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Putting the Intent in My Possession with Intent

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I just finished a long term save on FM17, so I've made the jump FM20. I decided to start with Notts County because I took them to the Champions League in 17, and I find it offensive that they were relegated to the National. I've started the save over a few times while I try to get a handle on all the changes. On each save though, I feel like my tactics are under-performing. I've always played some sort of possession 4141 since the FM10 days, and I've had a lot of success with it. It just isn't working for me so far, and I can't seem to put my finger on what the issue is. Notts County is favored to win the National, and the board expectation is that we win it. So we often need to get results from teams that are packing the bus. I'm winning a lot of games, but most of them are 1-0 where our goal comes from a set piece or individual brilliance. There are very few chances created; either by the game's definition or by my observations, and I'm seeing very few goals that I would consider as a result of the tactic. So I have 3 questions:

  1. Is the team suited for a possession based tactic?
  2. Is the problem with my tactic or the appalling team cohesion?
  3. What could I change to make the tactic pack more punch offensively (even if it means a decrease in defensive solidity)?

I've always used Winger role in my tactics, either from the M or AM positions along with a lone forward in a DLF or F9 role. However, without a good target for their crosses, I've found that wingers can go missing for long stretches, reducing my offensive firepower. For this edition, I decided to try using the Inside Forward role to keep the wide players involved. I've tried various iterations in my saves so far (changing pass length, tempo, mentality). This is the tactic I'm having the most success with.

Tactic.thumb.PNG.dc6eea784b6e215c729b0570f8dd052b.PNG

This is now Notts County compares to the other teams in the National. One thing to mention is that there was massive turnover of the squad after relegation, so cohesion starts out at Abysmal.

Defense.thumb.PNG.4637fe04469af816758054f9c47e83f4.PNG

Midfield.thumb.PNG.44b9a4dcace45cec4dc7b23032a1d4ba.PNG

Attack.thumb.PNG.34e148b4c80d30b8eb5165b296c65e83.PNG

Physical.thumb.PNG.fa59bcaee696e1836d24331fd82ebdd0.PNG

Mental.thumb.PNG.863b441bf1903bccb032098e8a86448b.PNG

Technical.thumb.PNG.75fc577d27e6be3c8caa8f118fe13b9b.PNG

One of Notts County's best players is Enzio Boldewijn. He is most suited for a winger role on the right, but I wanted to get him more involved. I play him as an Inside Forward on the left. His PPM to run down left isn't ideal though.

Boldewijn.thumb.PNG.e89ae0900f727d111ba1a062b1a3957f.PNG

I play Regan Booty as a DLP, and he's done very well.

Booty.thumb.PNG.79d31be02516dcdca3dd2910e5711a6b.PNG

Wes Thomas is another very good player, but my strikers have struggled. In my current save, they have 8 shots on target with no goals in 10 matches.

Thomas.thumb.PNG.2cb109ccd712d82fbf0cdbd0082054cb.PNG

Cal Roberts is well suited to an IF role on the right wing.

Roberts.thumb.PNG.edf934e5eecf3e846d9d899eceb80a46.PNG

My fullbacks are really good for this level. They find acres of space on either wing, but can't do much with it. They tend to lob in an ineffectual cross that just results in losing possession.

Brindley.thumb.PNG.896014ba7eb39cf67b5f40c0b2e76299.PNG

McCrory.thumb.PNG.78effeb045fa6dbb74e424127e3b95f9.PNG

I signed Callum Nicell for a playmaker role, but I've ended up playing him as a Mezzala. He's had some good performances there, but he's inconsistent.

Nicell.thumb.PNG.d65763116ed5fa91db710a32a4003729.PNG

Jim O'Brien has done ok. I either play him as a BWM, BBM, or as a DLP if Booty is not selected.

OBrien.thumb.PNG.d131e33da1c04fe78fbb9743106a621c.PNG

My defenders are good, but Turner is very slow. That's kept me from pushing the defensive line up too high.

Lacey.thumb.PNG.9c0b972b7a3b151f389208f5f4525f05.PNG

Turner.thumb.PNG.09e4fb21d047faed1d20ce843229d6db.PNG

For completeness, here's my keeper.

Slocombe.thumb.PNG.ab9337eb8926bc7924a9704dd8c87076.PNG

So what's going wrong? As mentioned above, too few chances are created. My slow buildup is working, but the DLF, both IFs and the Mezzala all tend to end up in the same place. The defense collapses down onto them leaving tons of space on the wings. However, my wingbacks struggle to do anything with it. Here's an example.

Highlight.thumb.PNG.c732b873d750e0c52af9434532e4499a.PNG

Without anyone really good in the air and without any movement from the front 4, we usually just lose possession after a cross. It seems to me the problem is the lack of movement. It makes us one dimensional and easy to defend. On previous versions I would set the formation to Very Fluid, but it looks like there is no equivalent option in FM20?

So back to the three questions. Is this style suitable to this squad? Is my tactic sound and the squad is just lacking cohesion? Should I change things around to make it more threatening? Thanks.

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I cannot tell if the tactic is suitable for your players because I really don't have the time to go through their profiles. So I can only comment the tactic itself.

The setup of roles and duties makes sense, but the style of football it reflects can be pretty demanding, especially in terms of technical and mental attributes, so you need really good players to pull it off.

Instructions on the other hand is what I don't like. Needlessly aggressive out of possession and overcomplicating (too slow and patient) in possession (which sort of contradicts the setup of roles and duties).

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So basically drop the counter press and up the tempo?

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