Winning with Style: Guardiola’s Treble FM Tactics

Pep Guardiola's football tactics

Football Manager is a virtual heaven for football enthusiasts and budding managers to test their tactical acumen. Among the many intriguing possibilities, replicating the renowned tactics of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City stands out as a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into each aspect of Guardiola’s tactical approach and explore how you can successfully mirror his style as a Football Manager.

1. Research and Analyze Pep Guardiola’s Football Tactics

Begin your journey by immersing yourself in the world of Pep Guardiola’s football tactics philosophy. Watch matches, read articles, and study in-depth analyses of Manchester City’s games. Pay attention to formations, player roles, and the strategic patterns he employs on the field. A thorough understanding of his tactical principles is essential before translating them into the virtual realm.

2. Choose the Right Formation

Selecting a suitable formation is fundamental in designing your Guardiola-inspired tactic in Football Manager. While the 4-3-3 and 4-1-4-1 are popular choices, remember that Pep Guardiola’s football tactics are flexible. Consider the strengths of your squad and adapt the formation accordingly, keeping the core principles intact.

3. Set Team Instructions

The team instructions in Football Manager act as the backbone of your tactical setup. To emulate Guardiola’s style, set the following instructions:

  • Short Passing: Encourage your team to play short passes to maintain possession and orchestrate fluid attacking movements.
  • Play Out of Defense: Instill the patience of Pep Guardiola’s football tactics build-up play by instructing your players to play out from the back.
  • Higher Defensive Line: Opt for a higher defensive line to press the opposition high up the pitch and reduce their space.
  • Higher Tempo: Maintain a brisk tempo to keep the ball moving quickly, forcing the opposition to constantly adjust defensively.
  • Exploit the Middle: Encourage your players to exploit the central areas of the pitch, promoting quick passing triangles and dynamic ball movement.

4. Player Roles and Instructions

Choosing appropriate player roles is pivotal to executing Guardiola’s tactics effectively. Here’s a breakdown of key positions:

  • Goalkeeper (GK): Select a goalkeeper with excellent distribution skills, as they will be crucial in initiating attacks from the back.
  • Full-Backs (FB): Instruct your full-backs to push forward, provide width in the attacking phase, and make overlapping runs to stretch the opposition’s defense.
  • Central Defenders (CB): Choose central defenders who are comfortable on the ball and capable of launching attacks from deep positions.
  • Defensive Midfielder (DM): Utilize a deep-lying playmaker or a defensive midfielder to dictate the game’s tempo from a deeper position.
  • Central Midfielders (CM): Opt for midfielders with strong passing ability, vision, and work rate to keep possession and create chances.
  • Wingers (W): Instruct your wingers to cut inside and contribute to the build-up play, similar to Pep Guardiola’s football tactics inverted wingers.
  • False Nine (F9): Deploy a false nine as the central striker to confuse the opposition’s defensive shape and create space for midfielders to exploit.

5. Individual Player Instructions

Fine-tuning individual player instructions complements your tactical approach. Personalize instructions based on each player’s strengths and preferred roles. For instance, instruct full-backs to “Cross More Often” or central defenders to “Dribble Less” if it aligns with Pep Guardiola’s football tactics style.

6. Training and Match Preparation

Devote ample time to tactical training sessions that emphasize possession, pressing, and movement. Additionally, focus on individual attributes that align with Guardiola’s tactics, such as passing, vision, and decision-making. In match preparation, analyze upcoming opponents to adapt your tactics and exploit their weaknesses. Pep is for prep, no doubt!

7. Analyze Matches and Adapt

Constantly review match performances to identify areas for improvement. Observe how well your team executes Guardiola’s tactics and adapt accordingly. Be open to tweaking player roles, instructions, and team strategies based on your observations and the flow of each game.

8. Set-Piece Routines

As with real football, set-piece routines are crucial in Football Manager. Create well-rehearsed routines for attacking and defensive situations to gain an edge over opponents. Guardiola’s teams are known for being well-organized during set-pieces, so implement creative and effective routines.

9. Player Development

To fully embrace Pep Guardiola’s football tactics philosophy, invest in young talents and nurture them within your tactical framework. Scout for players with high potential and focus on developing their technical skills to fit your tactical style. Guardiola’s emphasis on developing young talent can yield long-term success in Football Manager.

10. Patience and Persistence

Mastering Pep Guardiola’s football tactics in Football Manager is a journey that requires patience and persistence. Understand that success may not come overnight, and continuous learning from both victories and defeats is crucial for refining your tactics and making necessary adjustments.


Replicating Pep Guardiola’s football tactics in Football Manager is a thrilling endeavor that will challenge your managerial skills and football knowledge. By meticulously researching his philosophy, adapting it to suit your squad, and being persistent in your approach, you can lead your team to emulate the beautiful, possession-based football that defines Guardiola’s legacy. So, step into the virtual dugout, unleash your tactical creativity, and embark on a thrilling journey to master Pep Guardiola’s football tactics in Football Manager!

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