I, like everybody have played Football Manager for the glory of the tiki-taka, the love of gegenpress and seeing their teams make their rivals chew on their words.
I flipped that and wanted to really start incorporating targetmen into my game, initially the way Bielsa used Llorente at Bilbao but it later evolved to testing the wide targetmen player profiles and latterly two targetmen in central areas, with a pressing forward running on flick on's.
All this to say, that failed miserably. I couldn't take losing any more and had to adapt with the times.
They say football is cyclical but when is the targetman ever going to get his dues again? The use of the targetman meant that the importance of a complete wing back was paramount.
It was all about playing direct football into the targetman and with a modern full back having more time on the ball than anywhere else on the pitch, whatever the evolution of my tactic would still mean incorporating this element in to the side.
After that, it was about how to shape the rest of the side, one ball playing centre half, one proper old school boy to head and kick and tackle and strongarm strikers, a ball winning central midfielder who will press higher up the pitch than a traditional anchor, two pressing forwards exploiting the channels to work in tandem with the complete wing backs and a targetman supporting everyone - including the two advanced playmakers to complete the 4-3-3.
FM22 alone has seen me start it with Ipswich, with back to back promotions to get them into the Premier League (League One Champs and runners up in the Championship in the earlier stages of it's testing phase).
Moving on to Werder Bremen where I found football a little more difficult in 2. Bundesliga but breaking the points record, with a squad that probably didn't fully fit the tactic anyway. First season back in the Bundesliga, taking them to the DFB Pokal final and a 10th placed finish (again, still working the kinks out but learning a lot).
On to Leeds where it all came together - I figured out the profile of players I really need to make success of it unreserved. I had a bit more money to spend as Leeds had been relegated to the Championship, they had a ridiculous squad but a squad that wanted out, so I had to completely rebuild almost from scratch. I sold off £237million worth of talent and started again, ending up winning the league with a record breaking 123 points (!) scoring 129 goals (!!!).
First season back in the Premier League, I finished 5th, the season after that I won the Europa League and the season after that I followed it up by winning the Premier League - always making profit in players sold.
I decided to drop down again and help Swansea get promoted and what was interesting to me was that the profile of players change, the result is the same but who prospers has differed a bit. The vast majority of times, this tactics opens up chances for the Pressing Forwards, however at Swansea, the Targetmen were the ones who were getting the bigger goal tallies.
On to my current project at Parma. Again, broken Serie B records to get them promoted at the first time of asking and the next step is to stick around and to test the tactic longer term but it's proven short term in multiple leagues with smaller sides and without the need to go out and sign bigger and better players. At the time of writing, I am top of Serie A with a 6 point gap, celebrating 49 games unbeaten - including Serie B.
Anyway, enough waffle for now, hope you enjoy the tactic.