FM13 Best Attacking Tactic Cobra 3-6-1

Football Manager 2013 Attacking Tactic by Daniel Hubner

Football Manager 2013 Attacking Tactic Cobra 3-6-1

This tactic was formerly known as the box to box attacking tactic Earn it 3-6-1.

This is probably the best tactic I’ve ever created for Football Manager! It started out as a Football Manager 2013 Tactical experiment, where I wanted to create the ideal teamwork tactic; an attacking tactic that depended on much work rate and players interacting for the benefit of the team. This tactic is created for Football Manager 2013 and could be described as a solid tactic both in defence and in attack. It is fitting to call it an attacking box to box tactic, but you’ll notice it’s much more than that!

When creating this Football Manager attacking tactic I was inspired by several concepts both from tactics I have used by some great tacticians in the Football Manager Community, as well as the real life principles of Antonio Conte. If you’re unfamiliar with those, it is basically an idea about movement, tracking back the opposition players and pressuring relentlessly. No player is allowed to be idle and not work hard for the team. In addition, I like Jurgen Klopps’ philosophy: “If every player runs more than 13 km in a game, you will win every game”.

I decided to change the name of the tactic from Earn it to Cobra 3-6-1. The new name has two inspirations. The first one is the American fighter plane P-63 Kingcobra because the formation looks like an airplane. The second is the name itself – the tactic is brutally effective and deadly, and is worth trying out!

Check out Football Manager 2013 Attacking Tactic Cobra 3-6-1 a great tactic which relies on teamwork and work rate, or download more football Manager tactics here!

Cobra 3-6-1 – The Formation

FM 2013 Formation Cobra 3-6-1

The formation of my best Football Manager 2013 tactic is described as 3-6-1, but it can also be described as a 3-1-4-1-1.

There are several good points about this tactical system, as it is highly flexible, going through various shapes in defence, transition and attack. It is difficult to break down, as it creates a 5 man block at the back with wingers dropping back without the ball, and the 3+3 stockade of defenders and midfielders forms an unbreakable wall of players, resulting in opponent shooting wildly or losing possession.

The only drawbacks of this FM 2013 tactic is the space given to the fullbacks or a quick counter(but what tactic isn’t suspect to counter-attacks?). The fullbacks, however, tend to cross, dwell or pass inside, due to lack of other options. If they cross, the safety of 3 central defenders in addition to the goalkeeper will always clear the ball, and if they dwell or pass inside, the Box to Box Midfielder will usually pick them up or the pass.

What to do if experiencing a red card?
Remove your attacking midfielder

Team Instructions – Cobra 3-6-1

FM13 Attacking tactic team instructions

Screenshots of Attacking / defensive play (my team in white shirts):

attacking play: Players rushing into final third
A counter down opposition right wing, players rushing into the box, with plenty of opportunity to finish, pounce on rebounds etc
Attacking flooding penalty box
Loads of players flooding the box, the defensive midfielder holding his position in control of the striker(outside the screen) and the 3 center backs deep on their half
defensive man marking
Very little space for opposition, everyone well marked, center-backs creating an effective triangle, while my keeper easily intercepts a hopeless cross
FM13 Diamond Formation
Diamond form in the middle which is difficult to break down, the defensive midfielder providing the link between defense and offense
Winning possession high up
Attacking midfielder and striker harassing opponent, while midfield and defense form two lines of defense – very difficult to break down, while my wingers track back their respective winger

Player roles and key attributes

Important player attributes:
First of all, as mentioned briefly in the introduction to this tactic, the key attribute to this attacking tactic are players with good work rate. That player attribute will spur the players to work all over the pitch.

Next, the player attribute Teamwork is a good addition as well as other “team mental attributes” and a good amount of stamina, as the players need to cover a lot of ground.

Player roles and required attributes for succeeding:
The sweeper keeper should have good ratings for aerial ability and command of area, for catching all those crosses coming in, while also being an intimidating presence in the box.
Player type recommendations: Wojciech Szczęsny, Manuel Neuer

You can read more about the most important goalkeeper attributes and their definition in our Football Manager Guide to Goalkeeper attributes

Central Defenders
The one in the middle should be pacey, as well as having good ratings for anticipation, heading and jumping. The two on the sides will be the tall guys, winning headers and clearing the ball. You should make sure that all your defenders are dominant in the air. The one in the middle should be the fastest of the triom while I usually put my best header/tallest defender in the DCR spot, so he can be threatening during set-pieces. The Defenders will somehwat act as a catenaccio style defence, with the DCL and DCR picking their man, and the DC will usually cover their backs, clear through balls or double-mark where the ball is
Player type recommendations: Sergio Ramos or Thiago Silva flanked by Ryan Shawcross and Alex.

Defensive Midfielder
Don’t be confused by his player role, as he will be far more creative than a regular defensive midfielder. Look for a deep-lying playmaker, but with greater emphasis on defensive attributes. They will be your creative terriers in the team having good amount of aggression and work rate. Alternatively, you can play with more defensive players here if playing against tough opposition or defending a lead. He won’t score alot but this is the guy your play goes through. He dictates tempo and gets most passes in your team every game
Player type recommendation: Daniele de Rossi

Box to Box Midfielder
The box to box midfielders are the heart, soul and lungs of your team. Running even up to 15(!) km per game, they will harass the opponent all over the pitch, create and score those important goals. Look for complete players with the highlighted box to box midfielder player attributes, such as Sami Khedira, Kwadwo Asamoah, Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell, James Milner – you get the drill. In defence they will act as a living wall, harrassing the opponent. They also tend to press the full back when he’s on the ball. In attack they will contribute with lots of goals, as much as 15-20 per season. This means they should be equally adept at attacking and defending. It’s your choice if you want to go for players that are better at defending or attacking, or maybe a combination of both? This will come down to you being either an underdog or the favourite.

Defensive Wingers
Don’t be fooled by their defensive role. They will, as the central midfielders, work up and down the pitch, tracking back in defence and driving to the byline in attack. They will man-mark any opposition wingers to track back movement, and prevent the opponent from playing, as well as intercepting passes and creating goals. Defending, they will effectively create a catenaccio together with the central defenders. In attack they will upset the opposition with runs, passes, crosses and goals. Remember – they get the most assists together with the AMC. Look for quick players with great work rate and stamina. Crossing is also important and dribbling and tackling is a bonus.
Players like Leighton Baines, Gareth Bale, David Alaba and Dani Carvajal come to mind.

Advanced Playmaker
The attacking midfielder is the brain of your system. He will mastermind your team, creating the chances and linking the play, as well as scoring. Think a maestro in the center, a Zinedine Zidane for your team, although you want that work rate to be there for him.
Player type Recommendation: David Silva, Shinji Kagawa, Toni Kroos, Will Hughes

The striker is the goal-getter, pacey strikers will work, as well as the tall ones. To be honest, I haven’t found the ultimate striker for this tactic, although attributes like pace/acceleration, composure, passing and finishing will be beneficial. The more complete the player is, the better so think Carlos Tevez or Edison Cavani.

General training and Individual Training

In pre-season:

General Training: Fitness – Very High
Match preparation: 50% Tactics Only

When In season:
General Training: Balance – High
Match preparation 30% Teamwork

You can read more about how to get the players ready for competitive matches in our Football Manager guide to Pre-Season.

Individual training – Individual roles:

I tend to use individual training for my players, according to the roles they’re playing in my team. It seems to give me better results, and I believe that it makes the player more complete, as opposed to focusing on one attribute. Of course, there are exceptions. If your player is already an excellent footballer, but lacks that single attribute, you can focus on that. A good example is Cristiano Ronaldo – you will not manage to make his attributes any better, but you can focus on his composure which is only 10. I did so, and after a season it went up to 11.

Goalkeepers – Sweeper keeper
Central Defenders – Ball playing defender

Defensive Midfielder – Deep lying playmakers
Central Midfielder – Box to Box midfielder
Wingers – Defensive wingers
Attacking midfielder – Advanced playmaker
Striker – Complete forward

Player Preferred Moves – Key PPM’s

Defensive midfielder:
– Try killer balls often
– Come deep to get the ball
– Dictate tempo
– Shoot with power

Central midfielder:

– Try killer balls often
– Shoot with power
– Get forward whenever possible

– Run with ball often
– Knock ball past opponent

– Try killer balls often
– Switch ball to other flank

Attacking midfielder:
– Try killer balls often
– Run with ball through centre
– Move into channels
– Plays one-twos

– Run with ball through centre
– Places shots
– Move into channels
– Look to break offside trap
– Play one-twos

You can see the full list of all the PPM’s in our Football Manager guide to Player preferred moves.

Set up Opposition Instructions

I use the opposition instructions used by the creator of Arrigo Sacchi’s 4-4-2 FM13 tactic, a brilliant FM 2013 tactic, which I recommend to everyone.

For those who have not seen the opposition instructions of this tactic, here are how I set up opposition instructions:

Show onto foot – every player with one foot reasonable or weaker
Tackling Hard – every player with bravery 11 or lower
Closing down always on defenders with composure, concentration or decision of 10 or lower
Closing down always on mids and attackers with pace and acceleration of less than 12 – although this can be flexible, and should be judged according to pace of your own players. If a player has pace 11 and acceleration 13, you might consider applying closing down
Tight mark always on midfielders and attackers with pace and acceleration of less than 12 – although this can be flexible, and should be judged according to pace of your own players. If a player has pace 11 and acceleration 13, you might consider applying tight marking
Closing down always on players with long shots of 14 or more

Apart from this, and this is very important(!), you will need to instruct your players to man mark individually according to oppositions formation:
– Whenever you play against wingers, instruct your wingers to specifically man mark the opposition teams wingers.
– Whenever your opponent uses an AMC you mark him specifically with your DM.
– When opponent plays wingless formation, put your wingers to specifically mark oppoennt fullbacks/wingbacks

NOTE! Pay attention to formation changes. If your opponent changes formation from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 you will need to put your DM back to zonal marking, or else he will mark the wrong area of the pitch and unbalance the formation!

Preferred Touchline Instructions – Shouts

Work ball into box
Play through defense
Retain possession
Exploit the flanks
Pass into space

Records and Achievements

FM13 Legia Warzawa AC Milan Leg 1
FM13 Legia Warzawa Cracovia
FM13 Legia Warzawa AC Milan Leg 2
FM13 Legia Warzawa Lechia

Result from Europa Leauge

FM13 Legia Europa League

Download FM13 Attacking Tactic; Cobra 3-6-1

DownloadFM13 Attacking Tactic Cobra 3-6-1

Created and works for the latest match engine; 13.3.3

How to import the tactic to Football Manager 2013?

1) Import the tactic to the specific folder: “Your Documents” > Sports Interactive > Football Manager 2013 > Tactics

2) Go to the Overview Panel of Team Tactics – choose Add TacticOptionsManage Tactics – Choose to open Archive Tactics and add Cobra 3-6-1 Attacking Tactic by Passion4FM

Hope you enjoy my Tactical experiment and I’m looking forward to hearing from you, feel free to ask any questions and please post your results, as well as giving me feedback through the comment field below!