Football Manager 2021 is all about management and tactics and without them, players can’t really do much in the game. In this Football Manager 2021 Tactics Guide, we will help players with the best tactics and formations they can use.

Last updated on November 30th, 2020 at 04:26 pm

Football Manager 21 Best Tactics

As it is in the real world, just using big players and slapping any tactic and winning matches is no longer a viable strategy. Players have to pay attention to player stats, their strengths, and weaknesses and then decide which tactic and formation to use. That is where our Football Manager 2021 Tactics Guide comes in to help players with the best tactics and formations to be victorious.


This formation or tactic in Football Manager 21 focuses on quick passes and is for the players who like a fast-paced game. Also, this tactic is pretty difficult to stop give that you have players in the team that can pull off this formation.

Best Formation: 4-2-3-1 Wide, 4-1-4-1 DM Wide, or 5-2-2-1 WB

5-2-2-1 WB formation works best with Liverpool.


Gegenpress tactic in Football Manager 2021 is for the players who like to play on the break and launch an offense when the opportunity presents. To pull this tactic or formation, players need to have a team with stamina, fitness, work rate, and good anticipation because the entire team will be moving around. Not only that, you’ll need well-rested players and keep swapping tired players.

Best Formation: 4-1-4-1 DM Wide or 4-2-3-1 Wide


Wingplay tactic requires players that can perform precise crosses and dash in the box to receive the cross. This tactic relies on the strengths of a few players in the team. However, you definitely need suitable players that can pull off the formation, otherwise, don’t use it.

Best Formation: 4-4-2 or 4-2-4 Wide

4-2-4 is the best formations to be used in lower leagues. Players have to make sure that the Wingers have good crossing ability for hitting forwards and dribbling. You will also need to ensure the players have good First Touch to duke away from defenders along with pace to outrun them. Furthermore, your strikers need to have good stats for finishing, composure, heading, jumping, off the ball, and pace.

However, 4-2-4 is an aggressive formation which will leave the team open to counter attacks and conceding goals if players aren’t careful. Players can workaround this flaw by playing a defensive line along with laying an offside trap.

Vertical Tiki-Taka

Vertical Tiki-Taka is a variation of the Tiki-Taka tactic and focuses on a direct approach. This means playing the ball in reverse and forward to breach the opponent’s defenses.

Best Formations: 4-1-4-1 DM Wide, 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow, or 5-1-2-1

4-4-2 Diamond Narrow is the most suitable formation for Liverpool and will net interesting results.

As for the 5-1-2-1 Vertical Tiki-Taka, is most suited if you don’t have good Wingers in the team but do have the best Wing-Backs. If you are worried that you’ll be leaving the back exposed, your 3-men Central Defence and Defensive Midfielder will make up for it. In case the opponents are getting easily into your flanks, then assign your wing-backs to support roles.

Control Possession

Control Possession tactic is for the players who like to keep the ball to themselves and not giving the opponent the chance to grab it. Also, don’t go in expecting quick goals as this tactic requires patience and players need a team with great stamina and teamwork attributes.

Best Formations: 4-2-3-1 Wide, 4-2-3-1 DM Wide or 5-2-2-1 W

4-2-3-1 formation is the best approach to move up the field. This means players need to lower the tempo in team instructions and focus on short passes to keep the ball in possession. For this formation to work effectively, players need a strong number 10 with the highest stats.

Also, using this formation players need to remove any instruction that will negatively impact the patient build-up play. Meaning players will have to unselect the “counter” and “distribute ball quickly” so that the team slows its pace. Furthermore, players need to move back the line of engagement and defensive a line or two. This will stop the opponent to launch quick counters.

Route One

Route One tactic in Football Manager 21 requires players to keep possession of the ball and take it upfield. But, this tactic is most effective for lower leagues as the top league opponents will just tear this formation apart.

Best Formations: 4-4-2, 4-1-4-1 DM Wide or 4-4-1-1

Fluid Counter Attack

This Football Manager 2021 tactic is exactly the opposite of Control Possession. In this tactic, the team waits for the opponent to drop its guard and launch an attack. Obviously, this tactic works best with teams that are quick.

Best Formations: 4-4-1-1, 4-1-4-1 DM Wide, or 5-3-2 WB

That is all for our Football Manager 2021 Tactics Guide with tips on the best tactics, formations, and more. For more on the game, also see our Beginner’s Guide and How To Install Custom Skins Guide.

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