Du Malone writes: It’s a year since I launched this website and joined Twitter. During the year I’ve been collating links to blogs I enjoy following and to specific posts that have impressed me. But the point of this post is to shift the focus to posts that have actually made a difference to the way I play FM.

Here I’ll examine just two. I like my teams to play about from the back. Mainly for aesthetic reasons, but also because when I began playing I hated seeing my teams aimlessly kicking away possession.

Complexity

One thing I learnt very quickly was that simply pressing a ‘Play out of defence’ button didn’t achieve a great deal, other than to signal an intention. On FM it seems that performing just a single action rarely provides the solution.

I gradually began to see that playing from the back successfully was a function of all kinds of things. For example: formation; team instructions; player instructions; roles; attributes; and individual training, including preferred moves.

All of which means it’s quite complex and can be difficult to get one’s head around, especially because match situations are dynamic tend to be dynamic: that is, between one match and another it may well be that more than one variable changes, so it can be difficult to deduce what’s going on.

FM Catenaccio

Two posts have helped me here. First, FM Catenaccio published a post on 2018 entitled Painting a picture from the back. I should say at this point that I recognise that learning from one edition of FM doesn’t always carry over to the next — though, on the other hand, sometimes it does, so I tend not to automatically discard content from previous years.

FM Catenaccio’s post considered quite a wide range of factors. They include attributes, traits, positions (on and off the ball), instructions (team and individual), formations and roles. The post provides explicit insights into the manager’s aims and is illustrated with examples from his save.

Although I couldn’t necessarily transfer all the insights into my own game (our tactics differ), the post proved helpful in terms of, in effect, providing a checklist of factors to consider and indicating ways to think about relationships between them.

Rensie

I said earlier that learning through observation can be difficult because of complex dynamics. That calls for someone with powers of observation and analysis, combined with patience and a willingness to do numbers.

In other words, it calls fro Ondrej Rensie. Play from the back is one of his trademark posts. It’s carefully illustrated with screen shots and video clips. I like this kind of post because it does so much thinking for me.

In particular, I found helpful the focus on player roles (notably the halfback) and on training. I use a halfback quite often and have enjoyed some success with the role without quite appreciating the significance in the business of playing out.

Conclusion

A great many posts have entertained me, but there’s a handful or so that have done much more than that: they are posts that I’ve returned to, often more than once, and have led to discernible improvements in my game. The above two tick that box.

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