the wrong side, this isn't an isolated incident however with this shape though it happens all the time

His central midfielder #6 is not covering the central midfielders as you suggest as he has closed down the opposition #10. Instead it is his #7 AMC that has dropped deep to form the two players you see in the central midfield which isn't ideal because AMCs don't tend to be very good defensively which is a problem. I wouldn't expect the CMs to cover the opposition 10+11 which I explained. That is the job of the wide midfielders. As for the FBs, being in a flat back 4 I would expect them to stay in line with the central defenders until faced with a threat which they would then confront. They are the last line of defence for when the opposition break through the midfield and I would expect them to behave accordingly.

It's a simple switch of play to the other flank and there is a massive hole for the opposition to exploit. A risky pass I'll grant you but certainly not impossible and would be extremely beneficial for the attacking team

It is unreasonable in my book because of the ripple effect it has caused. The #3 is posing no danger what so ever and should he move into an advanced position the right fullback is more than capable of dealing with him. In football it is all about decisions and doing what is most beneficial. The decision to stay wide and mark a player that isn't threatening is a terrible one because regardless of who it is, somebody has to deal with the opposition #10 and the central defender and central midfielder are poorly positioned to do so and have other responsibilities that they need to take care of. Had the wide midfielder decided to track the #10 the other players wouldn't have had to abandon their positions and deal with him which would have been a far stronger play defensively. I agree that the central defender shouldn't be stepping up to help as it disrupts the 2 banks of 4 which is supposed to be the strength of the 4-4-2 but what choice does he really have unless he wants to grant time and space to an opposition player in a very dangerous area?

I agree that he is trying to get back but by then it's too late and the defensive shape has already been broken. He is also trying to get back to the wrong player, the #10 is who he should be dealing with not the #3 full back but because of his wide positioning he won't and this allows the #10 to cut inside unchallenged

I agree with that too but then again he is only having to make that decision because the wide right midfielder isn't defending properly and has allowed the opposition #10 the freedom to cut inside with the ball which set the whole thing into motion. The central midfielder #6 is being dragged out there because he has already been dragged wide by the presence of the #10 who is completely unmarked and needs to be dealt with, when he spots the fullback leaving space in behind he is the closest player available to cover the space left vacated by the right fullback so that is why he makes that move.

I'll concede on the CMs - I had assumed a more traditional numbering system and hadn't pegged #7 as being the AMC (which is why I queried the formation at the top). For the most part, I would also agree with the CMs vs #10 & #11 (given the movement of #10, I'm going to assume they are IFs). However, if the set-up is with a zonal marking system, I would not expect the WM to track too far infield - as you point out, you mark the space...if  #10 cuts in far enough, the CM (or CB depending on where he is cutting in) would have to then pick him up as he has ventured into their 'space'. In a system of "2 banks of 4" you can't have your WM tracking too far infield - the line becomes broken at that point and that was your argument for the FB positioning. 

I agree that #3 doesn't pose an immediate risk - but, if the WM is out of position, he has a great run into space should the ball find its way out there (which you can't really deny given you made a similar point about switching flanks and the hole that was left...) - a quick reverse ball and there's plenty of crossing potential. That said, I will concede that the WM should be in a deeper position (depending on where the IF cut infield). 

I agree that the WM is in the wrong position in the 2nd picture - he should have tracked #10 until he was in another "space", which would have put him in a deeper position and goal-side of the FB when he received the ball (again, assuming the FB has the ball in the picture). I wonder if having the WM on attacking (according to one of the earlier posts) would cause some of these problems? If the WM had tracked #10, it's either a 1 on 1 between the 2 FBs or an early cross into the middle. 

In the last picture, it looks like #3 has gone passed #2 (who is massively out of position), #11 is still trying to get back & #6 has gone across to make a challenge. For me, the issue here is either: 1) in a zonal system, #6 should not have moved across because it's not his space and he is occupied with #10; or 2) If we ignore the zonal system and #6 should come across, #11 should shift his run to cover #10. The movement of #6 will hopefully give #2 time to get back and help out.

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15 hours ago, Cam NBH said:

Looping i remember your last thread. I got a lot of useful info out of it myself. This is what I did, it might be wrong but I found it helped me:

Happy to read this.

15 hours ago, Cam NBH said:

I then had about 10 pre season games in total and played 3 games for each system on full match and I watched every bit carefully. Was every player where I want them to be? Where are they on transitions? Are they shooting too often? Etc. I then wrote notes like:

I've been 1 year trying. Last 6 months I'm exactly doing this. My posts show it.

15 hours ago, Cam NBH said:

Etc etc. I also tried to visualise how i wanted to play on paper first. After each game i added a TI or PI one or changed a role once at a time to make the changes i wanted and carefully watched if that worked or not.

Done (many many times). I can do it again if you think it may help, it's not going to be  tough because I have a very clear idea of how I want to play. I'll start from scratch and I'll write down it again.

10 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

I did tell you why the first 30 seconds (all of it, really) was bad. If you're not interested in winning the ball, you're not going to. SURELY you see why this is a terrible idea?? You're giving a world class team all the ball the need. At some point, the world class team

will have a world class player do what they do best. You don't even need to regain possession ffs. Just let them know that coming too close will its consequences.

You are asking your team (the WEAKER team too) to be 100% switched on all the time. Madrid patiently probed for an opening and they got it. You want to understand where you're wrong and I told you.

My idea is the ball carrier is not really a problem until he enters my final third. At any moment before that, the danger comes from his passing options, so what I want is to deny space to pass into and deny passing options.

If the ball carrier enters my final third, then yes, close down him aggressively and tackle hard. Foul him if needed.

How can I do that? It is not that difficult, nor complicated. It is very usual, I see it every weekend. Most of the teams I watch play do that. In my opinion, is the best way to defend.

10 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

If that's your diagnosis, what will pushing the D-Line higher do to change this?

My players will start closing down before, higher up the pitch, and that's something I don't want. I don't get this, mate, I don't get this. I don't want to close down the ball carrier until he enters my final third. Before that, deny passing options and deny space to pass into. Please, where is the problem if a midfielder is in the middle of the pitch and doesn't have passing options? He starts running, ok, then yes, close down him, but not before. He shoots from long range and scores, applause. It's part of the deal.

Does anybody understand this?

3 hours ago, pheelf said:

When I think of a 4-4-2, defensively I think 2 solid banks of 4 which is what the tactic screen shows you and others have stated is the defensive shape.

Me too.

3 hours ago, pheelf said:

Look at this screenshot properly, if you view it in terms of there being a problem with the wide midfielders defending you can easily explain why the defender steps out of position to close down the number 10. Look at how spread his midfield is, defensively that is atrocious and the team is just begging to be ripped apart.

Everything is wrong with the defensive shape of the midfielders

1) The left midfielder (no. 10) is on the wrong side of the oppositions no. 11

2) The two central midfielders aren't positioned deep enough to deal with the threat coming from the 2 opposition attacking midfielders

3) A quick shifting of the ball to the other flank and there is absolutely masses of space for the opposition to exploit, you could fit a bus through there for crying out loud

4) Look at how wide the wide midfielders are in comparison with the wide defenders, how can they work well in tandem when not only are they vertically separated but horizontally too?

Why does the defender step out of the defensive line?

He's doing what any defender worth their salt would do and help out his team mates who haven't managed to deal with the threat posed by the opposition number 10, the central midfielders aren't doing it because it's not really their job, their job is to battle for domination of the central midfield and not to deal with threats emanating from the wide midfield. The number 6 is desperately trying to close down the oppositions number 10 but given the players starting position it is a hard task and the central defender who the number 10 is running toward can see that and steps up to help, add to that the number 6's dereliction of duty as he is no longer defending the central midfield and you can begin to see the problem.

It is the wide midfielders job to track the opposition wide midfielders but they aren't doing it either and seem content to just sit wide and contribute nothing defensively which is a catastrophic decision as it causes a massive butterfly effect.  Staying wide means that the 2 central midfielders become isolated which gives them an impossible work load. They not only have to deal with being outnumbered in the central midfield they also have to try and deal with opposition wide midfielders attacking space in between the lines

I don't see all this. I don't see the relation between my wide midfielders positioning (which I agree is most of the times wrong) with my cb stepping out.

Malaga - FC Nantes_ Terreno de juego Completo-9.png

#10 is marked by my #6. There is no reason why my cb leaves his position. Absolutely no reason. To help to what? He doesn't need help. The only explanation is a bad decision by my player. That's why I checked his attributes Decisions (15) and Aggression (14) and what my limited knowledge thinks is they are not the problem. I tried telling him to close down less but then he becomes an spectator.

The other picture is the same. There are two players fighting with the ball carrier. Why another? Again, I checked my players attributes Agression (17) and Decisions (14). This is a bit concerning (too much aggression?) but I can't tell him to close down less if I want to give him  a defend duty in dm or cm strata.

4 hours ago, pheelf said:

Solutions. Well there is a number of things you can try but before I get into that first of all you need to accept that you aren't going to get any meaningful defensive contribution from your wide midfielders. If you accept that premise then you can do a number of things.

1) Drop your two CM into the DM strata. That way they are better positioned to deal with any opposition players in the attacking midfield strata and won't get pulled about as much

2) Push your defensive line as high as you can (clearly you are going to need to have fast defenders to pull this off) and play as narrow as you can when atttacking, by compressing the gap between defense and midfield hopefully they should be close enough together that the two banks of 4 will remain more solid, by playing very narrow when attacking it will mean easier recovery into a defensive position should you lose the ball

3) Perhaps a strange idea but you could try pushing your ML/MR back into the WBL/WBR positions and play with wingbacks on an attack duty. That way you get attacking contribution and defensive contribution from your wide players

4) Push your LM/RM up into AML/AMR, given that they aren't defending anyway you might as well leave them up the pitch in the hope that they defend in a way by pinning back the fullbacks (defending from the front)

5) Abandon any formation with a flat 4 in midfield (as painful as that may be)

1)  I tried

2) I don't want to play with a high def line

3) I tried. Really, I tried and had huge problems on attacking transitions so I abandoned the idea

4) I tried and they don't track back enough to defend (problems in defensive transitions).

5) Despite I tried other formations I still failed and I don't want to move from my initial plan.

3 hours ago, herne79 said:

Is it game breaking to the point that anything with a flat 4 midfield won't work?  No, far from it.  If it were, tell me how I just got Plymouth Argyle promoted using a 442.

I asked if 442 was unplayable due to wide midfielders positioning and you answered not unplayable so I trust you.

2 hours ago, Jorsin said:

 

Looking at the screenshots, I don't see (though maybe it's because I don't play either system) how you are playing either a 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2. In both of those formations, I would expect the number 10 (judging by the shirt numbering, this is a friendly and the more 'traditional' numbering is being used) to be either the 2nd striker or the AM / AP / T (whatever role is in use). This suggests that the number 10 is the LWM - to be using the formation above...the number 11 fills the central role? Not according to the first picture which has him tracking the FB. The positioning in the pictures suggest more of a 4-1-4-1

 

My number ten is #7. 

I agree with everything you posted.

2 hours ago, noikeee said:

A/D, HB/D, DLP/D, DLP/S, CM/S are your options.

Admitedly it is very annoying that DM/D and CM/D are set to close down more by default now. It's almost unusable. But you can use the other roles.

After playing some matches, I'm not able to pass the ball if I have 2 dm. When playing out the defense, they sit almost in the same position than my cb, so it reduces passing options. That's why I moved them to cm (which was my initial idea, before dropping them to dm strata).

So I want one cm to destroy and the other more a runner. I don't want my defensive midfielder to be a playmaker. I can only use a cm/s with hold position activated or a cm/d which doesn't allow to close down less.

2 hours ago, noikeee said:

I think one of your problems is you're attempting so many different things in different directions. What were the settings in the screenshots above?

I just want to do one thing. I'll post it again, as I said before.

I changed roles and duties because, if things go wrong, first of all check your roles and duties.

2 hours ago, noikeee said:

I've been having lots of success with a DM-MC-MC with the plan being the two MCs hassling players, whilst the DM keeps shape

I'm not going to move from my initial plan.

2 hours ago, noikeee said:

Don't commit the mistake to neglect attacking when you try to focus on better defending, or you might end up cornering yourself and this might actually detract from your defending too - by not relieving pressure from your backline by moving the ball onto more advanced positions yourself.

My attack is not perfect but I score a good number of goals and good numbers of possession (even too much for my taste).

 

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Looping, I've answered what I'd do. I've given you the answers you keep asking me. It's all there.

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18 minutes ago, looping said:

I don't see all this. I don't see the relation between my wide midfielders positioning (which I agree is most of the times wrong) with my cb stepping out.

Malaga - FC Nantes_ Terreno de juego Completo-9.png

#10 is marked by my #6. There is no reason why my cb leaves his position. Absolutely no reason. To help to what? He doesn't need help. The only explanation is a bad decision by my player. That's why I checked his attributes Decisions (15) and Aggression (14) and what my limited knowledge thinks is they are not the problem. I tried telling him to close down less but then he becomes an spectator.

The other picture is the same. There are two players fighting with the ball carrier. Why another? Again, I checked my players attributes Agression (17) and Decisions (14). This is a bit concerning (too much aggression?) but I can't tell him to close down less if I want to give him  a defend duty in dm or cm strata.

The screenshot doesn't tell the whole story of how it came about in the first place and it is directly related to the wide midfielder positioning. Defending isn't just what your defenders do...it's what your midfielders do also especially in a 4-4-2.

#10 is not marked by #6 because if that were the case there would be no trigger that would initiate the central defender to make such an ultra risky move and try to close the player down. The only reason why the central defender would make take such an extreme stance is if he sees a player bearing down on him and he feels he needs to do whatever he can to stop him from progressing further forward.

The issue you have is that the player who should be taking responsibility to deal with the #10 isn't which is then making life difficult for your central players. Anyway, as you can't see it I don't see the point in discussing it any further. As you were....:seagull: 

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3 minutes ago, pheelf said:

The screenshot doesn't tell the whole story of how it came about in the first place and it is directly related to the wide midfielder positioning. Defending isn't just what your defenders do...it's what your midfielders do also especially in a 4-4-2.

#10 is not marked by #6 because if that were the case there would be no trigger that would initiate the central defender to make such an ultra risky move and try to close the player down. The only reason why the central defender would make take such an extreme stance is if he sees a player bearing down on him and he feels he needs to do whatever he can to stop him from progressing further forward.

The issue you have is that the player who should be taking responsibility to deal with the #10 isn't which is then making life difficult for your central players. Anyway, as you can't see it I don't see the point in discussing it any further. As you were....:seagull: 

Don't you see two of my players in front of #10? There are 2 players, my cm and my cb. Why my cb goes there? I don't get this.

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38 minutes ago, looping said:

Happy to read this.

I've been 1 year trying. Last 6 months I'm exactly doing this. My posts show it.

Done (many many times). I can do it again if you think it may help, it's not going to be  tough because I have a very clear idea of how I want to play. I'll start from scratch and I'll write down it again.

My idea is the ball carrier is not really a problem until he enters my final third. At any moment before that, the danger comes from his passing options, so what I want is to deny space to pass into and deny passing options.

If the ball carrier enters my final third, then yes, close down him aggressively and tackle hard. Foul him if needed.

How can I do that? It is not that difficult, nor complicated. It is very usual, I see it every weekend. Most of the teams I watch play do that. In my opinion, is the best way to defend.

My players will start closing down before, higher up the pitch, and that's something I don't want. I don't get this, mate, I don't get this. I don't want to close down the ball carrier until he enters my final third. Before that, deny passing options and deny space to pass into. Please, where is the problem if a midfielder is in the middle of the pitch and doesn't have passing options? He starts running, ok, then yes, close down him, but not before. He shoots from long range and scores, applause. It's part of the deal.

Does anybody understand this?

Me too.

I don't see all this. I don't see the relation between my wide midfielders positioning (which I agree is most of the times wrong) with my cb stepping out.

Malaga - FC Nantes_ Terreno de juego Completo-9.png

#10 is marked by my #6. There is no reason why my cb leaves his position. Absolutely no reason. To help to what? He doesn't need help. The only explanation is a bad decision by my player. That's why I checked his attributes Decisions (15) and Aggression (14) and what my limited knowledge thinks is they are not the problem. I tried telling him to close down less but then he becomes an spectator.

The other picture is the same. There are two players fighting with the ball carrier. Why another? Again, I checked my players attributes Agression (17) and Decisions (14). This is a bit concerning (too much aggression?) but I can't tell him to close down less if I want to give him  a defend duty in dm or cm strata.

1)  I tried

2) I don't want to play with a high def line

3) I tried. Really, I tried and had huge problems on attacking transitions so I abandoned the idea

4) I tried and they don't track back enough to defend (problems in defensive transitions).

5) Despite I tried other formations I still failed and I don't want to move from my initial plan.

I asked if 442 was unplayable due to wide midfielders positioning and you answered not unplayable so I trust you.

My number ten is #7. 

I agree with everything you posted.

After playing some matches, I'm not able to pass the ball if I have 2 dm. When playing out the defense, they sit almost in the same position than my cb, so it reduces passing options. That's why I moved them to cm (which was my initial idea, before dropping them to dm strata).

So I want one cm to destroy and the other more a runner. I don't want my defensive midfielder to be a playmaker. I can only use a cm/s with hold position activated or a cm/d which doesn't allow to close down less.

I just want to do one thing. I'll post it again, as I said before.

I changed roles and duties because, if things go wrong, first of all check your roles and duties.

I'm not going to move from my initial plan.

My attack is not perfect but I score a good number of goals and good numbers of possession (even too much for my taste).

 

I agree the roles on DMs and CMs are limited with so many roles locked to "close down more", but it is what it is.

To sum it up:

- you're not willing to consider a higher line or higher pressing (I'm guessing this also means you're ruling out more aggressive mentalities... which include a higher line by default)

- you're not willing to consider a switch of formation that would include an inverted triangle in midfield (with a holder behind 2 other midfielders), more appropriate for soaking up pressure when you consider the current behaviour of WMs.

So it's a deep 4-4-1-1 or nothing (with DMs or CMs). I think this might well be just not a great platform by default for the brand of defending you want.

The only thing I can think of that could save you somewhat, is tighter marking and/or harder tackling, to introduce some aggressiveness without completing disrupting your priority of keeping a good shape (which would happen with more pressing).

Otherwise I'm afraid you may be painting yourself into a corner by restricting yourself too much.

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"I am not going to move from my initial plan" 

 

So why are you here asking for advice? People have interpreted what's wrong with your set up and have repeatedly offered you advice, yet you do a remarkable job of painting yourself in a corner. There is good advice here to help you play your game, if you are willing to listen.

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18 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

"I am not going to move from my initial plan" 

 

So why are you here asking for advice? People have interpreted what's wrong with your set up and have repeatedly offered you advice, yet you do a remarkable job of painting yourself in a corner. There is good advice here to help you play your game, if you are willing to listen.

There has been good advice given and in painstaking detail in every thread he has started. This one is about to be closed. I am simply not interested in another multi-page, hundreds of replies thread that end up right back at the initial post with nothing gained except aggravated forum members and a frustrated OP. This is thread 5 or 6 at least that have gone this exact same way, and it is about time to call it a day on it.

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I'm going to go one further, because frankly enough is enough:

Looping, do not open any more threads. I want you to actively read all the threads you opened, and all the great advice you have had, and act on it. So many people have so above and beyond for you so often, that it's time you actually showed them some decency and tried it. Maybe in a month or so we can see if you've actually been listening.

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