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Cymatics Gegenpress 4-3-3 // Clinical Attack & Impenetrable Defence

This FM21 Tactic is inspired by Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool Gegenpress Season 2019/2020 with. Aggressive play, clinical attack & impenetrable defence.

By on Apr 26, 2021   56625 views   5 comments
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Football Manager 2021 Tactics - Cymatics Gegenpress 4-3-3 // Clinical Attack & Impenetrable Defence


Gegenpressing, or counter-pressing, is a key component in Klopp’s tactical setup and is an area of the game for which he is renowned. This FM21 Tactic is inspired by Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool Gegenpress Season 2019/2020. Since I am an AC Milan Fan Since 2002 so I tested it on them with some tweaks to try to bring the Fallen Giant Back to its glory. This Guide will focus on every aspect of the Game to have a realistic gameplay experience.


Always go for High Coaching Attributes as It is hard to Find High Rated Coaches that Can Sign for your Team Early Season unless your Team has High Reputation and Money (€). Also, this gives you the best value for the Long Term Project of Developing your Players.

Mental Attributes Improved After 1st Season:


Here the Formation is 4-3-3 DM Wide on Paper but this has 2 Phases the Attack & the Defence. In Attack this transforms to sort of 3-4-3 to get as much player up as possible to create any Goal Scoring Opportunities and In Defence this transforms to sort of 4-1-4-1 to provide a good cover and defensive stability.

Tactical Style:

Mentality: Attacking
o It aims to overload the final third by focusing heavily on throwing players forward and into space to try to create goal scoring opportunities. Hence will give the Players more Attacking Mentality which will help us in the Counter Attacks & Chances creation System that we are trying to achieve.

In Possession:

o Attacking Width: Is Kept on Standard which is Narrow by nature, this will keep players closer to each other so expect more connected passes. Also, this will help in recycling possession once lost to engage on the opposing ball carrier.

o Approach Play:

# Pass Into Space: This will instruct players to look to make passes into open spaces for their teammates to run on to which will catch the opposition defences of guard.

# Overlap Left & Right: This will instruct players on both flanks to hold on to the ball and look for an overlapping player in support either Wing Backs or Mezzala or Box To Box Midfielder. This will help the Inside Forwards to Tuck inside so Wing Backs will have space to Cross The Ball or Pass to Mezzala or Box To Box Midfielder that Moved Into Channels if the Wing Backs are not able to cross.

# Play Out Of Defence: This will encourage the Defenders to pass their way out from the back rather than clear the ball long which will decrease any wasteful long balls from less creative Defenders but that doesn’t mean Defenders will not try to take a long ball if they have a good opportunity to do so.

o Passing Directness: Slightly More Direct to keep the Passes unpredictable to the opponent's defence.

o Tempo: This will instruct the Players to move the ball quicker, which will help with the Counter Attacks and unsettling the opposition defence.

o Final Third:

# Whipped Crosses: This will instruct players to deliver balls into the box with pace, swerve and dip in order to make it as hard as possible for defenders to deal with them which will help in creating opportunities for the Stacked Players Sitting in the Box.

# Work Ball Into Box: This will instruct players to work hard for their opening, remaining patient and not forcing anything that may lead to losing the ball easily. That doesn’t mean that they will always look for it, sometimes the Central Midfielder might attempt long shots if they are in a position to due so.

# Play For Set Pieces: (Optional) This is Sometimes used if you are chasing for a Goal. Usually you activate it in Second Half at the 65min which might guarantees a Goal or two sometimes. Also, I use it with Lower Tempo and Shorter Passes when I am winning at 75min to reduce the Intensity on the Players to avoid injuries and keeping them fit.

o Creative Freedom: Be More Expressive which will allow more creative players the freedom to play the game with additional vision, flair & roaming from position.

• In Transition:

o When Possession Has Been Lost: Counter-Press which will ask the players to immediately apply pressure after losing possession to recover the ball as quickly as possible. This plus the Pressing Traps will be the Key to always win the Ball back quickly.

o When Possession Has Been Won: Counter which will ask the players to immediately look for the attack and take advantage of any opportunities left by the dispossessed opponents. This plus the Pass into Space will be the Key for the Counter Attack.

o Goalkeeper In Possession: Distribute To Centre Backs & Take Short Kicks in order to not waste the ball and build up constructive plays.

• Out Of Possession:

o Defensive Shape:

# Much Higher Line Of Engagement & Defensive Line: Instruct your players to actively press the opponent in possession much further up the pitch. The first player will trigger the press, then the supporting players will support by blocking passing lanes. As well as moving further away from our own half, making it an unplayable area.

# Use Offside Trap: With Much Higher Lines an offside trap will be the best weapon against players trying to make runs behind our defence.

o Defensive Width: Forcing Opposition Outside which will ask the players to be prepared to concede space in wide areas in preference of protecting the central third directly in front of the goal. This will populate the middle with heavy numbers which will help us retrieve the ball or block crosses more often and the more the opponent away from the goal the better so giving the sides a little bit it is rewarding. This with the Pressing Traps will be lethal.

o Marking & Tackling: Use Tighter Marking which will ask the players to adopt a marking system in defensive situations where they are encouraged to stick particularly close to their opponent in order to prevent them from getting the ball. This with the Pressing Traps will be lethal.

o Pressing Intensity:

# More Urgent: Ask the players to increase the urgency of the press once opposition reaches the Line Of Engagement. This will trigger the Pressing Traps.

# Prevent Short GK Distribution: To Prevent any building from the Back and to put the Goalkeeper under pressure of making mistakes or taking long shots which will be won by our Pressing Traps and closing down.

o Tackling: Stay On Feet which will instruct the players to stay on their feet to avoid any Fouls or Cards or Injuries.


• Defending (Left & Right Are the Same):
Overloading the Box with Many Players will increase the chance of us winning the Ball and proceed with the Counter Attack.

• Attacking (Left & Right Are the Same):
Make Sure you Assign a Taker with Opposite Foot to the Corner Side (Usually the Inside Forward or Mezzala) in order to have that nice Swerve of the Ball. Aiming for the Defenders Is the Best Scenario Here as most of the Time they are better in Heading, Jumping & Strength to win the Header plus any Rebounded Balls will have enough people in the box to tuck it in or outside of the Box to either shoot or regain possession.

• Defending (Left & Right Are the Same):
This will make a 4-5-1 Formation, which will make us strong defensively plus will have enough players in the transition phase to create the counter attack.

• Attacking (Left & Right Are the Same):
Make Sure to Assign the Taker Either the Half Back or Mezzala with Opposite Foot to the Free Kick Side to make it hard for the Defenders and the Goalkeeper to catch.

• Defending (Left & Right Are the Same):
Overloading the Box with Many Players will increase the chance of us winning the Ball and proceed with the Counter Attacks.

• Attacking (Left & Right Are the Same):
Make Sure to assign the Wing Back of Either Side as the Taker. You will have a nice amount of players in the box to score plus out of it to protect us from Counter attacks.


• Creating Pressing Traps are the Key to Mastermind Defensive Play and is often neglected by many players and leaving the Assistant Manager to do it. I have created a Bunch of Examples against multiple Tactics to make you understand the concept.

• You have to see the Pitch as Multiple Areas of Squares (Max. 4 or 5 depending on the Tactic you are facing) this will help you see the Part of the Pitch you want to lure the opponent in to cut all the passing options, plus either make him take a long pass or take a risk of passing to a Teammate and gets cut by one of our players.

• To not get in depth into the details, You will find a Single Pattern am Using every time:

o All Players needs to be Closed Down (Except Strikers) to reduce the time they have on the ball which lead them to do more errors and mistakes.

o All Players needs to be Man Marked (Except the Wide Central Defenders) to keep our player close to them as far as possible to help in the pressing traps.

o Now the Tricky Part which is where to show up, for easier understanding we will split the Pitch into 2 Side:

• For all Players on the Right Side, instruct the Players to Show Up on Left Foot (Except Right Central Midfielder & Right Striker) in order to push them to the Sides and not enter the Middle Area to have a clear sight of goal.

• For all Player on the Left Side, instruct the Player to Show Up on Right Foot (Except Left Central Midfielder & Left Striker) in order to push them to the Sides and not enter the Middle Area to have a clear sight of goal.

• For all Players in the Middle of 3 men Pairing will instruct the players to show up on weaker foot.

• Going Hard on Players is Optional for players that has low Attributes Specially Strength to insert fear into them, but make sure you don’t go too far as it might lead to a red card or a bunch of yellow ones.

• Note: The Game AI will start Picking up the Pressing Traps you made on the Second Half of the Match then the AI will start switching player's position/sides to escape these traps so make sure you follow up on any switch that happens and fix it again to keep the Opponent Players under pressure with no room to breathe.

• With all of the above, you will have a strong defensive phase, you will concede less and you will always win the second balls.


• This is where you develop your Players (Including Youth), I have made 9 Training Schedule and you should choose according to the next match or you may check the Assistant Manager Preference then decide the equivalent one. I chose Recovery rather than Rest as it is a Specialised Session where the Team Spend time with the medical staff, focusing on recovery and Injury prevention. Try improving All the Training Facilities, Junior Coaching & Coaches to have better results.

• This will also reduce Injury & Fatigue to make them recover faster for matches, increase condition & happiness.

• Sometimes the Players will ask for Physical Training so you can replace one of the sessions with Physical Training but make sure to add Recovery after it.

• Due to the Unrealistic Fixtures being Generated by the Game you might need to tweak the Order of the Training to reflect the Match Date and make sure to have a whole day of Recovery Sessions after the match.

• The Tactic intensity is pretty High and each player has a different Injury probability so in order to reduce injuries you will have to add the Recovery Sessions and go to Rest Tab then apply the Physio Recommendation every day. Note: Physio might recommend 1 week rest for a Player, I recommend Sending the player out on Vacation but make sure you check your match calendar as the player might be needed in the next match, if so then reduce Training Intensity to Half Intensity till match day to avoid injury.

• Try hiring Fitness Coaches with a high Sport Scientist attribute, a Sport Scientist with high Fitness and Physio Attributes and same goes for the physio this will help avoiding Injuries and give better recommendations.

• 1st 3 weeks of the Pre-Season:

o Cymatics Gegenpress - Pre-Season (Default): Used as the Default for the 1st 3 Weeks.

o Cymatics Gegenpress - Pre-Season (1 Match): Used if you have 1 match in the week.

o Cymatics Gegenpress - Pre-Season (2 Matches): Used if you have 2 matches in the week.

o Cymatics Gegenpress – Default: A training schedule created for the Gegenpress tactical style. Looks to work on the key attributes for any Gegenpress tactic such as Passing, Vision, Aggression, Work Rate, Off the ball and Finishing. Attackers will learn to defend from the front while the defenders learn to play their way out from the back using the transitions to create chances.

o Cymatics Gegenpress – Teamwork: A training schedule that focuses on improving team cohesion. Useful when multiple targets are signed in a short time, when the dressing room atmosphere is low, or at the beginning of a new season to gel the squad together, as it looks to improve the player's tactical familiarity as well as their relations on the pitch.

o Cymatics Gegenpress – Technical: A training session that focuses on the technical requirements of a possession game. It looks to improve players technical abilities with the ball at their feet. Thursdays extra session can be scraped or be changed to the desired set piece training according to the next opponents strength/weaknesses, or depending on your own weaknesses (Def. Corners / free-kicks vs attacking)

o Cymatics Gegenpress - Chance Creation & Score More Goals (Direct): A training schedule created for a more direct tactical style such as counter-attacking or vertical tiki taka, with more focus on creating chances and ensure they are converted into goals. Useful when your attacking unit (forwards) has not been able to convert their shots and a lack of creativity and vision begins a period of goal drought. Useful against inferior sides as well (as they have a tendency to park the bus)

o Cymatics Gegenpress - Wing Play: A training schedule focused on wing play and working the ball effectively in the final third by taking advantage of overlaps and a direct approach down the flanks.

o Cymatics Gegenpress - Shut up Shop - Defending Phase: A training schedule that is created with the focus on the defensive (transition) and attacking transition phase to ensure the side is capable to regain possession quickly and restrict spaces as soon as the ball is lost. Can also be used in the heat up to facing an attacking strong opponent.


• Always discipline your players if they didn’t perform well in a match even if you won the game this is in order to increase their consistency & increase their determination. What I do is a 3 Strike Rule, which consists of 3 Warning Followed by a Fine.

• Always speak highly of your players in any Interview as they are sometimes listening and this would increase their morale, happiness and support to you. A happy squad has a higher chance to develop and win games.

• Always Parise players who have performed well in Training or Matches (Including Youth Team) as this will increase their morale, happiness and support to you. Also, this will help them develop more, do their best on the pitch and increase chances of handling their contract renewal more swiftly.

• During the Match I use 2 Shouts:

o Encourage if no goal early game or conceded a goal.
o Praise every time they score a goal or winning.



Hope you find success with this tactic and tips. Good Luck!

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Downloads: 7017 / Size: 275.0 kB / Added: 2021-04-26
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Discussion: Cymatics Gegenpress 4-3-3 // Clinical Attack & Impenetrable Defence

5 comments have been posted so far.

  • Cymatics's avatar
    Hello @Saiyan,

    Most welcome. Glad to hear that. :)

    For the Injuries Part: This depends on multiple factors actually, allow me to explain:

    1- What type of players you have. Sometimes a player is more susceptible to injury than others so make sure you monitor them during the matches, if they get any knock try to substitute the player. Also monitor their training and reduce the load on them if required according to your vision or use Sport Science recommendations. I would recommend selling the player finally as these type of players will not develop much as the injuries might hinder their development process.

    2- Sport Science Factor, having a good Sport Science as a Staff is good to study how to prevent injuries to your players. Another trick is to have Fitness Coaches with high or good Sport Science attribute to create a session with less injury risk.

    3- Physio, having a good Physio is also a good factor to treating your player fast and correctly to prevent old injuries reoccurring.

    For the player not liking the training is normal as it is an intense one (3 sessions a day), even in real life players would hate loads of training in the day so you can ignore it and continue to see the result at the end of the season. Note: As mentioned previously just make sure to play smart with the players susceptible to injuries as they might not develop if they get too much injuries due to having them on the sideline without playing time due to injury.

    Hope that answers your questions.

    Good luck :)
  • Cymatics's avatar
    Hello @Saiyan,

    Most welcome. Glad to hear that. For the Injuries Part: This depends on multiple factors actually, allow me to explain:

    1- What type of players you have. sometimes a
  • Saiyan's avatar
    Thanks for the answer Cymatics. I’ve being using this tactic for half a season and I am really enjoying this. I like how the team plays. However I am getting a lot of injuries and the players do not like the training
  • Cymatics's avatar
    Hello @Saiyan,

    The Cymatics Gegenpress.fmf file is the Tactical Style only, you can ignore this file as the whole Tactic will Load once you Load the File: 4-3-3 DM Wide - Cymatics Gegenpress.fmf. I just added the Tactical Style as a Separate Extra File for Fun, Sorry for Getting you Confused.

    Let me know if this Helps! :)
  • Saiyan's avatar
    Why is Cymatics Gegenpress.fmf not showing in my game? Only the DM Wide shows up
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