The Best Tactics You Should Use in Football Manager 21

Tom Gott
Pep Guardiola knows a thing or two about tactics
Pep Guardiola knows a thing or two about tactics / JAVIER SORIANO/Getty Images

If you want to load up Football Manager 2021 and become the greatest manager in the history of football, you're going to need elite tactics.

FM21 gives you countless systems to start with, but if you want to make something truly special, you need to take matters into your own hands and get your tinkering hat on. That can be a little time consuming, so we at 90min have done some of the hard work for you.

Here are some of the best tactics to stick up on the virtual pre-match whiteboard in FM21.

4-2-3-1 Gegenpress

You're not going to top the league in possession stats with this 4-2-3-1 gegenpress, but there's a good chance both the Goals Scored and Goals Conceded columns will be in your favour at the end of the season.

Designed to stifle space in the middle of the pitch, this setup requires real engines in midfield as those two central players are responsible for charging around the pitch and pulling the strings at both ends.

Pay close attention to who you want as that Shadow Striker. They need to boast great long shots and positioning as it's their job to do a lot of the creation.

4-3-3 Gegenpress

If you want a little more defensive stability, this 4-3-3 gegenpress sets up with a Deep Lying Playmaker who needs to be strong in the tackle and comfortable in possession.

Your Complete Forward should have good vision and passing as they will be linking up with both wide players and the two central midfielders, and if you build your squad right for it, you'll be getting goals from all over the pitch.

The two central midfielders end up doing a lot of work, so try find two starters with high stamina and make sure you've got a handful of top backups on the bench.

Guardiola's 4-3-3 Tiki Taka

Pep Guardiola's Barcelona side were one of the best football has ever seen, and this 4-3-3 channels his tiki-taka philosophy to bring them back to life.

A large part of the success for this one comes through the middle, where your playmakers intend to overload any opponent. The Trequartista is also responsible for dropping deep to form almost a diamond in the centre of the pitch, so this is the position you need to prioritise.

In defence, it revolves around intense pressing with a view to immediately recovering the ball, and possession is then recycled to that creative midfield to get things going again.

Conte's 3-5-2

As far as domestic dominance goes, Antonio Conte's Juventus are up there with the best. He turned a struggling team into three-time champions, and his tactics continue to astound to this day.

This tactic is a little more defensively stable as the Deep Lying Playmaker is swapped in in place of a Regista, but that's where your focus must be. You need to find a player with elite creativity, vision and passing, or else this style won't work.

In attack, those wing-backs will be flying forward to bolster your attack, but they'll need to be quick enough to get back and form a flat 5-3-2 on defence.

4-1-2-1-2 Tiki Taka

If you want goals, goals and more goals, you need to try out this 4-1-2-1-2 tiki taka.

Having five players with attacking duties means players will fling themselves forward in search of goals, and if you've got the right players for the right roles, they can pick their way through any defence. The two Advanced Forwards hound defenders and offer the midfield two targets to aim at.

Pick your full-backs accordingly as they need to able to play narrow. They've auxiliary centre-backs in this system, so your nimble, attacking full-backs aren't going to cut it.

4-1-2-3 Gegenpress

With a Complete Forward and two Inverted Wingers, opposing centre-backs don't stand a chance.

This setup is designed to overload in attack. Those three players will be supported by your two full-backs, who are so high up that they might as well just be wingers. Any four-back formation simply can't handle the numbers.

You need two disciplined centre-backs to make sure that you don't get overwhelmed, and your Deep Lying Playmaker must be comfortable dropping into defence.

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