FM Tips: How to Create a Good Working Tactic

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Creating a good working tactic in football manager is challenging. Sometimes you just get overwhelmed on which instructions to pick. And if you are new to football manager (maybe you’re starting with FM19), it might be very frustrating for you to understand the tactics section.

Generally, creating a tactic in FM requires an understanding of each instruction. But most importantly, you must have a good knowledge of football. If you haven’t watched, witnessed, or experienced football, you will find it very difficult to set up a good tactic for your team in football manager. Not all the setups involved in the tactics section will be friendly to you – Even though Sports Interactive made efforts in explaining things in the game.

With all that said, this article highlights tips you need in order to create a good working tactic. I hope you find these tips helpful.

Tip 1: You Need to Understand Football

As I said earlier, having the knowledge of football is very important. In order to create a solid tactic, you must have seen or experienced a lot of football tactics and philosophies. Knowing all these will guide you in setting up a specific style you want to explore. For instance, if you want your team to play a possession kind of football, while having the knowledge of what’s required in achieving such style, you may find it easy to pick all the associated roles and instructions.

However, if you know nothing about football, you may struggle greatly in creating a good tactic in football manager.

Tip 2: Choose a Suitable Philosophy

List of pre-made football styles in FM19

There are kinds of philosophies in the football world. When I say philosophy, I mean playing style. With your observations or experiences in football, you may find it easy to make a choice; at least you must be a fan of a particular style. However, you need to first consider which style will work well with the team you’re managing.

Another thing that can help you decide which philosophy to use is the team report. For instance, if you’re playing FM19, you have to read the team report carefully. Get to know the kind of squad you have. Does your squad feature physical players or high creative players mostly? How about their mental capabilities? You need to consider all these.

Part of team report section

If your squad physicality is more dominant, you have to choose a philosophy that can take advantage of that.

Tip 3: Pick a Formation that Blends to Your Playing Style


In setting up a tactic in football manager, example FM19, you have to pick a formation first. After that, you start selecting roles. However, before you start doing all that, you need to consider the nature of the playing style you have in mind. For instance, if you pick a narrow formation (e.g. 4-4-2 Narrow) while you wish to focus the team’s attacking intensity on both flanks (such as in wing play style), problems may arise. This is because your formation doesn’t feature enough players in the flanks. Therefore as a beginner, I advise you to choose a balanced formation (like 4-2-3-1) that is suitable for any style. Give yourself time to understand the game before you pick a specific formation.

Tip 4: Select Compatible Roles

Pick a suitable role and instruct the player to play as you like. You can do this on the player instructions window

After choosing a formation, you start selecting suitable roles. But you need to make sure your players are competent enough in playing all the roles you selected. Don’t pick roles that conflict the nature of your style. For instance, you can’t feature a No-nonsense Centre Back role in a possession style. This could trigger terrible mistakes in your matches. However, you need to have a good knowledge of football for you to understand this – it’s important. Reading the description of each role can help your role selection.

Tip 5: Employ Tactical Instructions that Associate with Your Style

This is where it’s tricky because this is where you make your playing style come alive. However, selecting the best suitable instructions can make your tactic very solid.

In FM19, for instance, you can’t instruct your team to play more direct passing while you want to achieve a tiki-taka style. It will conflict things. However, FM19 provides you the opportunity to start with some pre-made philosophies such as tiki taka, gegenpress, park the bus, route one etc. These already made tactics can help you design that style you have in mind. You can customize any of them. Just make changes in the in-possession, in-transition, and out-of-possession sections. Alternatively, you can start fresh and design how you want your team to play. Just think, imagine, and create – that’s why you’re the boss.

Tip 6: Don’t Forget Set Pieces

Set pieces are very important. Wrong setup can make your tactic weak against counter-attack or opposition attack set pieces. If you’re setting any defend set pieces, you have to set up something that can cover deadly spaces or areas. Set up something the opponent will find very difficult to score. Then for attack set pieces, try something effective but be very  watchful of your defence. Make sure enough players stay back.

Tip 7: Test and Observe Your Tactic in Friendlies

Data Analyst camera view

Before the season starts, you have to know how your tactic works. If you have created more than one tactic, friendly matches are good for testing them.

If it’s possible, schedule many friendly matches. Give the matches 2 or 3 days gap just to let your players rest. Moreover, proposing friendly matches to teams with professional status will give you better results about your tactic(s). They will give your team a good challenge.

Scheduling friendly games.

In each match, you need to observe how your team plays carefully. Choosing full match or comprehensive highlight will allow you observe your tactic better. Also, selecting the Sideline, Data Analyst, or 2D Classic camera will help you see things better.

Just be patient, observe, and see your tactic weaknesses and strengths.

Tip 8: Fix Things if Necessary

After reading your game in a match and finding some weaknesses that need fixing, just go back to your team or player instructions and make changes. If the problem is coming from set pieces (assuming you’re conceding more goals from set pieces), go to the set-pieces section of the tactic and make changes.

In addition, if there’s a need to man-mark some opposition players to strengthen your defence, head over to specific marking in the player instructions and select the player. You can see examples of man marking here.

In final thought, to create the best working tactic for your team, you really need to be very observant.

Feel free to ask any questions using the comment box below. I will answer as soon as possible.

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