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Looking for advice on playing away from home

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Been playing as Man Utd, and at the start of the season i seem to be ok playing at home, winning games comfortably against even the likes of City and Arsenal. However, away from home, I've suffered defeats against Valencia, Stoke and a scraped win against Lille.

Im interested to know people's (general) thoughts and approaches on playing away from home. For instance more direct passing, quicker tempo, standing off opponents etc.

It seems like the opposition generally close down more and play a shorter passing style at home, and I always seem to get much lower possession and pass completion rates and I'd like to know good ways to counter this.

Thanks in advance.

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I used to have this attitude in the game, and any of the older posters will know this to be true. Attack was my best form of defense and in all cases I would just clobber everyone. FM12 wasnt very different. However in FM13, the me is totally new the way it sets up is new. We need to approach the game with the mindset that the AI will be aggressive at home, it will even be aggressive away if its in a relegation dogfight. There are now so many elements that can affect it that you need to consider what may drive that team..

Is it a relegation fight

Is the season/competition coming to a point where the direction of it could change..say the last game in a group competition

Are you leading the table and are your players getting complacent.

Have you said the wrong thing during your press conference to fire them up?

If theres one thing I have learnt:- Domination and a clean streak demand that you pay close attention to player motivation, their body language. If players get complacent your team talk is critical especially if you are the favorite; is the other team more motivated than yours coming out of the break? These are all things you need to observe.

Where are your attacks coming from? Are these fulcrums properly motivated? Your attacking fulcrums are not your strikers, they are the ones that drive the game. Thats just the motivational side of the game. How you approach it at the start of the game is vital and this is where your strategy comes in. If you are playing a team that is motivated to survive or catch up with you then you cannot go into the game in an attacking mindset. You need to step back and assess the situation first. A lower strategy gives you time to soak their attacks and then launch counters. If a team is driven and motivated you need to frustrate them. This is where i apply OI to their fulcrums and shut them out so they get frustrated. When they get frustrated they pick up yellow cards. When they get frustrated the team as a whole feels it and when their captain gets affected then you increase your odds.

Approaching away games isnt about choosing the right tactic anymore, its all about your SYSTEM, what do you do? how do you throw the other team off? how do you apply pressure so that they play how you want them to play

Kevin Keegan's style of football has left da house .

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Great response from Rashidi and he is spot on.... there ain't no easy way this time. And for those that think they have found.... we'll see you posting in season two when it doesn't work any more.

I've just been chatting with a tactical guru and we were discussing the merits of watching whole games (which we both do/did) vs watching none or only part. I've always tended to watch whole games and as it stands right now, I don't see how people don't.

That said, I am trying a new tactic and formation so, it's taking some getting used too.

However, to your question.......

If you are playing away, in it's simplest terms, you can expect them to be more aggressive and attacking that they would be playing you at your home. However, in my view, you just can't beat watching the game and seeing what happens. The key reason being, this works whether you're at home, away, neutral, dogfight, promotion battle, euro qualifying.... whatever..... it works.

Of course, going into a game knowing what to expect makes things easier......

I was just commenting that where I am considered "Comfortable" favourites, then the home team will still attack me. This is normally evident by their wingbacks pushing forwards and their more direct passing, and also, in your example... their more aggressive closing down.

Learning to read what is happening is key.

One thing I just learnt.... again from my recent conversation, is that there are differing ways to counter someone else that is attacking. Like Rashidi here, my buddy also attacks, however I tried that in my game and it just wasnt working. The space was there, but I was taking massive risks in trying to attack it, and I didn't like it.

So, in the end I stuck with Standard, shouted deeper, played direct and directed play down both flanks (not shout). The reason for this was that they were playing a 451 (flat) with Bent up front........ and he is fast. Now the game has not finished, and no doubt I'll leak a goal as I always do, but it's 2-0 to me and they have only had 4 shots despite a 46% possession rate.

Like my buddy said.... there are many ways to skin a cat.... or was it his Gran that said that??? :brock:

I'm sure there are easier answers, but with my answer, I know it works and if you do it right, it will work everytime!


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I guess the problem i have is that, playing as Man Utd, i feel sometimes its not 'right' to sit back and play on the counter against weaker teams. It does seem that the AI have a considerable advantage at home (which i suppose is realistic) especially noticable in the possession stats.

I suppose i'll try being more conservative away in the future and see how that goes.

Thanks for the replies guys :)

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In real football you see it more and more that teams don't just sit back, especially when at home or having an incentive to actually get points. I've noticed in the minutes immediately after scoring, the opposition will attack more - it's rare that a team will concede then continue to just get pummeled. It happens, sure, but more often than not, as in real life, they actually try to do something about it. Also, don't underestimate the power of a good counterattacking strategy. Because you're ManU, you should have a superior side than the opposition, then why not also have a smarter side that will exploit the gaps and make them think twice about coming out all guns blazing. With my Roma team, I've managed to build a side which is confident enough defending and at times absorbing pressure just as much as controlling the game with attacking. At first, I was so frustrated that I could pull off very good results against the Juves and Milans, but lose to, say, Atalanta. It took me embarrasingly long to see that for Atalanta, I wasn't just a bully coming to their stadium to teach them a footballing lesson - I was a rival, a potential scalp, and that bully trying to stuff them into a relegation scrap. If they're down 1:0, and i have my cruising Control strategy and happy to work the ball into the box, they have to go hell for leather!

Away against weaker teams shouldn't mean defending all the time, but it does mean respecting your opponent and expecting a duel, rather than just focusing on how best to put three goals past them. Also, it's often easy to focus on Aguero or Suarez, but often more difficult to take Shane Long or Kevin Nolan as a credible threat to your world class squad.

I would suggest strarting with a reasonably attacking strategy, but don't be shy to counterattack or use shouts to ensure you tighten up and also fully exploit the weaknesses of your opposition.

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What is your expectation for the match? I have a basic mantra that I must win all my home games and not lose my away games. However, Man U the expectation is to win all the games and the opposing teams expection is not to lose badly.

I've recently played a game where I was massive favourite and the opposing team just shut up shop from the start. Luckily, I went up a goal early so I figure I'll get more opportunities but they did not change tactics and put 10 men behind the ball. I always watch the full ME and I knew this was happening so I changed my back 3 into a back 1 and pushed my centre backs out to full backs. At no point was I concerned about losing the lead because I was confident I knew how they were playing and observing their formation for changes.

Cut a (very) long story short:

- watch the match engine in full

- you decide which way to go; more attacking, controlling or countering

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i do watch the match engine in full, and what i see is that at home i control possession, and have a lot of time on the ball. Away from home its the exact opposite, my passing completion rate is down, as is possession. The AI is generally closing down a lot quicker, which i counter usually with shouts.

The problem is that if i try more direct passing, 90% of the time its hoofed down field towards my poacher in vain which gives the opposition more possession and is yet more incomplete passes for me.

I know all of this can be sorted out with tactics and shouts, but im still striving to find the right approach and wanted to get some thoughts from others. Thanks for the input

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To elaborate a little more:

Im trying out a 4-3-3


Rooney and RVP have roaming on, with the idea that this, combined with their PPM to come deep to get ball, would link up with the 2 MCs who would in turn receive possession from the DM.

My main aim with this is to pass well and keep possession, which should be achievable with the numbers in the middle of the pitch.

This is away vs West Ham:


This is exactly the kind of link up play i want to see, unfortunately, it needs to happen a lot more often. Fletcher draws the RB out of position before passing to Hernandez who is occupying 2 defenders, leaving space in behind for Rooney to run on to.


This is what is constantly frustrating me. Here evra has two passing options about 10 yards away from him, instead he opts to pass to the keeper, who then launches the ball forward even though he's under no pressure.

The next two screenshots are about 20 seconds apart, one when West Ham are in possession and the other when we are in possession. Their players are in similar positions to ours but they have that extra bit of space that allows them to pass through us:

West Ham in possession:


Man Utd in possession:


How would i go about improving this? On the defensive side- tight marking? Narrower? On the attacking side - more roaming? more players running from deep?

To achieve the kind of passing i want, would a quick tempo be better against a team closing down more aggressively like West Ham did, and slow tempo against a team sitting back and absorbing pressure?

And any comments or advice on the formation, duties and roles would be very greatly appreciated, and I'll post more info if needed.

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