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Advice on how to break down packed defences - Bayern Munich

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Hi, I'm new to FM and so I've started a game with Bayern Munich to get to grips with it.

I am currently finding that with my current formation & player roles that I'm not creating as many chances as I would like, and I'm struggling to break down defences which have a lot of men behind the ball resulting in a lot of long shots.  Can anyone give me some advice or things to look for to help with this?

My current formation is 4-3-3, I am fairly happy with the defence and midfield setup but I think the issue lies with the front 3 and making sure they get enough support. Lewandowski is currently injured so Muller is playing as the DLF(A).

When Robben comes on the AMR role changes to IF(A) and if Muller were to be playing there the role would change to Raumdeuter. The AML position stays as AP(A) whether it is Rodriguez or Ribery playing there, I think both their attributes suit the role.  

I have considered playing 4-2-3-1 but I would really like to get Thiago, Goretzka and one of Tolisso or Sanches on the pitch.

Thanks in advance for any help

Screenshot 2018-12-06 at 14.45.26.png

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If your looking to break down defensive teams with a possession style, why do you have a MEZ-A?  How does having 3 attack duties on the same flank when you change to IF-A / RMD-A help?

Why have all those attack duties focusing on running in behind opponents if your letting them drop deep or cross lots unless that's a strength?

AP-A isn't like other attack duties as he doesn't get forward often but he will be less patient. With so many players focused on forward runs and through balls how does your defensive plan fit with that? 

Have a look at the player movement and how there focus fits (or doesn't) with how you want to create chances.

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My two cents for battling smaller teams, but as ever so often: it depends. 

  • Have your fullbacks bomb the flanks, make them Complete Fullbacks, and have them overlap on at least one of both sides.
  • This will bring the option of more crosses to your strikers or whoever is in the box. Look at your striker's heading capabilities and those of the defenders. Decide on crossing low or giving your fullbacks the instruction to cross less if the numerical odds are against you. In any case, these roles will give you one or two extra players high up the pitch and will put the defense in a coverage dilemma. 
  • Your mentality should be 'Positive', at least until you're 2-0 up when playing a big team like Bayern against the lesser gods. 
  • Tempo should be a little higher. 
  • Give your best ball playing players (I'm assuming Goretzka, Thiago and Rodriguez in this case - passing, vision and technique should be around 15 or higher) the individual instruction to pass more direct and take more risks. 
  • Look at the scouting and team reports of your opponents. Look where the assists of the goals they concede come from. Usually there is one flank from where the number is far greater. This also works in the opposite direction; if their assists from the goals they score nearly all come from the right, shut down that flank with man marking or individual instructions and your time on the ball will increase, giving you more chances of eventually scoring a goal.
  • Consider changing the formation. If you're playing with a big team, smaller opponents usually go out of their way to adapt to you. Catch them off guard by using a different approach. Switch to a 4-2-4, for example, or a 3-4-3 in this case. Make your own judgement in where your teams strength lies and adjust your new tactic accordingly. I.e.: don't go playing 3-4-3 when your fullbacks are too defensive or lack mobility (which shouldn't be the case in Bayern). 

There are about twice as much tips to be given here, but this should get you started. 

Edited by TOMetz

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From where I'm sitting, it looks like you've got plenty of support for your forward line.  I don't think the problem lies with the amount of support, but with the type of support.  I find that against a parked bus, you have to introduce unpredictability into your attack.  If you have your front 3 all roaming from position, and with roles that encourage them to go into different areas than their starting positions as well, that helps.  For example, having wide men operating as IFs, on the opposite flank to their best foot, and instructed to roam, and your striker in one of the roles that goes deep, also instructed to roam.  Also, use a lot of support duties.  Another good ploy is to try to create and exploit space.  If you drag opposition players around, pulling them central, then have your midfield spray passes wide to fullbacks that are rushing into the spaces created, you'll get around the back of that packed defence regularly. 

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Thanks for the responses and advice

It looks like I need to have a think about whether I want so many roles that focus running behind opponents, I'm thinking that it probably isn't what i am looking for. I want a bit of pace and penetration but not everyone running forward madly so more roles in support may be better. 

Why would you not have a Mez(A) in a possession style formation? Would switching to Mez(S) help or is maybe moving to a different role entirely such as CM(S) a better fit? The reson for choosing it was to get one of the midfield 3 moving forwards and getting into the box. 

I hadn't thought about the implications of what happens when I change the AMR role to IF(A) or RMD, I will have a look at that. I assume at the bare minimum I need to change the FB(A) to a support role when that happens. Also I was playing with the idea of a Trequarista for the AML role, but I am not sure it fits in with the rest of the approach either. 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, paulnaylorux@gmail.com said:

Why would you not have a Mez(A) in a possession style formation? Would switching to Mez(S) help or is maybe moving to a different role entirely such as CM(S) a better fit? The reson for choosing it was to get one of the midfield 3 moving forwards and getting into the box. 

You have a front 3, with the forward focusing on runs in behind and the AMR might do as well depending on who's playing and the role you switch him to.  Why have another player trying to make runs in the same area?

The real question is when do you want them getting forward and into the box?  A BBM gets into the box, but typically he's deeper than the forwards so more for crosses / pullbacks, but could still make runs past the forwards in the final third, but this depends on what the forwards are doing and not just his role.  Most support roles in CM will get in the box but won't try to run past the forwards as early as attack duties unless its a counter attack in which case it doesn't matter on there role and duty.  Playmakers will always tend to be deeper than other roles in the same position.

8 minutes ago, paulnaylorux@gmail.com said:

 I hadn't thought about the implications of what happens when I change the AMR role to IF(A) or RMD, I will have a look at that. I assume at the bare minimum I need to change the FB(A) to a support role when that happens.

There's no right answer to that, I have some systems where I have IF-A and WB-A on the same flank because it fits the system.  There's nothing saying you can't have two support or attack duties, its what and when they do things and how it fits the tactic as a whole.  Think about ball movement and player movement, the slower or more possession the style the more I question attack duties, especially high up the field.  A deep player on attack duty can be good to get him forward to help earlier in moves and create overloads if that is wanted rather than him just providing a simple possession option and cover.

8 minutes ago, paulnaylorux@gmail.com said:

Also I was playing with the idea of a Trequarista for the AML role, but I am not sure it fits in with the rest of the approach either. 

Why were you thinking of using that role?  You seem to be looking at roles in isolation or only in combination with 1 other player, look at the big picture.  A TREQ has no patience, he wants to create something now either by trying a through ball or running with it himself, how does that fit in with your system?  Are you going to give him early options to support his urgency?

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Thanks, I now see the reasoning for changing the role to a support role. It makes sense not to have 2-3 players in the same space getting in each others way,

In a way I think I am trying to shoehorn James Rodriguez into my team and struggling to see which position works best for him. Also I do like the idea of a playmaker in the final third trying through balls and having the licence to do something creative which was my thinking around the Treq., possibly AP(S) would be a better fit though if it doesn't have such an attacking mentality and allows more time for other players to get forward. 

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Always worthwhile remembering that everything in tactics is interlinked.  If you're having to shoehorn a player into a system, depending on what you mean, it could point to the overall system not consisting of effectively integrated elements. 

There's a balancing act between fitting players into a tactic, and building a tactic around your players.  In most successful case, it's a blend of the two, although many many people (like me) fit their players into a plan.  

Looking at your screenshot, I see you've got a DLP and a AP.  I know some people like to deploy more than one playmaker, but is it the most efficient deployment of those players? Also a Mez with wide forwards, and expecting the fullbacks to get forward?  

Due to the difficulties you're having, I would seriously recommend working out a tactic you'd like to play giving no thought to the players you've actually got.  Then put the players into the positions, and see what sticks out as not right.  You might find you only need to do minor tweaking to fit the tactic around the players. 

Good luck. 

https://www.nowwelive.com/football-manager-ambition/playing-the-role   

 

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I felt the same with James, I had him for that one season loan & barely used him & when I did use him it was in the CM slot as an AP(S) as I went with the same formation you have

I can barely get anything out of Muller, I'm halfway through my third season & he's been awful, the first 2 seasons he was alright but he brought me a lot of frustration, I must've used him in half a dozen roles & the best run I got out of him was 5 goals in 3 games as a wide right Trequartista 

I had Martinez in the DM slot as an anchor man, with that solid base you can then be a bit more adventurous with your 2 MC's. 

Thiago's great in that slot as a DLP(S) or AP(S) then Tolisso or Goretzka as the BTM. I used them as a CM(A)'s though, I never feel the need to use a BTB when I have a DM or an AM, but that's just me. You're spoilt for choice there at Bayern really   

I found that pressing high up the pitch against all the defensive teams you face just strangles play but with Thiago as DLP you have someone at least that your team will look to play backwards to to try & open things up 

Maybe consider pulling back your high LOE to give your opposition the chance to play out & give you some space to attack & maybe up the Tempo a little so you'll move the ball forward quicker before they get back behind the ball. Going with that approach I'd remove the Work the Ball into the Box as that'll cut down crosses into the box when you do get to attack some space. Lewsandowski has been awesome for me using that sort of tactic 

If you want to go the high LOE route you might want to lower the Tempo to ask the team to patiently pick out their passes to slowly break down the opposition

  

 

Edited by Johnny Ace

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2 hours ago, paulnaylorux@gmail.com said:

Thanks, I now see the reasoning for changing the role to a support role. It makes sense not to have 2-3 players in the same space getting in each others way,

Bare in mind MEZ-S still has Get Forward, Move Into Channels and Roam From Position so can still end up quite advanced and/or wide.  How does this movement combine with the AMR and DR?

I'm not saying to avoid that role, I just think its a bit misunderstood. Plus with so many players having it as there best role is used more often than is should be compared to other roles on support or CM-A, especially as you can add PIs to them.

2 hours ago, paulnaylorux@gmail.com said:

In a way I think I am trying to shoehorn James Rodriguez into my team and struggling to see which position works best for him. Also I do like the idea of a playmaker in the final third trying through balls and having the licence to do something creative which was my thinking around the Treq., possibly AP(S) would be a better fit though if it doesn't have such an attacking mentality and allows more time for other players to get forward. 

Maybe try and build around him as your attacking focal point rather than thinking your shoehorning him in.  With his physicals I don't think he should really be running with the ball, he's more a static hook so AP-S should fit him.  Though having him on the left as a left footer might hinder him, but his technique could help minimize that (not sure how good his right foot is).

Then its a question of what options do you want to give him and when.  Do you want the LB bombing forward early and often, whilst width is helpful it needs an end product, how good are your forwards at getting onto crosses?  Would a more patient supportive LB fit the style more?  FB, WB or CWB I think are all viable options depending what your overall plan is, even IWB could work but i'd keep it simple since two wide players coming inside can be awkward to analyse.  What are the forwards doing?  Are both going to drop and help link and mix things up in a more patient style?  Are one or both going to try running in behind more often, if so how are you going to move the ball and create early space for the runs?  Lots of options in midfield, as with the other areas they need to fit the overall plan but give different options.

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If I were to use a mezzala and winger in the right attacking half of your 433 system, then I'd swap their duties around, so that the MEZ (MCR) would be on support and the winger (AMR) on attack. But that would also require some other adjustments to make the system more balanced. Personally, I would have the right back as an IWB on defend to cover (defensively) for the MEZ but also to provide an additional passing option in the midfield during build-ups. The APM on the left (AML) would now get the support duty, whereas the left back would be changed to a fullback on attack. That way the APM would have a nice wide passing option in the final third, plus once the attacking LFB arrives from deep, he will have a good number of teammates in the opposition penalty area to launch a cross for. 

And this was only about roles and duties. As for team instructions, I'd like to ask you why do you opt not to use the counter-attack in transition? It can serve as a nice additional tool to try and break down the "stubbornly" packed opposition defences because it would increase your chances of hitting them on the break (if not possible otherwise). However, this would likely require a bit less aggressive defending, so I'd recommend lowering the LOE to standard to begin with (and you may even consider removing the "Prevent short GKD" instruction as well).

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8 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

If I were to use a mezzala and winger in the right attacking half of your 433 system, then I'd swap their duties around, so that the MEZ (MCR) would be on support and the winger (AMR) on attack. But that would also require some other adjustments to make the system more balanced. Personally, I would have the right back as an IWB on defend to cover (defensively) for the MEZ but also to provide an additional passing option in the midfield during build-ups. The APM on the left (AML) would now get the support duty, whereas the left back would be changed to a fullback on attack. That way the APM would have a nice wide passing option in the final third, plus once the attacking LFB arrives from deep, he will have a good number of teammates in the opposition penalty area to launch a cross for. 

And this was only about roles and duties. As for team instructions, I'd like to ask you why do you opt not to use the counter-attack in transition? It can serve as a nice additional tool to try and break down the "stubbornly" packed opposition defences because it would increase your chances of hitting them on the break (if not possible otherwise). However, this would likely require a bit less aggressive defending, so I'd recommend lowering the LOE to standard to begin with (and you may even consider removing the "Prevent short GKD" instruction as well).

The "counter attack" option is still a strange one for me. I would assume ticking the option means they always look for a counter attack, and not just when it's on. You will still counter attack with it off, just the option forces it when it isn't always on. At least that's my general understanding of it?

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3 hours ago, craiigman said:

The "counter attack" option is still a strange one for me. I would assume ticking the option means they always look for a counter attack, and not just when it's on. You will still counter attack with it off, just the option forces it when it isn't always on. At least that's my general understanding of it?

It lowers the requirements needed to trigger a counter attack.  Basically how out of position the opposition is compared to your players.

Edited by summatsupeer

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One way that I started to have success with breaking down stubborn defences especially when playing as the top team in the league is through tactical use of overloads. By overloading one side of the pitch by drawing more opponents to it and leaving the other side less defended so one or two players there can exploit the gaps. For this you don't need to use asymmetry, just smart use of roles. For example putting advanced playmaker (on wing) and mezzala and inverted wingback on one side with striker above them, will unlock the other side where you have attacking wingback and your more aggressive striker waiting to drive into the opponent’s defence like hot knife into butter. Try it :)

Edited by crusadertsar

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Thanks for the feedback and advice. I think it is helping and hopefully I am now seeing how things link together.

I have decided that i would like to build around Rodriguez, he is one of my favourite players. So this is the setup which i will try out for a little bit. 

I have moved AP(S) to the right wing so it should be better for Rodriguez, he is left footed and his right foot is just reasonable. AML is an IF(S), this will mainly be Coman and Ribery playing here, both right footers providing passing options when they cut in and support the DLF. 

The midfield is slightly different as I have changed the Mez(S) to a CM(A). I have him on the side of the AP(S) so hopefully they wont get in each others way and will provide a passing option. I imagine as I have a DLF(A) upfront that maybe he wont be running past the opposition defence, instead providing a late runner into the box, maybe? 

The DR is a FB(A) to provide a wide passing option for the AP, the DL is a WB(S) to provide some width there when the IF cuts in.

I have selected Counter Attack, dropped the LOE and upped the tempo. 

Have I done anything stupid?

Screenshot 2018-12-07 at 19.11.02.png

Edited by Vega09

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Hi.  I hate to tell you this, but you're going to get hammered on counter attacks. Here's why: 

1.  You've got an attacking fullback on one side, and a wingback on the other; both of them will leave space behind.

2. Your DM is on support, meaning he will move forward from that position, leaving space behind. 

3. In central midfield, you've got a box to box midfielder, who by definition will leave space.  And you've got a central midfielder on attack, so guess what he'll leave behind?

Even amazing teams with amazing players need a structured defensive spine. 

How would I change it?

1. I don't get wingbacks at the best of times.  Fullbacks are perfectly capable of getting forward, and crossing from the byline.  If you switch both to fullbacks on support, that's a problem solved. 

2. DMs also have to be handled with care.  If you put him on defend duty, you replace one problem with another unless you totally go back to the drawing board, so I'd move that position into proper midfield.  I'd consider changing him to a BWM, too, on defend duty. 

3. Considering you've got three forwards, and you want your fullbacks to get forward, and you've got a box to box midfielder (keep the B2B; always a good idea) you can't just abdicate midfield. I'd switch the CM to a DLP on support.  ( i know I've now said drop one DLP role, and then add one back in, but the point is, the central midfield balance changes to one BWM, one DLP and one B2B.) 

The above changes mean you keep a structured defensive triangle with your central defenders and the BWM.  The fullbacks still get forward, but with consideration - this would actually make them more, not less, effective, as they would wait for space to exploit.  This is a devastating attacking ploy. It also means that with both a BWM and a DLP holding central midfield, you're dramatically reducing counter-proneness, while still having enough players to attack in numbers and in a framework that adds guile.  Also, it happens to be pretty much the tactic I always use... 

         

tactic.png

Edited by The Dude
typo

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@The Dude

I'm confused as to which problem moving the DM to CM solves? If anything your defend duty midfielder is now higher up the pitch and there's no one screening the back four, systems without a DM in my experience are the ones most vulnerable to the ball over the top, so I'm not sure how moving him to CM solves that issue.

I'm actually pretty sure that a DLP-S in the DM strata has a hardcoded 'Hold Position' PI, so he will not venture too far forward, it's not as simple as support duty = leaves space behind. He might get drawn to the ball as a playmaker but that's a different issue.

Wing-backs have a higher starting position, this makes them good when you want a somewhat more advanced wide passing option, they can provide width when you have roles like AP that might tuck in and play very centrally. A FB-A in my experience won't do this, he'll bomb forward but will make his runs later and mostly on the overlap. If anything I would give his RB some sort of wingback role.

Your system to me feels overly conservative, maybe very suitable for a heavy possession style but is that what OP wants? I feel like if you have two of the three midfielders holding position then you might as well throw the BBM into AMC and do a 4-2-3-1. The strength of this formation IMO is the numbers in midfield giving you more freedom with roles + duties than something like a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2. 

Edited by bar333

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1 minute ago, bar333 said:

I'm confused as to which problem moving the DM to CM solves? If anything your defend duty midfielder is now higher up the pitch and there's no one screening the back four, systems without a DM in my experience are the ones most vulnerable to the ball over the top, so I'm not sure how moving him to CM solves that issue.

 

It's not only about the starting position of the player, but where they move to from that starting position.  It is this that oppo teams look to exploit on the counter.  Leaving a DM in position when the rest of the midfield is bombing forward invites pressure. Moving this player into central midfield with a defend duty enables the team to defend higher up the pitch, but maintains shape better.  Bear in mind this method is linked to having two fullbacks restricted to support duty, which mitigates the threat of balls over the top.  

 

7 minutes ago, bar333 said:

 so he will not venture too far forward, it's not as simple as support duty = leaves space behind. 

 

It's a matter of opinion how far is too far, I guess. In a system with so much other forward movement on the pitch, my assertion is it would be too far. 

 

11 minutes ago, bar333 said:

A FB-A in my experience won't do this, he'll bomb forward but will make his runs later and mostly on the overlap

Yep, that's how it's supposed to work, and is, as I said, devastating, as the runs are made into space already vacated by opposition.

 

12 minutes ago, bar333 said:

Your system to me feels overly conservative,

It's been used by me consistently to take a second tier team (SWFC) to multiple Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League triumphs.  In my current save, I'm managing Villa, who were relegation candidates, but at the time of writing are 3rd in the EPL, unbeaten. 

https://www.nowwelive.com/football-manager-ambition/ambition-achieved

17 minutes ago, bar333 said:

maybe very suitable for a heavy possession style but is that what OP wants?

Yeah, it is possession-heavy. IDK if he wants that, TBF. 

 

18 minutes ago, bar333 said:

you might as well throw the BBM into AMC

But then you lose the guile and unpredictability of runs from v. deep, and the defensive tracking back of a B2B. 

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Sorry I haven't replied sooner

Thanks again for the feedback, I do want a team that is possession focused but not possession for the sake of possession. There needs to be an end result. 

I haven't had much opportunity in the last day or so to play the game so I need to give it a go and see what happens and if the space behind the midfield is getting exploited I will make some tweaks. 

Screenshot 2018-12-08 at 13.01.54.png

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Of course, everyone has different opinions, and different styles.  You have to go with what you believe in and what you're comfortable with. 

My possession-based system is far from possession for possession's sake though.  It sometimes takes a while for the players to bed it in, but when it clicks, you get this, picking up points against teams who, on paper, are vastly superior:

 

Table.png

A.png

B.png

Edited by The Dude

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20 hours ago, The Dude said:

Even amazing teams with amazing players need a structured defensive spine.

I cannot emphasize enough how much I agree with you on this :thup:

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21 hours ago, Vega09 said:

Have I done anything stupid?

What you've selected matches what you said you want.

I wouldn't say you've done anything stupid or misunderstood an option. There is two things I'd watch, one defensive and one attacking.

Firstly your CBs.  How well do they defend in space? Your on positive + higher line with two WB-S and DLP-S so leaving a lot of pitch open. 

Secondly, your attack on positive + higher tempo will not be very patient and not really possession style even with short passing, work ball into box and play out of defence. The team wants to get the ball forward and has to make quick decisions.  Your back 5 looks possession setup but your front 5 and team instructions look more vertical quick attacking style, especially a lone forward playing on the shoulder.

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It's the midfield three I'm concerned with, there's no sitter, Thiago to DLP(D) & it looks good 

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Thank you, again! I have tried to take your comments on board. To try and minimise the open space I have moved my DR to a FB(S) and now I have a DLP(D). I have also changed the DLF so he has a support role as I want him more involved in the build up play and providing a passing option, rather than sitting on the defender's shoulder.

Additionally i have tweaked the team instructions so that they are more fitting with a possession based game, so lower tempo and I have moved the attacking width back to Fairly Wide. I had changed that without realising. I will try playing around with the mentality to see whether Positive is too much or if Balanced is better, 

 

 

 

Screenshot 2018-12-08 at 17.48.53.png

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1 hour ago, Vega09 said:

Thank you, again! I have tried to take your comments on board. To try and minimise the open space I have moved my DR to a FB(S) and now I have a DLP(D). I have also changed the DLF so he has a support role as I want him more involved in the build up play and providing a passing option, rather than sitting on the defender's shoulder.

Additionally i have tweaked the team instructions so that they are more fitting with a possession based game, so lower tempo and I have moved the attacking width back to Fairly Wide. I had changed that without realising. I will try playing around with the mentality to see whether Positive is too much or if Balanced is better, 

 

 

 

Screenshot 2018-12-08 at 17.48.53.png

Your distribution of roles and duties now looks a lot better / more balanced (from my point of view) :thup:

And the rest of team instructions is also quite satisfying. Maybe tempo could be normal instead of lower in order to make your attacks a bit more penetrating (especially as Bayern have very capable players), but you can try with your current setup anyway and then see if some tweak(s) should be made in the process.

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@The Dude   Some very good comments that have given me pause for thought. I’m interested in your use of a BWM. I never seem to have much success with that role in that it seems to be a yellow card magnet. I tend to use a CM defend with PI of ‘close down more’ instead of a BWM. I’d be interested in hearing your experience in this respect

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12 hours ago, Hovis Dexter said:

@The Dude   Some very good comments that have given me pause for thought. I’m interested in your use of a BWM. I never seem to have much success with that role in that it seems to be a yellow card magnet. I tend to use a CM defend with PI of ‘close down more’ instead of a BWM. I’d be interested in hearing your experience in this respect

Hi.  

I always use a BWM, but my choice of player varies depending on which league I'm in, and I do have to take steps to mitigate the yellow cards.  

In lower leagues, where it's more difficult to get top quality players, my BWM will usually be the typical aggressive tough-tackler.  For example, in recent years in lower leagues, I'd pick someone like Ryan Tunnicliffe. In this situation, I always (where possible) have another BWM on the bench, and end up subbing as soon as a yellow card has been accumulated. 

When I get into the upper leagues, I try, budget allowing, to get a different type of player for the BWM role.  People who know how the game works "under the hood" will probably laugh, and tell me this isn't how the game works, but I'll try to pick a player with more moderate aggression, and I'm not really interested in a high tackling attribute, either.  Instead, I'll use a player with great positioning, anticipation and decisions, along with a good passing attribute.  Great vision is nice to have in the role, but not essential, as the BWM really just needs to get the ball to the DLP. 

What this means is I'm often using a player in the BWM role with very different attributes to the expected.  It shouldn't work, but it does for me.  It fits in with an overall plan that helps me achieve the success I invariably get on the game.  Nt bragging - it just is what it is.  

Having said all that, in my current save, my two BWM are the more traditional types, as I haven't been able to bring in the types of player I aspire to yet.  But I'll keep looking.  

Anyway, the point is, by having a BWM in central rather than deep midfield, you're less likely to invite pressure by having a an opposing AMC or DLF / F9 push right up on him.  As I use fullbacks as my main source of crosses, they have to get forward.  It might seem a bit risky on the face if it leaving two defenders back with no one in the DM hole, but you have to see the hole picture: As the fullbacks are on support, they don't often both go forward at the same time.  and as I keep so much possession in the middle of the park, opposition team have no option but to chase the ball around.  Now, I have three men in central midfield, plus my wide men cut in and are on support, plus my striker is on support, and the fullbacks push to support midfield a bit even if they're not bombing forward.  All this takes place with short passing.  The nest result is I sometimes have eight players knocking triangles around in midfield, gradually pushing up.  I pull the opposition all over the place, and then ping the ball out to a fullback in acres of space; they cross, we score.  The only players who don't move around too much are the central defenders and the BWM, and that's why the BWM is so important - if a moves does break down, he's maintaining the spine.  Teams  sometimes find it difficult to counter attack me because they've had to pull everyone deep and narrow to try to get the ball back, so they often don't have an out-ball.  My BWM usually wins the ball back again. 

My system does occasionally fall down against teams full of world-class players who risk leaving wingers high and wide, but you can't win em all.  That's why my Villa team lost to Barcelona in the Euro final. (Although I did beat Bayern in the semis.)   But in my FM18 save, my SWFC team eventually became, by far, the best team in Europe, winning everything going, playing this system. 

Incidentally, when FM19 first came out, I tried doing something different, and played some matches with a DM, to see what would happen.  I got beat again, and again and again.  It's not that there's anything intrinsically wrong with the DM position; it just has to be correctly balanced within the big picture.      

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Let's talk about that midfield three. It's interesting, because I actually play with something remarkably similar. I use a DLP-S behind a MEZ-S and a BBM-S.

I started out with a DLP-D but moved him further up the pitch. This is something I wouldn't usually do, so why did I make that change?

Well some of it is because I don't have (and can't find) a decent 'destructive' midfielder, so my hand is kind of forced. But I was also observing the DLP-D just not getting involved in games enough. He's my main creative outlet and he was too far away from the attack to influence events. So the question becomes about what you want from a playmaker in that position. Do you want someone who takes the ball off the defence and shuttles it around? Or do you want someone to recycle possession higher up the pitch?

To answer that, we need to look how you're attacking. You have 'Work Ball Into Box' ticked. What does this mean? Well it means the ball will spend a lot of time at the sides of and in front of the opposition box. It means your full backs and wide players will look for a pass inside before they cross the ball. With a CM-A and a BBM, you have two players who are looking to hit the box when the ball goes wide (and the ball will naturally go wide against deep lying defences). In other words, it's great for tactics where you're providing plenty of crosses. What you might find you often end up with is the ball going back to your DLP from your full back and you have six players ahead of him because they've all moved forward. Uh-oh, you're in charge of Roy Hodgson's England and you're about to get knocked out of Euro 2016.

So, either increase the crossing. Bear in mind if you drop WBIB you'll see lots of long shots so think about a way to counter that.

Or, drop the team back, play less attacking in terms of overall mentality and roles/duties. Be wary not to end up merely playing in front of the opposition - you need some penetration - but you need to draw the defence out when the ball gets recycled. To do that you need some sideways passing options. Players with good vision, technique, passing and off the ball are key as well.

From a defensive point of view, I wouldn't be too concerned. If you're hitting 60-65% of possession you can get away with the DLP-S. I play with one of the weaker teams in my division and conceded just over 1.00 goals/game. Got tanked a couple of times but I'd expect that anyway. I was generally pretty tight at the back. If you're playing against teams that go with two up front you may want to do something, but I'd sooner drop the mentality of one of the FBs and defend narrower.

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On 07/12/2018 at 20:25, The Dude said:

Leaving a DM in position when the rest of the midfield is bombing forward invites pressure. Moving this player into central midfield with a defend duty enables the team to defend higher up the pitch, but maintains shape better.  Bear in mind this method is linked to having two fullbacks restricted to support duty, which mitigates the threat of balls over the top.  

Why not play with a holding midfielder on defend duty and let the fullbacks attack?

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@ajsr1982 but in this case, more it's not always better. Having a DLP on defend can help to draw teams out by having that player deeper. When teams defend so deep against me and I have my DMC or the most defensive player on a support duty, he ends up being close to the opponent box, in a space that is already congested.

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Ditto, I love a DLP(D) in the DM slot, when you're camped in your opponent's box he's an awesome deep option, when he receives the ball defenders rush out to close him down & he can ping a ball into the space  

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1 hour ago, sherifdinn_ said:

Why not play with a holding midfielder on defend duty and let the fullbacks attack?

When you say a holding midfielder, do you mean a midfielder in the DM position, or in a central midfield position? 

If you mean a DM position on defend, I'm not saying it can't work - clearly it can work, given the 'Makelele' role.  But you have to find a way of making it work in balance with the rest of your team.  If you let your fullbacks go forward, then you risk being caught on wide counter. Unless you play with three centrebacks, with two of them allowed to drift wide.  But that creates space elsewhere, etc, etc ad infinitum. 

Of course, if you're managing a top side full of world-class players, you can do pretty much what you want with your formation and tactics and get away with it... until you come up against another world-class side who are better organised...   

I never play with 'between the lines' positions, and I also keep to very basic, player roles.  You'll never see me use a false 9, a Mez, an inverted fullback or a segundo volante, for example.  Over the years, I've developed this formation and style using basic roles, support duties, and possession play that without fail gets my team performing way over expectations.  It doesn't mean anyone else's way is wrong; just that this system works brilliantly for me.  

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11 minutes ago, Johnny Ace said:

Ditto, I love a DLP(D) in the DM slot, when you're camped in your opponent's box he's an awesome deep option, when he receives the ball defenders rush out to close him down & he can ping a ball into the space  

This is what's fascinating about tactics.  And why each manager should stick to their own preferences.  I personally hate it if my team is camped in an opponents box.  I find it boring trying to grind down a stubborn defence.  I prefer to patiently move them around until they're dizzy.  If that means I win most of my games 1-0, |I don't have a problem with it.  To each their own.  

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23 minutes ago, The Dude said:

I never play with 'between the lines' positions, and I also keep to very basic, player roles.  You'll never see me use a false 9, a Mez, an inverted fullback or a segundo volante, for example.  Over the years, I've developed this formation and style using basic roles, support duties, and possession play that without fail gets my team performing way over expectations.  It doesn't mean anyone else's way is wrong; just that this system works brilliantly for me. 

Could you go into specifics about the system and your philosophy. Would like to read more about it!

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4 minutes ago, robot_skeleton said:

Could you go into specifics about the system and your philosophy. Would like to read more about it!

Well, that's a big question, as it covers so much.  

To try to sum up my approach, I believe in keeping a lot of possession, but not to the extent that you don't make attempts on goal. Obviously, every time you cross, through ball, or shoot, you risk losing possession and getting hit on the counter, so there's a balance to be struck.  I find the 55%-60% possession level allows me to really frustrate opponents, while still getting plenty of attacks in.  

I like to confuse opposition by having a very fluid style of play.  My Complete Forward and Inside Forwards have licence to roam.  I play a left-footed IF on the right wing, and vice-versa, which encourages roaming and cutting in.  By definition, the box-to-box midfielder roams, too.  Also, my fullbacks are hugely important to attack, but I put them on support rather than attack duty, as I want them to spring into space rather than take opponents on with a dribble.  (As far as I'm concerned, if a fullback is dribbling and gets tackled, they have failed to do their job properly. This is taken directly from a rule I had when managing a Sunday League side IRL; fullbacks were not allowed to attempt to dribble past opponents; it's too risky. I like my team to keep the ball moving.)

I digress...  In attack, I generally have one or two fullbacks, a box-to-box midfielder, two IFs and my striker; 5 or six men forward.  my BWM holds the centre of the park, and generally mops up panicked clearances from the opposition when a move breaks down. My DLP supports play, but I expect him to always be behind the ball, rather than running on ahead.  A DLP with great positional sense and a support mentality usually accomplishes this.   

In my usual slow build up, I have two fullbacks supporting midfield from deep, three men in centre midfield, the IFs cutting in and roaming, and the CF dropping deep and roaming.  It sometimes means I have up to 8 men in midfield, keeping the ball and keeping the opposition chasing shadows.  A common outcome is play is concentrated in midfield, drawing opponents out of position, and then the ball gets slapped out wide to one of my onrushing fullbacks who now had acres of space to cross in.

My central defenders and BWM (and to a lesser extent the DLP) form the structured spine of the team.

I only ever play with the one formation.  I have three tactics, but they all have the same formation and player roles; I just ever so slightly tweak mentality and instructions.  My main tactic, for Controlling the Game, is currently played with a 'balanced' mentality (I tried positive for a while, but it didn't quite yield the results).  My Go For It version is played with a 'very attacking' mentality, and my Park the Bus version is played with a 'very defensive' mentality.  

When I lose possession, I like to press and win it back quickly, either high up the pitch or by mopping up long, panicked clearances.   This is why my forwards are maxed out for closing down. 

For opposition instructions, I base them on opposition positions, rather than individual players; the point is that regardless of how good my opponents might be, I want to handle them by making them play into my hands, not just by nullifying them.  There's a difference.  So I instruct to max pressing intensity and show onto weaker foot for the following positions: DR, DL, (C)WBR, (C)WBL, DM (central only), MR, ML, all AM positions, and all Strikers.  That's it. I think if you try to constantly press ALL positions, you lose your way.  My plan is to make opponents drive the ball infield where I dominate, or give it away in a panic.  Or both. 

I'll put some screenshots below.  The player instruction screenshots are for my standard 'Control the Game' tactic. 

      

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Very interesting approach @The Dude, but I wonder, when you do have to change it, does it have an effect? I always struggle when I need to adapt, granted, usually I just try to play my own game.

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39 minutes ago, robot_skeleton said:

Very interesting approach @The Dude, but I wonder, when you do have to change it, does it have an effect? I always struggle when I need to adapt, granted, usually I just try to play my own game.

I don't change it.  

When I'm at a 'lesser' team, playing away at a big team, I might deploy my 'park the bus version from the start. 

Otherwise, whatever the circumstances, if I go behind, I often switch to my very attacking mode.  If I'm defending a slender lead late on in a game where the oppo are really trying, I might switch to the park the bus version.  But mostly, I just stick with my standard version. 

It's worth pointing out that it does take a team a few games to get used to the system, and probably a couple of season to play it with a swagger.  Also, I try to go for very well-rounded players in all positions.   

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2 hours ago, The Dude said:

If you mean a DM position on defend, I'm not saying it can't work - clearly it can work, given the 'Makelele' role.  But you have to find a way of making it work in balance with the rest of your team.  If you let your fullbacks go forward, then you risk being caught on wide counter. Unless you play with three centrebacks, with two of them allowed to drift wide.  But that creates space elsewhere, etc, etc ad infinitum. 

Well the OP says he wants to build around james Rodriguez I think the first step is to make the player roles and duties on his side work by perfectly balancing his side of play. The advanced playmaker will come in and at times float into that no.10 slot so you will definitely need a sort of wingback (duty depends on the risk you're willing to take). 

This doesn't away mean he will get caught on the counter attack tho. He can use the central midfielder on advanced play maker's side to balance the play when the team is trying to attack the box (perhaps a CM support, or DLP support?). 

From there you can build the rest of the team around that idea.

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Yeah, I stick by my assertion that there's too much committed forward, and he'll get caught on the break, but I'm no genius, and I could be wrong.  I guess he'd soon find out playing it.  :) 

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On ‎08‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 16:55, Vega09 said:

Thank you, again! I have tried to take your comments on board. To try and minimise the open space I have moved my DR to a FB(S) and now I have a DLP(D). I have also changed the DLF so he has a support role as I want him more involved in the build up play and providing a passing option, rather than sitting on the defender's shoulder.

Additionally i have tweaked the team instructions so that they are more fitting with a possession based game, so lower tempo and I have moved the attacking width back to Fairly Wide. I had changed that without realising. I will try playing around with the mentality to see whether Positive is too much or if Balanced is better, 

 

 

 

Screenshot 2018-12-08 at 17.48.53.png

In this version a lot of AI teams play defensively.  You will especially see that against Bayern.  A lot of teams playing Defend/Counter mentality and thereby take no risks at the back, just clearing it.  So to my point that I think counter-press (whilst probably great against teams playing out from the back) is not so effective against teams taking no risk.  They just punt clear and take your counterpressing forwards and midfield out of the game.

Additionally those roles may struggle to counterattack effectively.  I'm talking about a user generated counter and not the counter mechanism that is occasionally AI triggered.  Counterattacks are typically finished by forwards.  Your AMR player - which is potentially a great position for a counterattacking player - is dancing around on the right wing .  You also have your striker dropping off which is also not ideal for counterattack (IMO anyway).  To cap things off you leave no space for a counterattack anyway.  You're playing possession ball with a high line and urgent pressing.  

You have asked your team to play possession football, counter press, play a high line and counter.  Not sure its straightforward to achieve all those things together.

 

Edited by Robson 07

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10 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

So to my point that I think counter-press (whilst probably great against teams playing out from the back) is not so effective against teams taking no risk

That's an important point that people sometimes forget.  You can't counter-attack against a team that's parked the bus.  That's one of the reasons I like to play in a way that forces the opposition to move around a lot.  

 

10 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

Your AMR player - which is potentially a great position for a counterattacking player - is dancing around on the right wing ... You also have your striker dropping off which is also not ideal for counterattack

Another great couple of points. 

 

10 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

To cap things off you leave no space for a counterattack anyway.  You're playing possession ball with a high line and urgent pressing

I get your point here, and but there are exceptions. Counter-attacking has evolved a bit, and you do see a high counter at times when a possession-based team has a move break down, and they instantly try to win it back before it's cleared with high intensity pressing.  Obviously, this won't work against a team that just boots the ball into row Z or downfield, but against a team that tries to pay out of trouble it's very effective.   I realise I'm at risk of contradicting myself, but hopefully you'll see what I'm getting at.

Edited by The Dude

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On 10/12/2018 at 17:38, The Dude said:

Screenshot 2018-12-10 at 17.23.48.png

Is there a reason why you don't use Attack duties for your wide players? The PIs you use effectively mean you're playing with an IF (A) rather than an IF (S).

Edited by Luizinho

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35 minutes ago, Luizinho said:

@The Dude Is there a reason why you don't use Attack duties for your wide players? The PI's you use effectively mean you're playing with an IF (A) rather than an IF (S).

I don't think the PIs turn them into IF(A).  If you look at the descriptions of the two sets of PIs for attack and support duties, you see that the support duty looks to work through the opposition defensive line, either with through balls or diagonal movement.  With an attack duty, the player is more direct, running straight at the oppo defenders, often trying to get them retreat, rather than working *through* them.  

By giving an IF with support duty the instruction to get further forward, it doesn't change the basic premise of how the IF plays, although it probably does mean the IF will be more likely to attempt off the ball runs through the defence... which works great for me with the other tactical instructions in my set up.  

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40 minutes ago, The Dude said:

I don't think the PIs turn them into IF(A).

Absolutely. The key difference between support and attack duties is mentality. Giving a player on support the Get Further Forward PI does not increase his mentality, just allows him to be a bit more "attack-minded" in terms of movement when you are in possession.

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23 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Absolutely. The key difference between support and attack duties is mentality. Giving a player on support the Get Further Forward PI does not increase his mentality, just allows him to be a bit more "attack-minded" in terms of movement when you are in possession.

This is something I've really struggled with for wide roles in FM, what duties to give them. Apart from certain PIs, I've always thought an attack duty just take more risks and adopts a higher position. Is that in-line with other's thinking?

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1 hour ago, Luizinho said:

Apart from certain PIs, I've always thought an attack duty just take more risks and adopts a higher position

Well, it does take more risks and adopts a higher positioning, but it's more than only "just". With an attack duty, a player will be more inclined to run forward and attack space in front of him earlier than one on support duty, even if the latter is told to get further forward via his PIs (provided they have the same role, but different duties). On the other hand, some roles will tend to stay slightly deeper even when given an attack duty, such as an advanced PM on attack, because it's in the nature of a playmaker role to make himself more available for teammates by staying a bit deeper. So for example, an APM on attack in a CM position will be proportionally deeper when an attacking transition takes place than a mezzala on attack.

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@Vega09

This has been an awesome thread so far, by the way.  Thanks for kicking it off. 

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On ‎08‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 12:28, The Dude said:

Of course, everyone has different opinions, and different styles.  You have to go with what you believe in and what you're comfortable with. 

My possession-based system is far from possession for possession's sake though.  It sometimes takes a while for the players to bed it in, but when it clicks, you get this, picking up points against teams who, on paper, are vastly superior:

 

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Enjoying this thread, good discussion. @dude in your team above I notice its 2023/24 season, what is your team like? Does it have world class players?

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9 hours ago, Kilmarnock said:

Enjoying this thread, good discussion. @dude in your team above I notice its 2023/24 season, what is your team like? Does it have world class players?

No world class players, although I am gradually improving the quality of the squad.  I'm now in July 2024, and I have one player who is considered a 'leading player' for the EPL.  After that, I've got a few 'good' / 'decent'.  Here's my best player (currently unhappy), and the squad:

 

 

 

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