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I cannot win, for the love of me

Started on 29 November 2013 by GloriousRuse
Latest Reply on 30 November 2013 by menawati
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As a disclaimer here, I never start the FM series in a top division, and usually pick a team with middling to just short of play off expectations in a lower league. So this may not apply for the Man Us and Arsenals out there-anyhow, to the post:

The Jupiler League. Scottish League One. Third Division. Sky Bet 2. You name the lower league, and I cannot win anything that looks like a fair match in the first few season games. The no-league random friendly, sure, and even the ocassional reaosnable reuslt in the pre-season... but anyone who might actually be described as competition during the season? Draws or shreddings.

My tactics change with my team, and while I do not claim to be a tactical genius, in previous FM series I did well enough. But it doesn't matter if its a 4-1-2-1-2 through the center of the park, or swashbuckling 4-5-1s, it seems my defense collapses, leaving huge holes in the areas where they were quite specifically told not to leave huge holes, and my offense just never quite "gets" what they are supposed to be doing and usually chooses the most suicidal of attacking routes - and when they do get into CCC positions, they whiff like school boys. If it weren't for the odd set piece goal and those rare times where one player makes a superb against the odds effort, I would despair of scoring at all.

So, my question is this: Is there something I am missing in the run up to the season? Some cohesion or tactical familiarity I am failing to grasp? Maybe a weird morale bit? I rarely bring in more than one or two new transfers to strengthen the squad, but maybe that is what is doing it? I just want to know if this early season catastrophe is common, and how to solve it.
Formations don't seem to make as much difference as they did on previous FMs, it's more about the quality of your players in the roles. And as for CCC positions, well I dunno what's up with the match engine but you can often go whole games with a high finishing/composure striker having many chances and not putting any of them away then some bumpkin midfielder will finish off a half-chance like Ronaldo.

As for gaps in defence if you play attacking football with hassle opponents on you can get carved open a lot, especially with high defensive line. The only way I have found to make a solid defense for an average team is play control/rigid with team shouts as short passing, retain possession, stand off opponents, drop deeper, more disciplined and stick to positions.
I think the 'stand off opponents' and 'drop deeper' are the key along with 'control' as it seems to keep your players behind the ball, crowd the area and stifle opposing players. It can really kill a game though and you get quite a lot of 0-0 and 1-0.
Well, in good news, I have made an important discovery in offensive player roles: the space hunting forwards (poacher, trequartista, to a certain extent target man) will often just lay off a pass or take a long shot the moment they are opposed. This is in contrast to earlier FMs where you could expect them to make a move or construct one, relying on them as the impetus for breaks and run ons. They now seem much more limited to actively hunting the box.

This naturally can slaughter one man fronts, or overly narrow play, as it means that the attack often bogs down at the top of the box or earlier unless you have Championship or better level feeding to pin point the space hunters.

Now If i could only figure out how to get my defenders to go for free balls in the box...
Yes, the defenders standing there doing nothing is very irritating. At least full backs actually close down wingers a bit better since the patch.
As for forwards I gave up on the poacher and advanced forward roles; a strong and creative deep lying forward paired with a defensive forward or a lone false 9 with AM/wingers who can finish seems more effective. Also high tempo route one with wingers crossing to 2 big tall lumps up front is surprisingly effective if you don't have the technical players to do possession based style.

It's just a bit of a shame that all the regens I see are small fast poachers with low teamwork (maybe I'm just being unlucky in my save I dunno but I haven't seen a good DLF or target man generated by the game at all).

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