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AntHolroyd

Amateur looking for help with defensive line

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Hi guys, been playing for around a month now and I'm finding something quite difficult. When I get to the opposition instructions before the game and usually I have the centere forwards tightly marked or closed down. The problem I'm finding with this is that when I do this, both my center backs rush towards the player and it creates gaps in my defense. What am I doing wrong? I appreciate any help.

If you want to know, I'm playing as Man United. I'm in my second season, with my usual back four of Valencia, Tiago Silva, Smalling, Shaw.

I also usually play Silva as a ball playing centre back and Smalling as a defensive central defender. My full backs are both on automatic but I'm think of switching them to attack once I sort out my central defenders getting sucked in all the time. Should I be changing these roles to help stop the gaps in my defense? 

Cheers guys!

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 1.04.47 PM.png

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It's all a matter of combination of instructions.

Avoid OI and TI for pressing to start with.

  • You are using OI to close down their CFs ... Take this off... allow the players duties, roles and instructions to close down naturally
  • you are using TI 'close down much more' this affects every player in your team - remove it and use PIs to be selective
  • in that particular formation my advice would be to put the CBS and DMs PI to - 'close down less' ...because they are your last line of defence and should hold the opposition up rather than also rush out to press.  Other players optional for "close down more/much more" depending what area of the pitch you intend to win the ball

you can adopt different strategy in each tactic.. as mentioned in the general discussion...if playing a 3 man defence ... you could go 2 stoppers/defenders who close down with one covering behind... or two covering one stopper etc.

 

                

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And... not really what you asked, but I'd consider the affect of having 'retain possession' (play less risky keep ball) and 'much higher tempo' (make quick decisions, usually direct forward thinking, especially with a relatively aggressive mentality (control))) both selected.

What's the desired style... I don't think you need either of those.

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6 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

And... not really what you asked, but I'd consider the affect of having 'retain possession' (play less risky keep ball) and 'much higher tempo' (make quick decisions, usually direct forward thinking, especially with a relatively aggressive mentality (control))) both selected.

What's the desired style... I don't think you need either of those.

I have been finding that the retain possession is being a negative. Thanks for the advice :thup:

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24 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

I just want to second your comments on several players all rushing to the ball to presumably 'close down' one player. No exaggeration I've seen up to 5 players all rush to the same ball/player. It is and looks a mess. I had to replay it as I couldn't believe my eyes. I had the player instruction as close down too, that is the only intervention I can think of which I made (as I manage lower leagues exclusively with low stamina, work-rate, etc. so hardly press and have little or no team instructions) It is absolutely shocking this year and I actually stopped playing FM17 for a bit because of this as it was happening so frequently and it was only a matter of time until it was going to start costing me. My suggestion would be to avoid player instructions, especially closing down. Far from ideal as I personally use them a lot but I can't think of anything else which prompts it. 

It does get quite irritating especially in tight games!

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2 minutes ago, AntHolroyd said:

I have been finding that the retain possession is being a negative. Thanks for the advice :thup:

control mentality means on the whole your players will look to pass forward when they can... you have two playmakers, whose role makes them attract the ball ... so you've already got a forward moving, passing game which wont be too direct because of the playmakers, wont be too slow because of the mentality... using the tempo increase or retain possession are shouts you can add during the match when the situation dictates i.e. if you aren't stretching a deep team enough up the tempo to give them less time to organise... if you are seeing too much turnover try shorter passing or retain possession etc.

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1 hour ago, AntHolroyd said:

When I get to the opposition instructions before the game and usually I have the centere forwards tightly marked

This is the main problem in my opinion. "Tight marking", whether set as a team instruction, player instruction, or opposition instruction, will tell your players to go out of position to man mark the opposition.

And when you combine this with an already aggressive pressing game - the Control mentality by default already increases closing down settings, and you're adding "Close Down More" on top of it, more gaps will appear behind your defence.

Doesn't mean any of these instructions are bad by itself, it's just that it seems questionable to use all of them at once, specially the tight marking option. That's an option I've had some very bad experiences with, and reserve for certain situations and matches, and/or only for certain zones of the pitch.

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51 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

control mentality means on the whole your players will look to pass forward when they can... you have two playmakers, whose role makes them attract the ball ... so you've already got a forward moving, passing game which wont be too direct because of the playmakers, wont be too slow because of the mentality... using the tempo increase or retain possession are shouts you can add during the match when the situation dictates i.e. if you aren't stretching a deep team enough up the tempo to give them less time to organise... if you are seeing too much turnover try shorter passing or retain possession etc.

Im seeing a much clearer picture of the entire tactics of the game! will definitely make those changes:thup:

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18 minutes ago, AntHolroyd said:

Im seeing a much clearer picture of the entire tactics of the game! will definitely make those changes:thup:

easy trap to feel like every button/screen/option is a decision... and then treat them individually ... but everything is connected from mentality and shape to the formation -> roles -> duties -> team instructions -> player instructions -> opposition instructions -> the players you choose attributes & ppms

sometimes minimalistic approach is best so you don't end up with confusing contradictory instructions. Then as you get more familiar and/or spot specific things over a period of time that don't work or gaps in your tactic... you'll have a better handle on what tweaks to make.

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1 hour ago, D_LO_ said:

Counter coupled with 'close down' opposition instruction is just as bad so I'm not convinced mentality is as relevant an 'explanation' as you suggest. I rarely use tight marking often due to striker's speed also so not a relevant explanation to my experience (even if it is to other's) 

I've just said instructions by itself aren't "good" or "bad"? It all depends to your context. Your context on Counter (and possibly different formation, roles, instructions?) is entirely different and might have different problems.

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This is something that's completely spoiling my experience of the game, this year.

I'm the first to say that it's probably my tactics - but I've tried allsorts to remedy my defensive line issues, and I just can't do it.

I concede the exact same goal week in, week out - see the goal in this "highlights package" below (there's only one goal, I didn't export the highlights properly):

I cannot beat teams that are 10+ places below me in the league because of this, when there is a big quality gap.

What I'm finding is...

  • If I play my defence too deep, they clear everything and give away possession far too often.
  • If I play them in the "normal" position, the opposition always gets (and usually scores) the above opportunity - and they still clear everything anyway rather than pass (even when they're not even close to being under pressure).
  • If I set the defenders to "close down", they follow the ball and leave the strikers unmarked.
  • If I set the defenders to "stand off", they're more likely to be in the right place, but they jog next to the striker and allow him to score (see the above video).
  • If I set the CBs to "tight marking", they still let them past (like "stand off" above).

I really don't know how to stop it and it's driving me crazy. I usually play a 4-4-2 on "standard" mentality (occasionally "control"), "flexible" positionally (otherwise I find the midfield doesn't push up enough, but sometimes "structured" to try and help), occasionally "retain possession" (otherwise the players just hoof the ball forwards for no reason).

If we didn't concede these goals, my season could yet be saved (the team are expected to finish in the top four, and we're currently seventh after drawing and losing against a ton of teams at the bottom of the league).

Any advice?

(Bonus question - I'd like to play "work ball into box", but someone told me that you can't expect that to work with lower-league teams, and yet all my opponents seem to do short passes and very rarely just hoof the ball forward. Do you agree?)

 

Edited by TRFC

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you conceded 1 goal in 90 mins.. so not like your defenders always did something wrong. You're a bad team with bad players... going to lose concentration every now and again. watch one of your matches in full detail rather than highlights and for every one of those opportunities there will be 10+ times your closing down worked well etc

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15 hours ago, westy8chimp said:

you conceded 1 goal in 90 mins.. so not like your defenders always did something wrong. You're a bad team with bad players... going to lose concentration every now and again. watch one of your matches in full detail rather than highlights and for every one of those opportunities there will be 10+ times your closing down worked well etc

Thank you for the response - but my issue is that the above goal is the same goal I always concede. A long ball to an opponent's striker who just runs through my half and scores, with no defenders near him - and if I could stop these types of goals alone, I'd have a much better chance at recovering in the league.

I use the "comprehensive" highlights package to look for problems, though I watch the full match when changing to a new formation.

However, my problem boils down to...

  • Deep defensive line = too far from the midfield (and so much less possession)
  • Normal defensive line = concede the above goal over and over and over (and over)

Thanks again!

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You only speak about your defence, but personally I would be more concerned why that midfielder was allowed so much time to drop that ball in behind with little pressure. 

I have no idea what your set up is, but there is a huge gap between your defence and midfield, and that defensive line looks very high.

It is only one very small clip so can't take too much from it, all I am saying is that it isn't always the back 4/5 that are the problem.

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@TRFC

Without knowing your set-up no one will be able to give you any sort of advice, but as @Torskus77 already mentioned, I would look at the midfielder passing the ball instead of the forward making the run. Of course your defenders could do a better job of tracking him, but you're not playing at the highest level so your defenders are more likely to make mistakes when so high up on the field. 

It looks to me that the player on the ball is given too much time so increasing closing down/pressure would be the thing to do. 

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Or hire quicker defenders if you want to keep playing this high-ish line.

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6 hours ago, Torskus77 said:

I have no idea what your set up is, but there is a huge gap between your defence and midfield, and that defensive line looks very high.

It is only one very small clip so can't take too much from it, all I am saying is that it isn't always the back 4/5 that are the problem.

 

5 hours ago, noikeee said:

Or hire quicker defenders if you want to keep playing this high-ish line.

First off, thanks a lot for the replies, I'm really grateful - especially given the lack of information I've given you to go off (I realise the clip of a single goal isn't really much help).

Re: "your defensive line looks very high" - this is the problem... I'm not playing a high line!

With the defensive line set to "normal", they play that high up. I'm playing full-backs with support duties and centre-backs as "defensive centre-backs", and yet that's where they end up, and I'd honestly say that at least 33% of the goals I concede are scored that way.

But if I set the defensive line to "slightly deeper" etc, I lose the ability for them to pass to the midfielders, and they still play high enough that I concede these goals anyway.

I'm currently setting up man-marking before every game to try and ensure that no striker can just run through to the goal unopposed, but that creates problems of its own...

5 hours ago, jorgvandervloed said:

@TRFC

Without knowing your set-up no one will be able to give you any sort of advice, but as @Torskus77 already mentioned, I would look at the midfielder passing the ball instead of the forward making the run. Of course your defenders could do a better job of tracking him, but you're not playing at the highest level so your defenders are more likely to make mistakes when so high up on the field. 

It looks to me that the player on the ball is given too much time so increasing closing down/pressure would be the thing to do. 

Again, thank you for the response!

I hadn't thought of the midfielders' role in this - I usually play two CMs as "ball-winning midfielders", though, and I believe they're set to close down regardless of the team instructions?

You say increasing closing down would help - do you mean, with the centre-backs? I'd been experimenting with doing the opposite (not in the clip I provided), because otherwise I find the centre-backs wander away from the striker(s) and leave gaps!

Thanks again, this all helps me wrap my head around the problem.

Edited by TRFC

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2 minutes ago, TRFC said:

I'm currently setting up man-marking before every game to try and ensure that no striker can just run through to the goal unopposed, but that creates problems of its own...

who is set to man mark the AI attackers... if it's your CBs and the AI use DLF/F9/DF or a lower mentality... then your CBs will be drawn out .. this not only makes it a foot race against the attackers they are marking, but also leaves space for any CM/AM with attack duty to run beyond the attackers.

Like I said earlier in the post, refrain from OI where possible .. because it will ruin the integrity of what you think you are achieving with team instructions such as D line and pressing

2 minutes ago, TRFC said:

I hadn't thought of the midfielders' role in this - I usually play two CMs as "ball-winning midfielders

ball winning midfielders are incredibly indisciplined... perhaps should be renamed 'ball chasers' as they will hunt the ball around large areas of the park. a DLP or anchor man infront of the defence is a brilliant way of protecting CBs and allows you flexibility with the roles in front to press a lot without the ball and be more attacking in possession

2 minutes ago, TRFC said:

You say increasing closing down would help - do you mean, with the centre-backs

probably doesn't mean the CBs

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51 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

ball winning midfielders are incredibly indisciplined

How is it indisciplined if they are told to close down much more and they do just that?

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15 hours ago, eriktous said:

How is it indisciplined if they are told to close down much more and they do just that?

in context of the formation.. would you use a bwm as pivot or as 2 cms in a 442? chasing all over the place? especially while your cbs are being dragged all over the place man marking or closing down potential F9?

the role is undisciplined compared to say a DLP D... not undisciplined in that it doesn't do what it says on the tin.

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1 hour ago, westy8chimp said:

in context of the formation.. would you use a bwm as pivot or as 2 cms in a 442? chasing all over the place? especially while your cbs are being dragged all over the place man marking or closing down potential F9?

I know full well what a BWM is and what he does, but I don't see where me making poor tactical choices factors into the being disciplined or not of a player.

I'm not trying to argue with any advice being given about them, it's just the use of the word indisciplined that I take slight issue with.

2 hours ago, westy8chimp said:

the role is undisciplined compared to say a DLP D... not undisciplined in that it doesn't do what it says on the tin.

Again, not indisciplined, but less static when out of possession than a DLP.

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24 minutes ago, eriktous said:

I know full well what a BWM is and what he does, but I don't see where me making poor tactical choices factors into the being disciplined or not of a player.

I'm not trying to argue with any advice being given about them, it's just the use of the word indisciplined that I take slight issue with.

Again, not indisciplined, but less static when out of possession than a DLP.

yep so one definition of undisciplined is 'disorderly' ... a BWM is disorderly compared to a DLP. Another is 'wayward' ... they are wayward in the sense they will run left, then right, then up, then down to chase the ball.

you are being incorrectly pedantic about a word I used, when i was replying to another user about a specific issue they are having with chaotic lack of shape and haphazard pressing... this is directly linked to their choice of BWM role being disorderly ... undisciplined and using instructions to make their CBs also disorderly...

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