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MKing3333

Reading FC in PL Tactic Help

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I am a bit of a newbie when it comes to setting up tactics and I would really appreciate some help! For the last few versions of FM I have just used 'plug and play' tactics but for FM20 I want to learn how to build one for myself.

Using the tactic creator I came up with this tactic for my Reading side and somehow won the Chamionship in my 1st season without and additional transfers (must have been luck!) - I was playing a W in place of the IW and I think I was playing the WB's as FB's.

image.thumb.png.f772873846ace93af31934ca68381d23.png

The idea behind this tactic was for the DLPd to offer defensive protection and the AMs to play a more central role whilst the PFa was chasing down the ball.

Playing this high level pressing game clearly didn't work in the PL and despite having a good number of shots in games I was struggling to win any games. I adapted the tactic to something similar to the below, to add more structure to the team and prevent players being pulled out of position.

image.thumb.png.c74284a13bdb2a7e96bb7a3c11c879cd.png

This improved results and I avaoided relegation on the last day of the season (media prediction was to finish bottom).

 

I thought I had found a couple of tactics that I could build on but I am now strugglin in my second season in the PL. I have signed some better players and the media prediction is 18th (currently in the relegation zone). I have tried both tactics this year - the 1st one against weak opposition and the 2nd against top teams and I seem to have a couple of reccuring themes:

  • Tactic 1 creates quite a few chances but few goals. Opposing teams tend to have fewer shots but will win the game.
  • Tactic 2 barely creates any shots (maybe 1 per half). Whilst it is more solid defensively I inevitably lose by a goal or 2 (or more against the very top teams).
  • The AM always performs gets low ratings (6.5 or lower) in both tactics, no matter who plays there.

I am playing the AMR as IWa because it is the only role I could get that player to perfom consistenly in.

I know the 4-2-3-1 is more of an attacking formation but as the team has evolved I don't currently have a player capable of playing in the DM position (and I have a few AM players).

 

Obviously I will still be struggling this year, with a media prediction of 18th, but I would greatly welcome any advice on how to improve some of the issues above :-)

 

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11 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

image.thumb.png.f772873846ace93af31934ca68381d23.png

 

11 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

image.thumb.png.c74284a13bdb2a7e96bb7a3c11c879cd.png

 

11 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

I adapted the tactic to something similar to the below, to add more structure to the team and prevent players being pulled out of position

It seems you posted both screenshots of the same tactic. Because there is absolutely no difference between them, both in terms of roles/duties and instructions (including the mentality). 

Anyway, I'll tell you what IMO is the most problematic thing in your tactic: it is extremely risk defense-wise, even for much stronger teams, let alone a side newly promoted to the EPL.

- you use extremely urgent pressing (plus the counter-press), which tends to heavily compromise your defensive shape and stability

- this is further exacerbated with a relatively low level of compactness, caused by the combination of higher DL and much higher LOE 

- on top of that, you are using a top-heavy formation without a DM (4231), which means these defensive risks are even more pronounced 

One more thing you need to keep in mind when it comes specifically to the 4231 - both CMs need to be defensively reliable players (tackling, positioning, anticipation, stamina, work rate, teamwork and at least decent speed, determination and bravery). 

Any questions?

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8 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

It seems you posted both screenshots of the same tactic. Because there is absolutely no difference between them, both in terms of roles/duties and instructions (including the mentality). 

 

Sorry, copy and paste error! This is what I meant to show:

image.thumb.png.d6ded3cdf3991c48b6ec7e41bee6ae83.png

I lowered the pressing to try to keep the shape as you mention - I should probably remove couter-press too?

Are the Defensive line and LOE more appropriate in this one or should I drop them further? It will be difficult to move from this formation at the moment due to the players I have - I don't have anyone that can play DM well until I can sign one.

I am definitely more defensiely solid with this tactic but I create very few chances - I lose most games 1 or 2 nil. 

It would be nice to have something in the middle of the 2 tactics - much more defensively solid than the 1st tactic but one that will give me the chance of winning a game or 2! And one where I can get the AM to perform well..

I'll take a look at the CM players I have and check their stats - are these appropriate roles to have in a 4231? - thank you for your help!

 

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3 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

I lowered the pressing to try to keep the shape as you mention

Okay, but how much did you lower it - to more urgent or standard/default? 

 

3 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

I should probably remove couter-press too?

Given your team's reputation and (current) standing in the EPL - most probably yes. 

 

3 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

Are the Defensive line and LOE more appropriate in this one or should I drop them further?

In terms of compactness, it's okay now because DL is one notch higher than LOE. In case you notice your defense struggle against opposition balls over the top, you can move both DL and LOE one notch deeper (standard DL/lower LOE). But given that your second tactic employs the Defensive mentality, I assume that's not going to be necessary (because the mentality automatically modifies all instructions, including DL and LOE.

What could potentially be more of a defensive issue is your LB. I fear a WB on attack duty is a bit too adventurous role in a system such as 4231, especially for a team like yours. I would rather go with standard FB on attack duty. 

3 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

I am definitely more defensiely solid with this tactic but I create very few chances - I lose most games 1 or 2 nil

You are probably more defensively solid primarily due to the improved compactness (i.e. smaller distance between DL and LOE). However, there is still room for improvement, both in terms of roles and duties and instructions that can make you even more solid. 

When it comes to mentality, you need to know that lower mentalities (e.g. cautious or defensive) do not make you more defensively solid on their own. You can be defensively solid and play nice counter-attacking football on any mentality, so it's not necessary to use a defensive one for that matter. 

3 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

I'll take a look at the CM players I have and check their stats - are these appropriate roles to have in a 4231?

If you are asking about CM roles, a DLP/BBM combo is a good one in general. However - as with anything else - you need to make sure the roles fit in well with the rest of your setup and are played by suitable players (even more so in a 4231). 

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8 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Okay, but how much did you lower it - to more urgent or standard/default? 

I moved it back down to standard.

8 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

What could potentially be more of a defensive issue is your LB. I fear a WB on attack duty is a bit too adventurous role in a system such as 4231, especially for a team like yours. I would rather go with standard FB on attack duty. 

Would you change both sides, or just the LB? With the AMR being an IWA, would a WB offer more width than a FB?

 

8 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

You are probably more defensively solid primarily due to the improved compactness (i.e. smaller distance between DL and LOE). However, there is still room for improvement, both in terms of roles and duties and instructions that can make you even more solid. 

When it comes to mentality, you need to know that lower mentalities (e.g. cautious or defensive) do not make you more defensively solid on their own. You can be defensively solid and play nice counter-attacking football on any mentality, so it's not necessary to use a defensive one for that matter. 

I have moved to Balanced to see if this will create more chances.

 

8 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

If you are asking about CM roles, a DLP/BBM combo is a good one in general. However - as with anything else - you need to make sure the roles fit in well with the rest of your setup and are played by suitable players (even more so in a 4231). 

Following your previous advice on particluar attributes, I will try a different line up. My DLP, whilst creative, isn't particularly strong in those attributes, even though he currently has the highest Av. Rating in the team!

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45 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

I moved it back down to standard

Good move :thup: 

 

48 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

Would you change both sides, or just the LB? 

While the right side (flank) could also prove problematic from a defensive perspective - and it basically is - the left one still appears to be a bit more critical. But yes - I would also tweak the right side a bit to make it more solid. 

 

55 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

With the AMR being an IWA, would a WB offer more width than a FB?

Both FB and WB can provide width, which in part also depends on duty (not just role), but you also have to consider the CM role on that side (BBM) when picking an optimal role for the RB position. 

To cut a long story short, these are basically the options you should consider when it comes to your right side/flank:

In case you wanna keep the IW on attack:

                 IWat

CAR

                    WBsu

Or:

                   IWat

CMde

                      WBsu

In case you wanna keep the BBM:

                   Wat

BBM

                                  FBsu/IWBde

Or:

                        IFat

BBM

                          FBsu

There are a couple of other possible options, but they would require tweaks elsewhere. 

1 hour ago, MKing3333 said:

I have moved to Balanced to see if this will create more chances

Okay, but that will probably require making a couple of other tweaks to make up for the mentality change. 

Btw, if you want to play defensively solid football with an average or weak team using the 4231 formation, I would suggest that you play both wide forwards (AMR&L) on support duties, because that will help you keep more solid defensive shape overall. 

Also, there are a few instructions in your tactic which I think you really don't need. But we can discuss that later. 

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1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

Okay, but that will probably require making a couple of other tweaks to make up for the mentality change. 

Btw, if you want to play defensively solid football with an average or weak team using the 4231 formation, I would suggest that you play both wide forwards (AMR&L) on support duties, because that will help you keep more solid defensive shape overall. 

Okay, I have moved back to defensive and moved both AMR&L to support.

 

1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

To cut a long story short, these are basically the options you should consider when it comes to your right side/flank:

In case you wanna keep the IW on attack:

                 IWat

CAR

                    WBsu

Or:

                   IWat

CMde

                      WBsu

In case you wanna keep the BBM:

                   Wat

BBM

                                  FBsu/IWBde

Or:

                        IFat

BBM

                          FBsu

 

I'll have to stick with the B2B as it suits my players better, so I have switched teh IW to a W but on support to follow your other advice.

This is what I now have:

image.thumb.png.dfa6d5f4554c492f8bdf921a65f84b54.png

I have just been hammered 4-0 at home by Liverpool and I only had three shots (they had 19). I'm in the middle of a run of horrible fixtures, all games I would probably expect to lose but I am conceding lots and not scuring many:

image.thumb.png.17e30cb5342db2b621584f725486eae8.png

 

I am probably in a downward spiral that no matter what I do with tactics, we will struggle. I thought I was getting the hang of this when I got promoted - I now feel totally lost 😂

Maybe I have now gone too defensive?

 

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2 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

Okay, I have moved back to defensive and moved both AMR&L to support.

No, I did not say that you should go back to defensive mentality. 

 

6 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

I'll have to stick with the B2B as it suits my players better

If a player can play as a B2B - meaning he has the right set of attributes for this role - then he should be able to play a number of other midfield roles. Because B2B (BBM) is a pretty demanding role (needs to be as good at defending as he is in attack). 

 

8 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

image.thumb.png.dfa6d5f4554c492f8bdf921a65f84b54.png

 

8 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

I have just been hammered 4-0 at home by Liverpool and I only had three shots (they had 19)

No wonder they smashed you. While it's logical to be defensive against such a top team like LFC, I fear you were even more defensive than it would be optimal. Of course, a team like LFC may have defeated you even if your tactic was much better, but not so convincingly as 4-0. 

Your key problem is the failure to understand the impact of mentality on all other elements of the tactic. Plus, when playing against top teams, you may even need to consider switching to a more defensive type of formation. Okay, I know you said you don't have DMs to play a 4123, but what about 4411? It's an analogous system to 4231, but better balanced overall. 

And when it comes specifically to teams that press aggressively and from the front, it's never a good idea to play out of defence against them. 

In attack, you don't need the narrow width, given that the width is already narrower due to the low team mentality (even if that's not displayed in the tactical creator screen). 

20 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

I am probably in a downward spiral that no matter what I do with tactics, we will struggle

It can be part of the reason, but I don't think it's the only (or even primary) reason. Because your tactic still has plenty of room for improvement. 

 

21 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

Maybe I have now gone too defensive?

Yes, that's what I also pointed out above. Again, nothing wrong about being defensive against LFC, but obviously not that much defensive. Also, there are different ways of playing defensively, just as there are different ways of playing an attacking (or any other) style of football. 

 

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17 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

Sorry, copy and paste error! This is what I meant to show:

image.thumb.png.d6ded3cdf3991c48b6ec7e41bee6ae83.png

I lowered the pressing to try to keep the shape as you mention - I should probably remove couter-press too?

Are the Defensive line and LOE more appropriate in this one or should I drop them further? It will be difficult to move from this formation at the moment due to the players I have - I don't have anyone that can play DM well until I can sign one.

I am definitely more defensiely solid with this tactic but I create very few chances - I lose most games 1 or 2 nil. 

It would be nice to have something in the middle of the 2 tactics - much more defensively solid than the 1st tactic but one that will give me the chance of winning a game or 2! And one where I can get the AM to perform well..

I'll take a look at the CM players I have and check their stats - are these appropriate roles to have in a 4231? - thank you for your help!

 

I think that counter press with defensive metality will unbalance the team cause the team will pressure in numerical inferiority...

 

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7 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Your key problem is the failure to understand the impact of mentality on all other elements of the tactic. 

You are correct, and I am realising this. I will try to find some reading to understand it better. You have mentioned before about a change in mentality may need a change in player roles and I need to better understand how this works - as I clearly don't!

7 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Okay, I know you said you don't have DMs to play a 4123, but what about 4411? It's an analogous system to 4231, but better balanced overall.

I have managed to sign a DM on loan for the rest of the season, so I will have a go at putting together a 4123 but I'll try to understand player/mentality roles better first, or I will just end up in the same mess again.

 

8 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

It can be part of the reason, but I don't think it's the only (or even primary) reason. Because your tactic still has plenty of room for improvement.

Your help has been invaluable in helping me to understand things I didn't understand before - thank you! - I just need to work you what the improvements are!

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3 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

You have mentioned before about a change in mentality may need a change in player roles

No, I did not mention roles specifically. This is what I said in relation to the mentality change: 

 

14 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:
15 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

I have moved to Balanced to see if this will create more chances

Okay, but that will probably require making a couple of other tweaks to make up for the mentality change

I said "other tweaks", but did not mention which particular tweaks. These tweaks can sometimes include a role or two, but are primarily about instructions and player duties (more than about roles). But there are mentality changes which do not necessarily require any other tweaks. This pertains to a minimal mentality change (by only 1 notch), albeit not in every single case. For example, if you have a very well-balanced tactic under the Positive mentality, you can sometimes switch to the Balanced without making any further tweak (and vice versa). But when you make a bigger mentality change (balanced to defensive, for example), then you need to make a couple of tweaks, primarily in terms of instructions. 

 

4 hours ago, MKing3333 said:

Your help has been invaluable in helping me to understand things I didn't understand before - thank you! - I just need to work you what the improvements are!

You are welcome, mate :thup:

And if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

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7 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

No, I did not mention roles specifically. This is what I said in relation to the mentality change: 

Sorry, I misunderstood you what you meant by tweaks.

I have read your awesome guide on defensive setup (wish I had found it sooner!) and put together a 4123 (using my new DM) to use against strong teams (I can use it as a base to adapt for easier games):

image.thumb.png.29d67c0ae9fafd7a18b740d8e93c3824.png

The idea being to retain solid defensive shape (and regroup to it once possession is lost) and counter when we win the ball back. I started with a lower DL and Very low LOE but my CD's are relatively quick so I bumped them both up one level. Tight marking and get stuck in because I want to try to disrupt the opponents attacking play.

The BPD can link with the DLP to progress the ball up the pitch. The DLPd can then sit in and protect the back 4. I have put the right FB on attack duty as I now have the cover in the DM position - is this okay, or should I drop it to support?

I wasn't too sure what roles to play as CM. I went with BBM to help both defend and push forward and support the attacks. I chose a simple CM as I didn't want another playmaker and a BWM wouldn't necessarily help to keep shape. Could a Mezzala work here?

 

Hopefully, once I can get this defensive tactic sorted, I can look at something more attacking!

 

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17 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

I have put the right FB on attack duty as I now have the cover in the DM position - is this okay, or should I drop it to support?

Might work, but I would still tweak it a bit (not the FB on attack - it's okay - but a couple of other roles). 

 

18 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

I wasn't too sure what roles to play as CM. I went with BBM to help both defend and push forward and support the attacks

That's one of the roles I would tweak. I'd prefer either a carrilero or BWM on support instead of BBM, precisely because of the FB on attack. These 2 roles are better options for defensive cover than BBM. 

 

21 minutes ago, MKing3333 said:

I chose a simple CM as I didn't want another playmaker and a BWM wouldn't necessarily help to keep shape. Could a Mezzala work here?

Nothing wrong with either CMsu or mezzala generally speaking. The mezzala should better support your attacks in terms of movement and creation, but you cannot look at any role in isolation from the rest. You also have to think who is behind the player/role, who's in front, who is next to him, how his movement affects others (and vice versa), how that all affects your play both in attack and defense, and so on...

You can temporarily "freeze" your current (main) save and start an experimental one to test the tactic and learn through trial and error. Once you feel competent (and confident) enough tactically, you can resume your main save and apply the knowledge you gained. With our help here on the forum, of course. 

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18 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

That's one of the roles I would tweak. I'd prefer either a carrilero or BWM on support instead of BBM, precisely because of the FB on attack. These 2 roles are better options for defensive cover than BBM. 

I will see what results I get with both roles. In terms of defensive shape, am I correct in thinking that the Carrilero would be better for structure as they may not get pulled out of position as much as the BWM pressing the opposition?

 

18 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

You can temporarily "freeze" your current (main) save and start an experimental one to test the tactic and learn through trial and error. Once you feel competent (and confident) enough tactically, you can resume your main save and apply the knowledge you gained. With our help here on the forum, of course. 

I have now done exacly as you suggest :-) A couple of games in and tweaking things as I go - hopefully things are starting to become clearer - for some reason I cannot get the AMR to perform.

If you dont mind me asking, what 3 midfield roles (2xCM and DM) would you use in this formation, trying to remain defensively solid and aiming to avoid relegation(!)?

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1 hour ago, MKing3333 said:

 In terms of defensive shape, am I correct in thinking that the Carrilero would be better for structure as they may not get pulled out of position as much as the BWM pressing the opposition?

Basically yes, carrilero is less aggressive and therefore less likely to be pulled out of position. But again, the overall context is important, as well as the type of player. Because players are not alone on the pitch and act in conjunction with others. So you cannot consider roles in isolation. 

 

1 hour ago, MKing3333 said:

for some reason I cannot get the AMR to perform

My approach is simple: if a tactic works and I am pleased with my team's overall performances and results, I don't care if a player or 2 underperforms. Sometimes a player needs time to fit into the system, sometimes it's simply a regular cycle of bad form... sometimes it can have to with the player's morale, happiness, personality etc. 

 

1 hour ago, MKing3333 said:

If you dont mind me asking, what 3 midfield roles (2xCM and DM) would you use in this formation, trying to remain defensively solid and aiming to avoid relegation(!)?

How can I know that without seeing your (current) tactic as a whole? 

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1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

How can I know that without seeing your (current) tactic as a whole? 

This is my current setup:

image.thumb.png.5b9b4dcf5a24ec8e05526ea8233c4494.png

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In my journey man save I ended up at reading and just got them prompted. First season in Prem I finished 9th but I was in the top 6 for large part of the season until my team hit a slump I started getting mauled. I have been experimenting game by game to try get some sort of run back here is what I am sitting with atm.

 

image.thumb.png.f1769993f856c248475fb363148ae1aa.png

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1 hour ago, MKing3333 said:

image.thumb.png.5b9b4dcf5a24ec8e05526ea8233c4494.png

With a BWM/CAR combo, your central midfield is a bit too conservative, especially now that you have a DM (unlike 4231). Therefore, there likely is a lack of support from midfield when the ball is in the final third. 

This is how I would tweak it with a minimal change:

PFat

IFsu                                Wsu

BWMsu  CMat

Ade

FBat    CD  CD/BPD  FBsu

If you want to use a DLP, then I would rather have him in central midfield and on support duty (instead of BWM), because that would be more suitable for a counter-attacking style you are looking for. Like this:

PFat

IFsu                               Wsu

DLPsu   CMat

DMde

FBat  CD  CD/BPD   FBsu

 

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Huge thank you to the advice earlier in this thread. I have had a lot more success with tactics and I managed a 7th place finish last season. The problem I have now is that counter-attacking isnt working any more - teams are starting to play more defensively against me.

I switched to a more posession-based game with great success at the start of the season, hovering around 2nd/3rd just before January. After this I really started to struggle. Opposition teams would regularly have more shots than me and it's been a struggle to grind out results, even against weaker teams

I have just played Leicester, who are in the Championship, away in the FA cup and these were the match stats (them in light blue, me in dark).

image.thumb.png.2cc7bc1b7b8e58d36a201c091eaa7821.png

Luckily I scored a break-away goal in the last minute to win 2-0 (it was much closer to being 1-1). I feel like I am conceding too many opporunities against weaker opposition.

This is the formation that I used in that game (I have been tinkering with the tactic and used to play the same but with Shorter Passing and Be More Expressive).

image.thumb.png.7703247311208a53726fb96e8d89cb8d.png

 

In games where I am favourite I tend to go with this formation:

image.thumb.png.3f369601fc6d6d4a1ddfd6c67f24eee5.png

The idea behind both tactics was origninally to keep possession and try to dominate games. After the initial period, for both tactics, teams were starting to create more chances and I was creating less, which is why I tried to go more direct in the 1st tactic - it hasn't helped with the opposition shots though. I would understand if it was against top teams but I seem to be struggling against everyone!

I would welcome any advice on where I can improve!  Is it the player roles/duties that need tweaking, although they seemed to be working before, or have I got my team approach wrong? I guess the thing I need to learn is how to adapt to when the AI changes their approach to games against me - a tactic that works then seems to struggle.

 

 

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