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The Mentality Ladder: Understanding Fluidity and Duty

This Football Manager guide analyzes a practical framework which will help you organize a tactic under different fluidity/mentality combinations and give you tips on applying specific tactical settings.

By on Apr 11, 2014   140064 views   2 comments
Football Manager Guides - The Mentality Ladder: Understanding Fluidity and Duty

Gestalt Systems: Rigid Mentality Structures

Rigid mentality structures cover the broadest range of tactical priorities with roles sharply defining how players contribute to the team's strategic objective. While Balanced mentality structures can also cover a very wide range of tactical priorities, Rigid mentality structures organize tactical priorities according to position within the team's defensive shape regardless of duty (with a few exceptions). The idea is that each player has a more distinct and clearly defined function within the team compared to more fluid systems. The main purpose of this is to ensure a quick and well organized transition from defense to attack (and vice versa) with wide players moving up more readily to link the defence, support and attack. While this can make the team's approach somewhat predictable, it better enables players to play to their specific strengths while reducing the risk of the team getting bogged down in aimless, incoherent play.

Previously, rigid mentality structures have been equated with archaic tactical systems in which specific positions are strictly limited to contributing to specific phases of play, but this is not an accurate depiction. Team mentality and duty are the primary factors in determining whether specific players get forward or drop back to defend. A rigid mentality structure merely causes players in different positions to be incrementally more cautious or adventurous to ensure a greater tactical distinction between positions and roles. This is quite different from limiting certain positions to a single phase of play.

The Sweeper Effect

Certain rigid mentality structures are subject to the Sweeper Effect. Essentially, under a more defensive team mentality, using a sweeper role will cause other players on the team to become slightly more aggressive.

The Sweeper Effect applies to rigid contain, defensive and counter mentality structures that use a Sweeper (that is, the role, not the position). In the following outlines, you should move each outfield player (with the exception of other sweepers) up one position on the mentality ladder for Defensive mentalities and up two positions for Contain if the mentality structure is subject to the Sweeper Effect. Keep in mind, the alterations imposed by the Sweeper Effect are the same regardless of how many sweepers are used.

The Trequartista Effect

A similar effect occurs when a Trequartista is used as a lone striker in Control, Attack and Overload mentalities. In such situations, you should move every outfield player other than the Trequartista up one position on the mentality ladder for Control mentalities and up two positions for Attacking and Overload mentalities.

CONTAIN

GK: Shield Goal
Sweeper Keeper (All Duties): Limit Pressure

SW: Obstruct Shots
Libero (All Duties): Restrict Space Aggressively

DC: Obstruct Shots
Stopper Duty (All Roles): Divert Attacking Movement

DL/R: Divert Attacking Movement

DMC: Restrict Space Cautiously
Halfback: Divert Attacking Movement

WBL/R: Restrict Space

MC: Disrupt Attacks
Box to Box Midfielder: Disrupt Attacks Judiciously
Deep Lying Playmaker (All Duties): Restrict Space Cautiously
Defend Duty (All Other Roles): Restrict Space Aggressively

ML/R: Disrupt Attacks Quickly

AMC: Recover Possession After Defensive Transition
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Disrupt Attacks
Shadow Striker: Recover Possession Immediately

AML/R: Recover Possession
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Disrupt Attacks Quickly

ST (Lone Striker): Keep Possession
Attack Duty (Multiple Strikers): Shuttle Ball
False NIne (Lone Striker): Recover Possession After Defensive Transition
Support/Defend Duty (Multiple Strikers): Keep Possession Away From Pressure
Trequartista (Lone Striker): Recover Possession After Defensive Transition
Trequartista (Multiple Strikers): Keep Possession Away From Pressure

DEFENSIVE

GK: Limit Pressure
Sweeper Keeper (All Duties): Distribute Safely

SW: Contain Attacking Movement
Libero (All Duties): Disrupt Attacks Quickly

DC: Divert Attacking Movement
Cover Duty (All Roles): Contain Attacking Movement
Stopper Duty (All Roles): Restrict Space Aggressively

DL/R: Restrict Space Aggressively

DMC: Disrupt Attacks Judiciously
Halfback: Restrict Space

WBL/R: Disrupt Attacks

MC: Recover Possession
Box to Box Midfielder: Recover Possession After Defensive Transition
Deep Lying Playmaker (All Duties): Disrupt Attacks Judiciously
Defend Duty (All Other Roles): Disrupt Attacks Quickly

ML/R: Recover Possession Immediately

AMC: Keep Possession Away From Pressure
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Recover Possession
Shadow Striker: Keep Possession Under Pressure

AML/R: Keep Possession
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Recover Possession Immediately

ST (Lone Striker): Shuttle Ball
Attack Duty (Multiple Strikers): Spearhead Attacks
False Nine (Lone Striker): Keep Possession Away From Pressure
Support/Defend Duty (Multiple Strikers): Shuttle Ball Into Space
Trequartista (Lone Striker): Keep Possession Away From Pressure
Trequartista (Multiple Strikers): Shuttle Ball Into Space

COUNTER

GK: Limit Pressure
Sweeper Keeper (All Duties): Cycle Possession

SW: Restrict Space Cautiously
Libero (All Duties): Recover Possession

DC: Restrict Space
Cover Duty (All Roles): Divert Attacking Movement
Stopper Duty (All Roles): Disrupt Attacks Judiciously

DL/R: Disrupt Attacks

DMC: Disrupt Attacks Quickly
Halfback: Disrupt Attacks Judiciously

WBL/R: Recover Possession After Defensive Transition

MC: Keep Possession Away From Pressure
Box to Box Midfielder: Recover Possession Immediately
Deep Lying Playmaker (All Duties): Disrupt Attacks Quickly
Defend Duty (All Other Roles): Recover Possession

ML/R: Keep Possession

AMC: Keep Possession Under Pressure
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Keep Possession Away From Pressure
Shadow Striker: Shuttle Ball

AML/R: Shuttle Ball Into Space
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Keep Possession

ST (Lone Striker): Spearhead Attacks from the Hole
Attack Duty (Multiple Strikers): Create Chances Urgently
Defensive Forward (Defend Duty - Lone Striker): Suppress Counterattacking Options
False Nine (Lone Striker): Keep Possession Under Pressure
Support Duty (Lone Striker): Create Chances Patiently
Support/Defend Duty (Multiple Strikers): Shuttle Ball
Trequartista (Lone Striker): Keep Possession Under Pressure
Trequartista (Multiple Strikers): Shuttle Ball

STANDARD

GK: Distribute Safely
Sweeper Keeper (All Duties): Cycle Possession

SW: Restrict Space
Libero (All Duties): Keep Possession Away From Pressure

DC: Disrupt Attacks Judiciously
Cover Duty (All Roles): Restrict Space
Stopper Duty (All Roles): Disrupt Attacks Quickly

DL/R: Recover Possession After Defensive Transition

DMC: Recover Possession
Halfback: Disrupt Attacks Quickly

WBL/R: Recover Possession Immediately

MC: Keep Possession Under Pressure
Box to Box Midfielder: Keep Possession
Deep Lying Playmaker (All Duties): Recover Possession
Defend Duty (All Other Roles): Keep Possession Away From Pressure

ML/R: Shuttle Ball Into Space

AMC: Shuttle Ball
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Keep Possession Under Pressure
Shadow Striker: Spearhead Attacking Moves from the Hole

AML/R: Shuttle Ball Through Defence
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Shuttle Ball Into Space

ST (Lone Striker): Spearhead Attacking Moves Closer to Defence
Attack Duty (Multiple Strikers): Penetrate Gaps
Defensive Forward (Defend - Lone Striker): Suppress Counterattacking Outlets
Defensive Forward (Defend - Multiple Strikers): Suppress Counterattacking Options
False Nine (Lone Striker): Shuttle Ball
Support Duty (Lone Striker): Create Chances Urgently
Support Duty (Multiple Strikers): Create Chances Patiently
Trequartista (Lone Striker): Shuttle Ball
Trequartista (Multiple Strikers): Create Chances Patiently

CONTROL

GK: Distribute Safely
Sweeper Keeper (All Duties): Initiate Attacks

SW: Disrupt Attacks Judiciously
Libero (All Duties): Keep Possession Under Pressure

DC: Disrupt Attacks Quickly
Cover Duty (All Roles): Disrupt Attacks Judiciously
Stopper Duty (All Roles): Recover Possession

DL/R: Recover Possession Immediately

DMC: Keep Possession Away From Pressure
Halfback: Recover Possession

WBL/R: Keep Possession

MC: Shuttle Ball
Box to Box Midfielder: Shuttle Ball Into Space
Deep Lying Playmaker (All Duties): Keep Possession Away From Pressure
Defend Duty (All Other Roles): Keep Possession Under Pressure

ML/R: Shuttle Ball Through Defence

AMC: Spearhead Attacking Moves from the Hole
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Shuttle Ball
Shadow Striker: Spearhead Attacking Moves Closer to Defence
Support Duty (All Other Roles): Create Chances Patiently

AML/R: Spearhead Attacking Moves
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Shuttle Ball Through Defence
Defensive Winger (Defend): Suppress Counterattacks
Support Duty (All Other Roles): Create Chances

ST (Lone Striker): Penetrate Gaps
Attack Duty (Multiple Strikers): Draw Off Defenders
Defensive Forward (Defend - Lone Striker): Isolate Midfielders
Defensive Forward (Defend - Multiple Strikers): Suppress Counterattacking Outlets
False Nine (Lone Striker): Create Chances
Support Duty (Lone Striker): Force Half Chances
Support Duty (Multiple Strikers): Create Chances Urgently
Trequartista (Lone Striker): Create Chances
Trequartista (Multiple Strikers): Create Chances Urgently

ATTACK

GK: Cycle Possession
Sweeper Keeper (All Duties): Initiate Attacks

SW: Disrupt Attacks Quickly
Libero (All Duties): Shuttle Ball

DC: Recover Possession
Cover Duty (All Roles): Disrupt Attacks
Stopper Duty (All Roles): Recover Possession Immediately

DL/R: Keep Possession

DMC: Keep Possession Under Pressure
Halfback: Keep Possession Away From Pressure

WBL/R: Shuttle Ball Into Space

MC: Spearhead Attacking Moves from the Hole
Box to Box Midfielder: Shuttle Ball Through Defence
Deep Lying Playmaker (All Duties): Keep Possession Under Pressure
Defend Duty (All Other Roles): Shuttle Ball
Support Duty (All Other Roles): Create Chances Patiently

ML/R: Spearhead Attacking Moves
Defend Duty (All Roles): Suppress Counterattacks
Support Duty (All Roles): Create Chances

AMC: Spearhead Attacking Moves Closer to Defence
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Create Chances Patiently
Shadow Striker: Penetrate Gaps
Support Duty (All Other Roles): Create Chances Urgently

AML/R: Penetrate Gaps Intermittently
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Create Chances
Defensive Winger (Defend): Isolate Advancing Midfielders
Support Duty (All Other Roles): Force Half Chances When Necessary

ST (Lone Striker): Draw Off Defenders
Attack Duty (Multiple Strikers): Overload Defenders
Defensive Forward (Defend - Lone Striker): Hassle Dawdling Defenders
Defensive Forward (Defend - Multiple Strikers): Isolate Advancing Midfielders
False Nine (Lone Striker): Force Half Chances
Support Duty (Lone Striker): Test Defence With Precision
Support Duty (Multiple Strikers): Penetrate Gaps Intermittently
Trequartista (Lone Striker): Force Half Chances
Trequartista (Multiple Strikers): Force Half Chances When Necessary

OVERLOAD

GK: Initiate Attacks
Sweeper Keeper (All Duties): Support Attacks

SW: Recover Possession Immediately
Libero (Attack Duty): Spearhead Attacking Moves
Libero (Support Duty): Create Chances

DC: Keep Possession
Cover Duty (All Roles): Keep Possession Under Pressure
Stopper Duty (All Roles): Recover Possession

DL/R: Shuttle Ball

DMC: Shuttle Ball Through Defence
Halfback: Shuttle Ball Into Space

WBL/R: Spearhead Attacking Moves from the Hole
Defend Duty: Suppress Counterattacking Options
Support Duty: Create Chances Patiently

MC: Penetrate Gaps Intermittently
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Force Half Chances When Necessary
Box to Box Midfielder: Create Chances Urgently
Deep Lying Playmaker (All Duties): Shuttle Ball Through Defence
Defend Duty (All Other Roles): Suppress Counterattacks
Support Duty (All Other Roles): Force Half Chances When Necessary

ML/R: Penetrate Gaps
Defend Duty (All Roles): Isolate Midfielders
Support Duty (All Roles): Force Half Chances

AMC: Penetrate Gaps Persistently
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Force Half Chances When Necessary
Enganche: Force Half Chances Without Hesitation
Shadow Striker: Draw Off Defenders
Support Duty (All Other Roles): Force Half Chances Without Hesitation
Trequartista: Force Half Chances Without Hesitation

AML/R: Draw Off Defenders
Advanced Playmaker (All Duties): Force Half Chances Without Hesitation
Defensive Winger (Defend): Hassle Dawdling Defenders
Support Duty (All Other Roles): Test Defence With Precision

ST (Lone Striker): Bypass Last Defender
Attack Duty (Multiple Strikers): Bypass Last Defender
Defensive Forward (Defend - Lone Striker): Force Clearance
Defensive Forward (Defend - Multiple Strikers): Hassle Dawdling Defenders
False Nine (Lone Striker): Test Defence
Support Duty (Lone Striker): Rush Ball Forward
Support Duty (Multiple Strikers): Test Defence With Precision
Trequartista (Lone Striker): Test Defence
Trequartista (Multiple Strikers): Test Defence With Precision



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Discussion: The Mentality Ladder: Understanding Fluidity and Duty

2 comments have been posted so far.

  • paolope83's avatar
    Great job Stam. A useful and perfectly written and shaped guide. Kudos
  • Ziechael's avatar
    As per usual, a world class summary(/detailed breakdown!) of one of FM's vaguer areas.
    1
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