Its finally here, the Winter update and with it an overhaul of FM’s match engine. I’ve received a tonne of requests for an updated version of Concerto, one of our best FM2021 Tactics and today we answer your call. Re-named Concerto Narrow owing to its approach play this is a possession based system built on intricate passing play, attacking intent and Defensive stability, achieving incredible results with Newcastle since the Winter update.
The updated version includes numerous tweaks and shift in focus from wing play to a more compact, narrow approach. I have created a second tactic – Concerto B-flat – to be used during sticky away days but more on that later.
If you enjoy the potency of a 4-4-2 and interplay of the 4-2-3-1 Concerto Narrow is the system for you. Unlike most overpowered, exploit tactics this is best watched in extended highlights mode and features some unique set piece plays.
Best FM2021 Tactics Patch 21.3 – Formation
Some FM21 tactics are one dimensional exploiting the long, lofted ball in behind which can grow tiresome. Concerto breaks the mould utilising intricate play, purposeful attacks and a focus on ball retention. Now updated for patch 21.3 attacks are funnelled through the centre creating space to exploit out wide.
One Advanced forward sits high while as the complete forward drops deep to link up play in a 4-2-4 formation. The latter acts as an AMC introducing the benefits of a 4-2-3-1 pulling Defenders out of position in a hybrid approach.
To find balance out wide AML cuts inside, attacking the space while AMR hugs the touchline and supports play. The left sided full back supports play offering defensive stability while the right Wing Back attacks, often overlapping.
Defensive stability also comes from a Box to Box Midfielder who shuttles vertically so the Advanced Playmaker can create and attack with more intent. Yes Concerto is an attacking system but player instructions add balance.
As always player suitability, training and tactical familiarity is vital but we will go over that in detail further down.
Note: Do not try and copy this tactic, there are many specific player instructions and important custom set pieces. If you do not download this best FM2021 tactic, it will not work.
Best Football Manager 2021 Tactics – Instructions
In possession instructions have seen a sizeable overhaul after the Winter update. With play focussed through the middle, a narrow width and shorter passing Concerto should now feel secure and compact, winning back possession with ease while creating space in wide areas.
We look to run at the defence, move the ball quickly and pass into space.
The pressing, counter and counter-press have not changed.
Out of possession we use a much higher line of engagement and extremely urgent press. The defensive line is high, one notch below max which works well against balls over the top which seem rare now the width is narrow.
Get stuck in is active and while it can cause yellow and red cards, you should manage this mid-match, requesting booked players to ease off tackles.
IMPORTANT NOTE *
You can choose from two versions of Concerto; the default features an Inverted Winger on the left and second on the right. Each role follows suit to mirror the default system because every role is vital for balance.
Do not try and move roles manually, use the tactic download because set pieces and player instructions change also.
Player suitability is vital so please read the next section and note the necessary changes to AMR and AML player instructions on a game by game basis.
Best FM 2021 Tactics – Player Roles
GK – sweeper keeper (defend) – Just your standard Keeper but one v one ability should be preferred.
CD – central defenders (defend) – Passing is preferred as you play out from the back, but aerial presence is far more important. Also look for Defenders with speed to quell that ball in behind, Ahmedhodzic is a cracking example.
DR – wing back (attack) – The right sided Defender should be well rounded and Athletic, more of a WBR due to his advanced position. He will overlap the Winger often reaching the by-line so great crossing and dribbling ability will be rewarded. Gabriel Menino was brilliant in my save.
DL – full back (support) – Seemingly the less offensive full back but do not be deceived, DL will get forward, look to cross the ball and shoot from range. You should look for speed, work rate and general technical ability. Lewis was superb and often seemed the more attacking full back.
CM – advanced playmaker (support) – The Advanced Playmaker can transform Concerto from a central position. Look for a passing maestro with good long shot ability and dribbling. Willock was sensational on loan from Arsenal owing to his superior speed and ability on the ball. It would seem a natural AMC suits this role best.
CM – box to box midfielder (support) – The more defensive minded midfielder is instructed to take fewer risks and generally play it safe but you should look for an all rounder.
AMR – winger (support) – The Winger is on support to add balance and allow your marauding Wing Back a decoy to overlap. He is instructed to roam from position so can drift into pockets of space. you need a fast, capable dribbler and one capable of crossing would be ideal.
AMR is instructed to mark DL within player instructions, if up against advanced wing backs this must be changed to man mark WBL. If played from AMR he must be right footed or at least capable on his right if used from the left side
AML – inverted winger (attack) – The inverted winger is instructed to take more risks and sit narrow. With an attack duty he will dribble past opponents and look to be the creative force out wide. You need speed and dribbling ability above all else, but finishing is a big bonus. Barco was brilliant.
As above AML is instructed to man mark DR which needs changing to WBR when appropriate. The Inverted Winger must be right footed but if used from AML must be left footed.
ST – advanced forward (attack) – The main goal threat, speed and dribbling ability are a must. A clinical finisher will do well and Macias was brilliant for me with his deadly instincts. While Concerto uses the ball in behind less often it is still a source of goals so speed and off the ball movement are important.
ST – complete forward (support) – The only role change for patch 21.3 your complete forward is the link between midfield and attack falling into pockets of space and should possess good passing and technique. A secondary Striker he should be more of an AMC but speed will help and good finishing is still required. I really enjoyed Kaio Jorge in this role.
IMPORTANT – When to tweak
Since the Winter update Concerto requires a little more management. Using the default tactic for all games may not work so I have created a flat 4-4-2 version which offers more defensive stability for those sticky away days, this is aptly named “Concerto B-flat’.
You can download ‘Concerto B-flat’ from this post and it should be used away from home when facing a 4-3-3 (using DMC and AMR/AML) or 4-4-2 formation.
As a general rule of thumb use B-flat away from home when you fear an upset or being overpowered by better opposition.
For more detail on when to switch tactic, see my results below and note which system was used by myself and the opposition. I have left notes.
Download this time wasting tactic for the last 10 minutes of tight games.
If chasing a goal late in the game you can pump balls into the box, shoot on site, change the Winger to attack duty and deep lying forward to advanced forward. I also set the advanced playmaker to attack. Making substitutions in attack and midfield can help also.
Aside from tactics it is vital you rotate the team, this is to prevent fatigue and more importantly throw the AI.
Training is vital to success in Football Manager 2021. Do not leave this to your Assistant Manager because he fails to schedule match preparation. Match prep is the best way to improve the way your team performs within a system.
I have written a guide and included my FM 2021 training schedules here. I would recommend using them.
Best FM21 Tactics Results & Table
Results speak for themselves as Newcastle took some impressive scalps including United away, Chelsea at home and Man City at home. Continue reading for guidance on when and why I switched to Concerto B-flat.
You can see above when I switched to Concerto B-flat, its listed in the ‘formation’ column as 4-4-2 while Concerto default is listed as 4-2-4. Below are some important notes.
- I generally switched to flat vs 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 away from home.
- I also switched away from home if not clear favourites.
- Despite being favourites v Fulham and expecting victory I feared a slip in form after losing to Villa and Arsenal so opted for the 4-4-2. Take form into account.
- You will notice all home games bar Man City featured the 4-2-4, City setup in a 4-3-3 with superior players so warranted the cautious approach.
- I opted for the 4-2-4 v Brighton away because they play very narrow with one wide man so committing my Wingers forward would not be a problem and could pre-occupy Brightons only wide presence in their own half.
Top of the table by one point with a game in hand and looking good both in front of goal and at the back.
I have not found time to test the updated version of Concerto in lower league Football but my gut says it may not work. The play is quite intricate and role complicated so lesser players could lose possession too often.
Find the best FM 2021 players:
Best FM2021 Tactics: Top Tips
- Concerto has been updated for patch 21.3. We cannot predict whether this will work on later patches.
- Use Concerto B-flat away from home unless clear favourites and especially when facing a 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 formations.
- There are two systems dependant on which side your inverted winger is best used. Note the strikers, midfielders and wing backs change also, you can download both versions below.
- If you deploy AMR as inverted winger he must be left footed, if deployed from AML he must be right footed.
- Instruct any players who are booked to ‘ease off tackles’.
- Change to ‘See The Game Out’ (download here) to see a game out.
- If struggling to score, make substitutions to the frontline or midfield, this worked a treat for me.
- It is vital you rotate the team to prevent fatigue and more importantly throw the AI.
- As with any tactic it needs loading at the start of pre-season, tactical familiarity is vital in FM21.
- I asked my Assistant to take care of team talks but took control of training myself. Opposition instructions should not be set.
- You need fast forwards and the best wingers at your disposal for this to work.
- Be aware you need a decent size squad. Two players per position to allow for injuries and bans if you are in Europe.
- Download this tactic, do not try and copy it. There are many individual player instructions and set pieces are vital.
Best FM2021 Tactics: Download Concerto
If you would like to give the tactic a try, follow the instructions below. Please download both systems and decide which suits your team:
Download Concerto B-flat
1. Click the download link above and download the file.
2. For Windows put the downloaded file in this folder: Documents/Sports Interactive/Football Manager 2021/tactics. If the “shortlists” folder doesn’t exist you will have to create it. Windows users skip to step 2, Mac users read below.
Mac users put file in this folder: Users/YOUR Mac USERNAME/Documents/Sports Interactive/Football Manager 2021/tactics. To access your files on Mac open ‘Finder’, click ‘Go’ from the menubar, press and hold the ‘alt’ key to show ‘library’ in your menu, while still holding ‘alt’ click it, then go to ‘Application Support’ > ‘Sports Interactive’ > ‘Football Manager 2021’
3. Now load the game as normal and enter the tactics screen.
4. In the tactics screen, click the tactic you currently have loaded then select ‘load’ from the drop-down menu
5. Select the tactic and click load.
Every year we test countless tactics and review the very best. For FM21 these systems will be ranked and listed within our tactics index linked below.
Thanks for reading, any social shares would be much appreciated. Follow us on social media for future posts in the series. Please feel free to leave a comment I’d love to hear how you get on. Likewise any questions.
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