In this guide I will describe how I set up my tactics. I won't go in to much of detail because that would keep me writing for days. Hopefully you can also create your own tactics after reading this 'guide'. Find out what you need to look for(or where I'm looking at) and how to use these things to create a suitable tactic for your own team.
For the Guide will use my Malmö Save. Currently I'm in the fourth season, so I already signed a lot of players over the years trying to create a balanced squad. There have been a lot of players going out and coming in so I needed to create a new tactic that suits my team.
Let's go then.
Analyzing the squad
First thing you want to do, is take a good look at your current squad. At the start of the game you should always create a tactic based on your players. You can already create a tactic you prefer but this tactic doesn't always suits your team, because you don't have the right players in the right positions yet.
What I like to do first, is trying to figure out where my teams Strongest Areas are. So I'll go to 'Team Report' and select the tab 'Comparison'. In this tab you can look at your team compared to the other teams in the league. This comparison only includes the players in your first team, so keep in mind that a young talented player, who has low attributes, could bring your average score down. By putting this player in the reserve team, just for comparison, you can get a clearer view of the current ability of your first-team.
I selected 'All Positions' to get an idea of what part of the game we're good at to use in my tactics. As you can see we are the best team in the league for Decisions, First Touch and Strength. We are also OK in Passing. Our Work Rate, Teamwork, Leadership and Aggression are below average.
Only by looking at this tab, I already know I can't play a high pressure game. This is because of my players are not willing to work for each other (Teamwork and Work Rate). Which would create gaps in my tactical shape when putting pressure on the opponent. It would be wise to play a passing game with a low tempo. My players have a good Passing, a great First Touch and a great Strength. They could easily hold up the ball and that's where the low tempo comes in.
You could also go a step further by looking through the other tabs as well. In these tabs you can compare your goalkeepers, defense, midfield and attack to the other teams in the league.
The next step for me is to look who are my key-players. I do this by going to my squad screen and select the view 'Assistant Reports'(encircled in red). Then I'll click on 'ability'(encircled in green) to get the players with the best ability on top.
Now we can see that Neves, Guzzo and Lopes are the best players in my team. *Keep in mind that you'll need a good assistant manager for this. Especially the attributes 'Judging player ability' and 'Judging player potential' should be over 16.
What stands out are the preferred positions of these three players. They are a DM, MC and AMC. By looking at this I now know that I have pretty good players in the center of midfield. I could use this by exploiting the middle. Neves could also play as a central midfielder so I choose to play with at least two central midfielders. I don't know what to do with Lopez yet but this will come when I take a look to the rest of the team.
Choosing a formation
Right now I'm at the point of choosing a formation. I'm choosing my formation based on my players preferred positions because I want to play as much as players as possible in their favorite position. I'm still in the same screen in FM (the assistant reports view) but now sorting my players on their best positions.
Obviously I'm going to play a goalkeeper. I've got two right-backs an two left-backs in my team so we've got that covered. We also have the availability of four central defenders. This means that we could rotate each position in the back line, so it would be wise to play with four defenders in a flat line.
I've got two defensive midfielders in my team and I'm also a big fan of the defensive midfielder position. Because Rúben Neves is one of my star players, I will definably going to play him in defensive midfield.
Next position is the (A)MR position. I've got three players for these positions; Svanberg, Okafor and Ntcham. So probably going to play with a winger on the right. On the left we've got Younes and Lukovic with Younes being the better player I certainly will choose to play with an AML.
A lot of choices in central midfield, so I want to play with two central midfielders as mentioned before.
This way I can use two out of my three most important players in their most preferred positions. (Neves in DM, and Guzzo in CM)
We've used ten positions so far so it's clear that we are going to play just one striker. With five or six players who can play this position I need to sell or loan some of them out. But that's another story.
Selecting roles & duties
Once we've selected our formation (4-1-2-3-1 DM Wide), we're on to the next step. Now we need to take a look at roles and duties. When I start out with creating a tactic I want to keep things as simple as possible. So I don't want to change to much settings. All I want to do is get my key-players in their right positions and look for their favorite (read: best suited) roles.
Unfortunately my best players are all playmakers and I can't play two playmakers in one tactic. So I chose to give Neves the 'ball-winning midfielder' role and let Guzzo play as a 'Advanced Playmaker'. Giving Neves the 'ball-winning midfielder' role will balance the tactic some more and lets my central midfielders focus more on the attacking phase of play.
By clicking on a player on the pitch in your tactics screen and selecting important attributes, you can see which attributes are important for the selected role and duty.
Keep in mind that you can't and shouldn't give your players their favorite roles every time. If you do this there won't be any balance in your tactics and your results will be bad. Creating a tactic is all about logic and looking at the attributes of your players. Selecting roles depends on these two easy things.
Because you want to set up a basic tactic first, you shouldn't use to much instructions. A fully tweaked tactic probably has six to eight team instructions activated. In this case I only want to use 'Shorter Passing', 'Retain Possession' and 'Low Tempo' as these are the instructions that suits my team really well. (I've described this in the 'Analyzing the squad' section)
We can tweak our tactic further by using the Team Instructions, Player Instructions and set pieces. In this guide you can read about improving your basic tactic.
This Guide has been written by Daniell.