My time as Vitória manager on Football Manager 2019 has begun. It’s my first day in the job. Before I even click continue I’m going to go through a series of steps to evaluate the essential aspects of the club. This post will go through how I’m aiming to set us up on the pitch and how I arrived at the thinking behind it.
Jumping straight in to talk tactics might be slightly unconventional, but if I’m going to judge the quality of the players already at the club (which will be the next post), I need to know how well they’ll fit in to my preferred system.
I’m quite a tactically stubborn manager. When I find something that suits my players and gets results on the pitch, I don’t tend to stray from it. When the RBLeipzig narrow 4-2-3-1 got going it was beautiful and the Stirling 4-4-2 took the club to the next level. I didn’t actually play those ways for the entirety of my time with either club, but they were the tactical setups that stuck for numerous seasons. I don’t want to take that approach with Vitória, I want to be more tactically fluid. Shift the system about, change roles, be more adventurous or pragmatic when the time calls for it. I do have a way of setting the team up in mind to start off with though.
Tactics aren’t really what I find most interesting in football or in Football Manager, but they’re so important, of course. My FM inspiration usually comes from reading stories about clubs, their communities, their players, the way they approach things off the pitch, it came from somewhere a little bit different for this. I’ve watched the amateur team I used to play for a couple of times this season and the way they’re setting up led me to wanting to see if it would translate well onto the game. This isn’t a tactical recreation of Brazil 1970 or Arsenal’s Invincibles. This is me recreating the tactic of a team that barely anyone watches play in the lower rungs of the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur Football Association.
They had three central defenders forming a solid base for the rest of the side. The wide support was provided by wing backs. They were expected to be prepared to bomb on and provide support going forward at any opportunity, while also remaining aware of their defensive duties. On the game, it sets itself up fairly simply.
The midfield has been slightly trickier for me to set up in-game. The midfield roles are quite hard to determine when watching the side. When one drove forward, the other sat and covered and vice versa. Both were expected to be capable in covering in front of the defence but also getting forward to give the attack a bit of additional support. I’ve gone for a DLP on support to give us a playmaker in there, able to link the defence and attack, competent in the tackle but able to create chances too. On the left hand side, I’ve chosen a carrilero. A role I haven’t used at all since it was introduced last year, and one I didn’t really ever have any intention of using, until it slotted nicely into this tactic. That left wing back bombs forward and vacates a fair bit of space in behind. The carrilero will just shuttle across to cover in and in an attacking sense, is just expected to provide a bit of support to link the units on the pitch.
The attacking options have also been tricky for me to set roles for. The three are usually quite interchangeable, almost having free roles to just cause panic, confusion and chaos. Of course, that’s only slightly transferable onto the game with the ability to only swap players in two positions, rather than being able to set them to continually switch around. The treq just does his own thing, expected to dribble, take risks and roam around. It’s probably quite a good role for what’s expected. I used the shadow striker role to incredible effect at RBLeipzig and I think it should work quite well here too. Again, it’s about encouraging movement but with the player expected to get on the end of goalscoring chances as well as creating them. I’ve instructed both the treq and SS to run wide with the ball to see whether it disrupts the opposition any further, with the SS also being set to roam from position too.
The forward role is the one I’m most unsure of right now. During my time on the beta I tried it out the DLF on support before settling on starting here with it on attack. I’ve loved that base role on the last two games and in theory it should work well again here. Dropping deep and linking play, but also getting into the box and on the end of crosses or through balls. To add to the hopeful chaos, I’ve set the DLF up with a PI of roam from position.
Alternative front three
How would those two behind the striker work coming inside from the wings? Just something else I’ll be trying out during pre-season and one to keep in mind when looking through the squad. Wingers won’t be forced out, they’ll very much have a role to play whether it’s the treq/SS or this alternative. I said on the recent One More Game podcast episode that I’m very much about fitting the players into roles I want them to play, rather than shaping my tactic around their preferred roles.
This isn’t a tactical post…
So I’m not going to go through the additional team instructions just yet. I haven’t even played a match yet. It’s just me showcasing how we’ll be lining up so I can judge the quality of my new players up against it. I’ll be analysing the tactic and how it plays eventually though, so keep an eye out for that coming once the season is underway.
If you want a recap of why Vitória then have a read here.
If you want to join #FMSlack then click here.
Thanks for reading, next up I’ll be taking you through the squad and picking out the preferred first 11.