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SPE3D

A question I've not ever seen answered

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I've read these forums over and over again and I know it's recommended to find a base tactic and change shape and mentality if required. The thing is everyone I've seen write about this only ever make minor changes like control to attacking and maintaining team instructions like pressing.

Would it be ok to have two completely opposite tactical frameworks. I'd like to have a control tactic that is very fluid and presses high against weaker teams. And I'd like a counter tactic within a highly structured shape that stands off opponents for games against stronger opponents. 

Would these two opposite tactics work within the same team and would there be any drawbacks?

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If your players are able to play two very different styles then sure, but they'll likely be better suited to one of them.

For example defending deep needs central defenders who are great at positioning, marking and dominate the box.  Pressing high needs them to be more mobile as there's more space around them that they need to anticipate defending, just being in a good position isn't enough with lots of space.

Having to create space against defensive teams who you've pinned in with pressing requires different ability than attacking space they give when they push up on you.

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I doubt you'll need multiple entire tactical frameworks.

From experience, if I have a successful attacking tactic then it usually works just as well with the mentality set to counter-attack, as speed and directness are required with both mentalities. Similarly, counter and defend can both suit the same tactic, as care in possession is required with both.

Edited by BanOly

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It's entirely possible ... in fact I often use my 3rd slot as a complete overhaul of my main tactic for games where my main tactic is so weak that minor tweaks wont do. i.e. 2-0 down and my main tactic is deep line, slow tempo, short passing retain possession in a defensive 532... I might have a 424 attacking direct to change to for the last 30 mins.  

... the trouble is its often very hard to have players/squad to cope with the two demands. in my 532 I have no wide midfielders/wingers ... so to suddenly change to 424 im either going to have a FB or CM/Striker having to occupy the wing roles... or have non-match fit winger come off the bench

its certainly doable but you need to have utility men in the squad so that with just the 3 subs available you can radically change formation and still be successful.

in most cases however, it is best to stick to minor tweaks and make them earlier in the game as you see trends developing. Also using all three slots for minor adjustments of a particular shape allows better tactical familiarity and easier to mould your squad for the exact roles.

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Thanks for the feedback guys. All makes a lot of sense. One aspect I'm still struggling with though. Say I'm playing a very fluid system with high pressing and control mentality and I switch to counter won't the high pressing be ineffective? Also wouldn't it leave space for the opponent's to exploit?

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2 minutes ago, SPE3D said:


Thanks for the feedback guys. All makes a lot of sense. One aspect I'm still struggling with though. Say I'm playing a very fluid system with high pressing and control mentality and I switch to counter won't the high pressing be ineffective? Also wouldn't it leave space for the opponent's to exploit?

not that you cannot play counter with a high line...

but if you are going to make significant change from very fluid control to counter... presumably you would be changing all your TI too? i.e. have a 3rd tactic slot for counter where you have already said it will be fluid/flexible...slightly deeper.. and less closing down etc

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Read "lines and diamonds" in the guides section.  It covers the types of defensive systems and the pros+cons of them.

Like most things in FM it depends what your game plan is and what your opponents is.  If you sit and don't press and they're happy just keeping ball deep in there half your not going to force them to do anything with it quickly or force a mistake.  If you do pressure high then you might leave space for them to play into but your forcing them to do something.  

This is why there's no right way to do it in every situation.

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This is a really good question and one I've been wondering for a while.

I used to be on a countering strategy, which was good at winning games away at big opponents or against smaller teams, as it would draw them out. They issue is that the small teams would seem to get this tactic after a while and then play with defensive fullbacks, etc. Even switching to the "Defensive" mood wouldn't be enough anymore.

So I too switch between posession based and counter attacking. I'm not having tremendous success with it though. But it would seem fair to me, especially if you should be a top-half team, to have both a posession-based and counter-attacking tactic.

But my league table currently says otherwise :)

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It's a very good question, especially if you're a mid-table team but you're likely to face a number of teams that are going to dominate you. For example, Southampton have to play differently against Arsenal than they do against Hull.

As @summatsupeer said, this will usually entail a change of personnel, so if you're going to do it, I'd say you need to plan ahead, rather than changing mid-game.

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Thanks to the guys in here I've realised you'd need 2 teams within your squad with opposing qualities to successfully implement 2 opposing tactical frameworks. Makes sense when you think about it but doesn't help my situation. I'm still stumped as to what to change for games against stronger teams when my tactic is setup to take on weaker opponents.

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With a mid table team or lower league team you may not have the resources to maintain a full squad of natural players for different formations... so you have to have plenty of utility players. i.e. with Southampton you may want a 4141 counter away to Arsenal ... where Tadic could be wmr or amc ... but home to hull you might want to play 4231 wide.. where tadic could fit in as a left winger or amc or inside forward on the right.

primarily - you want 'your tactic' and you don't want to chop and change every week based on your perception of whether or not its an easy/hard game. Your main tactic should suit your best players or be your preferred tactic for which you sign players to fit into.

However, every team needs to be able to adjust so you have two other tactic slots... 1 you can use for minor tweaks... such as a role/duty change or some TI changes... and your 3rd slot can be your go to tactic for a certain situation (for me its a more attacking option for when im losing ... but it could be a more defensive option for when you are winning or for the perceived away games).

But it is always helpful to use slots wisely ... if you suddenly jump midseason from a very fluid attacking tactic to a highly structured defensive tactic... your players will not be familiar at all

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Think of mentality as Risk (so how much Risk do you want your team to commit to) and shape as how many players do you want to participate in the transitions.... So I would say that you can build one system and change mentality, shape and TIs according to how the game plays out.... So I will often have the same formation in all 3 tactical slots but with different shapes and mentality, i.e. Structured Defensive, Fluid Control and Very Fluid Attacking.

I may also have slight variations of the system, i.e. 4231, 4411 and 41221 but I don't see any problem with changing formations during a game even if you get a slight hit on familiarity.

The single most important thing in getting Things right is to have a clear idea of how you want to play and then choose a balanced setup of roles and mentalities ensuring support to playmakers and defensive cover for roaming attackers etc. If you get that right you can change Things around without destroying your squad Foundation.

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22 minutes ago, SPE3D said:

Thanks to the guys in here I've realised you'd need 2 teams within your squad with opposing qualities to successfully implement 2 opposing tactical frameworks. Makes sense when you think about it but doesn't help my situation. I'm still stumped as to what to change for games against stronger teams when my tactic is setup to take on weaker opponents.

Well, ultimately the better teams are going to beat you 75% of the time, and there's little use beating yourself up over it. However, you can do things so you don't make it easy for them.

I would suggest that the spine of your team doesn't need to change too much, and your full backs are probably going to remain. So, you're looking at swapping two to four players.

If I was playing a more offensively minded 4-2-3-1 and I was preparing to shore up for a trip to a top end team, I might do the following.

- Invert the midfield and drop the wingers back to make a 4-1-4-1

- Move one of the central playmakers out wide and employ him a perhaps a WM with a support or attack duty.

- Fill my central midfield with tactically good, more defensive players. If you have a balanced tactic you should have at least one of these already, maybe two.

- Drop one of my flimsy wingers for a more robust version. Getting rid of a Navas for a Milner, for example.

- I'd consider leaving out any defenders that lack strength or jumping reach, but that isn't a deal breaker unless there's an obvious weakness.

There are lots of other things you could do, and I'm not going into roles and duties here, just shape and personnel. But you can do all of the above with as little as two changes to your team.

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1 hour ago, SPE3D said:

Thanks to the guys in here I've realised you'd need 2 teams within your squad with opposing qualities to successfully implement 2 opposing tactical frameworks. Makes sense when you think about it but doesn't help my situation. I'm still stumped as to what to change for games against stronger teams when my tactic is setup to take on weaker opponents.

If you lower mentality it will make the team defend a bit deeper, close down less, play narrower with the ball, slow the tempo down and passing patterns will change.  But if you keep your roles and duties the same and reduce the mentality then they will still do the same things relative to each other, they will just be slightly safer about what they do.  You can then use instructions to adjust the style to what you want (or your players are good at), so you could push up and close down more to keep a "pressure" rather than a "contain" defensive strategy.

Like I said earlier, these no right answer.  Try not to think of things as black and white, there won't be a "this is the line we're best at", dropping or pushing 1 level might be all you need for that situation and won't require a different type of player.

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