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 The middle of the three acts as a Withdrawn Targetman.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.