Football Manager 2023 Tactics & Formations

Football Manager 2023 Formations & Tactics

The complete list of Football Manager 2023 tactics & formations is available here:

Formations & Tactics

Formation Defenders
3-4-3 3
4-2-2-2 DM AM Narrow 4
4-3-3 DM Wide 4
4-4-2 4
4-4-2 Diamond Narrow 4
4-2-4 DM Wide 4
4-3-2-1 DM AM Narrow 4
5-2-1-2 DM AM 5
5-2-2-1 DM AM 5
5-2-3 DM Wide 5
5-3-2 DM WB 5
Tactical Styles
Control Possession

A tactic that focuses on retaining possession and pressing high to win the ball back. Looks to play out of defense and create chances through patient. short-passing build-up play.


Tiki-Taka places the emphasis on short passing, extreme pressing and movement, waiting for space to open up as opponents lose focus. An extreme variant of the Control Possession style.

Vertical Tiki-Taka

A quick passing style of possession and movement, with a narrower, more direct approach than the standard Tiki-Taka.

Wing Play

Players will look to get the ball out wide as early as possible, while full-backs will look to overlap and exploit the wide areas. Once the ball is out wide. the main focus will be to cross the ball into the box.

Route One

The aim is to try to play the furthest forward pass available, with the intent to penetrate the opposition s penalty area as early as possible.

Fluid Counter-Attack

Looks to draw the opposition forward to leave them vulnerable on on break. Players will be fluid on the counter, trying to combine with each other and carry the ball with clear intent.

Direct Counter-Attack

Draws the opposition forward to leave Park the them vulnerable on the break. Players will look to move the ball forward as quickly as possible on the counter-attack to exploit spaces in behind.


A defense-focused style that primarily looks to deny the opposition goalscoring opportunities. A Libero is traditionally deployed to otter cover behind the defensive line.

Park the Bus

Players will look to get behind the ball and protect their defensive third, focusing more on the shut out than on possession.

Clean Slate

The tactics board is a clean slate, ready for a playing style to be created from the ground up.

Very Defensive

The aim of this mentality is to frustrate the opposition by reducing space, slowing things down, keeping the bail, wasting time as much as possible and clearing the ball long when out of risk-free options. Unlike the Defensive Match Mentality it is not looking to score on the counter-attack. just not to allow a goal. As possession and frustration is the priority, more players than usual will be kept behind the ball.


This mentality is best employed for matches that you are favourites to lose and in which you expect your opponent to put you under extended pressure. It aims to keep men behind the ball. to restrict space in vou halt, to slow things down and to trustrate the opposition. It relles on direct balls to the forwards followed by sharp and auick passing to score goals on the counter.


This mentality is best employed for matches in which you expect to lose the battle Tor possession but feel you can break with some regularity. It aims to keep men behind the ball when defending but to provide quick support to attacking players when the ball is in the final third. It relies on getting the ball forward auickly enough to expose the spaces behind aggressive full-backs and wingers, with players tending to stay deeper and maintain defensive shape if the break looks like coming to nothing.


This is arguably the most important of all match mentalities. By carefully balancing risk and reward, it enables a head coach to assess the match situation and how well the team is playing prior to switching
to a more specialized tactical plan. It is an ideal starting mentality TOl all matches expected to be even in nature: by carefully watching the match the head coach can then decide to be more aggressive o cautious or to stick with the standard approach if things are going well.


This mentality is best employed for matches in which you believe you are the stronger team but are wary ot your opponent’s counter-attacking threat. It aims to move the ball around the park and to patiently probe the final third to find space as and when it opens up. Although full-backs overlap and midfielders break ahead of the forwards, they will generally only do so during relatively risK-Tree situations and will usually sit back and help the midfield maintain possession until chances open up.


This mentality is best employed for matches where the team are favourites to win and expect to dominate possession in the opponent’s half. It aims to exploit space in the final third by emploving a fast temoc and more direct passing. It the team has a high chance ot losing the ball by attacking. thev would however opt to recvcle the ball to retain possession. It focuses heavily on getting players forward and into space and allows them the creative freedom to express themselves.

Very Attacking

This mentality is intended for situations where the team needs to go for broke to try to score a goal. It aims to overload the tinal third by emploving a much faster tempo to create more attacking-orientated direct patterns of play where recycling possession will be used as a tool to penetrate the opposition from another area. It focuses heavily on throwing players torward and into space to try to create goalscoring opportunities.


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