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2015 Football Manager Downloads Football Manager Tactics / Barcelona
Tiki Taka Tactics | Football Manager 2015 Possession Tactic

25/06/2015 |

Passion4FM |

Football Manager, Football Manager

2013, Football Manager 2015, Football Manager Downloads, Football


Manager Tactics |

66 Comments

When I should create another Football Manager tiki taka possession tactic I
felt it was necessary to give you an insight to what I emphasize the most
when trying to emulate a tiki taka tactic in Football Manager actually giving
you the foundation to re-create the tiki taka possession tactic in Football
Manager 2015.
I felt I could not only publish a tactic without trying to explain the playing style
more in-depth by handing you a tactical analysis of the tiki taka playing style.
There I showed you the main principles and characteristics of Pep Guardiolas
football philosophy and how he looked at possession as a tool to dominate
opposition.

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After reading my tactical analysis of Barcelona


tiki taka playing style you should have
understood the importance of the positional
system in order to overload the opposition in
all phases of play; creating numerical
superiority, which makes you able to dominate
and control the opposition style of play, in a bid
to make their play more predictable to counter,
understand the importance of shapes to aid
ball circulation and chance creation in

FM15 Tiki Taka Tactic


2-3-2-3 Overload
FM15 Tiki Taka Tactic
2-3-5 Formation
Tiki Taka Player Roles
& Key Attributes

additional to the benefits of a high-pressing


game in order to record extreme possession.
For now, I will leave the real life analysis as an valuable appendix to create
the base of the tactic, and focus more on creating a possession tactic in
Football Manager 2015; the Barcelona tiki taka tactics by Passion4FM.
Note! There will be published more appendixes and analyses about the many
aspects of tiki taka style of play and how to successfully implement such a
football philosophy in Football Manager later on.

Estamos tocando tiki-taka tiki-taka, was the phrase Andres Montes used in
the World Cup 2006 to describe the playing style of Spain. Tiki-Taka or
Tiqui-Taca has its origin from the Total football developed by Rinus Michel in
the 1970s and is a refinement of the attacking fluid football.

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Since 2006 the Tiki-Taka playing style has become world famous, partially
because of the success of Spain and FC Barcelona. The Tiki Taka can be
described as the Spanish way of keeping possession by working the ball
through various channels and play fluid football by taking advantage of
brilliant short sharp passes (often in one or two touches), with the help of high
degree of movement into open spaces.

Passion4FM | FM15

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Download #FM15 Tiki Taka Possession Tactic - Dominate by


Positional Play
passion4fm.com/football-manag #FM2015 RTs Apprec.
10:42 PM - 24 Apr 2015
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The playing style of Tiki-Taka is equally loved as its hated by football fans
throughout the world.
What caught my attention and heart, was the accuracy in passing and
movement both with and without the ball which overrun its opponents, no
matter their playing style or formation. I loved how Spain and Barcelona
passed the ball so quickly between each other that it wore out the opponents,
both to do more mistakes and to weaken their attacking system.
German Miroslav Klose spoke openly about the tiki-taka style of play and
dominance when encountering Spain in the World Cup semi-final of 2010;

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When we eventually did get it, we were so exhausted from chasing that we
couldnt do anything with it.
One important part of the tiki-taka, is the collaboration of the defense and
attacking, as the team is always in possession in balance as players will
take up the roles of the other, provide cover and support in the ball circulation
and the process of regaining possession as fast as possible. Here the
transition phase is minimized as much as possible as it is seen as lost time by
the help of utilizing an extremely high defensive line which gives you the
assumption that the team plays the majority of the match in the opposite half.
Former successful FC Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola, who re-invented
the false nine, once said;
We want to emulate the amount of running players must do. When you win
back the ball, there are 30 metres to goal rather than 80. I want Messi as far
forward as possible.
The Passion4FM 2015 Barcelona Tiki Taka tactics is created for everyone
who likes to record high amount of possession (above 60%), who feels more
comfortable when the ball is in the opposite half rather than counter from
deep, who sees pressing as a tool to control the opposition and hereby force
mistakes, who sees the benefits of utilizing a balanced system which is as
defensive solid as attacking fluid in order to concede less goals, create more
chances and simply experience lots of beautiful passes, goals and
movements which breaks down any opponents. The beauty of Passion4FMs
FM15 Barcelona Tiki Taka tactic is that gives you total control, literally
dominating any opposition with key passes that unlocks any tight defenses,
overloading key areas and giving the opposite team no rest.
With an enormous amount of requests to publish another tiki taka tactic for
Football Manager, I did not want to let you down again, despite there were
some improvements and new features I had hoped to see in Football
Manager 2015 before I would try to emulate the tiki taka playing style again.
Hopefully they will be implemented in Football Manager 2016.
This time I will publish at least three different versions of my Barcelona tiki
taka tactics giving you both a closer look at the main system of play used by
Josep Guardiola under his managerial tenure at FC Barcelona and how I
have used his positional system as a foundation to create a good FC
Barcelona tiki taka tactic in Football Manager 2015 according to my
preferences and the limits of the current match engine.
When publishing my Football Manager 2015 Barcelona tiki taka possession
tactic I hope we can use this thread to bring up new ideas and have a

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valuable discussion on how to emulate the tiki taka playing style in Football
Manager rather than me providing my subjective view only.
I hope you will find your favorite system of the emulated Barcelona Tiki Taka
tactics below and that you will publish any tweaks made to it if you decide to
alter the system to your team in the comments field in bottom of the thread.
By downloading Passion4FMs Football Manager 2015 Tiki Taka tactic you
will record lots of passes and key passes, a couple of clear cut chances per
game as you like your team to create more distinct goalscoring opportunities
than the opponents, with shots coming from around the 18 yard box after
intelligent killer passes, fluid movements in the attacking phase to create
space while being defensive solid hopefully conceding the least amount of
goals within your league while scoring the most replicating the feats of
Josep Guardiola and FC Barcelonas goal scoring ratio.
I cant promise you titles or high scores, as I havent concerned myself with
results when creating my possession tactic, but I can promise you the feel of
playing as FC Barcelona from their incredible Guardiola era as Ive tried to
make it as close to reality as possible, within the frameworks (read limits) of
Football Manager 2015, of course. For me the objective is not to record match
results where I win 8-0 or something like that. Instead the main objective is to
implement the characteristics of the tiki taka playing style with its movements
and positional play as close to reality as possible.
While it is custom-made for Barcelona it will be well-suited for any team who
favors a continental playing style similar to FC Barcelona. Of course, the team
will need the required types of players and skills to make it successful. I will
come back to the key elements and basic attributes required for this playing
style later on.

One of the major concerns (headaches) trying to replicate the tiki taka playing
style for Football Manager 2015 and the different positional systems have
been the choice of team shape or structure. While I felt I found a great shape
and system for FM 2014 a tactic which recorded over 700 passes per match
with a passing accuracy of around 90% and possession between 65% and
70% (which I did not released), I had hoped to simply re-create the FM14 tiki
taka system and publish it for FM15. But this should not be as easy as I had
imagined due to the many patches and bug fixes of FM 2015 forcing me to
wait until the 15.3 update to publish the final product.
From what you have discovered or noticed from the tactical analysis I like to
use a 2-3-2-3 formation as a foundation for the tactic. The system makes it

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rather simple to record a 4-3-3 in the defensive phase, a 2-1-4-3 or a 2-3-2-3


in the attacking transition phase and a 2-3-5 / 3-3-4 in the attacking third. Its
a rather flexible system which gives a good foundation for ball circulation and
high pressing play.
As you know, the team shape influences on the players (teams) level of
creative freedom, their positioning within the system and level of mentality
(according to duty selected defend, support, attack). Here we can also take
into account player preferred moves, specific player instructions and choice of
team instructions which impacts defensive block, aggressiveness, positioning
and movements of the players. According to my knowledge you should be
able to benefit of for example creative freedom from fluid when building a
tactic under a flexible shape by for example using use Be More Expressive
and Roam From Positions or the total opposite by choosing Be More
disciplined at a fluid shape, taking benefits of specific features from a team
shape. The higher mentality of the players in the more advanced areas of the
pitch will make the team press automatically higher.
The team shape will influence on how compact the diamond will be, how
closely connected the players are and who, first and foremost, will be
responsible to take part in the defensive phase, transition phase and
attacking phase a more fluid approach lets you experience more players
involved in all phases of play compared to a highly structured approach.
When it comes to Barcelona under Josep Guardiola one of their strengths
was their compact shape and unison. As I see it, creative freedom was given
to some specific key players, who had the license to find pocket of space,
make killer passes more often and use their flair and agility to get by their
markers. If we should relate to the fluid team shape, the team were not split
up in one attacking and one defensive unit, but rather found a balance
between movements and keeping shape for the different phases of play
similar to the flexible team shape.
By using a flexible shape I expect that the players with an attacking duty will
automatically be given an higher mentality level and creative freedom
compared to a support duty player or a defend duty giving me the ability to
predict by choice of player roles who will be the main creators, who will be the
destroyers and who will retain possession more often and build others in.
This means that selecting wingbacks with an attacking duty expects me to
see them moving higher up the pitch than within a fluid / structured system
where the 5 back players have approximately the same mentality level, while
the midfielders and forwards are higher something that could create a gap
between the two units which is more preferable for more counter attacking

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systems (Borussia Dortmunds 4-2-3-1).


On the other hand, using a false nine (support) within a flexible system should
let me see him dropping deeper, staying closer to the advanced playmaker
(attack) in the center, who will take up an higher position than the deep lying
playmaker (support) creating a rhombus in the middle of the pitch.
By selecting attacking wingbacks and inside forwards at support duty I would
easily create a 2-3-5 formation in the attacking phase as they will overlap on
the flanks simply because of the duty selection taking up positioning in the
midfield-strata rather than selecting another team instructions (look for
overlap, which makes the playmakers hold up the ball even more than they
do increasing the risk of loosing the ball in the center of the pitch).
This year, like last, I started out with the flexible shape which expects me to
see central defenders with lower mentality level which provides depth in ball
circulation and low level of creative freedom compared to the advanced
playmaker attack or the false nine making them more disciplined and play
less risky. It would give me the chance to make a system which I can alter
quickly by the choice of player roles and duties to create numerical
superiority. The tactic worked as good as it could get according to the
overpowered wing play of 15.0, until the 15.3 update release which caused
some headaches, as I like to use the average positioning (heat maps) to spot
gaps the opponents can exploit.
One of the problems where the change of mentality(?) in regard to the false
nine, who took up a higher positioning than the inside forward attack rather
than staying in line or slightly behind him increasing the lateral space
between him and the central midfielders within the diamond. According to the
team shape of FM14 it seemed like he had the mentality of the deep lying
forward, rather than dropping deep into midfield playing with the mentality of
an advanced playmaker (attack), which I had expected he would have. This is
something you will see experience by selecting fluid as the false nine will drop
deeper.
The lower mentality of the central midfielders or the higher mentality of the
false nine decreases the possibility to regain possession effectively when
opponents are building out from the back as it creates a bigger gap between
the forward strata and the midfield strata. Some space between them are
preferable as the false nine shall drop into that space, but I felt it was too
much space.
It seemed that after the ME changes of 15.3 the fluid shape was more similar
to what I had found desirable for flexible at FM 2014 (14.2) in terms of
positioning, which is absolutely vital in order to regain possession quickly and

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circulate the ball with accuracy and fluid ball movement.


The other minor issue is the willingness to take risks in passing at flexible,
often experiencing a lower passing accuracy for the central defenders despite
having lower creative freedom. The result is that the team waste possession
more often in flexible shape, and is not regaining possession as quick as
intended reducing the possession percentage to below 65% rather than
plus 65%, which you will record more easily with fluid.
To illustrate this minor issue I will show you the screenshots of average
positions. Here is flexible at the left and fluid at the right.
Football Manager 2015 Shape:

Football Manager 2014 Team Structure

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If we should look beyond the problem of the false nine which does not seem
to drop as deep as Id like within the flexible system of 15.3 and the minor
issue with lower passing accuracy especially for the central defenders it
perfectly demonstrates how the formation transit within the flexible system.
Many of the screenshots provided below from match scenarios have been
taken within the last months by using flexible. It was only in the final stage of
testing I decided to rather recommend fluid above flexible due to the better
quick short passing and movements recording an higher passing accuracy,
increased amount of passes and key passes plus more clear cut chances.
The conclusion I have come to is that while the description of team shapes
are more plastic than they may seem at first, I rather prefer the fluid team
shapes for the 2-1-4-3 system, while the flexible shape better replicates the
2-3-5 system used against minor teams who defends deep.
I have therefore decided to make all tactics available both for flexible and fluid
team shape despite the minor issue with false nine, the advanced playmaker
(attack) who stays deep at goalkeeper distribution (fluid) or the deep lying
playmaker (support) who stays deep at goalkeeper distribution (flexible), but
this may be fixed by change of role and duty (roaming playmaker support)
giving you the choice of what you feel works the best.

What team shape would you prefer for a possession


tactic?

After working with a more standard (traditional) 4-3-3 formation for FM13, I
decided for FM14 to use a 2-3-2-3 formation instead. You can call the 2-3-2-3
formation my positional template.
As you know, the set formation dictates how the players will position

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themselves in the defensive phase of play meaning that the choice of


formation will determine how you will defend (with the help of player duties of
course). I chose the 2-3-2-3 formation to combat the 4-2-3-1 or any variations
using wide players in AM-strata. As the wing-backs will drop into the
defensive line in the defensive third, you will defend as a 4-3-3 (4-1-4-1)
depending on duties of inside forwards and choice of team shape. The many
lines of play makes it harder for the opposing team to play their way through
the center of the pitch forcing them to play more direct and on the counter
which them might be uncomfortable with.

The 2-3-2-3 formation is based on the same principles as Guardiolas playing


style: a compact unit which creates lots of triangles and rhombus which is
favorable for ball circulation, but also for regaining possession quickly as
everyone have a player in cover and are closely connected standing only a
few metres between each other. The formation is highly balanced giving you
the best foundation for extreme possession football in my point of view.
With the help of the high defensive block where the central defenders will
take up position close to the center circle providing both depth in ball
circulation and squeezing the play into the opposite half, it gives the whole
team the ability to start the collective pressing higher up the pitch compared
to a deeper defensive line literally minimizing the transition phase to some
seconds, which aims to reduce each players workload. Since the central
defenders stays higher up the field it leaves a lot of space behind to be
countered in, but it makes it harder for the opposition team to play their way
out of defense as the first line of defense starts with the three forwards, which
I rather prefer, as I want to regain possession as high up the pitch as close
to the penalty box as possible.
On the other hand, the formation is rather flexible, giving me vast amount of

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opportunities to alter the match tactics according to the opposition team. I can
quickly alter it to a 3-4-3 formation, 4-1-2-2-1, 2-3-5, 5-3-2, 2-5-3, 2-1-4-3 or a
3-1-3-3 formation depending on what is needed to create numerical
superiority in the middle as well as down the flanks simply by a change of
player role and/or duty.
From the 2-3-2-3 formation I have decided to publish at least 3 great tiki taka
tactics for Football Manager 2015, which I feel work wonders, especially in
regard to the principles of tiki taka in terms of movements, positional play and
style of passing.

While the 2-3-2-3 or Il Pozzos WW formation is the template for my FM15 tiki
taka tactic we can say a specific setup of Team Instructions are the basics of
the playing style. Here I would simply go through the team instructions I prefer
to start off with for the match in order to replicate the tiki taka playing style.
In Possession
With the ball I like my players to patiently build up the play with shorter
passes at players feet working the ball around until space opens up. The
short passing play looks to retain possession not taking any necessary risk in
your own half. Here the lower tempo is necessary to ensure that the
wingbacks gets time to move higher up the pitch trying to replicate the 15
pass rule of Josep Guardiola when building out from the back. The lower
tempo will also entice the opponents to close your players down more
frequently, which makes it more likely to move the ball into final third (behind

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them with more lateral


passes).
Here the shorter
passing and tempo will
ensure that the four
playmakers (deep
lying playmaker
defend and support,
the advanced
playmaker attack and
the false nine) will be
more disciplined in
their approach to
passing recording an
higher passing

With a fluid team shape you might see some

accuracy (around 90%

more passes and an higher passing accuracy

or above). They will


focus on passing

depending on opponent and choice of team


instructions

between each other


until space opens up, but will be more likely to split the opposite defensive
block by being more unpredictable. Still I want them to make killer passes to
the feet of their teammates as through balls are rather risky. As I see it, an
inaccurate pass between the midfielders would be devastating as there are
only one line behind them giving the opposition team perfect condition to
counter on you.
The foundation for the passing style starts with how the goalkeeper distributes
the ball and how the team play their way out of defence. By ticking the play
out of defense instruction it ensures that the players will pass their way out of
defensive third with short passes literally setting the passing length to
extremely short for the central defenders. While it may be dangerous against
a team who presses high I rely on the defensive players composure and
technical abilities to move the ball patiently out from the back until the
opponents defensive block is destabilized and unbalanced forcing the
opposite team to move from side to side until the passing play are too quick
for their anticipation and mind.
In the final third I would like to see lots of through balls and vertical passes,
trying to get the ball behind the oppositions defensive line and into the penalty
box. If I could have dictated by player roles that they should make through
balls sometimes in the middle third, I would love the ability to set through balls
to often in final third. By working the ball into the box I wants my team to wait

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for an opening or work hard to create gaps which they can exploit. The only
disadvantage is that the longer the attack goes on, the easier it is for the
opposite team to defend collectively by closing all the gaps. I recommend to
un-tick work ball into box if you are chasing for a goal against a strong
defensive opponent, as you may be able to exploit the rebounds as players
will be more likely to finish off the attack sooner rather than later. Couple that
with pass into space and you might see some beautiful football.
With the lack of height in the team I prefer to utilize low crosses which puts
emphasize on players acceleration, positioning and off the ball movement, as
the cross is played hard and accurate closer to the ground around 15-50
centimeters above ground. A low cross like this is far more difficult to handle
for the goalkeeper and the players marking first post as the ball is played
below knee height. Their cleverness within the penalty box will be an
important factor something Messi and Neymar should be the masters of.
Since the defensive line is most prone to forget the far post, I like to exploit
this weakness by telling my wide players to deliver crosses to the far post for
this system.
Out of Possession
One of the ways Barcelona successfully regains possession quickly is to
stand closer to their markers, denying obvious passing options for the player
with the ball. I like to minimize the playing pitch, forcing the opposite team to
rely more on their football intelligence, technical abilities in one on one
situations when put under pressure. I like to force them to make mistakes by
exploiting their weaknesses either its a poor left foot, poor first touch or a
low vision and passing abilities.

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The result of the high-pressing is an increase of direct passes for


the opposition team which makes it more likely to intercept the
pass.
The level of the defensive line will dictate
when the pressing starts. I like to start off
by asking my players to push higher up
making sure the team press collectively
high up the pitch. By setting the defensive
line to approximately the half way line it
ensures that the central midfielders will be
positioned closer to their opposite
markers (if not I might have to change
player role (and/or duty) for example
change the deep lying playmaker support to an central midfielder or a
roaming playmaker support when facing a 4-2-3-1 DM.
Close down more coupled with specific player instructions to close down
more often and opposition instructions will ensure that the opponents will
have less time to get control of the ball. Here I prefer to use the close down
more rather than close down much more as it does not destroy the team
shape and collective pressing I here by speak of. But of course, if the
opposite team gets too much space and time, use close down much more for
shorter periods of time, or move the defensive line higher up the pitch.

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The tighter marking ensures that the players will stay in a close range of his
opposite marker, making it more likely to intercept passes. The single holding
midfielder combined with the two central defenders will record the most
interceptions as they stay deeper to cover for the advanced players full
pressing. Here you will notice the relationship between the high pressing, high
defensive line and my aim to decrease the opponents passing accuracy when
building out from the back forcing them to utilize a longer direct passes.

Note! Get stuck in might be a solution if you struggle to win possession of the
ball as players will decrease the space to his opponents even further being
more forceful and combative.

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Utilizing the width will be one of the important aspects to succeed with a
possession tactic in Football Manager 2015. This is not only influenced by the
pitch dimension but also in regard to the formation and its compactness.
Width will not only dictate how closely connected your players are, but also
how you can exploit gaps in the opponents tactical system by setting the
correct width. Setting the width will not only be one of the most important
tactical decision from match to match according to opponent in order to
exploit weaknesses and eliminate strength, but should be carefully
considered in order to play according to your teams strength, either you may
have better players on the flanks than in the center.
When you download and load the tiki taka tactic I have not set any team
instructions to width, but the foundation for correct width is already
implemented for you by player instructions, choice of starting mentality and
player role behavior. Apart from that the choice of width will basically depends
on your pitch dimension. A short but wide pitch is better for taking benefits of
your wing play while a long and narrow gives you a better foundation to be
superior in the center. The dimension will also depend on your players level of
stamina, how technical gifted they are and how well they utilize less space in
relationship with the teams average age.
Recommended pitch size in
my point of view for any
possession tactics are:
Short Tick Team Instruction:
Play Wider + Exploit the

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middle
Standard Tick Team
Instruction Play narrower
Short and Wide Tick Team
Instruction: Play Narrower
*Note that the team instruction
according to width will depend on the opposite match tactic as well, since I
prefer to keep a narrower shape than them without sacrificing the required
width needed in the final third to create gaps.
In order to replicate Guardiolas football philosophy I want a strong presence
of technical gifted players in the center of the pitch who are capable of using
their vision and passing capability to split the defensive block apart aka the
midfield diamond who I want to stay closer to each other which can be
influenced by TI play narrower, work ball into box or play through the middle.
These four players plus the goalkeeper will have the best perspective of play
and can quickly change the point of attack, play lateral passes to a breaking
player or simply move the ball into final third or into the penalty box from zone
14. The MCL and MCR will be positioned on the edge of the center channel
and the halfspace both stretching play for the false nine to drop into, but also
maintain the perspective of play despite being positioned wider of the center
channel. An extremely narrow positioning here would mean that the passing
options out wide would be reduced increasing the risk for the pass to be
intercepted as it would be easier to defend against.
In the attacking phase I want to utilize the full width stretching the play
diagonally. Here the attacking wingbacks will provide the main width of the
formation staying wider, while the inside forwards will cut inside. Influenced by
Luis Enriques tactical system of 2014-2015 season I tend to ask both or one
of the inside forwards to sit narrower, but this may depend on the choice of
duty for the left wingback (support or attack) and how you want the
combination play between the false nine and the inside forwards to be. The
main purpose of instruction my inside forwards to sit narrower is to exploit the
decision-making dilemma for the opposite markers (DC, DRL) dragging them
closer to the center providing more space on the flanks for the attacking
wingbacks to manoeuvre in providing better circumstances for overlaps to
occur forcing the opposition team to also take into account the threats from
wide.
The angle between the central midfielders and the inside forwards ensures
not only that the opposite team have to combat the strong presence and
overload of players in the center, but also have to take into account the ideal

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angles of penetrating passes from deep. The few metres between the
inverted wingers and the advanced playmakers makes it easier to regain
possession if the ball path are intercepted. Another benefit of the attacking
wingbacks which stays wider are the tendency for the opposite team to
forget about them. If the play becomes too congested in the middle, the
playmakers can easily switch the ball to the other flank giving the wingbacks
the chance to move the play higher up running towards the byline or come
clear on goal. Your team will be lethal from all areas of the pitch, something
your opponents have to take into account when defending either instructing
their wingers to be more defensive minded or leaving space out wide and
hoping to make play so congested in the middle that your team cant find the
ultimate opening to score goals. No matter what, you will experience to
benefit from the space your opponent is leaving forcing them to not make
any individual errors in regard to positioning and closing down.

While I want my team to play wider than my opponent in the attacking phase I
want my team to make the pitch as small as possible when defending. As the
inside forwards are already staying narrower, it will be the main responsibility
of the wingbacks to decrease width seeming like the team is always in
possession as the positional play is maintained by simply reducing the metres

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between each position.


While diagonal width is minimized in the defensive phase its important for the
central defenders to push up when the team is pressing high like illustrated
above squeezing play in order to leave less space between lines for the
opposition to exploit.
In the heat of the match it will be important to analyze the width and where
you can leave space in relationship to where you will close gaps for the
opposition team. While I like to play compact leaving no obvious gaps I tend
to prioritize to instruct my team to play narrower than the opponent despite it
will impact the width in the attacking phase as well. As you will notice I have
not set any other instructions to width for the beginning of the match outside
player instructions in order to analyze the oppositions weaknesses and
strength for their match tactics.

The tiki taka philosophy could be entitled as an integral culture where player
development is as important as the philosophy in terms of transfers and youth
recruitment. Its not like the sudden change of a manager entirely change the
way the team will play or which training sessions that will be elementary for
the youths preparations to become a future first team member.
FC Barcelona and its tiki taka playing philosophy is unique in that way that
there is a central concept which flows through the club a primarily idea
about how to control and dominate the opposition. This idea about how to
play beautiful football have stand as the founding pillar of the clubs football
philosophy and culture for at least 25 years.
This is why I consider it as the evolution of Total football, not only because of
the style, but also because of the focus on specific training routines created to
make sure all players from the age of 7 (PreBenjami) will fit into the
playing style perfectly when they should be ready for the first team 10-15
years ahead. Training is incorporated not only to be technical proficient to
endure the high passing tempo or tactical intelligent to fit into the positional
play but everything is about rehearsed play on improving intuition and
decision-making giving them the tools to adapt to situations with the basis of
reducing the time spend on issues like: knowing where your team mates are.
For example the rondo is one basic training session which will serve as
rehearsed play. The habitual training Im briefly mentioning is one of the
heritages of Total Football and the revamp Johan Cruyff did to the youth
academy.

All coaches talk too much about running a lot. I say

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its not necessary to run so much. Soccer is a game


thats played with the brain. You need to be in the
right place at the right time, not too early, not too late.
Johan Cruyff
The training is structured around the principles of how the first team plays by
using a development program build on the concepts of the football philosophy
integrated at the club running through all the ranks of the club. The
development model is build around age relevant training providing each age
group a step by step program of the characteristics of the playing identity.
This to ease the step up from juniors to the first team or from youth ranks
(under 16) to the reserves (under 21). This ensures that the players gone
through the ranks are experts of the playing style having recorded
approximately 10,000 hours of specialized training around the concepts of tiki
taka by the age of early twenties.
Player development at Barcelona was/is focused around; we train as we
play, with the same intensity of a football match. Sessions will never last
longer than 90 minutes and the training sessions themselves looks to improve
player fitness and stamina, and not by running up and down hills. So how
does this relates to the general training in Football Manager 2015.
Pre-Season [Improving Tactical Familiarity]
I wont delve into how to improve
the tactical familiarity levels here.
That will be discussed in an own
post (previously released but not
moved to our new server) later.
But the pre-season is all about
match preparations and
improving team cohesion. Just to
summarize, the level of team
cohesion can be monitored under
the assistant managers team talk
feedback report. I prioritize to
have a good level of understanding amongst the players before the first
league match kicks off. So after some weeks (hopefully 2-4 weeks) of fitness
training I use general training team cohesion in companionship with match
tactics for match preparations. With the scheduling slider set to 50% on match
preparation Match tactics until all the tactical familiarity levels reaches
100/100 the remaining time will be spend on tactical general training from the
time team blend is good.

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NOTE! Team cohesion is also the mandatory option when 2 or more


players have been purchased or sold.
General Training In-Season
As detailed in the appendix about the player roles of tiki taka the key
attributes for such a playing style revolves around the ability to read the
game (anticipation) make good (correct) decisions through out the match and
be a team player who can be calm under pressure and make intelligent
decisions despite fatigue. The majority of general training is set to improve
the players tactical intelligent. I spend an high amount of team training on
Tactical at any club Im managing. Apart from the Tactical team training,
which I consider as the basis of the clubs development plan I also tend to set
an equal focus on Ball Control, because of the importance of improving
technique and first touch, and Attacking to improve vision, off the ball and
passing. But here it may be natural to believe that passing is improved
together with first touch and technique as real life training drills evolving
around the ability to control the ball also has an element of passing. Since its
impossible to know which training drills the players do, I favour to focus 50%
on ball control and Attacking apart from Tactical.
One model to use is 2 weeks tactical, 1 week ball control and 1 week
attacking per month. But this comes down to analysis of your squad,
periodic performance analysis of areas your team might struggle with,
either its low goal scoring ratio, poor passing or lack of team movement
and tactical understanding.
Some would also claim that positioning is also an important part of the play,
especially in terms of pressing and therefor Defending should be at least be
prioritized to some degree, but I rather have my team focus 30% on Ball
Control and Attacking and then follow Josep Guardiolas philosophy to
practice defensive organization and positioning when building out from the
back prior to one game per month just to ensure the players doesnt forget
that important element of play.

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Here is one common example of my approach to team training including


focus area and intensity level.
This level of balance between general training and match preparations and its
intensity level is primarily used in periods where the fixture list is normal (one
match per week). For English weeks (one mid-week match included) I prefer
to decrease the match preparation to 10% in order to focus on player
development when tactical familiarity and team blend is at highest.
Match Preparation looks to boost the area which Im not currently focusing on
for general training. While Attacking Movement might be selected over 50% of
the season for match preparation in order to improve the off the ball
movements and positional play in possession defensive positioning might be
a good number two if you concede goals very often. This is partly because I
prefer Tactical focus ahead of Ball Control and then Attacking for general
training.
Youth Training & Development
One of the first things I do when
taking over a new club is to
ensure that the reserves and
under 19/18 plays matches with
First teams tactics. This can be
managed under Staff
Responsibilities. I also favour to
have total control of the reserves
and Under-19/18 training. For
youth development I prefer to set
100% focus on player

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development. This means that youth team training is set to Tactical


throughout the season at 10% match preparations just to make them familiar
with the clubs match tactics.

I wont make this section


long, but rather hand you
the main content as
much have been
discussed further in the
article how to win
possession. The setup
of opposition instruction
is all about limiting the
space and time for the
opposite player with the
ball.
I want players to be
pushed inside into my pressing trap by showing players on to the opposite
foot of their playing area (for example onto left foot for the right winger. You
will notice that I have not set up anything for the AMR / AML position. Here I
use specific instructions for the player depending on if he is likely to cut inside
or cross from byline. It partly depends on the inside forwards dribbling abilities
in relationship to acceleration and balance. Poor balance makes me favour
hard tackling but closing down will depend on his dribbling capabilities. High
dribbling and acceleration might force you to set closing down to never.
Note that I put as much pressure on the second and third line of defence and
as much pressure on isolated player positions such as GK, sweeper, single
holding midfielder and central defenders / midfielders.

Before I give you the chance to take a closer look on the different tactical
systems available for download its worthy for me to mention that the tactical
systems and tactics provided below must be seen in relationship to each
other as I might change between the systems within a match or between
matches according to what I like to achieve. All of them will record +60%

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possession, around 600+ passes, over 20 shots per match and at least 2
clear cut chances per match depending on whom you are up against. Here
I will take into account that you have players with the ability of playing
extreme possession football despite I have recorded some nice results with a
young Red Star team.
I look at the systems provided as one tactic with different possibilities and
strengths. The records provided will just give you an illustration of what you
can expect once managed to incorporate a possession football philosophy at
your managing club in regard to goal types, assists types, where most of the
goals comes from and the ratio of conceded goals versus goals scored.

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When I started to create

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another tiki taka tactic for


Football Manager 2015 in
December I decided to
morph the asymmetric
4-3-3 / 3-4-3 formation
which Barcelona used
primarily in the
2010-2011 season and
the 4-3-3 formation with
attacking wing backs
used 2011-2012. While I
only published one
tactical system build around the 2010-2011 season for Football Manager
2013 I decided to make a tactical template which lets you easily change your
(attacking) formation with a subtle change of player duties. The basic 2-3-2-3
formation you can download below has become one of my favorite systems
as the movements from the players (with correct player preferred moves)
exploits spaces in a way that you can easily get into the final third by neatly
thread passes which looks to split the lines open.
While this tactic might seem more complex, it is based on providing a better
balance between the players responsibility and movements within the
framework of 2-3-2-3. It aims to overload a typical 4-4-2 formation or any
systems using a maximum of 4 midfielders as the formation transits from a
4-4-2 in the defensive phase to a 2-1-4-3 or a 2-5-3 in transition, while it
resembles more an asymmetric 3-3-4 formation in the attacking phase. Some
would also say it looks like a 2-3-5 when the opposition team is pinned back
into their own penalty box. But when the false nine drops deep to get the ball
in the attacking transition phase the formation can resemble a 2-4-4 formation
forcing the defensive line to stay deep rather than closing down the
movement of the false nine which gives him time to turn, get an overview of
the passing alternatives and importantly makes him able to dribble with the
ball at full speed against a retreating opposite block.

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False Nine dropping deep to create space to roam into for the inside
forwards and complete wingback attack.
The 2-3-2-3 system I hereby speak of aims to replicate how Guardiola wants
to overload on one side in order to open up space on the other to create
goalscoring opportunities from. As you will notie the triangles and rhombus
shapes are more narrow which aids to create numerical superiority and better
opportunities to circulate the ball; both quicker and with an intention to
penetrate from deep getting the complete wingback free of marking on the
right while the inside forward left will stretch play giving the team the chance
to switch the ball over to the opposite flank.

[] You have to pass the ball with a clear


intention, with the aim of making it into the
oppositions goal. Its not about passing for the sake of
it []
[] The secret is to overload one side of the pitch
so that the opponent must tilt its own defence to cope
so that they leave the other side weak. [] Then we
attack and score from the other side. []

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Pep Confidential; The Inside Story of Pep


Guardiolas First Season at Bayern Munich, Mart
Perarnau, 2014
Here are two examples of the overload the domination of possession, and
the intricate passing I want in order to successfully emulate the tiki taka:

While these screenshots where taken in the pre-season of my new Red Star
save, where tactical familiarity where around 60/100 for the majority of its
categories, which I will come back to in a later post, it shows my intention
when building this tactic. Despite the team had not the recommended player
preferred moves yet, or the abilities to play a possession tactic according to
my preferences you can clearly see some of its abilities. In order to give you a
better insight I will illustrate this tactic on my tactics board.

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As you see, the system is build around more movements on the right side
compared to left. Most notably is the forward runs from the attacking complete
wingback into the space providing passing alternatives for Xavi, Messi and
Iniesta to switch the ball to. This is allowed as the right inside forward will sit
narrower running diagonally into the center as the false nine drops deep. The
deep lying playmaker (MCR) will provide cover for the CWB forward runs and
look to make play unpredictable by swapping between retaining possession
and play through balls from zone 14 normally to the false nine or in to space
for the inside forward support to run onto.
While play is concentrated on the right will the advanced playmaker attack
look to get into the box by deep runs. He will provide a second option of
penetration as his dribbling and forward runs will look to destabilize the
opposite defensive block. I consider the left inside forward as the main
goalscorer as the false nine will prioritize to play killer passes into the penalty
box towards the left IF, who will exploit any spaces or gaps. But the deep
positoning of the inside forward right who will stay closer to the false nine will
be an ideal opportunity by them to play one twos with each other.

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The Inside forward support cuts inside to the edge of zone 14 and will play
through balls. Acting like a fake attacking midfielder he will look to
overload the half space coming / staying deep to get the ball while the
complete wingback stretches play down the right flank providing a
dilemma for the DC and DR.

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The positional system and players roaming into space creates an overload
against the defensive block. Here the false nine destabilize the defensive
block by dribbling creating space for the deep lying playmaker to exploit as
the center channel is left open.
Note! The tactical system aims to leave the center (the penalty box) open
in order for the players to run into creating trouble since as many as 5-6
players are rushing at the opposite defensive line depending on the duty of
the left wingback.

You might notice a slight difference between the tactical system I here by
speak of in regard to the 2-3-5 which you can download below and the duty of
the left wingback provided in the download link. with the wingback given an
attacking duty in the flexible system the formation will resemble a 2-1-4-3
formation giving you more width and more overlaps occurring.
Some would argue that the wingback in support duty will give the deep lying
playmaker and the defenders an additional passing option when building out
from the back, I have simply wanted a lower mentality to provide cover for the
attacking runs of IF-A left and advanced playmaker attack (left). The
wingback support will not only look to counter the advanced position of the

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opposite winger (in attack duty) but it will stretch play vertically providing
space.

Published: 24.04.2015
Updated: N/A
File Size: 40Kb

Published: 24.04.2015
Updated: N/A
File Size: 40Kb

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The Barcelona Tiki Taka


2-3-5 formation is
recommended to apply
against teams who play
with a lone forward;
4-2-3-1, 4-1-4-1 or any
variations where you
have one attacking
midfielder and one
forward, as it looks to
create numerical
superiority within the
defensive line as well as
quality superiority in the
DM-strata by moving the wing backs from the traditional fullback strata. This
is done to decrease the opposite wingers space providing more balance to
the team and create numerical superiority down the flanks as well in the
midfield line, especially when facing a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-2-2-1 formation, as you
will be literally playing a 2-1-4-3 formation with wingbacks at attacking duty
when in possession. The 2-3-2-3 have then transformed from a 4-3-3 in the
defensive phase to a 2-1-4-3 when building out from the back (middle third) to
a 2-3-5 formation in the attacking third overloading the opposite team around
the penalty box.
The 2-3-2-3 -> 2-3-5 variant will be better against teams who utilize a deep
defensive block congesting play to the middle as you look to exploit the wide
areas of the pitch by overloading the flanks. Here the holding playmaker will
step up into the center midfield when needed creating a strong triangle in the
center while covering the center channel with the help of central defenders
who stay closer to each other compared to using the half back role. While I
prefer to use it against weaker opponents, the advanced wingbacks can
reduce the attacking abilities of the opposite inside forwards as they needs to
spend more energy tracking back rather than utilizing their creativity in the
attacking third, which they are more comfortable doing.

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When the attacking wingbacks gets forward whenever possible, the inside
forwards (support duty) will cut diagonally into the middle, exploiting the half
space between the opposing fullbacks and central defenders. The movement
attracts the opposing markers attention which creates even more space down
the flanks the wingbacks can exploit from. Since the complete wingback
attack (right) will look to make an impact in the opposing half the deep lying
playmaker support will have an important job to cover for his runs. The main
job of the deep lying playmaker support will be to retain possession, break the
lines with intelligent passes and provide some key passes from deeper
position.

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In regard to the single holding playmaker who will have a pivotal role, he will
look to intercept passes, win back the ball by stepping up in the midfield line
or drop back to increase the amount of passing options for the central
defenders when building out from the back. Here some would automatically
choose a regista or a defensive midfielder, but I have opted for the DLP
(defend) for this system as I need him to hold position in front of the central
defenders, both to provide depth in ball circulation but also to have an higher
creative freedom and level of mentality compared to the DM(d). Of course,
the choice of role for the single holding midfielder will be dependent of the
uses of an AM or not or the role of the AM as it may be favorable to use a
player who close down more horizontal when facing a trequartista. From the
description of the defensive midfielder role, it states that the DM will also look
to hold up the ball while the team is reorganizing themselves which might
make him vulnerable to be pressured, reducing the passing tempo too much,
instead of recording an higher amount of passes (key passes and killer
passes when the opportunity is there) for the defensive midfielder.

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Published: 24.04.2015
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Tags: Download Tactics, Downloads, FC Barcelona, FM13, FM15, Josep


Guardiola, Possession Tactics, Pressing, Tiki Taka

Espen manages Passion for Football Manager with


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66 Comments

Tm Vit

http://passion4fm.com/football-manager-2015-possession-tactic-barcelon...

This is the demo video Tiki-Taka:

TjP

I don't know if I can wait any longer!!! :'(

Passion for Football Manager

Mod

Really sorry, I will provide people with the main content


instead of publishing all the appendixes as I wanted
because of illness. So much valuable time have been
lost for me.

Stephen Murray

Hi mate I downloaded your Tiki Taka 2-3-5


(Great Work) and made some adjustments. Ive
made it Fluid, added the instructions Tackle
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SHARE YOUR FOOTBALL


MANAGER TIPS!
USE HASHTAG
!

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