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a_phooey

Describing mentality and its relationship with shape

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Posted (edited)

  Good day and welcome to the second instalment of my series of posts. I would, first, like to apologise for the delay between this post and the first one. I have no excuse that would justify the timing, as such I can only offer my humble apologies.

   As the topic of this post suggests, today I would be talking about mentalities and the relationship with shape (which I have earlier explained). However, before I begin, I just want to clarify my stance on tactic creation and implementation. I have no ‘beef’ with anyone who chooses to play the game any other way apart from my own. in fact, I welcome new suggestions and would implement them in my own process if it/they make(s) sense to me. You would probably have deciphered from my use of ‘sense’ that its quite subjective, after all what makes sense to me may not make sense to someone else. In that regard, I would like to change the way we think and play football manager, drastically. That is my goal for these posts, so if I can convince one or two people I would consider it progress.

  Mentality, what is it really? A precise definition elude me till today, but from what I have gathered; it is basically how pro-actively your team is to play. The names of some of the mentalities have changed a bit, especially in this last edition of the game, but the basics are still the same. You could possibly assume from the in game descriptions of each mentality what each of the seven mentalities do, so there shouldn’t be a need to describe them one by one. As such I will not dwell on what they do but how they are employed, and of course the relationship to shape.

  As stated earlier, mentality describes how pro-actively you want your formation to be. A ‘Very attacking’ mentality, when set up properly would see your team seek to get players into the opposition half, and then subsequently into their box in a bid to score goals; as many goals as you can. This, on the baseline, sounds like all sorts of risk; this is true (when not implemented properly), but the rewards are immense as well (when implemented properly). However, the level of risk when weighed against the other mentalities is probably the same. This may sound confusing, so I will try and explain my assertion to the best of my ability using two different teams with two different mentalities. Let us, first, use a team (an imaginary team of course) team Thanos, and let us ascribe this team’s primary formation a ‘very attacking’ mentality. This team will have players getting forward into dangerous areas, as such other players in the team can make more forward passes since they know those players will make that run, this in turn would increase the number of players needed to feed the relatively increased number of runners. Now you would think this will leave a whole lot of space, and if the play breaks down, people will be too far forward or too out of position, and the counter attack from the opposition team would be sweeeeeeeeeet! The kind of thing that would make its way into television adverts and social media memes. This is in fact true to an extent. Now, lets also create another team ( obviously also imaginary) team TMNT, and as we have done before ascribe a ‘very defensive’ mentality to that teams formation. This mentality seeks to relinquish all or most of the initiative to the opposing team, some may say ‘hiding in its shell’ waiting to strike, or just building a great wall around their area with bodies (kinda like in the movie 300). One would assume that they would not easily concede, because they do not send many players to make forward runs (if ever they do), and not many players go forward in support of those players. This mentality is for lack of a better term SAFE. However, as most people who watch foot ball would tell you, that presumed safety is probably the catalyst to their downfall. As in most cases, they find themselves camped in their own 18 unable to get out because of a lack of an outlet that  isn’t marked out of the game, then with moments of lack of concentration, fatigue, ‘rush of blood’, an ill timed slip, and frankly any mistake, and an opposition player could ghost in and score. Heck, even a player of messi’s calibre can score a long ranged screamer, problem is that in that teams case, the shot would more likely be from closer to goals what with defending so deep. The probability of a counter in team Thanos, and the probability of a mistake or something similar in team TMNT would be similar in value. As such, one would say that all mentalities have the same probability of failure when employed properly, and with imaginary players that have 100 for all stats, that probability approaches zero.

Lest I forget, the basis of using an attacking mentality and as such sending players forward lies in the fact that if that player is not picked up by the opposition he would get into a position to score goals. This mentality more or less forces the opposition to make a choice, send more players back to cover or run the risk of being exposed.

So why do people choose one mentality over another? There are several factors involved in making this decision, to list a few; The inclinations of the squad they have inherited or chosen, the calibre of players in the squad, personal preference, and the fans outcry for attractive football or defensive football. I would like to explain those mentioned.

1) The inclinations of the squad: this is pretty simple really, if you had a team full of n’golo kantes you would choose to be more defensive since their defensive side is more potent than their attacking side, and if you had a team full of messis and probably one kante you would choose to be more attacking, actually scratch that if you had a team full of aaron ramseys who just love to get forward and affect attacking play you would want to be more attacking. A team without the proper players trying to play an attacking mentality would more likely make the kind of mistakes that lead to counter attacks against them. So also a team without the proper players trying to play a defensive mentality would lead more often to the kind of mistakes that lead to goals.

2) The calibre of players in the squad: Sometimes, you are just blessed with some gifted individuals and you feel the urge to build the team around them, this style of formation creation can lead you to any of the mentalities really.

3) Personal preference; self explanatory.

4) Fans outcry: Football fans can be very demanding, not just the fans but also the board of directors as well. So sometimes you find yourself either being obligated to fulfil their wishes (in the cases of it being added in your contract) or just feeling the urge to please the fans that really pay your salary.

I would like to categorize the mentalities based on their proactive nature:

Group A; Very attacking (Overload), Attacking, Positive(Control)

Group N; Standard.

Group D; Counter, Defensive, and Very defensive (contain).

 It is time to move onto the next part of the post, which is describing how mentalities are employed. I got caught up in explaining parts of how they are but that would only serve to reduce the need for explanations in the subsequent parts of this document. For Group A mentalities, the primary focus of your game is to be on the offensive, in other words, to attack the other team. These mentalities basically describe the sum of the key individual mentalities of the players in that formation. The more attacking individual mentalities, the more attacking the overall team mentality is. As such we can assume that the key to these group A mentalities is the number of attacking duty players in the teams. Conversely, for Group D mentalities (applying the same logic) we can then assume that the number of defensive duty players is the key to the defensive mentalities. Group N mentality (standard) is the dividing line, and is focused on the supporting duty players. I will now describe how to employ each mentality starting from Group A mentalities.

Positive: Formerly called control mentality ( I would assume because of the carefully measured balance between sending players forward, and keeping players back in support of those players in a bid to always remain in control of the game), this is a mentality focused on attacking the opponent, but not with the same intensity and number of players as the other mentalities in group A. This mentality requires 4 attacking duty players to function, the rest of the duties can be shared anyway you see fit among the other players as long as It is defensively sound and potent in attack..

Attacking: this requires 5 players on attacking duty, and as mentioned before the other duties are shared among the other players.

Very Attacking; Formerly called overload (probably because of the sheer number of attacking players required that naturally overloads the opposition defence). This mentality requires a minimum of 6 attacking duty players and the rest are shared among the other players.

 In the above you would have noticed a trend, the focus is on attacking duty players and the distribution of the other duties does not affect the mentality.

Next is the Group D mentalities; like their attacking counterpart, they follow the same trend

Counter: This carefully balances the requirement for releasing initiative (by keeping players behind the ball) with the need to strike while the iron is hot, as such it was so aptly named. This mentality is not to be confused with basic counter attacks that can be found in most other mentalities, this mentality seeks to weaponize counter attacks and use them as its primary means of scoring goals. It requires 4 defensive duty players

Defensive: This mentality requires 5 defensive duty players and the other duties can be distributed however you see fit.

Very Defensive (contain); requires a minimum of 6 defensive duty players.

Then we have the Group N mentality; Standard. I bet that if you’ve followed this post you can already guess what it is.

Standard: 3 attacking duty players, 3 defensive duty players, the rest are support duty. This mentality Is very specific in the distribution of roles because any deviation would lead to another mentality entirely.

 At this point you would have noticed something curious, it would be difficult to play 4 attacking and 4 defensive duty players in the same formation, this creates a conundrum that is not supported by the lack of supporting duty players. With this, the jig saw puzzle that is tactic creation is already beginning to unravel.

  Finally, I would like to talk about the relationship between shape and mentality. Anyone not too familiar with my description of shape should refer to my previous post to clarify any issues. Mentality and shape have very close ties to the distribution of duties in the team. One denotes the number of those players and the other denotes the position of such players, kinda like x and y coordinates in a graph. With the two working in tandem, you can predict where you would need to place a player on a specific duty in order to balance the team out. In that regard, it would be difficult (not impossible) to play an attacking or very attacking mentality with a structured or very structured shape. There are multiple reasons why this would be, some include;

1) In the structured and very structured shape the attacking duties are positioned higher up the field and the defensive are positioned further down the field and they are encouraged to focus on fewer phases of play. Increasing the number of attacking duty players would increase the number of players that would not come back to defend when the ball is lost leading to more goals conceded. The converse is the case in fluid or very fluid shapes, defensive duty players are positioned higher as well as deeper, and attacking duties are positioned higher as well as lower and are encouraged to contribute to more phases of play. This spread-out distribution ensures that the attacking players that go forward come back to defend and the defensive players that are already in front engage the opposition immediately the ball is lost.

2) For a shape like very structured where the defensive strata is for defensive duties, midfield strata is for support duty players, and striker strata is for attack duty players, to put 5 or 6 players (that are required for the attacking and very attacking mentality) would be nigh on impossible. Unless, you wish to play 2-3-5 or something like that. Wouldn’t it make interesting football.

Of course, the number of shapes don’t tally with the number of mentalities so its safe to say that there is some overlap. This overlap is to your own discretion, after setting up the team following the basics, the mentality and shape should automatically reveal itself. You can also go the other way round; pick a mentality and a shape and then use that to sort out your player placement.

  We have arrived at the end of my post and for all those who have read to this point, thank you. I will release the next post as soon as I can but I cannot give a definite date (I will soon start work and it can be demanding). honestly, I would like suggestions on what to talk about next, these first two posts were a no-brainer in terms of deciding to talk about them. Football manager has gotten pretty vast so there is so much to talk about (with regards to tactic creation). have a great rest of your day.

 

Edited by a_phooey

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