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FM20 - Pep Guardiola's 4-3-3 Man City Tiki-Taka Tactic

FM20 - Pep Guardiola's 4-3-3 Man City Tiki-Taka TacticHere’s how to emulate Pep Guardiola’s 4-3-3 Tiki Taka Tactics in FM20.

In this post, I’ll show you how I managed to play Tiki Taka football in Football Manager 2020 just like how Man City are doing in real life and how previous teams of Pep Guardiola have done in the past.

First we'll take a look of what style of football are we going to be working here.

What is Tiki Taka?

Tiki-taka is a Spanish style of play in football characterised by short passing and movement, working the ball through various channels, and maintaining possession. Tiki-taka is founded upon team unity and a comprehensive understanding in the geometry of space on a football field.

Tiki-taka has been variously described as a style of play based on making your way to the back of the net through short passing and movement a "short passing style in which the ball is worked carefully through various channels," and a "nonsensical phrase that has come to mean short passing, patience and possession above all else."

The style involves roaming movement and positional interchange among midfielders, moving the ball in intricate patterns, and sharp, one- or two-touch passing. Tiki-taka is "both defensive and offensive in equal measure" – the team is always in possession, so does not need to switch between defending and attacking.

Concluding, Tiki Taka is characterised by low intensity system where patience and possession are the priority essentially passing the ball until a clear chance can be created.

But, this is Pep Guardiola’s replica of the Man City tactics this season, so let’s see how it functions.

Man City - 4-3-3

Man City tactic - 4-3-3 - Tiki Taka - Formation FM20

First, let me start by saying that it is possible to play Tiki Taka with almost every formation in Football Manager 2020. Since we will be replicating Pep’s tactic we will be playing the 4-3-3 formation which also incidentally suits best for the Man City squad of players.

So try to look at Tiki Taka as a style of play, rather than the formation, and you can apply instructions from this article to your team, even if you’re not playing in this formation.

I can’t stress enough how important is to have playmaking Midfielders here. They won’t contribute all that much to goals and assists tally but will bring the ball out from the defence and secure your backline when playing with four men defence.

It’s even possible to play this 4-3-3 slightly asymmetric, by pushing one of your Central Midfielders forward to Attacking Midfield position.

Player Roles and Team Instructions

GK - Sweeper Keeper / Support duty (If your goalkeeper can initiate counter-attacks). Goalkeeper / Defend Duty (Fewer Risky Passes, Distribute to Centre Backs - if you want more possession, slow down the pace and better build-up from the back).

DL / DR - Wingbacks with attack duty, this is crucial for them running overlapping channels thereby pulling defenders wider and leaving spaces for other players to run into.

DC L/R - Both the central defenders should be set as Ball Playing defenders and will initiate passing from the back when needed.

DMC - Deep Lying Playmaker / Defend duty Both Fernandinho & Rodrigo are very good at this role.

MCL – Attacking Playmaker, David Silva, will create a lot of opportunities with his high passing attributes.

MCR – Mezzala attack – Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best players for this role and will be crucial in contributing a lot of key passes in this system. He will also pop up with the odd goal especially from long range.

AML / AMR - Inside Forward /Attack Duty – Sterling & Mahrez are perfect inside forwards, Mahrez can even be played alternatively as an inverted winger. If you wish to play Sane on the left, you need to play him as a winger and make him create chances from out wide.

ST – Advanced Forward. Aguero is one of the best strikers in game and will contribute a lot of goals in this system.

ALSO READ: FM20 - Jurgen Klopp’s 4-3-3 Liverpool Gegenpress Tactic

Team Instructions

Man City tactic - 4-3-3 - Tiki Taka - Team Instructions FM20

In Possession you will need to have the “work the ball into the box” instruction turned on so that the players can move the ball slowly, maintaining possession and looking for the perfect opportunity to create chances. The tempo should be low to reflect a patient play-style.

Man City tactic - 4-3-3 - Tiki Taka - Team Instructions FM20

During transition, you will need to have the counter press but hold the shape when you do with the ball back. The keeper should ideally distribute to the defenders thereby maintaining possession and patiently waiting for the right chance to open up.

Man City tactic - 4-3-3 - Tiki Taka - Team Instructions FM20

It is advisable to use the offside trap because the defensive line is very high as you will aim to win the ball high up the pitch and keep possession as much as possible. You can also press the opponent keeper and prevent shorter distribution trying to win possession back quickly.

This tactic is aimed at keeping possession rather than fast transition so you will rarely have too definitely have more possession in most of your games. You need to have players with high technique to make sure that they are able to play this tactic effectively. Opposition instructions will vary based on individual opponents.

With your inside forwards always looking to cut in, the overlap will come from the attacking fullbacks who will take up attacking positions and are important players in this system.

ALSO READ: FM20 - Mauricio Sarri’s 4-3-3 Sarriball Tactic

Football Manager 2020 Man City Tactics Results

Football Manager 2020 Man City Tactics Results

Results are nothing short of phenomenal with the team winning every single game in the league upto a certain point in the save. The goal ration is also superb with the team easily being the best attacking team in the league.

Football Manager 2020 Man City Tactics Results

The 2nd image shows the dominance in attack for the club with 36 chances created and a very high dribbles/game as a result of the “be more expressive” instruction which I have turned on for certain games. Bear in mind that without the right technical players this is a very hard tactic to pull off.


One of the cons of this system is you will need the best technical players to play this tactic effectively. This will not be a good tactic for teams with mediocre players and you will struggle to create chances unless you have the right personnel.

Because of the non-physical nature of the tactic and the high line, your opponents will definitely get chances to score against you and will be annoying when you have 60% possession but end up being a goal down. It takes patience and the team getting used to the system for it to work effectively.




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FM Blog: FM20 - Pep Guardiola's 4-3-3 Man City Tiki-Taka Tactic
FM20 - Pep Guardiola's 4-3-3 Man City Tiki-Taka Tactic
Here’s how to emulate Pep Guardiola’s 4-3-3 Tiki Taka Tactic in FM20. In this post, I’ll show you how I managed to play Tiki Taka football in Football Manager 2020 just like how Man City are doing in real life and how previous teams of Pep Guardiola have done in the past.
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