This FM21 lower league Tactic features attacking, pressing football and is suitable for level 10 teams up to the National League North/South and possibly the National League. Once you reach the National League and League Two, a more intricate approach is required but we have a tactic for that too (found here.)
Both tactics are named Concerto but todays system is the direct version. It was formed from the original Concerto which is a possession based, passing system. It was designed for Technically gifted players and as such will not work on mud soaked pitches hosting Hashtag United. That is where the direct edition excels with a front to back approach.
My direct version of concerto led Prestwich Heys to an invincible season, drawing just twice, scoring 135 goals from just 36 games and winning the FA Vase.
Best FM21 Lower League Tactic – Formation
This is a direct, pressing system focussed on attacking, front to back Football in a 4-2-4 shape.
Two Pressing Forwards offer a constant goal threat and act as the first line of Defence. The right sided striker is instructed to roam from position adding movement to the frontline.
To find balance out wide AMR is on attack duty, while AML supports and is instructed to roam often floating into AMC. The right sided full back supports play offering defensive stability while the left Full Back attacks, often overlapping.
Defensive stability comes from the Ball Winning Midfielder who breaks up play so the Advanced Playmaker can create and attack with more intent.
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 FM21 lower league tactic, it will not work.
Concerto Direct Edition Gameplay & Guide Video
Best Football Manager 2021 Lower League Tactic – Instructions
The original Concerto instructed most players to pass short counteracting that direct approach, these instructions have been removed for the direct edition. We also omit play out from Defence.
We still look to run at the defence, move the ball quickly and pass into space.
This is still a pressing system with counter and counter-press in use.
Out of possession we use a much higher line of engagement and extremely urgent press. The defensive line is moved back to standard because balls over the top can be a real issue lower down the pyramid. We also de-activate the offside trap due to possessing very poor mental attributes.
Get stuck in is still active and unlike the original Concerto I have not experienced disciplinary issues.
Player suitability is vital so please read the next section and note the necessary changes to AMR and AML player instructions.
Best FM21 Lower League Tactic – Player Roles
GK – sweeper keeper (defend) – Just your standard Keeper but one v one ability should be preferred.
CD – central defenders (defend) – Aerial presence is important. Also look for Defenders with speed to quell that ball in behind, but you will be limited for choice.
DR – full back (support) – Seemingly the less offensive full back but do not be deceived, DR will get forward, look to cross the ball and shoot from range. You should look for speed, work rate and general technical ability. DR does shoot often from the right side corner routine.
DL – full back (attack) – The left sided Defender should be well rounded and Athletic, more of a WBL due to his advanced position. He will overlap the Winger often reaching the by-line so great crossing and dribbling ability will be rewarded.
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. It would seem a natural AMC suits this role best.
CM – ball winning midfielder (support) – The more defensive minded midfielder is instructed to take fewer risks and generally play it safe. I like an aggressive, hard working BWM with good physicals.
AMR – winger (attack) – 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. A right footed Winger is required and good crossing is preferred.
AMR is instructed to mark DL within player instructions, if up against advanced wing backs this must be changed to man mark WBL.
AML – winger (support) – The Winger is on support to add balance and allow your marauding Full 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.
As above AML is instructed to man mark DR which needs changing to WBR when appropriate. The Winger must be left footed.
STR – pressing forward (attack) – The main goal threat, speed and dribbling ability is a must. A clinical finisher will do well. The ball in behind is a massive source of goals so speed and off the ball movement are important. STR is also instructed to roam from position, this adds movement which is lacking in the front line.
STL – pressing forward (attack) – As above.
IMPORTANT – When to tweak
I used attacking mentality for all matches but would recommend switching to a time wasting system to see games out.
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 AML to attack duty and the Advanced Playmaker to attack also. Making substitutions in attack and midfield can help too.
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. But these are for full time clubs which you may not yet be. If you need part time schedules, simply schedule attacking movement and defensive shape before a Saturday game with physical or overall training on the other training day and match match tactics or Teamwork.
Pre-season should heavily feature ‘match tactics’ and a mixture of the other three match preparation cards, attacking movement, defensive shape and teamwork.
The key is to get that match prep in regardless, do not worry about player development, winning games is what matters and players still develop through match prep anyway. You can understand this method better by watching the video below on ‘why your tactic isn’t working’.
Best FM21 Non-League Tactic Results & Table
Results speak for themselves and ignore the goals conceded, that is inevitable at this level.
My most impressive results came in the FA Trophy beating Deal 5-0, Highgate 4-0, Stockton 4-1 and West Auckland 4-2. The latter won promotion from the league above ours, in fact almost all our cup opposition played a level above us.
We averaged 3.75 goals per game drawing just twice in the League completing the invincible season.
My Strikers scored a combined 98 goals from 86 starts and the more Technically talented Wydra assisted 20. Goals and assists can be found throughout the team and those Full Backs can contribute if you find Technically proficient players with speed.
Find the best FM 2021 players:
Best FM2021 Lower League Tactic: Top Tips
- Concerto has been tested for patch 21.2. We cannot predict whether this will work on later patches.
- AMR should be right footed and AML left footed.
- Change to ‘See The Game Out’ (download here) to see a game out.
- If struggling to score, make substitutions to the frontline or midfield.
- 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 FM21 Lower League Tactic: Download
If you would like to give the tactic a try, follow the instructions below:
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.
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