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My theory on Tiqui-taca on Football Manager Mobile 2020


Good Afternoon All,


The most beautiful and successful football style I have ever seen is Tiki-Taka. This is a style recently created and developed by Barcelona and Spain between 2008-2012. I try very hard on replicating this beautiful game onto Football Manager Mobile. Football is a game of opinions, so this is my take on Tiki-Taka.


The image below is the formation & squad chosen when Barcelona FC won the Champions League in 2011. I have replicated the same formation in Football Manager Mobile. As for the roles for each player, I used the following book(Coaching the Tiki Taka Style of Play). The player roles I chose were:

  • GK=Sweeper Keeper-Handling/Reflexes
  • DR/L=Wing Backs-Tackling/Stamina
  • DC=Ball Playing Defenders-Tackling/Aerial/Positioning
  • DMC=Defensive Midfielder-Tackling/Stamina
  • MC=Advanced Playmaker & Deep Lying Playmaker-Passing/Stamina
  • AMR/L=Inside Forwards-Finishing/Pace
  • FC=Trequartista-Finishing/Pace


3.Team Instructions

3.1.Tactical Shape

Below you can see the Tactical Shape or Philosophy I use on Football Manager to create Tiki-Taka.


3.1.1.Team Mentality

To recreate Tiki-Taka on Football Manager Mobile, I believe the team mentality needs to be control or attacking. The manual stats that " the control mentality expects the team to have a lot of the ball"  and goes on to say that "be expected to pick and choose their moments to break out of the mentality and shape and exploit openings when they clearly arise." This is the essence of Tiki-Taka, keeping possession and being patient to build up chances.


The Attacking mentality means the squad will "get the ball into the attacking third with regularity and then keep it there. Defenders will recycle the ball to allow the forwards an opportunity to rest before going again, keeping the throttle wide open, and aiming to pin the opponent back with relentless attacking play." This was the mentality Barcelona had in the 2011 Champions league final as seen below:


Tiki-Taka as described above should be adaptive and react to the match as it happens. As stated above in the manual, the control mentality means "picking and choose their moments to break out of the mentality and shape and exploit openings". When the team is attacking, they want the pitch to be as big as possible but in defence, they would want it to stay tight.


The tempo of the squad should also be adaptive to the match with the key aim of keeping possession and creating chances. This would mean slowing the game down when out of possession. The tempo would then be faster and more intense when attacking. The manual describes this as "operating in a balanced manner according to the flow of the match."

3.1.4.Creative Freedom

Finally, creative freedom in Tiki Taka should be balanced. The Control Mentality is the most important aspect of Tiki Taka through keeping possession. This being said, Barcelona FC prove that in attacking, you need creative players such as Messi,Iniesta,Neymar etc.

3.2.Defensive Instructions

Below you can see the Defensive Instructions I use to re-create Tiki-Taka.


3.2.1.Defensive Line

On the Tiki-Taka Wikipedia page it states"Barcelona played with a high defensive line".  A high defensive line "Asks your defenders to push up the pitch, closer to the midfield, in an effort to compact the space in which the opposition can operate." This helps win the ball further up the pitch and closer to the opposition goal.

3.2.2.Closing Down

Playing a high defensive line, Barcelona FC developed a system of aggressive pressing 7 seconds after they lost the ball. This would mean that "players will close down their opponents at all times, anywhere on the pitch." This can unsettle the opposition and create poor passes which can be exploited to create goals.


Tiki-Taka system for me had aggressive tackling and closing down. This meant that " players will hit their opponents hard when trying to win the ball. If there's a slight chance of coming away with the ball, they will attempt the tackle." This is again important to win the ball back high up the pitch and create chances.

3.2.4.Offside Trap

On researching Tiki Taka, Wikipedia again mentions that "Barcelona played with a high defensive line usually applying the offside trap".This is consistent with the high defensive line and means"The defensive line will push up and attempt to catch out the opposition". This can help prevent goals going in from the opposition but requires good positioning.

3.2.5.Time Wasting

This is a strict NO. Pep Guardiola himself stated that "I loathe all that passing for the sake of it" meaning that ever pass should have a point behind it and time should not be wasted. Instead, the team should "play normally and not attempt to run out the clock."

3.3.Attacking Instructions

Below, you can see the attacking instructions I have used to re-create Tiki-Taka.


3.3.1.Final Third

Firstly, Barcelona FC used to look for overlaps with Abidal/Alves. Secondly, the style of Tiki-Taka is based on control and patience through working the ball into the box. Finally, the point of so many technically good players & keeping possession was so that space can be opened up for beautiful through balls.

  1. Look for Overlap-Instructs your players to hold onto the ball and look for an overlapping player in support, most likely a marauding full-back.
  2. Work Into Box-Instructs your players to work hard for their opening, remaining patient and not forcing the issue, but rather retaining the ball until the breakthrough occurs.
  3. Through Balls-Encourages players to seek to use through balls more often.

3.3.2.Passing Style

As an absolutely fundamental part of the style "Tiki-taka is a style of play in football characterised by short passing and movement". Short passes mean that "Your players will look to pass the ball to the feet of the nearest unmarked player in their team." Short Passing also helps build up and keep possession.


3.3.3.Passing Focus

Tiki-Taka is all about "short passing and movement, working the ball through various channels, and maintaining possession." Therefore, on Football Manager Mobile I like to keep the focus as mixed. This means that my "players will look to adopt a varied passing approach"

3.3.4.Goalkeeper Distributio

Pep Guardiola at Barcelona FC made Victor Valdes pass it out from the back - no ifs or buts and the defence needed to be prepared for it. I use a mixed Goalkeeper distribution as I think it opens up this style to Lower League teams and Big clubs. Hopefully, in the lower leagues where the quality is lower, the Goalkeeper would "adopt a balanced approach to distribution based on each situation as it occurs."


Football is completely subjective and opinions may differ on the information above. In my research - Tiki-Taka on Football Manager Mobile IS possible! Many career's through the years show that this style of football can be both beautiful and successful.




Edited by SSolas
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Interesting take, however I still think fmm20 tactical options are not deep enough to replicate tiki taka

This should be as close as possible tho 

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