Posted on Apr - 25 - 2013
Posted by James
Categories Guides, Tactics

Football Manager 2014 (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)

Manufacturer: Sega
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Platform: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Mac OS X, Linux, Windows 8
Genre: sports-and-outdoors-games
Rating: To Be Announced

List Price: £61.33 GBP
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Football Managers Best Tactics


The Ultimate Football Manager tactic is something that we have all longed for. In previous versions of Football Manager, tactics were a lot simpler and you could easily download a tactic for FM and go on and win everything. It worked as they were well developed and good tactics. However tactics in Football Manager have moved on, as they should and we have stopped seeing plug and play tactics and more intricate tactics have developed. This is how it should be, Tactics where never meant to be easy in Football Manager.

Personally it has taken me a while to get used to this year’s match engine. It is even harder when SI decide to update our game every week with a new patch, and I think we have all suffered from new patch form. This hasn’t deterred me and I said that I would master the match engine this year and I feel that I have. Each one of us needs to take time to understand, however you should not let it ruin your game.

So I came up with an idea to help all of you struggling with Football Manager. Why not develop the Ultimate Football Manager tactic? Why not test it with a club from each level of the game, do separate tests for set pieces, away games, home games, everything you can think of and put it into one. So in this series of articles I am going to try and develop the Ultimate Football Manager tactic that will work with every single team. I don’t know if this is even possible, however I will learn a lot about tactics along the way and hopefully I can develop the best tactic in FM for you all.

Before you start this tactical journey be sure to have the other pieces of the jigsaw to help your squad along like players playing in your tactic are at their fittest, you can do this by checking out various guides here at Football Manager Academy such as How to make the most of Match Preparation, How to Get the Best out of Players & How to rotate your Squad guides. There may be many more hints and tips at Football Manager Academy that can help you along the way.

So here the journey begins. For the first week of this series I am playing with two clubs, Carlisle United and Shamrock Rovers, two very different clubs, but two very different reasons behind them. Firstly Carlisle United will give me the chance to try it in England as a team who are expected to finish mid table. They will hopefully give me the chance to try it with a team progressing through different levels so I can see if works through multiple promotions. Shamrock Rovers will give me two distinct possibilities. It will give me the chance to try it in a division that I am really expected to win and that I should win fairly easy. They will also give me the chance to try it in Europe, in a situation that I supposedly have no chance of winning.

So what tactic am I starting with? Well I will show you.

Formation  Team instructions

Well as you can see, the formation is nothing spectacular; neither does it need to be. A lot of people feel the need to try something special, you don’t need to, keep it simple. So this is a system I have used with Leeds very well. Anyway the defence is obviously straight forward. We then have DM, who is set on defend with the instruction to be a deep lying playmaker; I do this no matter who I play there. It means he doesn’t get forward much but he still has a vital role in taking it from defence. I then have a box to box midfielder; I have one of these in all my teams, it means the strikers don’t get isolated and that your defence gets the help it needs. Then you can see I have two wingers, one who plays a lot closer to the strikers as an Inside Forward, and then one who develops his play from a lot deeper, he may eventually go to attacking as I think wingers work so well when coming from deep.

The tactic itself is built around me not wanting my team to give possession away easily, hence the slowish tempo. I play very wide and expressive; this should allow space for my two strikers, one to drop deep and one to play on the last man. I think the key here is that the two wide men will pull their two full backs wide to allowing your box to box midfielder a lot of space to play into the strikers to. Admittedly I like short passing as it allows you to control the game. I always set my tactics to control, I won’t ever change that before a game but I will during a game.

Then we move on to the ‘defensive instructions. Clearly I have gone with man marking, anyone who doesn’t is an idiot for me, I have never seen a good tactic have zonal marking. I decided not to go with pressing as I feel it leaves to many players out of position and gives them an easier job of breaking you down. However I have kept a fairly high line so far.

So far that is all the development I have done on the best tactic in FM, it is nowhere near ready, and from this I will do a home and away version with specifics for cup competitions to. However that comes with time. So what results have I had so far? Well I will show you.

The results so far.

The results so far.

So as you can see we have had a great run. It really has worked; the team have taken to it very well to. I think the key is that I haven’t tried to do anything to special. There are area’s I would like to work on and that is mainly keeping the ball more and making better use of our opportunities. But that might be more the players than the system. Each game I have not changed it for the opposition at that would defeat the purpose of this experiment.

Obviously to develop the Ultimate FM tactic it is going to take time. However if any of you want to help, feel free to click the link below, download it and tell me what you all think, and you will all be credit in making the best tactic Football Manager has ever seen!


You can find Part Two of Football Manager’s Best Tactics here


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5 Responses so far.

  1. Gavin says:

    I think you’re the idiot one mate, I hardly see any tactic with man marking because clearly the man marking system doesn’t work anymore, both in FM and IRL so I don’t get the point.

    • James says:

      Clearly i am not. It is impossible to have a tactic that presses high up the pitch and zonal marking. If you can find one that works i will agree.

      As this system is based around the principle of a high defensive line and pressing, zonal marking would not work. If you wish to sit deep and let the opposition come on to you i agree.

      If i was wrong i would just delete your post. I will post some stats next week to back me up :)

  2. "Man" Marking says:

    The Author is right about dem Man Marking. “Man” Marking in Footballmanager means “TIGHT” Zonal marking. If u want real man marking system from the stone age then u put the Speicfic Player Marking’s.

  3. Bill says:


    I used a high pressing defensive line in my first season at Liverpool and won the league. Set the players to ‘More Aggressive’ in their tackling and play with a Defensive Anchor Man. Make sure all 4 of your defenders have pace as well. This isn’t a tactic I would reccommend for anything other than a ‘Control’ approach with the setting generally on fluid. Basically it allows you to defend high up the pitch and dominate possession and any possession won will turn into an attack pretty swiftly. When playing rivals/better teams, switch the approach from ‘fluid’ to ‘rigid’ and ensure you play with a defensive ball winning midfielder. I would also set the full backs to ‘defensive’ during the relentless periods of defence but do remember to release them once things ease up otherwise you’re inhibiting your chances of winning.

    • Kev says:

      Good points Bill, i like the idea of switching from Fluid to Rigid agaisnt better teams makes sence, i tend to do similiar and play balanced instead of fluid at times during matches when I am winning but its a closer game.

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