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Hi Guys,

 

Haven't posted in a long time hope everyone's doing well.  

I've been playing FM since '11 or '12 and one thing I've never really been able to grasp was the way you can use team mentality to influence matches. More specifically, to use it proactively. 

 

As pointed out numerous times before, mentality is basically a measure of risk.  But, it also sets a baseline for many settings like how far the defensive line gets pushed, how fast/slow your team moves the ball around, etc.  

My mistake has always been trying to create a "style" of play that is heavily based on whichever mentality setting fit the bill.   This resulted in a lot of "grind it out" type of seasons, even with big clubs / excellent players. It would not be uncommon for me to win the Bundesliga with Dortmund, for example, while having scored maybe 50 or 55 goals.  And it's not a surprise considering that most of my tactics are created around the "counter" mentality, or sometimes defensive.  

 

I recently started a new save as a long term project with Wolves.  And for whatever reason I just stopped trying to be a slave to the name of the chosen mentality.  I'm now using mentality like a throttle. Increasing it when we need to take more risk and dominate, and decreasing it when we need to cool things down.   And you know what?  It's working brilliantly.   I just wish I had done this sooner, but I am incredibly stubborn. 

Do you guys play this way too? Or do you mostly just set a mentality and stick with it?  

Just curious!     

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Can't say I do, because I'm not good enough at recognising the signs to flick those switches with confidence.

My main concern is that I know that dropping the mentality (among other things) shortens the passing, and moves the ball around more carefully, as well as dropping the defensive line. To me, that seems counter-intuitive. Feels like it will result in me trying to pass the ball around in my own half against a team that's pressing with a lot of players in attacking positions. Great for protecting a lead against a team that is reluctant to push on, of course.

I prefer to look to get my players in behind if I know a team is pushing for an equaliser. I'll tend to drop some duties (only 1-2), might switch to Structured and ensure I have two players up the field with attack duties, and maybe throw 'Pass Into Space' into play.

Interesting topic though.

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5 minutes ago, ajsr1982 said:

Can't say I do, because I'm not good enough at recognising the signs to flick those switches with confidence.

My main concern is that I know that dropping the mentality (among other things) shortens the passing, and moves the ball around more carefully, as well as dropping the defensive line. To me, that seems counter-intuitive. Feels like it will result in me trying to pass the ball around in my own half against a team that's pressing with a lot of players in attacking positions. Great for protecting a lead against a team that is reluctant to push on, of course.

I prefer to look to get my players in behind if I know a team is pushing for an equaliser. I'll tend to drop some duties (only 1-2), might switch to Structured and ensure I have two players up the field with attack duties, and maybe throw 'Pass Into Space' into play.

Interesting topic though.

Here's how I would approach that situation, FWIW 

1.  Dropping the mentality drops risk. You don't want to take a lot of risk when you're out-matched because you will likely get destroyed. You may get lucky, but why depend on luck? 

2. Indeed a lower mentality does = careful passing and retaining the ball being prioritized heavily. Much more so than direct, penetrative play.  

3. However, if a team is attack the hell out of you the last thing you want to do IMO is give them an easy way out by just hoofing it long to one of your attackers.  That can be easily defended.  I can't count how many times I've banged my  head against the desk because my central defender freaks out and punts it long to a striker who is marked by an incredibly high defensive line from a better team.   Instead, what you wanna do IMO is find a way to give more support to whoever is starting the transition.  That way you can keep hold of the damn ball long enough so that you can create an actual chance / exploit space more effectively. 

There's nothing wrong with playing long balls, or "direct" football, but I think asking the team to try more risky passes (like through balls) while under heavy pressure could be a mistake.  UNLESS, unless you are evenly matched with your opponent.  Then all bets are off.  But if you're the weaker team I think you need to first mitigate risk and find a way to gain some sort of a foothold in the match.  

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Hmm, you see the 'conventional wisdom' I've picked up is that if your players' composure, first touch, passing, decisions, etc. aren't up to scratch, you risk giving the ball away in a silly area, which makes you easier to score against - see Watford trying to pass the ball out against Liverpool last season for a prime example of this (think it finished 6-0). I feel like I'd be more likely to take your approach if I was the stronger team because I know I can pass the ball out around inferior players, but it's not something I've tried through changing mentality because I'm not confident with it.

You're right though in that giving the ball back to the opposition too easily might not be the best idea either! Sometimes there's no easy answer, I guess.

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The thing is though, selecting a counter mentality doesn't suddenly mean your defenders will try and play it out from the back, just that they are more cautious with their overall play. If they are getting pressed, the less risky decision might end up being a direct ball.

As for hoofing it long, in depends where the space is. Obviously if they're playing 3 CD's and you're only playing a lone striker, having him as your out-ball might be problematic.

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Doesn't lower mentalities like counter and defend set defenders passing to more direct anyway, and forwards to shorter passing. I'd say that if you wanted to use mentality as a throttle you'd have to have more settings applied than just adjusting the mentality.

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1 hour ago, johnnyyakuza78 said:

Doesn't lower mentalities like counter and defend set defenders passing to more direct anyway, and forwards to shorter passing. I'd say that if you wanted to use mentality as a throttle you'd have to have more settings applied than just adjusting the mentality.

I think it's more a general point that bababooey is making about using mentality as the key modifier in your play. I mean, I'm pretty sure that's one of the main ways in which SI intended it to be used anyway - as a sort of shortcut to playing a certain way with a certain level of risk.

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7 minutes ago, felley said:

I think it's more a general point that bababooey is making about using mentality as the key modifier in your play. I mean, I'm pretty sure that's one of the main ways in which SI intended it to be used anyway - as a sort of shortcut to playing a certain way with a certain level of risk.

Yeah I tend to agree. Mentality is really just a collection of settings, and PIs and TIs are tweaks to those settings. Thats how I think about it. I'm sure SI wanted casual players to just select a formation and then change mentality for different occasions. Of course you can play like that, but the problem is that the game is so complex that its far from optimal, and there are plenty of other interactions happening that mess up how you'd like to play. 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, johnnyyakuza78 said:

Yeah I tend to agree. Mentality is really just a collection of settings, and PIs and TIs are tweaks to those settings. Thats how I think about it. I'm sure SI wanted casual players to just select a formation and then change mentality for different occasions. Of course you can play like that, but the problem is that the game is so complex that its far from optimal, and there are plenty of other interactions happening that mess up how you'd like to play.

 

I am genuinely of the opinion that the game is only as complex as you make it. I have friends who play much more casually, never read forums etc. and they happily just stick with Standard/Control forever - switching maybe to Counter/Defensive if they're scared of the opposition or Attacking/Overload if they're desperate for a goal.

 

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44 minutes ago, felley said:

I am genuinely of the opinion that the game is only as complex as you make it. I have friends who play much more casually, never read forums etc. and they happily just stick with Standard/Control forever - switching maybe to Counter/Defensive if they're scared of the opposition or Attacking/Overload if they're desperate for a goal.

 

I would LOVE to be able to go back to that mode of thinking. I feel like I constantly over complicate the game, especially when things are going wrong. However there are some concepts which go against the grain of thinking there. Often going defensive leads to conceding too much space, going attacking leaves you hugely vunerable at the back against defensive sides. Some people suggest doing the exact opposite of conventional thinking to get results. That messes with your head.

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57 minutes ago, felley said:

I am genuinely of the opinion that the game is only as complex as you make it. I have friends who play much more casually, never read forums etc. and they happily just stick with Standard/Control forever - switching maybe to Counter/Defensive if they're scared of the opposition or Attacking/Overload if they're desperate for a goal.

 

Indeed - the 'cookie cutter' systems we have as default, with their automatic duties, are built for exactly this.

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1 hour ago, johnnyyakuza78 said:

I would LOVE to be able to go back to that mode of thinking. I feel like I constantly over complicate the game, especially when things are going wrong. However there are some concepts which go against the grain of thinking there. Often going defensive leads to conceding too much space, going attacking leaves you hugely vunerable at the back against defensive sides. Some people suggest doing the exact opposite of conventional thinking to get results. That messes with your head.

I get you. I do exactly the same sometimes!

It's more that you can incrementally improve results by knowing exactly what each setting does and how it alters the football on the pitch, rather than going with/against conventional wisdom. I know you're referring to the idea of attempting to draw out an opposition that is camping in their area by reducing your own mentality, but there are many other ways you can do this with the other settings in the TC.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I have found it useful personally to see things in broader strokes and the TC as something that gives me a bunch of options. Pretty sure the most stable tactics I've made have been on Standard mentality and with a Strucutred/Flexible shape :lol:

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36 minutes ago, felley said:

I get you. I do exactly the same sometimes!

It's more that you can incrementally improve results by knowing exactly what each setting does and how it alters the football on the pitch, rather than going with/against conventional wisdom. I know you're referring to the idea of attempting to draw out an opposition that is camping in their area by reducing your own mentality, but there are many other ways you can do this with the other settings in the TC.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I have found it useful personally to see things in broader strokes and the TC as something that gives me a bunch of options. Pretty sure the most stable tactics I've made have been on Standard mentality and with a Strucutred/Flexible shape :lol:

Yep, totally agree. I've had some of my best turns of fortune when going back to basics. Setting up a simple tactic, watching it, seeing its flaws and tweaking it slightly. Not getting too caught up in concepts or things I've read on here, but using common sense, can often be the best option.

And actually the game is far more enjoyable when you can just make large scale macro decisions without having to stress out over the details. I'd rather be a Redknapp than a Benitez micromanager. 

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This has kicked the hornets nest in my mind!

In the real world, when we look at football, we tend to see fewer 'specialised' players. By that, I mean if I look at a League Two team, I'm unlikely to see a player described as an Advanced Playmaker or a Raumdeuter. Players are generally referred to as 'central midfielders' or 'strikers' - more generic terms, and it's probably fair to say players are expected to do 'a bit of everything', rather than having the freedom to perform a specialised role.

Now, lots of lazy generalisations in there, but I wonder how much success at lower league level can come from simply picking a cookie cutter formation and adjusting the mentality level as the OP suggests. As you moved higher through the leagues I'd expect to see more sophisticated tactics with more specialised roles, with much more tweaking and rotation needed depending on the opposition.

A simplistic view for sure. I feel like testing this now!

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I dunno. It's a valid point you make but I don't think FM really works like that. In general, you can play as simplistic as you want or as complex as you want at any level. It's more that at the higher levels of the game things are analysed in much greater detail by not only the clubs, but journalists and enthusiasts as well (such as ourselves).

6 hours ago, ajsr1982 said:

Now, lots of lazy generalisations in there, but I wonder how much success at lower league level can come from simply picking a cookie cutter formation and adjusting the mentality level as the OP suggests. As you moved higher through the leagues I'd expect to see more sophisticated tactics with more specialised roles, with much more tweaking and rotation needed depending on the opposition.

@RTHerringbone did this either in a thread or on his blog (which no longer exists...) and I'm pretty sure he had to alter some of the roles pretty quickly because, as systems, they tend to be pretty safe and bland. 
 

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Yeah I've actually started doing this. In literally every other FM I'd stick with my control tactic and get whooped away to the big teams. For the first time I decided I'd just drop mentality to standard for the big away games and the results were far more impressive:

3-2 W away to Roma, 1-1 with Napoli, 2-1 L to Juve (they scored with the last kick of the game about a minute after minimum time, cheers ref!), 2-1 defeat to MIlan with another late goal, and a 5-1 win away to Lazio (they were 3rd at the time.) We also beat Juve 3-1 away in the cup, and drew 0-0 away to Napoli in the semi final

I stayed with my 4-2-3-1, I kept 'push slightly higher up', my LB stayed attacking for most of the games. The only thing that I dropped was 'use tighter marking' in the games where I felt the defence wouldn't cope, Juve in particular had some very quick wingers with good first touch. The club had finished 5th in the previous 2 seasons and had failed FFP. My first season in 2021/22 and we managed to win the league. I'm really interested in seeing how we do in those away games once I have a few more of my own players.

I definitely look at it more of a risk setting now. Before I'd have never changed to standard just from the thought process of 'standard sounds boring and like a default setting that won't work well.' 

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