By 21-12-2020 16:39-Tactical fundamentals…how modern football looks in ManagerZone
Translated by: filipek4
Before I start the main point of this article, I would like to mention that the material presented below is adressed towards the intermediate/advanced group of managers. The aim of this guide is focused on presenting basic tactical approach by using the easiest and most enjoyable ways. Also I would like to point out the nuances that often can decide whether our team got more attempts than the opposite (More attempts doesn’t mean the game is won). My tactical knowledge is based on analysis (mostly by analyzing 2D and 3D matches) and experience. I highly encourage everyone to discuss and comment the material presented below.
The basics…in other words: The Wall of China wasn’t built in a day
To understand complicated mechanics used by MZ simulator I highly advice knowing at least the minimum about players on the field. To be more specific, you should have a knowledge about the main skills used by players based on their position and the type of pressing your team is using. To make your life easier, I created a picture (presented below) of the main zones on the tactical field. In a later part of the guide I will show the relations between selected colors and player’s skills.
Pressing in MZ
The 'pressing' option in MZ is something new. Together with releasing the new simulator in season 58 the CREW decided to present much more advanced ways of defending. From Season 58 onwards managers can choose a few pressing types when his team is fighting to get the ball back.
Pressing: Normal. That’s the situation where our defenders try to actively guard the strikers of the opposite team.
Pressing: Committed. Here, not only our defenders are guarding the strikers but also the midfielders.
Pressing: Passive. Neither of our lines (defenders/midfielders) is really guarding the opponents. Players try to get the ball back by attacking the closest enemy.
For now we leave pressing (will get back to it soon).
Three main tactical styles
Nowadays it is really tough to find a team that plays long passing. While digging I found many conflicting ways of understanding long passing. I have decided to verify how this style of passing really works. Beforehand, I would like to deny two most popular myths. Firstly, a common belief that aerial passing is used much more than passing. Aerial passing is important but it is not more important than normal passing. Our players often use normal passes, I would even risk a statement that normal passess are used as much as aerial passes. We need to remember that the number of balls in a given skill determine how accurate it is. Second myth says that often the ball is passed directly from the defender line to the attackers via aerial passing. It’s nonsense. While I agree that the players pass the ball forward, I still think it’s pretty even with passing towards the sides of the field. Aerial pass that goes through the whole field is hardly ever seen. I was testing a few tactics and the best ones are presented below:
Offensive gameplay, while using three strikers often leads to passing the ball to one of the offensive players on the sides (either A or C).
Depending on the situation, striker makes a shot from the acute angle in the penalty area or he is moving towards the middle of the penalty area (along the penalty area line) and then shots. This happens because our centre forward (the one who is usually the Depending on the situation, striker makes a shot from the acute angle in the penalty area or he is moving towards the middle of the penalty area (along the penalty area line) and then shots. This happens because our centre forward (the one who is usually the "last pass guy") is getting the most attention from the defenders. Depending on our coverage the defenders may create holes, that are used by our team to take the advantage. See example below:
Ok, but where are those aerial passes? Usually those happen in the middle of the field and they allow our team to pass the ball through the second line of defenders/defending midfielders (Ok, but where are those aerial passes? Usually those happen in the middle of the field and they allow our team to pass the ball through the second line of defenders/defending midfielders (yellow color on the image with marked zones). Then we see a situation where one of the opponent’s players is "lobbed":
The advantage coming from using long passing is: straight after getting the ball back from the enemy team, it’s passed forward, usually with an aerial pass. This allows to get past the late opponent’s defenders. Take a look at the image and example below:
Using long passing is mostly playing the counterattack style. If we decide that long passing suits our style, we can skip extending our midfielder’s line and move our midfielder up to thicken the enemy’s foreground.
Personally I highly recommend leaving at least one player in the central circlePersonally I highly recommend leaving at least one player in the central circle. That’s exactly the spot where 99% of balls drops (the ones kicked in by goalkeeper), so there is a real chance that our team get the possession. Also our middle player may be the first one to interrupt the enemy’s team attack.
So what are the key abilities our players need to use such a tactic? It is obvious that low passing and aerial passing won’t allow our team to make an ideal offensive action. While low skilled passing is still quite accurate it’s much different with aerial passing. There’s a huge difference between low aerial passing skill and decent one. I even had a situation where one of my centre defenders (with 3@ aerial passing) passed the ball via aerial passing to the closest teammate. Of course the pass was inaccurate and the ball landed near opposite striker. One more really important thing is ball control. When the pass is accurate and our player’s ball control is low, the ball is usually stolen by the opponent.
Short passing tactic is the most common in ManagerZone. It is played by the best managers with great success. The big asset about this tactic is that it doesn't require world class players to play effectively. Obviously short passing tactic is focusing on getting the ball to the strikers through the defensive leaks. Passing, play intelligence, ball control are the most valuable abilities almost at every single position. Other than that, speed and stamina should be the main thing that you focus on. This tactic is similar to tiki-taka. There's plenty of ways to put your players on the tactic field. Below I present three examples:
Let's start from defense. Which defensive variant will be the best in our team? It really depends on how your opponent plays. The key to success aren't the tackles, but the ability to steal the ball. To get the best results our defenders should be put as close as possible to the rivals. Only the best coverage will reduce the effectiveness of opponent's offense.
Probability theory doesn't lie here. The less shots your opponent takes the less chance he will score a goal. That's why building a successful team requires perfect defense.
So what are the differences between defensive formation of A, B and C? Before I answer that question, you should understand the reaction of defenders that are the closest to the guy with a ball. Do they keep them close? Do they use zone defense? Do they attack the guy with a ball? Defenders attitude depends on the pressing type. Our defense varies (depending on the pressing) so it should be everyone's priority to notice how our players act. There's no golden mean. Although it is really important not to leave holes in the defense because our opponent can use them. The lack of assurance in defense is the reason why we lose the most goals. Defensive formation is set to limit the possible ways of our opponent to score a goal. See example below:
Let's focus on the spacing just in front of the penalty area. The defender with number 4 moved forward to get the ball back. An opposite striker (number 11) has the best possible position already and the only thing he is waiting for is a pass from his teammate. Looking at the picture above we are almost 100% sure that our opponent set his pressing to passive.
So what we can do to improve our defense? How to set our tactic in an optimal way? It all depends how our opponent set his team, so I am saying that you should always try to set your tactic as best as you can, to counter your opponent's tactic.
The first thing we should focus on while setting our defense is answering a simple question. Does our opponent play with wings? Is he dangerous while using wings?
If the answer is yes we should make sure that our defenders cover the sides of the defensive zone (orange color on the zone's picture). Try setting your defenders as close as possible to the opposite winger, not behind him but in front of him. Speed, play intelligence and tackling. That's the most important skills on your defender. We need a strong player that will be able to steal the ball before it gets to the opposite player. What happens if we won't steal the ball? Then the defender need to tackle the winger, before he crosses the ball to the penalty area. Speed is the key ability on the defender guarding the winger. If your rival plays wings and our job is done perfectly (covering the proper wing) he shouldn't be able to have so much space on the side.
See the image:
What happens when our defenders are not set to perfectly cover wings? You should be aware that sometimes defenders aren't running towards the guy with the ball. They could be covering the forwards and that means stopping the pattern offense. Play with coverage is a safe play, because even if our opponent surprises us, our defense should be able to cut the strikers from getting the positions to score goals. It leaves us with the winger and you need to remember that leaving too much space for a winger will greatly improve his performance. If we set our defender as close as possible to the enemy's winger, he won't really be able to cross the ball to the penalty area. He will try to get back to the midfielder area ( What happens when our defenders are not set to perfectly cover wings? You should be aware that sometimes defenders aren't running towards the guy with the ball. They could be covering the forwards and that means stopping the pattern offense. Play with coverage is a safe play, because even if our opponent surprises us, our defense should be able to cut the strikers from getting the positions to score goals. It leaves us with the winger and you need to remember that leaving too much space for a winger will greatly improve his performance. If we set our defender as close as possible to the enemy's winger, he won't really be able to cross the ball to the penalty area. He will try to get back to the midfielder area (red color). Our side defender not only tries to block crosses but also tries to tackle the winger or steal the ball before winger gets it. He is the first one to pressure the enemy's winger and that's his main duty. Playing without side defender is a risk; that means one of our central defenders will leave his area and try to get to the winger. We don't get any benefits from it. So it is better to make sure that we got wings covered? Yes and no.
If rival plays without winger, our side defenders won't be playing actively in the defense. Let's say that we have two side defenders vs none wingers. It is almost like playing 9 vs 11 as it comes to defense. It's much different as it comes to offense. If we set our side defenders a bit forward, they will be playing actively near the middle zone. If rival is cutting our strikers off from the passes, midfielders will try playing the ball to the sides or to the back. We will keep the possession and that means we won't allow our opponent to make use of lose ball. Side zones of midfield are quite safe. Most managers don't really put any midfielders to the sides and that means our defenders can try passing the ball. Sometimes side defenders are moving towards the penalty area with the ball and that means we have greater number of players attacking than the opponent's defenders.
What should I do, when I'm 100% sure that my opponent is not playing via wings (his offense will be run through the middle)? How to limit the mobility of his strikers? We don't have so many tactical rules. We can try to cover the opposite strikers with our defenders and hope for a lot of steals or we can thicken our defense as much as possible. Regardless of what option we gonna pick, we should always make sure that our defense include two lines. We can thicken our defense in two different ways. Which one is better?
Let's start by explaining why one line is worse that two. If I remind you about the rule that says: Let's start by explaining why one line is worse that two. If I remind you about the rule that says: "depending on the coverage our defenders move towards the opposite players" the answer is obvious. One line is not enough to keep the pressing. Our defenders will be splitting up and that means our defense will have many leaks. Two lines are also better for covering the special area.
You cannot set your defenders to cover the opposite strikers (man to man) and just before the penalty area our rival is freely passing, playing or shooting from the distance. Of course there are teams that play 4 + 1 defense line but it's rather anti-wings tactic. What should I pick then? Variant A or B? Option B means that our players are closer to each other and the opponent's player got much less space. Variant A gives an advantage (+1 player) so it means that our defense is better at cutting off the opposite players from the ball. You should also remember that each defender means one less offensive player. Additional problem is the distance of our defensive line from the goalkeeper. In theory if we leave more space between the keeper and the first defensive line, our rival will have easier time going one on one vs the keeper. Forward defense also means that we have more variants while attacking. On the other hand in practice it varies and it's really hard to find an optimal solution. Personally I think that the truth lays in the middle. ) so it means that our defense is better at cutting off the opposite players from the ball. You should also remember that each defender means one less offensive player. Additional problem is the distance of our defensive line from the goalkeeper. In theory if we leave more space between the keeper and the first defensive line, our rival will have easier time going one on one vs the keeper. Forward defense also means that we have more variants while attacking. On the other hand in practice it varies and it's really hard to find an optimal solution. Personally I think that the truth lays in the middle. Warning: Never put your whole defense in your penalty area. If you wonder why, try it! I will only say that it's much easier to score a goal from the distance than from the minimal range.
What about the offensive game? How we should cheat our opponent to have more attempts? To make it easier, let's take a look at the two possible ways of setting your players. First one is a classic triangle offense (variant A) and the second is rhomb offense (variant B), mostly used in Youth Leagues (It's worth mentioning that variant B works in seniors too). Any other type of offense is mostly based on the ones presented below.
Option A, two forward strikers and the supporting striker hidden behind their backs.
Of course most of us think that's the way they play:
That's how it looks when we are using short passing. Do we really agree that the supporting striker is sort of centre midfielder? NO! In practice he is the one that scores the most goals. Two forward strikers are there to keep the attention from the defenders and let the supporting one get within' the ball to the penalty area. That's how it's gonna look on the field:
Playing short passing in offense means that our players are passing the ball in a small square/triangle. And that's how we get to the key abilities: Passing and Ball Control. In the penalty area there's not so much free space and usually there're many defenders the most important thing about short passing is the precision of playing the ball. Even millimeters matters. If the pass is played carelessly and our player misses the pass, the ball will be taken by: 95% by the opponent's defender, 5% by the goalkeeper. There's no room for errors. It's all about the precision. What is the difference between variant A and B then? In the end there's no difference at all. The philosophy of the game is based on the same rules but in variant B we have more offensive players to spread the defenders. Please take a look that, the main attack is moved to one of the sides. This allows our team to gain an advantage over the opposite team. Is it based on slalom style?
It may be based on slalom style, but the main idea is different. We have to remember that when the the player A gets the ball and the defenders are moving towards him, player B is getting open and he can run to the penalty area. Player C can move forward too. The question is whom out of those two players will receive a ball and how the defenders gonna cover our strikers?
Those are the basic schemes. Offensive players often exchange a few passes before shooting. Sometimes our centre midfielder gets a ball just before the penalty area and shots. There's no scheme for this. It is important to remember that more players in offense offer greater chance of scoring a goal. Also you need to keep common sense, because every single mistake we make will be punished by the opponent. See a few examples below:
Defender with number 4 ran to the supporting striker with number 9 (passive coverage), making the hole just before the penalty area. Supporting striker can choose one out of two variants while making a decision about passing the ball to the free teammates.
Here we see variant B offense in practice. A few precise passes and the ball is delivered to forward striker with number 11. He can either shoot the ball (He can either shoot the ball (and hope that defender with number 2 won't tackle it) or pass the ball to striker with number 9 (safe play) whom is not covered at all.
Another example. Long exchange of passing just before the penalty area caused the opponent's defense to stop working and lose their nominal positions. Three strikers have only one defender in front of them. All they need is a accurate pass and finish the action with a goal (seems easy, ain't it?)
The last example. Supporting striker gets the ball and runs with it to the penalty area line while getting the attention from central defenders. His teammates (The last example. Supporting striker gets the ball and runs with it to the penalty area line while getting the attention from central defenders. His teammates (number 25 and 23) have much more free space. Take a look at the defender marked by A. His nominal position is side defender and he is an answer for the winger. It's really simple to see that if we decide to set our defensive line like this and our opponent runs the offense through the middle, the defender is away from the game.
Currently wings are most seen in the high divisions. It is best known for its effectiveness as it comes to scoring a goal. It is based on the rule that says: Currently wings are most seen in the high divisions. It is best known for its effectiveness as it comes to scoring a goal. It is based on the rule that says: "scoring a goal with a head is much easier than scoring a goal with any other part of your body". Sadly, compared to other tactics our players must be the best ones on every single position. The most important ones are winger and strikers. A few examples below:
The general idea of this play style is really easy. Most of our attempts come from winger crossing the ball inside the penalty area exactly at our striker's head.
Because this strategy is based on moving the ball quickly to the winger, it is highly advised that our players are really good at passing both aerial passing and normal passing. If the pass is inaccurate the opposite defender will steal the ball. Every situation like this = one less key situation to score a goal. The key role in this tactic is played by winger. His form and his abilities will often decide whether we are the winners or losers. What skills we should focus on?
He needs to have the best possible speed and stamina (He needs to have the best possible speed and stamina (minimum 9/8, even 9/9 – his speed is the most important as he will have to pass the defenders and cross the ball inside the penalty area). What else? Of course aerial passing. It won't be effective if he has 6@ at aerial passing. I tried this tactic with winger like this, 60% of his crosses were inaccurate. The common belief in MZ says that the real minimum is 8@. Anything below is worthless. What's more? Ball control and play intelligence. The first one is responsible for efficient ball control while running and the second is typical intelligence. What's the minimum? Bad news is there's no real minimum. The more, the better. Our winger needs to be a real SUPERSTAR.
There's nothing to disagree with. There's one more thing to take care of. Where to put our winger, depending on our offensive line? Some managers prefer equal line with strikers, the other prefer a little behind the strikers line and the last group put the winger in the midfielders line. The decider here is our own, individual knowledge and will. Although there's one rule. It's easier to deliver a ball to the supporting winger (near midfielders line) but he has more distance to cover before he can cross the ball. What about strikers? We have two of them and their roles are different.
Striker A while playing wings, usually should have a lot while playing wings, usually should have a lot "balls" in heading. You can even put a guy with low shooting but heading is the most important here. As it comes to striker B, his heading should be high as well, but it's secondary skill. This position is reserved for real executor – many his heading should be high as well, but it's secondary skill. This position is reserved for real executor – many "balls" in shooting, ball control, play intelligence and of course speed and stamina.
How many balls in heading are accepted? Personally I experienced with strikers that had 3-4@ on heading and 6-7@. The difference in statistics was minimal. The one with 4@ at heading should be enough if we have nothing better to offer. It is good to remember that while shooting not all shots are taken with head. There are traps and normal shots. See the example below:
Winger ran huge distance with the ball along the side line taking the attention of both the defender with number 3 and defensive midfielder with number 8. None of them stopped him and we are witnessing a pass to the striker with number 10. Maybe it is not commonly known that playing via WINGS don't mean that 100% of our offense will be run along the side lines. A few complicated algorithms that we presented in short passing are often used. You shouldn't be surprised that some offensive actions are played through the middle while using short passing.
What's the best about this tactic? If we play versus a team with defensive lines set to 3-2 or 3-3 then the game is pretty much over before it even started. See the example below:
Our winger is already at the spot where he can cross the ball inside the penalty area. Rival played tight defense so his defenders started running towards our winger. That means in the defense there's only one defender left, 4 of them are trying to desperately get back to the penalty area. Sadly it is already too late, because the ball is already delivered to our striker.
Is there any effective method to stop the strong teams that play via wings? In my opinion yes, there is. If you manage to cover the winger perfectly by setting your players properly on the field, the rival's offense won't be working as it is supposed to. To make it happen, some managers send two (sometimes three) players to secure that area. You should try not to overdo, because the opponent can switch winger's side (just before the game starts or in the second half). The optimal defensive settings look like this:
Of course there's a problem. We have only 3 players left to play offense. Shall we play short passing (4-3-2-1) or maybe it's better to play wings? There are few teams that decide to play ultra defensive with 5 defenders in the first defensive line and 3 defensive midfielders (3 players are ready to fight with winger on each side). There are advantages (i.e. the behavior of our central defender) and disadvantages (i.e. only two offensive players) of this.
Player in the central circle is a must?
What are the duties of a player put on the central circle (on the first image it was red zone)? He isn't only linking our defense and offense. I mentioned a little about his role before, while writing about long passing. Let's start from his offensive plays. Firstly he is playing the ball forward or to the wingers. Secondly he is the one following our strikers line and giving us number advantage. Thirdly he can receive a pass from a striker ()? He isn't only linking our defense and offense. I mentioned a little about his role before, while writing about long passing. Let's start from his offensive plays. Firstly he is playing the ball forward or to the wingers. Secondly he is the one following our strikers line and giving us number advantage. Thirdly he can receive a pass from a striker (back pass that everyone hates) and deliver a ball to someone in a better position or finally he can shoot the ball from the distance. What are his defensive duties then? Goalkeeper is always kicking in the ball with a long pass. Almost always the ball lands near the central circle. () and deliver a ball to someone in a better position or finally he can shoot the ball from the distance. What are his defensive duties then? Goalkeeper is always kicking in the ball with a long pass. Almost always the ball lands near the central circle. (REMINDER: The accuracy of passing depends on the balls in aerial passing)
Here comes our midfielder. If he manages to catch a ball from our keeper, automatically he can start our offensive play, but what's more important he won't let our opponent attack. And finally his ability to tackle the ball/steal it in the middle area may be crucial – he can stop a counterattack.
Isn't it better to put two players in the middle zone than one? Of course you can, but isn't one enough? The other can take some other role. Here I let you decide alone, manager.
Effective use of goalkeepers
It sounds interesting but you cannot really decide how your goalkeeper plays. Wait, wait. By knowing his behaviour on the field and how he co-operates with your defenders we may get a little tips about setting up our tactic. Let's start from what primary abilities should our goalkeeper have? Most managers agree that the most important one is goalkeeping. What about the others? Is there any use of secondary skills? Actually a little bit before I said about aerial passing as a skill that decides if our kicks-in are accurate or not. How every single Most managers agree that the most important one is goalkeeping. What about the others? Is there any use of secondary skills? Actually a little bit before I said about aerial passing as a skill that decides if our kicks-in are accurate or not. How every single ball affects accuracy?
I made a small experiment. I found 4 different goalkeepers, one with 3, one with 5, one with 6 and the final one with 7
I made a small experiment. I found 4 different goalkeepers, one with 3, one with 5, one with 6 and the final one with 7 balls in aerial passing. I checked their accuracy as it comes to aerial passing in their last 6 league games. I understand that accuracy may depend on their skill in play intelligence and experience as well, so that's why I take those skills into the account. It would have been optimal if our goalkeeper passed the ball without making a single mistake to the midfielder's zone. If we manage to get it work our rival won't have easy offensive plays after kicking the ball in by our goalkeeper.
So how can we sum it up? Secondary skills that decide about accurate kick-ins are really important. Remember – if your team has a possession they are not losing a goal for sure. Here is something I wonder about. I didn't manage to check which skill exactly influences the goalkeepers's passing the most. Are we sure that it depends on aerial passing? Maybe the key is experience or play intelligence. Sadly I cannot really say that it's 100% aerial passing but I believe it is.
Let's think how our goalkeeper plays when our opponent gets into our penalty area? There are two possibilities. The first one – he is staying on the line. Second one – he is running towards the striker. From the defending point of view the second option is better. The closer the goalkeeper to the striker, the easier to defend his shots. Why? In 99% striker always shots the ball exactly in the middle of the keeper, so when our keeper is exactly in front of the striker he has more chances to make a good save. When the keeper is moving towards the strikers the most often? It's obvious – when defender cannot catch the striker. If we take into account those small tips, we will understand that it's better to move forward our defensive block a little bit and let our rival get one on one situation (motivating our keeper to move towards the striker).
So goalkeeper with more speed will move faster towards the striker? It's a riddle really. The distance we are talking about is not that huge, so we cannot really count the reaction time and the running time. One thing that is sure – speed and stamina works for every single player (playing in the field) and one-ball difference is often a game decider. Due to this I think that speed and stamina are key for goalkeepers too.
Thanks to the manager lukasz87o from Poland for sending us the guide!
Views: 2760 Posts: 16
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By 21-12-2020 20:59-I think it was once published on MZ facebook page? For beginner users it is good, but some things there...Lets just say I dont agree with all that was written there. But for starting point, it is good.
Only problem is that there is no summary - if I dont have time to read but want to set somekind of proper tactic than I have to search it within text.
By 22-12-2020 06:06-evosa wrote:Lets just say I dont agree with all that was written there. But for starting point, it is good.
Agreed, I think for beginners it’s a good reference but I have different opinions to many of the points and comments about tactics though
By 28-12-2020 00:12-
I am new and would like to ask you what tactic would you recommend for new managers?
Thank you so much!
By 01-01-2021 04:12-
By 17-02-2021 10:28-lukaszsz182 wrote:Excatly, would be great if the images can be re uploaded. It's a nice article.
Or just read the original one posted here:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/managerzone/tactics-guide-managerzone-football/10154995042419054/?comment_id=10156898596509054Edited: 17-02-2021 10:28
Total edits: 1
By 17-02-2021 10:59-evosa wrote:Or just read the original one posted here:
I'm not sure if it is only my problem, but this site doesn't work in my case.
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