The Football Manager franchise has come a long way since it’s inception in 2004 but the game remains extremely popular with fans. More in-depth training options have been added to the latest release and players can also make regular tactical tweaks to their side throughout the season. With a number of formations and systems available to managers, it’s vitally important to know your side’s strengths and weaknesses and the application of tactics is imperative to a successful campaign.

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Popularised by Jurgen Klopp, the gegenpress has become a favourite of many top-flight managers and unsurprisingly, it has also made onto Football Manager 2019. It is a hugely positive system which is extremely enjoyable to watch if executed correctly. However, players must ensure they have the personnel to carry it out. If you’re in charge of a non-league outfit or have an ageing squad, this is a tactic which could prove ineffective. However, if you possess a young, hungry and energetic squad, they should be able to carry out your orders and implementing the gegenpress could yield plenty of success in the long-term. It is best to search for players with plenty of stamina during the recruitment process and opting for a 4-2-3-1 formation is generally advised. If your squad start to pick up injuries over the course of the season, it may be best to adopt a different tactic until key players start to return to the fold. It is a system which has worked effectively for Liverpool with the Reds priced at 9/4 in the Premier League betting this season and their energetic approach could see them edge out Manchester City in the title race.


This system was popularised by Barcelona and is another attack-minded, positive approach. It is available as a preset on Football Manager 2019 and could be handy for players who wish to manage in La Liga. If your squad has technical players who are happy to stroke the ball around but aren’t particularly physical, this could be the preferred tactic. You can opt for tiki-taka as your preferred tactical style and signing a plethora of diminutive, slight, ball-playing midfielders is highly recommended in order to be successful.

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Route One 

This is a system for the Football Manager purists who favour points above performances. It is an approach which is favoured by managers such as Sam Allardyce but it also has the tendency to frustrate fans. This is particularly handy if you’ve taken over a club who are fighting relegation or committing defensive howlers on a regular basis. It isn’t necessarily a long-term approach but it’s a preset which could just save a side from slipping out of the division. Soaking up pressure can be handy against better sides and any manager who finds their side struggling for firepower may opt to use this tactic until the transfer window opens. This is associated with 5-4-1 and 5-3-2 formations and although you could be at risk of being labelled a “dinosaur”, it may be just enough to save your job.

Other presets include vertical tiki-taka, catenaccio and park-the-bus. The latter was famously favoured by Jose Mourinho and is available on Football Manager 2019 although it is generally viewed as a temporary fix. With so many tactics available, it’s imperative to assess the merits of your squad before making a decision and carefully selecting the correct system is highly likely to improve your fortunes in the virtual dugout.