Your footballing philosophy defines who you are as a manager and in Football Manager 2019 the tactics system has been revamped. We’ve added so many things to this area in the last few years and player roles in particular have become more important to both FM and the real world, but we felt that with all these additions and other things we wanted to add, we hadn’t successfully presented them to you, the managers, in a cohesive manner so you could get the best out the power at your fingertips and cope with the new additions we wanted to make for this year.
The first thing you’ll notice when using the tactics creator in FM19 is the addition of tactical styles which reflect some of the most famous tactical systems in football such as ‘Gegenpress’, ‘Tiki-taka’, ‘Catenaccio’ and many more. When you first click on the tactics screen, you’re presented with the full list of available styles with descriptions, as well as the option to create your own style or to ask your assistant to select a style for you. Once a style is selected, you’re shown an overview of the team instructions associated with that style and the formations that it works best with; you can then select a formation and complete the tactics set-up. You’ll notice that player roles have been pre-selected to suit the tactical style that you’ve chosen to use although, of course, you’re still able to tweak these – as well as the formation if you want to try to mesh a style with your own formation.
You can now also set specific team instructions for three different phases of play – when you have possession, when you are transitioning between attack and defence and when you don’t have possession. This means there are also lots of new instructions that are now part of the tactics module to make this all possible.
So, let’s look at a few of these new options now.
When your side have lost possession, you can ask them to be more aggressive in their approach and ‘counter-press’ the opposition to try and recover the ball quickly. Alternatively, you can prioritise maintaining your team’s defensive shape by using the ‘regroup’ option which aims to prevent your side being hit quickly on the counter. You can mirror these instructions when your side have won possession too, opting to either counter to take advantage quickly of the gaps left in your opponent’s defence or choose the ‘hold shape’ option to take a more patient approach that could suit a possession-orientated tactical style.
There are also a number of goalkeeper distribution options contained within the ‘in transition’ menu. You now have complete control of how quickly your goalkeeper distributes the ball, what area of the pitch or player that they target and the method that they employ to distribute the ball.
The ‘in possession’ options focus on your attacking intent, including: attacking width, approach play and what you do with the ball in the final third. There’s a new instruction included in here called ‘play for set pieces’ which can be useful if your team is especially effective from dead-ball situations.
The ‘out of possession’ options focus on the defensive aspect of the game including your defensive shape as well as marking and tackling options. New additions include the ability to set your line of engagement and defensive line by dragging the relevant arrows on the tactics pitch. There are also similar sliders to set your pressing intensity and defensive width.
In addition, there are a few new player roles that have been added this year such as the Pressing Forward, which is a role that is designed to put pressure on your opponent’s defensive line by having your striker press them and restrict their time on the ball. Defensively, there are now No-Nonsense Full-Backs and No-Nonsense Centre-Back who focus predominantly on basic defensive duties and very rarely move forward into attacking areas.
We’ve also tweaked the mentality terms to make it clearer what each mentality does. There are still seven different mentalities to choose from but it’s goodbye to Contain, Counter (as you can set that in the transition instructions now), Control and Overload and hello to Very Defensive, Cautious, Positive and Very Attacking. These are all clearly explained in-game, so you can easily learn which mentality should be used in each situation.
The way that your tactical style, team and player instructions and player roles work together is crucial to success in FM19. It’s important to consider how all of your tactical options fit together and, in particular, whether your instructions, mentality and player roles are representative of the tactical style you’ve elected to play.
Last year we introduced the pre-match briefing and we have built upon this for FM19. Firstly, you’ll notice that the briefing has been redesigned make it easier to navigate through and clearer on how you can talk to your team, with more options available. Your assistant manager will also provide recommended topics for discussion.
The new tactical implementations in FM19 marks a real step forward in the way that you are able to instruct your players and put your footballing vision into practice. With the integration of Tactical Styles alongside new instructions, new player roles and a revamped pre-match briefing you have more tools at your disposal to create your footballing philosophy.