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How to Use a False 9 on Football Manager

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How to Use a False 9 in Football Manager

Football Manager guide on what the False 9 does, which players are good candidates for the role and what benefits you could reap if you try it in your save.


It’s impossible to ignore the influence of the false 9 in the modern game. Most famously performed by Lionel Messi at Barcelona, this unorthodox lone striker role completely changed the way Barcelona attacked, and made arguably the best player in the world just that little more unpredictable and a little more unstoppable. I don’t blame you for trying to replicate that, so let’s get into what the False 9 does, what makes a player a good candidate for a False 9 role, and the benefits of trying it in your save.

Role Profile


False 9 Football Manager

The in-game description of the role really covers it all: you’re looking for a central playmaker, who drops closer to the midfield line to get on the ball. Done properly, this causes absolute chaos for opposition defences, and can allow you to exploit poor decision making. I’ve found that the best reason to deploy this is when you have a wide player with good finishing and off-ball movement. If you have a wide player who you expect to be among your top scorers, using a false 9 can be a great way to create opportunities for them. This can also be a good way to protect a less physical striker from a battling centre-back, as you’re drawing the striker away from the opposition’s defensive line.

With all that in mind, your False 9 needs to have high ratings in a couple of attributes, most notably: technique, vision and passing. Teamwork and decisions will also help. Of course, you should be looking for high finishing and off the ball as well, as you would with any striker.

READ ALSO: How to Use Carrilero on Football Manager

Movement


The movement of the rest of your team around a false 9 is of utmost importance. When building your formation, consider your false 9 more like a number 10, and look at how you plan to attack the space behind them. Like with any tactic, you need to be mindful of how space is created and which players you have moving into open spaces. As I’ve said above, a False 9 is an excellent way to accommodate a goalscoring wide player, as either an Inside Forward or an Inverted Winger will look to attack the central space in the final third. While this seems to be the most obvious way to attack the opposition box, there are two other options to use a secondary goal threat while a False 9 is on the pitch.

Firstly, you may well choose to use inside forwards on both flanks. In practice, this can make your 4-3-3 operate more like a narrow diamond 4-4-2, but with more flexibility for your attacking players. However, an interesting option is to use a central midfielder as your secondary goal threat. This can either take the shape of a shadow striker from AMC, or as a Mezalla or Central Midfielder with Attack duty from MC. This works as the false 9 coming deep to get the ball, and the midfielder darting past to receive a through ball. This makes for some fascinating link-up play between the striker and the midfielder, and can be a great way to make the most of a goalscoring midfielder. If you choose to go down this route, I would recommend making sure your wide player on the opposite side of your inside forward is designated as a winger. This stops the central areas becoming too crowded and forces the opposition defence to keep a wider shape.

Player Traits


While attributes are important, I can’t overemphasise them difference a few traits can make. With the right traits, you can really focus on the correct movement and passing that defines a False 9, and take your tactic to the next level. Comes Deep to Get The Ball is obviously crucial, as is Plays Killer Balls, but I’ve also found that Plays One-Twos can be particularly helpful in keeping the False 9 involved in the build-up, as opposed to coming deep to play a pass and then hanging back. Conversely, I’ve found that Plays With Back To Goal - while sometimes helpful - can make the False 9 a little too easy to mark, and over-reliant on safer passing options. You’ll also want to avoid Plays Simple Passes for the same reason, and Moves Into Channels and Likes to Beat Offside Trap will encourage the wrong type of movement for your tactic.

Conclusion


I hope you’ve found this useful. A False 9 can be one of the most fun and dynamic roles in the game, one I’ve found to be chronically underused, and I hope you can use this guide to improve your False 9 tactic.

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FM Blog: How to Use a False 9 on Football Manager
How to Use a False 9 on Football Manager
Football Manager guide on what the False 9 does, which players are good candidates for the role and what benefits you could reap.
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