Why do Tactics suddenly stop working after so much success?

robtuckey28

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Jan 7, 2012
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Hi guys

i dont post very much but i do however visit the site quite often. Like many of you i love Football Manager and often try out people tactics if im not successful with my own.

anyway, lets get to the point.

Team - Manchester United

1st Season Pre Season

Out:-
Lingegaard
Young
Anderson
Evans PX
Rojo Jan15


In:-
Meret
Stones PX
Joe Gomez
Vallejo
Romero
Tielemans
Roberts
Odegaard Jan15

1st Season
In my first season i found great success using '38games-38win' by onemanshow25. Sometimes i would use 'Tinkermans attacking Diamond' and for slightly tougher games 'Lowerleagues 4-1-4-1', but 9/10 i would use 38games-38win. I won the league by 12 points to chelsea losing 1 game all season, at home to newcastle. I got knocked out the cups on both occasions to Reading which i absolutely ripped apart but found their keeper in superb form and my strikers taking liberties.

Pre Season Second Season
Rightly or wrongly i did the following in the transfer market. I dont like to have too many old players and once they hit 30 i sell them on while i can still get good money for them.

Out:-
Smalling PX
Valencia (£9mil)
Hernandez (£22mil)
Robin Van Persie (£16mil)
Mata (£29.5mil)
Keane (275k)
Lingard (£1.2mil)
Zaha - (£6mil)
Nani - (£7.75mil)

In:-
Chambers PX
Richards (Free)
Diaby (Free)
Depay (£27mil)
Barbosa (£19mil)
Bakkali (Free)

i didnt take up the option to buy Falcao although he was brilliant for me.

Now, to my point to the thread. I played 6 games for pre season and marginally won all of them. But once the season started i got these results :-

Chariety Shield - Chelsea Lost 1-0
Home - Swansea Lost 3-1
Away - Newcastle Lost 3-0
Home - Burnley Lost 2-1

I havent continued as i wanted to ask peoples opinions on why have these tactics all of a sudden fell off a cliff? I have read one or two threads about getting found out tactically wise. But in real life football even if teams know how to play against a certain tactic, as the game goes on the quality of an individual and the team find a way to grind a team down and win. or the oppositions legs go and you more often than not come out on top. May be a bad example, but take Ajen Robben, everybody knows he has no right foot, he plays IF on the right, always cuts inside to get on his left foot. But in real life you cant stop him, regardless. Tactically you know how Jose will set chelski up but they find ways to win, bit of magic from Hazard or that one pass from cesc to set costa up. Certain top clubs play a certain way and teams set up to counter their tactic, but the top club will often come through and win, they grind teams down, an individual will do something amazing and win the game. Does anybody like to shed some light on why tactics fail after a certain time with this game even though you have enjoyed success from the start. Im not sure how to upload screen shots etc but this is my team more of less:-

De Gea - GK DF
Rafael - Complete FB Att Richards/Gomez
Stones - Defender DF Chambers
Jones - Defender DF Blackett
Shaw - Complete FB Att Blind
Carrick - DM DF Blind
Romero - CM S Tielemans/Powell/Diaby
Di Maria - AP A Herrara/Odegaard/Pereira
Januzaj - F9 S Roberts
Rooney - F9 S Depay/Bakkali
Barbosa - P A Wilson/Henriquez

As you can tell i take pride in playing young players but also academy players if they have something about them.

Appreciate you thoughts please.
 

WJ

Active member
Apr 3, 2014
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Your tactics don't get "found out". It's a popular but incorrect myth. Teams play more defensively if you do well.

It's obvious. You have no-one attacking the penalty area except for the Poacher. Against teams playing cautiously/defensive (which most will, after success) you're going to struggle.
 

Brendn

Active member
Jan 17, 2010
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Each season your starting 11 will come up against 369 players from 19 different teams... why people think these individuals are rendered insignificant by a tactical formation baffles me.

It's possible that your tactic didn't fall apart; your players could have had an off day, the opponent's manager could have made a tactically genius move that neutralised your attacking threat. Form matters as well, did you come up against players in good form? Do you pick on form or by stats?

If you use one system for 2-3 years you eventually build up a "most likely to score from" reputation and the opposition manager will rightly try to do something to prevent that strength from being used against them. For example: If you're main attacking threat is your right winger, they'll man mark them and try to prevent him form getting clean ball out wide, ect.


If you're just putting players out in a formation every game without looking at the opposition, you're tactic will eventually fall apart because it'll become extremely choreographed. You're doing the same thing 38 games a seaosn, seaosn after seaosn, patters will eventually emerge and the AI will take action to try prevent these from being effective against them.
 
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robtuckey28

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Jan 7, 2012
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Each season your starting 11 will come up against 369 players from 19 different teams... why people think these individuals are rendered insignificant by a tactical formation baffles me.

It's possible that your tactic didn't fall apart; your players could have had an off day, the opponent's manager could have made a tactically genius move that neutralised your attacking threat. Form matters as well, did you come up against players in good form? Do you pick on form or by stats?

If you use one system for 2-3 years you eventually build up a "most likely to score from" reputation and the opposition manager will rightly try to do something to prevent that strength from being used against them. For example: If you're main attacking threat is your right winger, they'll man mark them and try to prevent him form getting clean ball out wide, ect.


If you're just putting players out in a formation every game without looking at the opposition, you're tactic will eventually fall apart because it'll become extremely choreographed. You're doing the same thing 38 games a seaosn, seaosn after seaosn, patters will eventually emerge and the AI will take action to try prevent these from being effective against them.
Hello, thanks for the response.

going back to my original post i wanted to know why sometimes tactics fall apart. I understand what you are saying and it is logic to think managers will shut you down on your preferred way to score goals and if you have that main creator. BUT.... i may be wrong here but does that really make much difference between winning and losing? and so convincingly? In real life you could man mark Messi or Ronaldo, Robben or Hazard, they will still create something and by their talent and being world class they make that one and only chance count, world class players are clinical. My midfielders and strikers have countless chances in one game and couldnt score, then Burnley create 3 chances and score 2 of them, from strikers who have poor composure, so how do you explain that? because managers have figured me out does that mean my players suddenly start missing? missing chances they will normally score, just because the AI has figured it out. its unrealistic.
going back to my OP about Robben, he plays IF Right, he will cut inside on his left, every left back in world knows what hes going to do, yet he still gets away with it. IN the game your saying that this could be tactically counted against because ive been figured out. so does that mean everything falls apart and is the reason i lose 2-1 burnley with over 30 chances? chances are chances at the end of the day, just because ive been figured out doesnt mean these chances should no longer get put away.
Im know tactical genius when it comes to Football Manager, far from it, last time i had great success from Football Manager with my own tactics was FM2008. i like most love football, i understand football, i watch countless football but i just think FM's tactics are unrealistic. Hense why so many tactics on here have to counter the engine to get results from their tactic. they are unrealistic tactics, ppl posting 'unbeatable 2-3-4-1' etc. No manager in world football would have a shape like that.
i want 4-2-3-1 and play a certain way, but you cant. I want to recreate Jose tactics at chelski but after one year of success does that mean i will have to change? in real life does jose change much? not really. not to the extent you have to do on FM.
Fergie for 26 years played more or less the same way, he always bought the same type of players. after one season on FM of playing this way, will i have to change again?

apologies for the rant towards the end, i want to love FM but i cant, its too unrealistic, theres no fun in the game nowadays. Frustarting would be the word.
 

ludwig118

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Mar 22, 2014
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All managers today have a plan b and a plan c if plan a is not working. I guess you just want plug and play tactics?
 
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robtuckey28

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Jan 7, 2012
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All managers today have a plan b and a plan c if plan a is not working. I guess you just want plug and play tactics?
i dont want a plug and play tactic because it wont work for everybody. Id like to take pride in my own tactics working for my players, but for me FM is too unrealistic. I dare say any mangers tactics are full proof but In FM you only have to get the slightest thing wrong and it appears to jepadise the whole tactic.
The tactics need to be simplified in my opinion and not have so many contrasting elements to it. Theres too many things to get the tactics right, too many instructions, too many points to individuals.

i think in a nut shell the tactics are too complicated to actually enjoy the game. The fun of building a team, bringing kids through and creating a team gets spoilt by spending hours upon hours trying to fine tune a tactic that may not even work, or may work but you cant pinpoint how to make it that much better. Then when it doesnt work you get disheartend. Its not a football game anymore, its a game who can create the best tactics to trick and get one over on the engine.
 

Brendn

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Jan 17, 2010
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i dont want a plug and play tactic because it wont work for everybody. Id like to take pride in my own tactics working for my players, but for me FM is too unrealistic. I dare say any mangers tactics are full proof but In FM you only have to get the slightest thing wrong and it appears to jepadise the whole tactic.
The tactics need to be simplified in my opinion and not have so many contrasting elements to it. Theres too many things to get the tactics right, too many instructions, too many points to individuals.

i think in a nut shell the tactics are too complicated to actually enjoy the game. The fun of building a team, bringing kids through and creating a team gets spoilt by spending hours upon hours trying to fine tune a tactic that may not even work, or may work but you cant pinpoint how to make it that much better. Then when it doesnt work you get disheartend. Its not a football game anymore, its a game who can create the best tactics to trick and get one over on the engine.
My friend, you have just expertly explained why Football Management is one of the most volatile jobs in the world. It's ****************** hard and FM dose an incredible job of simulating just how many variables you have to factor in.
 
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robtuckey28

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Jan 7, 2012
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it does, but just like Fifa, it takes away the fun in the game if you ask me. Every day people post tactics like ' 2-1-1-2-2-2' and 'unbeatable 2-2-4-2' etc and they're more often than not, formations and shapes that ppl wont want to ideally use, but to make it work you have to no choice.
Try and do a basic '4-3-2-1 formation' and you have no success. its all too complex. If they want to make FM so realistic then make it realistic to use normal formations and roles that can work.
Did anybody watch Real Madrid last night? Gareth Bale's cross ball switch to Ronaldo, Ronaldo's first time touch to James, then he slotted the ball under the keeper. that move would never happen in FM. I wouldnt want Bale to cross the ball on the diagnal to Ronaldo but the play and where players were it was the right thing to do. Bale, like Ronaldo is instructed to run with the ball, run into space off the ball. If on FM id instruct Bale to run with the ball he would never cross switch the ball like that in game.

what FM needs to do is have simple formations, simple shapes, simple instructions, simple tactics and somehow let the quality of the players make their own decisions, not decisions made by managers on the individual instructions screen. After all, football is all about decision making at any given event on a pitch and when to make the those decisions
 

ludwig118

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Mar 22, 2014
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I only use one formation a 4-1-2-2-1 and it has been successful for me for around 4 seasons I just tweak some tis and pis and adjust as the match goes
 

Brendn

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Jan 17, 2010
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I've been using a basic 4-5-1 DM shape based around defending narrow and countering wide. I've had one-touch football result in beautiful goals and I've seen player player score and concede nearly every type of goal imaginable. FM is a game, yes; but "game" is an ambiguous term. Dark Souls is also a game and that thing gets off on watching you suffer. Stop equating a hard game = a bad game. SI have themselves said that they see FM more as a football simulation rather than a game.

You're being fairly blinkered here mate and assuming the only way to win games is with ridiculous formations. I've never once tried to deviate form the standard shapes as I have a tactical philosophy that I trust and try to implement in game. Have you ever looking into the tactical reasons to switch form a back 4 to a back 3: It has it's roots in Italian football as teams stopped playing with 2 strikers and moved to 1 striker systems.


I understand that you are frustrated and that the game seems to be a random mess of craziness but there is method to the madness. Persevere and you'll reap the benefits mate. Chin up! :D
 
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wkdsoul

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Jan 27, 2010
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There are quite a few 'simple' formations that work in the game this year, 442, 4231, 4141, to beat the engine you dont always need 3 f9's a ss no wingbacks etc it can be done. Players like Bale will still implement moves and ideas outside fo your instructions, players like that always will, in lower leagues they are bound to be less flair players and still to structure and the basics but at the higher end, you will have to find the balance between displince and expression.
 
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robtuckey28

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Jan 7, 2012
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i just think the tactics need to be simplified to bring back that fun element. i for one dont mind losing if ive played well and had a go. But losing 4 games out of 4 with tactics ive had success with i dont find realistic, im sorry. in football tbf, games are decided by the players on the pitch and decision making, tactics are a basis for them to start from. it seems the other way around on the game. the game just appears to be too thorough when it comes to tactics. you spend more time setting teams up than playing and enjoying.

i do think SI need to do more with the scouting of opposition tactics rather than look at times goals are scored and conceded, tactics they suffer against etc. you want to know how they play, short or direct, high tempo or low tempo. high line of deep etc. that is useful, what they're main players like to do

will persevere and report back lol... how do you upload screen shots btw? ive tried before but never worked.
 

WJ

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Apr 3, 2014
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OP, do you watch the games? You can easily spot the teams being more defensive, for instance. Tactics are remarkably easy to set up if you understand the basics of tactic building.

FM, being a simulation, requires an initial time investment but once you understand the basics, it becomes a lot easier.
 

vanTiggelen

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Dec 7, 2014
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Plug'n'play download tactics are typically very very aggressive. Whilst it is obvious that you can win throphies in the game simply by having great players (check those dribbling statistics of Hazard, Messi et all, their runs visibly creat opportunity just by fielding those players), the tactics you put up still determine how risky you play. The typically aggressive d-lines and pressing schemes may make you more prone for the odd ball over the top, and if you understand the prupose of the roles and duties, they pretty much set who is encouraged to get at the end of things and into the box, who supports and who provides cover. However in a lot of these tactics football logics don't apply. They're attempts at overloading the AI with something it cannot cope with in defense. That is an achievement and a challenge in itself, however the AI is no genius.

This is a flawed argument. Personally I don't see decent teams frantically pushing opponents parking the bus for 90 minutes, as that would be playing into their hands. They try to work for their space. I'm convinced that most players using these tactics still win the majority of those matches, and it is the odd standout that gets on their nerves. The game isn't that complicated. However there is this one scenario in particular that may require a plan B, something a little less aggressive that may stretch the opposition, in some cases it may be as simple as taking the overlap instruction out of the deal when you lead which makes both fbs or wbs rush forward at every opportunity and you being a tad more prone to being countered. But even then you won't win every single match that you feel you should have won. That doesn't happen in football, and so doesn't in the game. But not due to pre-determinism, but because in football even a good number of quality finishes are no guarantee for a goal or win in every game. Sometimes f*ck happens. And FM tries to simulate players getting nervous or frustrated after missing sitters, see their body language, which is why most of these tactics encourage these matches more likely to happen at some point (if the balance is right is up for debate).

The side effect is that many of these tactics actively hurts people's understanding of the game. As in particular the first couple seasons results are over the moon even with ************ teams, they then conclude a seriously broken game when it becomes less efficient. However as they never look at anything other than purely statistics in isolation, they'll never notice how for instance their full backs would frantically push on all game every time going forward, or how the tactics would push a ************ ton of players into an already crowded box, causing most finishes to be rushed by nature. There is one here so popular it spawned a thread of 100 pages that doesn't even have a designated holding midfielder. As soon as the ball is upfront, players frequently are forced to finish as they can't lay a pass back, and not having a holding player in central midfield means added risk to be hit on the counter.

Given these tactics it typically means that you will never to rarely see matches going the other way around: the ai dominating a few key statistics, and you getting away with a result from the few (quality!) finishes you got on the break. That is because they rarely, if ever, try the opposite: to frustate the opposition, which is possible. But then naturally to overload an AI this much you likely need to encourage an attacking tactics by definition. At least ever since FM 2012, which allowed the human player to have 6, 7 players always at the back with defend duties. The AI default tactics would never bring enough men forward to break that down, and the counter with the three remaining attack players was too effective due to a marking issue. I don't mind anyone playing that way. But the theories these spawn are occasionally pretty absurd. I'm currently playing quite defensively myself and my side on occasion wins matches in which it converts the first shot it got on target (used to be easier in older iterations though).

I took a look at how many shots on target the AI converts by default. It depends, and fluctuates in between 20% and 50% for the top strikers, which doesn't appear far off real football, but it's close to 33% of all shots on target, give or take. You can enter columns into the squad screen that let you calculate similar. https://notbottomline.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/who-is-europes-deadliest-finisher/



AI Lewandowski, 84 shots on target all season, 28, goals = 37,5% of them converted.
 
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vjcsmoke

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Feb 19, 2013
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I think that there are a couple of factors in play here:

1. The AI managers are indeed catching on and trying to counter your formation of choice. Solution: Have a backup tactic to use when things aren't going well. Monitor the game closely by going to more extended replay, so that you can see what they are neutralizing and make adjustments. Also make wise substitutions for the players who are struggling. Usually I watch for a half before making changes, but sometimes I make a substitution quickly if I feel a player is going to snowball and bring down the whole team with his bad performance.

2. You've lost a lot of veteran leadership quickly and don't have established players at the scoring positions. You've sold off RVP and didn't renew Falcao, those are 2 elite veteran scorers in the game. You've brought on Barbosa who is a very promising young striker but who might take a couple of years to fully develop. I think your offense will naturally struggle. Not to mention there is sometimes a half season to a full season+ adjustment period for new signings to get acclimated to a new club, new offense, new coaching, etc. Now if these struggles due to acclimation continue into the second half of the season you have cause for concern and might need to look at acquiring some veteran players age 25+ who can contribute right away to weak/badly performing areas of your squad.
 

kelabb

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Aug 21, 2009
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Find and read some of the articles from Cleon. What you'll find is he rarely uses TIs or PIs. He uses the player who will do the job he wants and trains him to what he needs PPM wise. It could be you are putting TIs and PIs in the way of your success. Try a simple standard formation and leave it as stock standard and see what your players can do with it. Then make small adjustments to roles, mentality or shape and see what works better, and what doesn't.