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Melvin Chia

Defensive tactics are useless

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The point which I am making (and apologies if it wasn't clear) is that the use of terms such as 'Attacking' or 'Cautious' in the mentality choices can be misleading.  It's almost inevitable that a newcomer or casual player will, for example, choose a mentality of 'Cautious' or 'Defensive' if he or she wants his or her team to sit back, absorb pressure and hit the opposition on the break.  And, indeed, if you hover the mouse over the words this is reinforced by the descriptions.  Unless you have some considerable experience, you are really quite unlikely to realise that what you want to do is best served by using (say) a standard or positive mentality and altering player roles or instructions. Why should you?

Here is part of the info for the 'Cautious' mentality:

'This mentality is best employed for matches in which you expect to lose the battle for possession but feel that you can break with some regularity. It aims to keep men behind the ball when defending but to provide quick support to attacking players when the ball is in the final third...'

Now that sounds exactly the sort of plan that somebody wanting to play in a counter-attacking style would want to put into practice.  So how is the casual or inexperienced player supposed to gain an inkling that you should adopt a different mentality or have to adjust player roles or your LOE or DL in order to achieve it?

The point was made above that someone's problem was that he thought that a defensive mentality meant that the tactic was defensive.  To be honest, it isn't HIS problem, it's a problem with the GAME because it isn't making the situation clear enough.

It's not that the mentalities are 'wrong'.  It's much more a matter of the fact that they aren't explained clearly enough, are given names which are unclear and have potentially misleading descriptions attached to them.  That's what I meant.

Edited by Rupal

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14 hours ago, Tilling said:

I'm keen to see this even if you didn't get a reply :)

Huh man, it was a few months ago, I can't even remember what his tactic looked like :lol:

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5 hours ago, Rupal said:

It's not that the mentalities are 'wrong'.  It's much more a matter of the fact that they aren't explained clearly enough, are given names which are unclear and have potentially misleading descriptions attached to them.  That's what I meant.

I'd agree with this completely, now that we have Tis that have an "in transition" and "out of possession" component, these largely drive how attacking or defensive you can be. Mentality is basically sitting on top of them driving how aggressive  you are within that framework. Explanations like " This mentality aims to keep men behind the ball, to restrict space in your half and to slow things down", don't help when you have other instructions that can help you modify how a team plays.

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32 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

I'd agree with this completely, now that we have Tis that have an "in transition" and "out of possession" component, these largely drive how attacking or defensive you can be. Mentality is basically sitting on top of them driving how aggressive  you are within that framework. Explanations like " This mentality aims to keep men behind the ball, to restrict space in your half and to slow things down", don't help when you have other instructions that can help you modify how a team plays.

Perhaps there could be an 'uncluttering' exercise for FM21? Clearing up issues like these would make the whole game more user friendly imo and that could do nothing but good.  Sorting out a tactic is tricky enough by itself, without having to scratch one's head about what the various instructions and descriptions actually mean.  I'm a simple soul and easily confused!

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7 hours ago, Rupal said:

My (very simple) point is that much confusion would be avoided if the developers used clearer language to describe what you are actually doing when choosing a mentality.

The vagueness I'm quite sure in known and deliberate.  If there were ever an ultimate blueprint for this game it's sales would rapidly diminish.

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Just now, Robson 07 said:

The vagueness I'm quite sure in known and deliberate.  If there were ever an ultimate blueprint for this game it's sales would rapidly diminish.

I'm not asking for an ultimate blueprint .  All I'm suggesting is the avoidance of things which are positively misleading so that the game becomes a less baffling experience for new or casual players.  If you aren't sure what 'mentality, actually DOES in the game and are misled by the descriptions attached to the various mentalities I suggest that you are likely to become disenchanted by the whole exercise and LESS likely to buy the next edition than you would be if you had a clearer idea of what you should be trying to do.  I'm not suggesting 'dumbing down' here at all.  I just think that making the game more comprehensible would do no harm.  Just because something is expressed clearly it doesn't follow that it's being made any easier.

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5 minutes ago, Rupal said:

I'm not asking for an ultimate blueprint .  All I'm suggesting is the avoidance of things which are positively misleading so that the game becomes a less baffling experience for new or casual players.  If you aren't sure what 'mentality, actually DOES in the game and are misled by the descriptions attached to the various mentalities I suggest that you are likely to become disenchanted by the whole exercise and LESS likely to buy the next edition than you would be if you had a clearer idea of what you should be trying to do.  I'm not suggesting 'dumbing down' here at all.  I just think that making the game more comprehensible would do no harm.  Just because something is expressed clearly it doesn't follow that it's being made any easier.

But what this thread does begin show anyone is that the game can bend in different directions.

You can set up Defend and Cautious to be exactly that.  Or you can make them into different strategies.

It has been said before.  Ignore the labels.  Simply, one end of the mentality spectrum gives you "defend with the ball" and "retain defensive shape".  The other end gives you "dynamic passing" and "ball recovery".  That's everyone's starting point.  If someone wants to combine "dynamic passing" with "retain defensive shape" then you start mixing the paint, or rather using TIs and PIs to effect those base mentality templates.

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18 minutes ago, Robson 07 said:

But what this thread does begin show anyone is that the game can bend in different directions.

You can set up Defend and Cautious to be exactly that.  Or you can make them into different strategies.

It has been said before.  Ignore the labels.  Simply, one end of the mentality spectrum gives you "defend with the ball" and "retain defensive shape".  The other end gives you "dynamic passing" and "ball recovery".  That's everyone's starting point.  If someone wants to combine "dynamic passing" with "retain defensive shape" then you start mixing the paint, or rather using TIs and PIs to effect those base mentality templates.

Yes but the point is that you shouldn't be having to consult a thread like this in order to understand a very basic concept in the game.  If you come fresh to the Tactics screen as somebody who has bought the game for the first time, you are faced with a bunch of pre-sets and if you hover the mouse over the mentalities you are given 'information' which can be positively misleading.  That is not helpful in the slightest.  YOU know all this stuff about 'ignoring the labels'.  But your average Joe or Joanna doesn't. That's because you have consulted threads like this and have played quite a lot (presumably).  I simply want the game to be clearer and to avoid people haring off in the wrong direction because things have been put less well than they could have been.  

It's what Rashidi said. 'Explanations like "This mentality aims to keep men the ball, to restrict space in your half and to slow things down" don't help when you have other instructions that can help you modify how a team plays.'

Edited by Rupal

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2 minutes ago, Rupal said:

Yes but the point is that you shouldn't be having to consult a thread like this in order to understand a very basic concept in the game.  If you come fresh to the Tactics screen as somebody who has bought the game for the first time, you are faced with a bunch of pre-sets and if you hover the mouse over the mentalities you are given 'information' which can be positively misleading.  That is not helpful in the slightest.  YOU know all this stuff about 'ignoring the labels'.  But your average Joe or Joanna doesn't. That's because you have consulted threads like this and have played quite a lot (presumably).  I simply want the game to be clearer and to avoid people haring off in the wrong direction because things have been put less well than they could have been.  

Yes and no.  I'm still a customer, albeit playing on my level whatever that is, and FM should still cater for me, and its loyal base, and people that know coaching, and players who want an immersive game plus those new or casual players you mention.  Your points are also completely valid though so no right or wrongs on that.  I suppose the game allows some play in how it's adapted, each can play it their own way. 

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1 minute ago, Robson 07 said:

Yes and no.  I'm still a customer, albeit playing on my level whatever that is, and FM should still cater for me, and its loyal base, and people that know coaching, and players who want an immersive game plus those new or casual players you mention.  Your points are also completely valid though so no right or wrongs on that.  I suppose the game allows some play in how it's adapted, each can play it their own way. 

What I don't really understand is how avoiding things like misleading mentality descriptions would affect experienced players like you adversely at all.  You'd still play in exactly the same way as you do now.  The game would be no EASIER.  It would simply be a bit less CONFUSING for some people.  They'd still have to make all the same decisions as they do now and those decisions would be just as tricky.  It would just cut away a bit of the unnecessary muddle which (I suggest) has built up over successive editions,  because concepts like mentality have been refined and modified but the language used to describe what's going on has remained unaltered.

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1 hour ago, Rupal said:

Perhaps there could be an 'uncluttering' exercise for FM21? Clearing up issues like these would make the whole game more user friendly imo and that could do nothing but good.  Sorting out a tactic is tricky enough by itself, without having to scratch one's head about what the various instructions and descriptions actually mean.  I'm a simple soul and easily confused!

The challenge here is simplification. Let's take an example. Go to your width settings and set to narrow.  Does this mean your players won't use the width of the pitch? No. It just brings your formation closer together but the roles and duties themselves can influence your width. A wingback with hugs the line becomes a player who extends the width on the pitch.  You  will also notice that when you play on narrow settings players seem to pass inside more than they do outside. Naturally they will pass outside when options are possible, but more often than not they go inside.

FM is like an onion, each time you peel one layer you see another. My best advice for people has usually been to keep it simple. Try and understand what the Tis do, and they see how they behave with different roles, duties and traits. I can see how people get confused, but like I've said before mastering the game isn't hard, you just need to start with the right time and find a way to master it, and the best way is usually to start with less.

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41 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

The challenge here is simplification. Let's take an example. Go to your width settings and set to narrow.  Does this mean your players won't use the width of the pitch? No. It just brings your formation closer together but the roles and duties themselves can influence your width. A wingback with hugs the line becomes a player who extends the width on the pitch.  You  will also notice that when you play on narrow settings players seem to pass inside more than they do outside. Naturally they will pass outside when options are possible, but more often than not they go inside.

FM is like an onion, each time you peel one layer you see another. My best advice for people has usually been to keep it simple. Try and understand what the Tis do, and they see how they behave with different roles, duties and traits. I can see how people get confused, but like I've said before mastering the game isn't hard, you just need to start with the right time and find a way to master it, and the best way is usually to start with less.

True enough.  Indeed, the poorer one's players the less you should give them in the way of directions is also the prevailing wisdom.  The argument is that too many instructions will throw them. 

That's always struck me as a bit odd, by the way.  If they aren't very bright in a football sense you might argue that they are less able to make sensible footballing decisions themselves and so the MORE direction they need in order to make them do what you want! 

No wonder the game is confusing!!

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It does surprise me the amount of people who don't seem to use preset systems and adapt them, rather they go straight for custom. There are tools there to help out which aren't always utilised as much as they can be too.

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On 07/12/2019 at 11:00, Rashidi said:

You have to stop thinking of mentality being the way of making a tactic defensively sound or give it the basis of being counter attacking. The ONLY factor that determines whether a tactic is defensive or not is line of engagement/defensive line.

When you want to be defensive you are essentially trying to draw teams in and hit them on the break. To draw teams in you use line of engagement. The deeper your line the deeper your team drops. This is why people get everything wrong about playing defensive football.

313176831_MuchLower.thumb.jpg.fbd399eb9deafc60232d720875182af1.jpg

Note when playing on a much lower defensive line with a lower line of engagement. Note how defensive a posture your team takes when they are playing on a much lower defensive line, everyone is playing inside your defensive third. Also note what your defensive third zone looks like.

1504728395_ZonesShifted.thumb.jpg.45b1a120786b35ce8a0c0c03ebccaea5.jpg

We are still playing with a lower line of engagement, but now we have shifted the defensive line, when you are playing with a much higher defensive line note where your backline is standing, so any ball over the top is gonna be an issue forcing the entire team to run backwards. Since everyone is further forward when you have the ball. Now note how your zones have shifted as a result of shifting the defensive line up. What does this mean for playing on a much higher defensive line? Your team as a whole is also playing higher up the pitch. This is the reason why I tell people if the ball goes over the top and you see defenders chasing after the ball your defensive line is too high.

981202182_LineShifted.thumb.jpg.07a018361e4261cf6b082181e0101777.jpg

When you play on a standard defensive line, note the number of players in the zones now. Its more balanced, you have the 2 DMs operating at the edge of your final third and you have your 2 wide midfielders operating in the middle third.

The issue most people have is choosing the wrong LOE and DL when creating tactics, if you understand its interactions which is simple if you just pay attention to the grid its not hard.

So what you want to be doing is simple:

Defensive football - Low LOE,

How do you choose who commits to transitions - Choose Defensive line

Finally mentality is the amount of risk you want to take to guide decision making in your team. If you are not sure just start with balanced. Even on balanced you get good defensive play because your team balances out attacking vs being defensive. You still look for chances to attack, your LOE and DL will define how attacking/defensive you are, and your mentality guides how they make decisions. If you start thinking with mentality and think that is the source of choosing a tactical style, you are doing it wrong. Start with LOE and DL and then decide your mentality. Its sounds counter intuitive to some people, but its actually very simple if you start with DL/LOE first.  There is a lot of potential with what you can do when you think like this, such as my video showing how i play counter attacking football playing on very attacking mentalities.

The UI in the game provides a lot of information, provided people actually stop to look. the way they frame mentality and the words they use for it need to be changed, that though is a different discussion that i am unwilling to engage in, cos its a pointless debate that just frustrates people. This is a game, play it like one. Find out the rules and play within them and use them to bend the game to your will.

Sorry this may be a bit of a Necro, but i've been reading up on defensive strategies again. Got some really big games coming up, this really, really helped me with the whole counter, thirds of the pitch and how players in each third acted. I see alot of people still posting how "defensive tactics" dont work, hopefully they will read this thread and learn a couple of things, I know I did !!! :) 

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Something stuck with me that Rashidi said on here last week(and has repeatedly said) stuck with me. I always go on positive when setting a tactic up but when it sunk in that mentality = risk and switched to balanced it has made the world of difference.

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On 31/05/2020 at 05:29, Crazy_Ivan said:

Something stuck with me that Rashidi said on here last week(and has repeatedly said) stuck with me. I always go on positive when setting a tactic up but when it sunk in that mentality = risk and switched to balanced it has made the world of difference.

The game is fundamental once you begin with defensive line and line of engagement, and end with deciding what mentality you want. I have been playing on twitch on very attacking mentality for the last few weeks just to show that its ultimately your line of engagement and defensive line that are important.

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21 hours ago, Rashidi said:

The game is fundamental once you begin with defensive line and line of engagement, and end with deciding what mentality you want. I have been playing on twitch on very attacking mentality for the last few weeks just to show that its ultimately your line of engagement and defensive line that are important.

Thats the one thing I still cant get my head round, its just the wording, as soon as I see Very attacking i imagine my players running round like headless chickens, storming forwards with no regards to defensive responsibility etc Vice Versa for Very defensive, although one thing I have noticed is that when I play on more defence biased mentalities my players seem to become alot slower on the ball, almost like they cant make a decision, they get caught in possession alot etc. Again its probably to do with me incorrectly setting up instructions etc but just an observation i made.

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6 minutes ago, daveb653 said:

although one thing I have noticed is that when I play on more defence biased mentalities my players seem to become alot slower on the ball,

Well, the tempo will be lower, so that's (at least partly) what you're seeing. You can modify the default tempo, but overall it will be lower on Defensive compared to Attacking.

What could contribute on the other hand, is that players will look to play safer, so there may not be safe options available or those options aren't spotted quickly enough etc. Tactical tweaks could improve this, of course.

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3 minutes ago, HUNT3R said:

Well, the tempo will be lower, so that's (at least partly) what you're seeing. You can modify the default tempo, but overall it will be lower on Defensive compared to Attacking.

What could contribute on the other hand, is that players will look to play safer, so there may not be safe options available or those options aren't spotted quickly enough etc. Tactical tweaks could improve this, of course.

Yeah exactly that @HUNT3R I think its trying to play safe as its usually my FB/WB that get caught out, but then again I'm still a newbie with tactics so stil experimenting and learning so swap and change quite a bit to see how things work. I have to admit it seems easier to make more stable and entertaining football using the higher mentalities.

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1 hour ago, HUNT3R said:

What could contribute on the other hand, is that players will look to play safer

And that's what the lower mentalities do in an essence, ultimately tis all about risk. One needs to understand what mentality does in the game. This game isn't about choosing a mentality = equals your style. The style comes from a composite of roles duties and team instructions. Mentality just acts as a barometer of sorts. However changing one thing needs to be understood in the context of the others. Thats the way the game was designed to be played. To play the game well , you need to play by SI's rulebook. If you don't agree with those rules then its your choice, but the game will still be played around those rules.

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Rashidi you have probably said this before, i just cant remember where, but how would you label each mentality so it made sense to people that are getting it wrong? To me this is one of the biggest problems people have in the game so how would you rewrite it? 

For example what does defensive alter under the hood? 

Does it mean just a safety first style of play mentality, looking for the easy pass not the risky? 

Or does it also alter width, defensive line etc as well? If so what else does it change? 

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