FM20 Tactics – Mentality, part 1: Winning with the right mindset

Mentality is one of the most important factors in determining your success with tactics in FM20. There are 7 mentalities in Football Manager 2020. These are:

  • Very defensive   
  • Defensive
  • Cautious
  • Balanced
  • Positive
  • Attacking
  • Very Attacking

Your team mentality will determine the amount of risk players on the pitch will take scoring or defending against goalscoring opportunities.

The individual mentality in FM20 is the mindset with which each player goes about their role and duty on the pitch. This may vary widely from the team mentality. You can find an individual’s mentality by clicking the player in the formation window of the tactics screen and then clicking EDIT. This will show the player instructions and the individual mentality as set by their role and the team mentality.

The 7 team mentalities in FM20

With a very defensive mentality, your defensive line will generally* act very prudently and maintain focus on solely defending roles. Your midfielders will also generally* play defensively, cautiously or with a balanced mindset, either attempting to retain the ball or using very little risk in relaying it to others. Your forwards will generally* play a balanced or positive mindset, looking for goalscoring opportunities, but with focus first on maintain the status quo.

It should be noted that, you can very well scores goals with a very defensive mentality. This mentality lends itself well to games where you are an underdog or want heavy control of possession.

*It should be noted that use of the word “generally” here denotes the fact the ROLES will play a determining factor in the individual mentality of each player. Therefore, it is possible to be playing with a defensive team mentality, but still have an Advanced Forward, for example that has an attacking or very attacking mentality.

With a defensive mentality in FM20, your defensive line will generally play very defensively, defensively, or cautiously. Your wingbacks may take a balanced approach to the game. Your midfielders will generally play defensively, cautiously, or balanced. Their main aim being to keep the ball and look for secure opportunities to move it forward. Your forwards will play a mostly balanced or positive mentality and shoot when good opportunities present themselves.

Depending upon your formation – very defensive and defensive mentalities will yield a structured fluidity – meaning your players will mostly stick to their duties and positions.

With a cautious mentality, your defensive line will mostly play defensively or cautiously. Perhaps apart from wing backs who may play balanced or positive on the pitch. Your midfielders may adopt a cautious, balanced or positive approach, with wingers on attack duty perhaps becoming attacking. Your forwards will mostly play balanced, positive or attacking. They are looking to spearhead the attack from counter attacks, mistakes from the defense or a more cautious triangular passing.

balanced mentality, as the name suggests, will often split the mindset of the team fairly evenly across the pitch with your defenders playing defensively or cautiously, your midfielders playing with a balanced or more mentality and your forwards playing with an attacking mentality or thereabouts.

The positive mentality in FM20 denotes that the team is expected to win the game, if only by a slight advantage in tactics and ability. As such your defenders will play defensively or cautiously, with the wingbacks being the usual, more attacking exception. Your midfielders should have a positive or attacking mentality. Your forwards should be playing with either attacking or very attacking mentality.

The attacking mentality is for when you need or are expected to score many goals. You are either :

  • heavy favorites for the game (odds above below 1.60)
  • you are down late in the game, or
  • you are using this risk-oriented mentality as a part of a game plan like smash and grab.

Your defenders may play cautiously or with a balanced mindset, and perhaps your wingbacks with a positive or attacking mentality. Your midfield is positive, attacking or very attacking and your forwards are attacking or very attacking.

The very attacking mentality in FM20 should be used with caution. It should be part of a carefully considered tactic or game plan. Your defenders will play balanced or more, your wing backs positive or more. Your midfielders will almost certainly be attacking, and possibly very attacking and your forwards will be very attacking.

In part 2 of the mentality guide we look at mentality as it effects your primary trained tactic.

>> Part 2: Training Mentality <<