Using different tactics for home and away matches in FM24

Being tactically flexible is one of the most important characteristics any manager can have. Having the insight to change your approach mid-game when things aren’t working or employing different game plans for different opponents stops you from being predictable and can keep the positive results coming. 

One of the best ways to do this is by setting up different tactical approaches for home and away matches. Here, Rock’s End FM dives deep to show how you can do it in your latest FM24 careers to gain that extra edge with a newly-promoted team.  

Using different tactics for home and away matches in FM24

The logic behind having different tactics

So, at this point, you’re probably thinking: why should I use different tactical approaches for home and away matches? Surely my team should just focus on one approach in training?

Well, the idea between using two separate tactics depending on where your team is playing is that it allows you to make the most of two different situations without giving away too much in any direction.

For home matches, you have more of your fans behind you, and on the pitch you’re likely to get more possession than you do away from home. This means your players will have a bit more time on the ball and therefore more space to generate attacks. 

Conversely, when you’re away from home, you’ll be pressed harder by the opposition. This means that you’ll have less of the ball but when you do regain possession, you’ll likely have more avenues for direct counter-attacks. 

With this in mind, you can prepare and create different tactical approaches to help your team exploit these gains and cover for any deficiencies in terms of personnel. Doing this will help you to clinch more key points, securing your spot in that league for another season and allowing you to focus your wider efforts on long-term squad-building. 

Using Home and Away tactics in FM24

To put this approach to the test, I’ve started a save with Sky Bet Championship team Plymouth Argyle. They won Sky Bet League One in 2023 but are considered to be one of the higher division's weaker teams when you begin a career in FM24. 

When reviewing the Plymouth squad, it’s clear that the Pilgrims have a lot of quick attacking players with high Work Rate Attributes. This lends itself fantastically to a counter-pressing approach that will allow us to recover the ball higher up the pitch and take advantage of space when the opposition are in transition. 


However, adopting such an aggressive approach does mean that we’ll naturally leave a lot of space in behind, which the division’s better teams will be able to exploit. How can we reduce that risk when we’re playing away and at our most fragile? 

Creating a new tactical slot, we’re going to set up our away game plan. We’ll keep the same defensive structure as the home tactic but we’re going to adapt our formation to a 4-4-2 by making our number 10 a second striker. This will give us a more compact shape for the longer periods of play when we’re out of possession and defending. We’ll also drop our wide players back, which will allow them to start their runs in more space and from deep. It also means that they’re closer to our full-backs, which should give us more defensive cover.

In terms of our instructions, we’ll look to defend deeper and invite pressure, as this will create gaps in the opposition's defence that we can take advantage of with quick, direct transitions. To achieve this, we’ll drop our Mentality and Line of Engagement, and also stop Counter-Pressing in favour of regrouping quickly.


A key factor to bear in mind is that between our two tactics, we’ve maintained a lot of our original setup instead of opting for a completely different shape. By doing this, we’re making sure that both tactics make the best possible use of our players. 

It is always worth thinking about the individual skillsets of your players. Different players will play roles differently, so there’s a lot to be gained by shifting who plays in each position from game to game. 

With that all figured out, let’s put our approach to the test and jump into the season.

How it all works in practice

Just like in real life, our first game as Plymouth Argyle boss in FM24 is at home against another relegation candidate in Huddersfield.

Given that it’s the first game of the campaign and we’re playing at Home Park, we start the match with our home tactic. Our high press kept us in control of the game early on and secured us plenty of key chances in the opening minutes.


We scored midway through the first half thanks to striker Ryan Hardie and had several opportunities to extend our lead. We failed to make the most of them and were ultimately punished by a goal on the counter late in the second half as the match finished 1-1. While it wasn’t the result we wanted, the Shot Map of the game makes for impressive viewing and shows early promise for our home gameplan.

Shot Map

Our second game was away against Watford, a leading playoff contender at the beginning of the season. We used our away tactic for this game but made a personnel change. Instead of deploying him out wide, where the Inverted Winger (Support) position would have made him less of a scoring threat, we pushed Morgan Whittaker up as a striker to partner Hardie.

Morgan Whittaker

We ultimately end up being unlucky in this game, losing 3-1. Our xG was very similar to that of the Hornets but they ultimately proved more clinical, sealing victory with their third goal in the 89th minute. We never looked particularly outmatched against a stronger team on paper, which was encouraging, and despite sitting deeper we created some decent chances. 

The positive signs from our first two games are reflected in our next two matches. At home against the highly-fancied Southampton, we create more chances and limit them to just two shots in the entire second half as we won 3-2.

That gave us our first win and our we got a second in our fourth match of the season away at Birmingham City. Whittaker scores off a quick transition to put us 1-0 up in the first half and another quick counter proves decisive in the second half, with Whittaker grabbing his second from the penalty spot after we capitalised on them committing too many men forward. That secured us a 2-1 win and put us up to seven points after four matches – far from the form you’d expect of a relegation favourite. 

EFL League Table

On its own, using differing tactics for home and away matches won’t save you from relegation. However, it is a useful tool to play to your strengths and help keep the opposition guessing. For teams that aren’t blessed with enormous resources, it can earn you a few extra points, which could prove crucial in a tight relegation race, and give you the platform to build from and push ahead. 

Happy managing,

Rock’s End FM


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