On FM Scout you can chat about Football Manager in real time since 2011. Here are 10 reasons to join!

4-3-3 Possession Tactic / Scholes Can't Tackle

Heavy Possession based tactic for FM 2016 with enough risk/reward to play on any occasion.

By Updated on Mar 12, 2016   128529 views   13 comments
Download Now
Downloads: 35017 / Size: 1.0 MB / Added: 2016-01-21
FM 2016 Tactics - 4-3-3 Possession Tactic / Scholes Can't Tackle
The return of the daddy of Football Manager tactics. FM14's Scholes Cant Tackle brought up to date for FM16.
Possession based tactic, very good against bigger teams, counter works most of the time.

Confirmed: No Issues in 16.3. Still as good as it ever was!


What you will find on the Steam workshop are tactics that offer the Barcelona Tiki-Taka style of play with every midfielder having over 100 passes and the team having over 70% of the ball. That's all well and good but it has an issue for mid/low level teams trying to play aesthetically pleasing football and actually producing results. This tactic tries to address that and I have had success. So, I'm looking to share this with the community and develop the tactic and the theory over the course of this years game.

This guide is a reworking of my famous iteration on FM14 (which is still the most popular on the Workshop).
The theories and implementation are exactly the same regardless which version of Football Manager you are playing. The tactic, is timeless.

What you will see

As with standard Tiki-Taka tactics, you will see High Possession, High Percentage pass completion, and 'Sexy Football'... but, what you will also see is that even with teams with less than a perfect setup will be performing well and, most importantly for people playing possession football every week, creating enough goal scoring chances to justify the style.

  • High Pass completion in the Midfield (Average of 85%)
  • High Defensive Line
  • WB able to bomb forward
  • Low direct scoring from set-plays
  • Football which is pleasing to look at and get results against teams of similar and lower quality
  • Tough time outplaying really strong teams

Ideal Starter tactic for teams developing towards a Tiki-Taka.

Team Makeup

As this is a tactic for the slightly less technically gifted teams that wish to play 'good' football it is important to recognize that you DON'T have world-class players at your club that will be able to play like Barcelona and produce results like Barcelona. But there is one thing every team can generate to be the same as Barcelona. Tactical Familiarity. I suggest that you learn ONLY this tactic at the start of the Season and Training should be all about Team Cohesion and Teamwork until your team can play this with their eyes closed.

Key Attributes and PPM's per position

Again, I know your not able to click your fingers and buy Xavi for your team but 'try' to get players who fit the roles with AT LEAST one of the required PPM's in each position and have them learn the missing ones asap.

GK: none
First Touch, Composure, Rushing Out

WB: Get forward Whenever Possible, Sticks to (correct) Side of pitch when dibbling.
Natural Fitness, Stamina, Pace, Acceleration, Teamwork, Work rate

BPD: Likes to switch ball to opposite flank
Composure, Passing

CD: Marks opponent tightly.
Strength, Aggression, Jumping Reach, Bravery, Tackling

DM: Stays back at all times. Plays no through balls (Ideal PPM's yet not essential)
Decisions, Anticipation, Teamwork, Composure, First Touch

APS: Comes Deep to get ball, Plays One-Twos, Tries Killer Balls Often
Composure, First Touch, Passing, Creativity, Anticipation

APA: Moves Into Channels, Plays One-Twos, Arrives Late in Area, Tries killer balls often
Composure, First Touch, Passing, Creativity, Anticipation, Off the ball

WG: (If extremely fast) Hugs Touchline and Knocksball Past Opponents)
Acceleration, Pace, Dribbling, Agility

IFA: Moves into Channels, Runs with ball often, Cuts Inside
Dribbling, Off the ball, Flair, Agility, Acceleration

F9: If has excellent balance and composure, Dwells on Ball and Plays Killer Balls Often (Yes, I realize that it is hard to get both of these, but it's possible with correct regen and tutor after a few years), Runs with ball through Centre, Tries first time shots, Plays One-Twos
Off the ball, Finishing, Passing, Technique, Composure

Remember, the above list is the IDEAL and you should aim for one or two of the PPM's at 'weaker' teams.

Player Instructions

SWK: Distribute to Full Backs, Distribute quickly, Roll it out.

CWB's (Attack): Get Further Forward, Stay Wider, Run Wide with Ball, Close Down More, Cross Aim Near Post, More Direct Passes

BPD (Cover): Ease off Tackles

CD (Stopper): Close Down More, Tackle Harder

DM (Defend/Support depending on the quality of your best player) Pass Shorter, Mark Tighter

AP (Support): Close Down More, More Direct Passes

AP (Attack): More Direct Passes, Roam From Position, Close Down More.

WG (Attack) Roam from Position, Shoot Less Often, Cross Aim Near Post, More Direct Passes

IF (Attack) Roam from Position, Dribble More, Stay Wider, Cross Aim Near Post, Fewer Risky Passes

FN: None

Tactical Tips

If your looking to hold onto a Lead or counter a powerful team. Don't change the formation or roles unless needed but switch Strategy to Attack, Drop Deeper, Pass into space and More Direct Passing and Run at Defence.

To play out the last minutes in a bit more safety hit More Disciplined. Nothing more.

If you find yourself having 'too much' possession and struggling to score, have the team Express Themselves more.
Note: EXPRESS THEMSELVES is set to default in the workshop version. Having trouble at the back? Click it off.

If the other team is camping on their 18 yard line blocking shot after shot, SLOW DOWN the play. Draw them out of position and make one good chance.

Less than 55% posession? Click "Retain Possession".

More than 66% possession? Click "More Direct Passes" and "Slightly Deeper" (This means the other team isnt pressing you).

Other team hitting you on the counter? click play "Slightly Wider".

Set Pieces

My set pieces are set to short with strong emphasis on ball retention. So, CB stay back at all times and corners will be short to a supporting wide player. Keep it.

You can also find this file on Steam Workshop.

The Reckonist created this tactic and produced the video. The download page here is created with his permission.
You can follow him on twitch and on twitter.

More FM16 tactics by The Reckonist:

FM16 Tactic - Play Like Leicester

Download Now
Downloads: 35017 / Size: 1.0 MB / Added: 2016-01-21
Your content on FM Scout

We are always looking for quality content creators, capable of producing insightful articles. Being published here means more exposure and recognition for you.

Do YOU have what it takes?
Like & Subscribe

Like our Facebook page & Subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Discussion: 4-3-3 Possession Tactic / Scholes Can't Tackle

13 comments have been posted so far.

  • king.j's avatar
    I am a lazy guy.
    Recovered my account to leave this comment.
    One of the best tactics I got off this website in 5 years.
    Good job
  • nunees's avatar
    dowloaded this tactic with leicester, 3 games: Win w/ Swansea and 2 loses 2-1 eith Southtampton and 4-0 with Norwich lol
  • Yousuf's avatar
    I dont usually comment on websites but I legit had to open an account just to comment on this. This is legit the best ever formation you can use. Trust me. Thanks mate
  • TPP's avatar
    so we still sticking with Team Cohesion and Teamwork after familiar with the tactic or change the training ???
  • TPP's avatar
    Great tactic man. Just get Fire from my own club. Adapt this tactic on Liverpool and win 10 game without losing, ending Arsenal win steak and back to the 2 position of the Premiere league. thank again mate
  • Mark79's avatar
    Alli16: copy tactic to Sports Interactive -folder, f.e.:

    C:\Users\Administrator.ADMIN-VHREM93V8\Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2016\tactics

    You can add there as many tactic as you want, in game just load tactic you want to use.
  • Alli16's avatar
    What folder do these go in and once they are installed, can you chose between tactics you have added, or do you only install one at a time?
  • alexshing's avatar
    @ Johnaras . This tactic fit Liverpool ? Tks
  • olcay's avatar
    I liked it a lot
  • Johnaras's avatar
    Brilliant tactic. It works very good with LFC and Schalke.
  • Nitro810's avatar
    hi. any thoughts on away games? I am not doing good in away games with this tactic :(
  • kornista's avatar
    the best tactic i like it
  • joandrle's avatar
    could it works Barcelona??
FMS Chat

hey, just wanted to let you know that we have a fb style chat for our members. login or sign up to start chatting.