Howdy y’all, welcome to this FM 2020 Tactics Guide. Today, I will cover how to pick the right tactical style in FM 2020 based on your team’s strengths.
In a game like Football Manager, tactics are crucial to your team’s performance; if you aren’t getting the ideal results from your matches, it’s likely because your players are unable to thrive under your tactical preference.
Specifically, this guide will cover:
- FM 2020 best formation for each tactical style
- Best attributes for each tactical style in FM20
- Player roles for each style in Football Manager 2020
- Best tactical style for each level of football in FM 2020
- Quick Tips
FM 2020 Tactics Guide – Style #1: Control Possession
Best Formations: 4-2-3-1 Wide, 4-1-4-1 DM Wide, 5-2-2-1
Quick Tip: Notice that each of the formations have only one striker. It’s important that you have a striker that is capable of scoring goals without another striker by his side. If you are managing a club like Bayern Munich or Tottenham, this might be the approach for you. However, if you are managing a club like Arsenal, Control Possession isn’t the ideal tactic because you can’t fit both Lacazette and Aubameyang in.
Attributes: Teamwork, Composure, Decisions, Dribbling, Passing, Off The Ball
This tactic relies on patience and the ability to get every player’s foot on the ball to eventually open up an opportunity. It’s essential that each player is capable (meaning this isn’t the best tactic if your squad is very top-heavy,) because you can’t afford to lose the ball to any errors. This is why Teamwork, Composure and Decisions are the key attributes.
Should I be using this style at this tier? Yes, there shouldn’t be a massive problem, no matter if you are in the Premier or the National League. However, you should be especially aware of your opponent’s strengths if you are using this tactic. For example, if you are coming against a side like Liverpool, you may struggle because they will be applying heavy pressure, meaning that you don’t have time to patiently wait for an opportunity.
Player Roles: Most importantly, make sure you have Ball Playing Defenders and Advanced or Deep Lying Playmakers in the midfield. A personal preference is having my CDM (if it’s in your formation) as a Half Back. The Half Back’s job is to drop further back, giving forwards an easily accessible outlet to reset their attack and avoid pressure.
FM 2020 Tactics Guide – Style #2: Gegenpress
Best Formations: 4-1-4-1 DM Wide, 4-2-3-1 Wide, 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow.
Quick Tip: Have a backup tactical approach at hand, this is a tactic that can either work very well or very poorly. Also, don’t use this against a counter-attacking team.
Attributes: Anticipation, Work Rate, Stamina, Natural Fitness
This tactical style wears out your players quickly because they need to always be running and applying pressure onto the opposition. Your team must be able to react to the opposition and stop them from putting any passes together, so Anticipation is key.
Should I be using this style at this tier? I would avoid using this tactic in the lower-leagues because you will lack the squad depth necessary for this approach to flourish.
Player Roles: Your striker(s) must be Pressing Forwards, your center-backs should be on Cover duty to ensure that the opposition doesn’t dismantle your defense through a long ball, which would usually be a problem for a Gegenpressing side. Your fullbacks should be set on Automatic because they will need to be ready to stop the opposing wingers’ runs and also provide width in attack at the same time.
Tactical Style #3 and #4: Tiki-Taka and Vertical Tiki-Taka
Best Formations: 5-2-2-1 WB, 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow, 4-2-3-1 Wide
Quick Tip: Use this approach if your team is much shorter than your opposition; the ball is always on the grass, meaning that the opponent’s aerial threat is nullified.
Attributes: Passing, Technique, Off The Ball, Work Rate, First Touch
Tiki-Taka emphasizes quick, short, one-touch passing and extreme pressing and movement. Passing, Technique and First Touch are key skills to move the ball around quickly, while Off The Ball and Work Rate are key for the pressing.
Should I be using this style at this tier? This tactic should only be used at elite clubs. If you are managing an elite side, this is your go-to tactic; oppositions won’t be able to stop you. However, if you are in the lower levels of football, your players don’t have sufficient skill to pull this off.
Player Roles: Your striker should be a Deep-Lying Forward so he can connect passes with the midfielders. It’s also important to have at least 1 Playmaker (Roaming, Advanced, or Deep-Lying.) This is a risky one but having a winger set as a Raumdeuter can also be effective. Raumdeuters pass the ball shorter and don’t cross often, but they also roam from position, potentially leaving a gap in your attack.
FM 2020 Tactics Guide – Style#5: Wing Play
Best Formations: 4-1-4-1 Wide, 4-2-4 Wide, 4-4-2
Quick Tip: Use this approach if you know that the opposition is weak in the fullback positions and easy to run past. You also should use this if the opposition is strong in the middle or are lined up in a narrow formation.
Attributes: Crossing, Dribbling, Acceleration, Heading, Height
It’s crucial to have wingers that can put the ball onto the powerful striker’s head, and these are the corresponding attributes.
Should I be using this style at this tier? This tactic should work well at any level of football.
Player Roles: Your striker should be an Advanced Forward or Target Man and you should have a Box-To-Box Midfielder to dash into the box and latch onto a cross.
FM 2020 Tactics Guide – Style #6: Route One
Best Formations: 4-4-2, 4-1-4-1 DM Wide, 4-4-1-1
Quick Tip: This tactic is a strong counter to the Gegenpress because their line of engagement is very high and you’ll be able to get the ball in behind them.
Attributes: Crossing, Passing, Free-Kick Taking, Positioning, Vision
This tactic is all about hoofing the ball forward and hoping to latch onto it or win a free-kick, meaning that attributes like Vision and Positioning are crucial.
Should I be using this style at this tier? If you are managing a club in one of the best leagues in the world, you are bound to get taken apart in every match. However, if you are managing a Non-League side, you’ll be the one taking oppositions apart every match.
Player Roles: Have a Deep-Lying Playmaker to send long passes to your attackers and set your striker as Advanced Forward to move into the channels and receive the DLP’s pass.
Tactical Style #7 and #8: Fluid and Direct Counter Attack
Best Formations: 4-1-4-1 Wide, 4-4-1-1 Wide, 5-3-2 WB
Quick Tip: Don’t mess with the default Team Instructions. The plan is to soak up pressure then launch an attack once they are worn out. Any edits to the Team Instructions can remove that dynamic and create a tactical disaster.
Attributes: Stamina, Work Rate, Composure, Decisions, Pace
Work Rate and Stamina are key to winning the ball back. After winning the ball back, your team breaks into a quick attack, where Pace, Decisions and Composure are important.
Should I be using this tactic at this tier? This is another tactic that will work at any tier of football, but this tactic should be used if you are the weaker side on paper.
Player Roles: Once again, your ST should be set as an Advanced Forward and you should have your midfielders as Central Midfielder-Support and a CDM as a Regista to create from the back.
And there we have it, how to pick the best tactical style in FM 2020 for your team and how to maximize their potential. If you lack the players that are required for these tactics, click here to see our list of wonderkids.
If you have any additional thoughts about these tactics, please let me know what they are in the comments section, I’ll be sure to read through them. Thank you for reading my tactical guide!
Hey all, I’m Alex and I’ve been a writer at FMStories since March 2020. I’m an avid football fan and have been a Liverpool FC supporter for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved making lineups of footballers from various clubs and eras and explaining why they would make a good side. This hobby led me into Football Manager and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. My goal is to use my knowledge of the game to help newcomers love the game as much as I do!
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