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This is my first post here, so hi to everyone!
And straight to the point:

INTRODUCTION

Well, after a lot of reading around the web, I finally think I managed to recreate the Nike Defense in Football Manager. I’ve been experimenting since last year’s game with it, and at last it seems to be working. I want to make clear to everybody that this is NOT a plug ‘n’ play thing. It’s simply my view of the defense that Jose Mourinho made so popular in the game in recent years.

WHY THIS?

The reason for experimenting with the specific type of defense was that in FM12, while playing with Sevilla, I started conceding many goals, so I needed defensive stability more than ever before. So, I started reading and watching football games of Real Madrid and previous teams of the Portuguese tactician, whose sides are known for their defensive behavior. And I ended up using the Nike Defense in every team I managed from then on.

THE SETUP

I think most of you already know what the Nike Defense is all about. The stability it offers is the main reason why someone would choose to go with it. But really, there is more in that. Trust me. So, the defense is consisting of four defenders, with the three of them having strictly defending duties. The central defenders are executing the cover/stopper partnership while the wide defenders are having different responsibilities; with one having attacking duty and the other defending duty.

Here’s a screenshot of how a Nike Defense can be set up:

View attachment 314786

The key to make it work, is to put the attacking full back/wing back next to the stopper, and the defensive full back next to the covering defender. So, as you see in the screenshot above, the back four all have different duties, different roles to play in the game. It’s more a mix and match situation.

TOOLS

The thing is what types of players you really need to make the defense work… I provide the instructions for each role in the back four, but bear in mind that almost everything can be tweaked to make the whole thing work, and that is due to how you set up your midfield (more info on that, down below),

Attacking full back: Starting from left to right, the attacking full back will be the player that bombs forward, looking to create width in the attack and help the team retain possession, having much less (not unimportant) defensive duties, closing down opponents high up the pitch. Think of what Marcelo and Coentrao do for Real Madrid, or what Maicon did for Inter back in the Mourinho days. Pace, acceleration, crossing, passing, tackling and 11+ marking are key attributes.

View attachment 314794

Stopper: Next to him, stands the stopper. A player that will push higher up, looking to close down any opposition players that come into the box, and yes, including the winger that comes down the flank your attacking full back is positioned at. So you get some extra cover for the space that is going to be created from your overlapping full back. Think of Samuel-type player, good in the air, aggressive, with good marking and tackling. Pace and acceleration are a plus.

View attachment 314796

Cover: That means, you already have two players that will push higher up the pitch. Here comes the man that will cover the space behind them. The covering central defender. He needs to be fast and have good anticipation, so that he can read the opposition’s game and moves. He will close down opponents deeper, just before they get in your area. Marking, heading, tackling are a must, as for every central defender. Think of players like Lucio, Mexes.

View attachment 314797

Defensive full back: The last piece of your Nike Defense is the defensive full back. Practically, a third central defender. You need a player with good standard defensive attributes. Heading, marking, tackling, plus good anticipation. Pace and acceleration are a must, because he’ll need to keep up with speedy wingers coming down his side, close them down quickly and help the covering defender fulfill his duties. Think of players like Arbeloa, Chivu. If you cannot find a full back with these attributes, buy a central defender and train him. Not only it’ll do the trick, but if you have a player positioned in the wide midfield position (ML or MR) in front of him you can also instruct him to cut inside, so you’ll create a three man defense when attacking! It is essential that you instruct him to close down as high your stopper does.

View attachment 314798

COVERING SPACE

But that’s not it. The thing with this weird-shaped defense is that because you leave spaces open, you need to provide the adequate cover for it. And that comes from the midfield, and yes, the goalkeeper too.

Anchor Man/Defensive Midfielder/Deep Lying Playmaker: The ideal player to cover your defensive holes, is the Anchor Man. A fully defensive-minded player, instructed to close down opponents before they get into the box (as high as the stopper also) and provide cover for the overlapping full back. Think of what Thiago Motta did at Inter. A Defensive Midfielder can also work, but remember to limit his attacking options. It is very important that he’ll provide cover.

Another option, if you don’t want to use a player in the DM position to serve your overall tactic, you can use a central midfielder, as a deep lying playmaker (defend duty) to do the job. He must be positioned accordingly, (MCL or MCR) next to your full back, because he will have to cover the space behind him. Instruct him to close down opponents slightly higher than your stopper and slightly deeper than your attacking full back.

Box to Box Midfielder/Ball Winning Midfielder: Again, if you don’t use a player in the ML or MR position, in front of your defensive full back, but instead use a player positioned higher up the pitch (AML or AMR), you’ll need to provide a link between them. A Ball Winning Midfielder is the obvious option (even with a support duty) but recently I found that a Box to Box Midfielder can do the job as well, if you have a player capable at both defending and attacking.

Sweeper Keeper: Last but not least, is the Goalkeeper. Another option to cover the space behind the attacking full back and the stopper is a sweeper keeper. If you play with a control/attacking style, the defend duty should be OK for him, but if you like to play with a deeper defensive line (recommended) and counter-attacking style, support duty can do wonders. Remember that you need a goalkeeper with good acceleration and pace, good distribution of the ball (kicking and throwing), high rushing out attribute, plus all the standard goalie attributes. Because, such a player is difficult to find (ter Stegen did a decent job for me at Sevilla), you can stick to the standard Goalkeeper, but remember you won’t get the full idea of utilizing the Nike Defense.

PROS AND CONS

+ Great defensive stability, especially if playing with counter attack.
+ Most of your opponents will find it very hard to get into the box, being forced to look for long shots (an Anchor Man can neutralize that too!).
+ You get an extra man in attack and midfield, with your overlapping full back.

- Too much space left behind the side your attacking full back. Can be risky if pushing high up the pitch.

REMEMBER

* Don’t play with the offside trap. The shape of your line won’t help and you can be easily destroyed.
* Be patient with it. It takes time to gel and work.
* Stick to the players you trust. Don’t go around rotating players on your defense. Remember you need stability and players need to get an understanding with each other.

Well, that pretty much sums it up.
If you got any questions let me know. Any feedback is much appreciated.
Cheers!
 
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Hi m8, have you got a ss of the defensive line shape from match analysis??
 
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Looks interesting mate, I'm going to try it this season with a 4-1-2-2-1 tactic that I'll be using against tougher kinds of teams. I'll let you know how I get on with it
 
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This looks great, I'm going to give this a whirl and see if I can finally get that unforgiving defence that Mourinho achieves.

The one thing I struggle with is getting my AML/AMR to track back effectively yet still remain an attacking threat, especially with counter-attacking tactics as I can't seem to get those right in general.

Have you had any success with replicating the Mourinho 'style' in FM this year? I find that the marking seems to be a bit poor/broken, or maybe I'm setting myself up wrong.
 
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Sorry for the double post, but what is your defensive record with this set up?
 
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This looks great, I'm going to give this a whirl and see if I can finally get that unforgiving defence that Mourinho achieves.

The one thing I struggle with is getting my AML/AMR to track back effectively yet still remain an attacking threat, especially with counter-attacking tactics as I can't seem to get those right in general.

Have you had any success with replicating the Mourinho 'style' in FM this year? I find that the marking seems to be a bit poor/broken, or maybe I'm setting myself up wrong.
What exactly are you doing to try and get your winger(s) to track back? I set the players to man mark, with tight marking and closing down somewhere around 2 thirds of the bar. Works a treat for me!

I also do the opposite sometimes, getting the winger to push high up the pitch and press their. This has led to alot of goals from robbing the defenders. To do this, put closing down to maximum and have tight marking with heavy tackling and zonal marking! :D (This is best used when the other team tries to play out from the back)
 
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What exactly are you doing to try and get your winger(s) to track back? I set the players to man mark, with tight marking and closing down somewhere around 2 thirds of the bar. Works a treat for me!

I also do the opposite sometimes, getting the winger to push high up the pitch and press their. This has led to alot of goals from robbing the defenders. To do this, put closing down to maximum and have tight marking with heavy tackling and zonal marking! :D (This is best used when the other team tries to play out from the back)
I usually just specified them to mark the opposition ML/MR or DL/DR in the match tactic screen. It works to an extent but I feel that it just nullifys my ability to transition from defence to attack quickly.

You seem to know a fair amount about the defensive system on the game, so I wonder if I could ask you what your standard set up is? Also do you have more than one tactic i.e A counter tactic (classic Mourinho) and one that looks to dominate the opponent?
 
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I usually just specified them to mark the opposition ML/MR or DL/DR in the match tactic screen. It works to an extent but I feel that it just nullifys my ability to transition from defence to attack quickly.

You seem to know a fair amount about the defensive system on the game, so I wonder if I could ask you what your standard set up is? Also do you have more than one tactic i.e A counter tactic (classic Mourinho) and one that looks to dominate the opponent?
Yeah, depending on my opposition and their strengths/weaknesses I use either a very deep counter attacking (Using it quite alot at the moment because I just got promoted to the prem), a high pressing possession tactic and a tactic which is a mix in between.

I don't really have a standard setup, I base it on the players I have. Apart I create a new tactic at every club, apart from my counter attacking one which seems to work no matter who I am or who I am playing :D

If you have some spare time, I wrote this a while ago! ;) http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/foot...4363-scottys-guide-very-basics-defending.html

P.S. if you have any questions feel free to PM me or ask me in that thread! :)
 
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Yeah, depending on my opposition and their strengths/weaknesses I use either a very deep counter attacking (Using it quite alot at the moment because I just got promoted to the prem), a high pressing possession tactic and a tactic which is a mix in between.

I don't really have a standard setup, I base it on the players I have. Apart I create a new tactic at every club, apart from my counter attacking one which seems to work no matter who I am or who I am playing :D

If you have some spare time, I wrote this a while ago! ;) http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/foot...4363-scottys-guide-very-basics-defending.html

P.S. if you have any questions feel free to PM me or ask me in that thread! :)
I'll give that a read over now, thank you very much for answering my questions.

Expect a PM as I'm new to the FM series and have quite a few questions!
 
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Might be a dumb question but why do you call it a Nike defense?
 
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Could I make the rb the attacking one and the left back the defensive one?
 
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hey poweriess witch ever lb or rb is best going forward :)

intenzivator this reminds me of the tikka taka tactic witch has rb as att :)
 
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