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CAREER START

 

When I start a career at a club one of the first things I look at is Media Prediction.

 

FhUQJBT.jpg

 

Here I determine if I am in one of these three categories: the Master-Class, the Tactician or the Relegation Battler. In the screen shot my media prediction in 11th so that's middle of the table type of club/squad quality. I am not a Relegation Battler who aims to avoid the drop and I am not a Master-Class because my team isn't considered a potential league winner. So, that makes me more of a Tactician Manager whoes aim is to get the best out of the club and try to elevate my club's reputation/team result form into the Master-Class domain where I will be fighting for top spots. There is slight difference in how I approach those different types of managers, Relegation Battlers tend to play more cautious to grind results and Master-Class teams tend to play more daring to outplay opponents to get results, Tacticians usually need to be able to cover more ground tactically and strategy-wise where result form will play it's part.

 

You have three Strategy Slots and I always make the most of it and try to cover more of the areas where I think my team will be mostly playing strategy-wise. The other strategies I will keep in an external folder which is easy to operate if I decide to use a strategy that is not one of my main three strategies. It's easy to start with the Standard strategy, lay your ground work in regards to Duties and Roles, plus the Team/Player Instructions. Save to your Tactical folder and then move up or down the Strategy Ladder adding or subtracting Team Instructions. Takes me around 5 minutes max to create a whole strategy set. If I go outside of my main three tactics I will make the tactical strategy change after the Team Peptalk (*and before I start the match itself) - it is always a good idea to look at this page just before the game anyway to have a quick glance and run through the set-up to see if you are starting the way you had in mind.

 

Master-Class:

#1 - Attacking

#2 - Control

#3 - Counter

 

Relegation Battler/Tactician:

#1 - Control

#2 - Standard

#3 - Defend

 

The three options regarding strategies is a great way to exercise different passing styles and different formations (Top Heavy and Bottom Heavy) that compliment your tactical outlook for the match in hand, if that is the way you choose to play the game.

Edited by Loversleaper

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STRATEGIES

 

You have the entire range in strategy options, from trying to break down stubborn defenses to playing deep and tight, or throwing everything forward or fighting for your life to hang on to a result. It's all there with the different strategies, they all vary in terms of natural Team Instructions that compliment the given strategy. Here is basically my view on them:

 

Overload - 3WFGPFp.jpg

 

Here is an example of a Overload strategy I ocasionally use. It's a good tactic to use in the last 10 minutes, it's aim is to throw everything forward to grab a goal. In my experience, more direct passing or the long ball goes well with Overload because you want to quickly get the ball up into danger area. If I have a very good team and exercise more short/possession type of football, I could use mixed passing (as illustrated). If I were to use Overload longer than the last 10 minutes (extremely rare) then I would personally remove Pump Ball into Box and Take More Risks. In this strategy I find it good to have around 4-6 players on Attack Duty. A lot of times, I experience the opponent switching to an ultradefensive style of football to hang on to leads late in matches where (on Comprehensive Highlights) the clock runs down fast without any highlights showing. This is where I would attempt to 'throw it all forward' and it does work at times - your chances of grabbing a goal do increase but so does the possibility that you leave yourselves vunerable at the back. It's a risk assessment call.

 

Attacking - FSx2cYL.jpg

 

Here is an example of the current Attacking strategy I use. The aim of this strategy is to put pressure on a very stubborn defensive compact opponent and get mulitple players into danger areas to break them down (4-6 players on Attack Duty). Usually using this strategy works well when your team's quality is much better than your opponent, the better your form is and the bigger your club reputation becomes - the more you will be facing incredibly defensive/cautious opponents who are very hard to break down.

 

For me, the important team instructions for Attacking strategy are:

Overlap (get more players forward)

Push much higher up (players' starting positions are closer to opponent's goal)

Close down heavily (win ball back as fast as possible to have possession)

Be more expressive (have your players be more creative to 'outsmart' your compact opponent)

Roam from positions (your players will be harder to mark and make you more unpredictable)

Play very wide (also helps your team harder to mark and potentially drags the opponent out of position)

Higher tempo (attempts to tire out your opponent and/or catch the opponent off guard)

Prevent short GK distribution (hampers your opponents chances of passing the ball around the back and giving them time to find a threatening pass)

 

The other instructions fall more into line with what type of football you like to practice. Play ball out from the back is also an instruction I like to use because it gives my team time to find good attacking options. Attacking strategy is a good strategy for Master-Class home teams and/or if you are very large home favorites and your opponent is most likely playing a more defensive strategy (scout opposition report). Excluding the GK in the equation, Attack Strategies do well with 4-6 players on Attack Duty, 1-2 Support Duties and 3-4 Defend Duties.

 

Edited by Loversleaper

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Control - mKoB6YN.jpg

 

Here is a screen shot of the current Control strategy I am using. The aim of this tactic is to Control the game, not always in possession (depends on the type of football/passing you implement), but the game in general. You have more players on Support duty which keeps your team more prepared for a Counter-Attacking opponent. Support duties have your team keeping more in position and they will make more forward runs when the option arises instead of bombing forward like in the Attack strategy where you have more players on Attack Duty. Normally a good home tactic for the matches were match odds and team's current quality are close (slight favorite/slight underdog). Away from home the Master-Class can use the Control strategy as large away favorite but it is a quite daring approach in my oppinion, especially for the Tactician and Relegation Battler.

 

The main Team Instructions for me that compliments the Control approach is:

Play Wider (stretches the field slightly so players are harder to mark but still be wary of the opponent's counter attack threat)

Push Higher Up (pushes your team slightly higher up the pitch so you have a little more attacking intent but still not pushing too high up that you constantly get caught out by an effective counter-attacking opponent)

Close Down More (compliments the slight push up the pitch)

 

(Excluding the GK) then 2-3 players on Attack Duty, 3-5 on Support and 3-4 Defend Duty. Also a good tactic for Neutral Pitch matches where you are heavily favored to win.

 

 

Standard - 3Yr397Q.jpg

 

Here is a screen shot of the current Standard strategy I am using. When your opponent is using this strategy (scout report), what they are doing is basically 'inviting you up to a dance'. If you use Standard against them it turns more into a ding-dong type of football where overall team strength verses opponent becomes quite significant. It is good to be the team with more quality of course, so if you do feel that your opponent could be stronger you might want to start with Counter. As slight away favorite I find that Standard works quite well, and since Control and Counter are similar in terms of Team Instructions and the numbers of Attack/Support/Defend Duties will be more or less the same - then it is easy to move up or down in case you find that the risk/award element could become better by either moving slightly more defensive (Counter) or slightly more attacking (Control) during the match. Let's say you are slight away favorite and you go a goal up, you might want to see the game in Comprehensive Highlights to see how the highlights are tipping. If you feel like your team is starting to get more under pressure and highlights show the opponent creating consequently dangerous chances, then hit pause for a sec and try to see if you can regain control of the match by switching down to Counter. I usually do the Counter strategy switch if I go 2-0 up away from home and try to exploit the opponent who is trying to force themselves back into match that they are currently cruising to lose - counter hitting a team who are trying to get forward, in an attempt to get back into the match, usually can bag your team more goals. It's not always the best idea to switch Strategies during the match, though, especially if it's going good and you have your opponent exactly where you want them. But if you notice 'patterns' in what happens, especially when results go against you and you sense something is clearly wrong, then you can always lay plans for upcoming matches that have similar circumstances and make some changes. Make an assessment, because you might have lost because of bad luck. Spotting what is working and what is not can take it's time and practice - this is part of my 'learning process'.

 

Important Team Instruction in my oppinion for Standard strategy:

Use Tight Marking (keep opponents under wraps)

 

(Excluding the GK) again 2-3 Attack Duties, 3-5 Support and 3-4 Defend Duty. As a Relegation Battler or a Tactican, Standard works well as a large away favorite or if you are a large underdog on home field - then from there easy to move up (Control) or down (Counter) as you assess the situation. You need to get a feel of how your team is doing, and the changes you make up or down Mentality-wise should give you a indication of what works best. That's generally why I play matches on Comprehensive Highlights because it gives you more time and more accurate match 'patterns'. This should give a more visual indication on which way you could move that might increase your risk/reward element for that given match. This is why I think that the ingame description of the Standard strategy has this as one of the more important strategies to master. A good strategy choice for Neutral Pitch matches where match odds/team's quality are fairly close (slight favorite/slight underdog) - then again, you still always have the easy option of switching up or down as explained above.

Edited by Loversleaper

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Counter - qI7qCP5.jpg

 

Here is the current Counter strategy screenshot. Usually playing direct passing compliments the strategy style, but you can easily fit your footballing philosophy - just remember to play the style of football that suits your team to get the most out of the players. Counter Attacking football gets your team defending naturally more deep and then trying to hit your opponents off guard - especially against a team moving more forward than back. A perfered away from home tactical strategy for the Master-Class against tricky opposition in League and European Fixtures - they usually have players with pace and flair so they handle this tactic quite well. Generally if you are slight away underdog but give your team good chances of success, Counter works quite well. I try not to use Counter at home unless I deem it necessary, as large home underdog I prefer to start with Standard but there could be circumstances where you could be risking too much and you might try the Counter and see if it works against the vastly superior opposition. You can easily move up to Standard or down from Standard to see if fortunes change - but keep in mind you might want to pay attention to how the highlights react and over time you start to learn your team's actual strength in the situations. I, myself, am still in the 'learning process'...

 

The important team instruction for the Counter strategy , in my opinion, are:

Tight Marking (attempts to keep your opponent players under wraps)

 

(Excluding the GK) as the two above strategies then 2-3 Attack, 3-5 Support and 3-4 Defend Duties. Also a good tactic as a large underdog on Neutral Pitches. If you are slight underdog you have the Standard or the Counter as good sound options and here again it is a risk/reward assessment call for those tricky Neutral Pitch matchs.

 

Defend - 7iIlt1j.jpg

 

Here is the Defensive strategy screen shot, and you might notice it is quite daring in terms of passing instructions. Usually, especially as a Relegation Battler, you might want to play more direct. Depends a lot on what you are trying to acheive, in this case I had in mind to play more possession type of football as my players were more technical with decent passing skills and is in line with my presonal perfered footballing philosophy. As described in the in-game explaination, this is a good tactic to use if you expect to be under pressure for large portions of the match. Defend strategy is the Relegation Battlers' preferred away from hom tactic, but it is a also a good starting point if you are away from home and find yourselves with the odds heavily against your team.

 

My suggested important Team Instructions for Defend strategy:

Tight Marking (attempts to keep opponent players under wraps)

Play Narrower (try to keep tighter to restrict space in more dangerous areas)

Be More Desciplined (cut down on instances where your players are caught out of position and try to minimise other mistakes)

Exploit the Middle (exploit your opponent through the middle as the opponent players will most likely be positioned more wide and running forward possibly giving your team more simple and direct chances on goal. Your players are also positioned more narrow so this instruction compliments it)

 

(Excluding the GK), then I would use 0-1 Attack, 3-4 Support and 5-6 Defend Duties. In gameplay, if you have started with Counter in an away match and you did well until you went a goal or two up but then the opponent starts throwing their players at goal (maybe using Run at Defense and/or Shoot on Sight Team instruction after you went a goal or two up) then it can be a good option to switch down to Defend strategy to see if you can plug your opponent (good defending instances/creating chances at the other end should more or less start to dominate your highlights). If the tactical change is successful, you will also notice that your opponent taking wild chances from more or less un-dangerous positions, which is indication that your opponent is being forced into taking low risk shots that, in the long run, should restrict goals going in against your team. But remember, it is always difficult to be the weaker team and play away from home regardless of what you do - but tactical good calls in the risk/reward department can give you a better long term foundation to work from and gradual better results. To round off the Defend explanation, in this strategy I tend to have the wide(r) advanced players on Support Duty and manually give them the Get Further Forward Player Instruction. This is one of the few Player Instructions that I use because mostly it can be more effective just to leave the player on default settings. And lastly, it can also be a good option to include the Get Stuck In Team Instruction if you have fielded a physically strong side (optional).

Edited by Loversleaper

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Contain - yK82SJl.jpg

 

The final strategy screen shot on the current Contain strategy that I am using. Contain is a strategy I will use with slim 1 goal advantages late in matches where you might expect the opponent to attempt to throw it all forward. A little annoying, but to notice if your opponent is going to go for broke, you might have to look at the commentary lines (although you are on Comprehensive/Extended/Key Match Highlights) to see if the opponent (or your team) either 'get players forward/taking the game to the opponent' and/or makes 'switches to a (Top Heavy Formation)' comment in the last ten minutes of a match. You can also just switch down if you feel uncomfortable later on, I don't always do this - especially it's not always necessary as a Master-Class team - but if you implement  Contain correctly is should tip the balances a little more in your favor in the long term to hold onto slim leads. If I were to play Contain from earlier than the last ten minutes of a match (also extremely rare) then I would remove the Play Even Safer Teal Instruction and leave that one until late on.

 

 

Concluding the Strategy Part - Using the Strategy to suit the match situation is a different way playing the game. It offers ways of combatting your opponents and you can keep your style of footballing philosophy throughout. Some approaches is down to what type of team you have and looking at the data in the game, it should give you as a manager a pretty good indication of what type of footballing style might suit the team. There are managers who suit tactics to their teams' strengths and opponents' weaknesses (very tactical managers), and there are other managers who try to suit players into their footballing style/philosophy. Exploring your options can always cause you to hit slightly more bumps along the way before you acheive what you set out to do, but that is part of being the dude in charge. I am a little bit of both, but tend to attempt to play high possession/attacking types of football in the short or long run - but this is a personal preference, you can also acheive more or less the same type of results following other types of football. That being more result orientated by playing more compact, counter attacking type of football with fewer but hopefully better quality goal chances (lethal touch football). Team Shape and Roles/Duties can contribute a lot in doing what you tactically have in mind. I set up a long term tactical plan so eventually I can combat really stubborn oposition, because, firstly, I think it is safe to presume that your opponents will most likely give you a 'fight for the money' experience - which is how it should be. And secondly, I will be prepared to adapt to what ever the opponent throws at me during the course of a career and maybe eventually turn the tables and, sooner or later, start doing the throwing myself.

 

What I have explaned above regarding how I use the strategies, to understand what I mean correctly, it's still in a general sense (where there is still an element of adapting to new/different situation) and this approach has helped me so far (do better than worse). The opponent will throw you a 'curv ball' (meaning that they tactically will surprise you) every so often. Now, the 'norm' is as follows below (and this being an assumption):

 

You are Home against a much weaker opponent (match odds are heavily in your favor) - then expect a Defensive strategy opponent.

 

You are Home against a slightly weaker opponent (match odds slightly in your favor) - then most likely your opponent might see a good chance in attempting the Counter strategy against you.

 

You are Home against a slightly stronger opponent (match odds slightly against you) - a good chance that the opponent might attempt Standard to battle you with their possibly stronger quality players or they might go with a safer Counter option.

 

You are Home against a much stronger opponent (match odds heavily against you) - could be Standard as explaned above or the opponent might try to Control the game if they deem themselves to have adequate fire power and attempt to play more risky.

 

You are Away against a much weaker opponent (match odds heavily in your favor) - your opponent will usually be in the Counter/Standard area.

 

You are Away against a slightly weaker opponent (match odds slightly in your favor) - generally be in the Standard/Control area.

 

You are Away against a slightly stronger opponent (match odds slightly against you) - then the opponent will most likely be trying to Control the match and be wary of your counter-attacking capabilities.

 

You are Away against a much stronger opponent (match odds heavily against you) - then expect an Attacking opponent.

 

As mentioned, this is an assumption on my part, a sort of 'guide line base'. Knowing how to combat these type of opponents is always helpful, keep in mind though that even when you get things right, you can't always expect to get the result either. In my experience, this tactical strategy knowledge and planning can help you acheive generally good results. But here is where FM 2018 has a little advancement on the tactical strategy aspect in the game. If you combine the Scout report, analysis, team depth, tactical advice, match odds and maybe knowledge of your opponent then you get a much better view on how your opponent could be playing against you and what possibilities you have to combat them. This helps in decision making in regards to strategy and helps you spot the times where your opponent springs a tactical surprises that doesn't fit into the 'guide line base' mentioned above. You might experience this frequently or rarely and it might be slight surprises or really big ones, depends on all the circumstances surrounding your team, the opponent team and possible other events. Your opponent might have reasons for tactical attempts, especially late in the season where a lot could be at stake and someone needs to force a result (have it all to lose or have nothing to lose).

 

League position rivals with larger reputations & possibly better quality players might try to set you up to make tactical blunders. As an example, the opponent is Home against your team and are very large favorites but have, according to the Scout Report, decided to play a Standard strategy against you. This falls out of the 'norm' I use and forces me to think outside of the box. What the opponent could be attempting is to hope I go for the defensive strategy, then by sitting wide structually (Play Wider + more Structured Team Shape) they hope to create space for themselves. This can give them more time on the ball to wait for the more advanced placed players to position themselves in those dangerous areas. By sitting slightly further back gives them also the possibility that one or more of your players move further away from their zones (to close someone down for example) thus leaving vunerable holes in the defense. If you are playing Defend strategy against an Attacking opponent then Mentality-wise you are effectively placing your players closer to the opponent's player positions, this can make the tactic better, or 'more sound', for the match circumstances and should hopefully hinder your players having to wonder too far from the teams structual position to close down an opponent. Here I might attempt the Counter strategy to bring my players, for one, closer to my opponent to be more effective and eventually stop them from having too much time on the ball. And, for two, try to exploit that my opponent not trying to pin me down giving my team space to maneuver. This is just one of the tactical strategy choices you kind of learn along the way - it doesn't necessarily pay off everytime, but again, I am always looking for viable options, this is a tough situation regardless. Bad tactical choices can get you a result and good tactical choices can end in loss - but knowing if your team is in the game or not (match stats and highlights are good indicators) should help in understanding what viable options you eventually have. Gratefully, this game is not all about one match so...

 

There are, of course, more match instances than described above and will include the ones I might find interesting to include - I don't always have time on my hands to go through all the aspects and these are still early days for me since I feel I have gotten better grips with the game and finally have enough time to put these theories to the test.

Edited by Loversleaper

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TEAM SHAPE

 

There are many theories on what this exactly does and I think your guess is as good as mine. I think the general assumption is that more Fluid shapes have the players closer together in terms of mentality where on the other hand more Structured shapes have the players mentalities further apart, this reality potentially enables the different mechanism in the transition phases. More Fluid shapes have players closer to the team's strategy Mentality Framework so all players contribute to the phases of either attacking or defending more as a unit, if I have understood this correctly. More Structured shapes are more spread out from Defense to the Attacking players, this reality has the players more stick to their Roles/assignments. The space between the lines that Structured shapes create, might also give teams using those more advaced Roles who have more of those extra built in natural instructions than you would have in your more simple traditional Roles.

 

Teams like Barcelona and managers like Arsene Wenger, I think, play more in the Fluid area. The quality of the players in these clubs/teams are players who generally possess highly talented and technical skills. So, just giving them simple tasks with more creative freedom can give the team a good balance. Playing technical football (shorter passing and possible Retain possession) in the Flexible, Fluid and Very Fluid team shapes generally works quite well. Especially if you do want to practice the possession based technical football philosophy and have the players that suit that type of football. With one or two 'advanced' Roles I will go for Very Fluid, with two or three advanced Roles it might push me into using Fluid or Flexible, and if it's three or more advanced Roles I will try and stick to Flexible. But keep a good eye on how your team is reacting with your Roles (player ratings/stats) if you want the full scope on a possible tactical flaw where there is not enough space (apparently) to actually have the 'Transition' phases working to your advantage. Having the right or wrong balance with Roles/assignments can make or break a sound tactic as well.

 

Teams like Valencia and a number of Italian teams, plus Managers like Simeone and Mourinho fits more into the more Structured categories, in my opinion. I remember from somewhere Sir Alex was considered to be a Structured type of manager with fast paced mixed passing (with the Retain Possession style of football incorporated in the club's footballing brand) and used the more advanced Roles like implementing a Ball Player center back, placing a Playmaker (Scholes) alongside a Ball Winning Midfielder (Keane) and up front a Attack force with variety, prefers to have a Poacher (Cole) combined with a False9 (York) or Target Man (Sheringham) or a Complete Forward (Cantona) as examples. Simeone following similar tactical patterns, but he can use the Wide Playmaker Role and sometimes implements a Defensive Forward combined with a Trequartista. Structured and Very Structured shapes gives you possibilities to successfully use mulitple advanced Roles and still keep your team more intact - so that players stick to their assignments. Because players in Structed team shapes are more stagnant (less creative freedom) then I find playing more direct helps getting the ball forward to the more attacking minded players who are more responsible for that part of the game. Here, as well, it is good to have a set-up in terms of what Role and how the Roles work together, because in my experience some combinations naturally compliment eachother better than other combinations.

 

If I have time and energy, I may dive into other Team Shapes than the one I am currently using.

Edited by Loversleaper

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PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH

 

So, what is the point of explaining what and how you do things if you can't some how put it to the test. I will start with the lowest possible league in England (I don't have the editor so I just have the main playable leagues) along with the lowest managerial reputation (Sunday League). I am up for the challenge because now I feel I understand the game somewhat.

 

Truro City FC, as mentioned, is regarded as a mid table team (predicted to end 11th) in the Vanarama South. My personal footballing philosophy is more in line with how Barcelona play and enjoy watching their game. I would also like to try and see if I can play an attacking, short possession based passing and attempt to generally control games regardless of the opponent. My aim is to make this 'brand' of football integrated into this club, but I will be facing several obstacles that might prove difficult to achieve this. First, it is probably hard to get players that are capable of handling that type of football and the pitch conditions plus the English weather could really throw a monkey-wrench into the works. Literly, aside from it seeming to rain almost every match - it rained at a point for 4 months straight November til start March and pitch conditions were all poor.

 

The first day on the job just put everything quickly into place (3 main tactics and Training). After running through my players and Depth charts, I decided to jump straight into the Transfer Market. I think there only appeared around 30 players to start with and because I couldn't see attributes (masked) I quickly moved for all the players that were 'wanted' and the rest I started to bring in on trails. Almost all of the players seemed to be talented in terms of star ratings but in a way, that is just showing me how weak my own squad is. Around half of the signings turned out to be decent and the other half I could do without because unfortunately they are going to sit around and burden the wage budget. I made some bad calls out of desperation. I did also use a good half hour or so in finding the right coaches and scouts. Training just set to High Fitness and Tactic pre-match prep (could have also gone with Team cohesion as these two regimes are usually the starters for me).

 

Pre-Season Results: oj6bfJb.jpg

 

Preseason actually went quite well, the weather was nice at this point and my team seemed to be playing relatively good football - with possession and movement. I took a point from a team in the Championship. Lot's of optimism so far. After preseason I called it a night and make the second game save (first one being the first automatic save on the first day of the game). Used a little time to get my team in a better situation (signings, regimes, ect...), some clubs require a lot of work if you want to upgrade, some clubs less necessary - this club needed a lot of work initially.

 

Edited by Loversleaper

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1st August and now start of the league and cup season. Changed training to normal Balanced training, took the coaching team's training regime focus on a weekly basis, and each first of the month when you get the training analysis of who is training well or not, I would run through the players' individual training focus and click over to the new recomendations - sometimes I would focus on an area I see as a better option than suggested. Running through this part is a few minute job and I tend to experience more green arrows than not. Simple and relatively effective. I also praise players who train well (green arrows) and critisize players who train poorly (red arrows) at the end of each training month.

 

Fixtures 1st Half Season: BBpixte.jpg

 

Things went relatively well as a whole. I made a few bad calls here and there tactically but I am still learning to deal with the 'curve balls', at the beginning of Novemeber started to rain heavily and this went on until start March, making the football philosophy I am using really have it's test, add that I also had to endure a few relatively bad injuries and losing mutiple key players at a time. Losing key players is always going to hurt, especially if you don't have real quality back-up - which in this case, I don't really have outside of the first 11 (even some of them I want to change out, so...). I actually feel lucky that I managed to be in third spot by the time I saved for the third time on the last day of the year (31st December). After 15 hours of gaming (I admit I took a 4 hour nap somewhere inbetween) I had completed the first half of the year since game start.

 

Game Status: DhQJwqx.jpg

 

*I have already put the Game up for download in the Sub-Forum for those who wish to take a gander.

 

League Standing 1st Half of the Season: Mu6qzPH.jpg

 

Pretty decent defensive stats and goal tally and add that I am close to the top spots. Teams are becoming more cautious against me naturally - good form can change how your opponents try to tackle you strategy-wise. Curve balls and tough matches are starting to plague my team and I need to get some of my key players (star stirker out for around a month) back into shape. My team is slowly getting to grips with how I, more or less, envision the style football I want to integrate into the team and club.

 

Possession Stats 1st Half Season: UgoUKMJ.jpg

Edited by Loversleaper

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At the begining of the 2nd half of the season, I naturally took a gander around the transfer market and found a few good players that I could use to strengthen the squad, better back up in a few places. Things started out tough, had my first two home games after the second half season start posponed due to horrible weather, this, of course, cramped up my schedule increasing the chances of injury and tiredness. After the first game (which I drew), we went on quite a good run until injuries and suspension hit my entire central midfield - and that hurt. Things were slipping away but managed to get back on track and pulled it off.

 

Fixtures 2nd Half of the Season: os3hyZh.jpg

 

It all boiled down to the last league game of the season. I had brought my team back into contention and before the very last game, I was only 1 point behind Hampton & Richmond and was playing away from home against them. If I win this match, I win the league - but then I get that 'curve ball' I mentioned earlier in the thread (Strategy section). Hampton & Richmond are very large favorites but the scout report says that they will be playing Standard and my pre-match prep focus should be Defend. Now, I had been in this situation earlier in the season (away at Bath), as large underdog I try to defend but this was hard to do against an opponent who was not bombing forward and playing more of a patient tactical game. The tactical advice screen suggested Standard tactic against them and I was scratching my head. I need to win if I want to win the league, what I tried last didn't seem to work (playing defensively) and now I am in the situation where I need the win. I was debating back and forth if I should try to Counter, but I need the win and maybe I should go with Standard to try and match Hampton & Richmond in the middle of the pitch. Hope that my team has the quality to match or better them and grab a result. Big mistake! I was 3 nil down within half an hour. It's not because we did badly, but I should have seen the signs and did something earlier - hesitation cost the extra two goals. Food for thought. When I got around to switching to Counter strategy,we did a heck of a lot better, of course I was kicking myself because now I won't know how that would have worked out had I started with Counter strategy. We definitely started to really boss the game from that point and were unlucky not to score a goal or two. If I was really paying attention with an open mind, the away game at Bath where the match circumstance was incredibly similar, should have suggested that I would increase my chances by going with a counter from the beginning. In that Bath game I started defensive and got back into the game by countering and generally the team looked to be really in the game - so, a bad call on my part and possibly cost me the top spot.  

 

Still, we picked ourselves up and finished off the promotion bid. In the first game after the season, the semifinal playoff, I had the home advantage due to final league position and was slight favorites - scout report indicated that the opponent would play Standard strategy, which is slightly higher than where teams normally play in this situation (Counter) according to my tactical 'guide base-line'. I started with Control (as I normally did for most home matches this season) and we found ourselves up by 2 goals. The Comprehensive Highlights started to indicate the opponent was trying to force themselves back into the match and generally looked dangerous. I made the tactical decision to switch to Standard - using the easy to use drop down menu - and we again bossed the game and rode it out as winners. On to the final, and again, similar circumstance with the match circumstance as the previous game. Home field slight favorites against a Standard playing opponent. I had made a mental note of how well the team played in the semifinal when I made the switch to Standard. I decided to start this time with Standard, but would be ready to switch up to Control on the drop down menu if I feel there is something not going right (visually). But no need to panic, we bossed the game and went out as worthy winners.

 

League Standing 2nd Half of the Season: slKcNXb.jpg

 

League Standing Combined: 3R47FSR.jpg

 

Did pretty well on all accounts. Stuck to the possession style of football throughout and I think that with everything thrown at me and the team, we did really well. The game had basically everything, tough decisions, heartbreak and hardships, and a good final result. We also managed to get to the semi-final of the FA Trophy which was an extra bonus, we were close.

 

Season Final Possession Stats: w30OKRF.jpg

Edited by Loversleaper

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Truro Season Conclude: 5YoM2mX.jpg

 

My attacking players, front trio, scored an impressive 64 goals among them and if I include the back up striker scoring 11 goals while he had to cover for my star Tyler (who had two lengthy injuries) then that makes a good 75 goals in my final attacking third. Not bad with only one save in between the start and the end of the season.

 

Final Game status: D5lkaVn.jpg

 

Please remember folks, that this is just a suggestion on how you can play the game, it's how I play the game. In no way what I am doing is advanced, but am trying to use the in-game tools and options to achieve the results and football style I would like to implement. Using tactical solutions, thinking about what the tactic is designed for and executing them in the right circumstances makes a good tactical gameplay with interesting aspects which give tough decisions - a challenge if you will. You can play what ever way you want, I am sure there are other ways to gain success. I can definitely say that this style of management can and will get you somewhere close to your expectations...

 

NB!: I have now made a thread in the Sub-Forum where you can download the Full First season and take a gander if you wish and also made the shown tactics available for download.

 

Enjoy!

 

Edited by Loversleaper

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Great post. Sounds very sensible. I’m going to look to follow your advice.

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To go a little further into depth of what I am doing here in terms of strategies, is to make solid working tactics. To work myself in that direction, I find it useful to start with something I call a 'base tactic'. Creating the 'base tactics' is the platform from which I will work from, first, the most important for me is to get the Duties (Attack, Support, Defend) looking right. I feel that, as explained in the Strategy Descriptions above, that the balances in the numbers I use seem work very well - generally, defensively my teams tend to do quite well and the attack gives a good yield. You of course can follow other methods, Duties' main function is to hold some players more in position (Defend), get players running forward frequently (Attack) and the players in between that makes decisions on weather to stay put or move forward. Getting the balance right helps those 'transition' phases working between the Defensive and Attacking sequences during games - the Team Shape will also work into this aspect. When this part of the tactic making is done, I tend to start up a game and make some friendlies with the wide range of match circumstances. Here I will test the 'base tactic' if I am unfamiliar with how the game works, later I spring this step over, of course.

 

So, what we are looking in the Strategy screenshots of the Truro save is a 'base tactic'. Truro is a very basic side and I decided to keep things simple to start out with. From this 'base tactic' platform, I will naturally be changing Roles here and there. For example, my back up striker is much better at being a Target Man then anything else so when I throw him on or have to use him because my main striker is injured, then naturally I will change his Role to a Target Man on Support Duty. If I am managing other teams then of course I will look at the strengths and see if I can implement specialist Roles here and there, but usually when I am playing more in the Fluid team shape area - I will not use too many.

 

ilLz6P3.jpg

 

As you can see, I am managing a different team with different types of players than the Truro team. Here is probably one of my favored ways to play in terms of Roles and Team shape. In the winger positions, I find the balance really good with a Winger opposite an Inside Forward (doesn't matter which side). I tend to stay away from two Inside Forwards but I have tried the Inside Forward opposite the Raumdeuter and had some fun with it...

 

 

Edited by Loversleaper

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I remember you had a similar guide some years ago and I had great sucess with it, with a limites Basingstoke side. However we had secons season syndrome and I wasn't able to get the team playing well again.

I don't necessarily agree with some of your ideas, for example adding Tis to match the strategy. If you switch from Standard to Control you are already increasing tempo, d-line, width, etc, why do you feel the need to also add those same TIs?

The best part of the game is exactly this, though: sometimes we are too stuck to our own ideas and then we see someone else do things differently and it works :)

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On ‎2‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 17:18, kingjericho said:

I remember you had a similar guide some years ago and I had great sucess with it, with a limites Basingstoke side. However we had secons season syndrome and I wasn't able to get the team playing well again.

I don't necessarily agree with some of your ideas, for example adding Tis to match the strategy. If you switch from Standard to Control you are already increasing tempo, d-line, width, etc, why do you feel the need to also add those same TIs?

The best part of the game is exactly this, though: sometimes we are too stuck to our own ideas and then we see someone else do things differently and it works :)

 

TI's is something I use to enforce the strengths of the strategy, maybe to compliment it's overall purpose. Second season syndromes is something I don't really experience because I assume that in most cases the dynamics of the second season might have a totally different tactical gameplay. In the Truro case in season 1, I am considered a middle ranked team but vastly over performed and went up. Season 2 I will be a Relegation Battler no doubt. In my experience this usually requires a different type strategy use. That is why I 'rate' my team into these three categories ; the Master-Class (top), the Relegation Battler (bottom) and the Tactician (in between). Once I have established that, then I have a much easier time adapting to the match circumstances in how to tackle games. Top teams attack more and Bottom teams defend more, knowing how to use strategies can give you ideas on how to go about your business. If you win the league and get promoted, I think if keep using the same strategy base it can turn out to be difficult because the opponent you are facing is going to be a lot tougher than what you previously experienced. You will be up against far better quality teams and clubs with much higher reputations, so naturally you might have to think about playing more cautiously so you can maybe scrap in more points. If you use the strategy ladder to your advantage, I think the second season syndrome won't ever be an issue.

Edited by Loversleaper

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This weekend I managed to get in some game time to try out season 2. Put in a good 19 hours - but I did fall asleep after around 10 hours and my wife woke me in the morning with me drooling on the key board :D. Didn't have time until today after work to put up the screen shots.

 

MediaPrediction: 8EYYPpB.jpg

 

As you can see, this time around I am predicted 23rd - that's second from bottom. Last season I was predicted 11th, and with some good/lucky signings it propelled me into the promotion. This season is a total different scenario. Usually you need at least 5-6 quality (for the league) into your team to be able to even just avoid relegation. As a relegation battler I will be playing more cautiously then last season. If I, for example will be playing a match and I have two possible solutions - as a relegation battler I probably will be taking the more cautious of the approaches to begin with.

 

YouNeverWinWithKids: evLlPX0.jpg

 

This is going to be extremely tough. Playing with a bunch of teenagers who are inconsistent performers is going to be a task. Preseason was pretty shaky, to say the least, didn't give much hope and the football was off. Having new faces brought a whole lot of miscommunication and relative poor football - gave me a clear picture that I needed a few more faces.

 

Pre-Second-Season: 1HfE2Qe.jpg

Edited by Loversleaper

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Didn't get really much more in other than I managed to loan a center mid, which I really needed and when my right wide men broke down brought in a loaner who effectively stole the position quickly. As mentioned I was slightly lower on the strategy ladder because I was mostly large underdogs. At home was playing more Standard (compared to Control last season) and away I never really got the chance to move above Defensive strategy.

 

First Half Fixtures Season 2: 9hhZ72n.jpg

 

Did really well with the good weather and was lucky with injuries except my promising midfielder (Steer, a player who I had big hopes for) that got a 11 month spinal injury... I think we went 10 games undefeated away from home. When we entered December month, disaster - not only were we getting battered with the poor weather as we continued to stick to the possession based short passing football - we also had some injuries with serious consequences. My Goalkeeper broke his hand and my star Center Back went out for a few months, plus a few other out for a week or two here and there, really threw another monkey wrench into the works. I do not have adequate cover, my back up keeper is turning out to be more of a sieve than anything else and my central defense is thin - real thin. I quickly moved for a loan and luckily the CB I loaned last season was available - but was unable to find a Keeper so I had to stick with young flappy hands. It looks worse than it was at the end (of course basically every time the opponent fired at goal it went in) because two of the games were Cup ties which (in a way) I am grateful is over so I can concentrate on the league. I also need to quickly adjust new faces into the squad and I tend to find things difficult in those phases of the game. Taking things into consideration, I am still in it and I think there is a chance somewhere...

 

League Table 1st Half Season 2: lyM17iC.jpg

 

This season looks a lot like last season in some perspectives. I could be doing better defensively but those two key injuries made an impact. I will of course scout the transfer market, but don't have real hope I will find anything worth while. My team is good when it is at full strength (star ratings give me a good idea), but outside of the starting 11 is really weak. I still got to battle the weather at this point of the season - I think in both seasons I would have done slightly better had I gone with a more direct approach and disregarded possession football - but these are the choices we make and I am sticking to the brand of football....

 

Game Status: pZRwmm7.jpg

 

So, as you can see, a whopping 19 hours of constant playing with a goodnights sleep in between - something I can only do in a weekend and nothing on the plans. I won't be able to complete the season before earliest weekend because I guess I need a good 9-11 hours of continues game-time to complete the season. In the mean time, with the few hours I have late at night before sleep and to work in morning, I will see if I can create a few other 'styles' of play and include a set.

Edited by Loversleaper

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To get an idea of how the sequences in the game pan out, I would like to run you through what I am looking at.

 

First: yxKthX1.jpg

 

So, this is the scouting report, here of course you are looking at how your opponent is playing - both in terms of roles, team shape and strategy (Mentality Framework). There is also an interesting aspect in the opponents' formation - it's one aspect, if people are interested, that we can take a look at, at some point in time. The 'interesting aspect' is that you can use instructions (and formations if you desire) to (more or less) be slightly more effective in stopping formations that give your team problems. Like when facing an opponent that has the three man attack (the formation that has three strikers on a line up front), for example, you can chose to use Defensive full backs, Defend Duty fullbacks/wing backs, or support duty where you have them sticking to position (rare forward runs) - this kind of depends on the match circumstance. I read somewhere people were complaining about facing these type of formations (re: the three man attack) so this is just one (simple) way of trying to limit the opposition's attacking moves that these formations create.

 

One of the first things I look at on this page is the opponent's strategy use. In this case they are going to go with Control. Now, this is quite high considering the 'norm', this is kind of saying that they do not 'respect' you at all and are going to come more at me. This could be to my advantage because I could surprise them with my decent squad and tactical stability - and, eventually, maybe catch them off guard.

 

Another thing you can look at is that the 4-4-2 formation they are using, they seem to be more attacking on the right-side - so, you might not want to have a constant running forward full back on that side because your fullback could eventually get caught out of position. Kind of basic, but I find it good to be wary of these kind of things going on in the game, especially if you feel your tactics do have some flaws. I see a lot of tactics (on the forums) where Managers use one Attack Duty full back/wing back on one of the sides of defense, so this scenario described regarding the full back forward run settings could be something Managers should have in their considerations. Finding and identifying potential flaws in your tactic could give you an idea of why your tactic might be failing against some teams (and not others for example), all in all - it's good to think about it at least...   

 

Here is where you also choose your Match Prep, I mostly stick to the advice unless I spot a clear flaw. When there is no real indication, I make a judgement call. There are no brainers for me, for example if I am large underdog away from home I will almost always go with Defending match prep, unless the scout spots that they have a set-piece strength/weakness. Or going Attack Movement as a large home favorite against a much weaker side. Finding good solutions can make a pretty significant difference overall. Some managers like Simeone of Atletico Madrid, I think, sets up good set-pieces (players with good stats for their assigned set-piece instruction) and use more Attacking Set-Plays to do damage. You either can have your own plan or suit yourselves to the situation - or do a little bit of both. I have scratched on the surface but haven't really done too much planning, I have just filled the spots here and there and keep things on mixed. Works okay, although I know I can do better, I am sure you can effectively have certain routines that can be quite efficient and this might grab you those points that might make that slight significant difference (if I had acquired an extra 4+ points last season I would have won the league so maybe this is an area where I can make some improvements).

Edited by Loversleaper

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Second: 87l936n.jpg

 

Here on this page you just get a basic idea of how the upcoming opponent might be attacking (in which areas). In the screenshot they seem to be mixing it up a bit so no real indication of what might be a threat. Sometimes you will see that they attack more over one of the sides (or both), so this is something you might want to think about, ponder if this is an issue you should address or not - maybe by making one of your fullbacks more support/defend duty in the opponents' preferred attacking area(s), then you could possibly resolve some of your defensive problems. I usually stick to my game play but will definitely look into the aspect and make sure I am not totally exposed from time to time. You might also notice in other Analysis Reports that the opposition goes heavily through the middle and here you can decide if you want to crowd the middle as well to hamper the opponents play - some Managers who play really tactical might make formation changes and tinker a lot to accommodate the match circumstance. This, of course, craves a lot more thought, planning and effort in the tactical strategy/familiarity department - but it can be easily successful if you decide to take that route and have the time on your hands to do so.

 

You also get a peak into what formations the do well or worse against the opponent. Luckily, in this case, the opposition seems to struggle against my preferred formation so this is just another slight advantage for my team, you can say. Again, here as a really tactical Manager with nothing but time on your hands could dive into working a good formation that the opponent will find very difficult. I tend to stick with my gameplan and the adjustments I make are few and routine. I like to get on with things... 

Edited by Loversleaper

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Third: 0t5r4Kd.jpg

 

This is the Tactical Advice page. I use this page more to spot something or to refresh what is going on and, in all honesty, really rarely take the advice. Here my Assistant suggests that I go with Counter. Now, two things, (1) I don't want to be too defensively at home unnecessarily and (2) when looking at the Scout Report where it is suggested that the opponent will most likely be playing a Control type of football/strategy . These two things so far are going against me playing Counter. Control in the in-match description (and what I described about the scenario somewhere at the top of the thread) does quite well against Counter (because it goes forward and still is wary of the Counter Attack) so they might be laying a trap. If the opponent does in fact have  a huge reputation (for the league) then I might consider the advice, but anyway - I will take a quick look at the opponent's General Club page and in this case I see they are predicted to end 16th (mid/bottom mid range) . So, not a huge reputation club, the match circumstance is kind of swaying me to have my team to play a more Standard type of strategy - or even go more daring and try to Control the game on my terms. Moving more attacking or defending is a balancing act, you don't want to press an opponent capable of running rings around your team's pressure and at the same time you don't want to give the opposition too much time on the ball so that their players have plenty of time to find quality passes.

 

The advice page is more to open up a debate of possibilities, a second opinion sort of, but in the end it still is my ultimate decision... 

Edited by Loversleaper

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Forth: d4saAhK.jpg

 

In the match odds you get a real good indication of the assessed quality between your team and the opponent. As mentioned above, I am not huge underdog, so that is another thing pushing me away from playing Counter at home, if were huge underdogs then playing Counter will probably weigh much heavier in terms of my Starting Strategy choice. Now, if I decide to go with Standard I can always re-assess the situation during the match and go up (Control) or down (to Counter) - that is kind of the safe option. But on the other hand, Bromley is a team I feel I can beat, match odds have us similar in quality, they are not a huge club (lower reputation), lower league prediction, they struggle against my formation and, on top of all this, - I am the home team. This match circumstance kind of tilts me toward playing Control and playing out my chance, I think I can pressure this team and give myself a good game, plus I think that the opponent manager made a somewhat bad call - let's see...

 

Match Stats: bfW70pA.jpg

 

We won it 1-0. Nothing spectacular, but I think I made a good call. I also think the opposition manager made a bad call at the same time and we profited. I was hoping for the second goal because then I would have seriously considered doing a quick Standard strategy change, but the second goal never came. In the last ten minutes I did switch to Contain (ultra-defensive) and rode out the game. As I previously said, if I were up against the big clubs/top position teams and found myself in a similar match circumstance, then I will be playing slightly more cautious as a Relegation Battler. For the most part, I did find myself as really large underdogs so this makes a huge difference of how things were last season.

 

So, to be clear, I definitely played more cautious this time around than I did last season and really only took my chances against teams where I knew I had a very good chance of getting a result against. To give a rough picture, at home I was either going with Control against all the weak sides, Standard against all the semi-good sides and finally did use Counter a couple of times against the really huge reputation clubs. Away from home matches I was basically just going with Defensive strategy all the way, no Counter or Standard needed. After the first ten away games I think I had 5 wins and 5 draws --- things got more tricky when the opponent stopped rushing at my team and started playing more respectful and cautiously. 

 

But to take an allround look, even though my strategy choice is somewhat different from the first season to the second season, I still did not change the way I play generally - my football style/philosophy is still intact. I have in mind to play short possession type of mixed focus football, a free flowing kind of football style (if I may say so) and it stays intact, more or less, even though the strategy usage is slightly different. I haven't put up the possession screenshot, but will do at a point - hopefully when I have time to complete the season (don't know when but it has to be a weekend). Possession stats are basically the same as last season, you can take my word for it, and my team still is the best passing team in our league. We are making an impact. You can go about things in your own way and create your own styles of play (we can take a look at more Structured Styles this week) and fit them into your strategies to keep your footballing style/philosophy/mindset intact...

 

Here is a screenshot of an away game during this season playing Defensive strategy:  nqtHAFR.jpg

 

This was away to one of the big clubs in the league. As you can see, the Match Stats doesn't quite suggest that I was playing Defensive - it kind of looks like I was playing a more attacking game. But this is the thing, you make a good sound tactical strategy, use it at a good moment in time and you might end up controlling the game (won't always happen though). I still make tactical blunders, it happens... especially when you have to go through those transition phases going from Relegation Battler to Tactician to Master-Class or vice versa - but you catch on... Eventually...

 

There are still a whole bunch of other match scenarios one has to tackle and these are the tools I use in the game to narrow down my judgement calls. Tweeking tactics and instructions is not endless shifting and changing all over the place, in reality it's simple and straight to the point. You have to know what platforms to work from first, then tweeking becomes a lot easier to handle and a lot less time consuming. I feel, personally, that I am on the right track - I have done season 1 and then moved onto season 2 without really noticing huge differences in the style of way I want to practice football or in the results I have obtained. Getting around second season syndromes and good form/bad form realities is totally viable, I hope this somehow gives an idea of how you might obtain that... 

 

Edited by Loversleaper

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As always, great work LL, thank you very much for your effort. My favourite FM versions are those you make a topic of your strategy and tactics vision, so from this moment this year version is one of them. 

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Great write-up. This is a must read for people who struggle with tactics should read this. 

On a more personal note, I love how you go trough your process on making decisions. I might not necessarily agree with a certain tactical decision, but at least I can see where you're coming from. Great stuff. Any blog/youtube channel I can follow you on?

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Great write up, I remember following your threads many years ago. I think your framework of sorts will be useful for those beginning with the game to understand about how things like rep or weather are variables to consider whilst playing. 

Edited by JDeeguain

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On ‎2‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 18:54, Miek said:

Great write-up. This is a must read for people who struggle with tactics should read this. 

On a more personal note, I love how you go trough your process on making decisions. I might not necessarily agree with a certain tactical decision, but at least I can see where you're coming from. Great stuff. Any blog/youtube channel I can follow you on?

 

No, I don't youtube or blog unfortunately, I only have really time to do some stuff on these forums from time to time.

 

Tactical decisions are hard generally, in this version of FM you get a better picture of what is going on with the scouting and analysis reports that have been introduced/upgraded and this could have opened up a bigger tactical game then previously. I still make bad judgement calls/tactical decisions, you can see that in the Truro save that I am presenting in the thread. But I do make an effort at spotting them and doing something about it in other upcoming matches that offer similar match circumstances. So, I do understand that you won't necessarily agree with my tactical decisions because I, myself, don't always agree with my choices either (especially in hindsight of a match). With the Truro save I am predicted (in season 2) to finish 23rd and at that time I was laying 5th, so in some ways I am on the right track but there are, of course, things that can be done better. More on that later...

 

 

8 hours ago, JDeeguain said:

Great write up, I remember following your threads many years ago. I think your framework of sorts will be useful for those beginning with the game to understand about how things like rep or weather are variables to consider whilst playing. 

 

This is not only a thread for beginners, in my opinion, because there are still many people who have been playing for years and still haven't quite come to grips with how a lot of the things in the game actually work. How many times haven't we seen people saying they played since the first addition and somehow the game is 'rigged' against them. I can tell you, a lot of the problems people are facing in regards to setting up strategies and tactics - is how to actually use them in conjunction with the upcoming game. Simple tweaks, like holding fullbacks/wingbacks more back against 3 man strike force opponents or on the side the opponents is attacking on for example, can easily be effective as long as you see what could be going on and how to deal with it. Of course, if you have the best team on the planet then everyone else will be more or less dancing to your tune - but for the other mortals on the planet, you might want to try and get the best out of the situation (which might require you having to compromise and/or be realistic at the same time)...

Edited by Loversleaper

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Truro Second Half Season 2:

As mentioned earlier, dealing with 2nd season syndromes and poor form is something that usually requires some tactical work. In the Truro save, last season I was predicted 11th and finished 2nd where we were promoted. This season we are predicted 23rd and before the last half of the season we are sitting in 5th spot. So, all in all you can say that things are going quite well under the circumstances. But, as a manager sometimes you want to take it a step further, stop up and take a look at what is going on...

That is why the break in the middle of the game sometimes can give you a time to take a breath and reflect. I feel like I am close around the top spots but seem to just fall short of clinching the top spot - and I would like to find out why. There could be a number of things that could be contributing to that fact, things that can either be dealt with in the short term or the long term, and if I identify the them I can maybe do something about it. I have gone one and a half season now and I feel that there are somethings not going exactly right although on paper it seems to be going quite well after all. Sometimes when you are just going match to match you are too concentrated on the match itself and forget the bigger picture. Here are the 3 simplistic assessments I made:

#1 Squad depth. This can always be a problem regardless of who you are managing and can, for sure, explain loss of form (as one of the factors). Assessing if this area is good enough requires a realistic approach. Just because you have a talented youngster with a current 2 star value and a 5 star potential, doesn't mean he is going necessarily going to cause huge waves right away - he is, after all, just a 2 star rated player. Youngsters swing a lot more in consistency so these kinds of things can really effect the match - trust me, I know, I have a whole squad full of them. I find that if your back up players are poor or very poor, you can run into problems - match stats will appear good (maybe you did a lot of things right tactically) but you feel rather powerless on the pitch nonetheless and eventually go from the game feeling robbed. Knowing your squad and using the squad consistently as possible, I think, are vital factors - maybe more than you would think. On the pitch, replacing a 4 star player with a 2 star player is kind of like changing out a player like Liverpool's Sala with a player named Barney Rubble, so, expecting the same result will be fairly unrealistic. Talented youngsters and other new signings sometimes require a 'bring them into the squad' approach instead of throwing them to the lions.

In Truro you don't have many players around that are interested in joining the club, so not a real lot I can do about that. I have huge problems when I have to use players outside of my main 11 (I even have problems with them as well!) and this is clear - especially when reflecting on some results and form. That pattern is plain and should be recognized as a potential problem for almost any team. I tried what ever I could to boost the squad but only managed to find one player who would eventually be only a back up for my right/midfield or lone striker - I really needed something in that area but he only managed 1 start with 8 coming on as a substitute and only a goal to his name (winning goal of the match if I recall correctly).

 

Edited by Loversleaper

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#2 Set-Pieces. Now here is one of the factors that could explain why some players might play really badly. If your players are in positions that they are really bad at, they could make a game deciding error. For example, you have a player guarding the first post (defending corner) and he has really low Anticipation, this might cause him to misread the situation if the ball enters that area and he has to deal with it - which could turn out fatal for your result. You can get away with it to some degree and you won't be punished constantly, but it might happen that the opposition reads it or they simply get lucky and cause some damage because you are maybe not as 'prepared' as you could be. I remember in a game against Atl. Madrid in my Barcelona save I really paid attention to how the Set-Piece master Simeone would set-up his team (even looked at it in 2d) and immediately saw some things. First of all, he didn't use the fullbacks to guard the posts on defending corners and generally had the players positioned in different set-ups that the default option has - way different. Then I took a look at those players he used in his chosen positions and could see he of course is trying to get the best out of it - plus having direction in what he was trying to do in them. This version has a really disappointing element (because in my opinion this is one of the best FM versions to date) and that is that you can't set-up free kicks or defend against them - a huge minus in my book and I don't think I have to explain why.

Now, I am not going to go that much into depth because so far having Corners on mixed and throw in's set to short (I feel goes well with a short passing team) is doing fine - so, right now I am not going to go too far into it. I will, though, just run through the players and see how they fair in how good they are at the task assigned - just to refresh because I have different players than last season. I actually should have gone through this before, but results were okay and I was lazy. Naturally I found some players bad at their task and spotted a few cases of why a player did (at times) get a really poor rating, so quickly rearranged the positions of those players. Also I noticed that I was fairly vunerable at the back post on defending corners and did concede a few that way so I repositioned the players protecting the 6 yard box (I will put up a screen shot at a point where I show the basic tweak).

 

I am not expecting fire works in the set-piece adjustments, but even if it helps me gain a few more points - then looking at the League Table screenshots suggests that I could move up closer to the top. Let's see...

 

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#3 Instructions. With the team instructions I am pretty set, my team as a whole is playing generally well with the Team Instructions and that is reflected in the massive overachievement. What I have been noticing is that two things kind of been indicating something that I should really have caught onto a lot sooner - especially as a seasoned FM manager. On my team, apart from the odd player in a bad set-piece position, my Full Backs and my lone Striker had a tendency to underperform and get bad ratings - actually at too high rate (which is why I am kicking myself right now). In the analysis report you get after games, it usually is good at telling you what could be going wrong and this is a page I suggest people use a little to get a better idea of what is going on. It's all hindsight, of course, but it gives a good view on potential problems.

 

In this case, the Full Backs were getting poor ratings for 'poor crossing' (my main right back has crossing stat [4] so no wonder). At the same time, the lone Striker was getting poor ratings for 'not winning headers' (he is not big and tall). Now, this combination is not doing wonders for my team. In the base 4-1-2-2-1/4-1-4-1 tactic set, I have full backs with Crossing Often which I carried on over from the Barca save. Barca of course have world class backs with great stats so they are probably better at that then this Truro squad of pub dwellers. This is an aspect that I think some might want to think about, especially if you want to use Wing Back (roles) and have Wingers in the tactic too. Some teams can handle having both wingers and full backs/wing backs on crossing often (maybe good if you use a Target Man, for example) and some teams can't - clearly my Truro squad is having difficulties with this and it's terrible on my part to not have addressed it before. You can have also other problems so the post match analysis is a good tool ti give you an idea of what is going on, and eventually - what could be going wrong...

Edited by Loversleaper

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Do you use any additional personal instructions to the 4-1-2-2-1 you showed with the Barca lineup from your Truro 4-1-2-2-1? Thanks

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34 minutes ago, False 9 said:

Do you use any additional personal instructions to the 4-1-2-2-1 you showed with the Barca lineup from your Truro 4-1-2-2-1? Thanks

 

No, I have been using the Uploaded tactics (as is) so far. Only now (after 1 and a half season) I have gone more into detail and actually removed the Full Back crossing instructions in most cases and simply made a slightly better Set-Piece set-up. I explained this the posts above, but all in all - I am not using (over) advanced tweaking in Player Instructions. GK distribution usually is the most important player tweak in my opinion because you can use their distribution to compliment your playing style...

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Season 2 Second Half Fixtures:

 

So, this weekend I managed to find time to complete the season in one shot, didn't have time until today to put up the screen shots and write up the details...

 

As mentioned, so far I have been playing slightly more cautious (at times) because my team's reputation and overall quality is relatively poor. Most teams were attacking me, so playing really defensively and narrow away from home saw my team turn into a team that was exceptionally hard to beat (started with a 10 match undefeated away from home record). Now that I have the 'attention' of the other managers and clubs, they will eventually change the way they play against my team to avoid defeat (which is very realistic). I have to be a little more on my toes when I start making the Tactical/Strategy Decisions because the tactical strategy of teams are changing and/or adapting, making this 'phase' a really hard challenge for most people (including me).

 

Last season I was playing very basic. Away from home, Defensive Strategy as very large underdogs, Counter when I assessed that I had a good chance of creating a result and Standard if I was larger favorites or it was assessed that I could push that much forward (without the opponent players running rings around my more daring/risking match strategy). At home pitch I was basically going Control all the way, unless my team were considered huge underdogs then I went with a safe Standard option where you can always move slightly up or down without changing too much and, that way, see how it goes during games. I rarely change during matches but did try some things which helps me feel out more how my team are handling the tactical Instructions. Last season at home I only changed from Control to Attack later in games where I felt we weren't making an impact - to see how the team handle a more High Pressure (Intensity) type of football - but this only happened 2 times at most (if I recall correctly) at home against the very bottom teams.

 

This season is a little more difficult because I am in a different situation - last season my team were considered a mid reputation/prediction and this season we are deemed to be on the bottom shelf. This situation suited my team quite well, we defended well and were effective taking advantage of opponent's mistakes. I ran into problems when teams were more wary of that and started using different strategies to try and put a lid on it by not exposing themselves too much. Going more forward and creating results is more difficult, especially if your team lacks the quality to do so. Of course, my team is getting better along the way, some younger players started to develope faster thus boosting the team's overall quality (every star counts and even small increases can make a significant difference, depending on League and quality). Getting the most out of this situation could demand a slightly more daring approach.

 

So, basically, after the first half season where we initially overachieved expectations, I still have to be more wary that the opponent might try to sit more back and hit me when we make mistakes or have tactical weaknesses. The higher up the League Table you go and the better your result form gets - the more risky you might have to become to be more effective against your opponents (even during games). If you feel that your tactics 'run dry', it might not be the Style of Football you practice or how you set up your roles that is at fault. It could simply be that your strategy is not well suited for the situation. For example, you might like Counter as a good away tactic - but against a superior opponent who has a huge reputation, star players and playing on home pitch, might just simply carve your team and strategy apart. Your team might not even have enough time on the ball to start a Counter Attack because the pressure is so heavy. Maybe fighting for your life and trying to stop them is the best option on your hands - like it or not - and you might just get that lucky strike that sends you into a night on the town. If you do feel that the strategy you are using is well suited for the circumstances and you still are failing to get relatively okay results - then this is a situation where I would start looking at my football style and/or instructions/roles/duties to see if something is not balancing my tactics right.

 

Fixtures Second Half Season 2: u9mJmTM.jpg

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Second Half Season 2 League Table:

 

Final League Standing: 9Hkgo7w.jpg

 

How things can change along the way, we could even afford losing the last game of the season - in a match where everything went wrong, all the players playing really nervously and an early red card was a game changer. That was on top of the horrible mistakes the young team made with legs that were, all of a sudden, made out of gelly (maybe due to the pressure of the final games where everything was at stake). Generally, I felt that the slight adjustments I made after taking time to assess the situation kind of paid off. Of course my team adjusted very well from playing a more Defensive game earlier on - to playing a more Risky/higher intensity game later on when opponents started parking the bus. When I was pushing for the top spots, I became more aware of what is going on in matches because here is where you can make adjustments successfully (strategy-wise).

 

Final League Standing Combined: IooB02i.jpg

 

So, we had the best home record and close to being best away. The strategy usage seems to be making an impact, but I am wondering if the slight adjustments I made didn't play a slight role as well. That will be determined as I progress up the leagues, because I am pretty sure that this scenario will stay basically on course as long as I am sticking to the plan whilst keeping the footballing style/philosophy intact. I also need some luck and good signings - I found that the Scout Focus (position and potential quality [stars]) did help me find needed players that could make a difference here and there.

 

Reflection: Last season there were not really any Huge Reputation teams in the league. This season, being a League higher up, I ran into clubs with Higher reputation/quality much more frequently. Earlier on in this season I was up against Aldershot on home pitch, they were only slight favorites but seemed to try and Control the game. I thought they were too daring and the manager might have made a tactical blunder. I gambled and tried to Control them even though I was slight underdog. You see, in the League below I got away with playing more daring but against this big reputation club for this league taught me a lesson, they sliced me apart and stupidly didn't adjust to stop the train wreck until too late in the match - it did show me though that there were other better tactical/strategy options that suited my team more in that match circumstance, the opposition simply ran rings around my team's pressure attempt (settings). I have still work to do in the balancing act, especially moving up the leagues will take more assessment to get the most out of results --- and games like this Aldershot game is one you learn a lot from, maybe not for that match but for future reference for sure.

 

At the beginning of the season, all my players were only suited for the League below (where I just came from) and the new players were not assessed thoroughly yet. As the season progressed, my players get more accustomed to the league, they get better in [star] quality and the team starts gelling more. Halfway through the season around half of my team were suited for the league and with the (general) good form things are slowly changing. From being predicted by everyone that we would be out as fast as we came in - to all of a sudden making an impact on the league and being taken seriously. This reality changes things, now in the second half of the season my team starts to get more efficient in the Counter and can even start to cope with playing a more daring away strategy like Standard offers. At home I will be checking for signs if I should be moving from Control to a more Attacking game to break down stubborn opponents. Usually your Scout Report should spot when the opponent will attempt to stop you by playing Defensive deep/narrow. I also see if the opponents tend to waste time during matches (comprehensive highlights usually give clear indications) because some managers make tactical changes earlier on during matches if they are that type of manager.

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Game Status SS:

 

Game Status: 2o42aQO.jpg

 

So, at this point we should be able to see that in the two full seasons of Fixtures that I effectively only saved twice - both on 31st December in each year. The other saves came off season, I always save after the last game of the season just in case a freak crash might happen. I will be putting up this save in the Sub-Forum thread so interested minds can take a look at things. Bare in mind that when you look at my starting strategy, it might change some times because I am using other strategies outside of the three 'preferred' starting tactics/strategies. I make those changes in the Dressing Room before the kick off. In the last part of the season I was playing Counter or occasionally changing to Counter during games. Red cards, injuries and other events might offer other possibilities in making successful tactical changes. For example, in a lot of the games in later part of the season I was Countering a lot more away from home when compared to the first part of this season were my team was under a lot more pressure (from opponents) but luckily dealt with that well by defending narrow and deep while striking 'the lucky punch' effectively. Counter is a more daring approach because even though you are defending, you are still committing some players more forward (in phases) to try and force a result.

 

Taking all aspects into account, with this thread, I am just running through how I do things and hope that some of it could offer some details you might have overlooked. I hope you can see that I am only using the tools in the game and by using these tools to your advantage can give you the same similar results that I have accomplished so far in this thread.

 

Icing on the cake:

 

It is always nice to receive awards, especially landing ahead of Gianfranco Zola! who all of a sudden applied for the Crawley Head Coach job and did very well.

 

Manager of the Year: EW6EF4k.jpg

 

 

Mission Accomplished:

 

Even though results off the pitch were good, we had set out on a mission to play possession football and this is a real important part of the Club's Footballing Brand.

 

Possession Stats: TndAzQB.jpg

 

The players responded well and a team of youngsters successfully lifted the Trophy. My attacking options seem to be well spread out - but looking at other teams around the different leagues, it suggests that you can get your defenders scoring more than I have. I think reworking or planning Set-Pieces could offer a possibility of gaining even a few more points on the board, and when you are looking at my situation - a few more points would have avoided the real tight and hectic final few legs of the season (something a high number of my players were effected by negatively and didn't handle the pressure well at all. Finding players that can cope with that scenario is an art form)...

 

Players: p1NQfGD.jpg

 

 

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I have put the Season 2 Truro save up for download over in the Tactical & Training Sub-Forum in the Strategy Insight Download Section thread for those that want to take a look or carry on the save and see if you can get Truro to the top now that you are in the Professional Leagues. Good luck!

 

I also said that I would put up a screen shot of a basic move I made in set-pieces that compliment my team a little better. As you might notice this set-up is slightly differently than the one you can download, nothing spectacular but it suited my players better and I can't complain. The players on the 6 yard box line is slightly adjusted to also protect the back post where I found I did concede some easy goals. With the set-piece move and the removal of the Crossing Often instruction on the Full Backs have at least cut down on some of my players getting really poor ratings.

 

Defend Corner:   QDT34Ad.jpg

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Another great read. I feel weirdly connected to this topic since I'm playing a save with Hereford (youth challenge). Got promoted in my first season and noticed the same struggles as you have described in this topic. I am basically re-living your Truro save :D

I'm at the point where beating the top 5 away from home seems easy but I've struggled at home against the bottom teams. Perfect time to be reading your post about re-assesing your tactics. 

Hope you keep posting and writing about your struggles on your way to the Premier League title!

 

Edited by Miek

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Looking to implement this very clever tactical system and having read through the posts I was wondering a couple of things.

1. Any OI's used I was thinking on the 4141 counter, implementing simeones total block OI's.

2. How do you decide which tactic to use? What are the main points you look for, is it the match odds? Is it your scouts tactical analysis?

Very intrigued by your ideas and am keen to start on using these on my Darlington save currently in Championship 3rd season but still start as 10000/1 each season.

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On ‎2‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 23:43, Miek said:

Another great read. I feel weirdly connected to this topic since I'm playing a save with Hereford (youth challenge). Got promoted in my first season and noticed the same struggles as you have described in this topic. I am basically re-living your Truro save :D

I'm at the point where beating the top 5 away from home seems easy but I've struggled at home against the bottom teams. Perfect time to be reading your post about re-assesing your tactics. 

Hope you keep posting and writing about your struggles on your way to the Premier League title!

 

 

Thanks for the support, but that's not going to happen. I did the first season because that was just to give an idea of how I play the game and interpret the different game elements - I did the second season to prove that there is no such thing as 'second season blues'... I read about this second season syndrome theory on the forums for years, so this time around I took the liberty to show that it is a myth - I actually did better the second season against much better opponents in a much harder situation (as a Relegation Battler) - by doing season 2. I won't post how I do during seasons of my game saves if I don't at least show half a season none stop without saving the game. To show that these simple theories work, I need to show some consistency and that usually takes at least 10 hours of constant gameplay - and that is if I don't fall asleep mid game. So, for me to complete going up to the Premier League will take at least 60 hours where I need to find windows of time where I can play 10 hour sessions. I have two teenage kids, work, a demanding wife and time to do other stuff...

 

Believe me when I tell you, how I did the first two seasons would basically prevail all the way through the leagues... I might need a season somewhere to adjust to the league (probably in the case of being in the Premier League for the first season) but would probably win it relatively fast, nonetheless. But that is not why I am writing this thread, I am hoping to show how to tackle the job of being a manager and how to achieve more or less good results by simply using the tools in the game. Many people would rather create their own success by creating their own tactics instead of having to download tactics, I hope this thread can give some insight on how you can achieve that...

 

7 hours ago, thegoon65 said:

Looking to implement this very clever tactical system and having read through the posts I was wondering a couple of things.

1. Any OI's used I was thinking on the 4141 counter, implementing simeones total block OI's.

2. How do you decide which tactic to use? What are the main points you look for, is it the match odds? Is it your scouts tactical analysis?

Very intrigued by your ideas and am keen to start on using these on my Darlington save currently in Championship 3rd season but still start as 10000/1 each season.

   

1. I never use OI's

 

2. As mentioned in the tread I use a combination of things - match odds is only a piece of the puzzel, that's just to give me an idea of the perceived difference in quality between my team and the opponent. But there are more important things like scout reports and how the opponents are playing, analysis where you have a clearer idea of what areas the opponent might be attacking in. Other things like what type of team the opponent generally is (Potential league winners, potential bottom placed teams and something in between) has also it's small role in strategy judgement calls plus a little common sense (reading the descriptions of what the strategy does).

 

I don't know if it is clever, but in my experience, taking into account the attacking and defending element of the football game and the fact that SI are trying to simulate that type of scenario - then it makes kind of sense to use those elements to at least challenge your opponents in the game.

 

If you are managing Barcelona or managing Darlington (as an example) - then you are looking at two totally different scenarios. The circumstances are different - way different. The strategies offer you all the scenarios to achieve success if you are willing to use them. If you think that you can just find a simple tactic and then win everything - then I would say that is totally unrealistic. The only advice I can really give you is try out the different match circumstances, try to implement the strategies in those circumstances, keep things simple, and see how your team responds along the way...

 

 

 

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Loversleaper - is there any chance you could write what attributes are you looking for in each postition or even better do you have player filters

I'm giving a try with Swansea

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On ‎2‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 09:05, Cuper said:

Loversleaper - is there any chance you could write what attributes are you looking for in each postition or even better do you have player filters

I'm giving a try with Swansea

 

This is really an area I won't be doing any work in at all, so please forgive me. The main reason is, is that in reality, I don't think I am qualified at all at making those kind of interpretations. To be simple, if I would look at attributes and what I need for a certain role - then on a player that I have in the squad that plays in that (general) position, I press on the 'Role' and here I see where the Roles have their 'emphasis'. The darker blue areas would be their 'primary' attributes and the more white ones are the 'secondary' attributes. I would say a good player for that role would be good both in the Primary and Secondary attributes - I am not even sure that this is totally accurate either.

 

I use my scouts and honestly I have had quite good success in instructing my scouts to focus on a certain 'role' that I need and (if you have enough time on you hands to wait for a good one) then they tend to find something that you are looking for. Really sorry that I can't be of more help...

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Going More Advanced:

 

Now that I have gone through the strategy aspect of how I play the game, now I would like to show a few things that some of you might find interesting when you are building your tactics/strategies. An easy way to paint the picture is to show how the AI plays against you, what roles and kind of what duties they might use - because I do things quite similar.

 

So, to get started let's start at the beginning and make a basic Base Tactic in a simple 4-4-2 formation (remember this is just a starting point):

 

Base Tactic 1: ajv3IdY.jpg

 

In the basic 4-4-2 formation this is a pretty solid and simple starting point. Easy to find players that suit the Roles - even in the lower leagues. In this variation, the central midfield duo are pretty stong defensively and tend not to wonder too far from eachother most of the time.

 

Base Tactic 2: fTufzee.jpg

 

Slighty different variation and the behavior of the midfield is different than the tactic above this one. The Advanced Play Maker will be more advanced and try to dictate the game more and attempt some through balls so naturally you want a player with good Vision. The 2 formations above can, of course, depend on what type of players you have at your desposal - you can be lucky and have a player who fits both the Advanced and Deep lying roles efficiently. It is good to be a little flexible because then you can use the 2 different variations to either make you slighty more defensively stable or slighty more risky depending on the situation.

 

The other thing I think is kind of important is the two variations give an idea of how I 'Balance' out the roles/duties in the strategies that I eventually create. In simple terms, in the Deep Lying Playmaker (Defend Duty) and Ball Winning Midfielder (Support Duty) variation - both players have Mixed Risky passes. In the other variation, the Advanced Play Maker (Support Duty) and the Ball Winning Midfielder (Defend Duty), you have one attempting More Risky Passes and the other attempting Less Risky Passes. This is just a simple example, you have other positions that also create pairs and here I find it to be a good thing to kind of balance out the behavior patterns that the roles and duties have. In the tactic section screen (in game) the lines between players give you an idea of what positions link up with eachother. Of course, if you have a great team you can attempt more Risky Roles/Instructions but for the 'mortal teams' you might want to start out more simple and play more to your team's strengths (especially in the lower leagues) - doing this (re: balancing instructions) tends to make your tactics more 'sound'.

Edited by Loversleaper

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Simeone

 

I have done a few saves in the La Liga and naturally I run into this Manager during the season - he tends to do quite well in my saves, in this case the one save was me managing Barca and the other save me trying out Alaves. I noticed that Simeone changes around and does different things depending on the opponent (and of course, what players he has at his disposal). In a way, it looks like he is quite advanced but still on the other hand it is quite simple as well.

 

Let's take the two Base Tactics from the post above and go a little more into depth in kind of mimicking how I have experienced Simeone's tactical attempts against my team. I will show more of a simplistic view (that I have) on what he does, but you have to keep in mind that he does alter instructions/strategies according to the match circumstance (so you might experience him playing slightly different in your saves). Nonetheless, if you know how, when and what to change - then it is quite easy to do the same type of alterations and you will find that it can be quite effective.

 

Simeone: AOhtHm7.jpg

 

So, looking at the formations Simeone uses against your team in a given match, gives you an idea of what he is attempting for the match at hand. His preferred formation is 4-4-2 and his 2nd preferred formation is 4-4-1-1. Simeone's defensive formation is 4-4-1-1 where he uses two Defensive Midfielder positions in central midfield (which is a more bottom heavy formation) and when he really wants to attack he goes for a 4-4-2 with wingers up in the AMR/AML positions (making it a top heavy formation). In the Truro save above, I did basically the same where I used the 4-1-2-2-1 formation (more top heavy formation) in the more attacking strategy versions and used the 4-1-4-1 formation (slighty more bottom heavy) in the more defending strategies. The formation changes are a good, easy and simple method to emphasize on your attacking or your defending outlook for the upcoming match. You will notice that most AI managers do this during your managerial careers.

 

Simeone also 'tends to rely on set-pieces', which you can do with Match Preparation focus in conjunction with good/coherent set-piece routines. He also likes to Counter Attack which usually occurs more frequently in the middle strategies (Counter, Standard and Control) due to the settings and duties that these strategies generally have. Keep in mind that the AI Simeone manager doesn't always perform like the Real Life Simeone - especially when it comes to the conceded goals ratio. There are several reasons for that, one being that it is hard to mimic real life in general and the other reason (I think) is that the settings won't always coincide with how those settings would/might work in the real world. For example, Simeone is considered to play a 'disciplined' type of football - in the game 'be more disciplined' seems to effect more of how the Creative Freedom settings react where as 'stick to positions' tends to keep your players more in their positions which you can say is a form of positional discipline. I am no expert in how the whole thing actually works but one thing I do notice is that if you 'limit' your team too much it can easily backfire - when you have good players you still want the to go out there and create something so you can win the match. Being more defensively sound usually requires getting really good Defenders (like Simeone has in Atl. Madrid) and making good strategy decisions... well - for me anyway...

Edited by Loversleaper

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Let's start out and look at my view on Simeone and start out with the middle strategy (Standard):

 

Standard 4-4-2 version 1: xo8MkQd.jpg

 

With the Deep Lying Play Maker you have the player sitting deep and spreading out the play when in possession. 'Pass into Space' goes well in this situation because you get the ball into areas where your players have time to make that devastating pass creating a kind of 'lethal touch' football.

 

Standard 4-4-2 version 2: zmHIXvU.jpg

 

With the Advanced Play Maker I tend not to use the 'pass into space' because I am aiming to get the ball to him so he can make that pass that slices open the opposition defense. I hope that when you take a look at the striker situation (pair), you will notice that you have two Roles that balance each other out quite nicely. One Closing down more - the other one less... one player attempting More Risky Passes and the other one Less.

 

Standard 4-4-1-1 version 3: oqkaEsn.jpg

 

The simple switch to the 4-4-1-1 formation. Of course, in Atl. Mardid he has a player like Greizmann who naturally fills both positions (Striker & Advanced Central Mid) so he can effectively switch things really easy to change the dynamics of the game if he chooses to. Usually when it comes to those Specialist Roles you want to get real good players, but that is common sense I imagine. It can be a hard task (sometimes) to find 'cover' for those Specialized positions. That is why, I guess, Simeone tends to have large squads so that he ensures that he has enough cover for his specialized roles - this also gives him room to change things around (in the tactical/strategy/instruction department) should he feel he needs to do so.

 

In the 4-4-1-1 formation, I would choose the Deep Lying Play Maker (Defend Duty) version because that gives the player in the Attacking Central Mid position more room/space to maneuver in. Choosing the Advanced Play Maker Role (in central mid) could cause the player to run in and occupy that area (where your Attacking Central Mid is positioned) and this scenario might hamper your attacking play. I frequently notice that the AI managers take these things into account, they tend to be very good at positioning their players so they become a lot more 'strategic' in their movements.

 

In the 4-4-2 formation (and the 4-4-1-1 Formation) you might notice the situation with using the Wing Back role behind the player in the Wide area that is 'cutting inside' and using the Full Back role (maybe experiment with the Inverted Wing Back on this side as well if you wish) behind the normal Winger that is running wide. I tend to notice quite a lot of opposition managers doing it this way with the Wide roles - especially the higher rated managers. It might be something you want to consider when you are making decisions on the what (type of) roles you want to use in your wide areas. Also another aspect when I was using these tactics, was that with the winger 'cutting in' on the side where you have the Trequartista role, causes the Trequartista to exploit the space on the left wing creating some good attacking play. Balancing out Roles and making good movement doesn't seem to be that hard of a chore if you start to take their behavioral patterns into account, in my personal opinion. I am doing this more and more and it seems to be reacting quite well when I look at events during Matches.

Edited by Loversleaper

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To complete the sets (starting in the Middle Strategy areas):

 

Counter 4-4-2 version 1: 86sGXpC.jpg

 

Counter 4-4-2 version 2: 76d4xMF.jpg

 

Counter 4-4-1-1 version 3: cZSrbYl.jpg

 

Basically the same set-up as the Standard version shown above this post. The AI Simoene usually plays around with the right side of his tactics by using Vrsaljko either as a winger, a defensive winger or move him down into defense as an Attacking Full Back/Wing Back depending on the match circumstance (or what players he has at his disposal) - and this is not only in the Counter Strategy he does this, but generally throughout. Something that might tighten or make the tactic slightly more attacking - an aspect I would recommend for other managers to try also (if possible) and you have (of course) the players that can be moved around into different positions. Attributes and emphasizing on what areas you want to strengthen could give you a slight advantage here and there...

 

 

Control 4-4-2: vo2JxL2.jpg

 

You can, of course, play around like shown in the Standard and Counter versions and do the same to the Control strategy (formation switches) - but I noticed that when Simeone usually plays a Control type of strategy he tends to use this formation (4-4-2) more than the 2 other versions so far in the game (it might change in the future, who knows?) because this is quite a nice balanced attacking set-up for his team and he goes for the win.

 

Edited by Loversleaper

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Going into the Defensive department Simeone uses a bottom heavy formation generally:

 

Defensive 4-4-1-1 with 2 DMs: NBnnBgu.jpg

 

For sure, I have seen him use the other two formations (normal 4-4-1-1 and the 4-4-2) and still play more defensively - but this is the formation he plays away from home against really tough opposition. Depends again on what type of players you have at your disposal - I don't think it is a good idea always to change to formations that doesn't suit your players - having big squads with quality players gives you more freedom naturally.

 

Contain 4-4-1-1 with 2 DMs: rgmf2Hv.jpg

 

Contain, as mentioned elsewhere in this thread, is only a strategy I use to hold on to slim leads late on in games. Naturally, you would expect a manager like Simeone to do that basically every time he is in that situation. From personal experience, I tend to do quite well when I do change down to this strategy late on - for example, I took note and effectively 8 out of 9 attempts saw my team hold on and 1 where they luckily (in my eyes :D) claw one back in the very last second of the game. So, still fairly efficient. I am not saying it is always necessary - but if you tend to drop points late in games, you might want to explore this possibility and see if your fortunes change.

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Atacking 4-4-2: UFxnG6U.jpg

 

Now here is something I found very interesting and actually sparked me into thinking (a lot) more about tactics/roles ect... I had played against Simeone several times in other circumstances but managing Alaves away from home was the first time I saw Simeone really make huge changes (from how he normally did things) - and he destroyed my team, honestly I was lucky only to lose 3-1. As you can see in the screen shot, he played a lot more daring but he still kept some of the principals intact - using two types of Wing Backs behind two Wide Players 'cutting inside'. Up front he used two roles that have Roam from Positions and More Risky Passes instructions (AI managers tend not to do this unless they are up against really poor opposition). Using that type of Front Duo is something that, I think, can help unlock really stubborn tight/defensive opponents. But still, I recommend that you use this wisely and have the right players, just because you use those roles up front it is not going to necessarily automatically win you games. In the right match circumstances I think it can be a very good option. Opening up games at the right times can pay off and (in this match) Atl. Madrid was almost impossible to handle for that current Alaves side that I had at my disposal.

 

Overload 4-2-4: M4EZJRf.jpg

 

There comes a time where you have nothing to lose and in those circumstances you might as well go for broke and throw everything at them. Even Simeone will do that if there is no way out. Here is just a view on how I might go about doing that and fitting into the works.

 

Concluding my Simeone Strategy view

 

All in all, I hope that this gives some ideas on how to go about things when you are looking at roles and how they might work in conjunction with one and other. There are some of you that probably have more advanced ideas on how pairs and roles interact - but here is the view point that I have and I am trying to show this in an as simplistic way as I possibly can. I think that choosing the right roles and their movements and how they interact with other roles can have a significant impact on how your team plays (and do so successfully). I am kind of hoping that someone somewhere out there does have the time to go more into depth (in explaining roles and pairs) - even though it might be quite a write up. There was one done a few years ago but it might be dated that a refresh might be required although some of it is probably still quite relevant...

Edited by Loversleaper

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On to Set-Pieces:

 

As described in Simeone's page, he 'tends to rely on set-pieces'. Don't think that Set-Pieces are only about scoring directly on the situation itself - there is an "after math" aspect of set-pieces where sometimes opposition players are out of position and here you can capatilize on that as well. I read somewhere that a third of goals in some leagues are results of situations in regards to set-pieces and/or actions surrounding them. Of course the first step is to make it your main Match Preparation focus during seasons like so:

 

Match Prep: 6zBuk0p.jpg

 

I think it would be common sense that if you do concentrate on Attacking Set-Pieces you might want good routines otherwise you might risk it not having that much effect. Now, usually, Simeone likes to hit the back post area during (his team's) Attacking Corners and he positions his players so they can capitalize on it. Good Jumper/Header floating around the back post area (check the screenshot) and a Player on the Near Post - in this scenario the good header player either heads at goal or accross goal to the guy on the near post. Simple and effective in the right circumstances. I just made it slightly more advanced because I found some interesting aspects that can be slightly more efficient (maybe):

 

Attacking Corner Routine Offensive:

HgBhmo5.jpg

 

Here you have the Ball Winning Midfielder (usually on that side of central midfield in these tactics) marking the keeper and normally this (type of) player has good attributes to cover that set-piece role. You also have a striker running into the box from deep and one of the main attributes for this 'set-piece role' is finishing - so naturally a striker should be good in that area. You have the standard scenario as described above, but (in my expanded version) you add a few more elements just in case the Corner Kick is under hit or in the case that maybe when the guy at the back post does get the ball that he might have more options.

 

Attacking Corner Routine Defensive: PtZbxeL.jpg

 

This is just a visual on how I tend to make my Attacking Routine more Defensive, either for the more defensive strategies or occasionally if I just want to make a slight defensive adjustment to be more safe if need be. It depends a lot on what you prefer, but do suggest it is good to fit them into the type of strategy you are using (more attacking or more defending so you follow the mind-set of the strategy).

 

Defending Corner Routine Defensive:

yHHNOHC.jpg

 

This screen shot is how I would defend generally in more defensive corner routines - naturally this set-up might not suit your players (position-wise) because this set-up shown is more suited to the current Atl Madrid squad - so, just run through your positions quickly and see if they coincide with your squad and change where you think might beef things up that department. Always a good thing to do, I think. I am not saying that it makes a HUGE difference, but generally putting players in the right positions and playing to their strengths might reduce some of your players getting really poor match ratings and it might save you a few points here and there that could (at the end of the season) give you those few points you needed - who knows, right...?

 

Defending Corner Routine Offensive:

6i3Z1aF.jpg

 

Slightly different and you have one less player defending, but on the other hand you have a more attacking option. The real difference between the two is of course where you want to concentrate on - more defensive or do you want to try and create a Counter Attack. Keeping a player forward can create more Counter Attacks.

Edited by Loversleaper

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Attack Free Kick Routine:

p9d6t7F.jpg

 

This part of the game is the absolute most disappointing reality (for me) in the game. There is nothing really you can do about anything in this (free-kick) department. You only have 'Mixed' as an option and very few options of what you can do in regards to positioning your players. Sometimes they line up in how your Corner Routine is set-up, other than that - the players usually just stand on a line and it becomes incredibly trivial (in the long run). In the defensive Routine you might bring back a striker into a defensive position to beef up your defensive outlook. I personally always have my defensive positioned players Man Mark in the defensive routine, but generally in defensive free-kick routines it just feels like you have no control of how they position themselves regardless...

 

Attacking Throw In Routine Offensive:

9ENfnV5.jpg

 

Now, in this screenshot I set it to Quick - which I hope kind of compliments Simeone's more Counter Attacking general mindset/philosophy. To be honest, and I might be wrong here, the only difference I see going from Quick to Short is the actual position on the pitch where the set-piece started and might result in a goal. Quick usually starts further down the pitch (closer to your own goal) where as Short tends to score from throw in positions higher up the pitch (closer to the opponent's goal). Now, just thinking about that scenario - then you might want to use the Routine that fits more the Strategy you are currently using. So, in other words, you might try Quick if you expect to be pressed more down on your end of the pitch or Short if your team are going to be pressing more up the pitch. On mixed it just seems that you score slightly less than when you 'Concentrate' on a specific type of throw - but the upside is that you might have more 'diversity' in where the goals come from. Not an area where I dwell in at all and my guess of how it works might be a lot poorer than your view - but this is just how I do things and perceive them...

 

Attacking Throw In Routine Defensive: 

is87lTw.jpg

 

Here you can see how I tend to make my Routines more defensive - simple tweaks and make this, as the other routines above, part of my strategies.

 

Concluding my view on Simeone:

 

I am fully aware that in the game, the AI Simeone usually uses a 'Fluid' Team Shape and in the views I presented above, I show a 'Structured' Team Shape. That is because, in the real world, Simeone is considered to be a more 'Structured' manager according to some of the critics I have read through the years on how they perceive Simeone's managerial style - what that means in the FM 18 game is a grey area for me and not sure how big a difference it actually makes (re: going from Very Fluid to Very Structured) in terms of creating results. In these strategies where I use many 'Specialized Roles'. I think that by spreading them out more laterally might give these roles more room to move in - the lower creative freedom settings might keep your team more structurally sound as well so you rely more on the really good/creative players on your team to 'come into the light' during games... Who knows, maybe I am barking up the wrong tree - this is just a viewpoint and to try and explain the choices I made...

 

In the Match Preparation, I am not saying that Simeone will always go for the Attacking Set-Piece - I am sure he is smarter than that and will use other options that compliment the match circumstance, but I see it as a preferred option. When I did a run with these tactics, I naturally used the set-piece focus whenever I could (as much as possible in other words) and found that I did make an impact with it. Again, all these things in this department maybe won't make huge waves but you can kind of play to your strengths and/or your preferences opening up more options. Slight advantages can always make a difference in the long run.

 

When choosing Roles, watching AI managers generally and how they do it, is that spreading them out a little is a good way of making your tactic more workable. Like when Simeone really attacked my team he used a Wide Play Maker and an Advanced Play Maker but he moved them away from each other because he usually uses his Play Maker on the left side of central midfield. This attacking move he made was a real eye opener and I had to watch the game on full several times to kind of try to zoom in how Simeone's team moved around the pitch because they tore me apart. Other games he played differently and is always kind of hard to beat. But one last thing before I sign off for today: the way that the scout report said that he played compared to the actual movements was never really on target - maybe the roles were spot on, but Simeone clearly changes Strategy during games and can be incredibly tactical... Doing it this way is not necessary for all managers (good starting strategies are most efficient in my opinion) but highly efficient if you know how, when and what to change and, on top of that, you have time on your hands to go down that route...

 

NB! I almost forgot to mention a detail, one that relates to the part in the thread where I explain the simple Full Back forward run settings in regards to how your opponent (on what side) might be attacking you. Managing Barca I have Messi on the right side of my attack as an Inside Forward. Now, normally Simeone at Atl. Madrid gives his good left back (Luis) a more advanced role as a wing back - but against Messi he switched from what he normally does and (for that match) he kept the left side back (Defend Duty) but then had Juanfran take the more attack wing back role on the other side (where I have Dembele) of defense. So, in a way - Simeone did change his set-up slightly to maybe adjust to those circumstances. This is something I think managers should take into consideration when looking at your tactics, especially if you are conceding a lot of goals from wide areas. Maybe it's time to look at your set-up and see if your forward running backs are leaving too much space for the opposition team that might just have a really good/talented player on that side and are using him really effectively (like getting the ball down on that flank and causing serious damage). There is a fine balance, of course, because you do also want to attack sometimes as well and attacking full backs can be a really effective at times... So, taking a look at this aspect, give it some thought and find a way to use it to your advantage (and find a good balance of when to go forward or maybe when to stay more back) could really solve a lot of your tactical problems...

 

 

Edited by Loversleaper

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Fantastic read this and probs the nearest replication of Simeone i have used. Do you intend adding the Simeone tactics to your download section? I fully intend to implement these as i think they will work well with middle tier teams in the championship, the Defence version looks great and this is the best i have seen that on FM looks like a Simeone tactic. Keep it up LL a fantastic thread that should help a lot of new and older players in how to work out the AI.

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