Football Manager 2008 – Tactics

In FM2008

I've had several emails from people asking for some tactical advice for Football Manager 2008.

Scroll this

I’ve had several emails from people asking for some tactical advice for Football Manager 2008 (Worldwide Soccer Manager) and have finally got round to sharing some.

The system I’m currently using is with West Brom and is a rather odd 3-3-1-2-1 formation. As odd as it looks it has really helped me punch above my weight in the Premier league with a couple of fantasic wins away Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd as well is domination at home.

West Brom Tatics

The main keys to this formation are to have at least one very strong centre back, a strong defensive midfielder and good attacking midfielders. I score most of my goals from my two attacking midfielders with my forward acting not as a target man just more of a pain in the backside, chasing down balls etc…

Much of the this formation it geared up into stiffling the opposition and then hitting them on the break. While you may not finish the season at the highest scorers in the league the way I see it the results are the thing that matter.

As your team progresses you can add quicker and more skillfull players into the same formation and be even more effective. I’ve had this formation for four seasons now the side is getting better and better as the years tick by.

What I end up doing if I’m trying to close out a away game when I’m in the lead is change the tempo to as slow as you can go, passing to short and time wasting to as high as it goes.

To download the tactics go to

To install simply place the .tac file in My Documents/Sports Interactive/FM 2008/Tactics

I’d be interested to hear how people get on with these.

What do you want to see from Football Manager 2011? How can they make it better?


  1. the 4-1-3-2 formation works very well with celtic to on fm 08 psp. the 5-1-2-2 formation works also very well with real madrid

  2. in 2008 psp, i use the 4-1-3-2 formation with man utd its great first seson u mite not be succes ful but keep get good players and u will win everything in 2 or 3 sesons this also works with holland in my 5th seson , ist seson won community shield, 2nd seson became manager of holland won champions league,prem,fa cup and league cup same on 3rd seson and 4th seson got to semi final of world cup with holland. wonderkids to buy. Kasper schimichael(goalie, man city) Anton ferdinand (defence, west ham), Andy carrol(striker, newcastle) jonathon de guzmen(feynoord)

    could someone tell me a good formation for barcelona on fm 2008 psp

  3. I can't seem to find the tactics, any help with this?

  4. To liverpool i have played 4-2-3-1 many atime and found this is 1 of the best to use for most teams
    But you say your forward is target man with ball played in to this the best for fast forwards or can slow forward use this aswell.????
    All so do you use attacking and closing down for your team.????.tight marking.????

  5. Your Tactic may work for you…..but nothing really works for me with your tactic…..i lose somthing like 4-0 or 5-0 with Man Utd….

  6. Hey,

    Do i need to make the tactics differnt for player insructions or not

    Luv the tactic

    but i still am conceding loads of goals



  7. the best formation i have ever used is 5-1-2-2







  8. Tactics Rock… I Used Them For My Peterhead Team In The Second Division and Finished 2nd and Won The challenge Cup and also semi final of the scottish cup..
    Well Done..
    and no cheats were used here, because thats the whole point of the game to Play not to cheat πŸ˜€

    Cheers Again

  9. Love the tactic, but find that being a counter attacking tactic means that I do better against supposidly better teams when playing away from home than when I'm playing against lesser teams at home. I assume this is because they are not attacking much, and so it is hard to drag them in to counter against them. This means that I'm beating the likes of Man Utd away from home, but drawing too many games at home that I should be winning.

    Is there a good attacking tactic that fits to the similar mould of this tactic, as I've built my team around it?

  10. another thing what would you suggest a pacey striker or a striker who is big in the air

  11. oh how can i sort out the fact the in last 5 games i have conceded 2 and only won 2 coz i have drawn the others can u give me ur defence tactics or something coz i really need them thanks

  12. okay thanks. Do u know of any one who is a genuine goal scorer a need one o and is the an attacking mid who will bag 10-15 goals a season i really need one as defour is gd but does not scvore

  13. martins scores but is injured and owen refuses to score can u help me

  14. Also can u help me coz i ave got my strikre won't score syndrome

  15. ur tactic is pure genius i only lost one game in six starts although i picked up on the fact that stikres don't always score but i have found if u have obafemi martins up front with smith and defour as attacking mids u score alot more with the strikres.Thank you for ur tactics but i need good CHEAP cover for most poistions with Newcastle if u have any please share thanks

  16. first time using this formation, beat boro 2-1 away with arsenal, happy days! cheers mate.

  17. i won the first season with newcastle no cheats won league cup 40 matches unbeaten somehow then next season stregthen my team 40m to spend and im struggling lol!

  18. ERm got battered with fulham, 2-00 by reading!!! hahaha. i had 3 shots to thier 20!!!!! me thinks this tactic is rubbish

  19. shit dis really works!!my boro side hammered barca 5-1.thanks..u're roxxxx!!

  20. haha sorry Claude, it was clearly a case of me being a fool! I'll tidy the comments up laters πŸ™‚

    Thanks foe the comment about the site mate.

  21. btw how comes u didnt work out that i was joking wen I clearly put unrealistic values 4 players and described u as evil and a liar wen this website is crealy the best fm09 website

  22. @Claude

    I'm by no means lying or evil (WTF)… My comments above more than explain this team and have been backed up by other people… I'm happy to leave your comments on here because people can see you are talking out of your arse!!!

  23. it's working bad and good i guess.. i drawnt against watford (im man utd.) but i beat chelsea… i'll use my tactic for the easy ones and use your's on the big guns… thanx anywayz πŸ˜€

  24. Niall,

    you are clearly lying and are evil and this whole page is a sham and I bet u only made this website to try and lie not to help people or anything stupid like that an u have cheated as the players cost way more than west brom can afford they only have a 1k budjet and

    banegea = 100million

    kalou = 250million

    flamini = 100,000,000 BILLION

    DRENTHE = 999,999,999,999,999, TRILLION


  25. with the players you have in that team.. your hardly " punching above your weight!

  26. YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Hi Niall how are you???This tactic is for 8.02 or 8.01??? :D:D:D:D:D:D

  27. I can confirm that Dan is talking out of his arse, and that Niall hasnt cheated to get this WBA team!

    I'm currently engrossed with a WBA save, and I've got a really strong team, including the signing of Juan Manuel Torres for £7.25m and I'm still in the Championship! I've got Zarate and Maxi Lopez up front.

    I've not cheated and I've made a fair bit from the sale of players – dont forget that Curtis Davies also leaves for 10m.

  28. im goin in2 the 2014-2015 season with hull survived just twice in my last 2 years in the prem. im about 2 try out the tactics listed at top of page but im stumped when it comes to getting players for cheep. this is my best players (all costing 3mill or less bought over all seasons)

    john fleck-15 at the start- scottish and played for rangers CHECK HIM OUT

    bogdan stancu-18 at start- romanian (not sure of club)

    carl medjani- 21 at start – french i think he plays for parma

    my board has splashed the cash this season giving me £17.25m to spend. im needin som good solid young players to help with my team stay well clear of the drop and get resultes when it matters please reply niall (or any1)

  29. i use 4-2-3-1 with a with the left and right attacking midfielders going more wide…..and the centre attacking midfielder is given the free role. My forward is Anichebe acting as target man with ball played into his feet. So far i ve played with chartlon and done 4 seasons and won every cup with my forward and attacking midfielder scoring at least one in every match.NOTE-full back cross from deep to far post and sice amc byline to target man and tempo slow with short passing to obtain possesion.

  30. I started with a team with some very good attacking midfielders. They score lots of goals, and even though my centre backs are very young and not so strong, I opened the season with 6 wins in a row with a middle-range team. If this keeps up, I think these tactics are genious.

    Maybe it is important to find some good, fast wing backs with good dribbling and passing skills.

  31. you got that right! the thing is that i've tried all things to keep up so the tactic was my last chance. anyway… no hardfeelings. BTW, if you don't have a good playmaker to assign? what do you think i should do? i can't sign one, so.. should i untick the "use playmaker" box or i should assing anyway a playmaker. one attaking midfielder i guess.. And another thing: on opposision instructions i'm usually closing down all players except DC and GK, tight marking the strikers only, and hard tackling on DMC. Does it fit for this tactic? After i tried it i havn't selected any opp. instructions..

  32. @ Tudor

    In fairness I doubt it was those two matches alone that got you sacked πŸ™‚ I'm thinking there was a sequence of rubbish results ahead!

    Good luck getting a new club πŸ™‚

  33. I've tried it for 2 matches and i've been sacked :)))) NOTE: playing with Otelul Galati in Romania. Crappy players.. so, you might wanna not use it on small teams.

  34. i have not tried the tactic yet cause i'm @work and just founded the forum. but i can suggest some wonderkids to buy in 1st season other than banega: bruno formigoni DMC, george wijnaldum(way better than dala valle), and you might wan't to look for a towering striker like toni, not saivet or agouda how are small but pacey.

  35. i am in need of some good players for newcastle united but i just cant seem to attract them

  36. @ Niall

    I could be wrong, I just remember approachin both. Still had impression they were unreachable for that reason alone. I'll check again after season if i can afford the 10m asked of banega πŸ™‚

    It's strange how no-one ever mentioned Dalla Valle from varios wonderkid topics i've looked into. He's been my star player for 2 seasons now and doesn't seem to slow down in Prem either. This guy is a free transfer from finnish league at age15 and has astonishin potential (irl as well i've heard!). Another wonderkid i found on my own was from Belgium and he's been playin amasing 1st season so far. The name is Eden Hazard.

    Hartlepool ftw!

  37. @ jimixi

    Really? Those two are two of the easier wonderkids to get… I've never had any issues getting them early on. You have to wait 12 months to actually get Lulinha because of his age (although you can agree the deal at the start of the game) and Banega is good to go for about £2.5 mill.

    I've read on here quite a few people saying the same kind of thing!

  38. Erm!

    How can you get Banega, Lulinha etc especially at the start?

    All I get from non european players is the work application denied crap etc. How can you override that without having to cheat?

    ps. bought Saivet for 10m after 2 seasons (18yo) and he's been nothing spectacular, even most of the skills aren't showing much signs!

  39. I Use 4-5-1 With a defensive midfielder and to attacking mids pushing to support the strikers, but i'm gonna try your tactics as everyone loves them.


  40. Hi Niall,

    thank you very much for sharing this tactics with us. It's a great tactic for me so far with my Newcastle team.


    Ozi from Zagreb/Croatia

  41. @ RSAchelskiFAN13

    Sounds like you are onto a winner with your own tactics never mind these ones, those are some fantastic results mate.

    Saying that glad these tactics are proving to be of use to you for some games at least, they can be seen as quite negative but you have tow ork with what you have got.

    Good luck with them!

  42. Don't worry about me, I tried this on Chelsea and won them 2-1 at the Bridge, great result, the chance for them to win was 1-6, and for me 10-1. Great result. I'm gonna use this for difficult away games. Thanks a lot Niall.


  43. BTW, I play and attacking 4-1-3-2. 4 Normal defenders, no wingbacks, 1 defensime midfielder, 2 wingers, 1 attacking midfielder and two strikers.

  44. Hey people

    I'm currently with Derby, and doing great. It's 2007-2008, 8 games player, 6 won, 1 draw and 1 loss. Loss was 2-1 against Man U, but we should've won. The draw was 1-1 with Liverpool, and a few other highlights were the 7-1 win away to Tottenham (we demolished 'em), 5-1 over West Ham at home, 4-0 against Hull in the Carling Cup. I was wondering, should I change to these tactics or not? I here that it takes time for the squad to get used to it, and I'm on a role, so my instinct is not too change.

  45. @Jason

    Each to their own mate although if I take a screenshot of the results you wouldn't actually know what tactic I used.

    Not actually bothered what you believe but there are now than enough comments backing up the kind of results I got!

  46. This tactic sucks hell, give us some results on screenshot because i dont believe you can get good results with this tactic at all!


  47. God that was a good tatic. Champions league 1st round knockout phase against Chelsea, i was Fiorentina. 1st leg i won 2-1 at home. 2nd leg at half time they were winning 3-0 haha. Then i took Michael Owen off the bench. He scored on the 74th minute. Then on the 79th minute my central mid "Kuzmanovic" was sent off. Then on the exact last play of the game 94th minute michael owen on the break rounded the keeper and scored. Greaat tactic. The tactic i usually use works really well at home to big teams. I beat AC Milan 4-0 at home and Inter Milan 2-0 but ive lost 3 away games. I dont play to good at home with that tactic.

  48. Nope, I generally keep player instructions the same although depending on the individual stats I might suggest run with the ball, long shots etc but nothing other than that really!

  49. Ur tactics kick ass man… I’ve been usin it with Romorantin (3rd category, France) and I beated Laval and Nimes so far. Thanks a lot dawg…

  50. Great tactic. Used it with Notts County and got all the way to the PL . Some amazing wins away against Liverpool and Chelsea, and home against Arsenal and Man U. But didn't work with playmaker and offside trap. My players are too stupid for that. Playing away I would move the second attacking midfielder down to central midfield. Not pretty, but effective.

    Good job!!!!

  51. Dan,

    You don't know what you are talking about mate. No manager cheats at all were used for this team. Benaga cost nothing like £12,000,000, he was less £2,500,000 and I bought Breno after I won promotion for around £6,500,000. This was my team after about 4/5 seasons in the game most of which were spent in the Prem which gave me money to pick up Chelsea and Aresnal reserves!

    I sold Gera for £3,000,000 in my first season and he paid for Lulinha (who joined the season after) and a chunk of Benaga.

    Don't call be a liar when you are talking out of your backside!

  52. you used the create more than one manager cheat at the start at sold you poor players for millions, no other way would you have those players in your team,

    benaga £12,00000

    breno £22,00000

    as for the others being bought at start, wba dont have any money at start so how you buy them, all lies,lies and more lies……..its easy to win when you cheat.

  53. Has any one tried kasper hamalainen, gabriel torge or bogdan stancu, i'm with west brom in first season ad stancu scored 101 goals

  54. hi i cant download this tactic when i click on the link nothing happening what can i do ?

  55. ok, niall i will get some better team like juventus and i will try because with very weak teams there is no chance to win THANKS FOR THE HELP YOU ARE THE BEST MANAGER OF THE WORLD AND CAN YOU PUT ANOTHER TACTIC PLEASE YOU ARE THE BEST

  56. The playmaker is the attacking midfielders who sit ahead of the mc and the strikers.


    Don't really know what I can add other than these were the tactics I used to gain promotion. I used most of the squad that you get when you with WBA but with addition of Banega and Lulinha! If you look at the image in the post there was a playmaker, along with counter attacking and playing offside.

    Hope that helps!

  57. ej man this tactic does not give me any results im on the last position in coca-cola legaue with west brom please answer to all mu questions?????????????how to make my club to be as power as your club please answer

  58. you use this tactic for all games that you play or only when you play against strong clubs??? pls answer

  59. DID you put playmaker in this tactic??? pls write to all my questions.

  60. WHICH VERSION DO YOU PLAY 8.o.2 or??????????

    do you put player instructions in thi tactic??????

  61. hi!i love fm 08 and like to thank you for this advice for tactic because before this i cant find the real tactic im playing with west brom its my first season my results are not very good but im hoping that in the future the results will became better i want to ask you in your first season did you have any problems with results and did you have promotion in the premier league in the first season please write on this e-mail because i have problems with results.

  62. Great tactics these, I used them to beat Man U with other night πŸ˜€

  63. Spanking Chelsea 3-0 is always nice πŸ™‚

    Btw if anybody has some tactics they would like to share email me the .tac file and a paragraph of how they work etc to and I'll get them listed on here for you.

  64. I got few lose and drawn on first few games but next few games i'm getting wins. That's cool, i won Chelsea 3-0. I think this formation rocks, but sometimes little bit not good working on away games although it's cool formation. Thank u for sharing !

  65. How did you get all those players at west brom? Where did you get the money from?

  66. @ Darren

    Well I was promoted to the Prem so got a large chunk of cash there and this is after about 3/4 seasons as well… Drenthe was on loan as was Foster and other than that I paid no more than than 5 mill for anybody in that team.

    Oh Lulinha and Banega were both signed at the start of the game so they were cheap as chips πŸ™‚

  67. Those tactics are brilliant, and thats some team you got there, never thought it would be possible to get Drenthe for West Brom :L

  68. I use it at home also and it's great. Really does the business home and away. Plus you seem to get stronger the longer you play it.

  69. Ive used these tatics for my leeds side and they work a treat im now 10 unbeaten in the championship and sitting second in the league.

  70. does this formation work when people are playing at home? i'm just wondering because everyone seems to be saying they use them just for the away games.

  71. I though these were cr*p at first but stuck with them and have been well impressed!

  72. This have proved to be very good for me. Like you said I'm rolling over quite a few of the big boys and I'm pretty solid.

  73. Yo…. Balotelli is Inter' talent,.. no for Juve πŸ˜€

    but the tactic is not good for my Juve's Team :),.. too defensive and negative play,..some people with superb attacking abilities like Trez' goal is not optimized

    .( I have super-Buffon in defensive line btw…)

    so I won't bother about facing other club except vs inter with Ibra'z played,…

    You should also mentioning about opponent tactic,.. some of players need to be mark or not,..closing down, hard tackling and open to weak foot

  74. these tactics are solid, thanks a lot. I was up for religation and nowi'm beating Chelsea, i'm the business now. πŸ˜€

  75. hi , any tips on a formation for a barcelona team in its 3rd season . i have not won the champions league yet and was hoping to do so. my team is :

    Valdes or Ustari
    Zaccardo or Zammbrotta
    Puyol or Barzagli
    Thuram or Terry
    Marcelo or Abidal
    Messi or Dos Santos
    Fabregas or Banega
    Ronaldinho or Ineista
    Lulinha or Giovinco
    My striking options are : Henry , Eto, Bojan , Saviet or Balotelli .
    I would like to recommend Balotelli to anyone as i havent seen him mentioned by anyone , he is a 17 year old striker with Inter at the start of the game and is billed as the new Ibrahimavic

  76. @Sammy

    Like I said in the post siply place the .tac file in:

    My Documents/Sports Interactive/FM 2008/Tactics

    You may have to create a tactics folder.

    Then in your game in the tactics screen just import/load the tactics into your team!

  77. @ Miffey

    Well not every team is made up of mega players so you have to do the best you can with what you have got. Like I said in the post though the better the players you add to the system the more you tear teams apart with it.

  78. I'm using this for away games and have found it pretty decent. Your time wasting tactics really work well!

  79. I'm only about ten games into using this and i'm doing the business. Thanks for sharing!

Submit a comment