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Struggling to get my forwards to score (Man Utd with modified Tiki-Taka)

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Fellow managers,

I started a save with Man United (see if I can do better than Mourinho) and made them play the way I love, possession + attacking football. I have to say I think I succeeded, football being played on my screen is beautiful and I'm fighting neck to neck with Man City and Liverpool for the 1st spot. I even made Pogba the top goalscorer, with 19 goals so far, vast majority from long shots where he's been outstanding!

But I still feel my forwards are being wasted. Usually I win with not many goals, and they usually come from the midfielders. Rarely a goal is scored by top players like Alexis Sanchez, Lukaku, Martial or Lingard. The only forward I use that sometimes score a goal is Rashford.

Is it possible that the problem are my tactics? Let me show you what I've been using.

This is my tactic. You have there the formation and TIs. As for PIs, my mantra is instruct less risk (and less dribbles) for all defenders and midfielders and give all the risk and creative freedom to the front 3. I also instruct the 2 IFs to stay wide, like Guardiola (my inspiration) uses to do.


Now, as you can see bellow, most of the influence comes from the midfielders. Pogba, like I said before is the goalscorer, and both Ander Herrera and Fred also have very good influence. You can also see the League Table, where I'm doing reasonably good:


Lastly this is the schedule so far. Not great or perfect, still good, even tho some of the games I haven't win, I feel that a better use of my forwards could have solved that. After all, they are there to score goals, especially the strikers.



Can you help me get my tactic better? If it's not asking much, don't just tell me to change this or that, but also why. Because I don't want to copy a winning strategy, I want to learn it :)

Thank you!

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You play a low tempo, short passing game out of a high line/pressing block. Your team is trying (successfully based on results) to keep the opposing team stiffled in its own half and control possession and the ball. However as an effect of this, your striker rarely has any space to attack.

In the ideal world of your tactic, you are recovering the ball in the opposing 3rd off a turnover. But your striker is still going to be in or near the box from the last attack and the opposing CD are still going to be near him from their previous defense.

Alternatively, if you recover the ball in the middle 3rd or your own half, your striker has space to attack. However, with the low tempo, short passing, and lack of attackers in the midfield, your team can't/won't get him the ball early in the attack when he has the space. Instead they methodically move the ball up the field and by the time they get back with the striker, the situation looks very different. The striker is in the box and the defenders are on top of him. Again, no space to work with.

If you want to get your striker more involved, then you need to give him opportunities. Open up the passing length to get him the ball on the break. Or use quicker tempo passes or a dribbler to pull defenders off him and work him open in the final third. But all of this is going to effect what is working in your tactic currently.

As is, your striker is likely contributing in a lot of ways you don't notice and don't get him on the stat sheet. He is pushing back the defenders to give the midfielders space to work in. And he is tying up at least one CD (likely both) to keep them from stepping up and stopping the CMs or IFs -- giving your other players favorable 1v1 match ups that they appear to be winning. 

Simplest solution I would have for you is to start by switching the AP to attack and tick up both directness and tempo one click. That will give you a runner/playmaker closer to the STC to help make moves that get STC open late in an attack. And the higher tempo/pass length will give your STC the opportunity to get passes earlier in the attack before the defense gets set and while the STC still has space to attack.

That said, if it's not broken, why fix it? 

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Firstly, does that style fit the best attributes of your best players? I'd say no, slower possession style needs better mental attributed than utd players have.  They're more physical technical players who want to run with or without the ball.  Against defensive teams your style let's them recover so will struggle to get forwards in to score unless it's a cross or maybe a pullback or a full counter attack.

I shared my recent utd tactic in another topic. Its similar roles but more vertical. Still get goals from midfield pair with space created at edge of box but theres more variety of goals, especially rashford running in behind rather than Lukaku.


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Thank you for your answers!

Based on them I made a simple change: lower tempo to quicker tempo (two clicks up) and also a distribute quickly to the GK. Play style is even better to my eyes and both the IFs started scoring, especially Alexis Sanchez who is on fire. He had ONE goal in around 20 games and he scored 4 goals in the last 3 games, clearly an improvement.

Thinking about it, and watching Man City, I don't know why I selected low tempo while using Guardiola as an inspiration. He clearly plays possession and positional based football with quicker tempo.

Thanks again :)

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