Today I’ll be sharing a tactic I recommend to use for Underdog / Sub-top clubs; teams in relegation battle, good enough to compete for Europa League / Mid-table.
It's cautious shape/formation and will require to have players who are will work hard, have the stamina to work hard and okay technically.
Credit to Sanders for testing the positive mentality. Great recommendation from him which made me also look into the Attacking mentality too. His results are with Preston
What mentality to use?Cautious Mentality - This is for the REAL underdogs. Teams that don’t have the resources to like the other teams. Perfect example of this is Paderborn (check results)
Positive Mentality - This is for underdog teams expecting to stay in the league but not as good as others. Example is Preston (check results)
Attacking Mentality - This is for decent sides in the league. Those good enough to compete in Europe. Example is Espanyol (check results)
The ShapeWe’ll be using a 4411 2DM shape. This shape is designed to be able to press all over the pitch but with more protection in front on defence making it difficult to break down.
I’ll start with both central defenders. Both are Ball Playing Defenders, whilst one focus more on passing first and other more willing to dribble with the ball.
Both full backs will aim to get closer to the wingers to form a good overlapping relationship on field. The Support duty gives them the responsibility to support the midfield too.
The DM partnership allows one to focus on creating from deeper areas whilst other aims to win the ball as quickly to set the more creative players.
The wide players in midfield will focus on getting the ball wide, down the flank to get a lot of crosses in for the players inside the box.
The AM tries to break the opposition from playing out the back comfortably. He also makes forward runs to support the lone striker and also to be on the end of chances.
AF is the main source. He will be your match winner most of the times. He will need to be the outstanding player of the team.
Type of PlayersTypically, you want players that are suited to the role. This tactic is very demanding and will require to have players who are high in work rate, stamina, determination and who are also good decision makers.
Both Full backs should be pacey players, who can also cross the ball and be okay at defending. Both CBs should be okay with pace as they will be defending very high, having good ball control/passing is a huge bonus!
BWM can start a lot of attacks, so you want a player who is comfortable on the ball and who also has good ball winning abilities.
Deep Lying Playmaker, well, needs to be a good playmaker. The better the playmaker the better the build up play. He needs to pick the right pass.
Both wingers can be either, more physical players one will run for your team, good work rate and team work, stamina and agility. a Milner type player will be great. But also good at crossing, they need to help provide assists. Or they can just be your traditional winger type, someone with good pace, off the ball, dribbling and flair.
Attacking Midfielder should have good Second Striker abilities. Some one who can finish, shoot from distance and someone who knows how to make the right decisions and can anticipate situations.
AF, has to be pacey, good off the ball and finishing. He will be your main player
Tactic TweakingYou can change between the 3 mentalities, you can make the judgment during matches or by reading scout reports/media prediction/match odds.
TrainingI recommend using the RDF training guide.
Testing - ResultsPreston (positive mentality)
Paderborn (cautious mentality)
Espanyol (attacking mentality)