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I am currently managing Doncaster Rovers and have won promotion from League One. I have followed this up with 9th and 10th placed finishes in the Championship, however have had a poor start to the latest season. 

Are there any fundamental changes you would make to the following home and away tactics? I am particularly struggling to get my wingers to contribute with goals and assists. 




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1 hour ago, ChrisBuxton said:



1 hour ago, ChrisBuxton said:



1 hour ago, ChrisBuxton said:

Are there any fundamental changes you would make to the following home and away tactics?

First off, instead of using these 2 tactics for home and away games respectively, I would rather sort of "merge" them into one. And then I would just make slight tweaks to that one tactic depending on the situation/opposition. 

So here is what that "merged" tactic would look like in my design:


Wsu                            IFsu

CMat    DLPsu


FBsu    CDde  CDde   FBat


Mentality - Balanced or Positive

In possession - nothing (

In transition - nothing

Out of possession - nothing

That would be the starting point. Then - depending on what I see watching the match - a couple of instructions may be (gradually) added here and there until I am happy with what I see :)


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I don't think you need two tactics, I'd prefer to have one and make adjustments depending on the opposition. 

Your tactic is good though, but I feel it can be improved with a couple tweaks. 

Because you are playing extremely high tempo and pass into space, I don't think you'll need two playmakers in the midfield. I've had success both with DLP and DM for the DM position so either is fine but I do recommend keeping them on defend duty. As for the other two CMs, I've had a lot of success with a AP (A) as he can make good runs forward from the space your striker will make. When playing against tougher opposition, maybe switch him out for a BWM or a CM (S). I think your tactic could really do with another attack duty player. you have one on attack who's role is to get other players into the game so maybe add either a midfielder or a winger to add some oomph in your attack. 

I play a similar style and have had a lot of success with PF (A) for striker. He plays similar to an AF and DLF and will also suit your pressing style. 

I like the FB on support but maybe add more variety with a WB on one of the sides. 

your tactics is also good for creating 1-on-1's, I like to add a NCB when I spot one of the opposition defenders is too slow against my striker.

I wouldn't have prevent short GK distribution as your defensive line is not high enough. when you prevent short distribution you are forcing the opposition to hit it long instead or play through you, because your defensive line is not that high they might find gaps to exploit you with. To play a high pressing game your players need (AT THE MINIMUM) good work rate, determination, acceleration and stamina. So, be careful with introducing this in your tactic. 



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1. To me tactic 1 looks strange because you have conflicting instructions between possession and out of possession.

On the one hand you are trying to get the ball moving quickly into space, presumably behind the opposition defence. You also have two players attacking that space. Great.
However, out of possession you want to push up your defensive line, line of engagement and press heavily? So essentially you're limiting the space in behind by pushing the opposition into their own 18 yard box, so when you do force them into a mistake, although it will be closer to their goal, there won't be much space left to exploit unless it's a really bad blunder.

Also by telling them to play out from the back, you're allowing the opposition to reorganise themselves into a deeper position, again cutting your space. It's like "OK defenders, i want you to get cute and pass it short, but midfielders, hoof it long like you've never hoofed it before!"

I think you're going to have problems maintaining possession. That doesn't have to be a problem in itself but if you don't have space to do something with the ball, then the opposition will probably find a way to do something with it instead. Short of knowing what your set pieces are like, that's why you're losing games.

I won't tell you how to set up instructions here but you might be able to think along the right lines from what I've said.

2. In terms of your roles there's definitely some tweaks that will help you improve. You mentioned that your wingers are struggling. I'm gonna assume you meant specifically your AML player, but I'll talk about the AMR anyway.

I don't know if you have any PIs so I will assume not. But to me it's quite clear why that's the case, and it comes down to a lack of support. Yeah you have both FBs and BBMs but these roles and duties don't do enough on their own to help the winger, particularly the BBM(S). The problem you have here is that you do need a deep runner from midfield, but you don't want that runner in the same space as the IF cutting inside. So you put the BBM(S), and if you put CM(A) here instead it still doesn't give you the support. I'm not saying a BBM or BWM or CM(A) can't pass the ball to the winger, but I am saying they will be more inclined to focus on their job of running from deep or in the case of BWM, pressing the opposition high up the pitch. You need a player who can perform a variety of tasks. Somebody who isn't specialised.

On the opposite flank you also have an IF(A). The problem you have here is that an IF(A) and AF will get in each others way a fair bit. The AF does move into channels so it's not always true. The main problem is the duty on the IF and striker, because when you put them both on attack you're asking them to both be getting on the end of final balls in the same space.

I'm reluctant to suggest what I'm going to suggest because I totally appreciate your transfer business could have been seriously miscalculated if you follow my suggestion here.
AML W(S) - PI Gets Further Forward
AMR IF(S) - PI Stay Wider

MCL CM(S) - PI Against stronger teams Hold Position, general PI tackle harder
MCR CM(S) - PI Moves Into Channels, Gets Further Forward, Tackle Harder

All 3 midfielders should be good at tackling and positioning with good work rate, stamina, bravery, determination and teamwork.

DL FB(S) - PI Gets Further Forward, Dribble Less
DR - FB(S) PI Dribble Less (less aggressive with the forward runs but still supporting and sometimes overlapping the midfield and AMR

The way that I suggest performs the tasks you need in attack whilst maintaining the individual mentality of each player that keeps defence very strong. The lack of specialisation from the CM(S) allows the player to perform a variety of tasks whilst giving some particular attention to your PIs. It's like you're telling your 2 midfield boys OK I want you to do everything in defence and transition and arrive late into the box, but MCL if you could get stuck in and sit a bit deeper off the ball, and MCR I want you to be more adventurous with your running and get forward more when we have the ball, we're going to have a good match.

Edited by permanentquandary
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