Tactics are a fundamental aspect of Football Manager. it can be a tricky process to find the perfect set-up for your side. These are some of our best FM22 tactics that will, hopefully, inspire some ideas for your saves. We’ve also written up some tips and tricks.

So whether it’s a 4-1-5 that counter-attacks or a 4-2-3-1 that likes to control the ball with a central midfielder like Samuele Ricci running the show, there are a few effective tactics for you below.

As always, you will need to mould these tactics around the players you have in your save, and make sure they suit the players you have. If you have slower, less athletic, but very skilled players, a slower, possession-based tactic will probably suit your team best. Likewise, if you have a lot of very athletic players, an attacking, high-pressing system should work better for you.

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It’s one of the most important aspects of Football Manager. A tactic is the entire package of tactical aspects – formation, mentality, instructions, as well as set-pieces.

It can be daunting at first, but it’s relatively easy to build your own bespoke tactic that suits the squad at your disposal. Common sense is key. Don’t be afraid to try something different, either – some of the ‘unusual’ tactics are often the best.


Tactical mentality has seven levels – very defensive, defensive, cautious, balanced, positive, attacking, very attacking – on its spectrum.

Each mentality is pretty self-explanatory. You’ll rarely need to use the extremes of each, save for the final five minutes depending on the match situation. Balanced, positive and attacking are the best mentalities to use.


Tactical instructions are the details of your tactic, and they’re split into three phases – in possession, in transition, out of possession. Tactical instructions enable you to tune the finer details of your tactic.

You can tell your team to play at a higher tempo with more direct passing and higher defensive lines, or tell them to sit off opponents and play shorter passes at a lower tempo. There are multiple options.


Player instructions are similar to tactical instructions – but they dictate the details of the individual’s game, rather than the team’s. Many player roles come with specific player instructions, but you can add your own to most as well.

Typical player instructions are stay wide or narrow, cross more or less and hold or roam from position. Again, there are mulitple options to pick from.


Player traits are different to player instructions. Traits are bespoke idiosyncracies of a player’s game – they’re tendencies of a player which then translates into the match engine. Most will have none at all, some will have multiple, and they can be trained.

For example, a player like Kylian Mbappé will have tries to beat offside trap, which means he will look to stretch defences regardless of instruction. Player traits can nail the minute details for your tactic.



This tactic was super effective in FM21, and not much has changed in FM22. The 4-1-5 is a high-scoring, direct, aggressive tactic that will take energy out of your players, but deliver results in equal measure as it suffocates the opposition team.

It is a bit of a balancing act for teams in European competitions: this tactic will tire your players out quickly. But for teams with one game a week, it is fantastic. Despite using ‘much shorter passing’ as an instruction, it is suitable for bad teams as the high tempo style will encourage directness and risk-taking regardless. However, having a good striker and decent centre-backs is crucial, while the technical abilities of your wing-backs are also key.


While it looks strange on paper, the formation is very functional in game.

The inverted wing-backs tuck in with possession and provide stability in midfield while the wingers provide plenty of width. The wingers also stay relatively deep, providing decent defensive cover as well, though naturally this formation will leak goals.

With the lack of midfield bodies out of possession, this formation tends to leak goals from long range quite a lot and can also be susceptible to balls over the top.


We’re playing rock-and-roll football here, so blast up the tempo, push up the lines, counter-press, press hard and get the ball moving quickly out of defence and into the final third as quickly as possible.

That is the basic premise, though there are a few interchangeable things here. Firstly, there’s the Target Man up front. If you do not have a good option, you can change this to another Advanced Forward and see similarly good results.

In this instance, the formation has been changed to accommodate Lorenzo Lucca, who stars in this role averaging more than a goal per game. In the same vein, the floated crosses instruction can be changed to suit the type of players you have up front, meaning you can also take away hit early crosses if it does not suit your personnel.

Another option worth testing is adding the force opposition outside instruction, which may help alleviate some of the issues that come from having only one midfielder. And as always, get stuck in can have its positives and negatives, so keep that one in mind going into a big Champions League knockout tie or a cup final.


I generally do not find player instructions hugely useful. But in this instance, I have applied one to Lorenzo Lucca – take more risks.

The aim is to get him playing more passes into the Advanced Forward, and it has resulted in Lucca delivering double digit assists in back-to-back league seasons.


4-2-3-1 gegenpress? This 4-2-3-1 could be your primary option, but it is a great secondary tactic for good teams to rest them during a packed schedule of games.

The intensity is very low, and the tactic relies on spreading the pitch and controlling possession. Naturally, this will rely on you having a team of good, technical players – so this tactic is not for everyone. This tactic also will rely heavily on the quality of your wide players, especially your wing-backs who will have a lot of possession.


As you can see, the wing-backs in this system see a lot of the ball and will be relied upon to give your team width, but also find targets in central areas – especially into the Mezzala and Trequartista.

But everyone has a role to play in this formation. You defenders will be key ball players, your goalkeeper will need to step up and patrol the space in behind, your Deep-Lying Playmaker will have a big job to do shielding the defence, the striker will need to stretch the defensive line, and your wide players need to stretch the pitch to create space for central creative players like the Mezzala and Trequartista. There’s a lot going on.

A few key things: your winger on support will protect you with your Mezzala and Complete Wing-Back on attack and the Deep-Lying Playmaker is a great counterbalance to the Inside Forward on attack.


There are not too many instructions on this one, so it is pretty straight forward. Lower tempo to reduce the risk-taking to ensure we retain possession and control of the game, alongside much shorter passing and hold shape.

We want to slow the pace of goalkeeper distribution down as well to preserve our energy as that is the point of this tactic in essence – you might want to consider bumping up time wasting if you’re in the lead as well to help with this even more.

The tactic still needs to be dominant, so push the lines up, and leave pressing at the default setting – it is important not to be totally passive. The floated crosses suits Lucca, but consider using work ball into box and low crosses if you are using a striker that is not as dominant aerially.


This will depend on your personnel more than anything. It seems largely superfluous to this tactic though, which probably only needs tinkering with the player roles to suit your squad. If your Trequartista has good long shots, shoot more often could be useful.


This tactic was initially created to sort-of imitate the way in which Nordsjælland play in real life, or at least use the same formation. Gegenpress, as you may know, is quite powerful in FM22, but it can knacker players out over time.

The tactic is high-scoring, energetic, and does fantastically well against smaller teams, and OK up against the tougher sides. Those matches are a flip of a coin, from experience. The main drawback of the tactic is that it isn’t watertight defensively, and can be exploited down the wings, so making sure your centre-backs are good in the air is key.


Starting from the back, the wide centre-backs will, if necessary, cover the channels, and a cover defender helps prevent through balls somewhat.

You’ll notice the right wing-back, Costinha, is positioned very high, and he will do that in games we look to dominate, because of his trait gets forward whenever possible.

The attacking midfielder is a playmaker, so he will drop to collect the ball should we attack centrally, to connect with the two strikers, who always look to run in behind, and this is the most frequent method of gaining goals in this tactic.


As it is a gegenpress system, push up those lines! A standard defensive line has been tested, but it seems in this year’s game, lower defensive lines do not work effectively. You’ll still get balls in behind.

Otherwise this is the same gegenpress system you’ll find in game, apart from the fact that low crosses are enabled here, due to that suiting my strikers the most, as well as a couple tweaks in transition.

That’s the fundamentals of the tactic, but there are a few roles that could be tweaked to your suiting. Rönning, for example, is poor with his feet, but an excellent shot-stopper, so his role is just as a goalkeeper, but the ultimate preference would be a sweeper-keeper on support.

If you have better wing-backs, complete wing-backs could be a smart upgrade to the system. From experience, it brought down the average ratings of those players significantly. Up front, the advanced-playmaker is pretty non-negotiable, he connects midfield to attack, but the pressing-forward could be changed to a target-man, if you have a player suitable, or another advanced-forward.


In terms of player instructions, the central-defender on cover has take fewer risks on him. Harrison Marcelin is a mammoth in the air, but not the best at ball-playing. Both wing-backs have three custom instructions, take fewer risks, shoot less often, and most importantly, stay wider. In this narrow system, they become pretty essential to the team having a dynamic attack.

In the midfield, the box-to-box player has shoot less often too, so they focus on just passing the ball instead of wasting chances. The attacking midfielder has more direct passing as I find this useful in attacking playmakers. Finally, the two strikers have ‘shoot more often’ ticked, because that’s usually quite effective with strikers.

As always, the best tactics in Football Manager 2022 are the ones that maximise the strengths and minimise the weaknesses of your team. There is no set answer – it’s entirely dependent on the make up of your team.

Creating a tactic can be a tricky process, but creating one that works well is very fulfilling. Don’t be afraid to try different things; a lot of tactic creation in FM relies on a lot of trial and error.

There is no perfect approach, but success will be predicated on getting the best out of your team and finding weaknesses in your opponents. If you have a lot of physical players, try playing a more rigid, direct formation and test the opposition physically. At the end of the day though, player ability will have a massive impact on your ability to win regularly.

Dominating possession requires two things: the right tactical instructions, and technically excellent players. Try using shorter passing and a lower tempo for starters. While player roles like the half-back suit a possession-based system very well.

Gegenpressing will primarily require two things: the right tactical instructions, and very quick, athletic players. Try cranking up the tempo, your defensive lines, turn counter-press on and ensure your team are pressing as much as possible.

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