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Tactical Help Needed- Breaking the top 3. Lots of Screenshots!! Woop!

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Hi my name is Conan and I'm an addict.

I spend a lot of my spare time, mainly when I go to bed after work, playing FM rather than worrying about becoming a dad and looking at which is the best bleeding pram to buy. So I promised my other half I would seek help. So I'm coming to you all to help me break the top three with my lovely Watford :D

So I've just started the 2019/2020 Season with Watford, a team I got sacked by and then re-hired a year later in 2017 (A rollercoaster of emotion). I've tried to play FM13 without downloading tactics and I've done OK, but OK is not good enough...

By doing OK I mean doing pretty well, with my last four finishes in the PL being 7th, 7th, 5th, 4th.

This was the table at the end of last year:


I find myself just nowhere near as good as the top 3 or 4 teams. I find goal difference to be one of the best indicators of how good a team is and mine is not brilliant. Even though my team is relatively strong, without some of Oil Rich Prince coming in and buying all the top players for me it just seems impossible to break the top 3 with my tactic as it is now.

This is the tactic as it currently is:


All player instructions have been left as normal, except long shots been set to rarely for every player and one of my CB's set to more defensive than the other one. This was done to prevent so many long shots and to stop my CB's committing to a challenge by sprinting 40 meters up the pitch to miss a tackle and leave a huge gap at the back (kinda worked a bit).

I feel like my team should be more solid at the back than it currently is. I also have a problem with the team moving the ball really well up the pitch until they jget to the edge of the opposition box then seeming to have no clue what to do with it.

This is the comparison report for the team and all the positions:



All Positions










Sorry if this is too many screenshots, I'm just trying to make it easier for you guys to help me out :)

I can also post the screenshots of all my newgen players so you all can let me know if I'm using them in the correct roles or not etc.

Thanks in advance, Conan

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I was going to post yesterday but I didnt have the time to give you a decent reply based on the time you spend posting all the screenies :D I dont think a one sentence reply would have been kind so dont lose too much heart if no one posted straight away.

Ok, so where to begin... there are two levels when you hit the Prem in FM13, there are the top 4 (Utd, City, Chelsea, Ars/Spurs) and then there are the rest of the other poor sods. I was in a very similar position to you, I made some very steady progress then hit the "top 4 wall". I tried to vary my tactics, change things around by copying what the other top 4 were doing and nothing was working. I went along like this for about 5 seasons, managing to break into top 3 on one lucky occasion. Then after season 6 id noticed my stadium was being upgraded, my rep had increased and the transfer budget was around £50m.

So I brought in two high quality world class players (the best I could possibly attract and afford) and thats when everything changed for me. I went back to the original tactic that got me to where I was in the first place, my rep went up, my gates were selling out every match and the club was bombing forward... all off the back of the two players. Finished 2nd but was making big leaps towards the title. The extra increase in rep and league placing gave me a similar budget again so I got in two more WC players, from there I went on to win the title. So ive now I have some WC players who are knocking on a bit but still doing the job but as ive laid the ground work for a world class team I have more funds to invest in youth and replacements for these older players. Its a steady but whorthwile cycle..

I can see you are on the way to having a decent team with the compaison page but you need to take it to next level and you need to sort out the jumping in your team as it looks like you have a bunch of midgits lol :p

So bottom line is your next step up is not so much tactic but getting in that extra step up in class. Yes getting your tactic is spot on but ultimatly those top 4 teams are likely to have a much better team than you on paper.

And narrow tactic DO work in FM13, check out my BOX post, winning everything with it now.


those two games you post above... well a huge amount of long shots. Are your players getting up to the play quick enough and are players being isolated? You may need to change your strategy for the weaker teams and try to be a bit more patient in your build up

Good luck :)

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When did you concede the losing goals in both the Wolves and Norwich games? Seems to me you did enough to win but probably got caught on the counter (you are quite attacking) or fell asleep early or late in the game.

If you can add 10 goals a season (maybe have a look at how you have your set pieces set up, or see if you can do some wizardry in the transfer market) and stop 10 goals a season at your end (Goalkeeper distribution, Marking, Defending Set Pieces, analyse them all) you won't be far off at all next year.

EDIT: I've just seen your team comparison stats, you are a strong, fast unit who can tackle like beasts, Tackle hard and use your pace !

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It is difficult to succeed with only one player on each flank defending against crosses. Also, very defensive teams tend to have many midfielders, and it is likely hard to break down - causing upsets.

To be honest, with Erick Torres and Ademilson as strikers, and Zouma in defense, you are actually not overperforming at all. Those are class players a few seasons in. the rest of your team seems quite good as well, based on the stats. A flat 442 will likely see you take that step.

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