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Erith22

Frustrated: Get more out of my talented squad

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I'm in my 2026 season of my Peterborough save.

I'm having trouble getting the most out of the talented young roster I've assembled.

Against big sides, I can't quite go toe-to-toe with them away, but when I attempt counter strategies, I take on so much pressure they eventually break me down (think 30+ shots).  If I do try to go toe to toe, I'm often beaten by diagonal runs, quick passing around the box, long shots and quick crosses, none of which I seem able to reproduce.

Against weaker sides, I'm not creating space and have to hope for a goal from set pieces typically.  Also my side isn't great with set pieces, so I lose or draw against a lot of bad clubs who steal a corner or FK goal.

Also against sides playing the counter, I frequently give up really good chances with long balls over the top or amazing early crosses to a central striker who manages to find space.

Looking at my stats, my most common assist type is corner, followed by through ball (I think these are mostly long balls).  My opponents are creating fewer CCCs, but converting them at a very high rate (%91) (which goes back to me leaking on the break), while I only convert at %72

I've save-scummed more than any other version FM (something I usually avoid), not so much trying to convert losses to wins, but replaying matches over and over with tweaks to tactics and roles to figure out what I'm doing wrong, but it doesn't feel like its helping.  Whether I win or lose feels mostly random.

A run down of my squad and issues:

CF : Bean is quality.  He has scored at a decent but not amazing rate, and very few assists (12 goals, 2 assists in 21 matches).  He has matches where he just gets completely marked out by defenders.  I struggle with what role to play him in.

IF(A): Rabbi has been among my leading scorers every season.  He's not great but has good athleticism and finishing.  Main problem is he often creates spacing problems in the box, or makes bad crosses instead of cutting inside.

W(S): Van Dijk has put up some nice numbers in his first season (3 goals, 8 assists in 14).  My main frustration is that on attack he often sits in the box like an IF creating more spacing issues, despite his role and his PPMs, all which say he should be staying outside.

AP(S): Roquete I have tried in a number of other roles.  Natural playmaker but struggle getting him pace.  Often has matches where he contributes nothing.

A: Quality anchor, seems his best role though versatile

DLP(S): Gomes.  Solid and versatile DLP.  Only has 1 assist in 20 matches though, can get bunched up with the AM

WB/FB: Brendon & Idrizi, my big offseason buys.  Wanted backs that could contribute to the attack.  Can't figure out best way to use them at their best on the attack without getting burnt on defense

 CB: Tome and VanDrongelen, solid CB pair without a lot of excitement here.  Despite being good athletes, frequently get burnt with balls over the top.

GK: Thabet, maybe my best player.  Paid a ton for him.

 

Attached are my primary players and my current primary tactic.  In addition to playing with 2 DM, I've tried 2 MC, which seems to generate no more offense while making me even more vulnerable.

Any and all advice appreciated.

 

 

 

tactic2dm.JPG

bean.JPG

brendon.JPG

gomes.JPG

idrizi.JPG

pacato.JPG

rabbi.JPG

roquete.JPG

thabet.JPG

tome.JPG

vandjuk.JPG

vandrongelen.JPG

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I think you already had issues with your tactic for Peterborough, and I advised you to play a more counter-attacking, rather than possession-based style, offering you some ideas based on analysis of your players. But now I see you've brought some new players in the meantime and still trying to play possession football. I don't know what to say. Will take a look at these new players, maybe some idea comes up.

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Just now, Experienced Defender said:

I think you already had issues with your tactic for Peterborough, and I advised you to play a more counter-attacking, rather than possession-based style, offering you some ideas based on analysis of your players. But now I see you've brought some new players in the meantime and still trying to play possession football. I don't know what to say. Will take a look at these new players, maybe some idea comes up.

I appreciate the advice you gave me before.  Sorry this makes me look ungrateful.  Yes, I have bought some new players.  Since my original thread was mostly about getting value out of a player I'm not using anymore, I created a new one.

As mentioned in my post, I found using the advice you gave me that while occasionally I'd get a good result, most of the time I'd get pinned back and surrender 30+ shots, even to only so-so sides, which would usually result in a couple of goals leaking in, forcing me to turn around and play attacking and give up even more goals as THEY started countering.  My attackers on the other hand would dribble the ball into the defense and lose it when I tried to break.  I'm not saying counter can't work, but it wasn't working for me in that situation.

 

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40 minutes ago, Erith22 said:

I appreciate the advice you gave me before.  Sorry this makes me look ungrateful

No mate, absolutely no! It's your team, so you are absolutely free to play whatever way you believe is the best :thup: I remember when you said you defeated Chelsea 4-0 using the counter tactic, but in some later games you struggled (if I remember well). Which suggests the tactic was not essentially wrong, just needed occasional tweaking based on the opposition. That's what I always do. I have my primary tactic that best suits my players in general. But then I normally make some tweaks both prior to and during each match, because different types of opposition will play differently against me. 

 

40 minutes ago, Erith22 said:

As mentioned in my post, I found using the advice you gave me that while occasionally I'd get a good result, most of the time I'd get pinned back and surrender 30+ shots, even to only so-so sides, which would usually result in a couple of goals leaking in, forcing me to turn around and play attacking and give up even more goals as THEY started countering.  My attackers on the other hand would dribble the ball into the defense and lose it when I tried to break.  I'm not saying counter can't work, but it wasn't working for me in that situation.

I looked again at your players' screenshots and it seems their overall quality has improved since our previous communication. I don't know what's the current reputation of your team in the league, but suppose you can now play a bit more attack-minded football (though not necessarily possession-based). There are a number of team instructions I would immediately remove from your tactic - some of them because they unnecessarily slow your attacks down, and the others because they potentially make you more vulnerable defensively. For example, counter-press is a TI I would remove to make your team more solid out of possession. In possession, I think there's no reason for lower tempo and playing extremely wide in the first place. Would definitely use the counter TI in transition, because even if you don't (want to) play counter-attacking football as your primary style, you have the players up front who are ideally suited to execute counters when an opportunity occurs.

There are a couple more suggestions, but let's start with these for now.

Edited by Experienced Defender

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What's your opinion of offside trap v. a covering defender v. playing a lower line in protecting against the break?  Or do you have other suggestions?

 

Also, any thoughts on how to keep my right winger from constantly coming inside?  Or is this just the way wingers play on FM 2019 when I'm on a positive mentality?

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1 hour ago, Erith22 said:

What's your opinion of offside trap v. a covering defender v. playing a lower line in protecting against the break?  Or do you have other suggestions?

I use offside trap when both my CBs are of similar quality and (preferably) have played together long enough (and when they are good enough to allow me to play with a higher DL). But if one is notably better than the other (in terms of intelligence), then prefer to avoid OT and to have the better guy on cover and the other on defend (in systems with 4 defenders).

As for the lower/higher DL, I look to avoid any extremes (never use either much higher nor much lower). Protection against counter-attacks depends on more factors than just (quality of your) defenders or DL settings. When I create a tactic, my first priority is to make sure I am defensively stable as much as possible (whatever my primary playing style is at the moment). For example, if my defenders aren't quite good, I prefer to have someone in DM to be primarily responsible for screening the defense (and the rest of my system also has to be set up in such a way as to make up for the lack of defenders' quality).

1 hour ago, Erith22 said:

Also, any thoughts on how to keep my right winger from constantly coming inside?  Or is this just the way wingers play on FM 2019 when I'm on a positive mentality?

Really not sure about this, but I can assume it has (at least in part) to do with shorter passing (as Robson rightly noted in your previous thread). I use a winger on support in a ML position and even though the player is not a typical winger (except that he is left-footed), he does tend to stay wide until he receives the ball (but when he has the ball, he does not behave either like an out-and-out winger or IW, but more like a WM who is told to run with the ball).

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Any thoughts on the best role for Been?  It doesn't look like I'm alone in trying to find the best role for a single striker system.  I'm concerned the pure attacking roles like Adv Forward will put him too much on an island.  But his attributes aren't super well suited to the more deep lying roles.

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15 minutes ago, Erith22 said:

Any thoughts on the best role for Been?

As with any player, depends on your overall tactical system and style of play. If I consider him in isolation, his "ideal" role would be AF (could also play as a DLF on attack, poacher or PF on attack). But the problem is that you cannot look at players separately, but as integral parts of the system.

 

18 minutes ago, Erith22 said:

I'm concerned the pure attacking roles like Adv Forward will put him too much on an island.

It would be less of an issue if you played a counter-based style, but in possession football he could end up (a bit more) isolated. However, this isolation can be somewhat mitigated by a proper balance of TIs, PIs and other players' roles and duties. Btw, very good player, and his only real weakness is low bravery (and to some degree concentration). In a tough competition like the EPL, low bravery can be a liability.

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Hi @Erith22.  I think I briefly joined the other thread you mentioned.  Personally I reckon you need to review your wider strategy right now.  This quote says a lot, well done on recognising it.  It's easy to stumble forward a bit blindly at the point you've reached and hope for the best.

5 hours ago, Erith22 said:

Against big sides, I can't quite go toe-to-toe with them away, but when I attempt counter strategies, I take on so much pressure they eventually break me down (think 30+ shots).  If I do try to go toe to toe, I'm often beaten by diagonal runs, quick passing around the box, long shots and quick crosses, none of which I seem able to reproduce.

Against weaker sides, I'm not creating space and have to hope for a goal from set pieces typically.  Also my side isn't great with set pieces, so I lose or draw against a lot of bad clubs who steal a corner or FK goal.

Also against sides playing the counter, I frequently give up really good chances with long balls over the top or amazing early crosses to a central striker who manages to find space.

You are a good side in the league you play but not strong enough to take the big sides head on, and yet good enough to scare some weaker teams.  You have got away with a one-tactic-fits-all situations to this point but to go through this particular ceiling you need to be smarter.

Your main tactic at this point can probably serve you around 80% of the matches you play.  But in the other 20% you need to use tactical slots 2 & 3 to have some alternate strategies.  Against the weak sides you need something that focuses on opening space and being creative.  It is not a going to be an approach for all occasions but it will help win against difficult, defensive teams.  Have a look at beating the park bus threads or how to create overloads, that type of thing.

The other tactic against the big dogs needs to be even smarter.  Don't go defensive (consider that for the last 10 mins, a shut up shop approach).  Probably don't even go counter.  Maybe a balanced approach as this should stop you from being overwhelmed and not being able to get out.  However its not necessarily a case of higher DL/LOE and high pressing intensity.  You may need to research again on the strategy you want or stop to consider.  It might be a case of something possession heavy to keep the ball away from the big teams; or it might be a packed midfield and support roles they simply struggle to pass through; or you might want to be very, very aggressive with roles, tackling and so forth e.g. dogs of war.  There are different ways to do all these things.

I really don't think you will find your answer though in just one tactic at the moment as you have different problems to face because of your team's current standing and reputation.  You may revert once again in your save to once more being 'one tactic' when you break through to the top level of being considered a title challenger.  You could wait this period of the save out until you have better players, but if you want to make continual progress right now its time for ideas.

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I think I have an idea on how you could play possession-based football with these players more effectively. I've noted that your DLP Gomes can now play as a volante (on support), because his relevant attributes for the role have improved to the extent that he would be a very good VOL. So now, your playmaker would be "moved" in the AMC position in the form of Roquete, who has "perfect" attribute ratings and traits for an AP and can even serve well as a trequartista (so you could try him in both roles). Your striker Been would now become a DLF on attack (for the reason explained in my above post). Here Van Dijk would remain a winger, but on attack duty, in order to provide late crosses to Been and deep-runners who have arrived into and at the edge of the box in the meantime (a problem here could be Van Dijk's relatively poor off the ball). 

On the left flank, you can create a sort of natural overlap with Brendon as a FB on attack and Rabbi as an IF on support. Your other DM Pacato can play as an anchor, half-back or DLP on defend (the first two are safer options though, given that Brendon is on attack duty and the other DM is now a volante). The "victim" of this system would be your right back Idrizi, who would have to play a more conservative role (preferably WB on defend, or - a bit more risky option - FB on support with the "Hold position" TI), lest your right flank be exposed to opposition counters. I said "victim" simply because he could otherwise play a more attack-minded role (like WB on support for example). 

Btw, I saw that you play Thabet as a SK on support, but given his poor "rushing out" (only 7), I would rather have him on defend (as a SK of course). So, here is how the setup of roles and duties would look now:

DLFat

IFsu         APsu          Wat

 

HB/A     VOLsu

FBat      CD      CD      WBde

SKde

Regarding PIs, the volante Gomes would be asked to get further forward, so that you get as much penetration from deep as possible (and also to take more risks). This "naturally requires" the RB/WBde to sit narrower. AMC/APsu (Roquete) would be allowed to roam from position, in order to be maximally involved in all phases of play. As far as I remember, a DLF on attack already has the "move into channels" PI hard-coded, so he does not need additional instructions. Rabbi on the left (IF support) can be told to sit narrower, both to be involved in creative build-ups and to free up (even more) space for Brendon on the left wing.

Both centre-backs should be instructed to take fewer risks (given their poor technical abilities).

Mentality-wise, I would "toggle" between positive and balanced, but remember that whenever you change the mentality - everything else is automatically affected, so be careful to adjust other settings accordingly (if necessary).

Basic (starting) team instructions could be: shorter passing (but without lower tempo), play out of defence, work ball into box, whipped crosses / counter, distribute to Gomes (and in tougher matches regroup).

Out of possession TIs can be tricky, so I would refrain from giving a definite suggestion. Basically, I would look to have the LOE a notch lower than DL (so if the DL is higher, LOE would be standard; if DL is standard, LOE would be lower). This should reduce the "gap" between the DM and AM strata caused by the absence of central midfield. I would also use the Prevent short GKD. And given that the tactical screenshot shows that your CBs have developed a good partnership, I guess you can use offside trap (when playing on a higher DL). If you don't want offside trap, put Van Drongelen (left CB) on cover duty. Use tighter marking could also be a good idea. Standard defensive width and standard (default) pressing intensity.

Defensive PIs - both DMs and AMC to mark tighter (no specific player or position); AMR and AML to mark tighter opposition ML/AML and MR/AMR respectively (positions, not players). Also, you can maximize pressing intensity to the AMC and striker, to try and prevent opposition from building from back and sometimes (hopefully) even steal the ball from their defenders in a dangerous area.

I also use OIs for certain positions (and some oppo players), but let's not complicate too much :brock:

Edited by Experienced Defender

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You’re playing very wide with a combination of relatively (for the mentality) short and slow passes. I don’t think all of those instructions are conducive to good link up between players 

Edited by Fosse

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So I had already started making some of the changes you suggested Experienced Defender.  I actually put together a pretty good run using the ones I had put together, then incorporated your tweaks.  I then played 3 top 5 teams in a row, managed 2 points, one more match, then went winless in my final 8 matches, managing 7 goals and surrendering 12.  5 of those matches I surrendered a goal in the first 20 minutes, 3 of them in the first FOUR minutes.  Obviously I tried various tweaks to the tactic over that time but it seemed to do nothing.  5 of those matches Been ended with a 6.4 or lower, and Van Dijk only had assists in one of the final 8 matches and no goals.

I managed to hang on to 7th and qualify for the EURO cup.  I finished 5th last season with a worse squad.  Not sure what is going on and why I can't seem to get anywhere.  I don't know if this was merely a morale spiral or the tactic or what.  

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7 hours ago, Erith22 said:

So I had already started making some of the changes you suggested Experienced Defender.  I actually put together a pretty good run using the ones I had put together, then incorporated your tweaks.  I then played 3 top 5 teams in a row, managed 2 points, one more match, then went winless in my final 8 matches, managing 7 goals and surrendering 12.  5 of those matches I surrendered a goal in the first 20 minutes, 3 of them in the first FOUR minutes.  Obviously I tried various tweaks to the tactic over that time but it seemed to do nothing.  5 of those matches Been ended with a 6.4 or lower, and Van Dijk only had assists in one of the final 8 matches and no goals.

I managed to hang on to 7th and qualify for the EURO cup.  I finished 5th last season with a worse squad.  Not sure what is going on and why I can't seem to get anywhere.  I don't know if this was merely a morale spiral or the tactic or what.  

Then you better don't follow my advice anymore :lol:

Joking aside, I really don't know what could have gone wrong, as I don't watch your matches. But if I managed the players seen on your screenshots, the tactic I suggested would definitely be my primary tactical setup (although with tweaks depending on the opposition and possible issues I spotted during matches). I don't want to speculate, but maybe changing too many players in a short period of time actually did more harm than good (even if the new players are better than the ones they replaced), because it normally takes time for newcomers to adapt. 

 

7 hours ago, Erith22 said:

I managed to hang on to 7th and qualify for the EURO cup.  I finished 5th last season with a worse squad

What was media prediction (and board expectation)? 

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16 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

Hi @Erith22.  I think I briefly joined the other thread you mentioned.  Personally I reckon you need to review your wider strategy right now.  This quote says a lot, well done on recognising it.  It's easy to stumble forward a bit blindly at the point you've reached and hope for the best.

You are a good side in the league you play but not strong enough to take the big sides head on, and yet good enough to scare some weaker teams.  You have got away with a one-tactic-fits-all situations to this point but to go through this particular ceiling you need to be smarter.

Your main tactic at this point can probably serve you around 80% of the matches you play.  But in the other 20% you need to use tactical slots 2 & 3 to have some alternate strategies.  Against the weak sides you need something that focuses on opening space and being creative.  It is not a going to be an approach for all occasions but it will help win against difficult, defensive teams.  Have a look at beating the park bus threads or how to create overloads, that type of thing.

The other tactic against the big dogs needs to be even smarter.  Don't go defensive (consider that for the last 10 mins, a shut up shop approach).  Probably don't even go counter.  Maybe a balanced approach as this should stop you from being overwhelmed and not being able to get out.  However its not necessarily a case of higher DL/LOE and high pressing intensity.  You may need to research again on the strategy you want or stop to consider.  It might be a case of something possession heavy to keep the ball away from the big teams; or it might be a packed midfield and support roles they simply struggle to pass through; or you might want to be very, very aggressive with roles, tackling and so forth e.g. dogs of war.  There are different ways to do all these things.

I really don't think you will find your answer though in just one tactic at the moment as you have different problems to face because of your team's current standing and reputation.  You may revert once again in your save to once more being 'one tactic' when you break through to the top level of being considered a title challenger.  You could wait this period of the save out until you have better players, but if you want to make continual progress right now its time for ideas.

I think you are right here.  I have tried a few different tactics but I think I need to focus more on situation and opponent.  Some background, I managed back to back promotions from League One using a high possession, pressing tactic (winning in the playoff both times).  I'm not sure how I managed the second as I had largely the same squad from League One.

I think perhaps I have too strong an opinion of the talent on my squad, and need to start being a little more focused on each opponent.

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4 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Then you better don't follow my advice anymore :lol:

Joking aside, I really don't know what could have gone wrong, as I don't watch your matches. But if I managed the players seen on your screenshots, the tactic I suggested would definitely be my primary tactical setup (although with tweaks depending on the opposition and possible issues I spotted during matches). I don't want to speculate, but maybe changing too many players in a short period of time actually did more harm than good (even if the new players are better than the ones they replaced), because it normally takes time for newcomers to adapt. 

 

What was media prediction (and board expectation)? 

Board expectation was EURO cup.  Media expectation was lower though I don't remember exactly.

I do think some of it was bad luck and a morale spiral to go with it.  Surrendering goals in the first couple of minutes can ruin an entire game plan.  I also ran into a number of so-so clubs that were on hot streaks.

I'm glad the season is over because the final slog was terrible.  I still think this tactic is the right approach.  As someone else suggested I need to have better alternate tactics for really  tough sides and for ones that park the bus.

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8 hours ago, Erith22 said:

I think you are right here.  I have tried a few different tactics but I think I need to focus more on situation and opponent.  Some background, I managed back to back promotions from League One using a high possession, pressing tactic (winning in the playoff both times).  I'm not sure how I managed the second as I had largely the same squad from League One.

I think perhaps I have too strong an opinion of the talent on my squad, and need to start being a little more focused on each opponent.

I'm currently managing Birmingham in Prem and my situation is not so much different.  Destroyed the Championship with a 442.  Don't think I varied it once.  Now approaching top half of the EPL and in that in-between situation.  I use the 442 against most, occasionally something more technically creative in the cups maybe but the big six are my hardest challenge,  My approach at the moment is basically to spoil those games.  I try and bunch things in the midfield where I kick the you know what out of them.  Ball winners, hard tackling, pressing forwards, play for set pieces and so on.  We seem to be slowing them down.

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My first observation is there isn’t movement in midfield. Try volante-s on the right and maybe wb-a on the left or fb-a if you don’ Want him to drrible etc.

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