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patpul

Total underdog - making tactic, your approach

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Hi all,

I'm interesting on your approach in creating tactic to total underdog teams. Team, witch media says, that will be last in their (lowest) league, board talking about brave battle against relegation, and most attributes are lowest in the league - so it's difficult to find the way, playing system (too slow to counter, worst technically to posession, weak to defend - in compare to other teams all, let say, between 20th and 17th in 20-team league).

What are you doing in this case? Transfer - ok, but let say, that in the moment it is not possible. So you have to work with this players, witch you have in the squad.

I understand, that tactic should be balanced and logical, and mentality affects all other, like tempo or passing. But - would you in this case setup more defensive and support roles on the pitch? Or lower mentality (defensive?)? Or maybe you have any other ideas? Write me please about your approach in case like this :-)

Thanks and greets!

 

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Posted (edited)

Depends on your players, but two ways I would approach this:

1) Direct 4-4-2

4-4-2 is one of the best defensive formations because of its even spacing across the pitch. If you have the right forwards, you can cause a lot of damage to opposition teams who will give you lots of space because they think you're easy. An example set-up would be:

Mentality: Positive
In Possession: Higher Tempo, Hit Early Crosses
In Transition: Counter, Regroup, Throw It Long
Out of Possession: Standard or Higher Defensive Line, Standard or Lower Line of Engagement, Get Stuck In

GK (D)/SK (D)

FB (S) - CD (D) - CD (D) - WB (S)

IW/W (S) - CAR (S) - CM (D)/DLP (D) - WM (S)

AF (A) - TM (A)/PF (A)

This system aims to draw teams in, force a turnover in midfield and then hurt them in transitions with a direct pass up to the two forwards. Even if you're forwards are on the slower side, they can still do damage in 2v2 situations during transitions. It's easily adjustable, too. The CMs can drop into the DM zone for extra defensive protection while the wide players and full backs can be made more aggressive by being given an attack duty, or by making use of the Overlap TIs. 

2) Any variation of a back three

3-at-the-back is great because it's a bottom heavy system that provides defensive cover without needing to play on lower mentalities or load the team up with conservative roles and duties. This means you can play more aggressively in attack and still feel secure. Any back three you use requires good wing-backs with decent Acceleration for whatever level you're playing at. Here's an example 3-5-2 (or 5-1-2-2 as the game calls it) I've been using:

Mentality: Positive
In Possession: Fairly Narrow, Shorter Passing, Higher Tempo, Hit Early Crosses, Play Out of Defence, Overlap Left/Right
In Transition: Distribute to Centre Backs, Counter, Counter Press
Out of Possession: Higher Defensive Line, Higher Line of Engagement, More Urgent Pressing

SK (S)

BPD (D) - CD (D) - BPD (D)

WB (S) ---------- DLP (S) ---------- WB (S)

MEZ (A) - MEZ (S)

PF (A) - AF (A)

Similar to the 4-4-2, the goal is to get those two forwards facing the opposition with space, but we do this slightly differently. Rather than rely on transitions, we lure the opponent in with possession and then spring the two midfielders and forwards when the space opens up. This method needs good passing and composure. 

Alternatively, if you're feeling adventurous:

SK (S)

BPD (D) - CD (D) - BPD (D)

DW (S) - BWM (S) - BBM (S) - DW (S)

PF (A) - P (A) - PF (A)

Gung-ho, get the ball into the box for three strikers approach. Not something I'd recommend normally but it's a fun and surprisingly effective way to play - albeit with more risks than usual. I used this a with team tipped to go down in League 1 and finished third. 

Hopefully you get some inspiration from this. Some general tips:

  • Even if you're an underdog, you still need to score goals. The opposition will give you space, so seek to exploit it.
  • Two attacking roles in the front-line lead to more potent counter attacks.
  • Shorter Passing is handy if your team are poor passes, as it reduces risk and helps them keep the ball.
  • On the flip side, Direct Passing should probably be avoided because it'll lead to too many turnovers from poor passers.
  • Unless you have turtles in your defence, don't be afraid of high lines. The further you can defend from your penalty area, the better. 
Edited by JEinchy

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Thanks for sharing your ideas about this problem :-)

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My general approach to creating tactics is - keep it simple. For underdogs and/or low-league teams - even more so :brock: ;) 

On 21/03/2020 at 17:38, patpul said:

I understand, that tactic should be balanced and logical, and mentality affects all other, like tempo or passing

Yes, that's it. You already have a good starting point :thup: 

 

On 21/03/2020 at 17:38, patpul said:

But - would you in this case setup more defensive and support roles on the pitch? Or lower mentality (defensive?)? Or maybe you have any other ideas? Write me please about your approach in case like this :-)

With that kind of team, I personally would first look to have an optimal balance and distribution between different duties and no "exotic/fancy" roles. Would Start on the Balanced mentality and no instructions. The next step - watch the match carefully and make small, gradual and sensible tweaks accordingly (but only if any tweaks are really necessary). 

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