Welcome back to another “Gear way” if you missed my youth development post on FM18 you can read it here.

I wanted to write this up after having the same discussion with a few people. This is in no way a “create a super tactic guide” or am I any sort of expert.

This is just my approach after years of playing the game and in the last few years I’ve tried to put a lot more focus on creating a tactic from scratch.

Before FM18 I had very in-depth conversations about my tactical plans for the save with @Cleon81 and @fmpressure and I learnt a lot.

Going into FM19 I feel a lot more confident about creating my own tactic by myself and with the tactical revamp it ties in well to write about it.

So this is the way I would do it aka “The Gear Way”

Tactical Style


A new feature on Football Manager 2019 is there is now base styles to help you create a tactic. So the first thing I did was decide what style of football I wanted to play, If you decide what style you want to play this then helps with the next few steps.

I’ve picked a direct counter attacking style



Now you have to decide the formation you want to play. There’s two ways I would do this,

The first is to build it around your current playing squad. Assess the players and see where the strengths and weaknesses are in your squad.
The second is to pick a formation you want to play with.
For my FM19 save the team suit a 442 formation, but as we are playing counter attack i wanted our center midfielders to be a bit deeper so decided on a 4222DM


Player Roles and Mentality 

The game has given you some recommended roles.
I then analysed these roles.


Straight away I don’t like automatic mentality so I want to change the 4 wide players mentalities. we are very exposed in the middle of the pitch, a certain nature of that is due to the starting formation but I feel this could be improved on and the starting mentalities mean we will be very deep whereas I want us to be aggressive on the counter.
So I set about changing a few roles and mentalities.


By adjusting a few roles and mentalities I have moved the weakness to their left back position and made us more aggressive on the counter.
I then played through preseason and this next bit is VITAL in my opinion, I watched the games on comprehensive and made notes.
I noticed my right back was getting too advanced and leaving too many gaps for their left back and midfielder to exploit.
I noticed my Central defenders with dwelling on the ball when we had options to counter or clearing it out of play.
I noticed with the help of @VincentGuzman_ in my twitch stream, that my team were very cramped when we won the ball back.


So what I did was increased the defensive line to Higher and the Line of engagement to Higher


This then in turn pushed our team up the field and gave our players more space to move and exploit.

I also removed two team instructions from the preset and added three different ones. I added shoot less often to my 6 most advanced players as they were all shooting to soon for my liking. A few player instructions were tweaked aswell from what I had seen happen on the pitch. I won’t tell you which ones I changed as it will vary for each tactic and will depend on how each “manager” views the game.

This is the tactic I settled on


Changing the two central defenders to Ball playing defenders helped instruct them to play the ball out to start counter attacks and look for passes, changing the right back from wing back to full back meant he wouldn’t naturally push so far up the pitch there for cutting down the risk on him leaving gaps behind.
There is always going to be a weakness in a tactic or formation and ours is the purple circle. But I’m content for their left back to have the ball.

This tactic has helped me take a mid table team into a title challenge with no signings. It is by no means perfect. I have to adjust the mentality of the tactic depending on the team we are playing or how the game is playing out.
But I feel this is a good way for somebody to build a tactic from scratch and be patient it can take up to 10 games for the team to adjust to the tactic, just watch it play out and make notes.
Like I said at the start I am no expert but I just wanted to share the best way I feel for somebody to build a tactic from scratch if that is what they want to do.

Any questions feel free to ask or message me on Twitter at @DGear86 or my slack channel on FM Slack.
You can listen to me share my wisdom on the FM podcast I co-host find us at @GrassNGear

Thanks for reading



  • Daniel Gear

    Dan Gear is a vibrant member of the Football Manager (FM) community, renowned for his engaging content and insightful tutorials. He illuminates complex FM concepts on "View From The Touchline" and shares engaging narratives through his unique European Journeyman save reveals. Dan's collaborative spirit shines in partnerships with fellow creators like FM Stag, unraveling new FM features. He's a co-host of the engaging "Grass N Gear" podcast, making the FM experience more enjoyable for many. With a blend of humor, expertise, and a knack for community engagement, Dan Gear's contributions significantly enrich the Football Manager community, making him a cherished figure among enthusiasts.

0 thoughts on “Building a tactic on Football Manager 2019: The Gear way

  1. Lovely stuff, Dan! I would have liked you to go into a little more detail on the player instructions you used and why. I think this is often an overused and misunderstood part of the game. But it was a good post and very informative. I think sometimes we can be too quick to dump a whole system and start again, rather than watching and changing as we go to tweak a system to our player’s strengths and weaknesses.


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