With Jürgen Klopp guiding Liverpool to their first PL trophy in 30 years comes a FM20 tactic truly in the style and honour of Klopp’s famous gegenpress football! Welcome the FM20 Counter-attacking tactic Back Attack by Mainomai FM.
The ‘Back Attack’ tactic is an aggressive, high-intensity counter-press system inspired by the teams assembled by Jürgen Klopp and Nuno Espirito Santo (in the past or present). We can guarantee you beautiful counter attacking football, lots of chances and a great conversation ratio!
Discover the beauty of the Football Manager 2020 counter-attacking tactic Back Attack by Mainomai FM.
About FM20 Counter-Attacking Back Attack Tactic
The main aims of the tactic are;
- Counter-press the opposition when possession has been lost to prevent them from attacking effectively.
- Attempt to turn the ball over as high up the pitch as possible to increase the chances of being able to work a goal-scoring opportunity – as the opponent is most vulnerable when they have just lost possession.
- Sacrifice a percentage of ball possession, in favour of high quality possession in the final third of the pitch.
- Utilise the Wing Backs within the team as the main attacking outlet, creating 2v1 situations in wide areas which allow the Wing Backs to overlap and deliver dangerous crosses for our prolific front 3.
As seen below, the formation employed here is a 4-1-2-3, although I see it as a 2-3-2-2-1 and I will explain why throughout this article.
Out of Possession
When the opposition has the ball our team will defend with a standard width but higher up the pitch – with our forward line engaging the opposition much higher to prevent the Goalkeeper from distributing the ball short and building attacks from deep.
The idea here is to squeeze up and make the pitch as small as possible for the attacking team with the aim of suffocating their possession before they have an opportunity to build an effective attack.
The use of the Offside Trap should reduce the number of effective passes played in behind our defence. However, should the opposition be successful with their attempt to play a pass behind our defensive line, our Sweeper Keeper should be in a position to anticipate this and clear the ball effectively.
Transition situations are vital to the success of this tactical approach.
When the ball is lost, everyone except the Centre Backs will counter-press the opposition in an attempt to win the ball back as soon and as high up the pitch as possible. The theory behind this is that the opposition are most vulnerable when they have recently gained possession and are looking to transition into an attack. A well-timed tackle or interception high up the pitch will end their attack and present our team with a counter attacking opportunity of our own.
Once the ball has been won, every outfield player except the Half Back and Centre Back’s will look to counter attack the opposition with pace, width and numbers to carve out a potential goal scoring opportunity.
In the event that we fail to win the ball back before the opposition register a shot on goal – our Sweeper Keeper hopefully will have made a save. When he has the ball, he will look to distribute it quickly to our Half Back who is responsible for starting our attacking moves.
When we are in possession of the ball, it will be carried out of our defensive third swiftly by our Ball Playing Centre Back’s or preferably our Half Back. The rest of the team will look to create space (particularly out wide) in an attempt to provide options. When our Half Back is in possession you should expect to see the Wing Back’s overlap the Inside Forward’s to take up positions in wide areas in the attacking third of the pitch. The Inside Forward’s will facilitate this by taking up positions in the half spaces between the opposition’s Full Back’s and Centre Back’s – ready to make a penetrating diagonal run behind them.
We will be playing with an extremely high tempo and in a slightly more direct approach to unsettle the opposition and tire them out – which should present opportunities for our Half Back or Deep-Lying/Advanced Playmakers to play a killer through ball into spaces in the channels for either our Inside Forward’s or Wing Back’s.
If the Inside Forward receives the ball, they will look to drive in behind the opposition defence to create a goal scoring opportunity for themselves or an attacking teammate. If this is not possible, they will look for an overlapping Wing Back who will benefit from the 2v1 situation in the wide area vacated by the opposing Full Back who has most likely attempted to track the run of the Inside Forward.
If the Wing Back picks up the ball in the final third, they will attempt to deliver your preferred type of cross into the box – hopefully to one of your attacking players. They may also pull the ball back to the edge of the box where your Advanced Playmaker will be in a position to pick out a killer through ball or attempt to score himself.
The type of ball delivery should always depend on the type of attacking players you have at your disposal. For example, if you do not have much height in your team – I would recommend driving low crosses into and across the box for your players to attack.
Player Instructions, Key Attributes and Traits
Personally, I play my SK on defend unless he has outstanding distribution in which case, he can be trusted to take more risks. Any SK needs to be comfortable with the ball at his feet and should ideally be comfortable facing 1v1 situations.
Key Attributes to look for in addition to those which are standard; One on Ones, Rushing out of goal, Composure, Vision, Throwing, Kicking, Passing, Anticipation, Decisions and Reflexes.
Key Player Trait – Uses long throw to start counter attacks.
Ball Playing Centre Backs
It is vital that the players you choose for these roles are also comfortable with the ball at their feet – and make good decisions when they have it. Due to the fact that the system involves playing with a high defensive line, it is preferable that these players also have good recovery pace for when a ball is played in behind and they are asked to turn and run back towards their own goal.
Key Attributes to look for in addition to those which are standard; Composure, Decisions, Passing, Technique, Vision.
Key Player Trait; Brings ball out of defence.
The Half Back
Your choice of Half Back is vital to the success of this tactic. He will need to be a well-rounded, athletic and powerful player with very good defensive and playmaking attributes.
The Half Back will be responsible for starting our attacks, but it is just as important that they are able to prevent the opposition from counter attacking.
Key Attributes to look for in addition to those which are standard; Positioning, Vision, Anticipation, Composure, Technique, Decisions and Off the Ball.
Key Player Traits; Comes deep to get the ball, Looks for the pass rather than attempting to score, Tries killer through balls often and Dictates tempo.
The Wing Backs in this system need to be pacey and powerful players with a good engine (Work Rate, Natural Fitness and Stamina) – as they will be required to support attacks without neglecting their defensive responsibilities when we lose the ball. Personally, I have found that I need at least 2 players in both Wing Back roles + a utility player as cover – as the system demands a lot from the Wing Backs which can lead to them becoming fatigued.
Key Attributes to look for in addition to those which are standard; Technique, Passing, Crossing, Vision, Decisions, Teamwork.
Key Player Traits; Hugs Line, Runs with ball down right/left, Knocks ball past opponent, Looks for a pass rather than the shot.
TOP TIP – If you are struggling to find appropriate Wing Backs, try re-training a Wide Midfielder or Winger to drop deeper and play there – they often have the required technical attributes!
Deep Lying & Advanced Playmakers
Our midfield is responsible for keeping us “ticking-over” by distributing the ball with a high tempo to force the opposition to move around – disrupting their defensive shape. Our Deep Lying and Advanced Playmakers will see a lot of the ball and therefore need to be equipped for this. It is imperative that they have an eye for a key pass and have the technical ability to execute it.
Your Deep Lying Playmaker should be the better defender of the two, with your Advanced Playmaker having stronger attacking capabilities.
TOP TIP – If possible, choose Playmakers with strong Long Shots and Free Kicks to improve the number of goals scored from outside the box. Hopefully these players will have good Corners too which provides another source of goals from set plays!
Key Attributes to look for in addition to those which are standard; Technique, Passing, Vision, Decisions, Teamwork, Composure, Concentration, First Touch.
Key Player Traits; Tries killer balls often, Plays one-two’s, Dictates tempo, Tries long range passes & Likes to Switch Ball to Other flank
Essentially, the Inside Forwards within this system are wide strikers. They need to be athletic and direct players who will look to drive into the spaces between the opposition Full Backs and Centre Backs. The Inside Forwards will find themselves in potential goal scoring situations very often and therefore need to be equipped to convert the chances that come their way.
Even if they are unable to create a shooting opportunity for themselves or a teammate, the diagonal outside to inside runs they make will more often than not result in the opposition Full Back tracking their movement into narrow areas, which creates space for our marauding Wing Backs to take up positions to receive the ball and deliver a decisive cross.
Key Attributes to look for in addition to those which are standard; Composure, Decisions, Teamwork, Flair, Technique, Finishing, Anticipation, Off the Ball (+Passing and Vision to bring the Wing Backs into the game often).
Key Player Traits; Cuts inside from left/right/both wing(s), Moves ball to strongest foot before dribbling.
TOP TIP – If you are struggling to find natural Inside Forwards, try re-training pacey strikers to play in wide areas, you will find that they already have the required attributes to be a goal threat – and will just need some training and some traits to become accomplished in the wide areas! Alternatively, look out for technical, pacey and powerful wingers with average Shooting and Composure attributes who could be trained to be deadly in front of goal!
On paper, the Advanced Forward is your most prolific goal scorer. However, within this system it is normal for goals to be shared equally across the front line – so don’t panic if your striker isn’t bagging 30 goals per season! For this reason, a Pressing or Deep Lying Forward can also be successful within this system.
Occasionally your Advanced Forward will make a run into the channel to stretch the opposition defence, which will allow the Inside Forwards to take up spaces in narrower positions where they can be a more potent goal threat.
Key Attributes to look for in addition to those which are standard; Composure, Decisions, Teamwork, Technique, Finishing, Anticipation, Off the Ball (+Passing and Vision to assist the Inside Forwards).
Key Player Traits; Runs with ball through centre, Likes to beat offside trap.
On this occasion we played the 2nd biggest team in the country – and smashed them 4-0! We had much less of the ball but limited them to a handful of chances. When we won the ball back, we were devastating on the break!
We carried out a demolition job here, scoring 8 and creating many, many more chances to score. Amazingly we had much less of the ball but limited the opposition to just 2 attempts on goal all game!
Part 2 – Tactical Analysis & Tactical Tweaks of Back Attack Explained
For additional information about the Back Attack tactic, watch part 2 of Mainomai FM’s tactical analysis looking closer at player roles and tactical tweaks. Here you’ll also be able to take a closer look at how the tactic has performed within his save whilst he also answers questions from the community!
Check out the video above for more information and details about the FM20 Back Attack tactic!
Try out the “Back Attack” for yourself!
Download the incredible FM20 Counter-Attacking Back Attack tactic and destroy the opposition on the break! Get in touch on Social Media to let everyone know how the tactic performs for you.
Achievements So Far
I have just played my 4th season using this counter-attacking tactic with Manouza Academi on the Aswijan Database (although I have used it on previous saves too).
Manouza were predicted to finish 10th in the Liga Regale in my first season, but we finished 3rd with no transfers made at all.
In our second season, we completed our first domestic treble, beating the Real Madrid of Aswijan (Aswijan Malikiy) to the league title for the first time – winning both domestic cups also.
In Season 3, we completed another domestic treble – defending our league title in the process. Unfortunately, we lost to a Liverpool team including Mbappe in the Semi-Final of the Champions league.
Season 4 ended up being our most successful to-date. We sealed our 3rd successive league title – and went on to retain the Copa Populare also. However, our greatest achievement was beating an immense Liverpool team 1-0 to win the Champions League for the 1st time in the history of the club! This meant that we completed the treble, treble!
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