Like in previous versions of Football Manager, I have dubbed my initial tactic Strikerless Sexy Football because that is what the tactic aims to deliver (and often delivers), just the way that pretentious prick Gullit envisaged it originally. I have to admit, Gullit has a way with words. If his coaching skills matched his vocabulary and oral skills, he’d be able to rival Sir Alex. Sadly, it did not, so all the dreadlocked Dutchman has to show for his coaching career is an FA Cup with Chelsea and the coining of the phrase Sexy Football, which had fuck all to do with John Terry’s off-the-pitch antics. No, Gullit used this term to describe teams who played the game in a smooth, elegant and effortless style: teams comprised of artists who could evoke the highest spiritual consciousness through exceptional technique and intimacy with the ball.

I reckon that covers the bit where I explain the title of the tactic. Sexy football because of the smooth passing and fluid player movement. I guess that leads me to the formation I use, which is a narrow strikerless 4-1-2-3.


The formation I have picked is, for me anyway, the ideal formation to generate the maximum amount of movement and overlap, so we can overload opposing teams in key areas. What you want to look for are a few wide players to stretch the defence, a central passing outlet for the central defenders and a tight midfield for maximum effect in playing one-two’s.

The Ball-Winning Midfielder screens in front of the central defenders, providing a disrupting factor for attacking midfielders in a defensive sense, as well as acting as a passing outlet for the central defenders in an attacking sense. I am well aware that the defenders could just pass it towards the wing-backs, but I prefer the first pass to be towards a more central player, to prevent an opposing team from closing down all passing lanes too easily. The wing-backs are playing inverted, which allows the defensive midfielder to push further ahead to back the other midfielders.

Going forward, the team’s forward trio are close together. The middle of the three acts as a Withdrawn Targetman. With slightly tweaked instructions, I hope he can act as a Targetman in the attacking midfield section of the pitch. The players flanking him are Shadow Strikers, who look to get on the end of a through ball or a flick-on.

Both defensively and offensively, I want the team to act as a cohesive unit. The team attacks and defends as a unit, basically a bit of universality. This is why I have opted for a Very Fluid approach, meaning players can and must contribute to all phases of play.

Those are, in a nut-shell, the basics behind my tactic. If you have any other questions, there’s a pretty decent chance they have been answered in one of the many other articles on my blog. If not, just ask and I will try to answer these questions for you.

Table of Contents


Guido is the founding father of Strikerless and main nutjob running the show.


Guido is the founding father of Strikerless and main nutjob running the show.


Privy_Chamber · October 31, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Would the tactic lose much if one of the SS is converted to a deep-laying forward on support?
I know I’m in the blasphemy waters here, but still. 🙂

    strikerlessGuido · October 31, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to convert the AM(s)? I assume you want the forward to act as a targetman to hold up the ball.

      Privy_Chamber · October 31, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      Well, yes, but I was afraid to touch the AM(s) since it seems to fine-tuned to the Withdrawn Targetman role.
      If a DLF(s) would do the same thing, then you’re definitely right, which I don’t have a reason to doubt.

      I reckon, then, that if all your tactics are to be converted in a such a way, the Withdrawn TM would always be the one who should be moved forward.

      strikerlessGuido · October 31, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      That would make the most sense. I do suppose you could take off one shadow striker and turn him into a poacher.

    Andrew · November 24, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    What training do you use and instructions also is it control

      strikerlessGuido · November 27, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      Barely any OI’s, team cohesion and attacking movement for the training part.

      Andy · November 27, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      What about team instructions do you use

      strikerlessGuido · November 28, 2015 at 8:29 am

      The team instructions are posted? Do you mean Opposition Instructions?

      Andy · November 28, 2015 at 10:14 am

      No the team instructions mate I can’t download it so trying to do it manually

    tobiass · November 30, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    sorry guysim such a novice. how exactly do i download this? when i download it via dropbox it comes up as an image viewer file

      strikerlessGuido · November 30, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      Save as, place it in the FM folder where the other tactics are located

Privy_Chamber · November 1, 2015 at 12:30 am

I’ve been playing with DLF(s) with “move into channels” on. He moves around a lot to receive the ball, and the oncoming SSs are super lethal. If they fail, BBMs and CMa are there to finish the move off.

Great stuff. 🙂 Looking forward to the update of this when the game is released. If there is the need to update it, that is.

    strikerlessGuido · November 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    So you basically took the Withdrawn Targetman and made him a real forward? 🙂

      Privy_Chamber · November 1, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Yeah, but the team look at him as if he was a targetman, anyway. They’re always looking to get the ball to him first.
      I’m no good at tactics so don’t really understand why, but so far it’s been working well.

polis · November 1, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Sir Can u make pleaste one tactic wich 4-1(dmc)-2(mc)-2(amc/amR/L)- and 1 ST please?

garyhorton33 · November 1, 2015 at 9:43 pm

How do you change the AM into a DLF sup ?

    strikerlessGuido · November 2, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    You drag the AM(s) to an ST slot and change the role to DLF.

noikeee · November 2, 2015 at 1:59 pm

I’m surprised than in a tactic without wingers you’ve opted for inverted wingbacks. Won’t this make the formation too narrow in possession?

    strikerlessGuido · November 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I was hoping it would keep the defence more tight. I have since reverted back to the CWB(s) setup.

      Privy_Chamber · November 2, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      Even with IWBs, though, they were going forward to a decent degree.

jimmy · November 3, 2015 at 6:33 pm

so the withdrawn targetman what attributes should i look for when signing new player to the amc role?

    strikerlessGuido · November 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Basically a Fellaini-type.

      jimmy · November 3, 2015 at 7:56 pm

      okey`but can u list the most important attributes for the fellaini role please and the rest is just to use the ingame filters?

      strikerlessGuido · November 4, 2015 at 6:44 am

      Big tall guy, good heading, jumping, strength, balance, decent technique of course.

redlanceeq · November 3, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Very interesting tactic which I will try out.

Just so you know, I actually came upon it on another FM website forum, where the guy who created the thread just copy-pasted your post here:

He did not even give you credit for it. 🙁

    strikerlessGuido · November 4, 2015 at 6:43 am

    Huh… Odd… Didn’t even credit me… Kind of cuntish behavior that…

Shomi · November 4, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Any plans for triple pivot tactics for FM16?

    strikerlessGuido · November 4, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Yep, got a draft already sitting in the queue for the blog.

Esco · November 4, 2015 at 8:05 pm

Hey Guido this is an unrelated post I apologize, but I remember in fm 2014 you had a blog post about playing with one cb and two half backs in front of them. I’m thinking of applying that in fm 2015 (haven’t got fm 2016 yet) but I was wondering if the match engine has changed so much since then because you don’t seem to use half backs anymore.

I play in SPL and have won the league 6 straight times, so I assume I can afford that risky set up. It’s the UCL where we have’t gone over the hump. Stupid work permit rules limits my options

    strikerlessGuido · November 4, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    In theory it should work, I know it can be done because FMAnalysis has actually done it 🙂

ghents · November 4, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Excellent. Excellent. I’m planning on diving into Strikerless in my longterm NUFC save. Are there any attributes you value more than others for the setup? For instance, I’ve always favored players with good off the ball.

I’d guess passing, first touch, vision and off the ball are pretty important to everyone?

Privy_Chamber · November 4, 2015 at 9:43 pm

I see a lot of questions about future tactics. What are you plans regarding tactics releases, especially when ME gets updated, both now and upon full release? Do you plan to update the classic strikerless for every ME change if necessary? Any other tactics or advice how to preserve a lead, how to absorb pressure against much better teams etc.?


    strikerlessGuido · November 4, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    I reckon I will keep the classic strikerless updated and just work from there. Triple Pivot is a plan, as is the idea to revive a proper libero-styled tactic. I do have a tactic I use to preserve a lead, which I plan to release in the future.

hunter · November 6, 2015 at 1:47 am

Hi Guido love your website and posts on strikerless tactics! With FM16 i noticed that CMs are not allowed to be instructed to run wide with the ball. Will you be doing another piece on creating a central winger for FM16? Ever since your article on it, i have been successfully using a central winger for every one of my saves since FM14. Would love your input on this matter. Thanks!

sgevolker · November 6, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Hi Guido,

I play with York, a lower mid table team from the Sky Bet League 2. So the players are not so good and not suitable for the strikerless tactic. For example I’ve got no shadow strikers and my defenders are no ball playing defenders. I will give it a try, but I can’t imagine that it works. Do you ever play with such a lower team and with players who are not suitable for some positions?

Best regards

    strikerlessGuido · November 8, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I play with all kinds of clubs, Volker. Even if players aren’t 100% perfect, they can often still do a job. I have updated my tactic by the way, I hope to release it today.

sgevolker · November 7, 2015 at 10:26 pm

Hi Guido,

10 Games – 4 won – 3 even and 3 lost.

For York it’s OK, because I don’t have the players for a strikerless formation. I’ve got high possession (70/30) but I don’t score much goals. Especially in home games when the opposition stands deeper. That’s because my shadows strikers and the attacking midfielder are not very good.

Best Regards

    strikerlessGuido · November 8, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I will offer a tweaked version later today, which solves some of the defensive issues.

sgevolker · November 8, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Hi Guido,

I’m curious about the new version 🙂
What would you say is the important role for the strikerless formation? The two shadow striker?
When the opposition team stands very deep and you have high possession but less goal chances, what would you change?


    strikerlessGuido · November 8, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    I’d say the shadow strikers are your key players, they are the main goalscoring threats 🙂

    As for changing styles, as odd as it sounds, the team seems to perform better when it’s on Contain.

James Ward · December 6, 2015 at 1:54 am

Hi Guido
I was wondering what individual player instructions you have set? I am looking forward to using this tactic but I’m not sure if the player instructions are included in that so I thought I’d ask you here

    strikerlessGuido · December 6, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Not a great many. A few regarding pressing and that’s about it.

      James Ward · December 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Are they included in the download?

      strikerlessGuido · December 6, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Naturally 🙂

      James Ward · December 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      Thank you

Gareth James · December 8, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Hey there,
i loved your 2014 version of this tactic, i basically won everything. Have to say unfortunately but not ungratefully this tactic aint quite clicking. The defence leaks plenty of goals.

    strikerlessGuido · December 8, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Yeah, this one originated in early Beta. We’re several versions further now 🙁 This version got mauled on the counter.

Gareth James · December 8, 2015 at 7:00 pm

Any chance of being able to get the new version?

    strikerlessGuido · December 8, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Both are on the site already, mate…

      Andy · December 8, 2015 at 8:07 pm

      Have you got a website

      strikerlessGuido · December 8, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      You’re looking at it?

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