Football Manager 2023 is now available across all platforms, which means you can apply your tactical genius on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. With plenty of new players coming to the game this year, we want to provide a foolproof tactic that will help you take your team to the next level.
Whether you are managing a giant of Europe or working with a semi-pro setup, this one tactic can make you a dominant force in domestic and cup competitions.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the best tactic you can use in Football Manager 2023.
FM23 Best Tactics
Signing the best FM23 wonderkids is a great way to create a brilliant team, but without the right tactic you can easily squander a strong squad. This tactic we are about to run through is an aggressive, goal-scoring style that might lead to some nervy moments at the back.
Luckily, we've got some adjustments you can make to help solidify things at the back. This means that no matter the situation, this formation and style is right for you.
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The 4-2-3-1 has long been a staple of Football Manager tactics. Be it Gegenpress or Tiki-Taka, it isn't exactly a revolutionary formation. However, this particular one has a few twists that make it more effective than any other.
It starts with a sweeper keeper on defend duty, which will give you a bit more stability at the back but also cover. There are four aggressive forward players along with fullbacks that push on in possession. Let's take a look at it.
As you can see, this is taking a classic and putting a new spin on it.
The back four is made up of two Ball Playing Defenders on defend duty and two Wing Backs on attack. That's not so surprising, but in the midfield we have two defensive midfielders instead of centre midfielders. They are both set to Defensive Midfielder on support.
At the top of the pitch we have a left winger set to Inside Forward on attack and a right winger set to Inverted Winger on attack. In the middle it is an attacking midfielder set to Shadow Striker and up top is an Advanced Forward.
Now this is with Barcelona, so you may say that we could use anything and win, but this tactic has helped us win a World Cup with England and lift Bolton back to the Premier League. Let's go through the instructions and see how it works.
In this tactic we set the mentality to attacking and go forward with purpose and intent. There aren't too many instructions here, as we lean on the player roles to define what each person should do.
In possession, the team width is set to Fairly Wide, and Pass Into Space is on. Passing directness is set to Shorter and tempo to Higher. This helps push the ball from back to front quickly. With the front four able to maintain spacing thanks to that Fairly Wide setting while also piling the pressure on the centre backs in particular.
Transition instructions are set to Counter when possession has been won and for the goalkeeper to Distribute Quickly. The only other instruction is to Roll It Out, which will stop the keeper from booting it long and losing possession (though they will still do it from time to time). It's important to note that we DON'T have Counter-Press selected. This lets the defensive players drop back into formation.
Likewise the out of possession instructions are light. We use a High Press line of engagement and a Standard defensive line. Trigger press is set to Much More Often with Prevent Short GK Distribution on.
All of this creates a system that has a central box in defence that can smother attacks while in possession the team breaks forward quickly and with purpose. The two DMs are able to recycle possession and probe for openings, but also quickly fall back if possession is lost to ensure defensive solidity.
The only additonal thing you need to do is with player instructions. We have set every player, including the goalkeeper, to Tackle Harder.
This is something you should obviously switch off if a player picks up an early yellow card, otherwise you run the risk of playing with ten!
Big match tweaks
There are a few tweaks to this system that you can make for big matches or to see out a nervy one-goal lead. These are especially useful if you are against the big teams in the league and you are not favourite, or for the away tie in a European knockout round.
The first thing to do is to drop the mentality to Balanced. Then you should set both the DMs to Defend. This will keep them from pushing too far up the field and have them truly racing back at the first hint of losing the ball.
When you are really wanting to close up shop you can also sub off the Shadow Striker for either a fresh centre midfielder and drop them into the middle of the park on a CM (support) role, or even bring in a third centre back.
Players to target
This system works best, obviously, with high quality players, but it also operates well in the lower leagues. You should aim for players that are comfortable on the ball and physically solid.
High work rate, team work, positioning, and off the ball are all important factors to making this work. But you also want to find some quality in front of goal. You will create plenty of chances with this tactic, but if you don't have the talent to convert them then it will go to waste.
Set piece gold
If you are looking to score more from set pieces, we have a corner routine that will work wonders.
Our routine blends both near- and far-post, so be sure to check it out