Fundamental Football Manager (Part 1)

FM-Britain is renown for several years of working on wwfan’s TT&F, Tactical Theorems and Frameworks. However, we are fully aware that there are many successful theories to design tactics based on a systematic approach. We would like to present these in order to give our readers a comprehensive overview of the multitude of options and theories and support exchange and discussion between tactical theorists, tactic designers and players. Rashidi has been invited to present his theory of Fundamental Football Manager at FM-Britain and to join the FM-Britain Tactical Think Tank at the same time. We are looking forward to this collaboration in the sense of exchange and common growth of knowledge.

I was invited to post this here, and in the good spirit of mutual cooperation and the expansion of knowledge I leapt at the idea..shared knowledge between friends leads to a growth of knowledge for all and a quicker understanding of the paraphrase Spinoza. What follows is looooooong..its a bit of everything.

Part 1

FFM How to make any tactic

* What is the goal of your tactic
Know what you want first. Where are your goals going to come from, where are your players going to be to link the whole thing together. Stuff like that, its basic, but many people including me go onto auto-pilot and forget.

* Making your own vs Default tactics
Default tactics are a template, something to work from, not the ultimate solution. If you look at the default tactics virtually every slider is in the middle. Middle means normal so the emphasis is for safety first, even for the attacking tactics. Small adjustments should be made, you can also use the presets and set up the defenders..and then you’ll notice there is a difference between a preset- defender and one from the default instructions.

* How do I play defensively?
Short – Normal passing
Slow – Normal Tempo
Low creative freedom
Few TTB instructions
Normal FWR instructions for most players
A normal defensive line
Normal mentalities for most players
Slow to normal tempo
Normal width
High timewasting
Closing down low at the back, normal in midfield and normal upfront

When it comes to passing I generally recommend mixed for most teams because of the weather effect on pitches. Waterlogged pitches are a huge problem for short passing, so sometimes you need to play mixed. A slow to normal tempo allows you to hold possession. Closing down is also interesting, for good sides I’d even consider higher closing down, but sometimes that wears out players too much, lower closing down keeps your players in shape. If you have your link players on direct passing and one or two wingers on fwr, they could launch very quick counterattacks.

* Slow probing possession based game
Higher closing down in midfield/attack
Passing short
Tempo slow to normal
Width – Wide
More FWR
More players with TTB instructions
Higher CF in front
Ideally some players will be on direct passing to set off quick thrusts

The more players have normal instructions the more players defend, so some players may need either FWR or farrows to make them run behind the defensive lines. Its easy to go from a defensive set up to one of these, the key lies in the passing and closing down instructions. If you want to knock the ball about, set passing to the low end of short and mixed. Short passing will see players knock it around more. If you want to do probing kind of football your shape is very important. At least 3 centrally placed midfielders are needed. Tempo should be slow or normal. Leave closing down untouched in defense, but increase it in midfield. These kind of formations benefit from some players on direct passing, the thrusts will come from here.

* Attacking tactics
FWR often for midfielders
FWR often for fullbacks
More use of TTB
Slider based formation with at least 6 players on attacking mentality

Attacking formations need pace, good passing, great anchor players who could HUB and lay off to others and more than one route to goal. Attacking mentalities are important for those who are attacking, which means you want to take risks. With such formations its important to keep your backline on INDIVIDUAL mentalities at all costs so they don’t get dragged away. Formations that can use this to great effect are 433 formations, possession shouldn’t be your main worry, make sure you get more than one route to goal. .This can come from attacking fullbacks, “kaka” like midfielders and strong AMC who drive attacks through the middle.

Using arrows for players

If you use farrows be careful, setting too high a mentality for a farrowed player could push him further away and make him harder to find. Furthermore all those forward runs he will make will only make him more tired. When setting mentality be aware of its incidental effects on other settings. When a player is set with a high mentality and is given passing instructions its best to give him either direct passing or short. Do this so he can find the player nearest him.

If he has a high mentality and is positioned higher up on the pitch, you shouldn’t give him any ttb instructions if he is a winger, getting him to play a short pass or a direct pass to an MC or a striker is a far better option. Setting him on attacking mentality and with TTB on normal will definitely make him waste more passes. Even if his decisions are good he will look for the attacking option first.

Its far better to give a ML a farrow and then give him normal mentality. This means that he will be positioned further up to receive the pass but he will also be more effective when you lose possession of the ball since he is closer to the MC, then he would otherwise have been if he has a high mentality. Mentality works hand in hand with a host of sliders that can complicate your target or enhance it..its best to keep CF neutral; Closing down normal and tempo normal in most cases.

CF increases the amount of actions a dot will more likely do. Keeping it normal allows his decisions to determine what these are. High mentality settings, coupled with high closing down will wear your players down. There is little neccessity to have high for both. Have closing down on normal for wingers, have it higher for your DMs. You can set really low mentality settings for your DCs. I would recommend having them on 3 if possible for FM 2008. You can even have it on 1. That will make em play like Wimbledon at the back with no thought on building play just hoofing

* Defensive Line
If you have a high dline then the midfielders and defenders try winning the ball higher up the pitch. This slider works with closing down and is affected by mentality. If your team is attacking and loses the ball, then players will fall back to win the ball.

If you are playing with a high dline and your fullbacks are set to normal mentality and low closing down, their higher positions will affect their closing down. Because they are placed higher, they will close down once a player enters his zone. And sometimes they may even track deep to do that. Attributes and player roles affect these too. If the ball is punted and is headed to the 25yard line, chances are a DC if he has higher anticipation will move to win the header. Bear all these in mind when setting a tactic up.

Player instructions

The best thing about setting player instructions now is “Match Flow”, on match day you can actually close the tactical screen which displays the formation and then select player instructions based on their attributes. It certainly saves time.


Direct is good form of passing for premiership clubs. You can use direct passing for DCs and for wingers. Short passing is good passing for MCs and for defensive MCs linking with either a DM or a an attacking MC who is set to TTB. In this case have the MC on passing of 1 and the playmaker on either mixed or direct.

Long passing – Not my favourite, use it with your Keeper. Look for a Forward with high jumping and heading, strength and pace and set that guy up to receive long kicks from your keeper. Plenty of cheap goals to be had from here. It doesn’t happen ALL THE TIME though.

Short passing witj fast tempo works great with strong teams, but can be disasterous for weak teams who lack te attributes such as stamina, workrate and decisions to make a high tempo passing game work.High tempo also implies a shorter interval between passes, if a playerr can’t make a decision where the ball is going it will most likely end up with the opposition.

Run with Ball and Cross Ball

The best setting for this has always been mixed. If you set someone on often for both these sliders, he will do the dribble or cross the ball even when its not the best option. Their first priority will be to follow those instructions. So always use decisions to govern player instructions.

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