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herne79

FM17 - A Tactical Journey

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January Transfer Window and Bayern Munich

Two of my central midfielders had their heads turned and wanted to leave. 

In my 4-2-3-1, whilst I absolutely desire a great work ethic, Determination and Aggression in the two CM positions, I look to have one with better defensive attributes, whilst the other will be better offensively.  That's not to say the offensive player can't defend and vice versa, but I'm looking for these players to compliment the given roles and duties.  So the player playing as my CM(d) will have complimentary defensive attributes and the CM(s) more offensive.

Anyway, as it happens the two midfielders wanting to leave (I play with 4 in total, two to cover each position) were one of each type as outlined above.  I've already identified replacements (one transfer listed, the other not), so some more wheeling and dealing to follow up my previous post.  These are the two players brought in and hopefully you can see how one is more defensively minded than the other:

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Fossum wasn't transfer listed, so I had to pay through the nose a little - he cost me £8m.  But if that isn't someone who'll get up and down the pitch all day long, and can pass the ball a bit as well, I don't know who is.  His scout reports also told me he's fairly professional, has good consistency, is ambitious and likes big matches.  He also has room to develop.  I really like the look of this guy.

Krychowiak had been transfer listed by PSG for quite some time at just £7m.  I did umm and aah about him for a little while because of his wages - £75k a week puts him easily to the top of our wage earners and is a pretty substantial amount for Hoffenheim to afford.  But bottom line is I have to start moving the club on to the next level.  We're already pushing for a top 3 position and so challenging for a Champion's League spot.  Speculate to accumulate.  Again his scout reports were largely favourable, although there may be a slight question mark over dirty play.  He'd only picked up one booking for PSG though, so not overly concerning.

So onto my first match after the winter break - Bayern Munich.  And both my new midfielders will be thrown straight into the action.

(For a little context, Bayern are - surprise - comfortably top of the league.  We're currently third, battling it out with Dortmund, Schalke and Leverkusen for the other 2 CL places).

I won't upload a video for this one because quite honestly there isn't much to see from a tactical point of view - I changed nothing at all during the match, Bayern didn't seem to either, we scored in the 2nd minute and key highlights after that were pretty much reduced to the remaining goals.

We won 3-1, with Fossum scoring on his debut with a nice late run into the box.  What is interesting however are the shots both sides were attempting.  Here are the team stats followed by the shot positions:

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You can see the total number of shots made by each team is pretty even, but look at the shots on target and then check the positions.  Pretty much every single one of my shots were made from inside the box, whilst Bayern had half of theirs from outside the box.  Here's an example:

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This is the moment Thiago takes a shot.  He takes the shot because he doesn't have any other option (apart from being tackled).  He's being double teamed by Krychowiak (think I'll just call him Dave in future, save me typing that out every time) and Wimmer.  Fossum (#25) is covering deep midfield for any runner and even my two wingers are tracking their opposite fullbacks.

This isn't just a one off either.  It's pretty typical of our defensive play - and is why I place so much emphasis on bringing in players with the "right" (for me and what I'm trying to achieve here) attributes, especially in central midfield.

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Two great signings again and you're rocking the Bundesliga. Good luck in the CL spot fight!

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41 minutes ago, Black and Yellow said:

Really enjoying this, keep it up!

Viele danke!

Ahh, Dortmund - Frau Herne's favourite Bundesliga team :).

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What was the Bayern no. 15 doing with that shot that went out for a throw?!

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10 minutes ago, ham_aka_stam said:

What was the Bayern no. 15 doing with that shot that went out for a throw?!

Haha good spot.  That was Hummels mistiming a header from a corner.

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On 06/07/2017 at 11:59, summatsupeer said:

There's a lot of good stuff people can learn from in this topic. From making a tactic to get the best from the players you have, to then building on that with transfers who fit the system, I think this is a common issue with manager going for names/value/stars.

Keep it up :applause:

This.

I won't go into huge detail because this is Herne's thread and not mine, but I wanted to share an example that highlights how reading others thought processes can be so helpful. I am just starting my 3rd season of a save with AC Milan, and it's the first save I've played on FM17 that wasn't an adaptation of someone elses tactic. This time I looked at the squad I had and thought really hard about what its strengths and weaknesses were and tried to devise a shape and playing style that suited it. It took me a season and a half to get it 90% where I wanted it to be, but I just needed an idea to spark something off to get that last little piece of the jigsaw. I came to the forums and found this thread and the spark I needed:

On 19/06/2017 at 00:31, herne79 said:

At this stage I'm a little unsure about my choice of role for AMC.  I don't want him overly attack minded as that may restrict space, and I don't really want to channel everything through a playmaker.  For now I settle on the AM(s) role with a PI of more risky passes - so a kind of pseudo playmaker role but without the attached ball magnet.

I came up with a control/structured narrow 4-1-2-2-1. It suited the squad I inherited and in the back of my mind was a loose interpretation of Carletto's Milan side of 03/04. Anyway, the system was stingy in defence but my front 3 were inconsistent. We won a lot of games 1-0 but were really struggling to break teams down. My AMC's were an AP/a  and an AM/a with an AF/a ahead. Keisuke Honda was playing really well and banging in quite a few goals in the AP/a role so I left that alone and toyed with the other two roles unsuccessfully until finding this thread and herne's quote above.

Then the lightbulb came on. I had been reluctant to change Honda's role because he was playing so well, but really that was the crux of the problem. My regista or the mids ahead of him would always look to hit the AP/a which is why he saw so much of the ball, scored a lot and was POM a lot, but it caused a logjam through the middle against packed defences. Changing his role to an AM/a changed everything - the deeper players started choosing the best option, looking wide if necessary or going through the centre if that's what was needed and our goal tally started to improve. Honda's performances weren't quite so spectacular after that, but the goals started to spread around the front 3 a bit more, to the benefit of the team as a whole.

In the end we won the league. We may have done so anyway without the change in tactics but it would have been closer than the 7 point margin it became. All because of one tiny tactical change. And after a solid transfer window where we aquired some players more suited to certain roles rather than we'd had before, our start to the new season has been spectacular; five wins from five games, 19 goals scored.

Top work, herne. :thup:

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Is it a must to target certain attributes to be present in every player in the team? I find it impractical to look for the same things in a variety of totally different positions. A defender with good ball control and passing skills is just an expensive toy, when in reality,  a defender needs completely different attributes. Cutting down on non-essential attribute requirements saves money.

Edited by Bunkerossian

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46 minutes ago, Bunkerossian said:

Is it a must to target certain attributes to be present in every player in the team? I find it impractical to look for the same things in a variety of totally different positions. A defender with good ball control and passing skills is just an expensive toy, when in reality,  a defender needs completely different attributes. Cutting down on non-essential attribute requirements saves money.

Is it a "must"?  No.  Can it help?  Yes.

We're getting into club DNA here.  It can certainly help to pick a few "essential" attributes ("essential" based on what you are trying to achieve, thus one person's essential attributes may differ from someone else's) to apply across all players.  For example, you may want all your players to have good Determination to keep their chins up if you go behind; good First Touch to get the ball under control quicker; and a good work rate to keep themselves involved for 90 minutes.

On top of that you could then layer some individual position/role DNA.  If you read through the squad building part above you'll see how I've prioritised specific attributes for the roles discussed.

Do you have to have any of this?  No, but I'd suggest it can make things a whole lot easier if you do have some ideas before buying players.  After all, if you don't how do you know the player you bring in will be the right one?  ok, you can never know for certain, but you can certainly reduce the risk involved.

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3 minutes ago, herne79 said:

Is it a "must"?  No.  Can it help?  Yes.

We're getting into club DNA here.  It can certainly help to pick a few "essential" attributes ("essential" based on what you are trying to achieve, thus one person's essential attributes may differ from someone else's) to apply across all players.  For example, you may want all your players to have good Determination to keep their chins up if you go behind; good First Touch to get the ball under control quicker; and a good work rate to keep themselves involved for 90 minutes.

On top of that you could then layer some individual position/role DNA.  If you read through the squad building part above you'll see how I've prioritised specific attributes for the roles discussed.

Do you have to have any of this?  No, but I'd suggest it can make things a whole lot easier if you do have some ideas before buying players.  After all, if you don't how do you know the player you bring in will be the right one?  ok, you can never know for certain, but you can certainly reduce the risk involved.

Even Determination as a universal attribute is hard to stick by. A player that otherwise merits inclusion in the team due to good playmaking skills has poor Determination and Work Rate. In a team that generally lacks technical ability and creativity, is it better to just stick him in? I've had this issue in a failed save.

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3 minutes ago, Bunkerossian said:

Even Determination as a universal attribute is hard to stick by. A player that otherwise merits inclusion in the team due to good playmaking skills has poor Determination and Work Rate. In a team that generally lacks technical ability and creativity, is it better to just stick him in? I've had this issue in a failed save.

Then don't pick Determination or Work Rate.  It was just an example above.  Pick your own, or don't pick any.

In previous threads I've talked about club DNA (as have others), but in this thread I haven't.  Mainly because I'm not really planning on staying at any one club for too long, therefore the amount of transfers I make will be relatively limited.  So I'm mainly focusing on individual players and attributes I want to compliment their respective roles.  

Having said all of that, I'll certainly reject someone if I don't like the look of one or two other attributes outside of my targets.

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1 minute ago, herne79 said:

Then don't pick Determination or Work Rate.  It was just an example above.  Pick your own, or don't pick any.

In previous threads I've talked about club DNA (as have others), but in this thread I haven't.  Mainly because I'm not really planning on staying at any one club for too long, therefore the amount of transfers I make will be relatively limited.  So I'm mainly focusing on individual players and attributes I want to compliment their respective roles.  

Having said all of that, I'll certainly reject someone if I don't like the look of one or two other attributes outside of my targets.

This is what I was trying to set up too, to learn to adapt to various roster compositions. It hasn't been going well. I try to make a team out of the available roster, but that is an art in itself.

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Man Utd vs Hoffenheim

Our first Champion's League match, away at Man Utd (we also drew Real Madrid in the group :rolleyes:).

It's kind of a boring match (we drew 0-0) but I found it interesting from two main points of view:

1)  I fully expected Man Utd to play in a fairly attacking manner.  They didn't.  The first 10 mins or so were played in full match highlights - it just all feels a bit slow and pedestrian.  Man Utd didn't even register a shot at goal.  What I'm saying in a very round-a-bout sort way is, this is pretty much a prime example of why I don't make changes before matches start.  Now you absolutely can play in that manner of course, and I'm certainly not trying to say "my way is better" or anything dumb like that.  This is merely an example of why I play in the manner that I do.  If I'd been trying to second guess Man Utd here, I'd have got it horribly wrong.

2)  I changed up some transition play without changing Team Shape.  I spotted on my left flank my IF (attack) wasn't tracking back as much as I wanted him to, which was leaving my left back exposed - he just wasn't putting in the effort during the transitions.  And my right winger was getting taken apart by ManU's left back (Jordi Alba) because my right back wasn't pushing on enough to give him another passing option.  I changed my IF to a support duty and my right back to an attack duty (my right back ended up as PoM).  Just changing roles and/or duties can impact transitions - we don't always need to change Team Shape to do so.

I'm not going to do another long minute by minute account as I've done before.  Just watch the match and keep an eye open for these things I've mentioned.

 

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herne79, good vid. A few observations if I may ? :

You did second guess Man Utd attacking because you started on Counter. 

I noted the 2 small changes.

Alba should have had a yellow card earlier. You were lucky though - Icardi should have scored.

Do you think almost identical formations cancel each other out?

Thanks.

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7 minutes ago, nextqprmanager said:

You did second guess Man Utd attacking because you started on Counter. 

No.  If you check back through the thread to find the system I am using, you'll see it uses the Counter mentality.  I start that way in every single match I play, regardless of opponent.

12 minutes ago, nextqprmanager said:

Do you think almost identical formations cancel each other out?

Not at all.  By that logic, whenever you play someone using the same formation you'd get a draw.  Tactical settings and the players used will have a big impact on the result.

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17 minutes ago, herne79 said:

No.  If you check back through the thread to find the system I am using, you'll see it uses the Counter mentality.  I start that way in every single match I play, regardless of opponent.

Not at all.  By that logic, whenever you play someone using the same formation you'd get a draw.  Tactical settings and the players used will have a big impact on the result.

thanks for reply 

so for clarity, you changed to standard because Man Utd were not attacking?

but how did you know what mentality they are on ?

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1 hour ago, nextqprmanager said:

thanks for reply 

so for clarity, you changed to standard because Man Utd were not attacking?

but how did you know what mentality they are on ?

No.  I changed to Standard in the 67th minute to take a little more risk, not because I felt Man Utd weren't attacking.  I was tempted to not change mentality at all (we're away at Old Trafford after all), but there were few chances being created by either side, so I decided to take a little more risk for the final 25 minutes or so.  Just to see if maybe I could somehow nick a goal.

I didn't know what mentality ManU were using, the game just felt quite pedestrian without many chances being created (just 7 shots by both teams when I made the mentality change).

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Sevilla Fútbol Club

Putting the Band Back Together

Time to move on from Hoffenheim.  We'd managed to get all the way through to the semi finals of the Champions League and just pipped Bayern to the Bundesliga title on the final day of the season.  But my contract was in it's last weeks, I'd been resisting the Board's almost daily emails asking me to extend my contract and then the Sevilla job became vacant.  I quite fancied that so here I am in Spain.

My original thought was to go with a somewhat formulaic Spanish 4-1-2-3DM possession based system but meh.  A possession based system does somewhat appeal (in both my previous tactics above I haven't actually designed one with a certain style of playing) but the 4123DM doesn't really.  At least not at the moment.

There has however been some discussion recently about the 4-4-2 and it's not exactly unheard of in Spain.  I really enjoyed my 4-4-2 adventure in FM16 (Developing my 4-4-2) so lets dust off the cobwebs and put the band back together.

The System

I'm not going to go into huge amounts of detail here about the system.  That's all detailed to the enth degree in that link above.  It's probably a good idea to go over it quickly just to refresh and then go through the team building in some detail.

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There is also a smattering of Player Instructions:

Goalkeeper - Distribute to CDs; Slow Pace Down; Roll it Out.

Left Wing - Dribble More; Sit Narrower; Cut Inside with Ball; Cross Less Often.

Right Wing - Shoot Less Often; Dribble Less; Cross More Often (PPM of Switch Ball to Other Flank also useful).

RPM - Shoot Less Often.

Hopefully you can see there is a variety of play at work here - we have a playmaker bringing the ball out of defence, the two wingers providing different options, and the Fantasista bossing (hopefully) the final third.  Again, the inspiration for this (and all the fine tuning) is detailed in that link above, so no need to repeat it.

But there's an issue, and it's a stonking great big one.  That system was built around a rather specific set of players and those players are not at Sevilla.  So I need to get creative and hit the transfer market.  In both previous systems in this thread, I started off by looking at the players I had available and implementing a system those players were capable of playing (with one or two small changes).  That was my starting point.  This time I'm starting with a system that I need to build the players into which is a whole new ball game.

Here are some examples of the type of issue I'm talking about:

Diego Llorente

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On the face of it, Llorente is a decent centre back.  Solid attributes for Marking, Tackling, Positioning, Anticipation, Concentration.  He's strong, can head the ball well and his Pace is ok.

But his Determination sucks and for a central defender, when the system used doesn't have a player at DMC, he's (for me) overly aggressive.  That aggression could see him step up out of his defensive positioning at a bad time.  His Decisions may counteract that somewhat, but I just don't like overly aggressive central defenders.  And when you get into his coach report, it gets worse.  He lacks Professionalism and his competitive streak will result in dirty play.  So now I have an overly aggressive central defender who will be prone to giving away fouls (in very dangerous areas) and earning himself bookings.  I can't show him the door fast enough.

Always, always, always read the coach / scout report.  I really can't stress that enough.

Sergio Escudero

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This is the first choice left back.  He's decent enough, solid if not spectacular all round attributes, although he's a bit on the slow side for a fullback at a team that should be challenging for a CL spot.  But again, look at that Determination.  Just that would be enough for me to get rid of him, even if he had the best attributes everywhere else.  He's simply not going to put the effort in when the going gets tough and I need him to be doing a lot of running.  Which is a shame because according to his coach report he's consistent and like big matches.  Then again, he's also not very professional and is already moaning about his high training workload even though I'm yet to set up any training schedules !  The exit door is over there :brock:.

Jonathan dos Santos

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At first I got a little excited by this fella and started thinking about him fulfilling my right winger role.  I need someone here who is going to put in a shift, can pick a pass and make good crosses.  He even has the PPM I'd like to have.  In an ideal world his Determination could be a tad higher, but his fantastic Work Rate will make up for that.  Looking good.  Until...

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He lacks professionalism, he'll go missing during big matches (assuming he isn't watching from the stands due to picking up all the bookings he'll get) and he's on the decline.  If he's declining it'll be his Physical attributes that go first and I need someone who's going to put in a shift up and down the right flank.  If it was just the big matches that was the problem I'd stick with him, but I've previously had bad experiences with these "competitive" players and he needs the Physicals (Natural Fitness is already down to just 9 - I'll be lucky to get him playing once a week).  I'm out :thdn:.

 

I could go on - there are issues all over the pitch in just about every position and it's going to take a while to sieve through it all - but you get the idea.  Luckily I'm still in June so I have plenty of time to clear out the old, and find and tap up some new players before pre-season starts.  Pre-season is going to be all about Team Cohesion...

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Looking forward to this next chapter! I'm definitely guilty of just looking at a player's attributes and deciding whether they can fit my system based on that, totally ignoring the coach report which provides crucial information. Is there a scenario where you may have kept Llorente, for example if his determination was a bit higher and/or had higher professionalism?

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35 minutes ago, jc577 said:

Looking forward to this next chapter! I'm definitely guilty of just looking at a player's attributes and deciding whether they can fit my system based on that, totally ignoring the coach report which provides crucial information. Is there a scenario where you may have kept Llorente, for example if his determination was a bit higher and/or had higher professionalism?

On their own, each of the cons I identified would probably have been ok in isolation (except the competitive streak).  If he'd just had low Determination, or only had high aggression I may have kept him, but each one is another nail in the coffin so combined they all add up to the end of the road.

The exception here is the competitive streak.  On its' own it's enough for me to seriously consider not employing the player, especially as he's a central defender.  This competitive streak tells me he has a high "Dirtiness" attribute (hidden attribute) which governs how likely he is to commit intentional fouls.  If he does that it's likely to result in a free kick near the edge of the box or even a penalty, simply because of where he's positioned on the pitch.  Now combine that with high Aggression, which is telling the player to get stuck in, and the risk of fouls in dangerous areas and regular bookings (or even red cards) is way too high for me.

ok you can try to mitigate this by giving him fines which may reduce his Dirtiness, but that can lead to other issues (an unhappy player for example) so I'd rather just get shot.

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Transfers

Whilst I have made several changes to the line up, it'll take too long to go through them all in detail so I'll continue with the 3 examples I gave above and explain why I brought in the players that I have for these positions.

(Note - these are scout reports from my time at Hoffenheim and thought it would be more interesting to see the scout reports that I base decisions on rather than coach reports after they've joined my club.  I always keep a variety of people scouted (notice they are 100% scouted) and had redoubled my efforts towards the end of my contract as I knew I was leaving and had plans for my next job.  If you're wondering how I have Hoffenheim reports now that I'm at Sevilla, I create a new save file every time I change jobs so I simply loaded up the old Hoffenheim save file.  Some may view that as a bit of a cheat, I call it stored knowledge ;)).

Joël Matip

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Tall, strong, quick, good defensive attributes, lots of pros and no cons to mention.  Quite different from Llorente above.  If I'm being hyper critical I'd have liked a touch more Determination, but 13 is fine.  He is also transfer listed and I got Liverpool to part fund his wages.  I even like his PPM.

Toni Lato

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If the only weakness that my scouts can find is that he's fairly poor in the air, I'm ok with that for a fullback.  Again being hyper critical I'd have liked some more Aggression and perhaps Bravery to really get him stuck into matches, but he's good everywhere else and has potential to develop further.  Markedly different to Escudero above.

James Ward-Prowse

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As soon as I'd decided to head back to my 4-4-2 from FM16, this guy was always going to get my interest.  I'd originally scouted him for Hoffenheim when I was considering my central midfield options, but for me he's the almost perfect wide midfielder for the right wing place in my 4-4-2.  I'd even used him there in FM16 so unless he'd radically been changed in the database (he hasn't) he was always going to be a top pick.  His "Stays Back at all Times" PPM is new I think (?) and might be an issue, but I can always try to train it out of him if it is.  Either way, he's got much more life in him than dos Santos above.

 

Hopefully you can see how I'm trying to build the squad into the roles I need them to play.  My right wing role (for example), just going by his PIs if nothing else, needs to be good at crossing.  Why have a player in a role where the role requires the player to cross the ball if he can't cross the ball very well?  It's common sense when you think about it like that, but I do believe this is what many inexperienced managers don't pick up on.  OK sometimes things are a bit more subtle than that and perhaps comes with a bit more experience (which is why I binned dos Santos in favour of Ward-Prowse) but I'd argue a lot of it (most?) is nothing more than spending a little time thinking about the roles and reading the reports. 

So if you see somebody has got low Determination, or is physically declining for example, and you are putting them into a role that requires a lot of physical and mental effort (such as a support duty on the wing) the betting is they won't do so well - even if they can cross the ball.  Alright, there are no guarantees, but you can certainly improve your odds.

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@herne79 looking at your Ceara tactic i must say iam impressed. I cannot believe i made this very same tactic as you last night... whilst i wasnt even aware of this thread!!

However I have a DLF and a P but have made a few HT changes of the DLF becoming a CF.

My rcm has gets further forwards and move into channels, my lcm is set to standard.

My BWM is set as standard but is a very technical player so can unleash a few passes and he rarely gets booked.

Great read pal!!

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The explanation on why you want to get rid of certain players and what players you are looking to bring in is superb! Also explaining both the concepts of building a tactic around a team and building a team around a tactic is really helpful for a lot of players. Keep up the good work Herne

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I'm normally quite strict with attributes but I must admit that I never pay much attention to the coach reports of current players, a good eye opener Herne.

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Just wanted to say I really love your posts! Really enjoy your holistic approach based on first principles and common sense.

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herne79, excellent interesting thread, you are probably Moderator material !

I must admit many say ignore stars, take reports with a pinch of salt etc, but makes sense

I need to have a clear-out at the end of my Season, e.g I have Villalibre has Det 7 I think, never really got going, may have to leave

GL

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7 minutes ago, nextqprmanager said:

I must admit many say ignore stars, take reports with a pinch of salt etc, but makes sense

Reports are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.  Scouts are not infallible and can make mistakes, but the better your scouts and the more you have a player scouted (100% scouted) the more likely they are to be accurate.

The bottom line is that scout reports are usually the only thing we have to make transfer decisions on and it can be easy to get distracted by the headline visible attributes and not look into the rest of the report.  I certainly used to be guilty of that. 

Hidden attributes (at least some of them) can arguably be more important (in my opinion) than visible attributes .  You could have the best player in the world going by visible attributes but if he's going to pick up bookings, can't handle the pressure, is inconsistent, doesn't like big matches, won't train well and/or will get injured all the time, then the amount of games that you'll actually get a good performance out of him will be limited.  Personally I'd rather have someone with lower visible attributes but better hidden attributes because he'll give me more regular and consistent performances.  Just take a look at Mario Balotelli in game to see what I mean.

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Are you looking for Determination in all your players or only for certain duties, like support?

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9 minutes ago, nightwalker22 said:

Are you looking for Determination in all your players or only for certain duties, like support?

In an ideal world, everyone regardless of position, role or duty.

This is what the Online Manual (see the tab at the top of the forum) says about Determination:

Determination

A commitment to succeed both on and off the pitch. A determined player will give everything in order to win. This ties in with Bravery – players with a high attribute in one of these attributes may also be high in the other as the traits necessary are similar.

 

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On to our first competitive match of the season, away at Celta de Vigo.

During pre-season I've added in two extra TIs: Dribble Less and Roam from Positions.  We were looking good in the friendlies, but the players did seem a little static with available space not always being used as well as I'd like.  This resulted in stray passes, players running up blind alleys and dribbling a little too often ending in being tackled.

I'll post the match stats plus a video of the match.  It's not overly exciting (we won 1-0 against a 4-1-4-1 parked bus) but I was interested to see how we played competitively.  I made some changes during the match as well which I'll detail below.

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To begin with I like how we're passing the ball around.  More penetration would be nice, but I'm playing into a packed defence so can't expect too much.

I eventually decide to try upping the tempo a little, just to see if a bit of quick(er) thinking can help unlock the defence.  It doesn't, and after a pretty uneventful first half I have a shout at my players (coz it made me feel better and I'm petty like that ;)) and switched things up to Control mentality.

This was so that my players would take some more risks all over the pitch.  Just upping the tempo wasn't working and all of my possession was quite fruitless.

In another action packed half (:rolleyes:) we eventually got the breakthrough in the 72nd minute thanks to a worldy from one of my central midfielders.

A win's a win and I'll take the 3 points, but if that's how we're going to play for the rest of the season I'll be making some changes.  However on the flip side I think most of the issues concerning a lack of chances had more to do with the opposition than my own shortcomings.  That's what I'm telling myself anyway :D.

Our next matches are at home vs Real Madrid, away at Valencia and a home Europa League game against Lokomotiv Moscow.  I've already played the matches and recorded the Madrid and Moscow matches, so I'll post those two next.  In the mean time, here's the match stats from the Valencia game (same tactic used as above, Valencia played a 4-2-3-1):

622QV91.png

That's more like it, so I guess how Celta lined up had more to do with the lack of penetration after all.

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Against Celta I'd have been tempted to pass into space against their high line and maybe mix things up that way, even though they had a DM - maybe have a late runner into the box.  You had a lot of possession, but they also did well in defense at isolating your players on the wings and forcing the occasional pressured midfield pass.  Thought your midfield duo could have supported each other a little better off the ball when in possession transitioning to the attacking phase, but I find that to be a recurring theme in this year's ME where they play too close to each other a lot of times.

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I see you use a FB(A) but a WB(S), any reasoning behind this? Why not WB(A) and FB(S)? Basically what are the differences? I struggle to notice.

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vs Real Madrid

My second match of the season was a home tie against Real Madrid, so a great test early in the season.

"Spoiler" - we won 1-0, but it was a very different 1-0 compared to the Celta game I wrote about above.  Stats and video follow, with a write up below:

BFb8LgI.png

Good possession again, but this time I'm pleased with the number and quality of shots we had.  Real Madrid also had a number of shots (to be expected) but just 2 on target which is very nice to see.

On to the match itself.  You may notice my pre-match talk uses "Passionately".  I tend to use this inflection when playing a rival, telling them team "for the fans".

Once the game settles down after the opening few minutes, my overall "feel" of the match is that Madrid are starting to get the better of the midfield battle.  Their possession seems better and more incisive and we seem to be not exactly being pinned back as such, but certainly playing more in our own half than in Madrid's.  Possibly to be expected given the quality of their team.

There's probably several options I can do to attempt to relieve the pressure:

- Do nothing.  Always an option and maybe the players will sort themselves out.  Then again maybe Madrid will start to get a real grip on the game and I'll start to really suffer.  Too risky, so discounted.

- Change formation.  Seems excessive, plus that would mean creating a whole new tactical system.  No.

- Change Team Shape.  Maybe some extra oompf to help with transitions will do some good.  Possibly, but I already have my roles / duties set up in such a way that I like how my transitions play out.  And I don't want to give too much away to a very dangerous Real Madrid side.  I also don't want to start messing around with creative freedom - I want my players to basically do what they've been told to do without too much of their own thinking outside the box.

- Change Mentality.  Do I want to start taking more risks?  Against Real Madrid who already seem to be playing quite well?  Not really.  Perhaps take fewer risks?  Probably has validity, But if I'm already being pressured this could increase the pressure.

- Increase Closing Down.  This is my choice.  If Madrid are starting to get at me and use the ball well, lets see if some added pressure from my players can turn things in my favour.  In the 8th minute I make the change.

By the end of the first half, I'm 1-0 up, our possession has improved and we've limited Real Madrid to just one shot (off target), while we've had several good chances (and should probably be 2-0 up).  I expect Madrid to change things up in the 2nd half, and I immediately see they have switched to a more attacking flat 4-4-2.  I'm not going to panic and make any change just yet however as I'm confident in how my team are playing.

Sure enough, Madrid's shot count goes up - but they're not in target and there is a distinct lack of "key" highlights being played, so they can't be that good.  They have a decent chance in the 57th and probably should have scored, but that just balances out the chance we had in the first half to go 2-0 up.

There's no other highlights to mention after that, and we finish up with a deserved 1-0 win.

Hopefully you can see the differences between the two 1-0 wins here.  One against a packed defence with very limited chances and resolved by a long range effort.  The other against a top quality team whose attacking threat was pretty much nullified by a good pressing strategy.

I have one other video to upload soon - our opening Europa League match against Lokomotiv Moscow who played a narrow 4-4-2 diamond (so a packed midfield against my 4-4-2) and I played a rotated squad full of youngsters and back up players.  It didn't end 1-0, and we hit the woodwork 4 times :(.

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4 hours ago, craiigman said:

I see you use a FB(A) but a WB(S), any reasoning behind this? Why not WB(A) and FB(S)? Basically what are the differences? I struggle to notice.

With regards the FB(s) or WB(s), if you have a read of the original thread linked I wrote about this aspect.  The role was originally a FB(s) which I changed to WB(s) for specific reasons (mainly lack of support for the left winger).

With the FB(a), that was my initial choice to see how it worked, and as it worked ok I saw no reason to change it.

The main differences between Fullbacks and Wingbacks are the default player instructions and Wingbacks tend to be a little more forward thinking than Fullbacks - their starting position tends to be a little higher.

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Sevilla vs Lokomotic Moscow

Following on from the 3-0 win away at Valencia, I recorded my next match.

Just to make things more difficult and to give the tactic a thorough work out, I decided to field a fully rotated starting 11, featuring a mix of back up and young players. Moscow aren't exactly the best team, but they have some decent players and should provide a challenge for my second string.  At least that was my expectation (and I've written about my "expectations" before).

The first thing I noticed was Moscow lining up with a narrow diamond 4-4-2 formation.  Again, this might be another challenge as the midfield could now be flooded, and you see some people writing about "dominate the midfield and win".  Hell I did it myself at Ceará.  So lets see how their flooded midfield and first choice starting 11 stacks up against my two man (well, 2.5 with my TQ) midfield and 2nd choice starting 11.

From the off I can see that Moscow are playing pretty passively.  Perhaps predictably so given the two clubs' relative standing and reputation.  But passive or not, it's still a fairly aggressive formation with 2 strikers, an AMC, at least one runner from midfield and two fullbacks that don't mind getting forward.

However, my passing game is starting to run them ragged, they can't cope with the flank overloads and my pressing game isn't allowing them any time on the ball and we keep forcing turnover.  You can even see us having 10 men behind the ball, playing almost as a 4-5-1 on occasion (c.5:25 video time for example).  Moscow are not making the most of their numbers advantage in midfield.

We go in at half time leading 1-0, limiting Moscow to just 2 shots at goal.  Whilst our shots on target is low, I'm not too worried: we're dominating the game and I have to remember I'm playing back up players / youngsters, so can't expect too much.

Having said that, due to our dominance I decide we can afford to take more risks in the second half and change Mentality to Control.  As Control sets a higher defensive line and I'm already playing with a def line one notch higher, I put the def line back to normal.

The second half followed much the same pattern as the first and we scored two more goals from set pieces.  The woodwork ended up as Man of the Match seeing as we hit it 4 times.

Overall we dominated the match in what I'd expected before hand to be much more even (or slightly favouring Moscow).  The stats are below, but I've also included the Shots map: all of Moscows' (few) efforts were long range whilst ours tells a different story.  I'd have liked to have seen more goals scored from open play but we still won 3-0 and my back up team don't have the best skills ever so I can't expect too much at this level.  And that post...:rolleyes:

All in all it's been a very promising start to the season and good to see the 4-4-2 still performs very well indeed.  There's probably an element of overkill in my possession numbers and that could perhaps be reduced a bit in favour of better penetration on occasion, but the way we've been playing I'm not going to start mucking around with it.  If it ain't broke don't fix it.

4.png

5.png

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Is it normal to average under 50% SOT ratio against defensive sides, or do you have a little concern about it?

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1 hour ago, nightwalker22 said:

Is it normal to average under 50% SOT ratio against defensive sides, or do you have a little concern about it?

If you're talking specifically about the Moscow match I have no concerns.  As I mentioned, I was playing my second string side so my expectations are not quite as high as they would perhaps normally be.  So long as my players are getting into decent positions that's what I mainly look for and the shot map looks pretty healthy in that regard.

If you're asking about the Celta game, that was my opening match of the season and I was treating that primarily as an experiment.  There's a lot I could have done better in that match, but I used it mainly to get a feel for where my system is at in a competitive game and in that sort of environment.

Generally speaking I tend not to look beyond my players' positioning.  I look to see if they're getting into decent scoring positions - I like to see more shots made from inside the area than outside for example.  If they are, then decent shots (and goals) tend to follow.

I know plenty of others do look at the shots on target figure and that's perfectly fine.  If you do, be aware that shots blocked by defenders, even if they were on target, are counted as off target shots not on target.  If I do look, I tend to pay more attention to the number/ratio of off target shots and check if they are lower than an arbitrary 50%.

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thank you herne for persisting in your love for 442. i've recently jumped ship in my game from barcelona to feyenoord. i know, quite the downwards jump but i got terribly sick of the transfer market where you basically have to cough up a minimum of 20m for a regen valued 200k. and i wanted to start a youth academy challenge: win the league with a squad of 24 academy players. 

immediately upon arrival a couple of things jumped out at me:

  • i have a ridiculous midfield in terms of ball control and passing. 
  • i have a tall, strong target man striker who can't head the ball
  • i have the highest average in many mental attributes, including and most importantly work rate and determination

as i was reading your adventures i quite fancied implementing a 442-ish tactic. i change the midfield roles to a playmaking triangle of roaming, advanced and wide playmakers simply because i really want to play a possession game and those three players should make keeping the ball look easy. i also changed the striker to a complete forward to maybe get some benefit from my tall african striker

i'm yet to be beaten come december and top the table with 15 wins and 3 draws, averaging 60%+ possession and generally looking very, very comfortable on the ball. the playmaking triangle are magnets for the ball and they play it around well until something opens up or they are in a position to have a go at goal themselves. 

i really like what you've done with team instructions in your 442. i only pumped up the closing down a little more even simply because we can and because we have the highest pace average in defence and the highest team work rate average in the eredivisie. so they are now:

  • close down much more
  • roam from position
  • push up slightly higher
  • retain possession
  • dribble less

also i have changed the right defender to a wing back on attack because i quite want him to get forward a little bit more than the full back on attack on that side. the left wing back on support is marvellous for recycling possession when things get too tight up top.

thank you for typing out and explaining everything as simply as you have. this thread has been a huge help in building a possession heavy 442 in the netherlands.

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sorry, forgot to post my complete set up at feyenoord. once again, thanks for handing me the inspiration in such clearly thought out and simply worded out posts. 

cf(a)

ap(s)

wm(a) rpm(s) bwm(d) wp(s)

wb(s) cd(d) cd(d) wb(a)

gk(d)

 

the complete forward is in the left central slot, the attacking midfielder is in the right central slot so they are offset a bit but if i align centrally i can't quite implement that graphically on this forum. the triangle between the roaming, advanced and wide playmaker is a joy to behold and they make the ball elusive for the opposition

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Sevilla vs Barcelona - Making Mistakes

Another big test, this time against Barcelona.

And I cocked up.  I managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory because I took liberties against one of the best teams in the world and I should know better.  It taught me a lesson and it cost me 3 points.  Here's the video:

Straight off I have to double check that it is Barcelona we're actually playing.  I'd previously been asked in the press conference if I was worried about Barcelona's possession based game and from what I'm seeing on the pitch I'm wondering where it is.  When I eventually switch to key highlights and open the Stats box you'll see my Sevilla team are on 72% possession.  Crikey.  ok that starts to reduce and settle down after a while, but still...

One thing I want to make particular mention of: video time 01:13 (match time 01:17) shows exactly why I like to have pacey central defenders if I play with a fairly high defensive line.

Anyway, overall I like how we're playing, we've had a couple of decent chances and pretty much running rings around Barcelona.  We score a nice goal in the 16th minute and continue to limit Barcelona's chances.

And then Neymar pops up just before half time and scores from a free kick.  Typical :rolleyes:

So it's 1-1 at half time and this is where I screw up.  I get a bit blasé and forget who it is I'm playing.  All I think is "yeh we can take some more risks, we're doing well" whereas what I probably should have been thinking is "yeh we could take some more risks but we're playing Barcelona and they'll punish us if we start taking liberties".

I change to Control mentality (and reduce my def line).

And then as if that wasn't enough of a cock up, (and despite the warning signs such as Barcelona getting a bit more shot happy while keeping us at bay) in the 62nd minute I make an even more stupid decision and alter my Team Instructions to Pass Into Space (and take off Retain Possession).  I have never played this system using Pass Into Space.  Ever.  Not even in FM16.  And I decide to experiment like this against Barcelona?!?  WTH am I doing (and believe me I cleaned that up a lot).

I deserve to lose now and sure enough I do with Suarez getting the winner.

And then despite there still being 20-odd minutes left to play to perhaps make some changes and salvage a point, I just carry on regardless.

That's the worst half of football I've played in a very long time and I deserved every stupid minute of it.

1.jpg

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Tactical Tweaking

As the season progressed it was starting to become apparent I was overdoing the possession at the expense of goal threat.  Further, my attacking threat through the middle was far outweighed by my wing play - more goals were coming from crosses than any other method.

If I'm honest, this is me being a bit greedy.  We were still winning plenty of matches, but most were 1-0, 2-1, 2-0 if I was lucky.  In the same period, possession was typically at 65% and above with lots and lots of passes being made each match (700+).

This was causing 2 issues:

1)  There's Tiki Taka and then there's keeping possession for the sake of it.  We seemed more content as a team to just tippy tap the ball around than actually do something meaningful with it.  That's fine if I want to have loooong periods between key highlights and if I want to defend with the ball (which is actually pretty nice) but it can get a bit boring.

2)  Attacks were becoming one dimensional - some wing play followed by a cross.  Most goals were being scored this way.  The whole idea of this system in FM16 was to produce a variety of attacking play, so I needed to get back on track.

Identifying the Cause

With so few tactical settings, that's relatively straight forward.  It's the Retain Possession TI.  This TI shortens passing length (which I want) but also reduces Risky Passes (aka Through Balls).  If I'm not making through balls, I'm not going to score many goals via this method.  It'll also encourage my players to tippy tap it around and ignore those half chances where a risky pass may release a player and open up a solid chance.  I want more through balls, but I also like the shorter passing we play.

The Solution

This is in two parts:

1)  Change Retain Possession for Shorter Passing.  This will keep the shorter passing I like from my play (keeping my team a little more compact in the process) and increase the number of through balls.  But there's a flip side.  Shorter Passing also reduces Tempo which I don't want.  We already play at a decent pace, the last thing I want are my players dwelling on the ball for longer.  So...

2)  Increase Tempo a notch.  This should put the Tempo roughly back to the same place as it was when using Retain Possession.

The Effect

Unfortunately there is no method to show analysis from the beginning of the season, so I can only attach the reports I have to hand.  Over my last 35 competitive matches, this is how my assist location stats and map now looks.  As you can see, through balls are now the majority of goal assists.  I'll be keeping an eye on this, just in case I've gone too far the other way.  We still score from crosses of course, but we're doing a lot more through the middle of the pitch now.  Our possession has also dropped a bit (we now average about 60%) but goal action is more plentiful, as are goals.

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