Best FM 2014 Tactics: Darren’s 4-4-2 And The Deadly Duo

FM 2014 Downloads

written by Darren Smith

FM 2014 Tactics

Hey guys and welcome to my best FM 2014 tactics this time based around the 4-4-2 using fluid philosophy. This Football Manager 2014 tactic is called ‘Darren’s 4-4-2 and the deadly duo’. I’m sure the 4-4-2 bit makes perfect sense, the deadly duo bit I guess may have a few scratching heads.

Long story short, I think FM 2014 will see us creating more tactics based around what we have in terms of players as opposed to a vision we have for creating triangles and pretty little patterns. Miles Jacobson has made it perfectly clear that this years edition relies heavily on players and using them in the right roles.

From playing the BETA its also apparent that while in the past a bunch of sliders controlled how your little men ran around the pitch, this year sees the individual players and there characteristics make the same position and role look very, very different in the match engine. For instance, when I use Llorente in the false nine role, he tends to fall short and link up play, but also gets in the box and scores lots of headers. I then use Michu in exactly the same role and most of his goals came with the ball at feet and from the edge of the area darting in.

Again, I have drifted off subject a little, what I mean is that due to the importance assigned to player selection this year, I wanted to make a tactic based around the most important players on the pitch, the deadly duo, still not getting it? your strikers of course. So after that long winded introduction I present the formation and roles.

FM 2014 tactic, formation and instructions

fm14 tactic, 4-4-2, formation

The instructions are fairly simple really, they all have one goal in mind, to service the front two while playing fluid attractive Football. The philosophy and strategy stay the same no matter what, we always want to take the game to our opponents. Same goes for the team instructions which are explained below, we do not have any individual player instructions, because I am a believer in keeping things simple where possible.

  • Run at defence: Simple, we have wing backs and wingers, not to mention a box to box midfielder so I want all of them to attack the opposition head on, putting our opponents on the back foot from the off.
  • Exploit the flanks: Width seems like a great tool to use this year, so having the four wide players exploited also suits the instruction mentioned above.
  • Look for overlap: Again, this suits the first two instructions, we want players to pass and move, the wing back to find their winger and then overlap him. This creates space and confuses the opposition.
  • Higher tempo: I like high tempo when using the wings, also helps to take advantage when we’ve gained possession from opposition set pieces and sparks a counter.
  • Hassle opposition: I like to get in our oppositions space, rush them into a mistake and keep the pressure on.

FM 2014 tactic: roles

Below I have explained what each role does and suggested appropriate attributes.

GK – goalkeeper, defend: Very simple, he stops the ball hitting the net. There are no specific requirements in this area. We all know what a good keeper should look like.

DR/DL – wing back, support: His job is to not only defend but attack. The wing back will get forward when in possession and with this tactic overlap the winger, he’ll always stick to the flank. click here, for most important attributes.

DC – central defender, defend: Just your normal defender, would help to be good in the air, due to the lack of MC’s you don’t want him losing simple headers. Other than that, you may need 12 or above in pace and acceleration for top flight teams alongside the usual defensive attributes seen here.

MR/ML – winger, attack: Your wingers need to hug the line, be able to cross from deep and the byline and most importantly spring an attack at the drop of a hat, also note if they won’t get back and defend when needed, the whole system could fail. OK now we get specific, these guys need to be fast, cross well and dribble too. Other very important characteristics I have found are work rate and flair. For the rest click here.

Important tip! Please not that if you feel crosses are been intercepted too easily or no ones getting on the end of them, go into each wingers individual instructions and select ‘cross aim far post’. Do this on a game to game basis.

MC – deep lying playmaker, defend: Here we have your playmaker, the man who sits in the middle and hinges defence to midfield, to attack. He must have great passing, creativity and teamwork. You will also need him to defend and break up play, so look at stats like tackling and marking, also positioning. For a full breakdown, check here.

MC – box to box midfielder, support: Not only are we relying on this guy to dribble with the ball and bridge the gap from midfield to attack, but he needs to arrive late in both penalty areas. So long shots are helpful, but most important are physical stats, dribbling, off the ball movement and passing. This player should be your most well rounded on the pitch as his role leads to both attack and defence. Heres the full list of attributes.

ST – poacher, attack: Nice and simple, this kid is your goal outlet, his main focus is on the defensive shoulder waiting to pounce. So acceleration, finishing and composure mixed with off the ball movement are important. Usually dribbling helps but that’s not as vital in this tactic. See the full list of attributes here.

ST – false nine, support: This lad will float between ST and AMC, dragging defenders with him to create space for the B2B and poacher. He needs to have a good first touch, creativity and off the ball movement, long shots are also very helpful. However, the better this guy can jump and head the ball the more possession and chances you’ll have. The team like to use this guy as an outlet and lots of the play will go through him, especially direct balls and crosses.

FM 2014 tactic in action

While you may not boss the centre of midfield, there is defensive stability in shape and symmetry. See the screenshot below, this is how your side should line up from goal kicks and general attacks. Counter attacks can be a bit more tricky but I’ve not noticed many issues with reasonably fast defenders.

fm14 tactic, 4-4-2, defensive movement

Once you’re back in possession, the deep lying playmaker will drop deeper and show for the ball, your DR and DL will remain just in front of the defensive line until the ball moves beyond them and likewise the box to box midfielder. So you have four passing options in a line in front of your DC’s.

fm14 tactic, 4-4-2, build up play

Another nice part of the build up play can be the false nine’s involvement, he drops very deep in the initial stages to lose his marker, then lays off a pass and runs forward again.

fm14 tactic, 4-4-2, f9

Basically everyone is instructed to overlap and move all the time. We have wing backs and wingers doing so out wide, we have the box to box midfielder doing it in the middle and the false nine striker dropping into AMC often while the poacher is forever looking for space to dart into ahead of himself. The only players who don’t actively move during attack are the DC’s and deep lying playmaker. Lets see how this works when attacking, below is the wing play and how your wingers and strikers attack the ball.

fm14 tactic, 4-4-2, attacking movement

Now we have the false nines tricky movement again. The wing back has come forward overlapping the winger to gain space, he gets in a cross to the back post. Both the ML and false nine are arriving late.

fm14 tactic, 4-4-2, wing play

FM 2014 tactic highlights

Here are a few highlights to demonstrate better the goals that are capable with this tactic. First the goal that followed the screenshot above.

Here is our false nine losing his marker again to get on the end of a quality cross.

And finally a few goals from our poacher to show how he works off the DC’s shoulder, the first a lobbed ball from our false nine and the second a perfectly waited threaded ball through the middle.

Results and key stars

So, as you may have guessed already I tested my best FM 2014 tactic with Juventus. I didn’t make the tactic, then decide to try out Juve, I just started a game with the Italian giants and had to find a new system seen as my usual 4-5-1 just wouldn’t work. That is when I saw their strike force as the key outlet for attacks and built around two upfront and found ways of getting them the best service.

Below is how the season went, not too shabby considering three of the six defeats were using a different tactic in the beginning :)

Serie A table

fm14 tactic, 4-4-2, serie A table

Italian Cup results

fm14 tactic, 4-4-2, italian cup results

Champions League results

fm14 tactic, 4-4-2, cl results

Before you see the Champions League final result, it is worth noting that all testing upto this point was done before 23/10/13, so patch 14.0.2. The Champions League final was played tonight using patch 14.0.3, so I was very nervous to see if we still had an effective tactic aaannd…

fm14 tactic, 4-4-2, cl final

Top 5 performers

Carlos Tevez (ST, poacher) – 44 starts / 32 goals / 8 assists / 7.43 av rating

Fernando Llorente (ST, poacher) – 41 starts / 21 goals / 7 assists / 7.48 av rating

Eder Alvarez Balanta (DC, central defender) – 39 starts / 5 goals / 7.83 av rating

Giorgio Chiellini (DC, central defender) – 49 starts / 8 goals / 7.77 av rating

Kwadwo Asamoah (ML, winger) – 39 starts / 6 goals / 10 goals / 7.25 av rating

Important notes

OK like with any tactic there are disclaimers, things you must note before using this tactic.

  • BETA tactic – This tactic was created and tested using the BETA, upon the games full release this tactic may not work, depending on what has changed in the match engine. For example there are lots of crosses happening in the ME at the moment, if that is limited then a huge positive from this tactic will be damaged.
  • Poor preperation, blah, blah - Ever heard the saying ‘poor preparation equals piss poor performance’? Well its true, if you don’t prepare this tactic throughout pre-season don’t expect an instant impact, even then it still takes time into the season before your players will perform.
  • Opposition instructions – Always ask your assistant to set the ‘opposition instructions’, they usually know best and with none set you stand little chance.
  • Team talks must be taken correctly in accordance with the opponents ability and current form. Get a great assistant with good motivation and ask him to do the team talks if not experienced.
  • Does it work in other countries – I have only tested this tactic in Italy, how well it works in other countries against different styles I am not sure. But it seems good in Europe, we beat Chelsea and United in the Champions League.
  • Player selection – You must have the correct players to use this system, if you don’t, do not waste your time. Two very good strikers are a must and backups are needed also. The false nine works best with good jumping reach and heading, just as a forward in any crossing tactic would. Also a very strong back-line is important due to the lack of cover in midfield. Very slow defenders will be exposed.
  • Wing backs and wingers that can’t cross won’t get assists and that is where the goals are.
  • Pick correct roles – Pick the right players for the right roles, if you don’t this tactic will not work at all…as is the same with any system.
  • Crossing – Sometimes asking your players to cross as they like doesn’t work, it depends on your squad and the opposition, so if crosses aren’t working, then go into each wingers individual instructions and select ‘cross aim to far post’.
  • Have a backup tactic – This tactic can on occasion lead to you been overawed in the middle, always have a second tactic (maybe a 4-5-1) just in case. The AI is smarter this year and will work your systems out before long, so its always good to switch things up a little from time to time to keep them guessing. Having said that I didn’t need to switch tactic at all, just while defending a lead in the dying moments when I felt exposed in midfield.
  • Training and match prep – The myth of training and match preperation being appropriate to specific tactics is bollocks, they are not related. Of course a possession orientated tactic needs good ball control and you can train in that area, but that only sets to train your players attributes in that area, not make them better in the tactic, it helps marginally indirectly, but they are not directly linked at all. Having said that, like with any tactic, you should do pre-season with match prep as ‘tactic only’ and training as ‘team cohesion’ and a bit of ‘fitness’ before changing to balanced once the season is underway. Intensity is set to high and then pick your match prep based around preparing for the opponents weakness’ and strengths.
  • Pitch size makes such a small difference I wouldn’t waste your time on it. Naturally with any wide tactic a wider pitch is preferred, but it makes very little difference.
  • Shouts in the match aren’t needed, unless to combat certain formations or your teams bad performance. Like ‘retain possession’ when required or taken the lead and ‘get stuck in’ if your boys look like fairy’s.

FM 2014 tactic download

If you like what you see, then just click the download image below and download the file from mediafire. Then follow the instructions.

FM 2014 Download

  1. Once download is complete, move the file to the following folder documents>sports interactive>football manager 2014>tactics
  2. Now load the game as normal and enter the tactics screen.
  3. Click the button to add a tactic and look in ‘archived tactics’, then select ‘Darren’s fluid 4-4-2 and the deadly duo’.

Hey presto there it is. Well that’s it I think, hope this works for you as well as it did for me with Juventus. And if you appreciate this post and tactic, please, please, share on Facebook and Twitter etc etc…you can do this at the very top or bottom of the post, and I’d appreciate. :)

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  • comment avatar Stan October 23, 2013

    Great read…i have been testing a similar tactic with my fiorentina and it does decently…mario gomez and giuseppe rossi are lethal duo…i prefer playing pocher-depp lying though but that just depends on the players that are in your disposal…i guess roles are the backbone of any tactic this year…nevertheless its great to see some love for the almost forgotten 4-4-2….

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 24, 2013

      Thanks Stan, it seems to work well and having a big forward is part of that. Its been ages since I created a 4-4-2 so nice to give it another go.

      • comment avatar Jolly November 9, 2013

        Dudes this really works, thanks. Took England to the World Cup and won beating France, holland and every team we played friendlies or not

  • comment avatar Gaurav Chaddah October 23, 2013

    Great read mate, seems a nice change from your usual formation. I think I might give this a go, just to test out and build some confidence in the 4-4-2, I might try it like yourself with Juve or maybes someone like Manchester United may be adjust to this.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 24, 2013

      Good, let me know how it goes…as mentioned works best with a Llorente type forward as F9 due to height and heading.

  • comment avatar Jack October 23, 2013

    Honestly Darren, I don’t know how you come up with these! Looks an absolute belter! Please keep it up!

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 24, 2013

      Will do, starting testing on the next one soon.

  • comment avatar Dave T (@buzzindave) October 24, 2013

    great read mate keep em coming I wont use this but you have give me fresh ideas on how to approach things thx

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 24, 2013

      No problem, wanted to make this more than the usual tactical download alone so glad that worked.

  • comment avatar Shaun October 24, 2013

    Great read and hopefully great tactic. Will give it a try with Wolves and report progress. Any tactic that makes use of its wingers and is a old fashioned-ish 4-4-2 is a good one for me.

    Do you expect any issues with the unfortunate timing of the new patch that has came out today Darren?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 24, 2013

      Thanks Shaun, hopefully will be fine. As for the new patch I can’t say for certain but shouldn’t be any issues based on our performance against United in CL final as that was played with the new patch.

  • comment avatar saltwater October 24, 2013

    I must say I’ve been won over with this “no sliders” thing, I think tactics are better to handle and easier to manipulate to fit your own preferential style of play. I do disagree with your opinion on the player instructions though; I really think they can change the success of tactic this year with the individual shouts.

    Anyway I really like the look of this 4-4-2 and this post was wonderfully written. Tevez and Llorente must have made a great partnership.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 24, 2013

      Just to clarify on the player instructions, I was too vague in the post…but I do think they are useful and in some cases required for sure, but when making a tactic for the masses I prefer to stay away from them if possible to avoid complication, that’s what I meant but failed to communicate. I’m sure there will be tactics in the future from me with player instructions, I don’t think you can avoid them to be fair as some tactics won’t work without. Glad you liked the post, Llorente and Tevez were monsters upfront. :)

  • comment avatar micheal October 24, 2013

    Looks good Darren I’ll be sure to use that! When is the demo released? sorry I know its a bit off topic

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 24, 2013

      Not sure TBH but usually it would be around a week prior to full release.

  • comment avatar demetrius palmer October 24, 2013

    Did you setup corners with this tactic or is it just default?

  • comment avatar Noal October 25, 2013

    I bet this tactic would be insane with PSG.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 25, 2013

      Yeah imagine Ibra and Cavani upfront, wow.

      • comment avatar Noal October 25, 2013

        I’m giving it a whirl now; I’ll come back and post how it’s going. Your post was a nice read, thinks for putting in the effort to share!

        • comment avatar Darren Smith October 25, 2013

          Good, let us know how it goes Noal.

  • comment avatar ainvar October 25, 2013

    Very pleasant read, I love posts about tactic. I tried this with my team but it didn’t work. But the reason it’s because I am training a team in Skrill North and the team lacks the quality to play in that way – especially the defense, but in general the mentality is not good at this low level.
    I will try it when I will be able to apply it to a more technical squad, meanwhile I wait for a “low league 4-4-2″ to fiddle with !

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 25, 2013

      Thanks, this tactic is indeed a bit intricate for that level. We’ll keep looking for different types of tactics to try and cover everyone.

  • comment avatar erwin October 25, 2013

    Downloaded it , gonna try it in my next game. I am gonna follow your advice with no instructions for players a little. Some have instructions , some dont gonna see how it works out.

  • comment avatar erwin October 25, 2013

    Doing this in my own tactic btw . Your tactic seems really nice , How many goals did your strikers make?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 25, 2013

      That information should be near the bottom of the post around the results etc.

  • comment avatar Demetrius Palmer October 26, 2013

    Currently using ManU in my 1st save. I know Hernandez and Welbeck fit the poacher role perfectly but when I play Rooney and RVP together who should I make the F9? Awesome tactic btw. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to your next release.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 26, 2013

      Thanks Demetrius, I would recommend Rooney in the F9 role and RVP as poacher personally.

  • comment avatar NERO October 26, 2013

    I downloaded and put in the tatics folder but when I try to upload during the game it says file cant be imported, any idea why

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 26, 2013

      Not sure what that is about, all I could recommend is to try re-downloading the file and follow the instruction word for word again and see if it was a bad download.

  • comment avatar Jonathan Banton October 27, 2013

    thanks for this. What do you do if you go a goal behind or need a goal near the end of the game? Do you change anything? I just started with it as Cardiff. Went 1-0 down in first game away at Villa, changed to Attacking after Half Time and equalised, then reverted back to Control and dominated the whole second half. Couldn’t get the winner though.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 27, 2013

      Nothing specific to the tactic to change, more about analyzing game to game and seeing were the issues are, or where the oppositions weakness’ may be.

  • comment avatar Ryan Daly October 30, 2013

    For the last 2 years of FM your tactics have been the template on which I have built my teams, and it looks like you have created another solid one. I am especially loving the fact that you had to move away from 4-5-1, not because I didn’t like it but because it shows that the game is moving forward and has changed from last year, forcing us to adapt. I cannot wait for the game’s release tomorrow !

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 30, 2013

      Glad the tactics have helped Ryan, as for the 4-5-1 I don’t know if its the new tactics system or the BETA match engine, but just doesn’t seem consistent this year. I’m still trying out all sorts though, every night. :)

  • comment avatar Luke October 30, 2013

    Doesnt work with any teams I am tried it with benfica and sharktar donesk!

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 30, 2013

      Seen as that’s two tactics you have tried that have been successful for other managers, have you read the full post and followed all the advice and instructions? Also I noticed you have tried this tactic and the other on this site with the same teams, did you actually prepare them in pre-season or did you just throw them in once the season had begun?

      • comment avatar Luke October 31, 2013

        Used it in pre-season, did not work. I downloaded fm 2013 from you think it was 4-5-1 deadly attacking something or another and it worked. This does not seem to.

        • comment avatar Darren Smith October 31, 2013

          How long did you use it for? What about the players and roles, for instance who did you use as the false nine and at MR for instance.

          • comment avatar Luke November 1, 2013

            Used it for all of pre-season and the first 5 matches only won 1 match.

          • comment avatar Darren Smith November 1, 2013

            Well if you are certain that you have prepared it correctly and are definitely using the right players in the right roles then I can only put it down to the countries you are playing in, they all have different systems and some work better in certain countries. But even then it shouldn’t be performing that badly.

  • comment avatar Sears October 30, 2013

    Awesome tactic buddy, going great for me with Tottenham. Top after 10 games. It might be a problem with FM, but quite bizarre that only two of my players have a higher average rating than 7.00!! Board are delighted with the attacking football but quite annoyed that I havn’t dominated possession (Screw them, right I’m winning matches?!). Defensively this tactic is fantastic as well. Top top work!!

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 31, 2013

      Hi buddy, good to hear from you. Glad this is working, as for the ratings thing, before the recent BETA update it was the other way around, players get above 8’s despite drawing 2-2 so I think they may have it fixed in a patch or maybe this is SI’s vision for what player ratings should be, not sure.

  • comment avatar Gaurav Chaddah October 31, 2013

    Just to say mate currently have wat through a season of testing with United. So far so good and unbeaten in all comps :)
    Are you planning on making your 4 5 1 this year? Just because I’ve made a similar one to yours last year and it seems to be working really well for me and I would love to post it in the forum but their would be no point of your gonna make one.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith October 31, 2013

      I do have one prepared that went OK with Newcastle and would probably do well with big teams but I want it to be perfect for lesser sides also, so won’t publish until its refined. But you can publish in the forum if you’d like…I will be putting mine out there at some point but it needs to work on the big scale for me to put it on the main site.

  • comment avatar Alexey Petrushchenkov November 1, 2013

    Works good with Tottenham, but I allow goals in every match. Score is always like 3-2, 4-3… Working on it=)

    Got a question about training though…

    “Intensity is set to high…”

    Had no problem with it in FM 2013, but here half (!) of my players start whining that workload is too high. I got smth. like that (the season is underway):

    Main focus: Balanced
    Intensity: High
    Match prep.: 20%
    Rest after/before match : NO

    Can’t get it even after reading numerous articles about FM 2014. Guess I’ve got to sell half of my team during transfer window.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 1, 2013

      I have the same issue, but they just moan, it hasn’t effected their morale in my game…if its causing problems then just reduce it to average.

      • comment avatar Alexey Petrushchenkov November 1, 2013

        Morale stays good if I don’t criticize them. I’m just afraid it can affect their development. Does attribute increase depend on training happiness? Haven’t played much to verify this. ..

        • comment avatar Darren Smith November 1, 2013

          Not sure, common sense would say that it does have an effect but I have never kept players unhappy about training long enough to see.

  • comment avatar cubsonart November 1, 2013

    works great with Anderlecht ! in CL win against Zenit 3-2 and draw agains Marseille 2-2 away. in league: 7 matches, 6 wins, 1 draw !

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 1, 2013

      Good, glad its working for you.

  • comment avatar Craig November 1, 2013

    Just finished my first season with newcastle and with the default squad and using this tactic i finished 4th in the league and reached the semi finals of the fa cup which i got knocked out by man utd on pens and won the carling up

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 1, 2013

      Great stuff, glad its working for you…keep me informed.

  • comment avatar stephen walsh November 1, 2013

    hey darren great tactic using it with my fave team newcastle united im 2nd in league with 8 points infront of 3rd only made 1 signing buttner cisse and remy are scoring for fun and shola ameobi comes off the bence and scores a few so so good thank you

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 1, 2013

      Glad its going well mate, always nice to see the Geordies win :)

  • comment avatar Nick Sundin November 1, 2013

    Off topic, but anyone remember Jake saying in the podcast that Joe hart was the best keeper in the world? :P

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 1, 2013

      Haha, I don’t remember that but thanks for reminding me, I’ll be sure to remind him next episode :)

  • comment avatar Jack Shipton November 1, 2013

    Hey Darren, love the tactic, just about to use i with spurs, was just wondering if you had any suggestions on who to play in what role as there are many central midfielders and wingers. As well as that are there any players that you would suggest signing especially for a certain role . Cheers mate.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 1, 2013

      Its tough to say without testing but Sandro & Paulinho should do well in the defensive MC role, while Dembele and Eriksen would be good as B2B. You definitely need a striker, someone like Llorente upfront for the F9 role. I think Lennon and Lamela would swap nicely on the right wing with Chadli and Townsend on the left….though Andre Ayew would be worth signing for the left wing too. Good luck.

  • comment avatar Southamtpon November 1, 2013

    Just started a new save with Southmapton, You got any good tactics for them?.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 2, 2013

      So far only got this tactic that I have tested, would be worth a try as Lambert could do the false nine role which is a very important part of the system and you have pacey players for the wings. I am trying to develop other tactics but it will take time, you’ll find them here as soon as we get some that are successful.

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  • comment avatar Adam Lunn November 3, 2013

    Darren, I’ve been giving this tactic a try over the past few days, exactly as described and with Juve. This on full game, latest update. Found a couple of problems, especially with Llorente as F9. I began with him and also tevez as the poacher as shown in your post. Both playing at around 6.50. Took Llorente 14 games to get his first goal and tevez only had 3. The performances improved as they became familiar with the tactic which I trained heavily. Another issue was the poor crossing of the wingers. They all seem to have crossing of around 12/13. I’ve tried getting them to cross to far post. No improvement. The biggest problem I noticed was the ratio of shots on/off target. Typically I’d have roughly 25 shots and around 4 on target! Mostly accounted for by Llorente’s long shot ability (11). I’ve now had to instruct the BBM and F9 to shoot less so they continue to build attacks rather than shoot from 25 yards. Seems to have helped slightly. My intuition tells me that tevez and Qaugliarella (!?) are better f9’s due to their better technique, passing, long shots and dribbling. No proof of this yet tho. Llorente seems like a fish up a tree.

    What do you think? Have you given the system a try in the full game? I’m aware Llorente keeps possession well with Ariel ability but otherwise he’s not doing the business.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 3, 2013

      Hi Adam, thanks for the detailed explanation. I haven’t tried this on the full version yet no and theres a very good reason for me shouting out disclaimers within the post to show this was tested in the BETA. Basically in the BETA defenders out wide were rubbish so you could get lots of crosses in and it almost always seemed to favour the attacking player in the air…hence Llorente scoring so many goals. However, with the full version of the game that has changed I think, now the opposition are just too good defensively, it seems like if a defender is in between your player and the goal, it won’t go in, no matter what or who is striking the ball…I wouldn’t put the shots on target down to the tactic alone, that is an ME issue as I have created other tactics since and every single one has been the same. Again, the BETA didn’t have this long shot problem that seems to have developed since the full release so I didn’t have to allow for it in the settings (but you did the right thing is limiting their long shots.) Also applies to the player ratings, they are way too low every match, no matter what tactic you use, SI need a patch if you ask me, they sorted a lot of problems but taken most of them to the extreme which has just created new ‘bugs’.

      Due to all these changes I would suggest that maybe Llorente isn’t the right man for the F9 role anymore, but if SI bring out a patch then that may change yet again. The big problem is this tactic was created around him winning the ball in the air and dropping off his marker, but now the ME just picks up on his long shots etc.

  • comment avatar Jackson November 3, 2013

    Hey Darren, I’m trying out this tactic as Elfsborg and all the feedback I can give is positive. I haven’t played many games but I have won all bar one, and dominate shots. Only thing I could say is that I don’t win games by big margins as I might like, but when I’m drawing or losing going into the final stages going to attacking or overload usually gets a goal; that rarely happened on FM13. This tactic is even better given that on a ‘trial run’ of the save I was sacked after 13 games!

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 3, 2013

      Well that’s good news, I’m glad its working for you. This has received mixed reviews since the update, but I can only reiterate that a lack of goals and shots on goal is an ME issue, not tactical, I have tested more than 5 tactics since in different styles and all have had the same shots on target issue. I hope it keep s working mate.

  • comment avatar Alex November 4, 2013

    Thanks for the tactic Darren. Started listening to the podcast and that’s why I now come to this site as a trusted resource for FM related material. I had problems with the tactic initially but as my team (Chelsea) became familiar with it, it has been working better. So far: 9 games into the season, 7 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss. Loss was to Stoke and second game in with team only being half-familiar with the tactic. Best result was total combination of Bayern in the Super Cup. Only won 1-0 but we dominated. My question though, do you change mentality from away/home games? Cheers from Oz!! PS the wife ain’t happy but I love how she says “Oh, he is busy managing his team!”

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 4, 2013

      Glad you are enjoying the tactic Alex, as for your question I don’t change the mentality at all no, maybe that should change come the full release but testing during the BETA didn’t warrant it. Hope it keeps working.

  • comment avatar Tania November 4, 2013

    Great read – I seem to be having problems with mine though :( For some reason I can’t give team talks, or speak privately with my players between games either. I just don’t see an option for it. Any ideas?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 4, 2013

      You don’t have your assistant set to take team talks do you? Go to staff responsibilities and the ‘first team’ tab, if that option is ticked for the assistant to take team talks maybe that’s the issue.

  • comment avatar Lowbird November 4, 2013

    It works great in the full game, but i would advise to change to a 4-4-1-1 and put the (false 9) as a Shadow Striker. This will fill the gap that sometimes the false 9 create in the midfield, and also will make your attack stronger (cause the SW will run to the box everytime you are attaccking).
    I’m with Arsenal, and have Wilshere in SW with Lewandowski in front, is just amazing :)

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 5, 2013

      It all depends on your team and what works best for you I guess, the problem I find with your way is that the AMC is much easier to mark out of the game, whereas the false nine drops off the defensive shoulder into the AMC slot so he drags defenders with him, that is why I made the tactic with that role.

  • comment avatar Marex November 5, 2013

    I cant add other tactic in fm14(say cant import this file) but this tactic i can where is problem :( ?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 5, 2013

      I have no idea, not seen that problem yet. Maybe try re-downloading the tactic and restarting FM, then try again. If not you’ll have to get in touch with SI.

      • comment avatar Marex November 5, 2013

        i try dont work :( can i change in your tactic MR and ML to AMR and AML,will tactic then work same ?

        • comment avatar Darren Smith November 5, 2013

          Well that would make it a completely different tactic which I haven’t tested so I couldn’t say but I don’t think it work no.

  • comment avatar Andy November 5, 2013

    Hello this is my first post on here, I just want to say what a gem this tactic is, I’ve been using it with Nottingham Forest for 15 matches or so and I have only lost 2, I admit I am playing Classic Mode so weather this contributes to my success or not, I was really struggling before and I made a couple of signings to get the players required for this to work, the only different thing I have done is i use a Target Man instead of the F9 as my best striker is better suited to a TM role then a F9 (he was playing TM before i found this tactic and was the leagues top scorer so i decided to keep him as it, 22 goals in 28 league games). thank you for this amazing tactic, its helped me no end!.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 5, 2013

      Good to hear, thanks Andy. I’m glad its working well for you, good luck with Nottm Forest.

  • comment avatar igor November 6, 2013

    muito boa a tactica, obrigado, estou com o Estoril de portugal, e vou muito bem

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 6, 2013

      Thanks, glad you like the tactic.

  • comment avatar Price November 6, 2013

    I got my wolves team promoted but started the new season terribly and picked up 1 win in first 5. Tried these tactics which improved the team but found that retaining possession helped my team control games even more. Now on a 10 game unbeaten run so thanks for the assistance!

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 6, 2013

      Glad your game is going well.

  • comment avatar Vader November 7, 2013

    Darren have you played this tactic in 14.1.3? And if so, do you still have the same succes? Im currently playing with Napoli, but are havin mixing results.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 7, 2013

      I haven’t tried this on the latest patch no, I am currently busy developing another tactic as alternative that should work well for Napoli though, so if you can hold onto the weekend/Monday I’ll have it ready.

      • comment avatar Vader November 8, 2013

        Sounds perfect :)

  • comment avatar dave hedgehog November 8, 2013

    excellent tactic turned my team from relegation strugglers into top 4 contenders

  • comment avatar Martin Bahn November 8, 2013

    Wow, just wow!
    I know this tactic won’t suit all teams… But if you have good wingers and tall headstrong strikers, this tactic will work wonders.
    Started a LLM game, and just after the first 3 friendlies, (they havent even blended proper, nor worked long on tactic yet) but still just 3 friendlies and instant result. I don’t know if its just England that likes this style of play, but my first 3 games are, 3-1, 2-0, and wait for it… 5-0 !! Now yes, these friendlies were not against EPL teams, but the 2-0 victory was a team in a division above me.
    – Avg shots in total: ~20
    – Avg shots on target: ~9 ( low because my midfielders did some terrible efforts from range. )
    – Clear Cut Chances: ~3 ( 1/3 attempts as CCC, that is beatiful, just beautiful. )

    My poacher likes to solo sometimes, and he does manage to succeed once in a while, dribbling helps.
    But it has been a joy to watch crosses to far post, where my tallest player, my F9, has gotten almost all headers on target. Heading is only 13, so when he gets better, or I find a better one for that spot, I’ll assume that will bump up goals a bit.

    My Ass. Manager doesnt like my midfield, feels we’re being overrun, and yes, opposition does get to test my goalie too much for comfort, but I guess I’ve been lucky. :D

    PS. This tactic is played on newest patch 14.1.3.

  • comment avatar Martin Bahn November 8, 2013

    Just had my first league game. We won 3-1.
    The score was 1-1 at half time, so i decided to try something risky.
    As BBM center mid, has: Passing: 14, Creativity: 12 and Technique: 13. I wanted to try telling to do “Direct Passing” onto strikers. Result was 2 assists in the 2nd half.
    I believe ( and this is just a guess ) that because the AI had found out we played with “Exploit Flanks” the sudden center mid starting to make a few passing through the defense came as a surprise move, and resulted in 2 more goals.

    I know during a match, that if to do just minor changes, they can have a big effect, if its something different from your standard tactical setup, as it takes the AI by surprise – but again just a guess.

    This is my 12th year of playing CM/FM – and still learning, and love it!

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 8, 2013

      Good it seems to be working. Just bare in mind its early days though, Friendlies are very different from actual competition, you results don’t mean much but the way your players play is a positive sign.

  • comment avatar Gary Wood November 8, 2013

    Very good tactic, I got WBA to finish 3rd in the prem in first season, however, I have the worlds worst discipline record, I get 4-5 yellows EVERY game and have had around 13 red cards, need to edit this tac to cut out the cards.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 8, 2013

      Glad it worked, TBH I think the ME is to blame for the discipline, I have had an issue no matter what the tactic.

      • comment avatar Gary Wood November 8, 2013

        I was using “enable AM’s match prep” too, he seems to be a bit of a “chopper” lol, disabled him and did it manual, seems to have made a “slight” difference, always seems to be the DM’s that get sent off too, the whole team seemed to pick up yellows in the first half of the season, but in the second half, they were getting sent off for fun.

  • comment avatar victor November 8, 2013

    Without Pirlo and Pogba? :///

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 8, 2013

      They were just bench warmers :)

  • comment avatar laur79 November 8, 2013

    working verri good i m with FARUL CONSTANTA 2nd lig from romania and i m to pozition 2 after 16 games realy good tactics sorry for my bead english leanguige

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 8, 2013

      Good, I’m glad to hear its working well for you.

  • comment avatar Dench57 November 9, 2013

    Hi Darren, great post as always. I’ve had poor results with my usual 4-2-3-1 that I’ve been using for the last 4 or 5 years, so might have to take a great leap of faith and switch to something else. I’ve seen a potentially world class Target Man striker to pair with my existing Advanced Forward, I would assume that would work well as a combo up front in this 4-4-2? Also one of my wingers is an Inside Forward, I’m guessing that’s not ideal with this tactic and I should be looking for old fashioned Wingers to swing crosses in?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 9, 2013

      Yes that combo should work well. I would recommend having a more traditional winger as this tactic is a bit direct and relies on attacks that stick to the flanks and get crosses in, TBH you could try a more inside forward friendly player in the same position, only difference will be he’ll cut inside more often and link up through that medium, but I don’t see it working as well.

  • comment avatar Martin Bahn November 9, 2013

    From what I can understand, both “Wingers” are supplying crosses into the box.
    And “Inside Forward” CAN do that too, but is more prone to running into the middle, as he is usually better with the left foot on right side and vice versa.
    I have tried having an inside forward in this tactic, but not with great success – it is possible if you have a marauding fullback coming up the line to take his place, when the inside forward moves inside, as the inside forward then might pull a defender or two with him – giving the storming fullback room to cross instead, and then you’ll have one more player in the box so to speak.

    But the big picture of how this will work with this tactic in the long run, I cannot say as I like my wingers in this tactic.

    I usually play a more possession based tactic – but with this I create more CCC’s.
    Besides what is the point of great possession if you can’t turn it into good chances in the final third. :D

    • comment avatar Dench57 November 9, 2013

      I’ve bought Wingers on each side for this tactic now. Only difference with Darren’s version is that my widemen are Wingers and not Wide Midfielders, so they’re further up the pitch. This leaves me with a very attack-orientated formation that has plenty of men bombing forward and will score lots against weaker opponents, but will be overrun in midfield and defensively when on the back foot. Hopefully this just means I’ll be scoring and conceding lots, which is fine by me!

  • comment avatar Muhamad Aidiel November 9, 2013

    I have try it with gunners . But it not work . Cause gunners dont have f9 . Can you make one tactics for Arsenal please .

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 9, 2013

      I’d actually expect Giroud to perform very well in that role TBH. But we’ll have other tactics coming out.

      • comment avatar Muhamad Aidiel November 9, 2013

        Kindly post it as soon as possible .

        • comment avatar Darren Smith November 9, 2013

          I will, but it does use an F9, but that will be explained in the tactic.

          • comment avatar Muhamad Aidiel November 9, 2013

            Okay . which striker prefer the f9 role ?

          • comment avatar Darren Smith November 9, 2013

            You’ll have to wait for the post, I don’t want to explain things twice, but it doesn’t just vary on the role, its the tactic as a whole. Most of the time you need someone who can shoot form range, hold the ball up and link up play but you’ll see when the tactic is released.

  • comment avatar Muhamad Aidiel November 9, 2013

    ok thank

  • comment avatar Sindelle November 9, 2013

    Using it with AS Monaco, works rather well. The start of the season was rough, but things are looking great now, I’m second in the league with only three points behind, on an 11 game unbeaten run and with Falcao being the top striker in France.

    The assistant manager is moaning about the team being overrun in the middle of the pitch, but who cares? I’m just ignoring him. We keeping winning, after all.


    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 9, 2013

      Good to hear, the assistant manager almost always moans about that when you have two at MC, I personally see it as a flaw but can see why its there.

  • comment avatar Nloureiro November 9, 2013

    Odd…Fernando Llorente, although gifted, would be the last of Juve’s forwards that I’d picture as a False 9… Couldn’t Tevez or Vucinic perform the role?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 9, 2013

      Of course they could, in most tactics, but as mentioned in the post this tactic is direct and the F9 is central to that, so if that F9 isn’t good aerially then this tactic loses one of its main strengths.

      • comment avatar Nloureiro November 9, 2013

        Thanks. I am trying a similar approach albeit using a 4-2-4 formations but with inside forwards instead of wingers…seeing as Milan only have the former available…using Kaka as the False 9 but will replace him with Vietto, when the time’s right. My 4-2-3-1 wasn’t working.

        Question: Since I am using inside forwards, I should perhaps put more emphasis on shorter passing and ball retention, no?

        • comment avatar Darren Smith November 9, 2013

          I would agree yes, doesn’t seem like theres any point in passing direct if the wingers are cutting inside anyway.

  • comment avatar Dench57 November 9, 2013

    What about using the “Play Wider” team instruction with this tactic since you’ll be using attacking Wingbacks and Wingers?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 9, 2013

      Not to be used from the beginning as its a good option to have if the game isn’t going great as a touchline shout. while a lot of play happens down the wings, I didn’t want to limit all the attacking outlets to that unless needed and it can help surprise the opposition too.

  • comment avatar Dench57 November 9, 2013

    Thanks for the replies. Would you recommend having a more conservative/defensive tactic as backup when playing stronger teams away from home? I assume there were few teams in your Juventus season that were noticeably stronger than you, but I’m Liverpool so thinking this tactic may be risky when going to Chelsea, City etc.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 9, 2013

      TBH when I was using this during BETA I saw no reason for a different tactic, but without testing in the new patch and with Liverpool I couldn’t say, you should test that yourself and judge based on performances, its not too hard to get a feeling for whether a tactic will work in those games before they arrive. I would just be guessing…but, if you do need something more conservative, I recommend this

      • comment avatar Dench57 November 10, 2013

        Well it’s early days with the new formation yet but I’ve just won 10 games in a row and am currently 1st in the Prem after 20 games, so it looks like this tactic is working. I’m creating many more clear cut chances and averaging 2 or 3 goals a game so it’s a vast improvement on my 4-2-3-1. Biggest improvement is in my CWBacks and Wingers, they’re swinging in crosses all game and getting plenty of assists. I do feel like FM14 favours traditional Wingers and attacking Wingbacks over Inside Forwards, I wonder if this will be addressed in an upcoming patch.

        Only downside seems to be holding a lead as you mention in the guide, a normal example is I’ll be 4-0 up and concede 1 or 2 goals in the last 10 minutes due to being tired and overrun in midfield. I’ve set up a 4-2-3-1 backup with Retain Possession/Drop Deep/Lower Tempo to try and control a lead in the last 20 minutes or so. During the off season I’ll buy a defensive midfielder and switch it to a Defensive 4-5-1 if possible.

        Thanks again for the awesome tactic Darren!

        • comment avatar Darren Smith November 11, 2013

          Glad its working for you mate, this does provide some nice goals and attacking football but as you said can be a bit leaky against particular opponents and formations. That’s why I created a flat 4-5-1 that was more stable, less attacking play but better results on the whole.

  • comment avatar Conndark November 10, 2013

    Darren make a link to you’re stream plox!!!!

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 11, 2013

      I don’t do a stream I’m afraid.

  • comment avatar SamCHammer November 11, 2013

    Top guiding as usual, Darren. Slightly unrelated, but I have a question on the ‘static-active’ midfield rule: If playing a 4-1-3-2, DM behind 3 CMs, could you theoretically have two of those three in active roles (AP and BBM)? Seeing as there are no wingers, plus the DM already sitting back. Trying to get this tactic to work as it seems to have been banished. Starting to think there’s a good reason for that! Thoughts appreciated.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 11, 2013

      I’d agree with that, you could definitely have two active in that midfield, in fact I’d recommend it. If there aren’t enough players moving actively then there will be no passes for the static players to pick out and as you pointed out there are no wingers so that needs making up for.

  • comment avatar mfdoom November 11, 2013

    Any plans to updating it for 14.1.3 for Juve?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 11, 2013

      Not at the moment, the only reason this tactic was created is because my preferred formations were impossible to work with the BETA, now they do I am looking at tactics for those. This should still work with the full version of the game, may need tweaks of course but I don’t have time to go back and re-test this at the moment.

  • comment avatar mfdoom November 11, 2013

    Well i tried 4 saves with Juve all new games, i followed the instructions but i always get fired before november.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 11, 2013

      As I said, this may need tweaks now but I don’t have the time to re-test. If you watch the ME closely you should be able to see where it is going wrong.

  • comment avatar Dench57 November 12, 2013

    This tactic worked brilliantly for me.

    Last season with Liverpool playing 4-2-3-1 I just managed to finish 5th and was knocked out of all cups early on.

    Using this tactic (but with Wingers pushed up to advanced position instead of Wide midfield) I absolutely walked the league title, winning the FA Cup and Europa League along the way. Overall squad strength was only marginally better than the year before so it’s mainly down to these tactics.

    I’m going to give this tactic a try in my next save, taking Cambridge United all the way to the top of world football. Interested to see if this tactic works in lower leagues, guess it just depends on the players at my disposal.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 12, 2013

      Yes it would depend on the players for sure, I tried it with Pompey, we dominated some matches but then barely touched the ball in other, just didn’t suit us really.

  • comment avatar antonio November 13, 2013

    I love this tactic, works fine, but when i star winning with 2, 3 goals and the other team starts attacking more i conceeed a lot of goals, any help?

  • comment avatar dragos November 23, 2013

    in Romania works well, at Dinamo

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 23, 2013

      Good to know, I am looking at it again just testing on the new patch to see if it can be improved.

  • comment avatar Vader November 28, 2013

    Looking forward to see what you can do with the new patch 14.1.4 :)

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 28, 2013

      We’ll see what testing brings.

  • comment avatar tahir November 29, 2013

    can you recommend player roles?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith November 29, 2013

      Sorry you’ll have to explain the question more than that. Recommend for what?

      • comment avatar tahir November 29, 2013

        Sorry, I meant do you recommend player instructions, if no why

        • comment avatar Darren Smith November 29, 2013

          It depends on the tactic really, this tactic should be played as downloaded and has very few instructions, but it varies completely on the tactic.

          • comment avatar tahir November 29, 2013

            Ok and also I tend to get 4-6 yellow
            Cards each game can u recommend something

          • comment avatar Darren Smith November 29, 2013

            I’d don’t see that as a big problem TBH, but if it is to you then all you can do is tell the players to tackle less hard but I wouldn’t recommend it.

  • comment avatar Hasby December 3, 2013

    My Striker cannot get more goal and my defender is also struggling Please Help Me

    • comment avatar Darren Smith December 4, 2013

      As mentioned this was tested for the BETA version and I have not tested it again since due to looking at other things. But it may well be an issue with player suitability.

      • comment avatar Hasby December 5, 2013

        at least i Have a same composition like your picture and i play with juventus too

  • comment avatar john December 6, 2013

    100% in 2 pre season matches. working awesome in Boca Juniors (arg). after preseason i’ll tell you

  • comment avatar Leon December 11, 2013

    another great tactic, gave it a whirl with man u and the team was lethal massing 96 points over my first season and picking up the champions league on the way. Rooney/RVP have a different dynamic to the juve one with Llorente and Tevez i think, found I didn’t score quite as many headers but Rooney had an amazing season topping the assist chart. Also found that the wide areas made up for my lacking midfield as we often overwhelmed teams by passing down the flanks rather than the middle. Also, I recommend prematch prep of attacking set pieces, worked wonders against the big teams as this tactic tends to get plenty of corners and free kicks down the wings.
    Going into my second season and I’m scrambling around trying to find the best replacement for carrick in that DLP role as I feel it’s a very important one to get this team working well. I really wanted Pogba but Juve wont let him go! Any suggestions? I have verratti but I unsure if he will suit the defensive role.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith December 11, 2013

      TBH I would stock with Verratti, I think he’d be well suited to that position in this tactic. But if you want more maybe take a look around here

  • comment avatar Vader December 15, 2013

    Does this tactic still work in 14.1.4?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith December 16, 2013

      I haven’t tried it to be honest, it probably won’t work as well but then again I have seen a few comments recently saying it is still working like the one below.

  • comment avatar alex December 15, 2013

    Using tactic with Norwich but opted for target man support instead and seems to be working well thanks for in depth analysis creates spark of enthusiasm

    • comment avatar Darren Smith December 16, 2013

      That’s good to hear, hope it continues to work for you.

      • comment avatar alex January 22, 2014

        Just been using this tactic in skrill south with chelsmford top by miles took high tempo and used target man again and seems to work better down in lower leagues..

        • comment avatar Darren Smith January 22, 2014

          Good good, well done.

        • comment avatar iain January 22, 2014

          Hey alex, can you tell me what you did. including player instructions

        • comment avatar iain February 9, 2014

          alex, what did u change f9 to target man or poacher, and did you take of higher tempo or add it is quite unclear. Also did u have any player instructions of were they left blank. and training methods?

          • comment avatar alex February 26, 2014

            I changed false 9 to target man and took tempo off as it effects stamina int lower leagues. no player instructions and training balanced and att movement

  • comment avatar mfdoom December 17, 2013

    Can i beat Barca with this tactic?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith December 17, 2013

      There is no way of answering that question. There are so many different things that could get in the way from their tactic to your team, form, players etc etc…

      • comment avatar mfdoom December 19, 2013

        Juventus 2016.I am champion every year but english and spanish teams murder me with basketball scores.I have Ter-Stegen,Balanta,Corchia,Coentrao and Timo Werner upfront.Everything else is the same.btw will it work with 14.2?

        • comment avatar Darren Smith December 19, 2013

          Haven’t tested this for a while so couldn’t say.

  • comment avatar Amu Singh December 23, 2013

    This is a great tactic and inspired me to get back into playing fm14 regularly. I also made my own changed version of this tactic and it works almost as good as this one. But it has given me a problem when switching between tactics on the tactics screen.

    After making my first tactic ( suppose a 442) and setting all the roles and duties and instructions etc, when I go on to add my second tactic (suppose based on the same 442 model i.e. starting with the same basic 442 as in first and then start changing the shape to eventually a 4-2-3-1 and then saving it. ) what happens is that all my players get mixed up when I shift from on tactic to the other.
    For eg-
    In 442 if Suarez in my CF and Aspas is DLF and Sakho is CD then when I change to 4-2-3-1 and want Suarez to be AF and Aspas to be Second Strkr(at AMC position) and Sakho to stay as such, but what happens is that suarez goes to CM position and Aspas goes to Full back position and Sakho becomes the striker and all their Roles and INSTRUCTIONS are changed or deleted and hence forth for all other players.

    Sorry for the long post but kindly help me out as currently I’m playing with only one tactic.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith December 23, 2013

      I don’t understand this TBH. If you make a tactic it has its own separate instructions, same goes for every tactic. The players don’t have their own instructions for every tactic, you can only give them specific instruction for each individual tactic. So when you are in the tactics screen and selecting a player for a position and setting his personal instructions, that will only apply for that one tactic, not all tactics.

      • comment avatar Amu Singh December 23, 2013

        Yes thats exactly how it should be…
        like in my case, I made a 3-5-1-1 which had sakho as CD(L)… saved it… then added another tactic which I made by changing the above tactic as taking the CD(L) position to AML and making the two wide players from 3-5-1-1 fall back to full back position…’
        of course I set individual instructions for the positions and not players i.e. at CD(L) in 3-5-1-1 its just “mark tight” and ” play short” and in the 2nd tactic with AML(where I put coutinho to replace Sakho to play when I switch to it as I already Have two centre backs on the field) it has host of other instructions in sync with an Inside forward. Then I save this tactic also.
        Later(and not necessarily during a match) when I shift betveen the tactics, everything goes haywire. The AML position now has instructions of Mark tight and play short that I had given to the CD(L) of the 1st tactic i.e. 3-5-1-1.
        Also all other players don’t shift positions as I intended them to while making the tactics.
        My striker from one tac goes on to play as the central defender if I switch the tactics…
        this never happened in FM13…

        I hope I was clear and Thanks a lot for replying…

        • comment avatar Amu Singh December 23, 2013

          I think you got my problem. But the thing is that I do make my own tactics and do take care of selecting the players in the same order. Still they shuffle. So much so that my AML from one tactic stars carrying ‘player instruction’ of a WB(r) from the other tactic with those instructions greyed out that don’t hold anymore.

          These are my two tactics–









          ……Enrique…..Agger……….Skrtel……. Johnson

          Here I made the 1st tac first and saved it (lets call it RabidSuarez) and then clicked Add tactic in the tactics menu and loaded the 1st saved tactic again( and it read Copy of RabitSuarez). Then I made the necessary changes in that tactic like by pushing Aspas position down to AMC and taking Matic(DM in 1st tac) to AMR position( thinking that if i come to use it I would put sterling here) and taking Sakho(CD in 1st tac) to AML( planning to put Coutinho here if I came to use it). Saved this 2nd tactic with a new name “WaitingForLewa”. Ofcourse I also changed all other player roles and Instructions where it was needed, that goes without saying.

          then I press continue and later come back to the tactics screen. Both tacs are there and I click to see the 2nd tactic and what do I see instead of what I drew earlier—





          In this absurdity, as per my plan Sakho should’ve been where Johnson is right now so I could replace him with coutinho and Matic should’ve been where Levia is right now so I could’ve replaced him with sterling and simply continue to play(during a match).But this is what I get.
          The player instructions of all the positions also get mixed up once I make the switch…

          Thanks for reading.
          Your replies are much appreciated.


          • comment avatar Darren Smith December 23, 2013

            I can’t really follow all this, but first thing to check seen as this seems like a bug of some sort is do you have a legal copy of the game or a crack version?

          • comment avatar Amu Singh December 23, 2013

            it is a legal copy via steam…

          • comment avatar Darren Smith December 23, 2013

            Well if what you are describing is 100% accurate and you’re not mistaken it sounds like a bug to me, I don’t see any other reason it would do those things. There is a simple way around the player selection which is to save your player selection for each tactic and then load it each time you change over again. However, that won’t sort the bug of players instructions been different to what you’ve set them too. You may need to contact SI.

  • comment avatar Valentim77 December 24, 2013

    I`ve been using the 4-3-3 for a while, it has been my favorite tactic for a long time, the results are pretty good with the 4-3-3, thats the tactic i used in almost every FM versions, so in this years game i decided to keep going with my tactic of 4-3-3 but there was somethiing missing, it was not the same as it was in the others versions. I also tried your “4-3-3 surprising” the results were good but then again, there was still something missing. Last week I read this 4-4-2 of yours and i decided to give it a try, i must say, i was really afraid to put this tactic in work. but my friend, i tell now this tactic was the best thing that happened in my team!! The deadly duo its just fantastic! the balance on the team is amazing. to me the best tactic in this years game. but hats my oppinion. so thanks a lot Darren ;) never tought i would trade my 4-3-3, but i`m happy i did so

    • comment avatar Darren Smith December 24, 2013

      I too have preferred the 4-3-3 for many years but it just isn’t the same this year. Glad this one is working for you though.

  • comment avatar mido January 2, 2014

    hey man what about players instruction i think it’s most important ???

    • comment avatar Darren Smith January 3, 2014

      There are very few of them, and the idea is you download the tactic, then you can use it.

  • comment avatar iain stevenson January 3, 2014

    hi, do you always leave it on control. I want to start as concord rangers and work them up

    • comment avatar iain stevenson January 3, 2014

      trying to start off as concord rangers and need a tactic that can allow me to score goals and retain the ball as there crap

    • comment avatar Darren Smith January 3, 2014

      I haven’t used this for a while but I did use control strategy most of the time. I’d maybe recommend looking at this tactic though

      • comment avatar iain stevenson January 3, 2014

        Hey, I used it won a loads in a row n then I struggle to score. Plus lower leagues feel can’t leave one up top as not good enough. Two players working off each maybe better. Though I’ll train 451 as back up

        • comment avatar Darren Smith January 3, 2014

          OK, well a few people have said that the counter strategy works best with that 4-5-1 and I found it best too.

  • comment avatar PCORRE200 January 9, 2014

    and Pirlo? WHERE IS PIRLO????

  • comment avatar netanel mamos January 12, 2014

    omg. the best tactic ever i played.
    i win every game!

  • comment avatar Stephen Schmidt January 13, 2014

    Thanks mate – this tactic saved my job. Went from 20th in the table to 3rd. Am currently on a 12 match unbeaten streak and won manager of the month 2 months running. I’m coaching Portsmouth in League 2. I added shorter passes and push up higher to the team instructions and that seemed to net more goals. I’ve had several 3-1 and 4-1 results. The only trouble I have is against 4-1DM-2-1 and then I counter with a 4-1-3-2. But I might try playing deeper with the 442 and drawing in the other team and look for a counter attack. Thanks again!

    • comment avatar Darren Smith January 13, 2014

      Glad its working for you mate.

      • comment avatar Emanuel January 20, 2014

        Hi mate,
        In the 442 tactic, there s no PI.
        Can you please see what is happening or there arent player instructions on your tactic.

        • comment avatar Darren Smith January 20, 2014

          There aren’t meant to be any instructions I don’t believe.

          • comment avatar Emanuel January 20, 2014

            Darren, did not understand.
            There no player instructions on 442 tactic?

          • comment avatar Darren Smith January 20, 2014

            In this tactic, there are no player instructions.

  • comment avatar Emanuel January 21, 2014

    Thanks mate,
    Im triyng it with porto because im a really fan of 442.
    Last fm’s i achieved with sucess a 4-2-2-2 with 2 in AMR/L
    Position.but not in this one.
    But so far with u tactic im facing a lot
    Of problems
    1. Pressure in the midfield ( i put PI on BBM and DLP to close down less)
    2. Too many cross…
    3.defenders play a lot of direct ball.( put PI pass short)
    But, enjoyng a lot !!!!
    Do u use to play with this tactic on fm14 with the 14.2.2 or play with another one?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith January 21, 2014

      As mentioned in the post this was created for the BETA, it hasn’t been tested since so might well not work in the newest patches.

      • comment avatar Emanuel January 21, 2014

        Ah ok,
        So far im doing well ;)

  • comment avatar Ryan January 22, 2014

    Hi Darren,

    I love the work you put into Tactical help for FM’ers out there, each year you surpass yourself, amazing!

    My question is, I like the look of this tactic, especially as I’m going to start a save with Altrincham in the Skrill North where 442 is more favourable, however, would setting the Fluidity to Balanced cause problems with this tactic? Obviously the quality of players in Tier 6 aren’t as quick or inherit quality technical attributes which this tactic possesses.


    Ryan :)

    • comment avatar Darren Smith January 22, 2014

      Hi Ryan,

      Afraid I haven’t tested this since the original was made so not even sure if it’ll work well in the recent updates. I guess balanced would make sense for your save but you’d need to test it to make sure.

  • comment avatar david dick January 23, 2014

    going to use this on my new Chelsea save rotate torres and morata as the poacher and jese and schurrle as the false 9

    • comment avatar Darren Smith January 23, 2014

      Good luck.

      • comment avatar david dick January 23, 2014

        First game of the season 5-1 away to Swansea with torres getting 2 schurrle mata and omerou all getting 1

        • comment avatar Darren Smith January 23, 2014

          Thats a great start, well done. Only word of warning would be that this tactic can be quite offensive so you may need a more defensively reliable backup tactic, if you go to the tactics tab at the top of the site and look down the list for my 4-5-1 then that should do the trick. Otherwise I’ll have a very suitable 4-2-3-1 published early next week hopefully.

          • comment avatar david dick January 23, 2014

            I have the 4-5-1 tactic downloaded bud so will use that as backup just now until the 4-2-3-1 is published and have that as another tactic option

  • comment avatar iain stevenson January 23, 2014

    Yeah I like a 4231. I wama start as concord rangers, who are abysmal. I need to win games but remain defensively strong. Which of your tactics would best suit a shit team to win.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith January 23, 2014

      Its hard to know as I don’t know the team or its players not to mention the league itself. I’d always goes with the 4-5-1 as it seems to have the best balance.

  • comment avatar david dick January 23, 2014

    My team with this formation is


    Cole Terry Balanta Azpilicueta

    Mata Lampard(dlp) Oscar(bbm) Hazard

    Schurrle(f9) Torres

  • comment avatar jandrewfc87 January 29, 2014

    I used this tactic but made a few tweaks by making it a 4-2-2-2. I got rid of the wingers and moved them up to narrow amr/aml because ive been trying forever to emulate pelligrini’s tactics. i always changed the poacher to af so that he would be willing to go out to the flanks. all in all it seem to be getting the job done! great tactic! with everton, i beat arsenal 3-1 then i beat stoke 4-1, then i beat a low tier team in the cc 5-0, then i beat man city 1-0. the only thing that i’m worried about is the low possession % (except for the team i played in the capitol cup, all have been <50%) i know pelligrini's teams have great possession %'s (i know you didn't create this tactic to emulate him) but what are the average possession % did your juve get, and what would be your advice on increasing the % for this tactic?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith January 29, 2014

      TBH I haven’t used this since the BETA, so the stats would be irrelevant to you now but from memory it was only around 50/50 possession. A 4-4-2 by its very nature will probably struggle for possession, to improve I’d say you need a change in formation, but if you are winning games I don’t see why you’d need to worry about it.

  • comment avatar Sangeet Narayan February 20, 2014

    Can i change the wingers to left and right attacking midfielders???
    And if yes will the attributes required for them will be same to the the wingers??

    • comment avatar Darren Smith February 20, 2014

      Sorry I haven’t used this tactic since the BETA so couldn’t offer any advice as the game has changed since then.

  • comment avatar NLoureiro February 21, 2014

    Testing it with Milan…had to tweak a few things like changing the wide players from wingers to wide midfielders, don’t ask me why but it’s working better…guess it depends on the players, right? Also, the attack partnership, I had to change the poacher to advanced forward as Balotelli would, strangely enough, underperform as a poacher but works like charm as an advanced forward. I do concede a lot of goals…but like in RL Milan defenders are not the finest bunch around.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith February 21, 2014

      I guess the roles do vary on the players sometimes, I stopped using this due to the increase in goals conceded and lack of consistency but hope it can still work for you.

  • comment avatar alex February 26, 2014

    Hey Darren found that on the new patch it works better with adding deeper line due to susoect over the top especially my arch nemesis Shane Long always scores. changed it bit more solid. away against smaller teams away im using counter or standard and big teams control and it works. swapped false nine for a target man support or att and that has been brilliant for the team.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith February 26, 2014

      Yeah it will need tweaks for the new patches, glad you can still make it work.

  • comment avatar Marco March 6, 2014

    Where are the individual instruction?? Are they important to make the tactic works?

    • comment avatar Darren Smith March 6, 2014

      No I don’t believe there were. As mentioned in the post this is only tested for the BETA so can’t say if it will work anymore as I’ve moved onto other tactics since then.

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  • comment avatar Edvard Salberg April 6, 2014

    Can you make a guide to a 3-5-2 formation? Similar to the way Juventus play:)

    • comment avatar Darren Smith April 6, 2014

      Considering I haven’t made such a tactic I wouldn’t make such a guide I’m afraid.

  • comment avatar Türkay April 13, 2014

    At the version of 14.1.3, this tactic is really great I appriciate it very very much…I’m playing with Norwich now…Because of I’m fed up with conceding set piece goals in every match I’ve upgraded my game to 14.3.0…Since my tactic have gone all fluid in every category, after this upgrade “closing down” become “awkward”… My matches are really become more hard to take…Is there any opinion of you about this? Is this tactic efficient in this 14.3.0? And do you have any suggestion about attacking corners for this version??

    • comment avatar Darren Smith April 14, 2014

      This is not tested beyond the BETA I’m afraid and I have not used it since then as I moved onto other systems.

  • comment avatar scwiffy April 27, 2014

    Could you do an update of this tactic? Need a 442 for LLM

    • comment avatar Darren Smith April 28, 2014

      I’m not using the formation anymore so I’m afraid not.

  • comment avatar Toff May 16, 2014

    Best FM 2014 tactic ? NO. For Juventus is good, but Juventus is world class club. For smaller clubs is this tactic absolute unsuable. Havant is better than my team, when I used this tactic.

    • comment avatar Darren Smith May 17, 2014

      Read the post, it says this is for BETA and may not work for future updates which is most certainly doesn’t. If you can be bothered to read the best tactic bit then it would be nice if you’d bother to read the rest before you come on here with an attitude!

    • comment avatar Gary Wood May 17, 2014

      He said its “his best tactic” not “the best tactic”
      IMO there isnt a “best tactic” anymore, there may have been years ago, but with the development of the AI manager, they can adapt and use different tactics now, I still like it tho, it works amazingly for my blackpool team, got them promoted twice in successive seasons, it doesn’t seem to work tho for my WBA team in the prem, hey ho.

      Its a GOOD tactic, keep up the good work DS.

      • comment avatar Darren Smith May 17, 2014

        Thanks Gary, glad you’re still getting some use from this. As you said, the AI can learn tactics so fast now that its really changed the game and I think there are a tonne of gamers that just can’t seem to wrap their heads around this unfortunately…sometimes I myself wish we could go back to a slightly dumber AI!

        • comment avatar Gary Wood May 17, 2014

          NP m8, I hate it when people do something to help others but just get flamed for doing so, if it dont work, just say it dont work, constructive criticism helps fix stuff to make it work, flaming and tard posting achieves nothing, well, it means I have to post this :D

          Yeah, I remember tactics in championship manager that you could put the most useless players into and you still hammered the AI teams, hmmm, where is my Amiga ? :)

  • comment avatar hentzik1 June 24, 2014

    Tried this tactic with the England national team.
    Spain 0 – 1 England
    Ukraine 0 – 2 England
    Montenegro 0 – 6 England
    Moldova 0 – 7 England
    San Marino 0 – 9 England

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