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Conception of tactics and training schedule by Kily (FIFA Manager 09)
Written by Kily - Monday, 19 January 2009 21:58  |  Skomentuj artykuł
At the beginning I have to emphasize that I play Polish league and lead Wisla Krakow, which is considered as average European club. The tactics, Id like to introduce in this text, base mainly on formation I worked out in previous game edition (FIFAM 08). But it was necessary to make some changes which resulted from lack of 5x5 system, but Ill write about it later.

I mentioned about tactics I was using in FIFAM 08, so its necessary to describe it, because most its elements I moved to formation I use in FIFA Manager 09. Its 4-2-1-2-1 formation which can be illustrated by the following screen:

The main idea based on wingers play, who together with striker supported by attacking midfielder, formed offensive quartet. Defensive line was supported by two defensive midfielders, thanks to it my team was loosing not many goals during a season.
So that was the way I wanted to set my team this time, in the newest FIFA Manager edition. I came to a conclusion that this formation will be the most optimal, especially that it was a successful solution in previous release. Unfortunately it quickly turned out (during first friendly games) that team wasnt playing the way I wanted to see. Especially there was a lack of cooperation between defensive midfielders and offensive quartet. There was a big gap in the middle of pitch and I wasnt able to correct it by tactics settings. There is not one tactics option available 5x5 system and all formation turned out to be a failure. In 5x5 system we could set all players positions in each situation, thanks to it we could work out all tactics formation to make defensive and offensive lines cooperate together properly. Firstly I thought that poor teamwork resulted from low level of trained tactics (that was only the beginning of preparation period, first training camps, first friendly games). But the situation didnt change after next games so I decided to correct basic formation. Changes I made you can called as cosmetic (not so big), but this move completely changed style of play presented by my team. I just moved my two defensive midfielder little forward and set them as central midfielders. That was nothing special but positive results came very quickly. And that was the way my tactics formation crystallize:
Both defensive midfielders have different role but lets describe it in right order. As we all know tactics formation has to be supported by proper individual orders. Both things have to be cohesive, to see the play of our team in the way we want to see. In the newest FIFA Manager I miss of course 5x5 system and I hope it will be restored in FIFA Manager 2010. Its very important for me to define how each player should move on the pitch when team is attacking, defending or taking set pieces etc. Unfortunately as I mentioned earlier this year this option is not available. We may only use individual orders as a tactics formation supplement.

Before I describe individual orders lets focus on general settings first. I prefer play by wings so my both wingers are set very high. The main playmaker is attacking midfielder and he is mainly responsible for creating the game. So this is important to have attacking midfielder with good creativity who can play accurate balls to striker and wingers. Because I prefer play by wings, its naturally that I choose proper playing direction (wings). During the season I try to keep tactics trained on high level, so I order my team use counter attacks and offside traps. Additionally I let my players to shoot from long range. I try to play with high commitment and use pressing on the whole pitch. Only playing in European cups against stronger teams I limit pressing to my own half. I also use time wasting when I play against strong clubs, but only when I lead. Defensive line is set deep or even very deep to avoid through balls.

Now its the time for individual orders. Lets start from central defenders. I set them defensive or very defensive and forbid them from making any forward runs. They mostly use patient and short passes. One of central defenders may go forward at set pieces.
Right and left backs are set more offensive than central defenders (position bias: normal or defensive and it depends on opponent). They have a permission for seldom forward runs (forward runs: seldom). The only exception is when I play away with really strong teams. Then, whole defensive line is focused only on defensive work. During offensive set pieces, they are ordered to secure backs, while one of central defenders go to opponents penalty area. Generally whole defensive line is characterized by patient passing style.
As I mentioned earlier, both central midfielders have different individual orders. One of them is set more defensive, and depending on opponent has forward runs set to never or seldom.
Second central midfielder is set more bravely. He may participate in offensive actions and run into opponents penalty area.
Players forming offensive quartet are set the most offensive. Its important they have dribbling skills on high level, especially wingers.
Striker is additionally ordered to use run channels option. He is also set very offensive and its very useful when our striker have well trained dribbling skills. This ability is especially helpful when the game is balanced, when one action may decide about 3 points.

Finishing my thoughts directly connected with tactics issue I have to mention about possibility of setting preferred position option. This option is very useful, setting preferred position to a player we ensure that he will learn playing on this position much faster. For example my player Marek Zienczuk play as left winger. But at the game beginning this player can play only as left midfielder and left defender. Because I insisted on setting him as left winger (his attributes convinced me that he may be good in this role), I decided to check him on this position, simultaneously choosing for him LW as preferred position. As a result he reached in short time almost the same level for LW as a level of his basic position. Moreover in first season he was very effective, scoring many goals. In the top scorers classification he was placed on second position, behind my striker.

The next important game aspect is to choose proper training scheme in various situations. To make our tactics formation working properly, our players have to train it. Training schedule has to be chose depending on situation we face during the season. The good idea is to create 3 training groups. But its necessary to have 2 employed assistants. Tanks to it training groups division may look as follows:

1. defenders
2. midfielders
3. strikers and wingers

Of course each group train suitable skills. For example defenders train such tactical elements as contain, offside traps, set pieces etc. that is tactics skills suitable for defensive formation. Analogously we do with remaining groups, that is midfielders focuses mainly on short and long passing, build up play, set pieces or crossing etc. Whereas the last third group train first of all pressing, counter attacks etc. In the same way we choose for each groups suitable elements from outfield, physical and mental skills.
In a moment when we start season the first thing we have to look after is preparation period, when we have to improve our players fitness. Just after holidays our players fitness looks very poor. Thats why planning first training schedule we have to focus on this element primarily. In that way we devote most of time on fitness. Additional element which accelerate the process of gaining fitness on high level are friendly games. Matches will surely help our players reach fitness on high level much faster. The example of time division (percentage) in training schedule in that situation may look as follows:
If our players reached satisfactory level of fitness, we may focus now on tactics training. For this purpose most of time we devote just on tactics. So the training schedule may now looks as follows:
Very important elements of preparations for the forthcoming season are training camps. They support both fitness and tactical trainings, but also accelerate our players individuals skills development. Playing Polish league I organize two one week training camps before season. Moreover our league is characterized by long winter break, thats why I organize then two another training camps.

During season, when our players present high level of fitness and tactics is well trained, we may devote more time on another elements that is outfield, physical and mental skills. It is important to diversify training, otherwise our players may be bored.

Its naturally that during the season well face situation when our players will be tired, especially when we have few games in one week. In this situation its helpful to use rotation system. But if we dont have so big squad to use it, we may overcome this problem with the right training schedule. In that situation we should reduce training intensity so the scheme may looks like that:
With a regenerative training we may reduce individual players training scope, especially for players who are tired the most.
Thanks to this solution our players will surely recover energy much faster.

The conclusion is that only tactics formation wont ensure us wanted results. Tactics formation should be supported by suitable individual orders which have to supplement general tactical profile of our team. Its important also to choose right players to proper positions. Thats why for example attacking midfielder should be creative, with good pass, it should be a player who can shoot from long range and is able to finish occasions. For wings Ill choose fast players with good dribbling and crossing skills. Playing with only one striker in first eleven, Ill choose player with good dribbling, acceleration, speed or what is obvious with a great finishing. Supplement of all tactical options is suitable training scheme, which has to work out all tactical elements, to see our players playing in the way we want to see.

Translation: Kily
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