The Regista is a brilliant role in Football Manager but I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about what the role is and what it does. So in this article, we will explore all the things it is and isn’t. We’ll also look at the other defensive midfield playmaking roles and discuss how they all differ from each other.
The three different playmaking roles we can have from the defensive midfield position are;
- Deep-Lying Playmaker
- Roaming Playmaker
While these roles might seem similar, the main difference between the three of them is how they use the ball. While both Regista and Deep-lying Playmakers are creative midfielders who operate from deeper positions on the field, they tend to use the ball differently based on their specific roles and responsibilities:
- A Regista is primarily focused on creating goal-scoring opportunities and dictating the tempo of the game. They use their exceptional vision and passing range to unlock defences with incisive, penetrating passes that can change the course of the match.
- Regista often attempts riskier and more ambitious passes, as their primary objective is to create chances and break down the opposition’s defensive shape.
- In possession, they tend to roam more freely to find pockets of space and receive the ball, allowing them to exploit gaps in the opposition’s midfield and defence.
- Deep-lying Playmakers, while also creative and responsible for dictating the tempo, focus more on maintaining possession and recycling the ball. They use their passing ability to control the game, connecting the defence to the attack, and ensuring a smooth transition between the two.
- They are more likely to play shorter, safer passes to maintain possession and build up play gradually. While they can also deliver long-range passes and create scoring chances, their approach is generally more measured and less focused on taking risks.
- Deep-lying Playmakers tend to be more disciplined in their positioning, staying deeper and closer to the defensive line to provide an outlet for their teammates and contribute defensively when required.
- A Roaming Playmaker is a versatile and dynamic midfielder who moves around the pitch to influence the game in various areas. Their primary objective is to contribute to the team’s offensive play by getting involved in build-up play, creating chances, and even scoring goals.
- They have the freedom to roam laterally and vertically across the field, making them difficult for opponents to mark and track. This constant movement allows them to exploit gaps in the opposition’s midfield and defence, as well as link up with teammates in different areas of the pitch.
- They also like to bring the ball forward with their dribbling ability. Something the other two roles don’t really do.
- Roaming Playmakers are usually more involved in the physical aspect of the game, pressing opponents and engaging in duels to win back possession. Their energy and work rate is key to their success in this role.
The main difference in how regista and deep-lying playmakers use the ball lies in their approach to possession and risk-taking. Regista’s focus is more on creating chances with ambitious passing. While deep-lying playmakers prioritise maintaining possession and providing a link between defence and attack. The roaming playmaker utilises his dribbling more by default and likes to drive forward with the ball at his feet.
You can customise the roles further with personalised instructions but the above are the basics of each of the roles. Hopefully, that gives you enough information to see how they differ and use the ball differently.
The Regista – The Setup
We know I already use a regista in a 3-5-2 formation. If you haven’t read the other two chapters of this series yet, you can here;
In this setup, they are responsible for distributing the ball with accuracy and vision. Often with long-range passes, to initiate attacking moves from deep. The regista also acts as a link between the defence and attack, providing defensive cover when necessary but also pushing forward to support attacks. When he pushes forward, he doesn’t push as far as you think though.
The regista’s style of play emphasises technical ability, vision, and decision-making. They must be comfortable on the ball, able to read the game, and possess excellent passing skills. Additionally, they should be tactically aware, able to make quick decisions and have good communication skills to direct their teammates.
One of the reasons this is important for us is because the regista progress the ball up the pitch by using their vision, passing range, and technical ability. They typically receive the ball from the defence, either through a short pass or a clearance. Then assess the situation on the field before deciding on the best option to move the ball forward.
One of the primary ways regista progress the ball is through progressive passing, over long distances to find a teammate in a forward position. These passes can split the opposition’s defence and create scoring opportunities.
Another method is through short, quick passes to move the ball up the pitch. Registas often drop deep to receive the ball from defenders, and then use their close control and passing skills to move the ball forward to more attacking players. They may also use one-touch passing to maintain possession and quickly move the ball up the pitch.
While less likely, the registas may also dribble the ball forward themselves, using their technical ability to beat opposition players and create space for their teammates. However, this is usually a secondary option, as the primary role of a regista is to distribute the ball and create attacking opportunities for their team.
The Regista – The Data
Let’s have a look at some of the data.
As you can see, Tommy Doyle has had a really good season and is well above the league average for his position for all the important metrics.
Here’s why progressive passes are important for a regista:
- Breaking opposition lines: Progressive passes help bypass the opposition’s defensive lines, allowing the team to advance into more dangerous attacking positions. A regista with the ability to consistently execute accurate progressive passes can disrupt the opposition’s defensive organisation and create space for teammates.
- Dictating tempo: By completing progressive passes, a regista can control the pace of the game, allowing their team to dictate the tempo. This can help the team maintain possession, build momentum, and exploit weaknesses in the opposition’s formation.
- Creativity and unpredictability: A regista who can consistently produce progressive passes is not only effective at maintaining possession but also adds an element of creativity to the team’s play. This unpredictability can make it harder for the opposition to anticipate and defend against attacking moves. Allowing your team to gain positional advantages.
- Linking defence and attack: Progressive passes from the regista help to connect the defence with the attack, ensuring a smooth transition from one phase of play to another. This can be especially important in countering high-pressing opposition teams.
- Assists and goal-scoring opportunities: Accurate and well-timed progressive passes can lead directly to assists or goal-scoring opportunities, as they can put teammates in advantageous positions to take shots or create chances.
Progressive passes are essential for a regista as they contribute to breaking down the opposition’s defence, controlling the tempo of the game, and creating goal-scoring opportunities for their team. A regista with a wide range of passing skills, including the ability to make accurate progressive passes, is highly valuable to their team’s overall success.
It’s important to note that the chances created metrics for a regista will vary depending on their team’s style of play, formation, and the specific role assigned to them by the manager. A regista’s offensive contributions should be considered alongside their ability to control the game, maintain possession, and contribute defensively.
Chances created is a metric used to evaluate the offensive contributions of a player, including a regista. While the primary role of a regista is to dictate the tempo and control possession from a deep-lying position, they can still contribute to the team’s attack by creating chances for their teammates.
Chances created metrics can be broken down into several key components:
- Key Passes: A key pass is defined as the final pass or assist that leads to a shot or a goal-scoring opportunity for a teammate. A regista with a high number of key passes is effective at breaking down defences and creating opportunities for their teammates.
- Expected Assists (xA): Expected assists is an advanced metric that quantifies the likelihood of a pass resulting in a goal, considering factors such as the location of the pass, the type of pass, and the position of the receiver. A higher xA indicates that a regista is providing high-quality chances for their teammates, even if they don’t always lead to actual assists.
- Through Balls: Through balls are passes that bypass multiple defenders and put a teammate in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper or in a clear goal-scoring opportunity. A regista skilled at executing through balls can create dangerous situations for the opposition’s defence.
- Long Balls: Long balls are passes that travel a significant distance in the air, often bypassing multiple opposition players. A regista who can accurately play long balls can help switch the point of attack or exploit open space behind the opposing defence.
- Crosses: While regista generally operate in central areas, they can occasionally deliver crosses from deep or wide positions, providing another means of creating chances for their teammates. Accurate crosses can lead to headed attempts or volleys, resulting in goal-scoring opportunities.
- Set-Piece Delivery: Registas who are proficient at delivering set-pieces (corners, free-kicks, etc.) can create additional chances for their team. Accurate set-piece deliveries can lead to clear goal-scoring opportunities or force errors from the opposition’s defence.
The Regista – Match Analysis
People have the wrong idea about the regista and think he ventures forward most of the time. But that’s not true. If he takes set pieces or under certain circumstances, he might venture forward. Outside of that though his movement is more horizontal than vertical. Have a look at this;
For the sake of this example, I was on attacking mentality, aggressive pressing and a high defensive line. As I wanted to illustrate just how deep the role actually plays.90% of the time, the regista operates in the yellow box. Moving side to side to offer a deep passing outlet. As mentioned above it’s not normal behaviour for him to be more advanced than his.
If you play on a lesser mentality then the role will play slightly deeper than this yellow box. A lot of people seem to have this idea that he plays high up in the final third but he doesn’t. His positioning is very similar to how a deep-lying playmaker would position himself. This is why key passes and progressive passes are vital to his play.
By him staying deep in this yellow box he can recycle possession should we lose the ball high up the pitch and the ball is cleared by picking up the loose ball. He can then do many different types of passes to keep the move going again.
In this example, Tommy Doyle stays deep and offers a passing outlet for the wide centreback. But the rest of the team has already made attacking runs forward. This means that when Tommy Doyle receives the ball he will have time and space on the ball and be able to pick out the pass. What the rest of the side does with their movement is vital to what the regista does next.
Now when he receives the ball he has three passing options, all come with different degrees of difficulty attached to them.
- This is the safe option as his marker is behind him, so he should be able to receive the ball at his feet without too much difficulty. This could see the ball played back to Tommy Doyle though as there are not many options for this player to progress the ball himself.
- Could this one be the safer option? I’d certainly say it would be and would put us on the front foot. If the ball is played to this player then the whole pitch would open up too when the opposition tries and deal with the threat.
- The most difficult and risky pass would be this option. There’s a player who could potentially cut out the ball or the high ball. But if he played the ball between numbers 2 and 3, then chances are one of them would be able to get onto the end of it.
Tommy Doyle ended up choosing the second option, as McAtee dropped off the front creating space. Remember earlier in the series when I spoke about asking the wingback to sit narrower? Well, this also plays into that.
Once McAtee gets the ball he sees the wingback has continued his forward run. One simple pass to him and we are in on goal. It’s a really simple move. But it’s an important move because we see the stuff I’ve spoken about in the other articles in the series, all playing out and linking together.
In this example, we have just won the ball back and the advanced forward is already making a run for it as he has faith in Tommy Doyle to find him. This is a really risky move but if it works it puts us on the front foot and with a possible 2v2 situation. If it doesn’t work then we give possession away. I enjoy these types of passes but perhaps not all the time, which he doesn’t do. But if you use a regista then you have to be prepared for these types of things as this is what makes him and the deep-lying playmaker differ. It becomes risk vs reward.
When evaluating the risk versus reward of a regista’s risky passing, it’s essential to consider both the potential benefits and drawbacks of such passes. Risky passes can be defined as those with a lower probability of reaching their intended target, such as long balls, through balls, or passes that attempt to split multiple defenders. These types of passes can significantly influence a team’s offensive capabilities but also come with inherent risks.
The rewards of risky passing for a regista include breaking opposition lines, as risky passes can bypass multiple opposition players and disrupt their defensive organization, creating space and opportunities for the attacking players. Successfully executed risky passes can lead to clear goal-scoring opportunities, as they often put teammates in advantageous positions to take shots or make final passes.
A regista who consistently attempts risky passes adds an element of unpredictability to their team’s play, making it harder for the opposition to anticipate and defend against attacking moves. Furthermore, risky passes can exploit gaps or mismatches in the opposition’s defence, capitalising on individual errors or moments of disorganisation.
However, there are risks associated with risky passing for a regista. These include the loss of possession, as risky passes have a higher likelihood of being intercepted or misdirected, leading to potential counter-attacks by the opposition. Failed risky passes can also disrupt the team’s shape, leaving the team exposed defensively, as players may have moved out of position in anticipation of receiving the pass or supporting the attack.
Unsuccessful risky passes can squander promising attacking situations, especially if safer and more effective passing options were available. Repeatedly attempting risky passes without success can negatively impact a regista’s confidence and, in turn, affect the morale and cohesion of the team.
But if it’s more risk you want, I highly recommend the regista……..