This is the first of a new series I’ll be doing for Football Manager 15 about creating a tactic step by step from the very beginning.
Creating a tactic isn’t easy and does take some consideration when creating one. Anyone can chuck eleven roles and duties together but not everyone can throw together eleven roles and duties that actually compliment each other. Hopefully over the course of this article it’ll outline the basics and maybe change how you approach tactic making and think about tactics in general. This was written before FM15 was released so ignore the version of the game as this was written using FM14 as the example due to writing this in advance and using bits of posts I had posted in the past. However regardless of what version you play all this is still relevant for any past or future release of the game. We might get new options or features in the game but the tactic creating process will always be the same for me regardless of all that. My thinking and how I approach tactic creating will always remain the same.
Pick a Team
Any team can play any formation if they have the players to play the positions. But not every team can play an attacking style and be effective. The better the side you are the more creative you’ll be able to be with tactic creating. You still can be creative with the weaker sides as well but to a much lesser extent normally due to the type of players you can attract as they’ll likely not have the required attributes needed. There might be a few occasions though where you are lucky enough to be a smaller side and have really good creative players.
There are four types of teams. Let’s take a closer look at what I mean by that and give a quick brief overview of how you should be thinking depending on the side you take over;
Teams like Palace, West Brom and Burnley are classed as weak teams in season one. So to begin with the options you have might be limited. You can still play any formation you wish player and transfer budget allowing. But the style which you play will be could initially be hampered. If you want to be attacking then you need to ensure you’ve got a good knowledge of the the system you’ll be using and understand its strengths and weakness If not then you’ll struggle especially against better sides. As these teams are classed as weak sides almost everyone in the league is better. So even before you start you’re already on the back foot. The good thing about being a weak side though is teams will underestimate you and try and impose themselves in the match and force you to adapt to them rather than the other way around.
That can be a good thing at times as this will mean regardless of how you set up majority of teams you face will set up to be attacking and slightly more aggressive against you and we know what that means don’t we? SPACE. Bigger sides when they attack automatically leave you space to use somewhere on the pitch, it’s impossible to be attacking/aggressive and not concede space somewhere on the pitch or risk certain players being exposed at times. So regardless of your sides limited capabilities this is something you should be looking out for as you can really cause the opposition some difficulties if you can spot this.
These are sides that are expected to finish around the mid table; this includes sides like Newcastle, Hull and Stoke. If they have a good season they could possibly have an outside chance of pushing for a European place. If they had a bad season they could be down in a relegation place. The choice of tactics for these sides is vital and it’s important you get the players playing well in most games to avoid a slump down the table. I class these type of teams as bang smack in the middle of the road sides. The opposition will be a mixed bag and while some sides might be really aggressive against you other sides might be more cautious. If you play with a side like this then you have to be really aware of how the opposition are playing so you can understand what you need to do yourself to get a result from the game.
Everton, Spurs and Swansea are what I class as good sides. These sides have probably got too much talent to be relegated. But probably not enough to break into the top 4 on a consistent basis to begin with. That’s not to say with a couple of new signings and the right tactic that you can’t push all the way for the title. A lot of sides you face will try being stubborn in their approach against you and could end up having men behind the ball trying to stifle your attacking threat. I believe its these sides and the top sides that people have the most issues managing and the reason for this is space and movement. When managing sides like these any badly made tactics or tactics that offer no movement tend to get caught out and shown for their weakness much more than when you are a lesser side. The reasons for this is its down to you to create space and movement as teams are more cautious/reserved against you compared to when facing bigger sides who naturally give up more space.
Teams such as Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal can dictate how they play. They can also be creative in their tactics and approaches due to the quality of players they have available. You have much more creative license when creating tactics for these types of sides due to most of the opposition playing defensive or counter attacking against you and you normally having a much stronger squad than 75% of the league. Again, when managing a side like this you really need to understand how the roles and duties you’ve chosen all work together and how its all brings you the ‘final product’ you see on the pitch
It’s really important you decide which category your team falls under. Then you should be able to be more realistic about how the team can actually play. Remember the above is simplifying things slightly and talking in black and white context but this is just so you can decide what type of team you are.