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Shi Xiansheng

Patching together some ugly lower league football.

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I have lurked on this forum for some time, but I finally feel compelled to start a thread of my own.

I'm managing Curzon Ashton in the English National League North.  In my first season I was predicted to finish dead bottom (partially why I chose this challenge) but managed to beat the drop by a single point.  In my second season I finished 15th, and in my third 6th, just missing out on the playoffs.  I thought that this season I might kick on and land a playoff spot but things are not going according to plan.  I started well enough, with just one loss and five goals conceded in my first ten matches.  I wasn't scoring much (ten in those ten) but defensive stability seemed to be a platform to build on.  Then results started to worsen and, having lost four league matches in a row, I feel that November may be the time to go back to the drawing board before it's too late.

My tactic is intended to be a fairly direct and simple 4-4-2.  Hit it to the target man, get it wide to a winger, cross and score.  Fall back without the ball.  It looks like this:

 

                    AF(a)           TM(s)

W(s)          DLP(d)           BBM(s)       W(s)

FB(d)         CD(st)           LD(d)           FB(s)

                              GK(d)

Counter/Structured

Get Stuck In, More Direct Passing

 

Meat and potatoes stuff really.  Some of those roles and duties may change occasionally on the basis of personnel but not often.  Which brings me to an important point: this tactic is largely dictated by the squad I have available.  I'm still more or less a relegation candidate and I'm currently over my (tiny) wage budget.  Bringing in better players is more or less out of the question, and I believe fundamentally in playing my best players in their best positions.  Changes can be made, of course (otherwise why would I be here?), but obvious ones would be awkward at best.  For example, my wingers are wingers, not wide midfielders.  My central midfielders are mostly passers and runners, not hulking hard men, so a CM(d) in the middle has been passed on.  You get the picture.

I want to make some changes before the season slips away from me, but I'd prefer not to tear up my tactic entirely.  I do like the 4-4-2, though I am considering making more use of the 4-1-4-1 (third tactic trained) that I occasionally use when facing a far superior opponent.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Thanks.  Yeah, I was of course well aware that the BBM was a gamble, but I felt that more movement in the center was necessary to break up the static nature of my attacks down the flanks, and he did seem to be contributing, albeit not necessarily by shooting.  I switched him to a CM(d) and scraped a 2-1 win at lowly Buxton, the winner coming when my DLP tucked it away in a goalmouth scramble following a corner.  I did feel that there was a better shield in front of my defense and that I held on to the ball better in the center.  With two central midfielders with Hold Position, both made plenty of interceptions.  Buxton's goal came from a penalty after my left back chopped someone down, not from movement in the middle.

I also felt that the DLP on Support was able to contribute more.  Though he made only one key pass, he was more positive, even getting forward more (but not surging into the box).

I guess two "sitters" in the middle is fine if you're trying not to concede.  There's not necessarily so much need for a "runner" there anyway if your primary weapon is crosses (my first goal was a cross to the target man).

Wide Midfielders, however, are kind of a no go.  None of my available wide players are suitable.  They're wingers through and through.  I can of course change my right back's duty to Defend though.

It's worth mentioning that it occurs to me also that my results might be partially just a swing of momentum for a tactic that produces low scorelines.  I've not scored or conceded more than two in any league game, so a bad run could just be some bad luck combined with bad players.  But that doesn't mean I'm not looking to improve, even if it's just to grind out draws.

Any other suggestions?

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For me successful LLM football is all about knowing what attributes are key to producing the kind of football you want to see. And for the ultimate overachievement, then successful LLM demands that you be able to adapt with the limited resources at your disposal.  I tend to start with systems that employ a DM that gives my side a static defence. Then once we seem ok I start becoming more aggressive with my systems. My Gloucester save has seen my side move from VNS to the premiership in successive seasons because we heavily adapt to the opposition in the early days. Once we reached the premiership I started to stick to one tactic.

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So after some encouraging signs against Buxton, I went on to get torn apart 5-2 in the cup by a side sitting a single point above me in the league table.  Yikes.  4-1-4-1 time?

Also, I had forgotten that I had the midfielder I moved to CM(d) training the PPM Gets Forward Whenever Possible, believing it would help him as a BBM.  The next best candidate for the role also has it.  Gah.  I suppose if I'm to persist with CM(d) it would be wise to have both unlearn it now, unless it might be a good idea to keep it to spice up the conservative role?  My DLP has the PPMs Tries Killer Balls Often, Dictates Tempo, Tries Long Range Passes and Possesses Long Flat Throw, so I feel like a Support duty does get more out of those.

2 hours ago, Rashidi said:

For me successful LLM football is all about knowing what attributes are key to producing the kind of football you want to see. And for the ultimate overachievement, then successful LLM demands that you be able to adapt with the limited resources at your disposal.  I tend to start with systems that employ a DM that gives my side a static defence. Then once we seem ok I start becoming more aggressive with my systems. My Gloucester save has seen my side move from VNS to the premiership in successive seasons because we heavily adapt to the opposition in the early days. Once we reached the premiership I started to stick to one tactic.

Attributes are in short supply, as you can imagine, but I chose Acceleration, Pace, Work Rate and Stamina as my team DNA, and all four are at least decent for my first team where relevant (my best attribute is given as Work Rate, 10th in the league).  I figured these would be the ones to focus on for direct football that asks a lot of players physically.  Are these reasonable choices?

I see you mention a DM; although 4-4-2 is common in this division, more teams than not employ one, which makes sense.  I am thinking shelving the 4-4-2 for a 4-1-4-1 might not be a bad idea.

1 hour ago, D_LO_ said:

As I say you should adapt full-backs defensive duties. I'm not saying keep the RB on a defend duty regardless. Some games you might even be able to get away with two support duties, in others if the opposition is exploiting both flanks two defend duties might be advisable especially considering your aversion to wide-midfield roles. Effectively you'll be in a 4-2-4 shape often however with the wingers so a lack of flexibility here is going to leave you exposed in midfield no matter what tbh. If the role suitability chart is what's influencing you, I'd advise against that as long as your wide players have the right attributes or at least some (team-work, determination, work-rate, stamina and a bit of tackling wouldn't hurt but I'm guessing that isn't the case) on occasion, a wide-midfielder or two, I'd go as far as to say, would be a necessity to give you a chance. The strength of the 4-4-2 is the support on the flanks in defensive positions, you're losing some of this. 

You might want to experiment with your team shape also, fluid would reduce the distance between the lines and give a bit more creative freedom (both might negate partially the lost of a winger role or two) Whilst ensuring the stopper is behind the DLPs (if you haven't already)  as I'd imagine the CMd drops the deeper of the CM two. This can easily be identified using your player's positioning in the post-match analysis.

You're a bit limited in what you can do with a flat 4-4-2 in terms of roles in my opinion, especially at your level and context within the league. The only other roles I might experiment more with are the strikers but dependent on their performances/goals. Instructions and mentality is probably where the majority of your tweaks will occur, in-game, as things unfold. 

 

A solid foundation with a basic approach as you can probably tell would be my starting point for a struggling LLM side using 4-4-2 so personally your post isn't surprising and sounds a bit more promising (to me)

I'm aware that the role suitability wheels and star ratings are a bit arbitrary and only tell part of the story.  Changing any of my wingers' roles to Wide Midfielder drops the wheel to half and their star rating to 1.5 or less.

But regardless, they don't really have the attributes.  Keeping in mind that A is my best winger and one of my best players, and B's star rating is in the youth squad as a Wide Midfielder, which of the following would you make a Wide Midfielder if you had to?

A (L/r): Tea 9, Det 10, Wor 9, Sta 11, Tck 8

B (R): Tea 5, Det 2, Wor 10, Sta 11, Tck 4

C (R): Tea 11, Det 10, Wor 13, Sta 10, Tck 6

D (R) (best CM(d)): Tea 13, Det 10, Wor 13, Sta 13, Tck 8

E (R) : Tea 9, Det 11, Wor 11, Sta 11, Tck 11

F (L): Tea 8, Det 11, Wor 9, Sta 11, Tck 6

G (L): Tea 7, Det 11, Wor 12, Sta 12, Tck 5

I guess I could drop B and play C or E on the right.  I do see what you're saying with stability on the flanks, I just feel I'm constrained by my squad here.

I'm using a Structured shape now, so I'll give Flexible a try (which I do occasionally when chasing the game anyway).  If that's encouraging I might try Fluid.

Any specific suggestions for experimenting with strikers?  Does Counter make sense for what I'm trying to do?

Sorry for the long posts, but thanks to both of you for the advice.  I realize I'm giving reasons I can't implement some of these suggestions, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate them.

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4-4-2 is definitely not non-negotiable.  I do really prefer it and I'd like to find some adjustments that can see me winning without discarding it.  But if I can't get it to work, a change of formation is possible.  Depends how desperate I get, I guess.

The question of the TM is indeed one I've hemmed and hawed over the entire save.  I chose it because my best or second-best striker when I began is a real TM specialist—he can play as a DLF, of course, but it's nowhere near ideal—plus it seemed to suit my long ball style.  When it works, it can be devastating, but it is truly effective less than half the time.  Getting to the second ball is a big problem, as there is often no one near him.  I have signed better forwards since, but continue to use that original TM sometimes because I've had poor luck with injuries.  Some are returning to fitness now, so I may try a DLF.

Yeah, sorry about the attribute bit.  I'm not taking your advice literally at all—it was more a thought experiment—but obviously I understand you can't manage my team for me.  I'm just a novice and there's a lot to consider.  Good to hear my players aren't as bad as I make them out to be!  Not sure what to do with the wide men, but you have gotten me to take a closer look at my squad and I think RM is a spot I should at least consider giving a player a chance who wouldn't have been an obvious choice.

Thanks again for your time.

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I've been trying for more than one year a similar tactic with no positive results so I'll follow this very attentively.

Regarding to the TM, you can try a DF(su). He can act quite similar to a TM (without the magnet effect, which a dlf neither has) and it may help if your tm doesn't have technique skills. In addition, the DF can help a bit more defensively.

 

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I've now played the same number of league matches since the introduction of a CM(d) as I had without this season, and I have seen improvements.  I've won 6 in 16.  My PPG have certainly risen, albeit not dramatically, and I'm still down in 15th, partially due to improved results from some of the teams around me.  My tactic has evolved to this:

 

                    AF(a)           DLF(s)

W(s)          CM(s)           CM(d)       WM(s)

FB(d)         CD(st)           LD(d)           FB(s)

                              GK(d)

Counter/Flexible

Higher Tempo, Fairly Wide, Get Stuck In, More Direct Passing

GK(d): Take Long Kicks, Distribute to DLF, Distribute Quickly

FB(d): Shoot Less Often, Dribble Less, Cross More Often

CM(s): Hold Position, More Risky Passes

CM(d): Dribble Less

 

I sometimes play on Standard with Slightly Deeper, especially when at home against a weaker side.

The changes haven't been huge—four roles changed, shape changed, two more TIs and PIs for four players—but they've helped.  I still feel, though, that I'm not controlling games and many results have been down too much to luck.  The opposition consistently have more shots and create more chances than us, and I'm often saved by poor finishing, unlikely saves, the woodwork, last-ditch blocks, etc.  Some encouraging results have been followed by defeats.

The CM(d) has been huge in making us more secure and he's putting in some of the team's best performances, though I'm still trying to get him (and his backup) to unlearn Gets Forward Whenever Possible.  Adding Dribble Less was partially an attempt to deal with that problem.

I ditched the DLP for a CM(s) because I reasoned that as I prioritize wing play, I probably don't want a ball magnet in the center, and despite the DLP's name, he had been doing precious little playmaking anyway.  Giving him Hold Position and More Risky Passes is meant to make him a bit of a cross between a DLP and an AP without the ball magnet effect.  The CM(s) has a higher starting position on the TC than the DLP(s), but I can't say I've noticed him being any less disciplined.  I know that More Risky Passes is a bit of a gamble, especially as he has Tries Killer Balls Often, and I've removed it a couple times when he was misplacing a lot of passes.  I considered More Direct Passes, but then he has Tries Long Range Passes too and the team is on Direct Passing.  Out of curiosity here, I know about the ball magnet bit, but are there other real differences between DLPs/APs and CMs not given in their PIs?  I didn't see any change in his mentality, closing down or passing directness on the PIs screen, so are playmakers just ball magnets or do they pass differently too?

Would appreciate any further advice or comments.

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Great stuff, thanks.

Yes, I make a fair number of changes during games, though I generally resist the urge to throw instructions together randomly.  It would be tough to give such a good idea of how I respond without a long list, but there are a few go-to changes I make when I feel I'm under threat.  Changing the right back and sometimes even the right midfielder to defend duties is a response when getting killed down that flank, while my left winger sometimes gets an attack duty if there's space in behind.  I sometimes swap the forwards, partially to encourage my DLF to link up with the CM(s) and partially in the hope the AF gets on the end of the left winger's crosses.

More generally, I often change to Standard if I smell blood, and if trying to hold a lead or misplacing passes I might drop the tempo and the passing.  Get Stuck In sometimes goes when I'm ahead or giving away too many free kicks.  When chasing the game, I might increase mentality, increase some duties, Pass Into Space, Clear Ball to Flanks, Hit Early Crosses or specify cross types.

"Controlling games" may have been unclear: I'm quite aware that dropping deep and going direct in possession won't generally create loads of possession.  I'm fine with averaging under 50% but not with getting clobbered.  But aside from that stat, what I mean is that I want to be giving the ball away more often from direct or risky passes than from simple turnovers or the like, and that I want to see less defensive panic when out of possession.  Even my left back, who Stays Back at All Times on a defend duty with decent Anticipation, Tackling, Marking and Positioning, allows far too many crosses without being overloaded, and a large percentage of the goals I concede are due to defenders switching off and making simple mistakes.  In my last match, I had just opened the scoring when my stopper underhit a backpass to allow their striker to score; it finished 3-1 to Worcester.  I know that when outnumbered in midfield, my team's mostly weak defensive mental attributes (Work Rate aside) won't enable them to sit off and defend tirelessly for 90 minutes, but I'd like to see a conservative approach hold on a bit better without riding my luck.  I'd prefer conceding fewer to scoring more if I had to choose, but I'm often pressed hard even by a two-man midfield.

That said, while a deep line does help against speedy strikers, getting to the second ball is a problem I could see a higher line helping with.  I score some counters but perhaps not enough for the trade offs.  I'll try it.

Thanks again.

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Well, I finished 17th with a negative goal difference and 17 fewer points than last season—a failure by any real measure.  I won only one of my last seven games, drawing one and losing five.  Ouch.

I was 14th in league goals scored and 12th lowest in goals conceded, which maybe suggests I should be looking to be more attacking just as much as tighten up.  I also think that attacking more makes sense if I want to make a run at the top of the table.  But honestly, I'm not sure what to do.  I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to approach the next season.  Do I stick with a 4-4-2 and hope that some changes and some new personnel can make up the difference?  Do I try a 4-1-4-1 or some more radical change?  Do I just try to jump ship and take an interview somewhere, or start a new save?  The latter could be appealing as this is my first save ever, and promotion is the only way out of the cycle here.

Any advice, on what to do with my tactic or just more generally?  I know you all can't see my squad, but what do you do after a season like that?  Do you persevere, make sweeping changes, or bail?

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Well. If you jump ship and move to a different club, you'll simply repeat the tactical issues over at the new club. Potentially, you might get away with it by having a stronger calibre of player at hand, but at some point the same issues will crop up again, which I am assuming is a dissatisfaction with how your results are going.

 

I'd stay, and become a very good wheeler dealer! Hopefully you haven't neglected your backroom staff or scouting department. You should be looking to develop a central spine within the team, starting from the back and working your way forward. Be ruthless, cut those who don't make the grade, prioritise your targets and get them as soon as you can. But of course, you'll have to decide on your formation. 4-4-2 is nice and balanced, but if you want control of the middle it is usually easier with a three man midfield. A DM is handy if you want additional defensive security, but an AM can work just as well. In fact, I don't think a 4-4-1-1 is too much of a difference from the 4-4-2, which can help make things easier to adjust to.

 

At the end of the day though, we can't tell you what to do, that has to come from you. What does your gut say, what do you want to play? What do you want to see on the pitch. The test of management isn't just results, or getting something to work, but is also squad-building and management and essentially, building a club so that it is strong enough to move forward. It is for those reasons I'd stay and tough it out, the experience will be good, so long as you're not just blindly hitting continue all day long! Get scouting, get invested, get managing. Have an idea for what you want and usually things eventually fall into place. :)

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Hi there, just started a LLM save myself, I am completely new to this, as I never tried this before (the lowest I managed was Championship, can't call that a LLM tbh). I took over Hartlepool United, League Two, predicted to finish 24th (bottom). Now, as I am completely new to this, I might have missed some things from the start, but I am looking to do things my way before anything and learn from my mistakes rather than start with a certain to-do list and then, when it happens to fail, I don't know why.

 

Anyway, one thing I can tell you is that the 4-4-2 requires a huge amount of work to find balance and considering that you're in some fifth tier, you'll find it difficult to work with.

 

Now, what I did before anything was to look at the Stage Preview tab and see what most teams were predicted to field. Usually, you could notice 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 Wide and some odd 3-2-2-1-2 formation, but I got the drill, most teams will field two strikers or one striker and someone behind them, or two strikers and someone behind them. Considering that my defence is quite bad, I have decided to try and outnumber my opponents strikers, say if they had a 2 strikers formation, I'd use a 3 defenders formation etc. And considering what I wrote above, a 3-2-3-2 formation was my starting point. Why? First of all, I would outnumber the strikers, in case one of my defenders get beaten, I'd have cover, secondly, I would outnumber most opponents in the middle of the park so therefore making it hard for them to get past us.

 

Then, I looked at my squad and noticed my leftback and one of my CMs were probably the stand-out players, both good at going forward and passing the ball so I gave them an attack duty. Then, if I wanted my CM to attack space, I needed one of my strikers to do the job and create space, so DLF was logical. My other striker should be a goalscorer so AF was again a good choice. You could have argued that a Poacher would be a good choice and I would agree, but an AF goes into the channels so he may help my leftback who was given an attack duty and set up as wingback. Now, I need someone to cover my wingback runs but also support him, so I chose a CM-S down the left side of CM, with Close Down More. I feel that the player I have here will do the job, has good work rate & team work and physicals. Moving back to my attacking CM, I needed to make sure I don't leave gaps to be exploited, so the other wingback was given a defend duty. And the last player to be selected was my central midfielder in the CM strata and he was given a defend duty to offer extra protection to my CBs. You could say I have a lot of defend duties and my attack could stagnate sometimes which I agree, but I am not very confident with my players so far, so I'd rather keep a clean sheet than see scorelines like 3-3. After all, I am looking to push for play-offs (nobody else knows, not even my players were told lol) so any point is welcome.

 

The results? Unbeaten in six games, sitting second, have beaten Blackpool away, Luton home (after going down to one goal, turned it around and beat them 4-2) and managed to get late draws against better sides too. Not too disappointed honestly, I just hope I can keep up the good work.

 

 

But for example against Luton, they started with a 4-3-1-2 so I was undecided whether to start with my regular formation or just change it. I did change the formation to a 4-1-3-2, but kept the roles. I just pushed a CB into the DM strata to make sure their AMC was marked and difficult to play and I got the results.

 

 

In my opinion, LLM is about keeping things very simple, try basic things first, remember players here are poor and can't do extremely difficult jobs, and adapting, as @Rashidi said. Scout for better players as much as you can as you climb the divisions ladder. I hope this helped. Good luck.

Edited by Armistice

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A couple of threads that might help.

Disclaimer: Ozil understands this stuff much better than I do!

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I'm a relatively new manager but my current career is an LLM from National South -> League 1 in 4 seasons.

Instead of focusing on doing something good myself, I work more to exploit the weaknesses of my opponents and try to minimize risk on my side to limit dangerous mistakes.

For example I frequently see standard 4-4-2s, So I have formations designed to counter and exploit the formation. 3 in the back or 4 back with 2 DM to box out opposing strikers, 2 strikers with an attacking AMC to split the defenders, and 3 or 4 man midfields. 

Additionally I avoid any playmaker roles. Given the low mental attributes and rarely consistent players, the last thing I want is to funnel my entire offense through players that are regularly having a poor days.

Instead it allows the attack to more naturally move through the players that are finding space, leading to less pressured passes, and avoiding the worst of the impact of low composure, particularly in the midfield and defense where you don't have the luxury of players with great all-around attributes. 

 

Last, always be looking to upgrade the roster. I figure each player has 1-2 years before I outgrow them. I prefer youth, but focus on what the player is now. There are tons of players with all sorts of different attribute combinations. Find the ones that will preform the (narrow) role you need them to. When a better one comes along, sign him. The other can be a backup if he doesn't work out. Also, don't be afraid to splash a little cash for a transfer, don't only use frees. Getting the right player is worth it and can prolly be had for under 50k. That said, there is always a suitable alternative available for free. 

Typically players on my team play 1 season as a 1st teamer, their 2nd season as a backup, and if I can't move them -- and it's rare I can -- then they leave on and free. I've only had 2-3 players that have lasted more than 3 years (now season 5), out of easily 50-60 players.

 

 

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On 6/17/2017 at 00:13, Shi Xiansheng said:

Well, I finished 17th with a negative goal difference and 17 fewer points than last season—a failure by any real measure.  I won only one of my last seven games, drawing one and losing five.  Ouch.

I was 14th in league goals scored and 12th lowest in goals conceded, which maybe suggests I should be looking to be more attacking just as much as tighten up.  I also think that attacking more makes sense if I want to make a run at the top of the table.  But honestly, I'm not sure what to do.  I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to approach the next season.  Do I stick with a 4-4-2 and hope that some changes and some new personnel can make up the difference?  Do I try a 4-1-4-1 or some more radical change?  Do I just try to jump ship and take an interview somewhere, or start a new save?  The latter could be appealing as this is my first save ever, and promotion is the only way out of the cycle here.

Any advice, on what to do with my tactic or just more generally?  I know you all can't see my squad, but what do you do after a season like that?  Do you persevere, make sweeping changes, or bail?

Start filtering your players and get rid of some deadwood.

Chuck all you players (senior, reserves, youths) in the first team squad. Apply a few levels of filters and you will see who are the best players you have at your disposal.

You can obviously apply any kind of filters based on your preference. But after reading several articles and write ups from the mods and experts here in the forums, I have a pretty good mix which perhaps you can apply to your team makeover.

Before I list down my filtering methods, take note of 3 points 

1. I categorised attributes as such: 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20. For my LLM save, I deem 6 as the lowest acceptable level (use the colouring on the numbers, makes life easier).

2. I aim to have 22 players including goalkeepers in my first team squad.

3. Formation: 4-4-2.

 

1st filter: Bravery, Determination, and Work rate.

Directly lifted from a write up by Rashidi. He called them Swing Attributes. Basically, imo, they are attributes that tells you a player's playing attitude. Does he give up easily? Is he willing to put his body on the line? Is he willing to work harder than he is required to? Unlike composure, decisions or anticipation etc, which are more or less 'skill' mental attributes, these 3 attributes tells you the player's character as a football player. 

After chucking everyone in my first team squad, I customise my squad view  to just these 3 attributes. Anyone who has any of these 3 attributes lower than 6 is out of the team. They go to the reserves or youth team depending on their age.

You may argue that determination can be tutored to get it up. You may be right, but remember, that only applies to young players. Older ones cannot be tutees.  And we don't usually associate tutoring and youth development with LLM, cause' what's the point? They'll just get snatched up by the bigger clubs.

And of course this does not fully apply to GKs. For them, I only look at Determination and Bravery.

 

2nd filter: Injury proneness, consistency, big match no-show

You'll have to find these in your assistant's report for each individual player. Anyone who has a RED for any of these hidden deficiencies is out of the team. Reserves or youths depending on age.

 

3rd filter: Physicals, except Jumping Reach

In LLMs, it's hard to find technically gifted players. Fact of life. So, go for physicals instead.  Anyone who has anything less than 6 in any of those attributes is out. Except for Jumping reach, which I think is only critical to CDs.

 

4th filter: the starting line-up

By now, you'd probably have either slightly more or less than 22 players. It's time to fit your best 11. Again, another lift from Rashidi, utilise the position filters on your squad view. Look at your GKs first, and decide on who gets No 1, and who gets the bench. Do the same for defenders, midfielders, attackers.

For outfield players, this is the time to look at the other attributes. For mental attributes (except the mentioned 3 in the 1st filter), these 4 are applicable to any position imo: Composure, Decisions, Anticipation, Concentration. The others I'd argue to be genrally fitted to players depending on whether he is a defensive or offensive player. For example, Off the Ball for players involve in attacking phase, Positioning for players involve in defensive phase.

For technical attributes, these 3 are the most important for any position imo: First Touch, Passing, and Technique.

If I have 2 players playing the same position, and I am trying to see who is better, I'd look at these attributes first, before looking at role specific attributes. For example, let's say I've got 2 RBs. I'd first compare them on these 7 attributes,  and only then move on to role specific attributes like Tackling, Marking etc.

 

I actually got 11 decent starters and 11 best direct replacements in the first team squad.

This also allowed me to know what players to look for when recruiting.

Of course, if you already have very few players left after the 2nd filter, you'd have to compromise. I'd say Natural Fitness may be the next best to be disregarded along with jumping reach. Compromise at your own specific preference and discretion.

 

I hope this helps.

Edited by harryleechinyeow

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Thanks.  Although I'm not going to address all the points made here, I do appreciate the help and am thinking about all the posts above.

ajsr1982, you replied to me in your thread.  It's one of my very favorites on this forum, thank you.  I have also read O-zil's thread, though a back three is not something I think I'll be trying anytime soon.

harryleechinyeow, this is terrific stuff.  Thank you for taking the time to reply.  I think I am going to try this exact process, along with other squad building.  I definitely think, as others have suggested, that a big house cleaning is needed in addition to some reinforcements.  Some of my players failed me this season; others are simply being paid wages I can't afford.

I think I'm going to stick with Curzon Ashton, give the squad a makeover, and try a couple systems that are not huge departures from the 4-4-2 alongside it.  I might literally make my three tactics a 4-4-2, a 4-4-1-1 and a 4-1-4-1, switching between them for different types of matches.  I don't have any standout AMs or DMs but I can probably press forwards and central midfielders into service in those strata.  I might sign a specialist or two if they can also play in another stratum.  Basically, I'm thinking the middle road here: not sticking stubbornly to the 4-4-2, but not tearing it all up and trying a back three either.  I also need to get the payroll under control and, though I'm not pursuing a youth development policy, I'm going to see if I can't make better use of some of the kids, train them better, and be more conscientious about cutting the rest.

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I prefer a Mourinho 4-3-3, what the game refers to as a 4-1-2-3 DM Wide. It's a 4-1-4-1 with the two wide midfielders pushed up into the AM strata. I started a new save as FC United (my 2nd save overall), and our first year we won the Conference North on the last day, scoring 55 goals (9th in the league) and allowing only 19, 13 better than the next best team. We played mostly with a Counter, Standard, or Control mentality and slowly adapted until both of the AM were IF(a) with a DLF(s) at ST. I made some adjustments during matches, but the tactic didn't change a whole lot.

The next season, I started out with one point out of the first three matches. As my nerves couldn't take 0-0 and 1-0 scorelines, and I wanted to go down swinging if we were going to get relegated, we switched to almost 100% attacking mentality. The season turned around instantly and we again won the league on the last day of the season. This time, however, we finished 1st in goals scored with 86 and allowed 53 goals, good for 6th in the league. Again, I made some adjustments at times, including occasionally playing a 4-3-1-2 for part of a game to exploit an opponent's 4-4-2, but the tactic was mostly the same. If you're one of the favorites to win the league, attacking might not have as much success, but it worked for us. Being down 1-0 or 2-1 was a much smaller mountain than playing conservatively. Of course, those leads were not as safe either.

My best 11 has no less than 4 players with only half a wheel for role suitability, and not a single player besides my GK who fills it. The goals came mostly from the front three although there were a total of nine players who scored at least five goals. We were mostly league average physically, but among the worst teams in agility, balance, and stamina. We were below average in most mental attributes being last in decisions and around 20th in teamwork and work rate, but 4th in determination. I can't count the number of times we went down a goal early only to fight back and win.

There's a lot you can do regarding "DNA" to suit your team, but I highly recommend determination. Someone above mentioned it for GKs...I can't see much of a reason your GK will need it as he doesn't need to fight to get back into the game. However, for outfield players, it's so important. We were 2nd in the league (Vanarama National) at an average of 11.83, slightly behind Accrington Stanley, the team we pipped for the title on the final day. I have an above-average GK and I focused on a number of key attributes for different positions, but the only other attribute besides determination where my outfield players as a whole were above average was flair, and that obviously happened by accident.

We're moving into League 2 this season, and there's a lot of work to do, but I'm sticking with the 4-3-3 with maybe some 4-3-1-2 mixed in. I don't think it's much different than most tactics in that depending on the adjustments that you make, you can be solid at the back and/or prolific going forward. I'm far from a tactical master, but I'm beginning to understand a little bit about spaces and how to try to exploit them. Being terrified for next season's challenge, I'm spending some time doing more research and hoping to learn more before diving into League football. Keep looking around, experimenting, and learning, and success will come. If you can understand why your system worked or didn't and what mistakes you made, you've gone a long way to cracking the mystery. As at least one other mentioned, I can recommend Rashidi's Gloucester save on YouTube to help you get a better understanding for attributes and tactics. I've only watched a handful of the videos, but I learned a lot.

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Great Topic thus far and selfishly replying so that it's easier for me to find it regardless of app! ;)

 

(I was feeling ambitious and went LLC in North Ireland because I like to suffer...)

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Things are not going well tactically.  I used harryleechinyeow's advice to give my squad an overhaul, shipping out six players and bringing in seven.  I feel better about my squad than I did last season.  However, three games into preseason, I've won one, drawn one, lost one.  I'm getting mauled by teams in divisions below me.  Here's the tactic:

 

                  DLF(a)

                   AM(s)

WM(a)   CM(d)   CM(s)   W(s)

FB(s)     CD(d)    CD(d)    FB(s)

                   GK(d)

Standard/Flexible

 

No team or player instructions.  I wanted to start with something simple, get it working, then elaborate if necessary.

The AM is the player I was previously using as a DLP, meaning he has creativity, but I wanted to avoid playmaker roles.  He's also 6'3" with great Jumping Reach, so he can serve as a target and bring balls down for the 5'7" DLF.  Sort of a pseudo–Advanced Playmaker–Target Man.

One problem may be that two of the seven players I brought in are 17- and 18-year-old wide men with low Bravery.  They seem decent enough, definitely better than my other options on the wings, and I can't afford many more wage signings, so loans it is.  Just not sure if I should be trusting the wings to kids.

Any glaring weakness in the tactic?  I know it's just preseason, but I was hoping to win these to build morale and momentum, and if I'm doing so badly against teams from the Northern League Division One North, I worry what may happen in the National League North.

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I increased the mentality to Control and the CM(s)'s duty to Attack.  I tore apart a weak team 8–0, the CM(a) looking terrific and scoring a hat trick.  I do of course wonder whether his duty would leave me exposed in the middle sometimes against stronger sides, but I liked what I was seeing from him.  I also noted some concerning positioning from my CM(d), which could be something to keep an eye on.  Up 4–0 at halftime, I dropped the CM(a) back to Support and added Shorter Passing and Stay on Feet to retain control.  So perhaps that loss was just a disastrous day, but I might keep tweaking.

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Interesting thread! I'm new to FM and took on Bromley in the English National League. My coach profile is of a Sunday League player so very bad attributes (max is 7 for attacking). Struggled through the first season using mix of 442 and 4132 DM. I had better success with the 4132 using structured team shape and counterattacking mentality. Later in the season I did better with 442 after adopting control mentality and flexible team structure, and using faster tempo with direct passing. But overall I found with these lower league teams an attacking mentality does not produce many goals. It was a tough slog but I managed to finish 16th out of 24 in the league with a budget of 10,000 £ .

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Although the 4-4-1-1 gave me a decent enough start, I eventually came to favor the 4-1-4-1 and stuck with it for almost all matches except where I really thought I should try something different based on the opposition or when chasing a goal.  The defensive midfielder ended up making a world of difference, and I found that with a CM(a) getting forward and a WM(a) cutting inside, the AM just wasn't necessary.  He performed better in a deeper role anyway.

Though I did tweak throughout the season, my tactic usually ended up looking something like:

 

                 DLF(a)

WM(a)   CM(s)   CM(a)   W(s)

                  DM(d)

FB(a)    CD(d)    CD(d)    WB(s)

                   G(d)

Control/Flexible

 

Now, although I previously erred toward the "simpler is better" approach with TIs and PIs, I was inspired by VinceLombardi's excellent thread here: American Football

Although I was doing something much different from what he was doing, and I certainly wasn't following his TI/Mentality/Shape and PI combinations with any precision, I took a lot of the ideas and applied them.  It worked.  Maybe I'll strip a lot of this away next season, but I used:

TIs: Prevent Short GK Distribution, Use Tighter Marking, Play Out of Defense, Pass Into Space

PIs:

G(d): Distribute to Center Backs

FB(a): Dribble Less, Close Down More, Mark Tighter

both CD(d)s: Close Down Less, Pass It Shorter

WB(s): Dribble Less, Close Down More, Mark Tighter, More Direct Passes, Cross More Often

DM(d): Mark Tighter

WM(a): Close Down More, Roam From Position, Sit Narrower, Cut Inside With Ball

CM(s): Close Down More, Tackle Harder, More Risky Passes

CM(a): Close Down More, Tackle Harder, Roam From Position, Move Into Channels

W(s): Close Down More, Roam From Position

DLF(a): Dribble More, Tackle Harder, Close Down Much More

Overkill?  Perhaps.  But it worked.  There will be tinkering in the season ahead, but I think I'm going to start at least with this same basic tactic.  I'll likely keep the 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1 as backups, but we'll see.

The four attack duties and the WB(s) may also have been overkill, especially with the FB(a) behind the WM(a) on the left.  But those mostly worked too.  I didn't score boatloads, but I scored fairly consistently, and I didn't concede as many as the look of the tactic might make you think.  Still, I will probably dial back the duties a bit next season, because... I got promoted!  Yes, I won the title against the odds on the last day.  Boston United more or less collapsed down the stretch, while all Harrogate had to do was beat Fylde on the last day, but they lost 1–0, while I bested North Ferriby 1–0 (my third 1–0 in a row) to finish 2 points clear of Harrogate and 3 clear of Boston.  Whew!

I anticipate the need to be a bit more conservative at times in the National League, but I will at least try being still positive overall.  Parking the bus is likely to be a recipe for disaster, I imagine, so I'll need to grab goals where I can.  It will presumably be a building year as I seek to avoid relegation and hope that more fans are attracted to my ground for more revenue.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in in this thread.

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By rights this thread should be dead, but oh dear I'm in a rut and I've decided to return to appeal for help.

I finished a respectable 16th in my first season in the National League and thought I might be able to push on to sneak a top half finish this time.  Instead, I'm mired in the relegation zone, sitting 23rd with 15 points from 17 matches, 3 points from safety and a full 9 from the top half.  Won 3, drawn 6, lost 8.  I've scored only 15 and conceded 21 in those 17 matches.  Only two sides have scored fewer.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.  I guess the good news is that I'm actually in the top half defensively with 21 allowed, but of course there's nothing especially comforting about losing 1–0 rather than 2–0.

My go-to tactic has been a 4–1–4–1 resembling what I laid out in my last post, but injuries to two key midfielders (as well as injuries to backups and some suspensions) more or less forced me into a two-man midfield, meaning a 4–4–2.  I also have a more conservative, counterattacking 4–1–4–1 I've employed a few times, especially away from home.  Here are the tactics:

 

4–1–4–1 DM

                      DLF(s)

WM(a)     CM(s)    CM(a)    W(s)

                       DM(d)

WB(s)      CD(d)     CD(d)     FB(s)

                         G(d)

Control/Fluid

TIs: Prevent Short GK Distribution, Use Tighter Marking, Play Out of Defense, Pass Into Space

PIs:

G(d): Distribute to Center Backs

WB(s): Shoot Less Often, Dribble Less, Close Down More, Mark Tighter, Cross More Often, Stay Wider

both CD(d)s: Close Down Less, Pass It Shorter

FB(s): Close Down More, Mark Tighter, More Direct Passes

DM(d): Mark Tighter, Tackle Harder

WM(a): Close Down More, Roam From Position, Sit Narrower, Cut Inside With Ball, Cross More Often

CM(s): Close Down More, Tackle Harder, More Risky Passes

CM(a): Close Down More, Tackle Harder, Roam From Position

W(s): Close Down More, Roam From Position

DLF(s): Tackle Harder, Close Down Much More

 

4–4–2

            P(a)     DLF(s)

W(a)    CM(d)  BWM(s)   W(s)

WB(s)  CD(d)   CD(d)     FB(s)

                   G(d)

Standard/Flexible

TIs: Prevent Short GK Distribution, Use Tighter Marking, Pass Into Space, Hit Early Crosses

PIs:

G(d): Take Long Kicks, Distribute to DLF(s)

WB(s): Shoot Less Often, Dribble Less, Close Down More, Mark Tighter, Cross More Often

both CD(d)s: Close Down Less

FB(s): Close Down More, Mark Tighter, More Direct Passes

W(a): Close Down More, Roam From Position

CM(d): Shoot Less Often, Dribble Less, Tackle Harder, Mark Tighter

BWM(s): Get Further Forward

W(s): Close Down More, Roam From Position

P(a): N/A

DLF(s): Tackle Harder, Close Down More

 

4–1–4–1 DM Counter

                        DF(d)

WM(s)     CM(s)    BBM(s)    WM(s)

                         A(d)

FB(s)      CD(d)     CD(d)     FB(s)

                         G(d)

Counter/Flexible

TIs: N/A

PIs: N/A

 

So there you have it.  I'm open to any and all advice.  It's pretty clear to me the single most beneficial thing I could do is "get better players," except I basically can't.  It's very hard to attract decent players to my club and I can't afford much in the way of wages.  It's October now and I'll try to get some loan signings in January, but I don't want to be doomed to relegation by then.  (As an aside, what's with the affiliate relationships?  My senior affiliate is Luton, "A national partnership in which players are loaned.," except they aren't because none of their players will agree to come to my club.  Luton also never agrees to the annual friendly I'm supposed to host, keeping the gate receipts.)

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On 7/2/2017 at 02:13, Shi Xiansheng said:

Things are not going well tactically.  I used harryleechinyeow's advice to give my squad an overhaul, shipping out six players and bringing in seven.  I feel better about my squad than I did last season.  However, three games into preseason, I've won one, drawn one, lost one.  I'm getting mauled by teams in divisions below me.  Here's the tactic:

 

                  DLF(a)

                   AM(s)

WM(a)   CM(d)   CM(s)   W(s)

FB(s)     CD(d)    CD(d)    FB(s)

                   GK(d)

Standard/Flexible

 

No team or player instructions.  I wanted to start with something simple, get it working, then elaborate if necessary.

The AM is the player I was previously using as a DLP, meaning he has creativity, but I wanted to avoid playmaker roles.  He's also 6'3" with great Jumping Reach, so he can serve as a target and bring balls down for the 5'7" DLF.  Sort of a pseudo–Advanced Playmaker–Target Man.

One problem may be that two of the seven players I brought in are 17- and 18-year-old wide men with low Bravery.  They seem decent enough, definitely better than my other options on the wings, and I can't afford many more wage signings, so loans it is.  Just not sure if I should be trusting the wings to kids.

Any glaring weakness in the tactic?  I know it's just preseason, but I was hoping to win these to build morale and momentum, and if I'm doing so badly against teams from the Northern League Division One North, I worry what may happen in the National League North.

I made a 442 and used that to get Kingstonian promoted, these shows are not out yet ,but there is a show called The Kingstonian Surge and another called Recap, where I deal with how we did it. There are some distinct differences in my 442 and yours.

1. I play on structured, because I want the quick thrusts and switches that can come with the mentality splits. I could go flexible but I don't want a balanced group playing the game, I just want to make sure the attacking duties in the final third are willing to take a bit more risk on the counter

2. I tend to overload flanks in my 442, and use IWBs when I am up against another 442. The IWB simply plays like a defensive midfielder when you are building up play but is a FB when in defence.  This gives me a numerical advantage. Your tactic on the other hand is very balanced, so much so that you don't really seem to have any creative influences anywhere on the pitch. Here you may want to think about using playmakers somewhere on that pitch.

3. As an underdog I sometimes like simple no nonsense football where they clear the ball first and ask questions later. The DCB role is perfect for this, since I don't need to worry about playing anything out of defence. Too few people use either the DCB or the DFB, I use them both in my 442 on the side where the poacher is playing. Yes I have two versions of my 442, one with a Poacher and another with a TQ.

4. We had an ambitious plan to use a double pivot in attack which revolved around the little used TQ/DLF(S) combo, here both players will drop deep and pivot off each other. It can be a good combo provided your TQ in LLM has strength, passing, decisions and some vision. To put things in perspective. The league average was 11, my TQ had strength of 12, and passing of 8, vision of 8 and decisions of 8. I used him anyway.

 

I have done a video on low blocks, consider using them. If you have strong defenders with jumping reach and heading you can invite teams and use your pace to hit them off the break. Playing LLM football is about playing simple effective football. People might say the use of an IWB and TQ is not simple, but I disagree, if its roles you are after to control space, then these two are pretty good. The downside of using a TQ is that he doesn't bother with defending which I don;'t really care about, as I do not want 11 defenders, just 10.

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You have so many PIs. My advice is to keep it simple, the more things you add, the harder it becomes to understand what is going on, and what the team is doing incorrectly.

I'll leave you some threads about lower league, direct football:

https://community.sigames.com/topic/423299-fm18-olearys-leeds-united-if-i-could-turn-back-time/

https://community.sigames.com/topic/285975-perfecting-english-old-fashioned-wideplay/

 

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26 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

Even with the new scouting system there's a ton of players out there, you need to get all the free agents you can in on trial, especially in pre-season but there's nothing stopping you from doing it throughout the season. I manage lower league teams from the South-West of England (as that's where I'm from) and even managing in this part of the country I can find decent options, so there's really no excuses as this has the weakest talent pool.

If you manage a Northern team (you have the North-West, i.e. Liverpool, Manchester areas) Midlands (Birmingham, etc.) or the South-East I imagine is an absolute gold-mine with London nearby. The nature of non-league contracts means you can keep squad turn-over large, if they under perform, upgrade when their contracts are up.

I feel like you're talking about something from a newer version here.  My scouting turns up plenty of players, but as I mentioned, nearly all of them fall into one or more of the categories a) crap, b) unwilling to come or c) unaffordable.  I haven't noticed any real tendency for players to come from the Northwest, though I guess I could be wrong.

I have used trials before, but to be honest I'm not entirely sure what advantage they offer versus simply scouting a player a couple of times and signing if he looks good.  Can you elaborate?

26 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

I've talked about tactics a lot already so won't go crazy here. All I will say is I looked at your roles, etc. and thought not bad even if basic, especially your 4-1-4-1 but then I got lost in your PIs. I would cut them back. I'm not confident you have the players with the stamina, work-rate, determination, etc., etc. for the aggressive closing down you seem to expect from nearly everyone. I'm also not convinced this formation with it's natural lower block is entirely suitable for such aggressive pressing. I imagine a lot of players could be pulled out of position and closer to your goal that sounds dangerous. Personally I prefer normal pressing with one destroyer in midfield somewhere given the license to be more aggressive. 

 

The winger is a better attacking role btw whilst the wide-midfield is a better support, defensively. So I would swap their mentalities too. 

You're talking about the more attacking, Control 4–1–4–1 here, not the Counter one, right?  You think it looks best of the three tactics?  I kind of like it the best, and especially as scoring seems to be my biggest problem I think it makes sense to favor it, but then, I'm just about the weakest side in the division so I've started to think the Counter strategy may be the way to go.

I anticipated the "cut down on PIs" advice.  I had thought when I first put this together they were too many, but then it worked.  More recently I have tried trimming a few here and there, but it's hard to know which to get rid off.  Maybe better to try throwing almost all of them out and see what happens.

Stamina, Work Rate and Determination are key attributes for me in recruitment, but even then, they're not great compared to the league averages, so point taken.  I can see how cooling the closing down could help.

I really like what I see from the WM(a) sometimes, as he cuts inside a lot and is often my most dangerous attacking player, but I suppose I could give WM(s) and W(a) a try.

Thanks again.

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40 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

I made a 442 and used that to get Kingstonian promoted, these shows are not out yet ,but there is a show called The Kingstonian Surge and another called Recap, where I deal with how we did it. There are some distinct differences in my 442 and yours.

1. I play on structured, because I want the quick thrusts and switches that can come with the mentality splits. I could go flexible but I don't want a balanced group playing the game, I just want to make sure the attacking duties in the final third are willing to take a bit more risk on the counter

2. I tend to overload flanks in my 442, and use IWBs when I am up against another 442. The IWB simply plays like a defensive midfielder when you are building up play but is a FB when in defence.  This gives me a numerical advantage. Your tactic on the other hand is very balanced, so much so that you don't really seem to have any creative influences anywhere on the pitch. Here you may want to think about using playmakers somewhere on that pitch.

3. As an underdog I sometimes like simple no nonsense football where they clear the ball first and ask questions later. The DCB role is perfect for this, since I don't need to worry about playing anything out of defence. Too few people use either the DCB or the DFB, I use them both in my 442 on the side where the poacher is playing. Yes I have two versions of my 442, one with a Poacher and another with a TQ.

4. We had an ambitious plan to use a double pivot in attack which revolved around the little used TQ/DLF(S) combo, here both players will drop deep and pivot off each other. It can be a good combo provided your TQ in LLM has strength, passing, decisions and some vision. To put things in perspective. The league average was 11, my TQ had strength of 12, and passing of 8, vision of 8 and decisions of 8. I used him anyway.

 

I have done a video on low blocks, consider using them. If you have strong defenders with jumping reach and heading you can invite teams and use your pace to hit them off the break. Playing LLM football is about playing simple effective football. People might say the use of an IWB and TQ is not simple, but I disagree, if its roles you are after to control space, then these two are pretty good. The downside of using a TQ is that he doesn't bother with defending which I don;'t really care about, as I do not want 11 defenders, just 10.

1. I can see the sense of Structured.

2. IWBs sound a little fancy or risky to me, but I may give them a try.  I've tended to avoid playmaker roles because I don't have much creativity in the team and I don't want to put a lot of pressure on a guy with Vision, etc. lower than the league average who is prone to a bad day.  Sometimes I make faux playmakers by adding More Risky Passes to a CM(s), for example.

3. What are DCBs and DFBs?

4. A TQ sounds even riskier than an IWB or playmakers like DLPs, but hey, my season's in such a shambles already I might try it out of desperation.  It's not like the Poacher is banging them in when I play him.

I can see how dropping the defensive line could be a good idea.

Thanks again.

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1 minute ago, Shi Xiansheng said:

1. I can see the sense of Structured.

2. IWBs sound a little fancy or risky to me, but I may give them a try.  I've tended to avoid playmaker roles because I don't have much creativity in the team and I don't want to put a lot of pressure on a guy with Vision, etc. lower than the league average who is prone to a bad day.  Sometimes I make faux playmakers by adding More Risky Passes to a CM(s), for example.

3. What are DCBs and DFBs?

4. A TQ sounds even riskier than an IWB or playmakers like DLPs, but hey, my season's in such a shambles already I might try it out of desperation.  It's not like the Poacher is banging them in when I play him.

I can see how dropping the defensive line could be a good idea.

Thanks again.

Remember that the playmaker role is also hardcoded, so that other players look for him on the pitch. So if you ask someone to play risky passes, whats the difference between him and a playmaker?

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Precisely that: the looking to play through him.  Which is what I want to avoid: I want the creative burden spread around rather than placed on one particularly intelligent guy.

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24 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

I've jumped to the conclusion you 'mask attributes', if you can see attributes then that makes life a lot easier and you can utilise the search function instead of trialling, which is a glorified way of scouting players and uncovering their info. If you can search you can actually get your squad sorted earlier. This year, especially financially, trialling makes much more sense considering scouting costs. I did assume we were talking about Fm18 but if you're using Fm17 then actually it's even easier again. 

Actually, I don't know what's up with the attribute masking.  I can see all players' exact attributes always even without scouting, which seems exceedingly unrealistic to me.  I don't like it.  I've seen pictures on the forum of player profiles with ranges instead of exact values, which I would rather have.  When I created my save, I chose attribute masking, but it doesn't seem to work.  Perhaps a bug?

I'm playing FM16.  Thought I'd mentioned that but I just checked through the thread and I hadn't.

24 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

I'm not advising you necessarily go to this extreme but in terms of my player pool, dependent on my scouting knowledge there were potentially 2000 players I could have trialled on Fm17. This year it's about 25% of that. Even so, that's still a vast pool to choose from and I would ask serious questions of someone incapable of finding 20-25 decent players from even half of that. 

 

I've never had the problem with players not wanting to join because they aren't included in the initial search. I don't waste my time. The first thing I ensure is that they are realistic/interested in a transfer. (The initial tick-box.)

 

Scouting is only really about effort tbh, so it depends on how time you can put in. 

 

I use attributes nearly completely to determine who I sign. I only use stars to determine what I order I sign them as the better the overall squad the less the 'lesser stars' (i.e. rotational, back-ups) will expect in wages as they won't think they are overly important in the context of the squad. 

 

BTW I'm talking from the Southern Premiership (this is one level below the Conf. North/South, so again I would class the difficulty in finding players greater).

 

My point about location is that not many players want to come to the South-West, nor does it have much historic draw and the population is less. Football has much more of a strong-hold in the North of England especially the North-West, look at how many the clubs are around Manchester especially. Then compare that to Devon. Same applies to Birmingham/Midlands and London. The number of quality players are far greater in these areas.

 

So I manage in a lower division, in a less populated part of the country and on Fm18 so if I can find 20 decent players, anyone can. 

I'm a bit skeptical, to be honest.  I spend inordinate quantities of time looking through players.  Probably more time than I spend watching matches, and I watch on Full and Comprehensive.  The reputation of my club is tiny (when I took over they had only just been promoted to the National North against the odds) so pretty much everyone's scoffing at the notion of joining us in the National League.  The vast majority of players I can find willing to join are barely fit for a division or even two divisions below, so I don't see the point in signing more guys with a plurality of attributes south of 6.  The vast majority of players willing to join who aren't garbage demand huge wages and I'm still on a budget considered tiny for the National North, let alone the National League.

Still, I've not seen a filter for willingness to join, so if I can locate that, that may make scouting time more efficient for me.

Regardless, this is largely academic at the moment.  I suppose I could sign a free agent or two, but I'd like to avoid stretching the wage budget unless they're really worth it.  Like I said, the loan window is months away, and I have lots of games to avoid losing before then.

24 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

 

Yeah I had a 4-1-4-1 although mentality shifts a lot even in games but I try to start predominantly with control. Adapting is the way to go as you allude to so don't worry about labels.

I don't want to discourage if you've seen something work for you like the WMa it just seems counter-intuitive. As I tend to use the WM when looking to protect a flank more/due to a more aggressive full-back.  A winger will be further forward. 

 

Re. the other comments I actually use the IWB and DLP  (if possible, I agree this can be a difficult role to fulfill in lower league)  ironically. They are definitely not 'too fancy' as it's all relative, 8/9s in the key attributes will suffice. I can see the value of a DCB too if you have pace/ the role up top or possession isn't a concern. Can't say I've tried the TQ though. 

You use them... ironically?  What does that mean?

As I asked Rashidi, what's a DCB?

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14 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

I don't remember dropping as low as VNS/N on FM16 but scouting seems to be getting harder not easier. I've managed the likes of Weston Super-Mare and FC United in particular last year and finding big improvements on the squad wasn't impossible (I'd say it was easy tbh). I quit the FC United save because it was ridiculously easy picking up Rochdale, Bury, Oldham rejects...(Kisimbia, Tom Molyneux, Kane Smith are a few I remember) I  started with a few top players for that level too though it has to be said (Gilchrist, Fagbola, G.Thomson). 

Yeah, I've certainly improved the squad a LOT since taking over, but I've now reached the point where it's hit a bit of a plateau.  Ultimately, it seems like only another promotion or another takeover will loosen the reins and give me the opportunity to give the squad the makeover it really needs, and obviously I'm some way off the former.

14 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

Ironically... "almost coincidentally". Speaking about roles like the IWB and DLP in another conservation which are actually key to my tactic which is similar to yours. You don't like the roles but my IWB was my top performer and DLP wasn't bad either. I had much more problems with the FBs :lol:.

Oh, I see.  I thought you meant you were using them even knowing they didn't quite fit as, like, I don't know, some kind of performance art.

14 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

The DCB is the defensive, no nonsense centre back role. They will just clear the ball out of danger, often smacking it down the other end. As you can imagine if you have a quick forward on the oppositions defensive line all it takes is one of these clearances to fall nicely and then you have a good opportunity to score. It's old-fashion, English football and can be effective in the lower leagues if you don't have creative, good passers in your midfield, bypassing it altogether. 

Well yeah, as you can see, I'm using only CB(d)s.  I've tried stoppers in the past but I think simplicity is best here, because my centerbacks suck.

My forwards aren't especially slow but they aren't especially quick either.  I haven't managed to find the classic pacey, playing-off-the-shoulder-of-the-last-defender striker.  I let my centerbacks clear errantly in the 4–4–2 (two to chase) and Counter (just get it away from my goal please) tactics, but prefer slow buildup from the back in the Control 4–1–4–1.  Guess I might tweak that if I do find that speedy striker, but then I'd probably be rethinking a lot of things.

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It's November 18th and I've just been informed the free transfer and loan deadlines are in one week.  I thought these windows were closed and reopening in January, but I guess I'd better get a couple players in now before it's too late.  The game doesn't do a very good job of informing you when these windows are, in my opinion, and the rules are different in different divisions.

I've been unable to find any search filter for interest in joining.  D_LO_, any idea where it might be?  Or is it just absent in FM16?

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Results have not improved and I'm mired in the relegation zone.  The board have given me five games to pick up seven points in order to save my job.  Fortunately, two of those games are against teams also in the relegation zone.  I'm pretty much out of ideas.  I got a quick, AF-style striker who had been a free agent and a backup LM/CM on loan before the window closed.  Any suggestions at all?  The sack is looming so I'll try pretty much anything.  On the other hand, perhaps I should just take my dismissal and call it a learning experience.  We all have to get sacked eventually and I've taken my first club about as far as it can likely go.

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On 3/12/2018 at 02:20, Shi Xiansheng said:

Results have not improved and I'm mired in the relegation zone.  The board have given me five games to pick up seven points in order to save my job.  Fortunately, two of those games are against teams also in the relegation zone.  I'm pretty much out of ideas.  I got a quick, AF-style striker who had been a free agent and a backup LM/CM on loan before the window closed.  Any suggestions at all?  The sack is looming so I'll try pretty much anything.  On the other hand, perhaps I should just take my dismissal and call it a learning experience.  We all have to get sacked eventually and I've taken my first club about as far as it can likely go.

How did it go? I am genuinely interested in your struggle lol.

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A 4–1 win at home to the bottom club and a draw away to a mid-table team.  So far, so good.

Thanks again for your post earlier in this thread, Harry: even if I fail in this save, I'm going to use your advice again in the future, I'm sure.

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I survived relegation and it's the next season.  I'm 16 games in and I've conceded 15 (tied for 5th-best in the division), but I've scored only 16 (tied for 21st-best in the division).  I just can't find the net.  A couple of 1–0 wins is of course just fine with me; a few 0–0 draws aren't the worst thing; the 1–0 defeats are annoying.  I don't expect great things from my season, but I'd like to score more.  My three tactics are:

4–1–4–1 DM Counter

                        DF(d)

WM(s)     CM(s)    BBM(s)    WM(s)

                         A(d)

FB(s)      CD(d)     CD(d)     WB(s)

                         G(d)

Counter/Flexible

TIs: N/A

PIs:

G(d): Take Short Kicks

4–1–4–1 DM

                      DF(s)

WM(a)     CM(s)    CM(a)    W(s)

                       DM(d)

FB(s)      CD(d)     CD(d)     IWB(s)

                         G(d)

Standard/Fluid

TIs: Pass Into Space

PIs:

G(d): Distribute to Center Backs

FB(s): Mark Tighter

both CD(d)s: Close Down Less, Pass It Shorter

IWB(s): Mark Tighter

DM(d): Mark Tighter, Tackle Harder

WM(a): Sit Narrower, Cut Inside With Ball

CM(s): Get Further Forward, More Risky Passes

CM(a): Roam From Position

4–4–2

            P(a)     DLF(s)

W(a)    CM(d)  BWM(s)   W(s)

FB(s)  LD(d)   CD(d)     FB(s)

                   G(d)

Standard/Structured

TIs: Slightly Deeper, Pass Into Space, Hit Early Crosses

PIs:

G(d): Take Long Kicks

left FB(s): Dribble Less, Mark Tighter

LD(d): Close Down Less

CD(d): Close Down Less

right FB(s): Mark Tighter

CM(d): Tackle Harder, Mark Tighter

BWM(s): Get Further Forward

 

I've been using the Counter tactic most of the time, the Standard 4–1–4–1 now and then (basically at home to a team that's not much better than I am), and I haven't started the 4–4–2, having so far used it only when chasing the game and deciding to chuck a second forward on.  I feel like my scoring woes suggest I should be using the Standard 4–1–4–1 more, but then, my best result (5–0 at home) came with the Counter tactic.  Is the 4–4–2 worth a try despite the potential weaknesses of fielding no defensive midfielder?  Are there any obvious tweaks that might create more and better chances without sacrificing defensive solidity?

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