Best Tactics & Formations To Use in Football Manager 2023

The advanced formations and tactics seen in the highly realistic Football Manager 2023 allow players to fully customize their vision of the perfect strategy for their team of soccer athletes to win as many games as possible. Featuring deep methods of altering the gameplay of their team, players have access to how their athletes are grouped on the pitch and the mentality that defines their tactics seen in moment-to-moment gameplay. Furthermore, with certain schemes originating from famous plays in the history of the sport, players have a myriad of options when selecting their plan of action.


Out of the multitude of tactics and formations present in Football Manager 2023, the best strategies are seen through a Carloball and 4-3-3 Wide with a balanced mentality or the 5-2-3 “Sexy Sheffield” and Klopp 4-2-3-1 through an attacking mentality. The Tactical Style and Formation are the two settings players have control over, taking the statistically impressive functions of Football Manager 2023 and driving them in whatever direction they please. Furthermore, the Mentality may define the overall sentiment of the athletes, but the In Possession, In Transition, and Out of Possession categories within the Tactical Style also help give players more control over specific circumstances that arise during play.

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Play Patiently Through Carloball

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A formation inspired by the famous Carlo Ancelotti when he played for England, “Carloball” slows down the game to a pace that can frustrate opponents as it prioritizes passing rather than scoring. Although not every team composition can pull this formation off, as it requires a much higher mental strength in its athletes, players that commit to Carloball may find success in wearing down rival teams through the high amount of endurance that sees the ball travel all over the field. This gradual approach to scoring benefits experienced athletes, so players should consider adding athletes that are not younger players in Football Manager 2023 that are unfamiliar with this professional level.

A balanced mentality works best for the Carloball formation, but there are other tactics that players can use depending on where the ball happens to be to support this state of mind. While In Possession, players may want to prioritize Shorter Passing and Slightly Lower Tempo while using the Work Ball Into Box option to support the patient play associated with Carloball. Selecting the Take Short Kicks and Counter-Press options while In Transition also contributes to this mentality. The Much Higher Defensive setting from Out of Possession ensures players use high defense to reestablish themselves quickly to pursue their passing game again should the ball be lost.

Take a Truly Balanced Approach with the 4-3-3 Wide

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Players that do not wish to complicate their formation can go with the 4-3-3 Wide, a classic setting that emphasizes creativity regarding the athletes or free agents in Football Manager 2023 on a team. The Tactical Style takes precedence more than the actual grouping itself, with the 4-3-3 Wide being an adaptable strategy that typically forces players to focus the ball into the midfield. Quick wingers and fast midfielders are generally the best types of athletes to complement this formation, although players can frankly choose a wide variety of styles due to the flexibility of the 4-3-3 Wide.

A Slightly Higher Tempo within the In Possession Tactical Style settings past the balanced mentality gives athletes the option to set up shots quickly, especially when combined with the Hit Early Crosses option. While In Transition, players should look to the tactic that has their athletes Distribute to Center-Backs, as much of the 4-3-3 Wide relies on working around the center of the pitch. With four Defenders on the field keeping opponents from scoring, players may wish to use the High Press, Trap Inside, and Prevent Crosses tactics Out of Possession to create a strong backline that uses the broad distribution of the 4-3-3 Wide to shut down strategies being formed by a rival team.

Build an Aggressive Offense Through the 5-2-3 “Sexy Sheffield”


Strong wingbacks with a penchant for high-speed offense are necessary for the 5-2-3 “Sexy Sheffield,” a confusing but effective formation when players find the right tools that can execute an unorthodox playstyle. Leaving a good section of the midfield behind in favor of three forward attackers that relentlessly pursue a high amount of goals, players may sacrifice defense, but the proper adherence to this outlandish plan could leave their team with far more points than an opponent. Players will need to find athletes that can score not only often but also from longer distances, as the space created leaves many gaps that may be hard to pressure as they rely on the athleticism of fast strikers to obtain goals.

The options labeled Hit Early Crosses and Run at Defense from the In Possession Tactical Style set the pace for this aggressive formation, allowing athletes to strike first against the enemy team. The longer shots that can arise from running the 5-2-3 usually come from passes originating from the corners, where the far-set wingers may use the Counter and Counter-Press tactics In Transition to distribute the ball effectively when approaching the final third of the field. Defense may not be the priority of this formation, but players may want to use the Distribution and Step up More tactics to fill gaps made on the field to properly get their offense started when Out of Possession.

Have Superstars Shine with the Klopp 4-3-2-1

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Another formation that benefits from an aggressive mentality, the Klopp 4-3-2-1 is a bold strategy that puts confidence in the best athletes the player has at their disposal. Despite being more balanced than the 5-2-3 by having athletes spread across the field more evenly, the primary goal of the Klopp 4-3-2-1 is to get the ball to the best athlete the team has, allowing their skills to take on the responsibilities of scoring. Players who want a game plan that highlights different stars can find this formation incredibly strong, as it has been in previous Football Manager titles.

The Be More Expressive option meshes well with Tactical Style along with a Slightly Higher Tempo to set a moderate pace, incentivizing the dominant players that make up the Klopp 4-3-2-1 to take more chances when trying to score or pass. Out of Possession strategies such as Prevent Short GK and Higher Defensive Line ensure this plan does not leave a weak backline against rivals who also use aggressive approaches. The Take Short Kicks and Distribute to Full-Backs settings from In Transition give players more opportunities to get the ball toward the star playmakers used in this formation, an excellent tactic that still proves to be one of the best in Football Manager 2023.

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