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Ampalaea4

Need some Counter attack ideas (Formation and TI)

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Hello there. I would like some tips/advice on formation and Team Instructions to play a specific style of football. What I want is:

-Defend in my own half to lure the opposition bring more players forward. 

-Steal the ball and get a fast Counter attack.

1) What would be a good formation for this? 4-4-2? Also what exactly the "Counter" instruction does? I mean should I set my tempo high and "More Direct Passing", or these options are "included" in the "counter" option when my team performs a counter attack? I mean can I play a low tempo, normal passing football when I perform an attack against an organized defense but when I perform a counter attack a fast paced direct passing game?

2) Also as far as I know, my players will Counter attack if they see the potential of a counter attack... but who is to decide this? My defender that will win the ball? Probably he will not have the vision and anticipation required to start a counter attack? How can I encourage my players to attempt counter attacks when we win the ball, even if the chances of success are not that high?

3) Whats the difference between the fluid and direct counter attack in preset styles?

Edited by Ampalaea4

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1 hour ago, Ampalaea4 said:

What I want is:

-Defend in my own half to lure the opposition bring more players forward. 

-Steal the ball and get a fast Counter attack.

1) What would be a good formation for this? 4-4-2?

Yes, 442 - as well as its variants such as 4132 wide or 42DM22 wide - would be a good and logical choice of formation for the style you want to achieve. Wide 442 diamond could also work btw. 

 

1 hour ago, Ampalaea4 said:

Also what exactly the "Counter" instruction does?

Encourages the players to attempt a counter-attack as soon as they win the ball. But you can create a counter-attacking tactic even without using the Counter instruction, so it's not necessary by default. 

 

1 hour ago, Ampalaea4 said:

I mean should I set my tempo high and "More Direct Passing"

Depends on the mentality you play on. Higher mentalities automatically entail both higher tempo and a more forward-oriented style of passing than lower ones (even when it's not readily visible in the tactical creator UI). The mentality generally affects all instructions (both in and out of possession), besides players' individual mentalities of course. 

 

1 hour ago, Ampalaea4 said:

or these options are "included" in the "counter" option when my team performs a counter attack?

Yes, the counter instruction automatically triggers all these settings as soon as there is even a minimal opportunity for a counter-attack. However, it has both pros and cons. 

 

1 hour ago, Ampalaea4 said:

I mean can I play a low tempo, normal passing football when I perform an attack against an organized defense but when I perform a counter attack a fast paced direct passing game?

Yes. But then you don't play a counter-attacking style of football. Instead, you just use the counter-attack as an extra tactical weapon. Which is different from how you described your intended playing style in the first part of your post. 

 

1 hour ago, Ampalaea4 said:

Also as far as I know, my players will Counter attack if they see the potential of a counter attack... but who is to decide this?

If you don't use the Counter TI, then the frequency of attempted counter-attacks will depend on your overall tactical setup (mentality, roles, duties and instructions), but also in part on the opponent's style of play. Basically, you can create a tactic that is either more or less conducive to counter-attacks. 

 

1 hour ago, Ampalaea4 said:

How can I encourage my players to attempt counter attacks when we win the ball, even if the chances of success are not that high?

By using the Counter team instruction (as I already explained): 

Quote

the counter instruction automatically triggers all these settings as soon as there is even a minimal opportunity for a counter-attack. However, it has both pros and cons

 

1 hour ago, Ampalaea4 said:

Whats the difference between the fluid and direct counter attack in preset styles?

I personally never use preset tactics, because they are not optimally set up and hence need a degree of tweaking (some more, some less). But the key difference is that direct counter-attacking football relies on quick, direct, simple and often speculative passes forward for your strikers to try to take advantage of the space left by an aggressive opposition, whereas the more fluid counter-attacking styles perform that in a more sophisticated and smooth manner (which logically requires better players than the direct counter). 

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15 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Yes. But then you don't play a counter-attacking style of football. Instead, you just use the counter-attack as an extra tactical weapon. Which is different from how you described your intended playing style in the first part of your post. 

First of all thanks a lot for the very detailed answer. For the quoted part, what I wanted to do is when I have the ball and there is no possibility for counter attack, I dont want to play the ball fast forward with direct passing and lose it easily and fast to the opponent. But I get what you mean and will adjust it.

hsMQMJP.png

this is my initial setup. If you think Other roles would be better, by all means I am open to advice :P I am not sure for the 2 forwards. Maybe I should use a Pressing forward on support duty and a poacher to stay further away in the pitch for Counter.

Edited by Ampalaea4

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3 hours ago, Ampalaea4 said:

hsMQMJP.png

 

3 hours ago, Ampalaea4 said:

this is my initial setup. If you think Other roles would be better, by all means I am open to advice

Honestly, I don't like your setup of roles and duties at all. It's extremely one-dimensional - both fullbacks, both wide mids and even both strikers in the same role and duty. Moreover, even your CMs are in the same role, just different duties. It's also not stable defensively (notwithstanding the cautious team mentality). You can try and see what happens, but I personally would set it up completely differently. 

When it comes to instructions, you don't have to play on the Cautious (or any low mentality) in order to play a defensively solid counter-attacking style of football. You can comfortably go with the Balanced or even Positive, as long as you set up roles and duties in a sensible manner and take the mentality factor into account when selecting the instructions. The mentality does not define your style of play.

If you want more specific suggestions, please let me know.

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On 06/02/2020 at 14:02, Experienced Defender said:

 

Honestly, I don't like your setup of roles and duties at all. It's extremely one-dimensional - both fullbacks, both wide mids and even both strikers in the same role and duty. Moreover, even your CMs are in the same role, just different duties. It's also not stable defensively (notwithstanding the cautious team mentality). You can try and see what happens, but I personally would set it up completely differently. 

When it comes to instructions, you don't have to play on the Cautious (or any low mentality) in order to play a defensively solid counter-attacking style of football. You can comfortably go with the Balanced or even Positive, as long as you set up roles and duties in a sensible manner and take the mentality factor into account when selecting the instructions. The mentality does not define your style of play.

If you want more specific suggestions, please let me know.

This discussion is very informative.  What would be really helpful to me would be an explanation of why the OP's setup is 'not stable defensively' and what tweaks would help to make it stable. That's the sort of hint that I feel would be very useful for those of us struggling to set up tactics.

I want to set up a decent counter attacking approach in the same style as the OP wants to do in the Lower Leagues, so any assistance would be very much appreciated!

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1 hour ago, Rupal said:

This discussion is very informative.  What would be really helpful to me would be an explanation of why the OP's setup is 'not stable defensively' and what tweaks would help to make it stable. That's the sort of hint that I feel would be very useful for those of us struggling to set up tactics.

I want to set up a decent counter attacking approach in the same style as the OP wants to do in the Lower Leagues, so any assistance would be very much appreciated!

The problem with OPs setup, defensively speaking, is primarily in the middle. Think about the BWM role - what exactly does it do? It attempts to win the ball; aggressively so. Two players on BWM in a 2-man midfield is a recipe for your midfielders chasing the ball carrier like a gaggle of headless chickens. It has zero positional integrity. OP needs a holding role that will give stability to their defensive setup.

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44 minutes ago, Sneaky Pete said:

The problem with OPs setup, defensively speaking, is primarily in the middle. Think about the BWM role - what exactly does it do? It attempts to win the ball; aggressively so. Two players on BWM in a 2-man midfield is a recipe for your midfielders chasing the ball carrier like a gaggle of headless chickens. It has zero positional integrity. OP needs a holding role that will give stability to their defensive setup.

Yes, thanks. I did think the same myself.  The thing which made me unsure was the fact that Experienced Defender mentioned that but also talked about defensive instability as a separate issue which made me wonder if there was something else about the defensive setup that was going to be a problem.

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On 06/02/2020 at 10:38, Ampalaea4 said:

First of all thanks a lot for the very detailed answer. For the quoted part, what I wanted to do is when I have the ball and there is no possibility for counter attack, I dont want to play the ball fast forward with direct passing and lose it easily and fast to the opponent. But I get what you mean and will adjust it.

hsMQMJP.png

this is my initial setup. If you think Other roles would be better, by all means I am open to advice :P I am not sure for the 2 forwards. Maybe I should use a Pressing forward on support duty and a poacher to stay further away in the pitch for Counter.

Agree with what others have said in that this looks very one dimensional. Here's my thoughts; 

I'd change your keeper to something more aggressive in their distribution. Maybe SK(D) or SK(S)?

  • I'd encourage one of your fullbacks to get forward more and overlap for a bit more variety. Would have at least a WB(S) in there. 
  • Depending on what level you're playing at, a Ball Player/No Nonsense defender would add some variety to your distribution from the back. 
  • One BWM is enough as you're giving space away in the middle. I'd maybe have a CM(S) in there alongside your BWM(S).
  • I'd have a player who cuts inside on one of your wings, just for some variety going forward. 
  • I would change one of your strikers to a deeper role to link your attacks through the middle. In your current state you have two strikers pinned against the opposition defence, with no-one to get the ball to them.

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9 hours ago, Rupal said:

What would be really helpful to me would be an explanation of why the OP's setup is 'not stable defensively' and what tweaks would help to make it stable

When it comes to roles and duties, the key source of his potential defensive instability is his midfield - both wide and central. 

He plays wingers on attack duty on both flanks. Even if he played 2 WMs on attack duty instead of wingers, it would still be pretty risky defensively, even though WM as a role is inherently more conservative than winger (or IW). Because when he loses the ball, these 2 attack-duty guys may often be too high up the pitch to get back in time and help in defense. 

Then we have the central midfield. In both CM positions, he plays the most aggressive role - BWM. While BWM on defend is nominally considered a "holding" role, in reality it's not really the case - precisely because of the role's aggressive manner of defending. Keep in mind that his formation does not employ a DM to guard the back-line more directly. So what happens if/when his BWMs fail to win the ball (i.e. intercept an opposition (counter)attack) - taking also his attack-duty wingers into account - is his defense could well end up heavily exposed.

All these factors that I have listed above make instructions such as tight marking and get stuck in more risky than they would otherwise have been. 

On the other hand, the low team mentality (cautious in this case) and good vertical compactness (the combo of standard DL and lower LOE) may mitigate these risks to some degree, but the question is whether that degree is sufficient?

Now, one may argue that his players are possibly good enough to offset the defensive risk(s). Maybe, but if they are really that good, why then would he opt to play a counter-attacking style of football in the first place?

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Thanks very much.  That clarifies the situation considerably.

I'm thinking of a 5-1-2-2 DM WB setup as follows:

 

                                                                                                 AF a               DLF s

                                                                                                 DLP s             CM a

                                                                                      WB s             Anchor d           WB s

                                                                                             CD d        CD cover      CD d

                                                                                                              GK d

Mentality normally cautious depending on opposition. Most teams are likely to be stronger than mine.

Standard DL

Lower LOE

Slightly more direct

Defend narrower

Tighter marking

Counter

Regroup

Be more disciplined

Standard tempo

Distribute quickly

Possibly adding Play for set pieces.

 

Would be grateful for any comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Rupal

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7 hours ago, Rupal said:

I'm thinking of a 5-1-2-2 DM WB setup as follows:

 

                                                                                                 AF a               DLF s

                                                                                                 DLP s             CM a

                                                                                      WB s             Anchor d           WB s

                                                                                             CD d        CD cover      CD d

                                                                                                              GK d

Mentality normally cautious depending on opposition. Most teams are likely to be stronger than mine.

Standard DL

Lower LOE

Slightly more direct

Defend narrower

Tighter marking

Counter

Regroup

Be more disciplined

Standard tempo

Distribute quickly

Possibly adding Play for set pieces.

 

Would be grateful for any comments

If you want to play a counter-attacking style, I would recommend having both strikers on attack duty. Therefore - change the DLF's duty into attack. And if both strikers are right-footed, swap their sides. Like this:

DLFat    AF

When it comes to the mentality, you don't need to play on a low mentality in order to achieve a defensively solid counter-attacking style of football. You can comfortably go with the Balanced. The mentality alone does not make you defensively solid and stable.

But if you want to play on the Cautious mentality, then you need to tweak some instructions.

- remove the Be more disciplined (on a low mentality your players are already risk-averse, so you don't need to further limit their creativity and movement)

- remove Defend narrower (because you are already playing in a narrow formation, so playing with the narrow def width could put too much of a burden on your WBs). Go with either standard or wider def width

- add the Get stuck in (to avoid your players being too passive when defending - again due to the low mentality)

- remove the Regroup (also in order to avoid overly passive behavior of your players in the defensive phase of play, again partly in relation to the low mentality)

- if you notice that your players are having trouble with tight marking, you can remove it and add the more urgent pressing instead

- tempo might also need to be upped to higher (the mentality factor again)

- adding the Overlap left is also something you should consider (so as to encourage the LWB to provide more support in the attacking phase, given that you have a holding midfielder on that side - the DLP)

- Focus through the middle is another instruction that also may prove helpful on occasion

NOTE 1: All these tweaks apply only to the tactic under the Cautious mentality. If you switch to a higher mentality. different tweaks would be needed.

NOTE 2: Be careful with the CM on attack duty in MCR. If you notice you are defensively exposed in that area, change him into one of the following roles: mezzala on support or BBM or CM on support (possibly with the Get further forward PI added).

 

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That's extremely helpful.  Many thanks and will give those suggestions a go.

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Unfortunately, having tried the suggestions out, it doesn't appear to be working very well.  I suspect that the formation is too demanding for my players, who aren't very gifted!  Ah well, back to the drawing board.

I have the impression (however much people try to maintain that it isn't the case) that the game 'wants' the human player to operate with high pressing, attacking football and tends to 'punish' attempts to play in other styles.  Probably I'm wrong but other people have expressed similar views in various threads.

 

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28 minutes ago, Rupal said:

Unfortunately, having tried the suggestions out, it doesn't appear to be working very well.  I suspect that the formation is too demanding for my players, who aren't very gifted!  Ah well, back to the drawing board

Post a screenshot of the tactic if you can. Maybe you inadvertently omitted something. 

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I'll try something out first.  I suspect that I need to raise the mentality.  The whole thing, even with your tweaks, seems to be too passive and I don't compete in midfield.  My wingbacks are also ineffective.  Will try Positive or even Attacking and see what that does.

The nomenclature of the game doesn't really help clear thinking.  One naturally assumes that if you want to be more conservative you should choose 'cautious' or defensive'.  It's not an unreasonable assumption but as you have pointed out it's not necessarily the right thing to do. 

Combining a combative mentality with less aggressive roles and duties might be worth trying?

I'll let you know how I get on.  In the meantime, thanks for all the help!

Edit:  Still not working as I want.  The age-old problem of constantly hitting the post or bar or missing from two metres shows up when I raise the mentality - even to attacking.  Hugely dominate play and can't score which is another thing which people have been moaning about with the game for years.  Basically, I am becoming more and more convinced that the game simply doesn't 'like' any style which isn't extremely attacking and hard pressing, in the lower leagues at any rate.  Maybe you really do need better players to bring it off.  It's a pity, but no point in keeping battering my head against a brick wall so will change approach completely!

Edited by Rupal
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8 hours ago, Rupal said:

I suspect that I need to raise the mentality.  The whole thing, even with your tweaks, seems to be too passive and I don't compete in midfield.  My wingbacks are also ineffective.  Will try Positive or even Attacking and see what that does

The low mentality may well have been the problem in this particular case, simply because your formation is already defensive (i.e. bottom-heavy). So switching to a higher mentality could make sense. However, I would advise against making big mentality changes instantly. Instead of the Positive or Attacking, you should first try with the Balanced. Go step by step and don't rush into making too many or too big changes, because that's not going to lead you anywhere. 

When it comes to the mentality, remember that it affects everything. Therefore, any mentality change automatically changes/adjusts all your instructions (along with individual player mentalities). 

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On 11/02/2020 at 16:43, Experienced Defender said:

The low mentality may well have been the problem in this particular case, simply because your formation is already defensive (i.e. bottom-heavy). So switching to a higher mentality could make sense. However, I would advise against making big mentality changes instantly. Instead of the Positive or Attacking, you should first try with the Balanced. Go step by step and don't rush into making too many or too big changes, because that's not going to lead you anywhere. 

When it comes to the mentality, remember that it affects everything. Therefore, any mentality change automatically changes/adjusts all your instructions (along with individual player mentalities). 

I'm a sucker for punishment so I'll have another crack at this to see what happens.

Edit:  still not happy.  I think I will come back to this style in due course but it simply seems too demanding for a Lower League squad.  I suppose that if the number of chances you create is limited by your choice of system you need better strikers in order to take advantage of those which you do get, which doesn't happen in the Lower Leagues so much!

Edit 2:  Have still been tinkering.  Interestingly, have found that it seems to play a LOT better with a lower defensive line.  Would that be because it makes the opposition more committed and thus provides more opportunities for counters?  Anyway, am encouraged, so will persist! 

Edit 3:  Having tried everything I can think of and run through the gamut of changes, including taking all of Experienced Defender's advice on board, I am reluctantly driven to the conclusion that, in its current state, the game simply isn't playable trying to adopt a counter-attacking strategy of this sort in the Lower Leagues no matter how much you tinker with it.  There seems to be a built-in predisposition to favour high pressing, high line of engagement systems and playing on the 'front foot' generally and one is swimming against the tide if one tries to adopt a different strategy.  It's a pity but that's how it seems to pan out.

Maybe SI will be able to redress the imbalance in future editions.  It would be good if they did.

Edited by Rupal
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