Before I go ahead with this, I have to tell you that I am someone who hates changing tactics. If teams don't start countering my tactic, I don't change my favourite tactic for years together. One thing to remember is, irrespective of what tactic is your #1 choice, to have 3 tactics in total available to you. The familiarity with the tactic plays a big role in matches.
How do you select your formation?
- It really depends on what team I am managing. If I am managing a big team (or a team I am familiar with, on FM or/and real life), I know what formation fits them well. Even then, I spend a lot of time checking out various combinations of tactic, making sure my best players are playing in their best positions. With that said, Formation > Players
. If there's just one odd player who doesn't fit my formation, he will be shipped out.
- In lower-league management and teams I am not familar with, I play one rigid formation, damage control. Of course, if I sign the right players and start dominating the league, I allow the players to be more expressive and play a more positive game. The players I buy depends on the formation. Unless the most unbelievable deal is available on the market, I will not budge from my formation.
How many formations do you set up?
- Atleast 3. I have three very varied formations that I keep store: one defensive, one balanced and one attacking. Along with this, I keep around 3-4 formations saved that are very similar to these 3 tactics, with slight changes (Inside Forwards changed to Wingers).
Do you build up your team around certain players?
- As a big club, everyone is replaceable, especially when regens/newgens come into the game. There is no player that can give you guaranteed success, so if doesn't fit the way you play, throw him out. Sell him for some decent money.
- When playing with a lower league team, I make sure I check out who is the best player in every position. Don't trust scout reports in the lower divisions. If there are players that can play at a higher level but still seem loyal enough to stick by the team, I might build around them, as long as they meet the initial condition of fitting into my system/formation. Sometimes you are forced into a situation when you have to build the team around a player, when you have no money for transfers that will benefit your side.
Do you look to keep a solid defensive line as priority?
- Absolutely. It is all about building from the back. The centre-backs and the goalkeeper are the core of my team. Forget passing the ball from the back. I want them to be no nonsense defenders, and not make mistakes.
Do you care more for results or for playing style?
- Results, first and foremost. Even if the board wants me to play attacking football, I won't have a job if I don't give the board some results. Once the results start coming, it is acceptable to shift to a more attractive style of play.
What attributes do you look for in players?
- Teamwork, Determination, Work Rate.
- In lower leagues, Stamina and Acceleration, along with Fitness.
How important is preseason for your tactic?
Pre-season is very important for your tactic(s). You should always make sure that you are keeping a high focus on your tactic(s) during pre-season to ensure that your players are fully familiar with your style of play when the start of the season comes along. Pre-season is also a good way to see how a new tactic of yours works in a match situation, when you have nothing on the line. Make sure to look at every aspect of your tactic in pre-season to ensure that it can be a successful one for you during the competitive season.