FM24 tactics: Best formations in Football Manager 2024
If you want to win the league, you're best off employing one of these formations.
Regardless of which coach is your hero, be it José Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Sir Alex Ferguson or even Big Sam himself, there's plenty on offer to fit multiple playstyles.
You might even want to dab your hand at putting seven at the back like Tottenham's Ange Postecoglou.
If you're after more tips, check out our best free FM24 agents to pick up some quality players without having to fork out extra on a transfer fee.
Hopefully, we'll be able to employ these tactics in the women's game too in the not-too-distant future.
The counter-pressing Gegenpress is as useful and relevant in FM24 as it was in FM 23.
You’ll want to use this tactic if you're aiming to try and win the ball back off of the opposition as soon as you lose it. It also works in that classic 4-2-3-1 formation!
Set the mentality to Positive and remember to play a Defensive Midfielder in a support role to get the most out of attacking and defending. A good pressing forward should help you press from the front and win the ball back more easily, too.
Check out YouTuber JoshDaly’s video below on how to best set up a 4-3-3 formation:
Wing Play 3-4-3
If you have excellent wingers and wing backs and are aiming to make the most of them, you’ll want to try your managerial hand at the Wing Play tactic.
Both 3-4-3 and 5-2-3 formations work here, but you’ll need to make sure you have the correct players to make it work and not just crumble under any pressure like the ill-fated Spurs under Antonio Conte.
To make 3-4-3 or 5-2-3 Wing Play work, you need to stock your team with physical players in defence, midfield and upfront. A strong lone striker who can convert crosses into the box is essential.
Defensive formation 3-5-2
What we like about the 3-5-2 formation is that it can overwhelm the opposition in midfield while wing backs can then push forward, so you have both a deep defence line and a quick attacking presence when needed.
The two centre-forwards can then help to occupy opposition centre-backs, freeing up space for midfielders pushing forward. Just make sure your defenders have some speed as they'll be moving forward and back regularly and don't want to be caught out.
More like this
Counter attack 4-4-2
If you’re going to be under a lot of pressure from the biggest teams, you’ll want to instruct your players to sit back and wait for chances.
4-4-2 counter-attacking football isn’t the prettiest, but it can be very effective.
Have yourself some quick wingers who are capable of getting up and down the pitch, a solid defensive midfielder and box-to-box pivot and clinical strikers and this formation should work a charm.
You won’t win awards for style, but you might win some trophies along the way.
Vertical Tiki-Taka 4-2-1-3
If you’re after goals and attacking with three forwards, we strongly recommend you use the Vertical Tiki-Taka tactic with a slightly wacky 4-2-1-3 or 4-1-1-1-3 (DM) formation.
Compared to standard Tiki-Taka, the Vertical version is narrower and lets you get the most out of False 9s and CFs. Strikers that can pass well are vital.
Make sure you have full backs with a lot of stamina, though, as they will be providing practically all of your width in this formation.
Another key bit of advice is to have a great shot-stopping goalkeeper, as you will concede chances. You might even concede a lot of chances. Stick that mentality on Attacking or Positive and let chaos reign.
Park the bus 5-4-1
Using his command of the English language, Jose Mourinho first quipped this delightfully frank phrasing during his initial stint at Chelsea between 2004 and 2007 where, occasionally, they most certainly had to park the bus.
Parking the bus is a 4-2-3-1 or 5-4-1 formation that gets as many of your players as possible to protect your box if you've got a good scoreline and aren't in the mood to take any more chances.
Still, there's a few players forward that can capitalise on any desperate counter-attacks that see the other team putting too many players in your end of the pitch to really twist the knife.
Things to remember
Tactics aren’t an exact science in FM24 and you can tinker with your formation, individual player roles and much, much more to get the most out of your team.
The more you play the game, the more you’ll pick up on what works and what doesn’t.
Remember to keep an eye on your players and those you sign for attributes that suit your preferred play style and you should do fine. A pressing forward, for example, will need good stamina stats to keep pressing the opposition.
Football Manager 2024 is available across PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. FM24 is also available for Netflix members via mobile.
Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10 – subscribe now and celebrate the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who with a special issue of Radio Times. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.