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Experienced Defender

Fluid counter in "my way" (opinions wanted)

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Posted (edited)

I never use preset tactics, though I did browse through all of them just out of interest. As a fan of counter-attacking football - as opposed to possession-based styles - I was especially curious to see how the game set up the two related presets - direct and fluid counter(s) respectively.

Now, as I usually play a rather direct and simple counter-attacking game, I wanted to try a more fluid approach for a change. But rather than using the preset, I opted to create my own fluid counter tactic, with the related preset serving just as an inspiration.

An instruction that is part of the fluid counter preset tactic is "Run at defense". I was stubbornly reluctant to use this TI in my tactics, not only because it can potentially disrupt your defensive shape, but also because I don't like too much dribbling and running with the ball in football. Instead, I like a quick interchange of passes, with dribbling/running with the ball being used only when there is really no better option.

However, having witnessed how nicely the Run at defence TI can work in @Rashidi's liquid 4123 system - on condition that it's used in a proper context - I decided to finally give it a try in my version of the fluid counter.

A general idea of the tactic is to provide dynamic and flowing football with a lot of movement and creativity. Which means that - among other things - you need a good number of roaming and creative roles in the system. Which further means that you need good players who are able to play that way. 

The tactic is therefore primarily meant for good teams when playing away against other good (or even top) sides. So far however, I haven't been in a position to test it in this particular type of match. Instead, I started an experimental save with West Ham - because they have players who can suit the style I want to implement - and tried the tactic in a friendly game against our youth team. It worked very nicely, and I was more than pleased with what I saw, as the players behaved exactly how I wanted/expected. However, we all know that this kind of games - in which you are likely to win anyway - aren't the best indicator of how good or bad a tactic would be when used against better opposition (and in official matches).

Anyway, I’d like to share the tactic with you here and (hopefully) receive some constructive feedback. I have to emphasize that there are actually 4 versions of the tactic. Two employ a 4141DM Wide system, and the other two a narrow 442 diamond. And both have a variant with Positive and Balanced mentality.

Here specifically I am going to show the one I used with West Ham in the aforementioned friendly (5-0 win). It’s the 4141DM Wide on Positive.

Here is the tactic fully described:

F9

IFsu                          TQ

MEZat     BBM

HB

WBsu    BPDde    CDde    WBsu

SKsu

Mentality – Positive

- much shorter passing, slightly higher tempo, play out of defence, (slightly) narrower width, work ball into box, be more expressive, pass into space, overlap right, run at defence

- counter, counter-press

- standard DL, lower LOE, use tighter marking (in this particular test-game, I did not use Get stuck in, but it’s also an option)

NOTE: I could’ve gone with the combo of higher DL and standard (or lower) LOE, but wanted to make it as “counter-attackish” as possible.

The starting 11 I used in this match and player instructions:

GK/SKsu – Adrian (only because Fabianski was injured)

DL/WBsu – Cresswell – sit narrower

DR/WBsu – Fredericks

DCL/BPDde – Ogbonna (not ideal for a BPD role, but this was an easy match)

DCR/CDde – Diop

DM/HB – Rice – mark tighter

MCL/MEZat – Wilshere – mark tighter

MCR/BBM – Obiang – mark tighter

AML/IFsu – Anderson – swap positions with Yarmolenko (AMR)

AMR/TQ – Yarmolenko

ST/F9 – Lucas

 

 

 

 

Edited by Experienced Defender

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Super interesting. How are you finding the F9 in this. I've used it a bit and found it quite good this year, especially if you think outside the box in terms of players that play the role. 

 

Am I right in thinking the Fluid COunter preset is on whatever the new name for Counter is? Was the motivation behind the change to get more expansive action from the players? 

All in all though I like it a lot. Expect you'll get a lot of goals from the Mezz and a sneaky number from the Treq. 

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21 minutes ago, beverage1982 said:

Super interesting. How are you finding the F9 in this. I've used it a bit and found it quite good this year, especially if you think outside the box in terms of players that play the role.

I like F9, one of my favorite roles (provided I have the right player). In my Man Utd save, Sanchez as an F9 is fantastic (in a narrow 442 diamond).

 

23 minutes ago, beverage1982 said:

Am I right in thinking the Fluid COunter preset is on whatever the new name for Counter is? Was the motivation behind the change to get more expansive action from the players? 

I did not use the preset in the sense of customizing it. Just took a look at it to see if there is something I could utilize as an idea. But my tactic was created from scratch.

 

25 minutes ago, beverage1982 said:

Expect you'll get a lot of goals from the Mezz and a sneaky number from the Treq

I plan to use it the Man Utd save occasionally. This WHU match was just a trial. And btw, my mezzala (Wilshere) did not score in this particular match, but provided the assist for the 1st goal (by Anderson) and was among the best players on the pitch. The trequartista (Yarmolenko) did score a goal and was declared Player of the match.

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And yes, to add on F9. Lucas played okay, had a couple of good chances, but missed them. But when Arnautovic came in as the substitution for Lucas in the 2nd half, he played very well and scored a nice header from within the 6-yard box.

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Did you actually test that tactic for a longer term yet? Or is it yet just "on paper"?

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27 minutes ago, CARRERA said:

Did you actually test that tactic for a longer term yet? Or is it yet just "on paper"?

No. As I said in the opening post, I haven't had enough time so far to test the tactic in a proper way, so I only tried it in that friendly game to see if it makes sense. And based on what I saw, it looks pretty nice. 

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2 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Mentality – Positive

- much shorter passing, slightly higher tempo, play out of defence, (slightly) narrower width, work ball into box, be more expressive, pass into space, overlap right, run at defence

- counter, counter-press

- standard DL, lower LOE, use tighter marking (in this particular test-game, I did not use Get stuck in, but it’s also an option)

Ok I'm really interested in how this will work out, Because I feel like for a "Counter" Tactic your transitions might be too slow and it will play out more like a possession based tactic. Much shorter passing, play out of defense and WBIB will slow down your play pretty much, especially as you are playing in a Fluid shape with almost no (space) attacking players.

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Just now, CARRERA said:

Ok I'm really interested in how this will work out, Because I feel like for a "Counter" Tactic your transitions might be too slow and it will play out more like a possession based tactic. Much shorter passing, play out of defense and WBIB will slow down your play pretty much, especially as you are playing in a Fluid shape with almost no (space) attacking players.

Yes, it may seem so at first glance. But it's played on a high mentality (positive), with the Be more expressive, pass into space, lower LOE and with a lot of roaming and creative roles, and of course with the Counter TI in transition to encourage the ME-triggered counter-attacks and thus speed up play whenever an opportunity for the counter is there. 

And given that this is not meant to be a plug-and-play tactic, certain tweaks are possible of course (as in all my tactics btw).

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Very happy you've started this thread, I've been attempting to get a fluid counter-attack tactic up-and-running (sparingly) for a few months now. I initially had the idea a few versions ago when researching Borussia M'Gladbach under Favre, and more recently have admired how Bournemouth have (at times) played this season. 

I like this use of Positive mentality, I think anything less aggressive than balanced won't produce the kind of football you're looking for, but I agree with CARRERA that much shorter passing and play out of defence are overkill. Play out of defence especially seems a bit counter-intuitive as defenders tend to pass the ball shorter on higher mentalities anyway. 

In terms of roles and duties, I'm wondering why you've opted for a HB? Your FB's aren't overly aggressive, and I think that role is more suited to teams playing out from the back. Personally, I'd go for Anchor, DM or DLP. 

I'm currently using a 442 but think a 4411 might be better suited, as the AM will defend deep and hopefully lead the transition into attack, but yet to try it out. Do keep me updated :thup:

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8 minutes ago, jc577 said:

much shorter passing and play out of defence are overkill. Play out of defence especially seems a bit counter-intuitive as defenders tend to pass the ball shorter on higher mentalities anyway. 

I absolutely understand what you are referring to, though bear in mind that - as I said in the OP - this tactic is meant for good (and especially top) teams, meaning it's not a typical counter-attacking tactic that just looks to defend, defend, defend... and then suddenly hit a long/direct ball upfield for a fast forward. Rather, it's intended to (counter)attack in a more sophisticated way, relying on highly capable players with good technical skills, movement and intelligence. That's one of the reasons I opted to use the POD TI, even though I agree that this particular instruction is not necessary (at least not all the time). That at the same time explains the use of HB (besides the fact that I generally like the role). 

However, it could well turn out that I will need to make some tweaks (even though in this friendly game it really worked according to my expectations).

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Posted (edited)

With one or two possession-keeping aspects to it, I think you need to clear up your definition of both fluid and counter.  The tactic looks alright but as per feedback you're already getting about playing from the back, working into box, holding up the ball with overlaps and sending attacks through a playmaker there are hints of it only be counterattacking by name and ticking that transition option.  What are passing stats and possession stats like?

Edited by Robson 07

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I will be interested to see how it goes with the F9 playing up top with the counter. He will be nice for the side of the game that is not counter attacking. I typically have found that having a more attacking front man (in terms of his starting position when you transition from defense to attack) is really nice for counter attacking against better teams. Having at least one option higher up the pitch when you regain possession is important to being able to trigger a counter attack in the game.

13 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

much shorter passing, slightly higher tempo, play out of defence, (slightly) narrower width, work ball into box, be more expressive, pass into space, overlap right, run at defence

The two things I have highlighted here are not things I would generally think of as being conducive to counter attacking. In fact you make the distinction between direct and fluid counter attacks. I would argue all counter attacking football is direct. The ball moves from back to front of your team very quickly for a counter attack to work. Play out of defense actively inhibits counter attacks, because players will look to build from the back, not get the ball forward. It stops the fast transition that is associated with a counter. This will be accentuated by much shorter passing, and not entirely offset by having a higher tempo. I think I know what you want to do with this. You want to have elements of controlled play alongside the counter attacking. I think this probably errs towards possession more than it does counter attacking.

The other thing I think you are perhaps trying to generate here is a pressing trap, where you draw in the opposition (most of the top sides will press you pretty hard) and then bypass most of their side with a single ball. In my experience, play of out defense does not work so well for that, for the same reasons as outlined above. What does work much better is specific instructions for your 'keeper. Telling him to give the ball to defenders and fullbacks. So you still start by working the ball from the back. Then remove the play out of defense and let the players decide what they want to do with the ball. I often find the bull backs get into pockets of space behind the press and are able to either build an attack or initiate a counter attack simply by taking out most of the AI and forcing them transition to a good defensive shape again. This would also work well with the "run at defense" instruction, since your players would tend to get the ball deep with space to run at.

The other thing I would worry about is getting caught on the break yourself. Your midfield is very mobile, and everyone is leaving the central area in some respect during the attacking phase. You may get caught out in the scramble defense you have while your midfield sorts itself out. This should be offset somewhat by having a HB. But he will start quite deep when you lose the ball, and a striker could easily drop into midfield space which everyone has vacated. I'd definitely use a HB when playing against a front 2 (it is nice to have 3v2 at the back, I usually do this by making a FB more defensive). Against 1 man attacks, or against teams with midfielders who keep getting lost in that space, Id actually use a DM(D) or AM(D). Push them into that space to make it smaller. Give someone who can engage the opposition earlier (gives your players more time to get back and help out, and the AI less time to do something dangerous). He will also act as more of a pivot - someone who can just help recycle the ball when you have it and are building a non counter attacking attack phase. It might be nice to have that stability since you want your front 5 to have a bunch of movement to create space for each other. A DMC can become a unheralded rock who does simple passes.

 

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5 hours ago, sporadicsmiles said:

I think I know what you want to do with this. You want to have elements of controlled play alongside the counter attacking. I think this probably errs towards possession more than it does counter attacking

Spot on :thup:

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

What are passing stats and possession stats like?

So far I've tried the tactic - i.e. two versions of it - only in two friendly games, and in both possession stats were around 50%. Passing accuracy was around 85%.

 

15 hours ago, Robson 07 said:

With one or two possession-keeping aspects to it, I think you need to clear up your definition of both fluid and counter.  The tactic looks alright but as per feedback you're already getting about playing from the back, working into box, holding up the ball with overlaps and sending attacks through a playmaker there are hints of it only be counterattacking by name and ticking that transition option

All this makes perfect sense - as well as observations made by others - and I'll take it into account when making tweaks in the proces :thup:

Btw, when it comes to the very counter-attacks, they are absolutely stunning, and definitely more so than in standard counter tactics I've been using so far. This was especially the case in the narrow 442 diamond version, which I tested earlier today. Movement of players and interchange of passes during counters was a joy to behold. Interestingly, in one of our counter-attacks that led to a goal, it was the AF who initiated the counter, whereas the F9 finished it. More precisely, it was actually initiated by a defender who quickly passed the ball to the AF on the left flank near the half-way line, he ran with the ball a few yards forward, then passed it diagonally into space for the TQ, who immediately played a beautiful killer ball for the onrushing F9 for a lethal finish by a first-time shoot.

Edited by Experienced Defender

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21 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

this tactic is meant for good (and especially top) teams

I honestly doubt this tactic will work for top teams, especially if you play against weaker sides. Maybe on CL matches where you face Liverpool, Barca or whatever as a slightly "lower side". There is actually not enough penetration either from runs or passes that could break a defense down. I know its not meant to, but where will you be using it? If you play ManUtd or whatever Top Team, there will be just a very few matches where this could actually work. Also i made the experience that on test games basicly everything works. Dunno why this is tho, but it seems like your own players do take the match way more seriously then the Ai does. It could be nice tho to surprise an even better side.

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32 minutes ago, CARRERA said:

I honestly doubt this tactic will work for top teams, especially if you play against weaker sides

Not against weaker sides of course. I already explained in the opening post:

 

On 19/05/2019 at 20:11, Experienced Defender said:

The tactic is therefore primarily meant for good teams when playing away against other good (or even top) sides

 

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Am I right in saying that counters are triggered "automatically" as in previous versions of FM? If so I'd ask if you really need pass into space and be more expressive team instructions, since when you are not countering you want to take a more patient possession based approach. Apart from that maybe swap the mezzala and bbm around to create more of an overload down the right

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I think this tactic is sneaky-aggressive. If anything, it is much more of a tactic that opens you to counters than it is one that will create counters for you. The two WB(s), the Mz(a) and the BBM(s) are not playing with a major focus on defensive positioning, which is what one would assume is necessary to be a counterattacking team. You really only have three of ten players being cautious and no one on the flanks focused on defending.

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10 hours ago, >LJ< said:

Am I right in saying that counters are triggered "automatically" as in previous versions of FM?

Yes, they are automatically triggered (and additionally encouraged if you use the Counter TI in transition).

 

10 hours ago, >LJ< said:

If so I'd ask if you really need pass into space and be more expressive team instructions, since when you are not countering you want to take a more patient possession based approach

Not a patient possession approach. Rather a progressive way of attacking when in possession. 

 

9 hours ago, Overmars said:

The two WB(s), the Mz(a) and the BBM(s) are not playing with a major focus on defensive positioning, which is what one would assume is necessary to be a counterattacking team. You really only have three of ten players being cautious and no one on the flanks focused on defending.

BBM (as a role) is as much focused on defending as on attacking. WB on support is primarily a defender, though more attack-minded than a standard FB. Only mezzala is predominantly an "attacking" role, but even he participates in defending. Of course, player attributes play an important part here, so they also have to be taken into account. Finally, bear in mind that I created this particular tactic for top teams, which can afford to defend in a more proactive way than weaker or average sides.

 

10 hours ago, >LJ< said:

maybe swap the mezzala and bbm around to create more of an overload down the right

I am not aiming for an overload in this tactic. I look to have balanced play in all areas of the pitch. So I very intentionally put the attacking mezzala on the opposite side from the TQ.

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Il 19/5/2019 in 18:11 , Experienced Defender ha scritto:

Here is the tactic fully described:

F9

IFsu                          TQ

MEZat     BBM

HB

WBsu    BPDde    CDde    WBsu

SKsu

Mentality – Positive 

- much shorter passing, slightly higher tempo, play out of defence, (slightly) narrower width, work ball into box, be more expressive, pass into space, overlap right, run at defence

- counter, counter-press 

- standard DL, lower LOE, use tighter marking (in this particular test-game, I did not use Get stuck in, but it’s also an option) 

I wanted to ask you why you have decreased the width of the attack, this is one of those team instructions that I never know how to handle so if you explain the reason behind this choice in this case and if you also want to talk about it more generally I think it would be useful not only for me but also for many others.

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4 minutes ago, sovy666 said:

I wanted to ask you why you have decreased the width of the attack, this is one of those team instructions that I never know how to handle so if you explain the reason behind this choice in this case and if you also want to talk about it more generally I think it would be useful not only for me but also for many others.

Three reasons:

1. to make players be positioned more close to one another in the context of the much shorter passing, run at defence and pass into space team instructions, so that they can better support such kind of interplay

2. to somewhat mitigate the potential effect of having a high number of roaming and creative roles, which on the other hand are needed for this (fluid) style of play to work properly

3. on positive mentality the attacking width is already relatively wide by default. But when I use this tactic on balanced mentality and/or with the narrow 442 diamond formation, I leave attacking width on default (which is standard on Balanced, and fairly wide on Positive)

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On ‎19‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 19:11, Experienced Defender said:

I never use preset tactics, though I did browse through all of them just out of interest. As a fan of counter-attacking football - as opposed to possession-based styles - I was especially curious to see how the game set up the two related presets - direct and fluid counter(s) respectively. 

Now, as I usually play a rather direct and simple counter-attacking game, I wanted to try a more fluid approach for a change. But rather than using the preset, I opted to create my own fluid counter tactic, with the related preset serving just as an inspiration.

 

On ‎20‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 00:18, Robson 07 said:

I think you need to clear up your definition of both fluid and counter.

What I mean is that both the game's built-in presets that you can choose and you mention, both play on a cautious mentality.  The in-game fluid counter version also uses six outfield roles on a support duty and the team intensity is defined as Fluid.  It is literally fluid counter-attack as described.

Your version uses a positive mentality; has five outfield support duties.  In the same literal sense it is flexible control-attack.

To that end I think you are missing the point and are interpreting things in your own way (which is absolutely fine) but have modified something into a different system and have then given it a confusing label.

While we are here the comparison between a direct counter and a fluid counter is quite interesting.  Put the defence to one side for a moment.  In the direct version I think you should be after using a defend role at  deepest point of midfield i.e. the DM and an attack duty role as the most advanced attacker.  It creates maximum vertical space from midfield axis to furthest point in attack.  Then use direct passing to cover this stretched space.

In a fluid version I think it interesting to consider using support roles at DM and Striker (as part of that overall fluid team shape) to shorten the formation and then use short passing to circulate the ball.

However.  There is though one slight problem and that is in a truly fluid system the team needs to be in possession for a long time to allow the fluidity (player movement) to take place.  This is why fluidity and possession are linked.  So finally in that sense you could say the whole thing is something of a mute point because counterattacks require the opposition having the majority of play and fluid systems require possession.  In that way the two things are oil and water and we should call the whole thing off, lol.

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