Du Malone writes: In his second season (2020-21) at Farul Constanta our manager, Grigor Pasha, was tasked with a top-half season.

The season got off to an uncertain start. Mid-October saw Constanta hovering, unconvincingly, just above the relegation zone.

Try as he might. Pasha couldn’t get his 3-2 (wing backs)-2-1 (trequartista)- 2 system working.

After consecutive nil-nil draws I decided to play deus ex machina. I downloaded a tactic, in its entirety, from FM Scout.

Tactical revolution

The tactic, called Schnapsidee 5-1-2-2, was positionally not very different from Pasha’s. The roles, however, were very different and the team instructions even more so. More on those later.

The tactics transformed our results. Between adopting them and the winter break we played 8, won 8, and lost 2. Of those defeats, the first was a close run thing against the league leaders; and in the second we were outplayed by  team adopting very similar tactics. I think we were a little complacent and they just wanted it more.

Still, I’ll settle for a 75% win rate.

Or, rather, I’d usually settle for that.

Feeling wretched

In fact, however, I feel disgruntled.

For three reasons.


I feel the tactic infringes one of my rules for playing FM. I’ve noticed that FM often attracts an oulipo mentality and, while I’m generally free of that, I do have a few self-imposed constraints.

One is that I don’t play tactics that I haven’t seen, or can’t really imagine seeing, ITRW. I want to be able to suspend disbelief, as Coleridge would say. (Coleridge, BTW, would surely have managed Xanadu City.)

The Schnapsidee formation is realistic, but other aspects of the tactic aren’t.

I doubt you’ll see a midfield two consisting of mezzalas, especially in Liga 2, but I suppose it’s possible. But three ball-playing defenders?

And would a team at that level have the fitness and organisation to sustain a high-tempo, urgent-pressing, game?

Not how we do things round here

I actually feel alienated from this tactic.

This isn’t simply because the tactic isn’t mine. That doesn’t worry me. Nothing new under the proverbial.

No, it’s more than I never would create such a tactic, however long I played FM for. It just isn’t me. For one thing, in these Kloppian days I take a contrarian pride in not playing a pressing game.


What’s more, not having created the tactic, I lack an inward feel for how it works. Since installing the tactic I haven’t changed anything, bar asking fa ew players to dribble less.

Indeed, I’m frightened to change things because I’m unsure what the effect would be. That ‘work ball into box’ instruction, for example: to me it makes, in the context of the overall manic style of play, no sense and I can’t say I’ve noticed much W-B-I-B going on — but what if it’s the magic ingredient? What if removing that instruction brought the whole conception tumbling down, as in a game of jenga?

And, because I never change anything, much of FM has come to feel purposeless. What’s the point, for example, of listening to the data analyst if in the end we’re just going to do what we did last time out?

Indeed, what is the point of watching? I have found my attention wandering during games.

I hardly feel the save is ours anymore.

Where do we go from here?

So I don’t know what to do. I can’t go back to mid-October — I didn’t make a backup copy. I don’t want to carry on like this. But if I change to something else — something more in keeping with the context and dear old Pasha’s style — well, doesn’t that make a nonsense of the last couple of months?

And what manager would abandon a winning style?

So I’m sending this post out like a message in a bottle, hoping someone out there will  pick it up and suggest how to escape.



3 thoughts on “I’ve never been in this situation before and I don’t know what to do about it

  1. Really interesting post, as always! Everyone has their style of play, and I definitely struggle if I step outside of my bounds. It can be a save-killer. (For me, it is usually taking the “wrong” job in a journeyman series.)

    Perhaps the solution for you is this — look through the highlights of games during the run on the downloaded tactic, and identify passages of play that demonstrated something you want to emulate. It could be a particular type of attacking movement, defensive shape/organization, etc. Identify what in the tactic (keeping in mind player PPMs/attributes) was working, and what caused or contributed to that particular passage of play. Then, return to your tactic. Tweak. Adjust. Use what you liked about the downloaded tactic to make YOUR tactic more effective. Not as a roadmap, but as a suggestion.

    The other thing that I would consider, in your shoes, is to dive deep into the tactic itself. Tinker with it during games, to make it more like what YOU want it to be. Break the downloaded tactic. Then put the pieces back together, in YOUR style. If that makes any sense.

    Either way, I think this could lead to you taking ownership of your tactics again, in a way that you would find satisfying and meaningful!


    1. Thank you. What a BRILLIANT response. I particularly like option 1 (‘not as a roadmap, but as a suggestion’). Come to think of it, there were aspects I liked…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Excellent! So much of FM is playing “your” way, whatever that means. Figuring out how to build a tactic that you enjoy just turns the dial up to 11, in terms of enjoyment…for me, at least!


Leave a response

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.