Formation/Tactics Guide by ray_lightcaster

Version: 0.8 | Updated: 03/17/09 | Printable Version


                Football Manager Handheld 2009 (FMH09) for PSP
                        Formation & Tactics FAQ
                               version 0.8
                           by ray_lightcaster


S/N	Table of Contents	

(1.0)	Introduction Section		
(1.1)	What is this Tactics FAQ
(1.2)	What is not covered here

(2.0)	Formation & Tactics Section
(2.1)	Bugel 433
(2.2)	Flat 343
(2.3)	Flat 352

(3.0)   One goal up in the 70th Minute
(3.1)   Minor Changes to Protect Lead
(3.2)   Brick Wall 4231

(4.0)	Player Interaction Section
(4.1)	Two approaches

(5.0)	Closing Section
(5.1)	Sources
(5.2)	Notes of Revision
(5.3)	Disclaimer


(1.0)	Introduction Section		

When I first got my hands on FMH2009, I was shaking with excitement. Why will
I not be? This is THE greatest job on Earth. However, my excitement soon
turned to frustration. Formation 422, which in my humble view - is the more
balanced approach in football, could not give me any decent wins in FMH09.
I was taking charge of one of the better teams in English Premier League but
yet, my team just could not score.

I started scouting the Internet for tactics which would possibly solve my
problems. I was relieved to find one gem on the Internet which solve my
scoring problems. After a few seasons, I started to experiment with other
alternate tactics of my own ... and they actually worked well for me. Thus,
I will like to share my experiences with readers of the

There is a serious lack of information regarding FMH09 tactics on the
Internet. I hope this FAQ will help some fans out there to start scoring
some goals.


(1.1)	What is this Tactics FAQ

This FAQ will cover three basic key tactics for FMH2009. It will help to lay
the foundations of your gameplay, regardless of which team you are taking
charge of.

The first key tactic covered here is called “Bugel 433”. I found this on the
Internet and it works wonders for me.

The second formation is a "Flat 343" attacking style which i devised after
a few seasons. It won me a few EPL titles and I hope to share with fellow

The third formation is a "Flat 352" which helps me capture the EPL title in
the first season which I tried it. This tactic requires many talented
midfielders in your side and it's a joy rotating the outfield players.


(1.2)	What is not covered here

This FAQ will not answer questions such as which team is best to play as,
which are best players to sign and what the bonus contents are. Perhaps,
I will cover in future but for the moment, let's stick to the key basics.


(2.0)	Formation & Tactics Section

If you are familiar with “Tactics” page, you can skip this section to (2.1).
This section is merely explanation for new gamers.

To access the tactics section, look at your main menu (vertical bar) on the
left of screen. Select your team name ("AC Milan" as an example). In the next
section, scroll down and select the "Tactics" option (which should be the
third option from the top).

Once in "Tactics" section, you will see the green field on the right, denoting
the team formation. You are now in the key section to change tactics and
formation. Remember, any customised formation needs to be SAVED. Any revision
to team and player instructions needs to be CONFIRMED. If not, all your
hard work will be lost.

There are three key areas to take note here: formation, team instruction and
player instruction. These will affect the way your players play on the pitch.

First on formation. It is important to know how to create custom formation
and to save them. If you do not save, the data will be lost and you have to
start from scratch. Remember these simple steps:

   - Select a preset formation which you wish to edit (eg. 433)
   - Press triangle to edit the formation
   - Here, you can set your player runs (Square) or move their positions (X)
   - Once done, confirm the changes (circle)
   - You will note that the 433 formation has an asterisk (*) on it.
   - Asterisk (*) means formation is customised.

Please remember to save! Select your "433*" option and hit Circle. Key in your
own formation name, example "Johnny 433". Once completed, Johnny 433 will now
appear as the last formation in a different blue colour.

Second, we move onto the Team Instruction on the left vertical menu. Select
this and a new screen will appear. These are basically your general
instructions to the entire team on how they should play, such as the passing
or the tackling. Not much to explain. Make your selections here.

Third, you need to access the Player instruction page on the left vertical
menu. These are the specific tactics you give to all your individual players.
There are many pages here. You flip the different pages by passing the
Square or Circle buttons. There are about 14 pages in total. Here are
some simple steps as examples:

   - First page is Passing. The first team 11 players are listed here.
   - You can set each player's passing style.
   - If you select "Team", this player will follow Team Instruction.
   - Once done, press Circle and you proceed to next page Tackling.

You have keyed a lot information into three key sections by now, namely
Formation, Team Instruction and Player Instruction. Remember to choose
the "Confirm" option to effect the changes in Team Instruction and Player


(2.1)	Bugel 433

When I started playing FMH2009, I employed this tactic almost 90% of the time.
The only time I do not use this is perhaps when the oppostion is having a
5-men midfield (eg. 352). I find that Bugel 433 loses a bit of effectiveness
when it comes to a strong 352 opposition.

To-date, this is my most successful formation. In my international
management, national teams typically win with ease using this formation.
France, in particular, was able to crusie through competitions with
neligible chanages.

Bugel 433 is named this way because it comes from an online poster named
Bugel. I tried to trace the original post and person but could not.
As such, I am unable to give direct credit. To re-emphasied, this is NOT
my tactic and comes from Bugel.

This is basically a 433 formation. In midfield, play two DMC with a AMC in
the middle. For the forwards, play a SC in the middle of the three. For
defence, simply play four defenders in their natural positions.

Let's start with the customisation. You can refer to Section (2.0) if this
is new to you.

First, in formation page, select 433 and edit from 433. From the preset
formation, remove all player runs. Leave the positions as they are.

Second, go to Team Instruction page. Use the following:

   Emphasis		: Attacking
   Passing		: Normal
   Tackling		: Normal
   Pressing		: Yes
   Offside trap		: No
   Counter		: No
   Men Behind Ball	: No
   Other options will be up to you

Third, go to Player Instruction page. Use the following:

   Passing		: "Team" for all.
   Tackling		: "Team" for all, except "Hard" for three MC.
   Pressing		: "No" for goal and defenders. "Yes" to MC and FC.
   Pass			: "R/L/C" for all.
   Set Pieces (A)	: "Back" for keeper, DL and DR.
			   Use "Forward" for all others.
   Set Pieces (D)	: "Normal" for middle of the CM,
			  "Forward" for middle striker,
			  "Back" for all others
   Free Role		: "No" for all.
   Forward Runs		: "No" for all, except for
			  "Yes" for DL, DR, middle of MC, all 3 FC
   Run With Ball	: "No" for all, except for
			  "Yes" for DL, DR, middle of MC, all 3 FC
   Hold up ball		: "NO" for all
   Long Shots		: "No" for all, except "Yes" for the three MC.
   Through Balls	: "NO" for all
   Cross Ball		: "No" for all, except "Yes" for DL, DR.
   Marking		: "None" for GK, "Zonal" for DL & DR, "Man" for 2 DC,
			  "Man" for left & right MC, "Man" for middle CM,
			  "None" for all 3 FC

Remember to go back to save and confirm all customisations. Below are sources:


(2.2)	Flat 343

After a few successful seasons of using "Bugel 433", I started to experience
with my own style of play. I wanted a formation which I can call my own. I
was thrilled to find that a Flat 343 works well for my team.

I am really proud of this Flat 343 because I was able to win EPL title in my
first season of using this formation. The EPL title was won despite having
5 to 8 players injured most of the time.

This was my EPL result after 37 games:
Played	: 37 (one game left)
Won	: 26
Draw	: 7
Lost	: 4
For	: 52
Against	: 18
GD	: 34
Points	: 85

In this same season, these are the awards won:
EPL Manager of the Year (won by me)
EPL Player of the Year (Nicklas Bendtner)
EPL Runner-up Player of the Year (Carlos Vela)
EPL Young Player of the Year (Alexandro Bruno)
European Super Cup (my team won at the start of season)
ECC (my team lost the final and ended as runner up)

Let's start with the customisation for this Flat 343 style of play.

First, in formation page, select preset 343 and edit from it. We will start
with the 3 defenders. Leave positions as they are, but remove the player runs.
Next, let's look at the midfield. The preset version has 1 DMC and 3 midfield.
The idea is to change it to a flat 4-men midfield, similar to a standard 442
midfield. In the preset 343, you have to move the central midfielder one
point to his left. Then, move the DMC up to a MC position. Then you have to
remove the player runs for ML and MR. Finally, we look at the attackers.
In the preset 343, there is a AMC playing just behind the 2 forwards.
Move this AMC to the middle of the FC. The idea is to have 3 forwards.
There, it is completed. The formation should look like:

         FC  FC  FC

      ML   MC   MC   MR

         DC  DC  DC

A few quick words of my player setup.

The defence is easy to manage because you simply buy players who play
in the central. Less hassle to worry about DL or DR getting injured.
Sometimes u end up with no wing backs because they are all injured.
For this style, I will simply buy central defenders. I will also
not waste spaces in substitute bench by having 1 DL, 1DC and 1 DR.
My bench usually have just 2 DC and the rests will be either DMC, AM
and SC.

I like to play the midfield with players who have flair for long shots,
especially the ML and MR. For MC, I like to play one with good defensive
stats (eg. head, tackle stats) and one with good attacking stats (eg. cross,

FOr attack, simply put attackers whose natural positions are up there.
These may be AM, F or SC. For me, I like to put 1 or 2 SC among these 3
players. SC seems to score more often in my games.

Let us move to the Team Instruction page. Use the following:

   Emphasis		: Attacking
   Passing		: Normal
   Tackling		: Normal
   Pressing		: Yes
   Offside trap		: No
   Counter		: No
   Men Behind Ball	: No
   Other options will be up to you

Lastly, go to Player Instruction page. Use the following:

   Passing		: "Team" for all.
   Tackling		: "Team" for all, except "Hard" for 4 midfield.
   Pressing		: "No" for defenders. "Yes" to midfield and FC.
   Pass			: "R/L/C" for all.
   Set Pieces (A)	: "Back" for keeper and DC.
			   Use "Forward" for all others.
   Set Pieces (D)	: "Forward" for 3 FC,
			  "Back" for all others
   Free Role		: "No" for all.
   Forward Runs		: "No" for defenders,
			  "Yes" for 4 midfield and 3 FC
   Run With Ball	: "No" for defenders,
			  "Yes" for 4 midfield and 3 FC
   Hold up ball		: "NO" for all
   Long Shots		: "No" for 3 DC and 3 FC, "Yes" for 4 midfield.
   Through Balls	: "NO" for all
   Cross Ball		: "No" for all, except "Yes" for ML, MR.
   Marking		: "None" for GK, "Zonal" for 3 DC & 3 FC,
			  "Man" for 4 midfielders

Remember to go back to save and confirm all customisations. 


(2.3)	Flat 352

After almost 11 seasons using Bugel 433 and Flat 343, I started to get bored
and left my game alone. Over the next few Sat, my favourite EPL team just
could not score (in real life, that is). Out of fustration, i picked up my
game again and tried to do what the players could not in real life.

This time, I started playing with a standard 352. After making some minor
changes to the default 352 preset in the game, I started to challenge at the
front of the pack. By mid season, I am among the top 3. At the end of game 35
in my season 12, my team picked up the EPL title. I was really surprised
because my previous attempts at 352 did no such wonders.

This formation needs many midfielders in your team. My team has at least 10
midfielders, most talented who can play in different positions and with
flair to have long shoots from distance. I have no choice but to rotate them
as some have the tendency to get themselves injured, sometimes in training.
34 goals out of 66 (all competiton) come from my midfield. These 34 goals
are spread out among 9 players. At that point, I was wondering if these
bunch can re-create the same magic in the next season.

For my season 12, these are some notes worthy of mention:

Jason Murray - Right midfielder. Bought from Derby at 7.5 million pound.
Did not expect him to score much. Ended season with 10 goals. That's 29%
of my 34 goals coming from midfield.

Luca Conti - AMC/F bought from Inter Milan. Top scorer of the team with
15 goals (all competitions). Won the Young Player of Year award.

Cup competitions - I lose all cups except ECC. Most of time, my cup ties
ended up in ties (ie. draws, and pun is intended) and my team will lose
out on penalty shootout. Strangely (but no complain), my ECC was won on
penalties against the French side OL.

In my season 13, however, the same tactics only brought me a 3rd position
in EPL. Halfway through the season, the midfielders and strikers left their
scoring boots in the lockeroom and the goals dry up. I really hope
this Flat 352 is not a one-season wonder. One possible solution to such
issue is perhaps the use of Player Interaction. I believe proper player
interactions can whip the team in shape and push players to continue to
perform. Have a peek at Section 4 if you are interested.

Enough of tales and stories. Let us now move to the tactics proper.

A Flat 352 is simple to set up. In the game, there are 3 pre-set versions of
352. The first is "353", the second is "352 defensive" and the third is
"352 Attacking". Choose the first one. This is my so-called "Flat 352".

Second, it is the Team Instructions. Please use the below:

   Emphasis		: Attacking
   Passing		: Normal
   Tackling		: Normal
   Pressing		: Yes
   Offside trap		: No
   Counter		: No
   Men Behind the Ball	: No

Third, it is the Player Instructions. Information is below:

   Passing 		: "Team" for all.
   Tackling		: "Team" for all, except "Hard" for 5 midfielders.
   Pressing		: "No" for keeper and defenders.
			  "Team" to all midfield and FC.
   Pass			: "R/L/C" for all.
   Set Pieces (A)	: "Back" for keeper and 3 defenders.
			  Use "Forward" for others.
   Set Pieces (D)	: "Back" for all, except for
			  "Forward" for 2 FC.
   Free Role		: "No" for all.
   Forward Runs		: "No" for keeper and defenders, 
			  "Yes" for 3 midfield and 2 FC
   Run With Ball	: "No" for keeper and defenders, 
			  "Yes" for 3 midfield and 2 FC
   Hold up ball		: "NO" for all
   Long Shots		: "No" for all, except "Yes" for 5 midfields.
   Through Balls	: "NO" for all
   Cross Ball		: "No" for all, except "Yes" for ML and MR
   Marking		: "None" for GK and 2 FC, "Zonal" for defence,
			  "Man" for midfield

If I am playing at home (and when I play a very much weaker team), I will
play 5 attacking players or MC across the central. Idea is to go all
out and score loads, if possible.

However, if i play against a tough team (especially in away matches), I
will make some changes to the 3 midfielders within the 5: I will use 
two DMC to flank a MC or AMC. All these three have to have "dark green"
in those middle positions. "Dark green" means it is that player's natural
position. By half time, I will assess if my team is losing % in tackling
or creating very little chances. If so, I will switch the two DMC with AMC.


(3.0)   One goal up in the 70th Minute

When you are 1-nil up at 70th odd minute, it is common sense to switch
formation to protect your lead. There are numerous ways to do it.


(3.1)   Minor Changes to Protect Lead

One of the easiest is to make minor changes to your tactics. First is to
switch Team Instruction's Emphasis as "Defending". I will switch "Men Behind
Ball" to Yes and "Counter" to Yes. Next, I will go to Player Instruction's
"Hold Ball" section. I will switch the forwards to "Yes" so that they
can waste some time by holding ball.

This usually works for me. Sometimes, my team is performing poorly (eg. losing
tackles or creating little chances) but still with 1 goal lead. I will even
start to switch to such defensive play as early as the 60th minute.


(3.2)   Brick Wall 4231

Sometimes, I like to use a 4231 formation during such situations. There are
even a few occasions where my team found a second goal during the 80 ++ minutes.
The problem is that it is cumbersome and I am lazy to use this after some

If you are interested in using 4231 in closing minutes, below are some inputs.

First, in formation page, select 451 and edit from this formation. From the
preset formation, remove all player runs. Leave the positions as they are,
except for 2 players. Looking at your 5 midfielders, select the 2th and 4th
from the left (same actually if it is viewed from the right). Move their
positions one point south. You will now have 4231. The 2 changed positions
actually refers to 2 new DMC, protecting your back 4.

Second, go to Team Instruction page. Use the following:

   Emphasis		: Defending
   Passing 		: Short
   Tackling 		: Normal
   Pressing 		: Yes
   Offside trap	 	: No
   Counter 		: Yes
   Men Behind the Ball	: Yes
   Other options will be up to you

Third, go to Player Instruction page. Use the following:

   Passing		: "Team" for all, except for
			  "Direct" for ML, MR, MC and FC
   Tackling 		: "Normal" for goal and defence, "Hard" for others.
   Pressing 		: "No" for keeper and 4 defenders, "Yes" for others.
   Pass 		: "R/L/C" for all.
   Set Pieces (A) 	: "Back" for all, except ML, MR, MC and FC
   Set Pieces (D) 	: "Back" for all, except for middle MC and FC.
   Free Role 		: "No" for all, except for FC
   Forward Runs 	: "No" for all, except "Yes" for ML, MR, MC and FC
   Run With Ball	: "No" for all, except "Yes" for ML, MR, MC and FC
   Hold up ball 	: "NO" for all, except for FC
   Long Shots		: "No" for all, except "Yes" for for ML, MR, MC.
   Through Balls 	: "NO" for all
   Cross Ball 		: "No" for all
   Marking 		: "None" for GK, "Zonal" for 4 defenders and
			  "Man" for all others

Remember to go back to save all customisations and confirm changes.


(4.0)	Player Interaction Section

There are seasons when things go strangely wrong for no reason. Your players
are more or less the same, no key player is injured - but somehow, your goals
dry up or the team starts to drop points.

I have experienced such bad runs several times and the most painful of all is
probably my season 13 for my first play. I had just successfully utilised a new
formation and won the title in season 12. Season 13 started nicely but my first
top-of-table clash saw my team lose 0-2 to the table leader and things went
downhill. Is there a way to address such terrible form?

I don't have much of a clear answer actually. My suspicion is that Player
Interaction is a possible solution. I have to admit that the earlier sections
on Formation & Tactics can be seen almost as a science at times (well, at least
we can test out formation with end-results to compare), this area is probably
an art. Unless you know the programming code, you probably have to grab in the
dark and rely on pure instincts. Here, i am putting down my prediction that
proper Player Interaction may help to keep the team in consistent form. Player
Interaction is something I did not perform during my season 13. As that is the
missing variable as compared to earlier seasons, I have a nagging feeling that
this is an important factor.


(4.1)	Two approaches

To interact with your player, go to that player's stat page. On the left-hand
vertical bar, you will see Player Interaction as the last option. You will get
the choice of addressing that player in public or privately, and for each
case, you can give positive feedback or negative feedback. Positive feedback
is supposed to encourage the player to continue performing well, while negative
feedback is supposed to whip the player back into proper form.

As you probably know, we will be unable to interact with the players too
often. As the game is coded, giving too many positive feedback on regular
basis will cause the player to be complacent, while giving too regular negative
feedback will cause that person to feel unhappy.

So, how often should we do the player interaction?

I have 2 approaches to this. First is to do a twice-a-season approach. In
this method, i will start interacting with all key players in start of season
(around July) and around mid-season (maybe Jan or so). The idea is to motivate
them at the start of season and to reinforce your message halfway through the
season. The second way is to ignore player interaction until you see a dip in
form - then you start talking to all first team players. Hopefully, they
will rise on the pitch for better results.

What tone should we take during the individual interaction?

I usually follow the in-game recommendations. If the player reacts well to
private talk, I will choose "private". If the player is performing well in
recent games, I will simply choose "positive". No surprise here. If the player
is on the unknown side (eg. not sure how to interact and the form is somewhat
indifferent), I will probably choose a private session and use a positive

Again, I have to repeat the disclaimer that I am not sure how effective this
section on Player Interaction is. I just have a nagging feeling that this
works and I just have to put it down.


(5.0)	Closing

There you have it. Some tactics for you to burn your nights away with FMH09.
The areas covered in this FAQ may not be the best as you may revise the
tactics to suit your team better. Nevertheless, this should be a decent
"starter kit" for those who are new to the game.


(5.1)	Sources

To me, the "Bugel 433" tactics is a gem which works wonders. I wish to
reiterate that I did not invent it. I merely lifted from the Internet to share
with fellow gamers on website. Sources are listed as below:


(5.2)	Notes of Revision

Version	0.5 (12 Jan 2009) : My first time submitting the FAQ. Key tactic is
Bugel 433.

Version 0.6 (22 Jan 09) : My second time submitting. Key revision is that i
have added a second formation called Flat 343.

Version 0.7 (6 Mar 09): My third time submittin. Previously, i had a section
called 352 as a supporting tactic. I have rewrote it as a core section of its
own. It is called flat 352. Supporting formations are shifted to a new section

Version 0.8 (17 Mar 09): Minor fine-tuning to Section 2.3 to make explanations
clearer and added a section 4 on Player Interactions.


(5.3)	Disclaimer

This is a non-profit FAQ, created solely to share gaming tips with fellow
gamers. I am in no way related to the game developer and publisher. There is
no intention to cause any insult, embarrassment, harm or distress to any
individual or organisation, should there be any. Have fun, mates.