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Evening everyone,

I'm new on here and my first post so take it easy! Just recently picked up FM20 after going into lockdown. Not played Football Manager in a number of years so it took me a while to get my head round all the new features and the depth the game now goes into.

Spent a number of hours looking at @llama3 guides and also @Rashidi on YouTube along with seeing some really good information from a lot of other members in particular @Experienced Defender I decided to start a new save with Dortmund as I really enjoy the Bundesliga and the Dortmund team in real life especially now with Haaland.

My tactic and style of play: I went with 4-1-2-3 as it's the formation I feel most comfortable putting together and the tactic I feel can give me the style of play I'm looking to achieve, which is pressing from the front, all forwards involved and full backs supporting to give me a number of different attacking options. I like to play short passing at a slightly higher tempo but most importantly I want my passes to be penetrating the opposition defence. I also like my keeper and back line to be playing from the back (Man City and how Pep plays is what I like to see from my team but I do also love watching a Klopp team).

Positives: All my front three are chipping in with goals and assists. Reus has been the standout so far with Sancho and Haaland also being very good. As much as I love to see one striker score 40+ goals in a season I want Reus and Sancho to support Haaland with goals as well.

- Combinations are starting to grow in the team and players are getting used to playing with each other.

- Beat Bayern in the Super Cup, topped my Champions League group which included Chelsea, a tricky Lyon side and Atalanta and I'm currently top of the Bundesliga with Bayern off the pace at the moment.

- In good form and not losing many games (screenshot below).

Where I'm struggling and need help: My possession stats are the 4th worst in the league and no matter what I do can't seem to control a game with possession. I know possession doesn't mean everything but I do like to dominate the ball.

- We are conceding a high number of goals from crosses as you can see from the below screenshot.

- I struggle to create a number of chances in a match and a good number of my games have been saved due to a set piece or a penalty.

- A big one for me is trying to understand how to use in match instructions. I really struggle understanding what instructions to use when a game is unfolding. I watch all my games on medium speed and extended highlights, have tried watching the first full 15 minutes but again I struggle.

I've tried to keep my tactical setup as simple as possible as I don't want any overkill.

My last 3 games are below as well along with my run of results which included a strong performance away to Bayern. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 

438028200_FootballManager202006_04_202021_23_44.thumb.png.1ad9cf7dcc721ce28c0db03d452ecbd1.png

887262773_FootballManager202006_04_202021_28_00.thumb.png.9ebb5756d9dcf0c02157a3338eb1eee7.png

1578957897_FootballManager202006_04_202021_28_24.thumb.png.e0112e04bf137877a549ce40407cb27b.png

1087573048_FootballManager202006_04_202021_31_09.thumb.png.9c7eba5a29b38d44f0515a550883b8a4.png

897896680_FootballManager202006_04_202021_29_20.thumb.png.bbc2bdc2aefd2d2b32032ba91377d9e3.png

1304809087_FootballManager202006_04_202021_29_40.thumb.png.a78aaae50db017ec9f93195cb997fe9f.png

1111667796_FootballManager202006_04_202021_30_14.thumb.png.5387a6e487d19814f4bea3c0e43b8ab8.png

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14 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

Where I'm struggling and need help: My possession stats are the 4th worst in the league and no matter what I do can't seem to control a game with possession. I know possession doesn't mean everything but I do like to dominate the ball

I don't see why would you want to make any changes when you are 1st in the league, but If you want more possession, the first thing you can do is drop the tempo to normal (instead of higher). 

 

17 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

We are conceding a high number of goals from crosses as you can see from the below screenshot

But on the other hand, you also scored the same number of goals (8) from crosses. 

 

20 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

I struggle to create a number of chances in a match and a good number of my games have been saved due to a set piece or a penalty

I think your tactic needs just a couple of small tweaks to become really solid (both in defence and attack). If you want, I can tell you what personally I would change and why. But if you have read tactical suggestions I've been giving to people on the forum, you should be able to guess what those changes would be ;) 

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11 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

I don't see why would you want to make any changes when you are 1st in the league, but If you want more possession, the first thing you can do is drop the tempo to normal (instead of higher). 

 

But on the other hand, you also scored the same number of goals (8) from crosses. 

 

I think your tactic needs just a couple of small tweaks to become really solid (both in defence and attack). If you want, I can tell you what personally I would change and why. But if you have read tactical suggestions I've been giving to people on the forum, you should be able to guess what those changes would be ;) 

@Experienced Defender I'll drop the tempo and see how that goes.

Very good point regarding the 8 goals I've scored from crosses, just frustrating when I can see where we are conceding but not 100% sure on how to stop it!

Let's assume I've not read any of your tactical suggestions on the forum to save myself looking stupid :lol:

What small tweaks would you recommend I make?

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19 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

What small tweaks would you recommend I make?

Besides the already mentioned tempo, I would first make a small tweak to your roles and duties on the left flank (the right flank looks okay). There are basically 2 variants of what you can do.

This is the first one:

DLFsu

IFat                                 Wsu

DLPsu   CMat

DMde

WBsu    CD    CD     FBsu

Here I only changed the left back's role into WB instead of FB (without changing his duty), so as to make him provide more direct support both to the IF and DLP. Seemingly a very small change, but can make a notable difference. 

The other variant is this (my favorite type of 4123 setup):

DLFat

IFsu                             Wsu

DLPsu   CMat

DMde

FBat     CD    CD     FBsu

Here I did not change any roles, but instead I changed 3 duties. This setup would not just provide better attacking support on the left flank, but will also improve your overall tactical balance. And could even help to mitigate your problem with conceding goals from crosses by having both wide forwards on support duty (unlike the previous version, in which your AML was IF on attack). 

P.S: I would also consider the right back as an IWB on support duty (in which case your DM could be changed into a HB), but I don't know if your RB is good enough as a player to suit the IWB role (because it's more demanding than standard FB).

Question: I see that you use the standard GK role. Is it because your keeper lacks the attributes needed for a SK or for some other reason?

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9 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Besides the already mentioned tempo, I would first make a small tweak to your roles and duties on the left flank (the right flank looks okay). There are basically 2 variants of what you can do.

This is the first one:

DLFsu

IFat                                 Wsu

DLPsu   CMat

DMde

WBsu    CD    CD     FBsu

Here I only changed the left back's role into WB instead of FB (without changing his duty), so as to make him provide more direct support both to the IF and DLP. Seemingly a very small change, but can make a notable difference. 

The other variant is this (my favorite type of 4123 setup):

DLFat

IFsu                             Wsu

DLPsu   CMat

DMde

FBat     CD    CD     FBsu

Here I did not change any roles, but instead I changed 3 duties. This setup would not just provide better attacking support on the left flank, but will also improve your overall tactical balance. And could even help to mitigate your problem with conceding goals from crosses by having both wide forwards on support duty (unlike the previous version, in which your AML was IF on attack). 

P.S: I would also consider the right back as an IWB on support duty (in which case your DM could be changed into a HB), but I don't know if your RB is good enough as a player to suit the IWB role (because it's more demanding than standard FB).

Question: I see that you use the standard GK role. Is it because your keeper lacks the attributes needed for a SK or for some other reason?

I'll definitely give both variants a try and see how the team performs, thanks! Interesting you have changed the roles and duties slightly where I have probably been more focused on the team instructions.

I did try the both DL and DR on WB but felt it left me exposed at the back as Hakimi and Guerreiro are attacking full backs. Hakimi has great pace, stamina, work rate and natural fitness but because of his attacking nature, would he possibly struggle at IWB?

To be honest I've always played the keeper on a GK (Defend) role. I've never tried him as a SK, however he does have very good kicking, throwing and composure so could be worth trying him in that role?

What is your approach to in game tweaks if you are being pushed back or not creating chances? I've been testing with my attacking width, approach play and my LOE and DL but still trying to find the right times to use them. I also like to close certain areas of the pitch down by closing down on the OI instructions.

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Just now, superrally9 said:

Interesting you have changed the roles and duties slightly where I have probably been more focused on the team instructions

Both are important, because all elements of a tactic work together. You need to pay attention to all details. And you also need to be aware that your defensive instructions affect your attacking play, and vice versa. Roles and duties affect both phases of play. 

 

2 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

Hakimi has great pace, stamina, work rate and natural fitness but because of his attacking nature, would he possibly struggle at IWB?

I would have to see his player profile in order to tell you if he could be a good choice for an IWB. 

 

3 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

To be honest I've always played the keeper on a GK (Defend) role. I've never tried him as a SK, however he does have very good kicking, throwing and composure so could be worth trying him in that role?

There are other important attributes for a SK: passing, first touch, vision, technique, anticipation, decisions, rushing out, one on ones, command of area, acceleration... 

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7 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Both are important, because all elements of a tactic work together. You need to pay attention to all details. And you also need to be aware that your defensive instructions affect your attacking play, and vice versa. Roles and duties affect both phases of play. 

 

I would have to see his player profile in order to tell you if he could be a good choice for an IWB. 

 

There are other important attributes for a SK: passing, first touch, vision, technique, anticipation, decisions, rushing out, one on ones, command of area, acceleration... 

Definitely think I'm missing something with Hakimi as he has only contributed to 1 assist so far this season.

1349466907_FootballManager202007_04_202000_18_18.thumb.png.34b62bc0d540bff2b338c578cadaa800.png

 

Burki looks like he has the potential to play SK..

1601756253_FootballManager202007_04_202000_18_43.thumb.png.ff37d600d00e3c299419eab3f04576a0.png

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6 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

What is your approach to in game tweaks if you are being pushed back or not creating chances?

Honestly, I very rarely have this type of issues, but when such things happen, I make small gradual tweaks based on what I observe watching the match. The problem is that there is no universal recipe. Sometimes you can add or remove just one instruction and it will be enough. Sometimes you just need to tweak one role or duty in order to add a different dynamic to the way you attack.

I'll give you one concrete recent example of how I tweaked my setup of roles and duties after struggling to break down an extremely defensive opponent. 

Here is what my starting setup looked like (4132 wide):

CFsu    AF

IWsu         CMat          WMsu

HB

FBat     BPDco  CDde   IWBsu

SKsu

And this what it looked like after these couple of tweaks:

PO    DLFsu

IWsu          BBM         WMsu

HB

WBsu    BPDco  CDde   IWBat

SKsu

If you look carefully, you'll notice that I actually reduced the overall number of attack duties (from 3 to 2), but the key to success was how I modified the pattern of attack. 

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4 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

1349466907_FootballManager202007_04_202000_18_18.thumb.png.34b62bc0d540bff2b338c578cadaa800.png

I definitely would not play Hakimi as an IWB, because his defense-related mental attributes are pretty poor for the role. 

 

6 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

1601756253_FootballManager202007_04_202000_18_43.thumb.png.ff37d600d00e3c299419eab3f04576a0.png

I would definitely play him as a SK, but only on defend duty.

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5 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Honestly, I very rarely have this type of issues, but when such things happen, I make small gradual tweaks based on what I observe watching the match. The problem is that there is no universal recipe. Sometimes you can add or remove just one instruction and it will be enough. Sometimes you just need to tweak one role or duty in order to add a different dynamic to the way you attack.

I'll give you one concrete recent example of how I tweaked my setup of roles and duties after struggling to break down an extremely defensive opponent. 

Here is what my starting setup looked like (4132 wide):

CFsu    AF

IWsu         CMat          WMsu

HB

FBat     BPDco  CDde   IWBsu

SKsu

And this what it looked like after these couple of tweaks:

PO    DLFsu

IWsu          BBM         WMsu

HB

WBsu    BPDco  CDde   IWBat

SKsu

If you look carefully, you'll notice that I actually reduced the overall number of attack duties (from 3 to 2), but the key to success was how I modified the pattern of attack. 

Really interesting to see how you have changed your roles and duties in game, when I've always focused on team instructions in game. It's an area of improvement I have to work on as I'm always worried a change which I think might be right turns out to be wrong and I concede or lose the game.

I've also kept Hakimi as a FB and changed my GK to a SK :thup:

Some great information btw!

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5 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

Really interesting to see how you have changed your roles and duties in game, when I've always focused on team instructions in game. It's an area of improvement I have to work on as I'm always worried a change which I think might be right turns out to be wrong and I concede or lose the game

The most important thing in such situations (IMHO) is that you do not panic and start making too many changes at once on a random basis. Instead, always try to keep a cool head. You can hit the "pause" button at any point during the match and analyze different aspects of play (where each of your players is and what he is doing in any phase of play). That can help a lot to make good decisions. 

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1 minute ago, Experienced Defender said:

The most important thing in such situations (IMHO) is that you do not panic and start making too many changes at once on a random basis. Instead, always try to keep a cool head. You can hit the "pause" button at any point during the match and analyze different aspects of play (where each of your players is and what he is doing in any phase of play). That can help a lot to make good decisions. 

That is something I'm very bad at.. changing two or three different things, thinking it will work out. I currently view my games on 2D and extended highlights. Would you recommend any other way of watching to analyze the games better? Apart from watching the full game of course.

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11 hours ago, superrally9 said:

I currently view my games on 2D and extended highlights. Would you recommend any other way of watching to analyze the games better? Apart from watching the full game of course

2D is good, but I would also recommend comprehensive highlights. I always watch in 2D and on the comprehensive. When I am testing a new tactic, I even watch the first 15 minutes in the full mode.

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Just now, Experienced Defender said:

2D is good, but I would also recommend comprehensive highlights. I always watch in 2D and on the comprehensive. When I am testing a new tactic, I even watch the first 15 minutes in the full mode.

This is the best advice to give anyone. I know it's tedius in the beginning but it's the only way to make sense of how a tactic is working and also how the opposition is playing and is the AI taking advantage of a flaw in your tactic. :thup:

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56 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

2D is good, but I would also recommend comprehensive highlights. I always watch in 2D and on the comprehensive. When I am testing a new tactic, I even watch the first 15 minutes in the full mode.

I’ll stick with 2D but go with comprehensive  from now on and try full mode when I’ve made any tactical changes.

Just to reiterate what @KrKAlex and @Justified have said.. brilliant info and advice! Thank you 👍🏼

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22 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

The other variant is this (my favorite type of 4123 setup):

DLFat

IFsu                             Wsu

DLPsu   CMat

DMde

FBat     CD    CD     FBsu

@Experienced Defender decided to give with the the second variant you mentioned and things started of great! Two games at home to Koln and Union Berlin with 7 goals being scored and the team looked like it was hitting form at the right time but I've now lost twice in the last 3 games and really struggling against teams that have 5 across the back, two WB's and 3 CD's. I hardly seem to create any clear cut chances and scoring opportunities. I've been watching in comprehensive mode but I feel like I'm struggling to make the necessary changes in match to change things. Any advice would be great as I've dropped down to 3rd in the league and got Athletico Madrid next in the knockouts of the Champions League. (Screenshot below of my games I've mentioned).

1515571350_FootballManager202007_04_202021_46_24.thumb.png.b4e44d2290136bbfc05440418579133f.png

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51992529_FootballManager202007_04_202021_47_36.thumb.png.1ef0fb4b5aef4d58e3ead723f830e27a.png

1637947100_FootballManager202007_04_202021_47_56.thumb.png.dd54e7fcf72bdf6760c96403d59d7f1f.png

2002590754_FootballManager202007_04_202021_48_14.thumb.png.318971fd50761b933d8294b03cdde8b0.png

 

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46 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

1515571350_FootballManager202007_04_202021_46_24.thumb.png.b4e44d2290136bbfc05440418579133f.png

 

46 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

@Experienced Defender decided to give with the the second variant you mentioned and things started of great! Two games at home to Koln and Union Berlin with 7 goals being scored and the team looked like it was hitting form at the right time but I've now lost twice in the last 3 games and really struggling against teams that have 5 across the back, two WB's and 3 CD's. I hardly seem to create any clear cut chances and scoring opportunities. I've been watching in comprehensive mode but I feel like I'm struggling to make the necessary changes in match to change things. Any advice would be great as I've dropped down to 3rd in the league and got Athletico Madrid next in the knockouts of the Champions League. (Screenshot below of my games I've mentioned).

Roles and duties look good and are very nicely balanced, so I would assume it's some of the instructions you should tweak. But which exact instructions - it's really impossible to say.

Maybe the counter-press is what makes you more vulnerable in defense. Maybe you need to drop the LOE by just one notch (to standard instead of higher) for better compactness when defending but also to allow more space to your team in the final third when attacking. 

Or maybe you need to add or remove (or slightly modify) some in-possession instruction(s). I am pretty sure that just a small tweak or two would be enough, but you have to watch carefully what happens on the pitch to determine what exactly should be tweaked. 

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31 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

 

Roles and duties look good and are very nicely balanced, so I would assume it's some of the instructions you should tweak. But which exact instructions - it's really impossible to say.

Maybe the counter-press is what makes you more vulnerable in defense. Maybe you need to drop the LOE by just one notch (to standard instead of higher) for better compactness when defending but also to allow more space to your team in the final third when attacking. 

Or maybe you need to add or remove (or slightly modify) some in-possession instruction(s). I am pretty sure that just a small tweak or two would be enough, but you have to watch carefully what happens on the pitch to determine what exactly should be tweaked. 

So I dropped my LOE to standard but kept my higher defensive line so we were compact and removed counter press. Played Athletico Madrid away and we drew 0-0 but no idea how it finished 0-0 as they dominated the game. Really struggled against their high pressing 4-4-2. Always seemed to be on top of my guys and they were working balls out to channels with ease. I did use close down for the full backs and wingers on OI but didn't seem to help. I can see what opposition teams are doing to me but just don't know how to react to it with the correct instructions :(

898033297_FootballManager202007_04_202023_32_07.thumb.png.8204ed2bbe5de61e26b99d35296d6a46.png

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10 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

I did use close down for the full backs and wingers on OI but didn't seem to help

Be careful with OIs. When you apply a particular OI on (too) many opposition players/position, it can easily backfire. Because telling players to do something does not mean they will manage to do it successfully. 

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Btw, playing against a top team like Atletico, especially away from home, is different from playing some average team when you are the clear favorite. So a 0-0 draw is a very good result in a match like that if you ask me. 

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13 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Be careful with OIs. When you apply a particular OI on (too) many opposition players/position, it can easily backfire. Because telling players to do something does not mean they will manage to do it successfully. 

I tend to use them more on wing backs to put pressure on them so it directs the play more to the center, as most of the chances against me have came from wide play. I do like my front 3 and centre mid to be closing down rather than opposition teams have time on the ball.

 

9 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

Btw, playing against a top team like Atletico, especially away from home, is different from playing some average team when you are the clear favorite. So a 0-0 draw is a very good result in a match like that if you ask me. 

Yeah they are a good side. To be fair I was delighted with the result but felt we could have stopped them playing so much and we could have created more. I'm going to stick with what we've discussed and just continue to watch games more in full and comprehensive. From their I'll make tactical changes and with time and some trial and error I'll hopefully get better!

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7 hours ago, Experienced Defender said:

Btw, playing against a top team like Atletico, especially away from home, is different from playing some average team when you are the clear favorite. So a 0-0 draw is a very good result in a match like that if you ask me. 

Aaaand Atletico is a very hard team to beat. Their playstyle is so different from other big teams. Imo, Atleti is one of the team the best represented by SI from IRL to IG. 

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2 hours ago, KrKAlex said:

Aaaand Atletico is a very hard team to beat. Their playstyle is so different from other big teams. Imo, Atleti is one of the team the best represented by SI from IRL to IG. 

@KrKAlex I’d 100% agree. The most life like team I’ve played so far in FM20. I thought I could overpower their midfield with my 3 in the middle and dictate play against their 4-4-2 but the way they pressed was really impressive. Felix was a handful as well, dragging my defence all over the place.

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@Experienced Defender finished my first season with Dortmund and currently 8 league games into the new season. Lost out to RB Leipzig on the last day of the season, put out in the Semi's of the cup by Wolfsburg on penalties and lost on away goals to Athletico Madrid so could have been a lot better. Currently top of the league on goal difference. Bayern seem to struggle in my game despite having a very good team.

I've started watching games on sideline view. Personally it helps me a lot more than 2D to understand my games better, however I'm needing some help still and struggling with certain games and situations.

1. I really struggle against cautious 4-4-2, 3-5-2 and 5-3-2 systems. We normally create very little scoring chances and the games just pass by despite me trying to make in games changes.

2. During games I can see where the opposition are creating chances from, mostly from wing play, balls over the top. How would stop this in a game and take advance of the space the full backs/wing backs are leaving? I've tried increasing my defensive width and closing down the full backs and wingers but they still seem to be find space.

3. Do you use PI's and OI's most game? If so what common one's do you use?

 

I've changed my tactic slightly and brought the DM up into the middle of park and changed his role to BWM hoping to give me more control.

Let me know your thoughts!

2030853588_FootballManager202011_04_202020_47_57.thumb.png.df5444005c7a618148b03b09d4312eb1.png

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4 hours ago, superrally9 said:

2030853588_FootballManager202011_04_202020_47_57.thumb.png.df5444005c7a618148b03b09d4312eb1.png

 

4 hours ago, superrally9 said:

I've changed my tactic slightly and brought the DM up into the middle of park and changed his role to BWM hoping to give me more control

I would be very wary of BWM in this type of system, especially the way your are using the role, because of his overly aggressive manner of defending. In a system without a DM, I would always rather opt for the CM on defend as a holding midfielder than a BWM (because BWM is not a holding midfielder in the real sense, even if he nominally is). 

Another thing you should be very careful with is the counter-press, especially against good opposition. The absence of a DM in your tactic can also make counter-press a bit too risky.

But given that you are top of the table, the tactic obviously works (at least for the time being), so making any changes could backfire. 

4 hours ago, superrally9 said:

Do you use PI's and OI's most game?

I tend to use very few PIs (if any). When it comes to OIs, they depend on a number of factors, and if you are not sure how to use them optimally, then you better leave them alone. 

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31 minutes ago, Experienced Defender said:

 

I would be very wary of BWM in this type of system, especially the way your are using the role, because of his overly aggressive manner of defending. In a system without a DM, I would always rather opt for the CM on defend as a holding midfielder than a BWM (because BWM is not a holding midfielder in the real sense, even if he nominally is). 

Another thing you should be very careful with is the counter-press, especially against good opposition. The absence of a DM in your tactic can also make counter-press a bit too risky.

But given that you are top of the table, the tactic obviously works (at least for the time being), so making any changes could backfire. 

I tend to use very few PIs (if any). When it comes to OIs, they depend on a number of factors, and if you are not sure how to use them optimally, then you better leave them alone. 

Thanks! I’ll keep a close eye on my BWM and the counter press TI. I’ve dropped my LOE to try and get more cautious teams to come out and play closer to my goal but kept the counter press on incase we lose the ball.

What’s your thoughts on tactical setup when playing against more bottom heavy formations? I really struggle against teams who sit in and play more cautious, which quite a lot at the moment.

I’ve mainly been using OIs to close opponents down more if I can see they are effecting the game.

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10 hours ago, superrally9 said:

What’s your thoughts on tactical setup when playing against more bottom heavy formations? I really struggle against teams who sit in and play more cautious, which quite a lot at the moment

Varies from situation to situation. What can help against a certain opponent may fail against another. I tend to watch the match very carefully and make small tweaks accordingly. A thing that often helps is changing your attacking patterns a bit to confuse their defense. 

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1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

Varies from situation to situation. What can help against a certain opponent may fail against another. I tend to watch the match very carefully and make small tweaks accordingly. A thing that often helps is changing your attacking patterns a bit to confuse their defense. 

How would you vary your attacking patterns? Through roles and duties and team instructions?

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34 minutes ago, superrally9 said:

How would you vary your attacking patterns? Through roles and duties and team instructions?

Primarily through roles and duties. In some cases you may need to tweak a couple of instructions as well, but not always. 

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