2 months ago
3 weeks ago

If you aren't so interested in my experience story, I would appreciate it if you could answer my question:

  1. Is there in inherent design that just won't let you play defensive when in real-life situations it would seem sensible to do so?
  2. Have there been improvements/changes to this issue in the following versions, particularly FM20 and FM24?



So… I have been playing my save from FM17. I have been playing it because it was still an ongoing save and I didn't want to leave it until I finished it to the point I was satisfied with my managerial career. I was having such fun with IFK Göteborg, the second team I managed after having promoted Mordovia Saransk from the Russian First Division to its Premier League equivalent.



Mordovia was okay and a lot of hard work. Unfortunately, even with the cleanup and the multitude of new players coming in, we couldn't get out of the relegation zone, and it felt like it was a reputation issue or something or maybe because the team had many new parts in it that it somehow didn't quite get what it deserved in comparison to other teams. Also, a bit of luck was missing. It came to a point where there was a four point gap that in theory we would be able to abridge, but it never came to it. And then in November, I received an offer from multiple clubs to become their new manager. I had received offers from Zenit St. Petersburg and Malmö at the start of the season, but because I was just rebuilding this team at Mordovia, I didn't want to leave. With the results being what they were, I decided to jump on the offer IFK Göteborg were giving me.


Fun, really fun. Exciting. I had to clean up a little bit and fix some issues with defense and attack. I managed to do that. I turned Elias Ómarsson from being a poor winger option into a striker, knocking in 15 goals in 12 games. Unbelievable. The goals were pretty, too, and sometimes clutch. He isn't even a good striker by the looks of his stats, but he was doing the job. What I was also looking forward to were the youngsters, of whom a few looked promising. I was already daydreaming of opportunities to give them a few games in the squad and see them grow. Particularly, of those who were playing at a position where it looked like replacement was needed sooner or later because of transfers. I had already drawn out a plan for my right-wing back position. I had seen my key right-winger perform okay-ish, but reduce his transfer value to under €1M, and it worried me, because in the transfer window, I had negotiated a transfer offer to a much higher value, which led to the other party to withdraw. I thought: “that's okay, I need him now, I don't have anything better or matching him, so better keep him or sell him for a much higher price than his actual value.” Seeing his value dropping to the level of the offer that was previously made, I couldn't help but think of the money to alleviate the debt the club found itself in and thinking about dealing with the issue of having lesser players in stars, but playing to an acceptable level and slowly bringing my teenage right-wing back.



But who cares anymore, when the game is programmed such that it punishes you for playing tight at the back when you are two goals up, playing away and the home-team starts to switch their playing mentality from being cautious to attacking, making obvious changes in subs that say all about their intentions? Why bother daydreaming about a game, when you have been in similar positions in other previous matches where you decided to control the match and this didn't work out either. What then is left to tell your team to go defensive? Shouldn't this have made it much harder for the opponent to score, to get through your defence? In this last match, it happened twice. The first time, I thought I had made an error by pressing too much, so the second time that we restored the two-goal lead, I made sure we picked our times to press and kept our shape. But they came back to equalize. Then I went in on the attack hard, and we managed to get back in the lead. This was turning out to be a crazy match (again), because I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them equalize again in the 85th minute and then take the lead in the 89th. This was a poorer team than ours, their strikers shouldn't have been able to score so many, since our defenders would have made it so tough for them to get through. Yet, with all the defensive tactics, narrow shape etcetera, they managed to just score another four goals? Even with the perfect half-time team talk that I managed to sell them that they should be careful not to get complacent, while going against the advice of my coaching staff who seem to be thinking we were doing just fine and keep up the good work? Nine players seemed to gain focus, and most of my players were reportedly “fairly professional” in their personality. I mean…. what could possibly go wrong? We would surely retain the lead and play out the match professionally and get the three points. I was so excited to see my team rise on the live league board up to 3rd or 4th position, meeting my board's goals for the season. And then seeing all of this progress just to be undone in the 89th minute!


And it wasn't the first time. this 5-4 reminded me of two other previous matches, where we took the lead but drew (4-4) and lost (6-4). I had then put it down to just an anomaly, a coincidence, this just had to happen to me this time. Could it have been a mentality issue, me not issuing the more conservative playing options, or forgetting about some important instructions? This time couldn't have been a coincidence. This was happening in such a way that it seemed scripted, put in the game to happen. It reminded me of something that I had heard. It probably doesn't need any mention that I rage-quitted. It's not something I have done often in my life. This is honestly the one and only time I can fully identify and admit that I have rage-quitted over this game. I have done scum-saving in the past, but with this run I was actually playing like a grown-up man and taking my defeats as they came: my errors are mine, I acknowledge them, learn from them to not make the same mistakes again and take every other opportunity to correct them.



However, this time was different, and I come back at what I had heard. Some time ago, I was watching Zealand (YouTube channel), and he was saying that the older versions of the game were designed to punish defensive play. If you were just using sitting back as a tactic, the match engine would turn on you and beat the crap out of you. What I experienced last night, was exactly what I think he was talking about. I'm just wondering: is this true, or is this a mentality issue with my players? Is there in inherent design that just won't let you play defensive when in real-life situations it would seem sensible to do so?


AND: What about the following versions of the game? Are they the same, or have there been improvements/changes to this issue? I still have a free FM20 copy that I would like to play, but if it is suffering from the same issues, then maybe it would be better to skip this one, too?


What would you advise me to do in this situation (of course, beyond all the bias you may have for the current version of FM)?

Delta VVVV
2 years ago
1 week ago

Funny enough FM20 and FM24 are the only two I've played (my love for football comes and goes in waves) and I feel defensive tactics work a little better in FM24, although it's based off of my experience and I've got no data to back it up.


The thing with playing on the defence is that you usually employ it against better teams and it invites a lot of pressure from the opponent, because their goal isn't threatened so they can afford to throw more bodies at your defense. And when they have a pacemaker with decent dribbling it can feel punishing when they cut through your 5-man backline with the concentration of an ipad kid. 


That being said I do think my 5-4-1 park the bus, kill the game and piss off the fans in the stadium tactic has some effect: I find myself occassionally checking if I'm still on extended highlights because nothing's happening for 30 minutes.

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