The tempo is quick and passing directness remains relative to the mentality game by game. More patient cautious mentalities are suitable for teams that sit deep and also for bigger sides that like to dominate possession. I have never really gone below the Balanced Mentality. A more adventurous mentality can be used for more open games where chances come thick and fast. Positive is effective to break down teams and create more chances.
The idea behind the system is to get enough players in the oppositions’ defensive third as quickly as possible. The fullbacks overlap and provide width, while the wide attackers, sit narrower and support the striker and attacking midfielder. The forward in this system is required to link up with the attacking midfielder and help create space. He will also initiate the press for his teammates to join.
Leeds United press in numbers, with up to three or four players pressing the ball carrier. Risky, I know. But this helps force mistakes and increases the chances of winning back possession high up the pitch. Opposition instructions have been vital for me to get this to work. Trigger pressing a defender that has low concentration or composure, forcing him to make a mistake and pouncing on the chance.
A little extra detail on the player roles;
Goalkeeper: Here I opted for a sweeper keeper on support. The defensive line is high and I want him to come off his line and close down lose balls. You can get away with a sweeper keeper on defend duty here. It’s fine.
Defenders: One ball-playing defender, and one central defender. Ideally, this would be two ball-playing defenders but so far using one defender that is a bit more level-headed with his passing is just fine.
Central Midfielders: On the left is a deep-lying playmaker on defend duty and this player represents the quarterback in NFL. His duty is to occupy the space between fullback and centre-back, or between centre-backs and pick a pass to attacking players upfront. Rarely looks to join the attack. Beside him is a Box-to-Box Midfielder who covers the ground in midfield and supports both the offensive and defensive phase of play.
The Number 10: I opted for an attacking midfielder on attack here as he is expected to get in the box and score goals while creating space for the striker to drop deep and link up with him. He is the threat and I hope the AI don’t notice this. Brenden Aaronson has played well here for me. This player is also integral to how the team press the opposition backline.
The Forward: As mentioned, this guy plays more of a creative role than an attacking one. I used a deep-lying forward on attack to ensure we have numbers in attack. He will link up with the three behind him and fashion out chances for his teammates.
The Wide Players: Playing with a narrow attacking width is crucial to how these guys operate in attack. The Inverted winger on the left cuts inside and squared the ball to the attacking midfielder running into box or dropping off from a late run to receive the cutback. On the right, the winger gets into the box and causes all sorts of problems. Being a creative player by default, the winger on support here is more involved in finishing off chances than just whipping balls into the box for a tap in…
Here are my results so far this season with Leeds… The journey continues.