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Football Manager: Ace of Spades - Ajax Treble

This tactic was developed on FM Touch (19.3.4) playing as Ajax. Its name comes from the shape of the players on the tactic screen.

I built it at the start of the 2nd season. I had already won the Eredivisie in the 1st season playing a 442 (which seems to be the best tactic in FM19) but decided I wasn't getting the best out of my AMC players, of which Ajax have several strong ones. I also wanted to simplify it by having very few (if any) player instructions (PI) and rely on only team instructions (TI). A lot of tactics end up having far too many PI's and TI's making it very hard to de-couple what is actually going on. That being said, there is much scope to further improve the tactic by adding a few PI's (probably 'Shoot Less' to try and reduce the number of long shots).

I like using wingers in midfield, but decided to push the two central midfielders behind the striker and play them as advanced playmakers. They have 'move into channels' to try and spread them a little wider. One of the strikers was sacrificed and replaced by a deep-lying playmaker to offer a bit of protection and start attacks from deep. Inverted wingbacks are used to offer a bit more support centrally to the DM. This results in heat maps that I find rather pleasing.

The team plays attacking, with slightly reduced width to make use of the central players. Working the ball into the box tries to reduce long shots, and playing out from the back tries to keep possession. This is also encouraged by slightly shorter passing and lower tempo. Possession is usually 55 - 60%.

I usually use a high-line, high-pressing, countering philosophy in transition/out-of-possession but got fed up with all the fouls and cards and so toned it down a little. The 'intensity' bar is now about 2/3 and a pinkish colour rather than bright red which can result in many cards and fitness/injury issues.

Players are individually trained in their respective roles and positions, with additional focus on attributes that are obviously lacking (usually shooting or quickness). The assistant manager handles team training as players seemed to complain when I was responsible (usually set to attacking). No opposition instructions are used. I use mentor groups, split into positions (GK/DC, DRL, DMC, MRL, AMC/F). Not sure if this actually has an effect.

We dominated Eredivisie with 32 wins from 34 games. Both losses could be considered 'unlucky' as we dominated the games in terms of possession and shots on target etc. Overall we scored 97 goals (striker, AMC and wingers all contributing plenty with assists mainly from the wingers, AMC's and right-back). More impressive is that we only conceded 9 goals in the entire league campaign.

We were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage (Valencia, Dortmund and Inter in the group) but went on the win the Europa League and winning the Dutch Cup (Toto KNVB Beker) completed a treble.

This success was achieved despite losing many players. Ajax players seem to attract a lot of attention and I have practically sold an entire team (Schone, de Jong, Kristensen, Sinkgraven, Magellan, Holberg, Onana, Veltman, Blind, Neres...) generating over £200M in sales and spending less than £40M replacing them with mainly wonder kids and younger players (Pavon, Palacios, Lisandro Martinez, Rajkovic, Almendra amongst others and Origi on a free).

I've never managed in the Eredivisie before and realise Ajax are a strong team. I appreciate that the tactic many not work in other leagues with less dominant teams, so am interested in seeing how it does in your testing league. I'll also do a season in another league as pretty much my entire squad is 'Wnt' and I can't be bothered re-building again!

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