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As a last resort I'm posting here to find out what's wrong with this tactic. Trying to play with a low block as shown in the first half of the video and applying pretty much everything mentioned by workthespace. Started off fairly well and then dropped. It's upsetting because I've been trying to pull off a defensive minded tactic for a while now but it seems that, especially in FM 20, I get mauled if I try to soak up pressure. Any help would be appreciated. 
 

 

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Yeah, that's not gonna work on this game. Maybe situationally, the last 10 minutes as a huge underdog trying to desperately protect an unexpected lead, but permanently: no.

Soaking up pressure is one thing, but you also have to decide what to do with the ball when you have it. The way this one is set up, your attacking transitions are so slow that you aren't a threat at all. Once your opponents realize this, they will come at you at will. You don't even have counter ticked which would force your players to speed things up a bit.

You select less urgent pressing, but both your CM's are aggressive pressers. You therefore tone down the only two players that would go after the ball on defense. The rest of them just stand back and watch, really. On the flanks, you select the most static roles imaginable, there's no movement at all.

All that said, I think this tactic could actually work - with one major shift: Change the mentality to attacking and see what happens. That way, all the instructions with which you're holding your players back are there for a reason: to counter-balance the immense risk-taking that comes with the mentality. Additionally, I would make some other minor tweaks: change the TM's duty to support, which can create nice overlapping by the AM; have one of the WM's on attack (the faster one), the fullback on the other side on support and instruct this other WM to come inside. Add counter, pass into space and run at defence. (I would also change one of the CD's to NCB just for the hell of it.)

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I don’t think workthespace is where you go for tactical help, no offence to him but he’s always seemed like an entertainer rather than someone with in depth knowledge of the game. 
 

The problem with his 442 advice and your tactic is him disregarding how the cautious mentality already sets pressing urgency, LOE, individual mentalities in accordance to that. So you’re already fairly deep and reserved, then you’re telling them to never close down with your close down less TI, the full backs will basically be centre backs with the defend duty and your LOE has everyone deep in your own half, so realistically with a target man you’re playing direct to someone who’s low down the pitch, no one is running off him and that’s why you aren’t scoring. I can envisage how your tactic plays out easily. 
 

I played a “low block” 442 with Cardiff, positive mentality, low LOE and standard pressing, with some support duties scattered around (to reduce the individual mentalities) and I managed to finish 10th in my first year after promotion and get to the FA Cup final, beat Chelsea and spurs 3-1 away and did the double over arsenal. We were vertically compact due to the positive mentalities defensive line being fairly high and our LOE brought our players closer together, thinking about it now it was more of a mid block than a low one, but we were very good at counter attacking after winning the ball in the middle then springing from a higher starting point than your lot would be. 

 

You can succeed with a low block, but you need to remember how your roles and TIs work with your mentality. I’ve always played counter attacking football on high mentalities, it might not make sense but the transitions are faster and the players try to take more risks (which you absolutely need), you can manage certain players to keep it simple if required. Just keep in mind mentality is essentially risk factor, the lower it is the less risk your players take so you must balance it with more positive duties and TI, works the opposite with higher mentalities.

 

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It looks very much like a counter attacking set-up but you don't have Counter attack set? You'll very much need a plan B too against teams you're favourites against 

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Take into account your on cautious mentality which already starts deeper.  You've taken this even further and maybe are now too passive.

What's your attack plan? It looks quite structured, defenders defend, midfielders support and front two attack so not real movement between lines. That would suggest your relying on fast attacks with the front 2 making early runs but you have nothing to get ball to them quickly, especially on a low risk mentality.  You aren't encouraging more counter attacks either which would allow the midfielders to take more risks than there role/duty normally allows.

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16 minutes ago, summatsupeer said:

Take into account your on cautious mentality which already starts deeper.  You've taken this even further and maybe are now too passive.

What's your attack plan? It looks quite structured, defenders defend, midfielders support and front two attack so not real movement between lines. That would suggest your relying on fast attacks with the front 2 making early runs but you have nothing to get ball to them quickly, especially on a low risk mentality.  You aren't encouraging more counter attacks either which would allow the midfielders to take more risks than there role/duty normally allows.

Thanks. Yes I would like to attack quickly as you say. So sett the mentality higher?

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1 hour ago, koimes said:

Thanks. Yes I would like to attack quickly as you say. So sett the mentality higher?

Do you want your whole team to take more risks, wider, higher etc? Then yes.

If not then look at roles, duties and instructions to have them take more risks.

Do you only want them to be quicker only when theres a counter opportunity then just select the counter option.

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12 hours ago, koimes said:

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This is a low-block tactic, but the low block itself is no guarantee that it will be successful. Because in addition to setting the DL and LOE in accordance with the low-block approach, you also need to set up other elements of the tactic properly.

For example, not only that you are defending deep, but you also play:

- on the (low-risk) Cautious mentality, and

- asking players to press with less urgency

Which together makes you overly defensive, and consequently inviting too much pressure from the opposition (obviously more than you can handle).

But then you at the same time want your players to tackle hard (get stuck in), which I imagine in combination with low pressing urgency and low defensive block is likely to lead to your players committing a lot of fouls in dangerous areas (very near or even within the penalty area). 

Therefore you need to find the right balance between the low block and the rest of your tactic.

Plus the attacking (possession) side of your tactic also needs some tweaking in order to make more sense within this style of play.

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On 27/12/2019 at 23:00, Experienced Defender said:

Plus the attacking (possession) side of your tactic also needs some tweaking in order to make more sense within this style of play.

Could you please give some advice on tweaks you'd make to improve this?

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On 27/12/2019 at 09:42, koimes said:

20191227103604_1.jpg

 

4 hours ago, koimes said:

Could you please give some advice on tweaks you'd make to improve this?

If you want to keep playing on the Cautious mentality, then these are potential tweaks I would recommend you consider:

- drop the less urgent pressing (switch between default and more urgent to see which one works better for your team)

- remove the regroup, given that your tactic is already defensive enough

- remove the narrow attacking width and leave it on default (again because of the mentality factor)

- up the duties of both fullbacks to support (for now) instead of defend

So these would be the tweaks I think would definitely make sense in your tactic (assuming you want to play under the cautious team mentality). In case you decide to change the mentality, then some of these tweaks would also require reconsideration. 

For advice on other possible tweaks, you'll need to explain which exact type of defensive football you want to play (park the bus/catenaccio type or direct counter or hoofball etc.)?

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Thanks for the response. Direct counter, I haven't gotten it to work yet.

What scenario would less urgent pressing ever work? I feel like in this ME you have to win possession back before the opposite reach your half else you're done for.

How would you alter this if you were chasing a goal?

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2 hours ago, koimes said:

Direct counter, I haven't gotten it to work yet

If you want a counter-attacking tactic, I think you should up the team mentality, both in order to speed up your attacking transitions a bit and move your forwards initial positioning slightly further up the pitch. The Balanced team mentality instead of the cautious would be a good starting point. 

 

2 hours ago, koimes said:

What scenario would less urgent pressing ever work?

There is no simple and definite answer to that kind of questions, because there are too many factors you have to take into account (mentality, formation, style of play, opposition etc.). 

 

2 hours ago, koimes said:

How would you alter this if you were chasing a goal?

If you are chasing a goal, you definitely won't play defensively. How exactly you should play - it's impossible to say, because there are so many variables in play.

I watch my matches and react accordingly in such "special" situations, so there is no universal recipe that works for all teams and all situations. 

The key to success is to create a tactic that is logical, balanced and optimally suits your team's strengths and weaknesses. When you have such a tactic, it's way easier to adapt it to different situations by minimal tweaks.  

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2 hours ago, koimes said:

Direct counter, I haven't gotten it to work yet.

Cautious mentality is closer to possession football, though. Think of mentalities as risk; if you wanted fast attacks to expose the space created with a low block, would you tell your players "play it safe and be cautious with the ball" or "take some risks and get it forward quickly, before the opposition has time to regroup"?

Low mentality doesn't make you defensively solid, your formation, your choice of roles and duties and, most importantly, your players' attributes do.

Rashidi used a direct 4-4-2 very successfully in his Hannover Diaries, I recommend you watch it for some ideas:

 

2 hours ago, koimes said:

What scenario would less urgent pressing ever work?

Less Urgent closing down would be fine for a low-block 4-4-2, however, the problem is you're using it in combination with Cautious mentality, which already lowers closing down by itself; you then lower it even further, which could make your team too passive and should perhaps only be used in the final minutes, when you decide to park the bus. Otherwise, you're simply inviting too much pressure onto yourself, with doing nothing but standing off and letting the opposition throw everything at you for 90 minutes.

For a direct counter-attacking 4-4-2, I'd recommend the following:

  • Positive/Attacking mentality (fast and decisive attacking transitions)
  • Lower Line Of Engagement (compact defending in a low-block)
  • Slightly Less Urgent closing down (lower aggressiveness that comes with high mentality)

Optional:

  • Regroup (observe your defensive transitions and see whether your players are getting pulled out of positions too easily due to high mentality)
  • Counter/Pass Into Space (increase risk-taking when chasing goal/want to expose overly aggressive opposition)
  • Slightly Shorter Passing (safer passing, if your team is wasting possession too easily; Attacking mentality comes with Slightly More Direct Passing on default, which could be too demanding for some teams)

As with any tactic, the key is to be sensible. Being defensively responsible doesn't mean you need to use a low mentality, defend as low as possible, be completely passive and use five Defend duties. That way you only put yourself under relentless pressure, which would eventually be too much for any team.

Edited by Zemahh

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7 hours ago, Zemahh said:

Cautious mentality is closer to possession football, though. Think of mentalities as risk; if you wanted fast attacks to expose the space created with a low block, would you tell your players "play it safe and be cautious with the ball" or "take some risks and get it forward quickly, before the opposition has time to regroup"?

Low mentality doesn't make you defensively solid, your formation, your choice of roles and duties and, most importantly, your players' attributes do.

Rashidi used a direct 4-4-2 very successfully in his Hannover Diaries, I recommend you watch it for some ideas:

 

Less Urgent closing down would be fine for a low-block 4-4-2, however, the problem is you're using it in combination with Cautious mentality, which already lowers closing down by itself; you then lower it even further, which could make your team too passive and should perhaps only be used in the final minutes, when you decide to park the bus. Otherwise, you're simply inviting too much pressure onto yourself, with doing nothing but standing off and letting the opposition throw everything at you for 90 minutes.

For a direct counter-attacking 4-4-2, I'd recommend the following:

  • Positive/Attacking mentality (fast and decisive attacking transitions)
  • Lower Line Of Engagement (compact defending in a low-block)
  • Slightly Less Urgent closing down (lower aggressiveness that comes with high mentality)

Optional:

  • Regroup (observe your defensive transitions and see whether your players are getting pulled out of positions too easily due to high mentality)
  • Counter/Pass Into Space (increase risk-taking when chasing goal/want to expose overly aggressive opposition)
  • Slightly Shorter Passing (safer passing, if your team is wasting possession too easily; Attacking mentality comes with Slightly More Direct Passing on default, which could be too demanding for some teams)

As with any tactic, the key is to be sensible. Being defensively responsible doesn't mean you need to use a low mentality, defend as low as possible, be completely passive and use five Defend duties. That way you only put yourself under relentless pressure, which would eventually be too much for any team.

Personally, I only use low mentalities to see out a close game by reducing the risk I take. It is risk/reward balance in the end, after all.

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