Judging your tactics


Oct 25, 2012
This is a question I've been meaning to ask for a while. When you start a new game (or move to a new club), obviously you need to sort out a good tactic for your team. Together with match fitness, this is what pre-season is for. Now, I was wondering how other people go about testing their tactics throughout pre-season (and perhaps the start of the competitive season).

Do you organize more friendlies than usual in your first season or whenever you're in the process of creating a tactic? Do you watch the games more in-depth? (i.e. not on 'key' or 'extended', for example) Do you dig into the statistics or just go with gut instinct and what you saw in the games you've played? If you dig into the statistics, how far do you go? Is there anything else specific you do? Do you perhaps experiment with the effects of training focus on the way your players fulfill their tactical duties? Do you test more than one tactic at a time? (maybe a home tactic and an away tactic or something) I'm interested to hear all of your answers to these questions!

I'm not trying to get advice and I'm not looking for a guide on tactics, by the way. It's just something I've wondered about for some time: how do other people do this? Maybe there are things I (and others on this forum) can learn from their approach, but mostly I'm just curious. :)

P.S.: I haven't bought the new game/beta yet but since this isn't really an edition-specific question, I thought I'd post it in the 2015 part of the forum.


Feb 27, 2012
I will watch the pre-season matches all the way through, its the only way to tell whatsreally going on with your tactic/instructions for each player. usually just one match does it, but i'll watch them all at full length cos of squad rotation so i can see all players performing.

I'll make adjustments as necessary.

As for tactics, I'll make 2, one defensive (usually narrow too) and one attacking (can be narrow or wide depending on the player availiable and/or what I fancy trying at the time. I will train fitness for a week or until the players get to 95% condition or higher, then switch to team cohesion (as there will almost certainly be new players) and tactics for match prep.

Thats my pre-season by and large, it works ok but I would also be interested to see if there's a better way of approaching it.

As for picking a team at the start, I pick the players that performed the best during pre-season for their role. Playmakers - passes completed, through balls etc. Defenders Key tackles, tackles won.

I try to fit about 8 pre-season games in if possible. the first 4 I rotate player at half time looking for signs of form and getting match fitness up, then for the next 4 i'll start a preliminary first 11, and then modify depending on performances and match fitness.

Again, I have no idea if this is right or even close to it, I believe a well executed pre-season can set you in good stead for the season ahead, so again, I'd like to know if there's anything I could do better.

Hope that helps,



Jun 3, 2010
The first thing i do is to spend a bit (quite a lot actually) of time getting to know my squad, not just who my best players are but i look at their attributes & personalities as well.
When i feel like i have a decent grip on my squad i start to work on my formation. If its not easily apparent what my best formation will be i start by putting my best players on the pitch in there preferred positions & roles then try to slot my bit players in around my "stars" & tweak from there. I have come up with some strange looking, yet effective, formations like this.

Once ive come up with a formation im happy with i start to think how my team should play, what are their strengths & weaknesses? The only instructions i give before i have started watching matches are in regard to shape & tempo. So do i NEED to play narrow or wide? Deep or high? Fast or slow? I only give pre match instructions if i am trying to cover an obvious weakness or exploit an obvious strength.
Once i've decided on these things i watch the full games & adjust different things depending on the situation. I usually go with a game every 4 days but i might stretch that out to weekly as the season gets closer depending on the fitness levels of my players.
Once im happy that my first formation is working i will go back & start from scratch again to create a back up tactic. Sometimes i stumble across these during matches where i might get injuries & such, other times i'll just start again & try to think a bit differently.

I like to focus almost exclusively on team cohesion in pre season training just to bring the guys together but will change if i notice that the side needs to work on something particular.

like zaah i have no idea if this is the "right" way but it seems to work for me.


Jul 16, 2012
This depends on the tactic I am creating. If I am trying to create a plug and play tactic it is different than when im trying to get more immersed into the game.

Pre season is always the same 8-12 friendlies leaving 3 days in between. Play about 70% of these against very small opposition throwing in some smaller/similar for the rest just to give an idea of how competitive your team is. The friendly results are not important. Learning your tactic, getting confidence, Morale and Match fitness is. This is also a good time to use the match analysis tool during the games to check for your average positioning during matches. Make sure no one is isolated or there are no big gaps between your defensive players.

Starting the season your is still gelling, new players coming in learning the language the rest of the teams strengths so the results might be a bit sketchy for the first couple of months. 10 competitive games is the rough estimate for a team gelling. Watch all of these on comprehensive, you will get enough to see where attacks are breaking down, or where your defensive weaknesses are. This is the best time to make any adjustments moving forward. Not major ones but slight ones that wont affect tactical familiarity. If your team has been really bad and you've lost all these games its going to be almost impossible to turn it around. Major changes usually mean major drops in form.