Meet The Enganche(s)

In one of the other tactical analysis piece I did earlier in the year, I was having trouble with the Trequartista and he was roaming about far too frequent and being much deeper than I had hoped. So I said I was going to change the role to an Enganche to offer me a better, more static options. The reason for this was simple, by using a Trequartista when he dropped deep or moved out wide this disjointed the entire attack because the striker was also going wide. Not only this but at times, it meant my inside forward was isolated and I couldn’t quite connect with him as much as I’d have liked. Which was a big deal considering he is to be the team’s main scorer. With this in mind I thought rather than do a normal analysis article I’d mix it up a bit and do something a bit different again.

Meet The Enganche

The player I am using as an Enganche is Lucas Lima, he’s had quite the boost on Football Manager from FM 16 onwards compared to previous versions. He did need one though as he was quite underrated. Anyway this is him at the start of the save I currently have;

He’s equally adept at playing a central midfield role or as an attacking midfielder. As you can see above in the comparison, he is the best midfielder at the club so it makes sense to have him as the heartbeat of the team. That’s why I did start out with him being the Trequartista but because that didn’t work, he is now the Enganche. A role which suits the side much better and it also means Lucas Lima is heavily involved linking the play all together on the football field.

Let’s take a look at the attributes and see what the game highlights as being important for the Enganche.

The attributes I’ve numbered are the ones the game says he needs for the role and they’re also the attributes that the Enganche training schedule will focus on. For three of the nine attributes he already has a high attribute value for them. The others he is lacking in though. So how do I develop him? Well the answer is, he is more than likely at or very near his potential ability so I don’t expect him having much room for improvements. But this isn’t a worry as I will still train him on the basis he has some potential ability left. With this in mind here is how I set his schedule up;

Due to me not thinking he has much potential ability left then I decided to just keep it simple and not give him an additional focus because if he is at or close to full potential, then any attribute changes would come at the cost of others. So I was playing it somewhat safe. At the end of the first season my fears were confirmed and it seemed like Lucas Lima actually was at full potential because he saw a slight rise in one attribute and lost little bits from all the others to compensate as you can see in the end of the first season screenshot.

It’s not a major concern that it seems he can no longer develop but it does mean long-term I needed to find someone much better who can excel at the things I require. Luckily for me though I was handed a very gifted 15-year-old in my first youth intake. He came with the ‘best of his generation’ tag which means he is packing some potential! If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have seen me raving out him. You can find out more about him a little later on.

Lucas Lima did very well in the first season, he chipped in with a few goals and assists and did the job I expected him to. We will analyse his performance and his job in the side a little later. But for now I’ll just show you a screenshots of his development (or lack of) for the end of his second season.

As you can see he’s pretty much the same as the original screenshot. So nothing’s really changed. He had a fantastic second season though and it was much better than his first even though that was quite good. He became more of a goal threat.

Meet Paulo

Now, Mr Freitas is actually the Brazilian head researcher for Football Manager for those of you who didn’t know, you can check him out on Twitter

Long-term Paulo is definitely going to be the Enganche but because he is only 15 he will have to wait almost a full year before he can make his senior debut. Due to this it means I want to play closer attention to what he’s doing for the under 20’s and reserve teams so I can make sure he isn’t overplayed. By that, I mean, from a condition standpoint as if he plays while having low condition I increase the risk of him picking injuries up and they can make development stall.

To begin with during the first year this is how I trained him;

I gave him a first touch additional focus to begin with because he can’t really be a playmaker can he if he lacks in the basics? So for the first eighteen months I gave him these focuses on a 2 month rotation;

  • First touch
  • Dribbling
  • Stamina
  • Agility
  • Passing
  • Off the Ball
  • Composure
  • Finishing

I felt these were the attributes I wanted to focus on because they’d make him a much better player long-term and are more in line with what I want the player to do rather than what the game decides are the important attributes.

By the time the next youth intake came into the club Paulo was just about to make his first team debut and he looked like this;

He’s improved quite drastically hasn’t he and still has lots more room for improvement. Here’s what he looks like at the end of the second season, just a few months later.

Again he’s seen improvements in just a short few months. So good in fact that if you look at the training section of his profile then you’ll see his schedule has now changed. The reason behind this is I feel he’s improved a lot in the past 15-18 months, much better than I was expecting. With this in mind I wanted to put him on a focus that also trained more attributes than the Enganche schedule. This is to make him better all round. This isn’t long term and will only happen for around a year but short-term it can be very valuable. Especially as he can also play in the central midfield positions.

He will be on the dribbling additional focus for the next three months and then after that, I don’t actually know what focus I will give him. I’m still debating that but I will update about his development and what I changed at a later date.

That’s the introductory over as you’ve seen the players and their attributes now and can see how they’re being developed. The next thing is to show you how the role works in the system I use. As a reminder here is the system I use;

Now let’s take a look at some of the stats Lucas Lima has got over the last two seasons.

This was the first season, as you can see he scored a few goals and had a fair few assists. His passing is a lot lower than you might expect though but there is a reason for this and I’ll touch upon that shortly.

He averaged just under two shots a game which on paper means he wasn’t selfish in terms of shots. He also did a good amount of passes, especially key ones. However his passing is lower than you’d imagine at first but that’s because of what I want the player to do. I sacrifice a little bit of possession/accurate passing for more killer balls from Lima. He has this as a player’s preferred move or a PPM for short.

This means at times he will attempt to do through balls to the players surging forward, especially the inside forward who is more often than not in free space. As long as Lucas Lima’s passing doesn’t fall below 70% then for me, it isn’t an issue. Any lower though and I’d have to seriously reconsider as it would mean an important part of the cog was being wasteful.

Season two he actually improved his goals return but didn’t quite match the 14 assists from the season before.

His goal scoring improved a lot but I think this was down to using a more mobile striker in front of him in the second season. During the first season I used a 35-year-old striker who wasn’t very mobile.

His goals were more helpful this season but his passing went down and he was bordering on the line were I’d have to decide if it was worth it or not. Although saying that, Paulo played this season and played eleven league games and averaged 80% passing for those games and he doesn’t have the PPM that Lima has. I also won’t be teaching it him as he can offer a different dimension, I’m not keen on developing like for like players.

So overall I’m happy with his performance over the last two season from a stats point of view. It’s now time to show you his role in-game.

While the Enganche role can be quite static I feel people have the wrong impression about the role. They still move wide, come deep and all that but it’s more situational and depends on the player’s attributes compared to a Trequartista who is told to roam more in search of the ball and space. So it’s not unheard of or that foreign to see a situation like this in the above screenshot. He’s intelligent enough to know where the ball is going and wants to be involved so he goes towards the touchline to receive the ball.

The main reason for showing you these set of screenshots were because of what happens next. He receives the ball here from the right-sided wingback and then he uses his PPM………

That’s his PPM at work right there. Not the best clip but it’s right at the start of the clip you can see him release the ball using his PPM.

This is a better clip though. He does these types of passes frequently and they aren’t one off’s.

In this particular match he has had four key passes, two of them being passes like  the above. Actually it’s three of the PPM type passes because one registered as an assist.

And scrolling through other games played he seems to complete these type of passes two or three times a game at least. They don’t always come off but when they do it tends to result in a shot at goal or an actual goal. So the risk of a lower passing percentage isn’t an issue really as long as he keeps pulling some of these attempted passes off.

His team mates have passed to him a total of thirty-seven times in this game, the second highest in my side. As you can see that the passes he receives favour the right side and the reason for this is because the wingback on that side is attacking and the central midfielder situation on the right side is a box to box midfielder. So the three of them are always linking up with each other.

But if we compare this to the game were I used a Trequartista instead, you can see the difference straight away.

There was still a bias to right side which is expected but the balls received by the Treq are more centrally focused and in deeper positions. This meant that my Treq was deep the start of moves a lot of time and this isolated my inside forward and didn’t really link that well with the striker either. That’s why I changed. That wasn’t the only difference though.

Those are the Treq’s passes completed and nearly all of them are diagonal passes and from slightly deeper areas. On paper these look good because he is linking play to the attack but he actually want. What was happening is he was passing it diagonally and no-one was advanced centrally enough because that was his job but he was never there. Now if we compare this to the Enganche we can see how it differs even more.

There’s not as many passes in comparison but that’s also because he is more of a goal threat than the Treq ever was. Not only this but his actual passing range is shorter than the screenshot above. That’s because he’s higher up the pitch and more involved with play in the latter stages. After all I didn’t need him to use the ball a lot I just needed him to use it wisely. Sometimes less is more, I know it sounds cliche but it really is. I’d rather have quality over quantity.

Now if we switch back to what the Enganche offers me I think this game against Corinthians is a good example to show.

This was a high pressure game where I was on the back foot compared to the first example I showed you. This was a game against the best side in Brazil and I’d lost the previous meeting between the two sides. While his positioning is deeper here for passes received that’s because the whole side was deeper as I’m unable to stamp my authority as much as usual. That’s not the only reason though. Because Corinthians are a big side they were closing me down heavily, this meant my players were looking to move the ball about more and weren’t as adventurous compared to the smaller sides we play. I think the above screenshot shows this and you can see what kind of outlet the Enganche was.

That video again highlights him using the more risky passes PPM and shows how dangerous he can be for using it to stretch the opponent and play runners in. This is also another reason why he’s an integral part of the side. By him being more central he is allowed to run play and be an outlet for others to use if they’re struggling. And when he can play balls like that, who am I to disagree with that kind of play?

Those are his completed passes during this game. Again it’s all kinds of passing and all different types of ranges. You’ll notice he was more direct in his play compared to the last game and that’s because Corinthians were every attacking so there was lots of space to get in behind of them. So a lot of these passes split the high defensive line of Corinthians and caused them issues.

I think I’ve waffled on long enough for now. But if people are interested the follow-up piece to this is  a comparison with Lima vs Paulo to show you how different both play. You’ll be able to view that in the next few days.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

5 thoughts on “Meet The Enganche(s)”

  1. Really interested in how you developed that tactic; seems like the BWM and the BBM should be swapped so there’s more defensive cover on the right when the WB bombs forward; would also divide put a late arriving runner on each side of the field instead of having both on the right.

    1. Swapping the BWM and BBM just doesn’t make logical sense. Yes the WB will bomb forward but he still does his defensive duties. I’m more exposed on the side the BWM currently is than the right hand side. The left is the more aggressive side of the tactic. I have less players on the right but the BBM is a destroyer type player I’m using and he more than enough covers the space on the right. It’s all about the balance of the tactic overall and this has lots of that.

      I also have late runner on the left, the WB support is exactly that. There not both on the right hand side at all. Another reason why it doesn’t make much sense is the striker is the one dropping deep and the IF on the left is the main goal threat and scorer. Scoring 175 goals in 157 games. The right side of the tactic creates the overload with the WB attack, BBM and the striker dropping deep, we also have the enganche, this means the opposition always have to move people across to cover.

      This then opens space up because either the enganche gets lots of free space or the BBM. Then a simple ball (which happens 80% of the time) towards the left means the IF is free and unmarked in most scenarios.

      1. Thanks for the detailed response.

        I never would’ve picked that up looking at the tactics screen (I guess that’s a good reason to watch the games). Seeing your thought process has really helped make me a better player. Thanks for taking the time to explain!

  2. Taking my time to go through a bit of your backlog.
    Great writing as usual. Was curious if you could remember what settings
    you were applying?

    1. Hmm is it not in any of the two enganche posts? I can’t remember off the top of my head. I’ll search my HD a bit later and see if I can find them though in the other pieces I have.

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