This is the second post in our Þór Akureyri series, where we are trying to instil Fernando Diniz’s philosophies in Iceland on Football Manager 2024.

Limitations

In this section, we will discuss some of the alternative formations that we can employ and use within the framework we’ve set out at Þór Akureyri. We are also talking about their tactical implications for Football Manager 2024.

Without a doubt, this is the hardest part of this entire recreation. We will have to make compromises here. The three hardest factors to recreate will be:

  1. Fluidity and interchangeability: Diniz’s “anti-positional” approach emphasises fluid movement and positional interchange among players. Capturing the exact level of fluidity and adaptability in the match engine might be difficult, as some roles and movements are more rigidly defined within the game.
  2. Overloads and numerical superiority: Diniz’s tactics often involve creating overloads and numerical advantages in specific areas of the pitch. While Football Manager allows for some degree of tactical customisation, achieving the same level of localised superiority as seen in Diniz’s system may not always be possible.
  3. Off-the-ball movement: Intelligent off-the-ball movement is a crucial aspect of Diniz’s style. Although you can instruct your players to make specific runs, the match engine might not fully capture the subtle and varied movements that characterise Fluminense’s play.

Team Instructions for Þór Akureyri

In the real world, Fluminense primarily adopts specific formations that have proven to be effective. However, when trying to recreate these shapes in Football Manager, we may encounter some limitations in achieving the desired style of play. While the in-game formation may somewhat resemble the real-life tactics, using a different shape could potentially enhance both defensive and attacking aspects, allowing us to mirror Fluminense’s real-life performances more.

When creating formations in Football Manager, especially recreations, it’s often better to start with the shape that defines the defensive shape. It’s much easier to create the attacking shape you want from almost any formation on Football Manager. But it’s much harder to get the defensive shape right. That’s why it becomes trickier. Fluminense defends in a 4-4-2, usually. So this is something we want to do with Þór Akureyri.

The team instructions we spoke about in the last chapter will be used by Þór Akureyri regardless of the shape we use. Those are the real DNA of this style of play

Fernando Diniz’s Philosophy In Iceland On FM24

Þór Akureyri Player Roles

As for the player roles, we have a few different options and don’t have to be so rigid with what we use. We can change them during games based on how the game is going, which players we use, and other scenarios. So based on the above, we could do something like this with Þór Akureyri:

Goalkeeper (GK): Sweeper Keeper (Support): goalkeeper with good passing and decision-making abilities, helping in build-up play from the back.

Right Fullback (RB) and Left Fullback (LB):

Complete Wing-Back (Support) or Wingback (Support): Fullbacks have the freedom to contribute offensively, providing width and creating chances with overlapping runs. The left-sided one would be asked to sit narrow if you used a WB role. This encourages both underlaps and overlaps to occur naturally.

Central Defenders (CBs):

Ball-Playing Defenders (Defend): Defenders with good passing abilities who can help maintain possession and start attacks from the back. Then, for the right-sided centre-back, we’d have him as a standard defender. There is also the option to have them set up as a stopper and cover too.

Defensive Midfielders (DMs):

Roaming Playmaker (Support): A midfielder who dictates the tempo, dribbles with the ball, and distributes the ball. The second player in the pivot could be a defensive midfielder (support) or ball-winning Midfielder (support)—a versatile midfielder who can adapt to different situations, providing defensive cover and contributing to the attack.

Central Attacking Midfielder (CAM):

Advanced Playmaker (Support) or Enganche: The central attacking midfielder in the middle should be the team’s chief creator, linking up play and providing key passes. They should be looking to find pockets of space and dictate the attacking moves, constantly seeking the ball and orchestrating the attack. The Advanced Playmaker role will allow the player to roam more freely than the Enganche, though.

Attacking Midfielder (AMRC):

Shadow Striker (SS) or Inside Forward: One of the wide central attacking midfielders can be assigned the Shadow Striker role by moving them inwards. This player will make forward runs from deep positions, getting into the box to score goals, and acting as a secondary striker. The Shadow Striker will also help press the opposition’s defence and contribute to winning back possession. This would mean moving him inward to the AM spots, though. But it gives us a different dimension of play if we were to do this.

Or you could assign him as an inside forward and have him make dangerous runs into the box. 

Attacking Midfielder (AML):

Winger or Inverted Winger: The IW will start wide and then drift inside, looking to exploit half-spaces and create overloads in the final third. This player will contribute both to the build-up play and finishing moves, providing a dynamic presence in the attacking midfield area. Winger is also a good choice now because you can instruct them to cut inside on Football Manager 2024.

Striker (ST):

Deep-Lying Forward (Support) or False Nine (Support): A forward who can drop deep, link up with the attacking midfielders, and create space for teammates. I do see the striker role as something I will be constantly changing, though, depending on the opposition we face. Þór Akureyri is an amateur side with no money to spend. We’ll also be expected to lose more games than we win, so this is where I will take advantage of my opponents’ weaknesses and adapt. But the main point here is that the entire front three also have to be interchangeable.

Þór Akureyri 4-2-3-1 Shapes

I think anyone using the 4-2-3-1 would likely come to a similar conclusion for the roles used, as there isn’t that much choice if we are basing it off of Diniz. Not for implementing the style we want and the behaviours of the players.

So depending on what we do at Þór Akureyri the systems could look like this:

Þór Akureyri

As I mentioned above, the striker could play any role. I’d likely go with a deep-lying forward or false nine if the opponents are sitting deep to encourage them to be more creative. But if the opposition is sitting high up the pitch, then I want the player to run behind and stretch them rather than dropping off the front.

Þór Akureyri

You’ll notice I went for wingbacks over complete wingbacks in this version. That’s because complete wingbacks are a lot more aggressive in their play and go to the byline. But we already have a winger on the left side going to that area. We can ask the winger to cut inside, but I still feel like complete wingbacks would be a mistake here.

4-2-2-2 Box Shape

Þór Akureyri

The narrow 4-2-2-2 formation focuses on central overloads and quick combinations between the central midfielders and the two forwards. The fullbacks provide width and attacking support, while the defensive midfielders help maintain possession and control the game’s tempo. The anti-positional approach allows for fluid movement and positional interchanges, creating unpredictability in the attack.

Þór Akureyri

If you wanted, you could even use this as a different take on a box formation too. This variant allows the advanced playmaker to be the central player and have everyone running off and beyond him. He becomes the centre of the orchestra.

4-3-3  Shapes

The 4-3-3 is easy to make into a 4-4-2 in defensive phases too. With the 4-3-3, if we were to apply the roles from above to the tactic, it would look something like this;

Þór Akureyri

The Carrilero is responsible for providing support and balance to the midfield, ensuring that the central areas of the pitch are adequately covered. They work tirelessly to link the defensive and attacking units by winning the ball, maintaining possession, and distributing it effectively.

One of the key tasks of a Carrilero is to cover wide areas of the pitch. When the team is in possession, the Carrilero moves to the flanks, offering a passing option and supporting the fullbacks or wingbacks in the attack. In defence, the Carrilero tracks back and helps to protect the wide areas from opposition attacks.

Carrileros are often responsible for pressing and winning the ball back when possession is lost. They must be aggressive and proactive in closing down opponents, disrupting their passing lanes, and recovering possession for the team.

While not as offensively minded as a traditional box-to-box midfielder, a Carrilero is still expected to contribute to both defensive and offensive phases of play. They need a high work rate and stamina to allow them to cover large areas of the pitch, making them valuable assets in transitions.

If you wanted you could still move the inside forward and use him as a shadow striker too.

Þór Akureyri

Another possible change is to make the defensive midfielder a half-back. Now the downside here is that the half-back role doesn’t allow for more dribbling, something that Andre can do. It’s also not a playmaking role either. But don’t be put off by that; the half-back role is a natural playmaker. By that, I mean, they will see lots of the ball and build from the back without it being forced. 

You can tailor the role so it takes more risks, though. which, in turn, can still replicate risky, progressive passing. Especially if you have a player for the role with all the correct player traits, you can make him even more aggressive in the role.

Remember, though, that you don’t have to make these changes; it’s just another take on how you can make the same thing work but by a different method. That’s the great thing about recreations in general: if you asked 10 people to create the same thing, they’d all approach it from different angles. And this would likely give you 10 different versions of the same thing.

That last shape I’ve just shown is what I mainly use on the save. However, the roles differ slightly based on different scenarios. In the next post, I’ll break the system down and show you how it all works with Þór Akureyri. As everything is quite complex and like a jigsaw, each role and duty used is for something specific to give us the “bigger picture”.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the article.

Author

  • Cleon

    Cleon is a distinguished figure in the Football Manager community, known for his tactical acumen and profound understanding of the game's intricacies. With a penchant for sharing knowledge, Cleon has authored "The Football Manager Playbook," offering a deep dive into crafting effective tactics. He's the brains behind the well-regarded blog "View From The Touchline," where he elucidates on football philosophies, game strategies, and more. Beyond the written word, Cleon engages with enthusiasts through social media, making complex football management concepts accessible to many.

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3 thoughts on “Þór Akureyri Tactical Strategies

  1. great post to read. specially I’m arrived at Valur one season ago :). I finally used the same tactic you described in the last part. Wingback in support, DC stopper and BPD cover. an anchor, one AP linked to a MC support (but I will try your Carrilero), two wingers and a forward in Pressing role. I enjoy a lot to manage in Iceland cause it’s easy to quickly compete in Conference UEFA league. managed to qualify to last 16 round. Things I dont understand, is the U19 team as I cannot managed at all as it seems my U19 team is gathered with 3 other club. I asked to have a U19 but President refused. is it the same in your game ?

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