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Mar 4, 2009
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Ive been an avid follower of FM base, reading and learning about football manager since FM 2007-ish I believe. Ive felt that since around FM 2005 you couldn't simply get by in the game with a tactic made up in 5 minutes and for the longest time in subsequent FM outings I've been stumped as to how to make my own winning tactic. So I had been using those posted here. When FM 2010 came out I said "Forget this. I've been playing this series since Championship Manager 2000, time to forge my own way!"

So after a while, I finally think I got it done. Or at least to the point where I would like feedback from the community which has 'silently' supported me though the years. A sort of 'giving back to the community' if you will! :D

As such I would like to mention that this tactic borrows heavily from others in the forum. Not in the sense that I completely ripped the defense tactics from one tactic and 'copied and pasted' the attack settings from another mind you. I just want to say when I decided to started this tactic I played many games with various tactics posted here. Learned what I could from each and applied them to my own. Finally fine-tuning all aspects to end up with what I have now. So a thank you to all posters here.

Base of Tactic

As an Ajax fan, I had to play a version of 4-3-3. Nothing else would suffice for me.Furthermore, I wanted to own the possession in a game using the total football mechanic that Ajax and as a result Barcelona are now famous for. Minor details include the fact that I did not want to be a counter team, or a team that relies on heavy and dirty tackles, I wanted plenty of sort passes over the ground, and the mentality of the team had to be attacking.


I pretty much only play as Ajax and this tactic has only been tested with them in mind, though I am positive it will work with all top teams. I would love someone to test with lower league teams if they want and post the results here but I am not optimistic regarding the possible results.

The Tactic

Simply put a simple 4-3-3 (technically a 4-2-3-1). The premise is as stated possession and control. To that end.


Standard. You guys know what makes a good keeper. In my tactic a sweeper keeper (very Dutch and Ajax-like!).


Due to the fact that the 4 defenders are technically alone with no help from an anchor man, aside from the usual important stats such as pace and acceleration, I prefer defending skill above dribbling and crossing. I bought Luis Ibanez in my first season but he couldn't handle it. I got a regen with 17 tackle and 14 marking, but 8 crossing and 10 dribbling and he's doing much better. If you play Madrid of Man City and can afford someone with both; cudos!

Central Defenders

My right central defender is a limited defender setting since I can hardly afford to buy someone who has everything. Since I am Ajax however, I have Alderweireld who is set to ball playing defender. But overall, standard; need good tackling, marking, heading. Other good stats; jumping, strength, position. You guys know the drill.

Central midfielders

Right side is a Ball winning midfielder. Basically just play a good defensive midfielder. I don't know why but in my game Barcelona let Busquets go so I got him free and he's simply ace. Good defending, good height, strength and very decent passing and creativity means he's almost the best this game has to offer for this position.

Left side is deep lying playmaker. Nothing special here either, needs good first touch, passing creativity, decisions positioning and teamwork. First choices were Kim Kalstrom and since season 13/14 I got van der Vaart back. Makes good killer balls. Set up for plenty of long shots.


Since this is a possession tactic, there are technically no wingers. Both left and right are advanced play makers with attack duties. So for me I played Siem de Jong on right for the longest time Lodeiro on the left. Their abilities with the ball as overall players make them in my opinion much more useful to the team than players whose main assets are speed, acceleration, dribbling and crossing. Those kind of players were my first choice and the tactic was set up to accommodate that but it totally failed. None-the-less, while these two positions now seem like any decent play -maker midfielder can play here, speed is still important. I for instance cannont play van der Vaart on the wings with his pace of 10. Christian Eriksen on the other hand is doing great for me on the right side.


When I made this tactic I very much wanted the position to be a "shadow striker" position with players like Bergkamp and Litmanen in mind. It didn't quite come out that way, but a very useful position none-the-less. Another good play maker here, preferably with better finishing skills.


This is one of my worst areas and settled on the current settings by trial and error. Poacher setting on attack. Paloschi is my first choice. Needs food finishing and composure. Next attribute I like for this position is agility believe it or not.

Other Important Issues!

I follow Wolfsongs teamtalk guide. Not getting the responses he got, but never had a negative one so thats a plus in itself I guess!

I use opponent instructions. I forget whose tactic I got this from and I'm so sorry I can't remember your name so I can't give you the credit (if someone can tell me who I will definitely edit this to include your name give you the 'props' for it!). I use the assistant manager then simply make sure all STC's and AMC's are set to tight marking, and all wingers or wide midfielders are always set to close down and show to weaker foot.


So that's my tactic ladies and gentlemen. I hope it works for those who care to give it a try. Please let me know and i'll follow this thread diligently to respond to those with questions and comments.

P.S. I forget who made the thread about testing all the tactics to see which is the best. If you read this please try mine hehe!