Set Pieces Refresh and Coaches Debut
Whether they’re a potent source of goals or one of your team’s key defensive strengths, set pieces are an integral aspect of every football match and every manager’s tactical approach.
Many elite clubs have added set piece specialists to their coaching teams in recent seasons as they seek to find that extra 1% to help them edge out their most fierce rivals.
Their arrival on the scene has led to many of you making suggestions on our forums and socials for us to upgrade the way our Set Pieces system works in FM.
Now in FM24, the most complete edition in our series to-date, expert insight from key industry contacts means that Set Piece Coaches are making their debut and will help to power a refreshed Set Piece Creator.
A powerful new voice in your backroom team
In FM24, Set Piece Coaches are now a specialised staff role. In order to make this possible, we’ve added a Set Pieces attribute to every coach in the database that indicates their ability to train your players in the tactical aspects of set pieces.
That said, the profiles of the Set Piece Coaches look a bit different to those of other coaches in previous editions of FM. Instead of a Scouting Knowledge panel on the right-hand side, you’ll now see their Set Piece preferences clearly indicated. These preferences cover everything from the sort of delivery style they prefer to how they like to set up defensively.
If you’re lacking a Set Piece Coach at your club and you’ve got the space to hire one, you’ll be encouraged to sign one in a Staff Meeting.
A new flow to set your Set-Piece preferences
These new coaches will have a big impact on your careers pretty much straight away as they are the driving force behind our refreshed Set Piece Creator.
This creator marks a significant shift from how we’ve approached set pieces in previous editions of Football Manager. Now, the focus of every routine and scenario is on the players with the most appropriate Attributes instead of their positions in your tactic.
Whether you’re bringing forward a save from FM23 or writing a new footballing story, your Set Piece Coach will present you with six key questions that focus on both your defensive and offensive preferences from dead ball situations.
The first question will ask you to indicate whether you want your team to defend with Zonal, Hybrid or Man Marking. Each option will have its own contextual explanation and visualisation, as well as a tooltip that illustrates the key pros and cons of each approach. We’ve also added in an indication of your Set Piece Coach’s preferred option.
From there, you’ll be asked further questions about how aggressively you want to counter-attack from your opponent’s set pieces, whether you want your takers to aim for the near post, far post or centre of the box, and if your preference is for inswinging or outswinging deliveries.
More adaptive and intelligent routines
Your Set Piece coach will use the answers you provide to craft some initial corner and free kick routines for every scenario.
When these routines are created, you’ll now see that every set piece has specific roles attached to it. For example, at a corner the key roles outside of the taker are:
- Aerial Threat
- Box Threat
- Recovery Defender
Instead of you needing to manually assign instructions to specific positions, instructions are now automatically assigned by your backroom team to each of these four role categories. For example, instead of saying that you want your right-side central defender to attack the far post, your biggest Aerial Threat will now be given that job. Each role category is ranked from top to bottom, with the top instruction being assigned to your most suitable player on a matchday.
These rankings automatically update as you change team selection, formation or make substitutions, meaning that you'll no longer need to micromanage your setups every time something changes.
These player rankings are accompanied by a new Priority List, which allows you and your Set Piece Coach to determine which roles you think are the most important at each type of set piece. If one of your players, based on their Attributes, is ranked number one in more than one role, they’ll be assigned to the one that’s positioned higher in the priority list.
We’ve also introduced a new concept of Set Piece Familiarity in FM24 to reflect the work your players do on each routine in training. Having this greater understanding, as well as a smarter way of prioritising your threats, will help you to unlock opposition defences and better implement your set-piece philosophy.
When you want to add new attacking corner and free kick routines, you’ve got the choice of either duplicating the one initially created by your Set Piece Coach or selecting an alternative. The addition of any new routines will trigger a pop up that allows you to indicate the frequency with which you use each one in matches, giving you another tool to optimise your attacking threats.
You’ll notice when reviewing your free kick routines that we’ve added some instructions to better reflect the way teams approach them in real life. These include one for defensive line height on wide free-kicks and a ‘Wall if needed’ instruction that allows goalkeepers to decide if they’re necessary.
A more authentic approach to Throw-Ins
Mirroring more closely how teams approach throw-ins in the professional game, we’ve changed our approach from previous editions of FM. Now, you’ll be asked by your Set Piece Coach to indicate how you want to tackle throw-ins in the defensive, middle and attacking third of the pitch. The first two give you the option to ‘retain possession’ or ‘work the line’, while for the attacking third you can choose to work the ball into the box or go straight for a long throw.
Once you’ve selected your preferences for each of the three areas of the pitch, your Set Piece Coach will generate routines in the same way they did with the corners and free kicks and your players will be automatically assigned roles based on their Attribute breakdowns.
Streamlining your creative talents
Much like the personnel lists for every routine, your set piece takers are all now automatically assigned by your backroom team.
The takers themselves are now ranked based on their relevant Attributes and you’ll notice that deliveries are now categorised by swing, rather than left or right side.
As such, instead of having to copy over your setup to both sides, you now only need to create a routine and it will apply to either side of the pitch, as long as you have a suitable-footed player in your takers list.
If you want your players to do outswingers from one side and inswingers from the other, you can now do this by either setting a player as your 'designated specialist' from the takers menu which makes them take every corner or free kick, or by only selecting right or left-footed takers for that specific set piece.
Having made these changes to the Set Piece Creator, we’ve now separated Penalties into their own tab. There are two additional customisation options here, including one that allows you to change taker if your first-choice missed a penalty earlier in the game.
Dictating your level of responsibility
Bear in mind that the routines your Set Piece Coach creates aren’t entirely set in stone and you’re empowered to edit, amend and customise them.
If you are happy with them though, this is where your Set Piece Coach can come into their own as you can delegate full responsibility for all aspects of set pieces in your career. Should you want them to, they can handle everything in training and update the personnel and set piece takers lists as you make changes to your team selection and wider squad.
Ultimately, this means that your set piece routines will now be better aligned with your specific preferences and that once they’re set, you can be involved as much or as little as you want knowing that you’ve got the expertise and support of a specialist behind you.
Understanding your rivals’ set piece strengths
As well as helping you with the creation and development of your set piece routines, FM24 will also deliver you greater insight into the approach of your opponents.
We’ve added some new visuals to illustrate how strong teams and individual players are at both attacking and defending set pieces. There’s also a new type of visual that will be useful for seeing where a team tends to aim their deliveries, allowing you to work with your backroom team to evolve and adapt for every fixture.
Making an impact at both ends of the pitch
The introduction of Set Piece Coaches and a refresh of the Set Piece Creator delivers you new and refreshed ways to create match-winning routines in every scenario.
Head over to our Features Roadmap to discover more of this year’s new additions and improvements, including positional play upgrades in our Match Engine and the ability to add new targets to motivate your players on and off the pitch.
JOIN THE SQUAD
Sign up for FMFC to get exclusive feature drops and game updates, personalised content, plus member-only rewards and incentives.
FM24 - Out Now