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Young Devils - Home of Bielsa, Total Football and Brazilian Magic Box (Man Utd FM20 Experiment)

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I first published this over at https://dictatethegame.com/2019/11/04/young-devils-manchester-united-fm-2020-guide/

So if you wish to see it in its original version and formatting then please visit the blog. I'm posting it here to generate a discussion about my two favourite topics Bielsa's tactical style and philosophy, youth development, Manchester United wonderkids and in general tactical experimentation in FM20 (especially around the role of enganche). Cheers!

 

Young Devils – Manchester United FM20 Guide

As promised, I start this FM20 series with the comprehensive guide to my chosen club, Manchester United. Although it was started in Beta, I intend to update the player profiles (and injuries) to reflect the full release data. So be sure to check back on Nov 19! I hope you find this guide useful, especially if you are starting your FM20 career at Old Trafford. Red Devils are a great team with a lot of potential which should nevertheless provide a challenge even to seasoned managers. After all, the challenge is in figuring out the strengths of each player and how to best use them. For this reason, I am including attribute screenshots (simply click on player’s name in bold) for all the players discussed in this guide. So let us see what United has to offer in FM20!

I have to say it upfront. I am very excited to play with this Manchester United squad in FM20. Not the NSFW kind of excited but still as ecstatic as one can get for a bunch of stats on a computer screen. It is probably the youngest Red Devil squad that I have seen in the last decade. And one that I have not been this thrilled to manage since the FM14 days. And United had young Shrek playing for them then!

Rooney as Shrek

So yeah, it is quite brilliant! Solskjær did a much needed cleaning during the summer. The team has been revitalized as some of the deadwood was offloaded (there is no “i” in teamwork, Alexis). The average age of the squad is a mere 26 now, with only a few key players older than that and plenty who are much younger. Undoubtedly, it is a smaller team than it was last year, more lean and tactically focused. Which makes my job that much easier when starting out.

I support the notion that you should develop a tactical system that best suits your players, and not vice verse. I put a lot of emphasis in my last article on recreating Bielsa’s famous 3-3-1-3 tactic. With this goal in mind (and not completely blind to the irony) I chose United because of the strength of its squad and its overall suitability to this style.

lineup-1-1.thumb.png.45d57dde3ae908b96eaaf68edf17469c.png

When visualizing my tactics, I like to use the old English numbering convention to see who has what role. As example using #7 to nominate the right winger and #10 the advanced playmaker. So the numbers I will give players in this guide might be different from their real world numbers.

Attack

  • JPG_1571146808838.jpg11 -Anthony Martial, 23 y.o
  • JPG_1571147347988-1.jpg9 – Marcus Rashford, 21 y.o
  • JPG_1571192799438.jpg7 – Jesse Lingard, 26 y.o

So from left to right, here are my first choice attackers.

Anthony Martial – now that Sanchez is out, Martial solidified his spot as our top wide attacker. Perhaps he has not reached his early hype of being the next Thierry Henry (hello Mbappe!), Anthony is still an exceptional player. As quick and physically strong as he is technical. Can easily lead the line as the central striker but his quickness and dribbling are of better service to us on the left flank. Unless you begin in early preseason, Martial will start with with 2-3 months long injury.

Marcus Rashford – England’s young superstar. It says something that at tender age of 21, he already made 36 national appearances. The 21-year-old has the potential to be one of the best strikers in the game. The departure of Lukaku can allow him to flourish as the primary all-out striker. Similarly to Martial, he is comfortable on either wing. But to get his full potential, I would play him up front as the primary striker. Unlike Martial, who is already close to his peak, Rashford still has some growing to do. You just need to “water” him with lots of game time. His attributes suggest that he can develop into a well-rounded complete striker.

 
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Jesse Lingard – exemplary team player who is both mentally strong and intelligent. I would say he is the English equivalent of Thomas Muller. Hence he plays best on the wing, drifting around to find space. Lingard is one of Premier League’s best off-the-ball runners and is a master at getting into dangerous poaching positions. If only his finishing and technical abilities were better he would be world-class player. Luckily, he makes up for his lack of raw talent with unbridled energy, determination and work-rate.

Daniel James runningHow fast can aWelshman run? Only one way to find out. Hopefully he will be the next Bale

Daniel James – one of the big summer signings at Old Trafford. With Martial injured for almost 3 months, he will be playing a much more important role than was expected. He is all-out winger who is surprisingly fast and technical for his age, although he has to work on the mental side of his game. Daniel should be irreplaceable on the left wing with Martial injured. Once the Frenchman is back, the speedy youngster is your first go-to choice as a sub on either flank. As he gets better I expect him to start competing with Lingard for his spot in the first team.

Midfield

  • JPG_1571271489568-1.jpg10 – Juan Mata, 31 y.o
  • JPG_1571271674614-1-1.jpg8 – Paul Pogba, 26 y.o
  • JPG_1571271692549.jpg4 – Nemanja Matić, 30 y.o

Juan Mata – has aged like fine Castilian wine. In his youth he was a much more attacking player, often cutting inside from the right wing. This allowed his to register 12 league goals with Chelsea in one season. Now he makes up for a lack of pace with his exquisite first touch, technique, passing and vision. While possessing good enough finishing, composure and agility to be dangerous in attack. In FM20, it is time for him to move into a more static enganche role. Yet static does not mean useless. With less attacking responsibilities, Mata can focus his creativity on assisting others. In this role he can act as an offensive pivot for players to move around. Expect to see more from me in the future about using this interesting role.

Nemanja Matić – another veteran midfielder who like Mata came over from Chelsea during Mourinho’s era. There are good reasons why Jose wanted both the smooth-passing Spaniard and the tough Serb on his squad. Firstly, both Matić and Mata played key roles in Mourinho-managed Chelsea between 2013 and 2016. Secontly, Matić is the perfect foil to Mata. Whereas Mata is the offensive pivot, the Serb is the equivalent defensive pivot. Often used as a holding anchor, screening the defence while providing cover for his more offensive midfield partner.

Paul Pogba – star player, needs no introduction. He is just Pogba. A name suggesting of talent of epic proportions and expectations. After solidifying his world-class status in Italy, he has yet to show what he is fully capable of at his old home. I am not going to go as far as some to claim that his €105 million price tag wasn’t justified in the last three seasons. Judging from his performances for Juve, it probably was. But I still believe that Pogba is capable of much more. A manager just needs to use him in the right system to take advantage of his famous penchant for spectacular. In my tactic, I expect him to be the roaming, dynamic link between the two stationary pivots of Mata and Matić.

  • JPG_1571271643867.jpgAndreas Pereira, 23 y.o
  • JPG_1571272341768.jpgFred, 26 y.o
  • JPG_1572102438277-1.jpgScott McTominay, 22 y.o

My two rotation/sub options in the midfield are Andreas Pereira and Fred. Andreas Pereira is poised to capitalize on the progress he made last season on breaking into the first team. While Pereira will never be our main #10 playmaker, he will be an excellent backup to whoever (Gomes?) will ultimately take up the talismanic enganche mantle from Mata. So while aging Mata is still my first choice for the enganche, I expect Pereira to be his cover and help him stay fit all season.

Fred – Mr.Versatility. The Brazilian did not have the best of starts at Old Trafford. While many fans called for his exit, I actually liked what he brought to the squad as an impact sub. A true jack of all trades, Fred does not especially excel in attack nor defence. But as a sub he is invaluable in how you can slot him in any position in the midfield or on the wings. If healthy, he should always be on a bench for you.

Scott McTominay – definitely a breakout year for the tough Scotsman. He is 22, going on 23, and if he does not show that he cut it as tough holding midfielder then I do not think he will ever be a United player. Like Fred, Scott’s clear advantage is his versatility. So while he might not develop into the next Matic, he could fill in the central defender spot in a pinch due to his strong build and defensive skillset. I originally included him in the defender section before realizing that I had too many.

Defence

  • JPG_1572102420645.jpg5 – Victor Lindelof , 25 y.o
  • JPG_1572102047963.jpg6 – Harry Maguire, 26 y.o

Harry Maguire – newcomer and world’s most expensive defender. With the price-tag of £80 million, he comes with immense expectations. But is Harry actually worth the price of a luxury ship? Maybe. Maguire is a rare, in-demand commodity, a defender who is comfortable bringing the ball out of defence and making long passes. Its why players like Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt are among the most wanted centre-backs. After-all Juventus paid £75 million for Matthijs de Ligt. While United lost out on both of them, they acquired Maguire and he is in the similar mold. He is very technical smooth passing defender. He even shares two PPMs with van Dijk: “brings ball out of defence” and “tries long range passes”. Add Maguire’s traits of switching ball and running through centre and you got yourself a fine libero playmaker for any system that relies on playing out of the back.

Victor Lindelof – another smooth-passer in the similar mold to Maguire but sans PPMs and much faster. So those who like the Cover-Stopper combination, can set Maguire as the Stopper and have Lindelof cover any missed balls or fast breakthroughs. Honestly it is one of my favourite partnerships in the the game. With defenders like Maguire and Lindelof, United can become a real force in playing out from the back. This perfectly suits my plan of emulating Bielsa who always prized technical defenders who pass the ball around rather than hoofing it.

My subs in defence are Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones:

  • JPG_1572102160631-2.jpgEric Bailly, 25 y.o
  • JPG_1572821675585.jpgAxel Tuanzebe, 21 y.o
  • JPG_1572807713325.jpgPhil Jones, 27 y.o

Eric Bailly – a decent substitute defender. He is surprisingly fast for such a strong defender. Although his middling composure and concentration will prevent him from being my starter. If you start after early preseason, he is injured (5-6 months).

Axel Tuanzebe – my number one sub option. Mentally he is already better than Bailly and Jones, especially in the composure department. Axel’s physical and technical game will catch up as long as I play him often. He is only 21 y.o so should develop into a key defender for the team. Especially if tutored by Bailly and Jones.

Phil Jones – another veteran on the team as he is already on his 9th season with the Devils. Of the current players, only Ashley Young and David De Gea wore red and whites for nine seasons in a row. He starts transfer listed but it will be hard to get rid of the old stalwart Phil. Once famed for his powerful build, he is still quite sturdy if more injury prone. I do not foresee playing him more than as an sub for important games. His experience will be invaluable tutoring young Tuanzebe.

Wingbacks/Defensive Wingers

  • JPG_1572807513224.jpgAaron Wan-Bissaka, 21 y.o
  • JPG_1572807645394.jpgDiogo Dalot, 20 y.o
  • JPG_1572839215342.jpg#3 – Luke Shaw, 23 y.o

Luke Shaw – our current best wingback. While he appears balanced in both attack and defence, his lack of crossing holds him back from being complete in this role. I expect him to move into a substitute role as Wan-Bissaka and Dalot improve.

Ashley Young – our captain and at 34 y.o not so young anymore. Appears to still be a fine attacking fullback despite his age. On paper that is his attributes look more than good enough to fill this demanding role. Expect his fitness to drop throughout the season. So that acceleration and pace might easily go down 2-3 notches in a season. Known as a highly versatile, adaptable player (moving from winger and forward to defender), one cannot blame him for aging. I will be happy to get one more season out of this magnificent veteran. It makes it doubly important that the following two youngsters learn well from him this season to fill in those big shoes.

Ashley Young in actionAshley Young (pictured), Phil Jones and David De Gea were among the last players acquired by Ser Alex Ferguson

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot are the future of the team in the wingback department. Both are very similar in their attributes, with Bissaka perhaps holding a slight edge due to his defensive capability (that 18 in tackling!). Give them as much game-time as possible and you will have two world-beaters in a year or two.

Goalkeepers

  • JPG_1572821982104.jpg#1 – David De Gea, 28 y.o
  • JPG_1572822025527.jpgSergio Romero, 32 y.o

David De Gea – in my opinion hands down the world’s best goalkeeper and team’s second star player after Pogba He has a cabinet stocked with two Europa trophies, one Premier League, one each of FA Cup and League Cup. More recently, De Gea has been in the PFA Team of the Year four years in a row. Ederson has won that honour in 2019. I still believe that De Gea is the better goalkeeper if you are looking for a traditional keeper to lock down your box and throw away the key. He might not be one to rush out and start plays from the back like Neuer or Lloris, but his Reflexes, Handling and Agility are unmatched. These attributes are really all you need in a keeper, as long as he can pass short to the more creative defender.

Sergio Romero – a decent backup but inferior to De Gea in all the key areas. Basically unless De Gea is injured or resting, there is no reason you should be using Romero. With De Gea being 28 y.o, United are set in the keeper department for at least another 8 years. And seeing how Romero’s contract runs out in 2021, I would not look for a younger backup until the summer of 2021.

Young Devils – Four Understudies on the 1st Team

Angel Gomes, James Garner, Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong sitting on a bench.From Left to Right: Gomes, Garner, Greenwod and Chong. Three Gs and one C – the future of United personified

In accord with my save goal of developing youth, I decided to introduce four teenagers into the first team squad. Even before I had access to the game, I knew which ones I was going to choose. The quartet of Gomes, Garner, Greenwood and Chong. All four are considered wonderkids, have been lighting up U23 team so far this season and have been getting considerable media attention as a result.

Mason Greenwood running

While Pogba is United’s current worldclass star, Mason Greenwood (17 y.o) is the starlet in the making. He is the kind of player who, if played consistently, could your club-defining player. Beckham for the new era. No kidding, this kid will be amazing. Labelled by Solskjær as the best finisher he has seen, Greenwood definitely has the weight of expectations on his shoulders. And this kid has a lot to live up to. Its rare you see such technical skill and composure in a 17 year old.

Mason Greenwood attributes in FM2020

Angel Gomes (18 y.o) was brilliant in FM19 where he tended to develop into a great little playmaker. Looks like he got even better in 2020 version. He has been compared to Ronaldinho due to his dribbling, composure and creativity.

Angel Gomes dribbling

Gomes’ size is actually an advantage as it gives him low centre of gravity, an important trait of all great enganches. In many ways Angel is like Paul Scholes, sans his defensive strength. While small he is difficult to get off the ball, sees the play seconds before others and can dictate a game with his intelligence. As I expect him to take over Mata’s playmaker mantle, he will be my main sub in #10 position.

James Garner running

James Garner (18 y.o) – if Gomes draws comparisons to Scholes then Garner could be the next Michael Carrick. He is a raw talent but has the offensive and defensive discipline to shine in the deep playmaker anchoring role occupied by Matić currently.

Tahith Chong running

Tahith Chong – at 19 y.o is the oldest of my Young Devils but similarly with plenty of potential to develop into a star winger. Early in his career he started out as a classic throwback winger, hugging the touchline and showing off his speed and tricks as he zoomed up and down the flank. Quiet shocking in someone so tall and slim. And this kid can really move! Since then Chong has become much more comfortable at playing on both flanks and cutting inside from the right.

So that is it for the current crop of Manchester United players. I will be taking all 25 players mentioned above on my first ever campaign with the Red Devils in Football Manager 2020. Players that I did not mention won’t be included. They are Sanchez, Smalling and Henderson and start the season loaned out. Our 3rd goalkeeper Lee Grant is inferior to Romero and hopefully we will not need his services. Timothy Fosu-Mensah (slightly worse than Tuenzebe) would be a good loan option but starts with a 2-3 months injury.

Hope you enjoyed this little guide and continue to follow the Young Devils series as it develops and the wonderkids go from U23 to Champions League glory!

Football Manager 2020 Story Young Devils

Feel free to follow and like us @ Dictate The Game’s Facebook and Dictate The Game’s Twitter

 

 

lineup-1-1.png

Edited by crusadertsar

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mate- incredible effort, 100% will follow.

ive posted it in the beta feedback just now- apparently the ability to sign good players but at low cost is under investigation.

just thought you should know

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6 minutes ago, pizzachips said:

mate- incredible effort, 100% will follow.

ive posted it in the beta feedback just now- apparently the ability to sign good players but at low cost is under investigation.

just thought you should know

Awesome, thank you! Also appreciate the advise mate ;) But I dont think I will officially start the simulation until the full release. Hence will be updating all the attribute profiles with full release

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Looking forward to this! Do you have the links to the sources you have/will be using to create the tactic? I’m looking for inspiration with United So May attempt this myself :D

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9 minutes ago, jc577 said:

Looking forward to this! Do you have the links to the sources you have/will be using to create the tactic? I’m looking for inspiration with United So May attempt this myself :D

Always TIFO :) My main inspiration 

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10 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

Always TIFO :) My main inspiration 

Thanks, the ‘hard-work’ starts now :D

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Very optimistic appraisal of the United squad  ;)

 

Either way, looking forward to how you do! Your shape and setup is quite similar to my Bielsa tactic from last year so I'm intriqued as to what direction you take it.

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Lingard should hire you to do PR for his failing fashion brand. 

"the English equivalent of Thomas Muller" lmao

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6 minutes ago, swansongs said:

Lingard should hire you to do PR for his failing fashion brand. 

"the English equivalent of Thomas Muller" lmao

Hey i didn't say he was better than Muller 😄 England doesn't really have many Raumdeuters

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7 hours ago, carloshcorbalan said:

Esperamos atentos el desarrollo táctico - estratégico de Marcelo Bielsa...:thup:

Grazias! I will write something tactical very soon  :cool: :onmehead:

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7 hours ago, yellowforever said:

Very optimistic appraisal of the United squad  ;)

 

Either way, looking forward to how you do! Your shape and setup is quite similar to my Bielsa tactic from last year so I'm intriqued as to what direction you take it.

Thanks! Did you use two centrebacks and a dm too or three defender version? I see alot of Bielsa tactics with three in the back but not that many with the two defenders. I'm essentially trying to make the DM play deep like a third CB but at the same time providing more better link with midfield like an anchorman. 

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Nice write up. I started playing with Leeds but using a 4231 formation.

I might tinker with it or create a second in that style. For Leeds, they are very short on Central Defenders, so the "halfback" (DM) variant seems the way to go there.

Also, you are using the ML/R or WBL/R positions for the secondary wingers?

Again, for Leeds, it seems they are more suited to the WBL/R position at the moment. Also, the loan of Nketiah, who is smaller and faster doesn't seem to fit the Target Man style for Leeds.

 

 

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I went for the half back over a third CB for a few reasons, including the ones you mentioned. Also it relatively closely resembles how Leeds played at the start of last season (when I made it), with Kalvin Phillips at HB, Klich as a RPM and Saiz as a AM (A).

 

I like that you're using an enganche, I could never get him to work well but if you can then all power to you. I also did a similar thing with the wingers and PPMs, I think you're on the right path there to creating an accurate adaptation of Bielsa's style. I'd be interested to see whether an IW with stay wider might do the job?

 

Anyway, I'll be following this with great interest. Good luck.

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@tyro I'm starting to gravitate more towards WBL position because I don't think true defensive wingers will give me enough cover in the back, especially seeing how offensive i want the rest of the formation to be.

@yellowforever Thanks! And to make it even more true to Bielsa style i might try using inverted wingbacks with iws infront of then told to stay wide and switch positions constantly.

Edited by crusadertsar

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Yep. I have to say that the shape works really well with the IWBs, creates some neat and tidy triangles with the RPM and the wide players.

Any thoughts on the TIs? Getting the balance between playing wide and direct with possession is never easy.

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10 hours ago, yellowforever said:

Yep. I have to say that the shape works really well with the IWBs, creates some neat and tidy triangles with the RPM and the wide players.

Any thoughts on the TIs? Getting the balance between playing wide and direct with possession is never easy.

I actually want TIs to be minimal. Something that I tried last year with PPMs and player roles. Theres so much hardcoded into those two game mechanics that sometimes having too many TIs at the same time just confuses everything. So I will probably be starting out with a blank slate using positive (or maybe even attacking) mentality. First see how my chosen combinations of roles work. Tweak the roles if need be. But only carefully add specific TIs if I see the tactic is not working as I wish. 

Edited by crusadertsar

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JPG_1572150837400-1.jpg?fit=758%2C477&ssl=1

Recreating Bielsa’s 3-3-1-3 tactic has always been my football manager dream. I had some success in previous years but the tactics never worked exactly as planned. Halfbacks not working, wingbacks not advancing enough, too many crosses. In short, I could not recreate Bielsa’s ideas to my satisfaction. With FM20 and an improved match engine, I’m hoping to finally do it in my Man Utd project.

Previosly on Young Devils Series:

 

 
“I only believe in Plan A. Plan B is to get Plan A to work.” – Marcelo Bielsa

Introducing the System

It is beautiful to watch, when a side managed by the famous Argentinean and fully schooled in his tactical philosophy is playing at its top form. Players in front of the back three swapping positions between each other. Wingbacks underlapping and pushing into midfield to make that formidable six-pronged attack. Total havoc on the defending side as one of its flanks gets overloaded. Its very high risk, high reward strategy. But when it works, it’s like no other. This article is my attempt to break down Bielsa’s magic formula into it’s working components and show how you can apply it with almost any midlevel team.

I will just drop a link to video compilation of some real game examples what Bielsa is crafting with Leeds. Sometimes reading about his genius is not enough. Just a little reminder, you are watching a team in the Championship, 2nd Division League playing beautiful controlled possession, vertical tiki-taka football.                                                            

 

Marcelo Bielsa has become famous for using a fluid, versatile 3-3-1-3 system. When playing in this shape, he puts utmost confidence in his players. He allows them enough freedom to roam around and switch positions with teammates. This is because Bielsa wants his players to use their mobility to overload the opposition in key areas. It’s an idea that has been lauded and emulated by Pep Guardiola, probably Bielsa’s biggest fan and pupil.

Bielsa’s system is direct, attacking approach that nevertheless allows Bielsa’s teams to maintain possession at high tempo. Bielsa is living proof that you can play direct attacking football while maintaining possession. No hoofball antics here. Of course its all rather technical, so having excellent personnel is a must if you are to pull it off consistently.

I will be making some modifications to the “classic” Bielsa 3-3-1-3. This is partly to reflect how he set up Leeds last year. On paper it looked like 4-1-4-1. But once in possession it morphed into the more familiar shape, with one defensive midfielder staying deep (making up the back 3) to create a link with the high defensive line. The other midfielder acts as a more dynamic roaming support to the widemen and enganche. The widemen split wide, flanking the striker and forming the front 3.

Bielsa Tactical Formula – Summary:

3313-Shape.png?ssl=1

 
  • Relentless Pressing – trying to cause turnovers and quickly win the ball back.
  • Rapid Counter-attacks – taking advantage of the turnover immediately.
  • Passing quickly, directly and verticaly while still playing possession football.
  • Position swapping – wide attackers must be flexible and ready to swap sides.
  • Overloads – using positional swapping and mobility to cause dynamic overloads through the course of the game.
  • Inverted Wingbacks supporting the deeplying midfielder and providing more defensive structure.
  • Enganche – creative pivot (“hook”) between the midfield and inverted. wingbacks and the front three (striker and two advanced wingers).
  • The Front Three – striker and two advanced wingers provide necessary width.

The three pillars of Bielsa system are hard pressing, unrestrained attacking and fast transitions. All three make for very exciting style of play. But it puts a hard strain on the defensive line. Thus his signature 3-3-1-3 formation consists of three defenders (or two defenders and one defensive midfielder). The defensive side is where Bielsa’s formations tend to get a little complicated although his reasoning is easy to follow.

Bielsa believes obsessively in always having one more defender than the number of opposition strikers. Thus his sides regularly switch between three in the back (against two forwards) and a two centrebacks against a lone striker. But whether there are three or two defenders, the rest of the formation is set up similarly. The three in the back are backed by inverted wingbacks, followed by the creative hook of an enganche.

It’s the defensive shield of inverted wingbacks that allows Bielsa’s sides to attack with such aplomb. The inevitably attack starts with the enganche who feeds the front line of central striker and the two wide attackers. In turn, these three are given a lot of freedom. At different times they act like poachers, wingers or even pressing forwards, stretching or compressing the front line.

With FM20 I am going to try something different when it comes to tactics. I am going to avoid focusing too much on setting up my team instructions. In the past, I found that when trying to recreate a specific style or a famous tactic, I would get bogged down in the details. Focusing on which specific tactical shout to use led to inordinate amount of tactical fiddling, trying to get it just right. This year, I am planning to again stress the minimalist approach to football manager tactics.

Players, Roles and Partnerships

JPG_1573227967300.jpg

“If football was played by robots, I’d win everything.” – Marcelo Bielsa

Some of you might remember two late articles I did for FM19. In the first I explained how to create overloads by using roles and duties alone. The second was about achieving controlled possession through the use of player traits. Although at the time I didn’t completely abandon team instructions. My approach was to only use them sparingly when there was no other way to achieve the required tactical outcome in the game. To this effect I was quite successful with AS Roma.

Once again with Man Utd in FM20 I will try something similar. As I test the tactic I will start out with just simple combinations of player roles to achieve a specific style of football. Also, I can’t forget about the importance of player preferred moves as a few key players with the right PPM can really make or break a tactic.

Bielsa is almost obsessive in his attention to detail. So there is no doubt that he gives a lot of thought to the role of each player. Likewise in Football Manager it is vital to think of tactics as collections of roles. But more importantly combinations of complimentary roles. These partnerships will make up the tactic. When you have your players working well together then you are already half-way to crafting the style of play you want.

Anchorman + Segundo Volante

Untitled4.pngAt Leeds this partnership was most excellently represented by Kalvin Phillips and Mateusz Klich. There Phillips was the Anchorman and Klich, Segundo Volante. As discussed above, the Anchorman has the important job of maintaining and recycling possession. He has the option of sending it back to the defenders, to wingbacks or to his more adventurous midfield partner. This partner, segundo volante, has the doubly important task of carrying the ball during the transition and attack. He can similarly pass it to the inverted wingbacks or send it up to the wide attackers or enganche.

The two roles compliment each other perfectly in defensive stability and attacking movement. It is important to choose one player who is very solid in defensive positioning to be the anchorman. The anchorman has to be a hard tackler, with excellent positioning and strength. He has to be able to disrupt the flow of opponent’s attack before it can get to the defence. The segundo volante on the other hand needs to excel in both off the ball movement and passing.

 

Untitled.png

 

The segundo volante/anchorman is a classic partnership in Argentinian football, and it’s even suggested by segundo volante’s role description. Another combo that I think would work very well here is anchorman paired with roaming playmaker. I expect testing the tactic in the coming weeks will show which is the more effective.

Centreback (Cover) + Centerback (Stopper)

Untitled2-1.png

With the hard-tackling anchorman positioned in front of it, the defence acts as a stopper cover combination. If the opposition bypasses the anchorman then one of the centrebacks has to push forward and close the gap immediately. In the pair, this is usually the older, more experienced and technical player. With high technical attributes like tackling and mentals like positioning, he should stop most attackers. The covering centreback will drop behind and intercept any through balls and quick enemy strikers. He should always be your fastest defender, and one with the best anticipation.

Inverted Wingback + Inverted Winger

Untitled3.png

When I first set out to emulate Bielsa’s iconic 3-3-1-3 system in Football Manager 2020, I did not have all the roles figured out. I was experimenting in FM19 and looking at it with that version’s player roles in mind. While the striker and midfield were more or less clear, the wide advanced roles had me stumped. Neither inside forwards nor wingers seemed to do everything I needed. As mentioned above, Bielsa’s tactics demand a highly specialized and versatile role in that position. Firstly, you need someone who will push wide to stretch the opposition defence. But also he needs to know when to cut inside, helping to create an overload. When placed in front of the inverted wingbacks, inverted wingers can really shine.

In combination with wingers who at times go wide, the inverted wingbacks can stay centrally. There they can offer support to the midfield and allow the team to keep possession in the central areas, making it less vulnerable to counter-attacks. Bielsa was one of the inventors of inverted wingbacks. Even before Pep made it trendy, Bielsa was using Arturo Vidal in that role for Chile. Vidal, a natural midfielder, would carry the ball into central areas and help the midfield win possession back. Also, with the aid of inverted wingbacks, we should have some neat passing triangles between the defence and attack. The aim is always to move the ball via fast, vertical passes from the defence to the enganche.

Seeing the bigger picture

tactics.png?fit=662%2C432&ssl=1

These are the two general shapes that I am gravitating towards. At the moment I’m undecided between rpm and segundo volante as the partner for the anchorman. With rpm I like how he can leave more space for inverted wingbacks to move centrally, creating nice passing triangles. While the segundo volante will be able to move into channels as he makes penetrating runs from deep. If we are to create overloads, we will need another player moving into channels besides my striker. This would definitely help either winger to find space. I am also considering changing one of the wingers into a raumdeuter (maybe Lingard due to his off the ball movement) to overload one of the channels and free up the opposite one.

Hopefully, this gives you a little idea of how role combinations can be used to achieve a specific football style. Even before team instructions come into play, a lot of information can be conveyed via pairings of complimentary roles like anchorman and segundo volante. And as you see in one of the recently-revealed FM20 features…

 

📣#FM20Features

Previous player partnerships have been added into tactics.

So players at a club who've got an established partnership will appear in-game and if you reunite two players who have played well together previously, they may still have a connection 🤝

 
 
 
 

So as you can see, it is more important than ever before to choose players with good roles and well-developed partnerships. Talk about doing sensible transfers!

Hope you enjoyed this little guide and continue to follow the Young Devils series as it develops and the wonderkids go from U23 to Champions League glory!

Edited by crusadertsar

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Sorry if some pics or videos don't work properly. I'm away from my computer right now so can't fix them until later tonight. Also will try to format the text better. You could also check it out at the same blog as the first part at https://dictatethegame.com/2019/11/08/young-devils-recreating-bielsas-3-3-1-3-tactic-in-fm20/  and then post any comments or questions here. Thank you all for following this tactical adventure so far 😃

Edited by crusadertsar

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In your next piece will you go down the benefits and drawbacks of using counter, balanced and attacking on your choices? 

 

Coupled with maybe a comparison of focus and your instructions?

Eg. playing narrow and focus wings instead or focus down middle

 

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Great stuff! Glad you're going down the route of minimal TIs, since I made the change to limit how many I use them, my tactics creation has become far more successful.

Never thought about the Anchorman - SV combo in midfield for Bielsa, but sounds good to me. It's a classic pairing and I'm excited to see what you make of it. 

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Just now, yellowforever said:

 

Never thought about the Anchorman - SV combo in midfield for Bielsa, but sounds good to me. It's a classic pairing and I'm excited to see what you make of it. 

Thanks! Its also very Argentinean :brock:

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Muy bueno...

Seguramente en próximas publicaciones,  mas ajustadas las tácticas,  tendremos enlaces de descarga para probarlas tal cual fueron pensadas.

Esperaremos....:applause:

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7 hours ago, Kieran87 said:

In your next piece will you go down the benefits and drawbacks of using counter, balanced and attacking on your choices? 

 

Coupled with maybe a comparison of focus and your instructions?

Eg. playing narrow and focus wings instead or focus down middle

 

I will definitely focus further on how to set up the tactic, whether using positive/control or attacking is better. Instructions, I'm not sure yet. I would like to use a very minimalist approach to team instructions, as I mentioned above. So might not use many instructions, if any.  

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5 hours ago, carloshcorbalan said:

Muy bueno...

Seguramente en próximas publicaciones,  mas ajustadas las tácticas,  tendremos enlaces de descarga para probarlas tal cual fueron pensadas.

Esperaremos....:applause:

Una táctica más detallada llegará pronto seguro. Por ahora sigue siendo un trabajo en progreso.

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One thing that often confuses me - is it OK to ignore the game's recommendation of a player's best role and position? For example, Pogba isn't rated highly as a VOL, but your write-up suggests he could be good there. Why doesn't the game think he'd be good there?

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1 hour ago, DamianJMcGrath said:

One thing that often confuses me - is it OK to ignore the game's recommendation of a player's best role and position? For example, Pogba isn't rated highly as a VOL, but your write-up suggests he could be good there. Why doesn't the game think he'd be good there?

It is absolutely okay to ignore the game suggestion. In fact, I expect Pogba to be a tremendous Segundo Volante. He is very physical player with awesome technical skills (especially dribbling and passing). I expect he will be very dangerous in those late runs from deep. Also very hard to get off the ball due to his balance, strength and dribbling. He is exactly the link you need between defence and attack. I expect the game does not rate him high in that role because it is too stuck on natural position (he is natural in midfield) but also his top attributes are primary playmaker attributes, which will actually make him a great segundo volante. Think of it as playing a top roaming playmaker as a box-to-box midfielder. Those can be some of the best b2b players, because while they can work as energetic midfield engines and craft great passes to link up with attack. When they are not making late runs into penalty area or dropping deep to defend. It is never a mistake to play a wellrounded rpm as boxtobox.

Segundo is basically a deep box-to-box midfielder. And Pogba can be one of the best b2b. In other words just look at his attributes not what the game thinks.

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On 09/11/2019 at 08:47, crusadertsar said:

Sorry if some pics or videos don't work properly. I'm away from my computer right now so can't fix them until later tonight. Also will try to format the text better. You could also check it out at the same blog as the first part at https://dictatethegame.com/2019/11/08/young-devils-recreating-bielsas-3-3-1-3-tactic-in-fm20/  and then post any comments or questions here. Thank you all for following this tactical adventure so far 😃

image.thumb.png.ada76dceeb7c68e25a087ee38c324c07.png

 

I'm glad you said this. The above is what I'm seeing and I was wondering if I was missing something due to not being able to see a lot of the pictures.

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5 minutes ago, nick1408 said:

image.thumb.png.ada76dceeb7c68e25a087ee38c324c07.png

 

I'm glad you said this. The above is what I'm seeing and I was wondering if I was missing something due to not being able to see a lot of the pictures.

Thanks for bringing this up. I think its a problem with out website. I'm looking into it.

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Just now, crusadertsar said:

Thanks for bringing this up. I think its a problem with out website. I'm looking into it.

I have a feeling it's only the FM screenshots I can't see. It's across all your articles (the FM19 ones about Roma and obviously the Manchester United ones). 

 

Good articles otherwise.

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2 hours ago, nick1408 said:

I have a feeling it's only the FM screenshots I can't see. It's across all your articles (the FM19 ones about Roma and obviously the Manchester United ones). 

 

Good articles otherwise.

Hmm, its a strange issues. I dont think any of the ones from Man Utd article were fm screens. They were just pictures of players faces that i got from google and photoshopped. Maybe its a weird copyright protection thing. But then some of them display and some don't. Maybe if somebody saw similar issue with their blog? It could be a serious issue with our site if it continues. I don't want to derail the topic though, so personal messages are best. 

Edited by crusadertsar

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6 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

It is absolutely okay to ignore the game suggestion. In fact, I expect Pogba to be a tremendous Segundo Volante. He is very physical player with awesome technical skills (especially dribbling and passing). I expect he will be very dangerous in those late runs from deep. Also very hard to get off the ball due to his balance, strength and dribbling. He is exactly the link you need between defence and attack. I expect the game does not rate him high in that role because it is too stuck on natural position (he is natural in midfield) but also his top attributes are primary playmaker attributes, which will actually make him a great segundo volante. Think of it as playing a top roaming playmaker as a box-to-box midfielder. Those can be some of the best b2b players, because while they can work as energetic midfield engines and craft great passes to link up with attack. When they are not making late runs into penalty area or dropping deep to defend. It is never a mistake to play a wellrounded rpm as boxtobox.

Segundo is basically a deep box-to-box midfielder. And Pogba can be one of the best b2b. In other words just look at his attributes not what the game thinks.

I played Pogba as a Volante (At) in a 4-2-3-1 in FM 18 and he was amazing. Paired with Matic as a BWM they just tore the league up, Pogba would get up and down the pitch like the energizer bunny. The key here, is to look beyond what attributes are suggested for a player. His role suggests a DLP or AP in the Midfield Strata, but look at the key stats for a Volante and Pogba has everything bar some defensive strengths. In fact, he is is such a good attacker from deep that those defensive liabilitys can be mitigated with other players.

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Part 3 is here! Again the original is at:

I have been getting many questions about the team instructions for the two possible formations that I revealed in my last article. I answered some of you to the best of my ability but I think that this article will be my opportunity to clear some things up and to discuss a few important tactical goals/challenges that I have in mind for my Young Devils. First of all I intend Young Devils Project to be much more focused than either of my previous efforts (Running Wolves and Dynamo Project). This means imposing some limitations on how I usually play Football Manager. I will be doing this to illuminate some overlooked options in the game's tactical toolkit. For we often that there are so many ways to win in football, even in its virtual simulation form. And often keeping tactics simple is the best way!

 

Previously on Young Devils Series:

Keeping Things Simple, Bielsa-Style

So first things first. My plan is to avoid Team Instructions in my tactic. That means I will focus on producing my desired tactical style through Player Traits (PPM), Roles and Individual Instructions to further fine-tune the roles.

KISS K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid! A motto I will try to follow in FM20

Before I get in the thick of the tactical discussion, there are a few important notes about this guided series. When I call it guided, it is to convey my main intent with the series. Each article is to be more than just an update of my save's progress. Those who read my FM19 work will know that I like to mix up my tactical guides and save journeys. Meaning that I will give you frequent updates on how my team is doing inside my guides. So the usual youth development, transfers and trophies intermixed with my tactical ramblings. Those who prefer pure fm stories or just tactics analysis might be put off. There is a reason to the madness however.

I found that to test the effect of different tactical systems, it is best to stick long-term with one team. This way I can see the greater effect that a particular philosophy has over the long stretch of seasons. Thus making major changes season to season can isolate the effect of the overall tactic. For example, if using a short-passing, possession system, you then switch to hoofball in season four you might see your overall goals scored diminish. Given your veteran players, you might still win the title. Its one of the main reasons "plug-and-play" tactics work. If you win the league in your first season then you might think the tactic was sound. When in fact it was worse than average. The added context of using a different system for three prior seasons would have shown how inefficient your hoofball tactic was.

Spoiler Alert! Tactical Rant Ahead

Marcelo Bielsa loco

Thus we come to the first major side note about this series. Any advise I give is not meant to produce immediate results with any team. Sure there is a chance you might see good results immediately sometimes. But to get consistently positive results, you need to be patient and persevere over the long-haul. There's no "plug-and-play" or "plug-and-win" here

This project started out as a tribute to Bielsa and as fun youth-focused save with one of Premiership's youngest squads. With time, as the final release approached, I started to gravitate towards a more specific objective for my save. Although now I realize it might sidetrack the series from a pure recreation of a Bielsa tactic to larger meta experiment.

wzVcN.md_-1.png

The experiment inspiration first came from the following thread started by @herne79 Sports Interactive forums:

The idea behind Herne's experiment was simple enough. Try to show how one can create a successful tactic without any team or individual instructions. Just player roles and sideline shouts. His chosen team, West Ham United, ended up 3rd in the league (originally predicted to finish 6th). This understandably upset some forum readers who saw it as an inherent fault with the game engine. If you can simply win by "splaffing" willy-nilly (as one person put it) player roles into a formation, then what's the point of all the tactical tweaking? Lets up pick the torches and pitchforks, folks! The game must be broken! Right?!

Tottenham Spurs fans Speaking of torches... Spurs ultras circa November 2019

No, wrong.

The common misconception is that team instructions are always necessary for a tactic to be successful. The more the better! And so you get popular "plug-and-play" tactics like one below. Lets take a look.

plug-and-play tactic

We see many such tactics with every version of Football Manager. If you ever go on some of the popular fm download sites then you are probably familiar with them. Often with very creative and catchy names like Bobo's Destroyer, Aladdin's Genie Tactic or Lord Lucifer's Phallic Overload (Christmas Tree formation surely). Most have a few things in common. A gazillion team instructions, some conflicting or simply nonsensical (who are the wingbacks overlapping in the above tactic?). Most trying for some kind of gegenpress. And with a combination of very aggressive roles and mentality. If at least half the players are not attacking then you are doing something wrong, kind of approach. With only four attacking duties, and two strikers on attack this is actually a more tame example. Also note the lack of any kind of supporting striker. Hopefully you get the idea.

So why do we even need team instructions? If one can win without even bothering to set up any of them then what is the point you might ask. It is definitely not my intent to rip on some poor misguided "plug-and-play" tactic. But hopefully in the end I can encourage you to think about the game from a new perspective.

Not to get the wrong idea, there are some great successful tactics that rely on specific instructions. By themselves however team instructions are optional and are not needed to have a winning tactic. They never have been. There are exceptions of course. If you are trying to implement a specific style like gegenpress then you will probably need at least a few instructions. For example my FM19 Roma's attacking possession style would not be possible without a minimum few instructions. Or if I was going for a faithful recreation of a famous manager's tactic or one used by a specific team. Also team instructions help in effectively counteracting certain opposition tactics. Although as I will show soon, a simple role or mentality change is sometimes all you need.

Using the Full Toolkit

Roles

So introductory rant aside, what exactly does this mean for my Young Devils series? Simply put, I will be setting some limits on how I approach my tactic building. Partly to make it more of a challenge. But also to force myself to look at the game in a new way and fully use its vast tactical toolkit. We focus so much on team instructions at times and do not realize that keeping things simple can bring results just as easily. Things such as player roles, traits, formation shape and mentality can play as much importance, if not more, than instructions.

Starting with the roles, I will still be working with a Bielsa-inspired formation. So the aim remains to use Bielsa's favoured roles like enganche and inverted wingback. Enganche is one role that I tried on many occasions previously but never got it to work as I wished. The other challenge will be getting the best out of inverted wingbacks. I also used them in the past but could never get them to assert themselves in the midfield. I definitely don't want to see this role acting like a regular wingback, so I will be tweaking the formation to accommodate them.

Below, disregard the halfback. I tried it out but will probably continue using the anchorman. The anchorman provided better defensive stability and structure to the formation, especially coupled with the offensive anchor of the enganche.

Formation Shape

FM20 Red Devils tactic

The placement of players and their roles is geared towards funneling the attack in one direction, towards the enganche and the three attackers ahead of him. The choice of Positive mentality was chosen to favour a patient possession approach, encourage play through the middle rather than more direct wing-play. I decided to go with the staggered midfield of mezzala and a single defensive midfielder to leave more space for the two inverted wingbacks to move in and support the midfield.

Hopefully this shape will encourage fast short passing game between the six players. I individually instructed all, except the mezzala, to pass short. I left more freedom to mezzala, as he is meant to be the dynamic link between the four forward players and the rest of the team. The enganche sitting in the hole between the midfield and attack, acts as the link in the build up to attack. He is hardcoded to hold his position while three attackers look for space to exploit in the final 3rd.

Individual Traits - PPMs

Without any general team instructions, I expect player individual traits to take on a much more importance. Hence carefully selecting players, first for their attributes for the specific roles and secondly for their PPMs, will be essential. As an example lets come back to the enganche and the attacking trio. At Manchester United I am lucky to have some great players with unique and varied sets of traits.

Our primary enganche Mata likes to come deep to get the ball and to try through balls often. Both of these PPMs are not available via individual instructions but will be quite essential to my tactic. Most of our forwards are also blessed with some unique traits, specifically "tries tricks" and "moves into channels". Again both cannot be coded in through individual instructions. The tricks PPM is probably equivalent to "be more expressive" team instruction.

Also "moves into channels" is good to have on the wide attackers because with the exception of Wide Targetman, no roles on the wing can use this instruction. So after "tries trick" that will be the next PPM that I will be training in all my attacking players. The idea being that while my #10 playmaker remains a stationary creative hook the rest of the attackers (including the mezzala) need to be dynamic in their movement around him. Hopefully by flooding channels on the left we will be able to unlock the right side with one very fast player. Someone like Daniel James or Rashford could find space for a run and pass to our central striker. Its a classic overload set up that I will discuss at more length in my future articles.

Rashford Running

Hope you enjoyed my articles so far and continue to follow this series as it develops and my Young Devils go from U23 to Champions League glory! In the next part I will be sure to give a proper introduction to who exactly they are and how I intend to develop them.

1500x500-1.jpg?fit=662%2C220&ssl=1

Feel free to follow and like us @ Dictate The Game’s Facebook and Dictate The Game’s Twitter

 

 

Edited by crusadertsar

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1 hour ago, crusadertsar said:

The common misconception is that team instructions are always necessary for a tactic to be successful.

This is an important point and has been for years.

TIs are intended to help shape a style of play if needed.  You can absolutely throw a whole heap of them at a tactic and sometimes you'll get lucky and they'll stick, but I'd suggest that tends to be more by luck than judgement.  And if you do find yourself needing to adapt during a particular match and you have an armful of TIs, how on earth do you know what to change?

So it's basically (and I'm generalising here, there are always exceptions) two schools of thought: I just want to win, don't care how it works; I want to play with some more finesse and understand what's going on.  Both are perfectly valid and I wouldn't knock anyone for playing the game how they enjoy it.  The difficulty comes when adaptation is needed or the ME changes resulting in TI rich systems becoming more difficult to alter.

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23 minutes ago, herne79 said:

This is an important point and has been for years.

TIs are intended to help shape a style of play if needed.  You can absolutely throw a whole heap of them at a tactic and sometimes you'll get lucky and they'll stick, but I'd suggest that tends to be more by luck than judgement.  And if you do find yourself needing to adapt during a particular match and you have an armful of TIs, how on earth do you know what to change?

So it's basically (and I'm generalising here, there are always exceptions) two schools of thought: I just want to win, don't care how it works; I want to play with some more finesse and understand what's going on.  Both are perfectly valid and I wouldn't knock anyone for playing the game how they enjoy it.  The difficulty comes when adaptation is needed or the ME changes resulting in TI rich systems becoming more difficult to alter.

Couldn't have said it better myself. It's so much easier to adapt during a match if you have a few TIs. Ah they are parking the bus and the tactic isn't working. So let's play wider or with faster tempo or use more through balls. But if you already have all those checked off then you are kinda lost as to how to proceed.

Thanks again for the wonderful thread last season. It really got me thinking. Hope to see similar experiments from you in the future 😃

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Hola...

Muy bueno, aunque seria bueno un enlace a táctica para probar desde la base del armado y no dar lugar a falsas interpretaciones...

Después de la prueba, cada cual buscara corregir lo que crea mejor.

Gracias....  :thup:

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19 hours ago, carloshcorbalan said:

Hola...

Muy bueno, aunque seria bueno un enlace a táctica para probar desde la base del armado y no dar lugar a falsas interpretaciones...

Después de la prueba, cada cual buscara corregir lo que crea mejor.

Gracias....  :thup:

Gracias amigo! I will be including the download with my next update

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Great read, but i have some questions after watching the Tifo videos. They are talking about width in attack and a dynamic direct approach. I cant see how this would be interpeted with all the players in the flank cutting inside and the shorter passisng style as a PI in 6/11 playeres.

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3 hours ago, Adelino said:

Great read, but i have some questions after watching the Tifo videos. They are talking about width in attack and a dynamic direct approach. I cant see how this would be interpeted with all the players in the flank cutting inside and the shorter passisng style as a PI in 6/11 playeres.

Thanks for reading mate. I asked myself the same question. But this is where i found discrepancy between the game and real world. I tried for a more direct approach before but it ended up being too direct where my keeper, defenders and defensive midfielders would launch long balls to the striker. Bielsa prefers building from the back which is inherently hard to achieve without team instructions. I want my defensive backline to pass among themselves building up the play.

Then there are the front 4 who are supposed to be more direct because of their PPMs. One important thing i forgot to mention is that I tell my inverted wingers to stay wider, making them cut in much later. So the width is definitely maintained. I'll show some videos of our goals to better showcase this in next blog.

Also I'm thinking of changing one wingback(left one) into a more traditional wingback to give even more width on that flank. But ultimately I might have to suck it up and use a Team instruction or two.

Edited by crusadertsar

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I m going to try something similar with Valencia!

Now that you mentioned the videos,they are also suggesting a very high and intensive pressing. I don t think that you can have that without TIs. 

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On ‎20‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 20:44, herne79 said:

This is an important point and has been for years.

TIs are intended to help shape a style of play if needed.  You can absolutely throw a whole heap of them at a tactic and sometimes you'll get lucky and they'll stick, but I'd suggest that tends to be more by luck than judgement.  And if you do find yourself needing to adapt during a particular match and you have an armful of TIs, how on earth do you know what to change?

So it's basically (and I'm generalising here, there are always exceptions) two schools of thought: I just want to win, don't care how it works; I want to play with some more finesse and understand what's going on.  Both are perfectly valid and I wouldn't knock anyone for playing the game how they enjoy it.  The difficulty comes when adaptation is needed or the ME changes resulting in TI rich systems becoming more difficult to alter.

I went through a phase of having so many TIs I was starting to lose track of what might be working and what wasn't... of course it might seem logical that the more instructions you give then the more exact the team will be to what you want. But therein lies the contradiction and the long road to madness :) too many TIs can of course work in just the opposite manner and confuse your team and ultimately yourself. After reading many of the contributions on the forum I decided to focus more on what I wanted from the game, how do I want my team to play. Rather than creating the perfect tactic as there is no such thing really, yes, there might be some game breaking tactic but where is the fun in that after a couple of seasons of wiping the floor with everyone.

So I start with a clean slate and build from there thinking about how I want my team to play. I then might adjust mentalities and roles and duties depending on the opposition but keep the same formation and tactic.

Of course been a Leeds fan and mightily impressed with what Bielsa has done with us I wanted to try to follow his example in following his style but it doesn't lend itself easily to the FM world. Or at least I struggled to adapt it faithfully anyway... so I built my own version of Bielsaball based on reading on here, some tactics which people had put together and some of my own choices based on what I wanted to see from my team. But keeping TIs to a minimum and focusing a bit more on roles and duties than I had in the past. And then essentially just tweaking here and there as I went along.

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8 minutes ago, gibson147 said:

So I start with a clean slate and build from there thinking about how I want my team to play

Brilliant.  Start small and build from there.  Add in only what you see you need rather than what you think you need :thup:.

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31 minutes ago, Hunter T said:

I m going to try something similar with Valencia!

Now that you mentioned the videos,they are also suggesting a very high and intensive pressing. I don t think that you can have that without TIs. 

Good choice that! I covered them in another one of my articles if you care for a look 😃

Also as i mentioned in a comment above I might end up adding a team instruction or two just refine my style more.

I didn't want to break from my challenge but it will probably be necessary. Unfortunately even though hardpressing can be recreated via individual instructions of close down more, mark closely and tackle harder, high defensive line cannot.

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Just now, herne79 said:

Brilliant.  Start small and build from there.  Add in only what you see you need rather than what you think you need :thup:.

Exactly, I was too easily sucked into trying to do what I thought I needed to do in finding the miracle tactic. And for some people that might be fine, wanting to win and enjoying that which I'm cool with.

I do use some TIs, so I set my line of engagement and defensive line as these are general instructions that make some sense for the style you might want to play. These can change depending on the opposition but at least I've got an understanding of what this will mean and why I am doing it. Same with offside trap or playing out from the back.

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