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Rip my tactic to shreads

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I have a bad case of the Dunning Kruger effect when it comes to Football Manager. I create tactics in game which I think are guaranteed to unleash a rip-roaring United side not seen since Sir Alex and instead I find them flopping. Now, I do think that sometimes I create a number of chances that my players should be scoring and don't but the problem is definitely to do with tactical incompetence on my part because the way I want the team to play and the way they end up playing are almost always two different things. 

To make it easier for people to criticise my tactic and make a few suggestions as to things I could perhaps try instead, I'll try to go through the tactical decisions I've made and my reasons for making them and perhaps you'll spot some glaring stupidity in my thinking. 

THE PHILOSOPHY/HOW I WANTED MY TEAM TO PLAY: 

I'll make this a bullet-point list outlining some of the core principles I wanted my team to play by:

  • I want Lukaku to be the main goalscorer and I want the team to create chances for him via defence splitting through balls that leave him one on one with the goalkeeper as well as crosses played in from the byline. I feel these most effectively utilise Lukaku's strengths 
  • I want my team to play a patient, passing game. Playing with United means that the bulk of my opposition sit back against me so I think the most effective way to create quality chances will be to play the ball around patiently and waiting for an opportunity to create a chance, preferably via one of the aforementioned means. 
  • I want Pogba to be the primary creator for the side. His attributes make him well suited to being the player that links midfield to attack
  • Defensively, I want Matic to drop deep and sort of act like a fourth centre back, with the left and right sided centre backs fanning out a little bit and covering the wide areas. This allows the complete wing-backs to be more advanced

THE SHAPE, MENTALITY AND INSTRUCTIONS:

So I opted to go for what can essentially be called a 3-5-2 formation. This gives me three men in midfield which is necessary to A. allow Pogba to play primarily as an advanced player with two others there to provide cover and B. offer options for players when looking to play the patient passing game. The fact that there are two up front means that there should always be another forward for the opposition centre backs to worry about, which I was hoping would prevent defenders from doubling up on Lukaku and perhaps offer him more space to make runs into. 

I set the mentality to defensive. I was hoping this would encourage my players to be more patient in their build up without necessarily having to play on a low mentality. It sacrifices something in terms of aggression but I'm not too concerned about that because playing aggressive, fast football against teams that sit back is not a style that I think that suits the attacking players at United. 

My structured shape was chosen to give the players space to pass into. In order for the players to pass the ball around in search of an opportunity to create a chance, I thought they'd need to have space they could move into in order to give players an option. 

The team instructions I went with are as follows: 

  • Play out of defence: This was included to prevent the defenders from hoofing the ball up the field and instead encourage them to play the ball through the midfield, in-keeping with the patient build up ideal
  • Pass into space: Considering I'd opted for a structured shape that left lots of space open, I believed it made sense to encourage players to pass the ball into this space rather than trying to play to feet. I was also hoping this may encourage the through balls to Lukaku that might have seen him one on one with the keeper. 
  • Play wider: This in tandem with my structured shape was included to present players with space to move into which I wanted in order to maximise passing options

 

I didn't include this in the screenshot but I later added the instruction Roam from Positions into the mix in order to encourage players to move into the space provided by the wider, structured shape. 

THE ROLES: 

So I'll go through each role in turn and explain why I chose said role, as well as any player instructions I included. 

GK: Goalkeeper; Defend (Distribute to Centre Backs): I wanted to keep the goalkeeper role simple because I don't feel there would've been enough space in behind my defensive line to make the sweeper keeper role worth risking. I instructed him to distribute to the centre backs in order to prevent him from hoofing it long, which I felt would lead to wasted opportunities. 

CBS: Centre Back; Defend: No nonsense here. I wanted each centre back to play simple balls out of defence, so the ball playing defender role would've been counter-intuitive because it encourages risky passes. A potential change I might make here is to put the left sided centre back on to a cover duty in order to offer some protection on that flank following the LWBs advanced position, although in game I didn't notice any major issues when it came to defending the left flank in all honesty. 

WBS: Complete Wing Back; Support (Right), Attack (Left) (Fewer Risky Passes): I wanted both of my wing backs to provide a significant threat going forward by virtue of the fact that they're my only wide players. They should also be encouraged to cross the ball from the byline as I feel these sorts of crosses are generally far more effective than deeper ones as they allow for more players to get into the box. I select one attack duty and one support duty in order to have one wing back who acts like a more aggressive version of the defensive winger whilst the other also looks to get forward but supplements this by supporting the midfield and offering another passing option. Which side each duty is on is neither here nor there really, although generally speaking the attacking full back is typically the left-sided one. I instructed both of them to play fewer risky passes as I didn't want either of them to be conceding possession in deeper positions. 

DM: Half Back; Defend: I went with a half back as I wanted the defensive midfielder to provide cover to the more aggressive centre mids, as well as looking to recyle possession rather than playing risky passes himself. This is, however, one of the roles I'm least sure about. 

RCM: Box to Box Midfielder; Support: I went with the box to box midfielder role as I wanted this centre mid to perform two main tasks. 1. Offer a passing option when on the ball and 2. Do the defensive dog-work which allows Pogba (the other CM) greater freedom. 

LCM: Roaming Playmaker; Support (More Risky Passes): This is the role occupied by Pogba, the prime creator in the side. I chose to play him as a roaming playmaker so that he'd constantly look to move into the space created by my team shape as well as regularly utilise his good dribbling skills to dribble the ball into a more advanced position. I instructed him to play more risky passes so that he might look to play the through balls into Lukaku. 

STCL: Deep Lying Forward; Support (Close Down Much More): I opted to use a deep lying forward in order to have this player looking to drag defenders out of position and open up space for Lukaku to run into. This role also allows him to look to play in other players, be it Lukaku or the advancing wing backs. Close down much more was selected simply to encourage the player to put pressure on opposition defenders, forcing them into a rushed pass and maybe even a mistake. 

STCR: Poacher; Attack (Close Down Much More): This is Lukaku's role in the team. I selected this role mainly because the description given in-game suits what I wanted Lukaku to do perfectly. It states "The poacher sits on the shoulder of the last defender, looking to break the defensive line and run onto through balls from the midfield". This is exactly what I was hoping for from Lukaku; I didn't want him to worry about getting involved in the build up play, I just wanted him to be the man to score the chances created by the rest of the side. The reasons for having him close down more are the exact same as the ones given for the deep lying forward. 

A FEW ISSUES I NOTICED AND HOW I TRIED TO FIX THEM:

1. So very quickly I noticed that the team was struggling to retain possession and this seemed to stem from there being a lack of passing options across the park. I instructed the players to Roam from Positions once I spotted this issue and it did seem to alleviate the problem to some extent but it didn't massively help to bring about the style of build up I was aiming for. 

2. I also noticed that my box to box midfielder was shooting far more often than I'd have liked. I tried to solve this by adding the PI Shoot less Often as well as changing the deep-lying forward role to a false nine, which by description seemed to accomplish everything I wanted from the left sided striker whilst potentially also offering another passing option for the BBM to consider rather than taking a shot. 

I hope with all this I've given you enough to work with when it comes to criticising my tactic. I wanted to provide some depth regarding my thought process as I feel as though this might make it easier for more seasoned players to point out any mistakes I might be making. As the title says, feel free to rip into what I've said here. I'm desperately looking to improve myself on this game before I fall out of love with it entirely and I feel like the best way to stop being s**t for me is to try something s**t and be told why it's so s**t by someone who isn't s**t. 


 

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Firstly i'd look at the players because you want a patient passing style but do the utd players excel at that as it requires excellent mental attributes whilst i'd describe utd as a quick and physical team.  Whilst they are quality players, they are quality in a slightly different way so might not perform your style of play to a high standard.  I'd take a close look at the CB's, are they good at defending deep in there own box?

Lets just look at the balance of the overall tactic.  Your playing Defensive + Structured and have 4 defend duties, thats going to be very low risk play from those 4.  Then your two wide men and two support midfielders all can roam from position.  You then add Roam From Position as a TI, do you really want your two forwards roaming when by the sounds of it you want Lukaku to be in goal scoring positions more often than not?  Baring in mind Roaming doesn't make a player necessarily available for a pass, it just allows them a greater range of movement, but there needs to be a purpose for it such as overloading an area of the pitch or vacating an area for another player to move into that area. 

I think the major issue is your telling your team to Pass Into Space, who do you think will be doing that and who will be the targets?  Where is the space to run into for the pass?  Pass Into Space is the complete opposite of a "patient" style of play, its trying low risk passes more often so a riskier style.

A back 3 fans out as you progress up field so i'm not sure a HB is required, considering both your supporting midfielders are roaming i'd look to have maybe a DLP-S to give support whilst staying behind the ball, he will still be a lowish risk because of your mentality + shape but can give a consistent option in the deep central areas.

Those are the 2 changes (remove Pass Into Space and HB-D to DLP-S) I would make firstly then reassess.  I'd look at where the midfield is moving and who is actually creating space for the Poacher.  Yes a DLF-S or F9-S drops deep, but is he drawing a defender out with him or is the Poacher left with both CBs and FB just watching him?

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8 hours ago, summatsupeer said:

Firstly i'd look at the players because you want a patient passing style but do the utd players excel at that as it requires excellent mental attributes whilst i'd describe utd as a quick and physical team.  Whilst they are quality players, they are quality in a slightly different way so might not perform your style of play to a high standard.  I'd take a close look at the CB's, are they good at defending deep in there own box?

Lets just look at the balance of the overall tactic.  Your playing Defensive + Structured and have 4 defend duties, thats going to be very low risk play from those 4.  Then your two wide men and two support midfielders all can roam from position.  You then add Roam From Position as a TI, do you really want your two forwards roaming when by the sounds of it you want Lukaku to be in goal scoring positions more often than not?  Baring in mind Roaming doesn't make a player necessarily available for a pass, it just allows them a greater range of movement, but there needs to be a purpose for it such as overloading an area of the pitch or vacating an area for another player to move into that area. 

I think the major issue is your telling your team to Pass Into Space, who do you think will be doing that and who will be the targets?  Where is the space to run into for the pass?  Pass Into Space is the complete opposite of a "patient" style of play, its trying low risk passes more often so a riskier style.

A back 3 fans out as you progress up field so i'm not sure a HB is required, considering both your supporting midfielders are roaming i'd look to have maybe a DLP-S to give support whilst staying behind the ball, he will still be a lowish risk because of your mentality + shape but can give a consistent option in the deep central areas.

Those are the 2 changes (remove Pass Into Space and HB-D to DLP-S) I would make firstly then reassess.  I'd look at where the midfield is moving and who is actually creating space for the Poacher.  Yes a DLF-S or F9-S drops deep, but is he drawing a defender out with him or is the Poacher left with both CBs and FB just watching him?

Thanks for the advice; I'll have a look at the things you suggested and see if I can move forward from there. 

My biggest take from all that is that I probably need to be more aware of the way in which my mentality will naturally effect the roles. I sort of forgot about this entirely when building this tactic. :idiot:

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Just noticed I said pass into space is trying low risk passes, I meant high risk or low chance of success since they try them more often rather than being more selective with when they attempt them.

It might take more changes but I prefer step by step changes unless there's multiple major issues. Hopefully you get play more to you liking and the results to!

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On 24/12/2017 at 10:48, summatsupeer said:

Just noticed I said pass into space is trying low risk passes, I meant high risk or low chance of success since they try them more often rather than being more selective with when they attempt them.

It might take more changes but I prefer step by step changes unless there's multiple major issues. Hopefully you get play more to you liking and the results to!

it gets frustrating to just be told do yhe opposie

Edited by jstars
wrong

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I'd reassess your philosophy. The first one of having space behind the defence for Lukaku to run into goes directly against a slow, patient build up play which will naturally gradually push the opposition back, so that they are back in position and sat back so there's no space behind.

I'd be looking to play a direct, high tempo 442 with wingers with Pogba offering support/dictating play from a central midfield role alongside a holding player. Full backs supporting the wingers so you get a mix of deep and byline crosses, and a deeper lying forward of some description to offer a bit of central support/ingenuity and to pick up on any rebounds, 2nd balls etc. In theory, this will give you the crosses you want, with two players also aiming to be situated centrally but high up behind your main striker. Pretty much how UTD played in 99 with Cole and Yorke up front, Scholes pushing up and dictating play, with Giggs and Beckham getting the crosses in.

This is only theory of course. I've found theory and reality can be totally different on FM lol. But for me, your philosophy is just confused and wanting every good point of every system.

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