FM19 | Set pieces from a clean slate

Time from the time I like to reset all my set piece routines in the save. And it doesn’t matter if routines are successful or not but, of course, when routines are useless it’s easier to delete them. I usually have at least one routine for corners, free kicks and throw-ins successful and I should just leave them as they are and score goals because I found some game exploit and win matches thanks to it. But when I catch myself I don’t enjoy my own routines there is the time to begin from a clean state.

And that was the exact moment at the start of my fifth season with CD Magallanes in Football Manager 2019.

Corner kick routine reset to default

You probably know that if you reset the routine to default you will have players in and around the penalty area.

One of my favourite things, before I try to create a new routine, is to move all players out of the penalty area to really have a clean slate and clear penalty area to not be affected by assigned roles by AI as you can see in the picture above.

🚩 The usual first thing I do is usually to decide about the delivery and if it will be in or out swinging cross.

When I created the latest routine I decided I will use “Edge of Area” delivery from the left side with the right-footed player to have inswinging delivery.

I also wanted to try to place two players to “Lurk Outside Area” but, unfortunately, it was the first thing I had to change straight in the first match with the new routine after I realised it’s still not fixed since SI allowed to place two players in this position in the Football Manager 2018 (as I wrote about it back in time).

The perfect thing would be if one of these players would be allowed to cover the space centrally and to be closer to the player who is set to “Attack Ball from Edge of Area”.

It would be even perfect if this player would be central and we would have an option to instruct him to attack the ball together with the other player but that’s to much fantasy in one paragraph.

The picture above illustrates the first thoughts about this routine. My main idea was to place strong players (DCR+DCL) close to a goal and try to take defenders with them to ensure the rest of my players will have some space around the penalty area.

That was also the reason why I want to use Lurk Outside Area twice but it was useless as I wrote already…

My striker is set to “Attack Ball from Edge of Area” with the idea he will head or shoot the ball after a run to the penalty area. It could be due to the specific player and his abilities but when I saw the first attempt his run to the penalty area was like a lazy pig despite the delivery was really good and exactly to the are I wanted.

Because of a bad run and movement and also because of lack of players in the penalty area and the area where the ball was delivered the opponent’s players easily cleared the ball and began the counter as you can see in the gif.

You can always find and check in the analysis screen also in your game all your set pieces and check the highlights. When I made it after the game I was able to see we had only three corners from the left side with this new routine during the game against Colo Colo.

All of them were unsuccessful. You saw the first one in the gif above, the delivery was alright but the movement was bad. Another one was delivered well but also cleared out, the third one was crossed to the near post where no our player was. 

The solution was needed, that’s clear on the first sight. What I have changed for the next game?

  1. One of the Lurk Outside Area players moved to Go Forward role.
  2. DCL moved from Lurk at Far Post to Attack Far Post
  3. DCR moved from Lurk at Near Post to Mark Keeper
  4. MCR moved from Mark Keeper to Go Forward

Why this? Because the idea is still to attack the ball from the “back” so I decided to move a player to Attack Far Post for possible 1) too long cross to far post, 2) finish deflected the ball, 3) pass to other players around the penalty spot.

The reward of the delivery/movement analysis came in the next match when this (gif below) happened. It didn’t end with a goal but it was much better and it was in the way what I wanted to achieve.

It also resulted in this own goal in a different match. It’s clear that the decision to move players to Go Forward roles allowed us to be more dangerous in the penalty and we are able to make bigger scramble what can lead to deflections, rebounds or passes.

Another example after changes

Training before the match. We had a full week for training before the next match and I decided to include some set pieces focus within the week. I usually have set pieces training closer to the match but when I have new routines or some changes I often add one more day.

I mentioned already during the post as I didn’t like the player’s movement but also the delivery.

That’s why I use “Delivery” session as it has an impact to set piece takers. That’s why I have more players set as set piece takers for all routines because they will be more involved during this session. Or I understand it in this way…

On the other hand, during the attacking free kicks or corners session set piece takers are an only secondary focus and the primary aim is to train off the ball movement and heading and anticipation.

And off the ball is one of the most important parts of set pieces in overall.

We didn’t score from corners in the match after the specialised training in the picture above but the delivery and the player’s movement were better. It was repeated in next weeks and we were rewarded by the very nice goal.

Btw. it was a winning goal in the Copa Libertadores group stage match and we secured the knockout stage thanks to it.

It was a match against Deportivo Táchira and we won 1-0 thanks to this goal. It was a one-sided match, they had no single shot, no corner and it was only our own fault we didn’t score more goals.

But that’s not important, that’s related to the tactic. I was pleased with the corners delivery and that was my aim to improve it. It’s clear at first sight when I watched corners during the match but also when I opened the analysis screen.


One thing still applies to me and it doesn’t matter if it’s the corner, free kick or throw-in.

You have to select the right players in the right roles.

As I wrote recently to someone on Twitter, the set pieces are mainly about the right players in the right roles in a combination with delivery experiment and trying different players in different roles but I will always be sure to select players right.

The similar set-up or process I’m making within the free kicks and throw-ins. I, for example, created a new free kick routine and we scored the goal below straight in the next match (that’s probably the best thing to give you a positive mood to continue with it) but we didn’t score with it in the next two matches. 

And it’s good we didn’t score because I have a chance to improve that routine and analyse what I can change.

Unfortunately, as you can see in the next picture, same as within corner kick routines there is the same stupid thing with the Lurk Outside Area role if you place two players there.

I wanted to try it within Direct free kick with small chance of shot as you can see…

…and this is how it ended. Two players together in the same place and absolutely out of chance to make something good within the set piece.

Another routine I’m trying now is a free kick with Near Post delivery. My both central defenders are in the penalty area and the aim for a taker is to find one of the highlighted players in the picture below.

You can see in the gif that the ball ended far than it would be expected, but that’s connected to a free kicks ability of a taker – this guy has Free Kick Taking attribute value of 13 which is average but I currently don’t have a better player in the squad.

But maybe thanks to the fact he sent the ball far than to the near post the third player instructed to Go Forward was able to hit the ball. 

Yes. He should destroy the net but he rather hit it straight to the keeper. We were lucky as he was fouled during the rebound and we had a penalty kick available. 

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If you will find some issue with set pieces or bug within the set pieces/set pieces creator screen, please, be sure you report it on the SI Forum.

I know there still are many stupid bugs, many weird things within the set pieces creator screen, some illogical things within the whole set pieces part of this game but despite the fact, SI is not able to fix them for several years, you can still enjoy to create them, analyse them and improve them.

Thank you.


Don’t forget you can join the Football Manager Slack to get in touch with many other FM players. You can talk about everything, mostly not even about FM but you have to see it…

You can join FMSlack via THIS link. My channel is #fmrensie.

If you would like to find and check all the Football Manager related content I would recommend you to join Tea&Busquets where you can follow almost all FM players/creators.

Until next time…take care!

Keysi Rensie

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