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Mastering Playing Out from the Back in FM22

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Is it possible to recreate the Manchester City philosophy in your team? Here's what you need to do to master playing out of the back in FM22.


The modern game is littered with new phrases that are trotted out, often with the person doing it not knowing the true or full meaning of what they are saying. Overloads, for example, is way more complicated and involved than merely having more players in an area than the opposition. Some of these phrases and tactics come in and out of fashion. One that seems to have been with us for decades and continues to be lauded and misunderstood in equal measure is playing out from the back. One of the EPL’s biggest proponents of it is Pep Guardiola, so if you are going to take a lead or tips from anyone to improve your FM team, then there is probably no better place to go.

Most people who bet on football back Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, as they have shown more consistency throughout the seasons, not to mention quality than any other team in the league. They have an identity and a set way of playing. That is not to say they are predictable, but every member of the squad knows exactly what their role is, and they are brought in and trained to do that role.

That is a big point. It is pointless going into a club such as Shrewsbury (no disrespect Shrewsbury fans) in FM22 and implementing a “play out from the back tactic”. You can’t expect your back four (three or five) bought on a shoestring budget with the one objective of keeping the opposition out of their final third and the ball out of their net, to suddenly be able to start passing the ball around like a 1970’s Brazil team.

Playing out from the back may not even be something that you choose religiously, but depending on your opposition, it is certainly a good option to have up your sleeve. Additionally, as a manager, it is always good to be able to rotate your tactics.

Playing out from the back effectively (and that is the key word here, just doing it for the sake of it achieves nothing)involves a hell of a lot more than merely selecting the “Play out of Defence” option in the team instructions. Players will behave differently; they will adopt new positions, leaving space and potential issues in other areas of the pitch. It is not something that merely effects your defensive players, but the shape of your whole team.

An important thing to remember is that if you are to pass out and build from the back, you need to have at least one more player in that area than the opposition. A few things help this. Playing a 4 3 3 system, such as the one Guardiola utilises, makes that easier, plus the new rule where your players can be inside the box frees up some space. Also, remember, you have your goalkeeper as well to give you an extra man.

When you select “play out of defence”, your two centre backs will automatically stay in your 18 yard box. You do not have to pass to them however, and choosing “Distribute to full-backs” means that the opposition forwards will almost always get sucked in towards your area, automatically creating space to exploit behind them.

One other trap that people often find themselves getting into surrounds the “Ball-Playing Defender” option. On the face of things, if you are opting to play it out from the back, that sounds wonderful. However, take a look at the game’s very own description of the characteristics of such a player:
ball playing defender fm22
The Ball-Playing Defender is encouraged to launch defence-splitting through balls from deep to generate counter-attacking opportunities.

Sounds great, but going back to the comment re Shrewsbury, unless you have a Pirlo in the back four spraying balls onto the feet of your midfielders and into the space in front of your strikers, you will just end up giving the ball back to the opposition. At the end of the day, the option to play out of defence is an excellent one, and one that can be used to very good effect. You just need to be aware that it is not quite as simple as you may think.

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FM Blog: Mastering Playing Out from the Back in FM22
Mastering Playing Out from the Back in FM22
Is it possible to recreate the Manchester City philosophy in your team? Here's what you need to do to master playing out of the back in FM22.
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