The Quest for 129: Creating the Gegenpress in FM

It’s been a while. I’m still with Wolves. It’s 2036. I guess a good place to start would be to give you the end results on the guys who ‘made it’, from my youth development series. If you haven’t been following it then I recommend you skip the next couple of paragraphs.

If you’d like any screenshots then let me know on Twitter, @MrEdsFM.

Gheorghe Petrea, Maxime Teixeira, Andoni Galindo, Marcio, Loic Furlan and David Barnes are the guys still at the club. Although Marcio is soon to be sold due to his pesky ‘shoots from distance’ PPM, and Loic Furlan & David Barnes will be off next year as they both hit my sell-at-28.

Of the others;
Mohamed Tran – sold to PSG for £48m after a strong couple of seasons in the first-team. Had to be sold to blood some of the talented new youth coming through.
Suat Ates – sold to PSG for £18m + 50% of next sale (received £5.5m upon his £11m sale to Arsenal). Just never quite cut it at Wolves or PSG, now a semi-regular for Arsenal and performing moderately well.
Mirko Tesic – sold for £18m + 50% of next sale to Bayer Leverkusen. Playing particularly well lately so if they ever do sell him I’d probably be looking at £12m or so which would be very handy.
Louis Rousset – sold to Arsenal for £28.5m. Excellent player but didn’t want to sit on the bench and I don’t like guys that complain so he was shipped out, and I took a hit on the price.
Luca Giordano – out on loan basically every year. Caught in that vicious loan cycle where he’s just not really improving so gets sent out on loan again.
Alain N’Dioro – sold to Arsenal for £20m + 50% of next sale. Currently valued at £18.75m so a sell-on package would be nice.
Victor Saldana – had a reasonable year with Ajax on loan before being sold to Barcelona for a cut-price £22.5m + 50% of next sale after he complained about not playing mid-way through August.
Gilles Blanc – sold for £19m + 50% to Mallorca who are now one of Spain’s top clubs. Valued at £22m so if he ever moves we’ll get a handy pay packet.
For a total of: £201.5m + a number of active sell-on clauses. This number should be further boosted by Marcio’s sale as well as Furlan and Barnes.

Now, onto the more interesting stuff.

Since my last update in 2031, we’ve had a reasonably successful few years. Aside from a three-year CL drought, we’ve won almost everything we could, fairly regularly. However, last year was our most successful as we won the league with 102 points, a joint all-time PL record. We also managed to score 120 goals, a personal record of mine. But with the all-time PL goals in a season record sitting at 128, we’re going to have to achieve something special to break it.

Last season we went for an attacking 3-1-2-3-1. This year, after taking inspiration from @MerryGuido and his fantastic article on pressing in FM, I’ve decided to create a gegenpressing tactic where we attempt to win the ball high up the pitch through the constant harassment of the opposition. What I will say here is that I’m only able to even consider this because my squad already has a high level of work rate, with the vast majority over 15. If they weren’t, it wouldn’t be such a clean transition.

Despite this, there are still guys in the team I would consider ‘luxury players’; these are guys who would probably struggle to keep up in such a pressing system. Below are the players in my squad with a work rate of 14 or less:

I’ll dismiss Vasilic (19) and Leanderson (19) from potential sale because both are young and could easily make it into my future ideal 16+ work rate bracket. I’ll also dismiss Jeremy Jadot, as he often sits as my deepest midfielder – not a position I’m expecting to press particularly high. As well as this, he has high levels of tacking and positioning which make him vital in the second pressing wave – I’ll talk more about this at some point in the future. Next comes Remy Maurel who I’ve convinced myself to hold onto for one more year. After a ridiculous season, Maurel won just about every individual award it’s possible to win and as a result he’s bought himself another year, despite his age. I’m also willing to hold onto Andre (23) and Ludovic Launay (21) for a year, to see how they do in the new system. Although, Maurel, Andre, and Launay will all be considered ‘luxury players’, and I’ll attempt to only have one of them in my team at any point in time.

Tactical Changes

The above image shows our pressing shape in the game against West Ham near the end of last season. It was using our 3-1-2-3-1 with fairly standard levels of pressing. The red circles and arrows indicate the positions I’d ideally like my players to be in, and therefore help me to establish which positions’ instructions I need to alter to construct my new pressing system.

During last season, the defensive line was particularly flat despite the outer two CBs having the Stopper role and the middle CB being told to Cover. This year, as illustrated above, I’ll attempt to further split the CBs. This is fairly simply in that all I need to do is slightly click the mentality of the outer CBs up and the central CB down. Ah, I do love sliders. Job done.

Next is the deep midfield three of LCM, DM, RCM. They’re shown in a fairly flat line on the screenshot and that’s often the positions they’re in when the ball is out wide as the outer central midfielder pushes out to close down the opposition with the ball. For this reason, it’s vitally important the LCM and RCM have high work rate and are particularly dynamic. I have the LCM as a DLP-D, and he’s remaining slightly more static than I would’ve liked so that’s something to note for future. Given I’m going to alter my team instructions for the new year, I’ll leave him as a DLP-D for now and hope the Hassle Opposition shout springs him into action. This should also work for pushing the DM slightly further across.

The slightly longer arrows come next, meaning I’ll need to make slightly more changes. The composition of my front four was as follows, previously:

I’m assuming the Attack duty on the LAM is the reason he’s right up against the opposition right-back rather than helping out with the defensive organisation. Luckily, as I’m playing FM13, I can alter the sliders in such a way that when he has the ball, he’d play as an IF-A, and without it, he’ll help out as an IF-S would. To do this, I do a quick comparison of the IF-A and IF-S player instructions (sliders), as shown below. Gold circles indicate IF-S instructions.

I’ll ignore the gold circles on the ‘offensive’ tab as I want him to play as an IF-A.

The only two differences in the ‘general’ and ‘defensive’ tabs are in Creative Freedom and Tackling. I assume having Hard tackling rather than Medium wouldn’t be the thing making him stay pushed up on the opposition RB. Therefore, the slider to focus on is the Creative Freedom one, which I’ll lower to the level of an IF-S, whilst keeping every other slider at the level it is for an IF-A.

Previously I had the RAM as a W-S, simply because it suits my players. I’ll alter the role to do the same as I did with the LAM, so he behaves as a W-S without the ball and a W-A with it.

And last but not least is my striker, previously an Advanced Forward. To me, it seems like a simple shift to DLF-A combined with the Hassle Opponents shout and we should see him reacting how I like. I should also note that in the screenshot, that’s Ludovic Launay up front who’s unlikely to contribute to a pressing system unless specifically told to do so.

With regards to team instructions, I’ve made the following changes:

Style: Fluid -> Very Fluid
Strategy: Attacking -> Attacking

Passing Style: Default -> Default
Creative Freedom: More Expressive -> Default
Closing Down: Default -> Press More
Tackling: Default -> Default
Marking: Default -> Default
Crossing: Default -> Default
Roaming: Default -> Default

Defensive Line: Increased three notches
Width: Increased two notches
Tempo: –
Time Wasting: –
Focus Passing: –
Counter Attack: No -> Yes
Play Offside: No -> Yes

I’ll hopefully write a follow-up article on this which focuses on troubleshooting the tactic in pre-season and also letting you know if it goes well (or tits up…).

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One comment

  1. strikerlessguido

    Reblogged this on Strikerless and commented:
    My counter-pressing article appears to be doing well. For people looking at another perspective on how to make it work, here’s the idea applied to a more traditional formation, instead of the strikerless shenanigans you’re used to from yours truly.

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