Attacking width in football manager dictates what areas of the pitch your team tries to focus their play on.
Depending on what you choose, your team’s play will largely be influenced by it, however, there are times when they will ignore the instruction.
For instance, if you choose ‘very narrow’, and a clear chance to launch a counterattack on the wings presents itself, your players will take advantage and attack on the wide areas not being restricted by the ‘very narrow’ team instruction.
For the majority of the time, however, they will stick to what you ask of them, be it a very narrow attacking width, fairly narrow, fairly wide, wide or extremely wide.
Very Narrow Attacking Width In FM
Football manager describes the very narrow attacking width as an instruction that asks players to play almost exclusively through the central areas of the pitch, congesting the play to a smaller area and working in much more intricate confines.
Ideally, you should have two strikers and a single advanced playmaker behind them, or a single striker with a shadow striker and a playmaker behind him.
Having two strikers potentially gives you better movement, while on the other hand, two attacking midfielders give you more creativity, and the shadow striker will chip in with goals of his own.
Basically, you need mobile and technical players that will be able to work in tight spaces.
A relegation-threatened team that relies on parking the bus and then quickly launching long balls to their lone striker will benefit from this team instruction.
Fairly Narrow Attacking Width In FM
The Fairly narrow attacking width instructs players to look to narrow the field and play in the middle of the pitch.
While still asking players to largely play in the middle of the pitch, you can have wide players in this kind of system, but they should be in the mould of inside forwards, inverted wingers or raumdeuters.
Players who, despite playing out wide, have a tendency of drifting inwards and operating in the central areas of the pitch
You can also have fullbacks who are slightly more adventurous than those operating in a “very narrow” team width.
In possession, your team will focus more on the central areas of the pitch, but they will also take a chance in the wider areas of the pitch if the opportunity presents itself.
This kind of width can suit different types of teams, including possession-based ones that have strength in midfield but lack quality wingers, or counter-attacking teams that have mobile strikers who can occasionally drift out wide then play in their striking partner, a mezzala or a box-to-box midfielder making a marauding run from central midfield.
Fairly Wide Attacking Width
The fairly wide attacking width is the default attacking width in FM and will be set according to the team mentality.
If you are unsure of what attacking width to select, you should probably leave it on this instruction, then tweak it towards narrow or wide depending on how your team carries out its build-up play in the friendly matches at the beginning of the season.
Wide Attacking Width In FM
The wide attacking width asks players to stretch the pitch and play in a more expansive manner
If you have wide players set to play as wingers, this is where they will come to life.
Stretching the pitch also stretches the opposition’s backline, which makes it likely that your winger will have regular 1 v 1 duels against the other team’s fullback.
If your winger is successful, getting past his fullback opens up the opportunity to swing in a cross or pick a marauding central midfielder with a cutback.
Stretching the play suits teams that rely on crosses, therefore having a target man can be useful in this case.
It also makes it less difficult to breach an opposition who has set up to frustrate you and come out with a draw at the end of 90 minutes.
Pep’s man city faces these kinds of teams numerous times in a season, and having the wide players stay out wide with the inverted wing backs making under laps into the central midfield area unsettles the opposition’s defence, which leads to Man City scoring numerous goals from cutbacks originating from out wide.
Extremely Wide Attacking Width In FM
The extremely wide attacking width asks the team to stretch the play even wider and use the full extremes of the pitch to their advantage.
I would only ever use this team instruction towards the end of the match when I am chasing an equalizer and the opponent has parked the biggest bus imaginable.
When everything has failed and the only option is to take the ball to the wider areas of the pitch and swing in crosses, hoping one of them is met by your strikers.
You would need to have your wide players as wingers, since giving them other roles that ask them to drift inwards will give them a hard time of starting at the very edge of the byline and then cutting inwards towards the 18-yard box.
However, as with everything in FM, you can try it and then tweak the team instructions towards what feels like your vision.
This is especially important since players have their own player traits that might go against the attacking width that you want.
An example is Mahrez who likes cutting inwards to his favoured left foot, being asked to stay out as wide as possible. The player trait will overrule the team instruction in this case, and Mahrez will still end up staying narrow, relatively close to the opposition’s box.