Toulouse FC: Tactics

I’m one of the Football Manager players who needs some sort of tactical vision to get my excitement going for the game. I’ve generally struggled with this in FM16, but I think I’ve found something now. This post will lay out how I want to play with Toulouse for the next 2-3 years, and will hopefully allow me to build the club to play a particular brand of football.

I thought a lot about what style I wanted to play. It was a toss up between a high-pressing Dortmund under Klopp style, or a ball dominant Pep Guardiola style. In the end I went for the latter choice because I prefer to watch that sort of football, particularly on FM.

In the end it was two articles (this and this) that gave me the inspiration behind my tactic, which is hopefully trying to replicate Pep. Both articles are about Bayern’s 7-1 mauling of Roma in the 2014 Champions League group stages. They highlight Bayern’s asymmetric shape which Roma couldn’t get to grips with. It was something I’d thought about trying on FM previously, and decided to give it a go.

The Shape

shape.png

Essentially it is a lopsided 3-4-2-1. The back three is dragged over to the left, the midfield is far from horizontal, and the front three have a high level of fluidity. The aim is to create overloads on the left side of the pitch, where the DL, ML, MC, and AL should all link up and outnumber any shape the opposition present. Clearly my Toulouse team won’t have the quality of player Bayern have at their disposal, so it seems a very risky shape at the moment.

In true Pep style, there will be an emphasis on building attacks from the back and dominating the game through possession of the ball. The team should also be compact, and players should be willing to move from their designated positions to aid their team mates and create the overloads we’re looking for.

Player Roles

Goalkeeper – Pretty much your general goalkeeper. Not a fan of the sweeper keeper on FM because of their risky distribution. My keeper will exclusively play short to defenders.

Defence

DCR – With limited cover, a good amount of pace is need, as well as being able to read the game well. Also, because they’re likely to have fewer options on the ball than the other CB, a better passing range will be required.

DC – A solid defender is needed here. Nothing too adventurous on the ball because there should always be a number of simple passes available.

DL – This role is fulfilled by David Alaba for Bayern, one of the most versatile players in the world. They should aim to help create overloads on the left, be willing to bring out the ball, but also act essentially as a third centre back, and tuck in. I’m not sure how I’ll be able to do this on FM, but PPM’s could be needed.

Midfield

MR – With the main strategy being to work the left hand side of the pitch, the MR runs the risk of being isolated. Excellent physical attributes will be required to help cover up and down the right. The player in this role will need be capable in defence and attack.

DM – Helps to provide a bit more cover on the right hand side, but also key at helping to build attacks. Lahm played this role for Bayern. He will essentially always be looking to help team mates, in and out of possession.

CM – The creative hub of the midfield will look to get the ball off the defence, and find players to hurt the opposition. He’ll not only build attacks, but also get up in support of the attacking players. Another player who will help to create overloads on the left.

LM – With a player directly in front, and behind him, the LM will play a key part in the overloads. Providing width and stretching the opposition will be the key features of this role.

Attacking Midfield

AL – Drifts in from the left, dragging opposition players with him. Combinations with the ML will be key in creating overloads and making space for each other. With the focus of play being down the left, this player will likely see a lot of the ball, and will need to be creative enough to make the most of it.

AM – Can drift left and help create overloads, but will also act as a second striker, providing support and runs in behind. However, they will also need to have the quality to link up with the midfield, particularly on the right, where options could be limited.

Striker

FC – The striker will also play a role in creating the overload on the left, dropping in to help the attacking midfielders. There should also be a willingness to occupy the centre backs however. The overall compactness of the team should mean he doesn’t stray too far from his comrades.

Applying to Football Manager

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The strikers role is DLF-A. The roles I’ve chosen will hopefully fulfil what I mentioned I expect from each player in each position above.

The team instructions are based on creating overloads down the left, and there is also a few which will encourage the team to be compact. The mentality is currently on standard, and the shape is on fluid. I have a few player instructions, but nothing too interesting. Providing the tactic works, I will try to build my team around it in the next few years.

At some point in the future I will likely do an in-depth analysis of how it works (or doesn’t work). For now I need to build a squad that is able to execute my plans. Thanks for reading, feedback is always appreciated!

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