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[Suggestion] Second Tactics Screen for Defensive shape


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I believe that there is a major tactical feature that should be in the future iterations of Football Manager, and that feature is a second tactical screen for the defensive shape/structure of a team, in addition to the typical tactical screen that we currently have today.  

In real life, teams have a structure, width, and shape that they take up out of possession, often different to their formation in possession. Usually, when a team loses the ball, they try and win the ball back quickly in the spaces. However, when they fail to do so, and the other team recycles possession around the back, the defending team usually drops back into their own half and take up a defensive structure, often different from their formation in possession. 

For example, in the Champions League final, juventus lined up in a 3-4-3/4-2-3-1, but when they would drop into a 4-4-2 without the ball. Another example is Liverpool playing a 4-1-2-2-1 in possession, but dropping into a 4-1-4-1 when they fail to win the ball back through gegenpressing and need to revert to structure. 

This screen would allow managers to create a defensive structure, with instructions on the areas of the pitch that they would want to see their team tighten up out of possession, and the areas of the pitch that they would want to see their team press. Additionally, there could even be triggers for the defending team to press, like when a certain defender/midfielder receives the ball, or the ball is in a certain area of the pitch, the entire team presses. 

An example of this might be Atletico Madrid of the last few years, who defend in a 4-4-2, restricting passes through the middle, and vigorously pressing the ball when it is on the wings, or collapsing into the middle if teams attempt to play through the middle. Another well documented case is Liverpool's pressing when in shape: a 4-1-4-1, focussed on compressing the centre, and with Firmino starting the press on his own to force the defenders to play a high risk ball through the centre/over the top, or to play a low risk ball to the wings, which then triggers the whole Liverpool team to press the wing (initiated by Lallana).

I feel this addition would bring an increased depth to the tactical side of the game, and I'm curious to see if anyone else echoes this sentiment, and also to see what SI's position on this is. I'd love to see your comments here, or on Reddit:

 

Edited by daniel.ty.wong
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Yes this would definitely be a great improvement.

Imo that screen should be split into 3 columns with 3 rows (so left attack, center attack, right attack for example). Giving you the option to specificy triggers by zones and by players. 

Also it should be possible to not only tell your team how to press but also how to be shaped differently when the ball is on the right, left etc. 

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11 hours ago, HUNT3R said:

FWIW, the shape you choose now IS the defensive shape.

OK, I get what you are saying. However, my issue with the tactics screen being the defensive phase is that it severely limits the offensive capabilities of your team now! This is because of the locked instructions one can give to the wide players in those positions. I hoping to provide the tactical side more depth by returning to the old days and having two set-ups for attack and defence.

An example would be how would one replicate Juventus' tactic in the Champions league final? During the match, they played a 4-2-3-1 on the ball, but a 4-4-2 (and a 5-3-1-1 sometimes) in defence. In possession, Mandzukic acts as a wide target man, but off the ball, Mandzucic acted as a wide midfielder/defensive winger. You wouldn't be able to truly replicate Mandzukic's role in real life because of the restrictions to the player instructions for the role, and his positional unfamiliarity, when in real life he is fairly capable of doing both (as seen throughout their entire season).

On a side note, personally, I've seen the players (when in possession) take up different positions and move differently when they are positioned in a 4-2-3-1, vs. a 4-4-2, as the game restricts you from having players truly replicate the role of an inside forward or a wide target man, when starting from a wide midfield position in your shape.

I get what you and many are saying, and I admit I've misinterpreted the tactics screen, but the issue about the lack of depth in the tactics screen for me still stands, and would truly add some immersion and control to the game, should one be able to truly set two styles and individual player for defending and attacking within one tactic (like Mandzukic), and also to have targeted/coordinated pressing triggered by certain players (Lallana et al.).

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@daniel.ty.wong To a limited extent I can agree.

The tactics / formation screen is much more customisable than you perhaps realise when using roles, duties and individual player instructions to set attacking shapes or even pressing strategies.

However, I agree there could be some extra customisation for individual roles by not having quite so many set instructions in some areas of the pitch (such as AML/R).  And there could perhaps be better graphical representation to help visualise some player movement - although watching a match ultimately tells you that.

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I'm always in favour for more customisable tactics. It greatly increases replayability when there's more depth in tactics. It's one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game for many many people.

However, it could cost dearly in replayability as well. The AI is stupid. The more options there are, the more tools players have to absolutely exploit and abuse the AI. Remember the good old days of arrows? Conversely, AI can't handle all these options and just end up being a poor challenge for the players. They're already very poor at squad and long-term management. As far as winning goes, the game is already too damn easy as it is.

I fear that with more options, the AI won't be able to keep up and FM will just become a game where you can only sink 100 hours in because you get bored of the crazy stupid AI. I'd like a much more able AI to go along with any further depth.

You get these problems with other games as well. In Paradox grand-strategy or Total War games, after some initial hours learning the game, the players have to set up house rules just to challenge themselves because the AI has a very low competency ceiling.

The dream is obviously to add more depth for the players to enjoy, but also a challenging AI. I'd be willing to pay twice the price for that game.

Edited by Kawee
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I'd suggest that it be implemented to help visualisation, but I can only see this happening if it's view-only. It'll be terribly exploitative and give us an unfair advantage vs the AI if it wasn't. But some idea of attacking shapes or transitions is needed, imo, as there are a lot of people who simply do not "see" it without this visualisation.

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Showing expected attacking & defending positions based on role, duty, team shape & mentality would be an ideal compromise, add in a modifier for ball position on the pitch & it could be perfect to help better illustrate the impact of tactical options for the user.

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In real life when we see the starting lineups on TV before the match starts, the formation (shape) is definately not their defensive shape.

 

Real life football matches definately have attacking plans and defensive plans, and the plans mean and include how the players position themselves under certain circumstances. A winger may defend like a fullback, a striker may defend like a center midfielder, and etc. But surely the chances are that they might get tired quicker. If this game's match engine has good enough realism, it wouldn't be exploitable just like irl. Irl it is not exploitable, then in the game it shouldn't be exploitable either. It's the job the match engine (SI developer/coders) should do. But I may (or may not) understand the worries here, and I think they are related to the level of the match engine's realism in terms of how it interpret every move of the players in a real football match into the game. As in real life, the tactics (including mainly the attacking formation and the defensive formation and some other plans or plots made by the manager (coach) before the game) is after all merely a draft in fact, a set of instructions, and it's only a general indication of the shape and positions of the players when attacking or defending. And maybe other games shouldn't be mentioned here, but it has a decent match engine and a tactic setup including attacking and defending shapes. Well, I may as well just don't mention the name anyway. Hope some of you know and agree with what i'm talking about.

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Concerns over a more complex tactical interface are less about the mechanical robustness of the ME & more to do with the ability of the AI managers when they still struggle with the current system & are constrained by a very limited ability to adapt tactically, as things stand more tactical options will only serve to widen the ability gap which is where the tactical exploits will come from.

A common reason why the idea of a with/without ball interface comes up is that people struggle to visualise that aspect within the current system, it's there but folk will often choose to not take the time required to learn how to assess their tactical decisions which is why I feel an approach that keeps the current tactics UI but with additional visual assistance would be preferable.

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