Football Manager 2014 – Tactical Project

A wealth of new tactical options in Football Manager 2014 have really opened up some new possibilities in terms of tactical setups and playing styles. The Half back, perfectly emulating the ‘Busquets Role’ for Barcelona and Spain. The Complete Wing Back, giving the all out attacking full back role that is seen so often in modern day football. I have also found from my brief time with the new Match Engine that the flat 3 at the back is now a much more viable tactical option, finally allowing me to use my favored defensive setup to the full extent of its ability.

On this years game I am being quite ambitious tactically, I am aiming to take a number of different playing styles from around European football and mould them together into one all action tactic. The key aims of my tactic are:

  • High tempo and intense pressing from front to back, attempting to win the ball as high up the pitch as possible (Barcelona)
  • Moving the ball from front to back as quickly as possible once won back (Dortmund)
  • Retain possession when a quick transition is not an option (Dortmund, Barca)
  • Utilize a back three (Juventus)

They are the key aims I am looking to accomplish with this years game whether it be from long term development of players and club philosophy or jumping in with one of the big boys and having a ready made team. From the progress I have made on the Beta this is the basic formation I have settled with:


Ill quickly run through the positions and why I have picked each role/duty

Goalkeeper Defend - I would prefer a Sweeper Keeper due to the very high defensive line but De Gea is very much a shot stopper than a sweeper. He has a very low Rushing Out Stat so I decided to play it safe and have a standard goalkeeper

Libero Support - This defensive setup was something I put quite a lot of thought into, originally I lined up with a flat back three but I couldnt get the central defender to play quite how I wanted. A Libero gives a good sweeper-esque cover when out of possession but also steps up into the midfield when in Possession

Central Defenders Defend - Nothing too spectacular here, defenders set out to stop us conceding and to provide options for ball retention. Not much more to say here

Wing Back Support - Provides width down the right side to stretch the play and open up gaps for the more attacking central players. I want him to be quite defensive and provide crosses from deep, but still provide a good attacking outlet when required

Deep Lying Playmaker Defend – The Busquets of the team, I did have a Half Back in this role in the first version of this tactic but I found I needed a bit more of a play making presence that didn’t have the roaming of the Regista or the out and out defensive nature of a Half Back. Expecting superb passing stats from this player

Box to Box Midfielder Support - The all action, Lampard in his prime, midfielder. I want him to press forward and support attacks when in possession but when the ball is lost to retreat back and almost form a solid 2 man defensive block in front of the defence. A huge amount of Stamina will be needed for this spot and I do expect it to go through quite a few tweaks to find the right balance

Defensive Winger Support  – Pretty much an out and out winger with defensive responsibilities. I expect this player to stretch the play, try to get the ball to the byline and whip in a cross. Work Rate and Stamina will be an absolute must as they have to hold almost the whole left flank on his own. Strict man marking instructions will be implemented against opposition wingers

Advanced Playmaker Attack - The prime creator in the side, the most technically gifted and creative player in the team. I want him to sit the hole, but also press forward and support the striker. The focal point of the side and the player I will be building my team around.

Attacking Midfielder Support - Hard working and a goal threat from deep, Rooney in his prime. This player should track back and support the midfield when out of possession the explode forward with the ball when won back to drive quick counter attacks. Dribbling, Work rate and Creativity a plenty

Deep Lying Playmaker Attack - I want my Striker to drop deep to receive the ball and pull the opposition defenders out of position before moving into the box to provide a goal threat.  I want the front three to be quite fluid and to interchange positions to pull the defence around and create holes that can be exploited.

Plan B

Ive always been a fan of keeping a ‘Plan B’, for the games when something different is required.


Philosophy wise the formation isn’t a radical change, I still want to keep the high intensity pressing and quick vertical football, it is more of a formational change to provide a bit more defensive stability, hence the inclusion of 2 Defensive Midfielders to create a solid central block. The Attacking Midfield three are encouraged to be very fluid in their movement, whilst the central striker will keep quite central and simply score goals.

Up next in my Pre FM14 tactical series, analysis of the in game attacking movement but here are some stats from a pre season game to wet your appetite




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