Contents [Show]

A player's preferred moves are his personal traits. In other words, they are actions that he will be more likely to perform in matches. They do not give him any additional ability, but instead simply affect his decision making. A player's preferred moves, if he has any, can be viewed from the Information section of his Overview tab.

A player can obtain (learn) a new preferred move by being tutored by another player who already has the move. Most preferred moves can also be learned, as well as removed (unlearned), through preferred move training.

Each preferred move is analysed below, while useful combinations of preferred moves are also provided. The Roles & Duties guide suggests potentially useful preferred moves for each role and duty combination. However, whether or not a preferred move is actually useful for a player depends on its suitability for your tactics, as will be explained shortly, as well as the player's ratings in the attributes required to perform the move well.

Listed for each preferred move is an explanation of the move along with suggestions of its required abilities, which types of player it can be useful for and which types of player it can be particularly unsuitable for.

If a player does not generally have the attribute ratings needed for a preferred move's required abilities or if a move is considered to be unsuitable for a player then you should not allow him to learn it. If he already possesses the move then it may be best to train him to unlearn it.

1. Preferred Moves & Tactics

Many preferred moves relate directly to player instructions, as set by your team instructions, a player's role and duty, and any selected specific player instructions. If a player has a preferred move that complements an instruction then he will be even more likely to perform the instruction. However, if he has a preferred move that contradicts an instruction then he will be less likely to perform the instruction. Other factors will also affect what action a player chooses to perform. In particular, his intelligence (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) affects whether he will choose the best option.

As such, it is important to check the existing preferred moves of all your players so that you are aware of any effects they may have on your tactics.

Similarly, before giving a player preferred move training or tutoring you should consider how a new preferred move could affect your tactics. Furthermore, you should bear in mind that preferred move training will add to a player's individual workload. So if you feel that a move can be effectively replicated through player instructions then it may not be worth giving the player extra training to learn the move.

A preferred move that complements a player's instructions can be beneficial for that player if you want him to perform a particular type of action more often than he will do simply by following his instructions. However, any changes you make to your tactics may change his instructions and so the preferred move may not always be appropriate. Therefore, such a preferred move can make a player less tactically flexible. In addition, an intelligent player may be more effective if his choices are not influenced by preferred moves (while similarly, he may be more effective if he is given high creative freedom and so not restrained too much by his instructions).

A preferred move that contrasts with a player's instructions should generally be avoided for that player. If a player already has such a preferred move then you can either train him to unlearn it, review your tactics or give him a contrasting specific player instruction to discourage him from performing the move. In some cases though, a preferred move that contrasts with your team instructions may be useful if you want a player to be an exception to the general tactical approach of your team, as discussed in the Specific Player Instructions guide.

Directly complementary and contrasting tactical instructions, including specific team instructions, specific player instructions and opposition instructions, are included with the other information provided below for each preferred move. However, when judging the suitability of a preferred move for a player you should take into account the default instructions given by his role and duty in addition to your other selected tactical instructions.

2. Movement - On the Ball

These preferred moves affect a player's movement decisions when he is on the ball.

2.1. Cuts Inside

The player will be more likely to take the ball from a wide position into central areas.

  • Required abilities: good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique), or good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Flair and Balance).
  • Useful for: wide players expected to attempt creative, risky passes, run with the ball or shoot at goal from central areas instead of staying wide where they may be less effective; wide players with poor crossing ability; left-sided players who have a weak left foot; and right-sided players who have a weak right foot.
  • Unsuitable for: wide players expected to stay wide when on the ball to make crosses or passes with their stronger foot.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Cut Inside With Ball (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Run Wide With Ball (player).

2.2. Knocks Ball Past Opponent

The player will be more likely to kick the ball into the space just beyond an opposition player who is blocking his path, before attempting to run onto it.

  • Required abilities: very good mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace) and good endeavour (Work Rate).
  • Useful for: more attacking players expected to run with the ball; and more attacking players with poor dribbling ability.
  • Unsuitable for: more defensive players expected to play more cautiously on the ball and not take it far from their defensive position.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Run At Defence (team), Dribble More (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Dribble Less (player).

2.3. Runs With Ball Rarely

The player will be less likely to dribble the ball.

  • Useful for: more defensive players expected to play more cautiously on the ball and not take it far from their defensive position; and players with poor dribbling ability.
  • Unsuitable for: more attacking players expected to run with the ball.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Dribble Less (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Run At Defence (team), Dribble More (player).

2.4. Runs With Ball Often

The player will be more likely to dribble the ball.

  • Required abilities: good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Flair and Balance) and preferably good mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace) and endeavour (Work Rate).
  • Useful for: more attacking players expected to run with the ball but not just down one flank or through the central areas.
  • Unsuitable for: more defensive players expected to play more cautiously on the ball and not take it far from their defensive position.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Run At Defence (team), Dribble More (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Dribble Less (player).

2.5. Runs With Ball Down Left

The player will be more likely to dribble the ball down the left flank.

  • Required abilities: good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Flair and Balance) and crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions and Teamwork), and preferably good mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace) and endeavour (Work Rate).
  • Useful for: more attacking left-sided players (including more attacking wide defenders) with a strong left foot expected to run with the ball down the flank and make crosses into the area.
  • Unsuitable for: central and wide players expected to attempt creative, risky passes (such as midfield creators or number tens), run with the ball or shoot at goal from central areas; more defensive players expected to play more cautiously on the ball and not take it far from their defensive position; and players with a weak left foot.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Run At Defence (team), Dribble More and Run Wide With Ball (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Dribble Less and Cut Inside With Ball (player).

2.6. Runs With Ball Down Right

The player will be more likely to dribble the ball down the right flank.

  • Required abilities: good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Flair and Balance) and crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions and Teamwork), and preferably good mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace) and endeavour (Work Rate).
  • Useful for: more attacking right-sided players (including more attacking wide defenders) with a strong right foot expected to run with the ball down the flank and make crosses into the area.
  • Unsuitable for: central and wide players expected to attempt creative passes (such as midfield creators or number tens), run with the ball or shoot at goal from central areas; more defensive players expected to play more cautiously on the ball and not take it far from their defensive position; and players with a weak right foot.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Run At Defence (team), Dribble More and Run Wide With Ball (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Dribble Less and Cut Inside With Ball (player).

2.7. Runs With Ball Through Centre

The player will be more likely to dribble the ball through the central areas of the pitch.

  • Required abilities: good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Flair and Balance) and preferably good mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace) and endeavour (Work Rate).
  • Useful for: more attacking players expected to run with the ball through the central areas.
  • Unsuitable for: more defensive players expected to play more cautiously on the ball and not take it far from their defensive position; wide players expected to run with the ball down the flank and provide crosses into the area; and central players expected to run wide to create space for teammates.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Run At Defence (team), Dribble More and Cut Inside With Ball (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Dribble Less and Run Wide With Ball (player).

2.8. Stops Play

The player will be more likely to hold up the ball by keeping it stationary or moving it slowly to allow teammates to move into better positions.

  • Required abilities: good hold-up play (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Balance and Strength).
  • Useful for: supporting attackers (such as number tens) expected to hold up the ball and play a key part in build-up play and creating or setting up chances for others; more attacking attackers (such as number nines) expected to hold up the ball and contribute to build-up play and creating or setting up chances for others rather than focusing mainly on running with the ball and goal-scoring; and more defensive and supporting central midfielders expected to slow play down to allow supporting and more attacking teammates to find space and get forward.
  • Unsuitable for: more attacking attackers (such as number nines) expected to focus mainly on running with the ball or goal-scoring; and players expected to quickly exploit opportunities to pass, dribble or shoot.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Hold Up Ball (player).

Having more than two players with this preferred move can slow down attacking play too much.

This preferred move must be requested from the Passing Training section when initiating preferred move training, but is included here as it relates to movement rather than passing.

3. Movement - Off the Ball

These preferred moves affect a player's movement decisions when his team is in possession and he is off the ball.

3.1. Arrives Late In Opponents' Area

The player will be more likely to temporarily refrain from entering the opposition penalty area when your team is in possession, before making a run into the area when he thinks the moment is right.

This can make him more difficult to mark and so he may find himself in more space when he does enter the area.

  • Required abilities: good attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball and Teamwork), and preferably good endeavour (Work Rate), control (First Touch and Technique) and scoring ability (Finishing and Technique).
  • Useful for: supporting central midfielders expected to play slightly deeper.
  • Unsuitable for: more attacking players expected to get into more advanced positions; and players with good physical and aerial presence expected to provide a regular threat in the penalty area from crosses.
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Get Further Forward (player).

3.2. Comes Deep To Get Ball

The player will be more likely to move closer to the ball when deeper teammates are in possession.

This can allow him to either receive the ball in space, before holding up the ball for supporting players or attempting creative, risky passes from deep, or drag his marker out of position in order to open up space for more advanced teammates.

  • Required abilities: good attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball and Teamwork), and preferably good creativity (Flair and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique).
  • Useful for: supporting players expected to play deeper and attempt creative, risky passes (such as midfield creators or number tens).
  • Unsuitable for: more attacking players expected to get into more advanced positions; supporting players (such as off the ball runners) expected to make forward runs to provide an advanced passing option or create space for teammates; and players with good physical and aerial presence expected to receive the ball closer to the opposition goal.
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Get Further Forward (player).

3.3. Gets Forward Whenever Possible

The player will be more likely to make forward runs off the ball.

  • Required abilities: good attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball and Teamwork), good endeavour (Work Rate) and other attacking abilities needed to be effective in more advanced positions as appropriate for his position and role.
  • Useful for: more attacking players expected to get into more advanced positions.
  • Unsuitable for: more defensive players expected to hold their defensive position; and supporting players expected to play slightly deeper and contribute to build-up play or attempt creative, risky passes (such as midfield creators or number tens).
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Get Further Forward (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Hold Position (player).

3.4. Gets Into Opposition Area

The player will be more likely to enter the opposition penalty area when your team is attacking.

This can allow him to receive the ball in threatening positions close to the opposition goal more often.

It is similar to Gets Forward Whenever Possible, but even more offensive.

  • Required abilities: good attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball and Teamwork) and other attacking abilities needed to be effective in the penalty area as appropriate for the player's role.
  • Useful for: more attacking strikers (number nines) expected to get into more advanced positions.
  • Unsuitable for: more defensive players expected to hold their defensive position; and supporting players expected to play slightly deeper and contribute to build-up play or attempt creative, risky passes (such as midfield creators or number tens).
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Get Further Forward (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Hold Position (player).

3.5. Hugs Line

The player will be more likely to position himself closer to the touchline at the side of the pitch.

  • Required abilities: preferably good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation and Balance), crossing ability (Crossing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision), attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Off The Ball) and mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace).
  • Useful for: wide players expected to stay very wide when they are off the ball to help stretch play (such as the more attacking player in a wide partnership); and wide players expected to run with the ball down the flank and make crosses.
  • Unsuitable for: wide players expected to stay narrower when they are off the ball to provide closer support to central players and attacking support to a wide partner (such as the less attacking player in a wide partnership); and wide players expected to attempt creative, risky passes.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Play Wider (team), Stay Wider (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Play Narrower (team), Sit Narrower (player).

3.6. Likes To Try To Beat Offside Trap

The player will be more likely to attempt to time his run to beat the opposition’s offside trap in order to receive passes behind their defence.

  • Required abilities: very good attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions and Off The Ball) and mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace).
  • Useful for: more attacking strikers (number nines) expected to play off the shoulder of the last opposition defender.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Get Further Forward (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Hold Position (player).

3.7. Moves Into Channels

The player will be more likely to make a horizontal run into vertical space between opposition players such as between a wide defender and a central defender.

  • Required abilities: good attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions and Off The Ball) and preferably good mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace), good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions and Flair) so he can provide a direct threat on the ball, and preferably decent creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision), passing ability (Passing) and crossing ability (Crossing) so he can effectively set up chances.
  • Useful for: more attacking attackers (such as number nines) expected to focus on making runs to create space and to get into off-centre areas from where they can run with the ball at the opposition defence or pass the ball across the penalty area.
  • Unsuitable for: strong attackers expected to act as a target for passes, as they should generally be close to an opposition defender when they receive the ball so they can more effectively hold him off and make a pass; and more defensive players expected to hold their defensive position.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Move Into Channels (player).

3.8. Penalty Box Player

The player will be more likely to stay in the opposition penalty area when your team is attacking and the opposition defence is deep enough.

This can allow him to receive the ball in threatening positions close to the opposition goal more often, and your deeper and wide players to pass or cross the ball into the area earlier.

  • Required abilities: good physical presence (Balance and Strength), and preferably good aerial presence (Jumping Reach), attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions and Off The Ball), control (First Touch), heading ability (Heading and Technique) and shooting ability (Finishing and Technique).
  • Useful for: more attacking strikers (number nines), perhaps with poorer creativity, passing ability and dribbling ability, expected to focus greatly on goal-scoring.
  • Unsuitable for: supporting strikers (number tens) expected to play slightly deeper and contribute to build-up play or attempt creative, risky passes.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Get Further Forward (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Hold Position (player).

3.9. Plays One-Twos

The player will be more likely to pass short to a teammate before making a forward run into space with the intention of quickly receiving the ball back.

This can help your team to use short passes and movement to play through the opposition.

  • Required abilities: good attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball and Teamwork), mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace) and control (First Touch and Technique).
  • Useful for: more attacking players expected to get into more advanced positions.
  • Unsuitable for: more defensive players expected to hold their defensive position.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Get Further Forward (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Hold Position (player).

3.10. Plays With Back To Goal

The player will be more likely to face away from goal and towards the ball when your team is in possession.

This can allow him to more easily receive passes played straight to his feet, chest or head, before either holding up the ball for other players or turning towards the opposition goal and trying to create chances.

  • Required abilities: good control (First Touch and Technique), and either good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique), or good physical presence (Balance and Strength) and aerial presence (Jumping Reach).
  • Useful for: supporting strikers (number tens) expected to contribute to build-up play or attempt creative, risky passes; and strong attackers expected to act as a target for passes.
  • Unsuitable for: more attacking players expected to get into more advanced positions and run onto creative passes; and supporting players (such as off the ball runners) expected to make forward runs to provide an advanced passing option or create space for teammates.
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Get Further Forward (player).

3.11. Stays Back At All Times

The player will be more likely to hold his defensive position.

This can allow him to be better placed to defend against an opposition counter attack.

  • Required abilities: good defensive positioning (Marking, Anticipation, Decisions, Positioning and Teamwork) and other defensive abilities for when the opposition wins back possession.
  • Useful for: more defensive players expected to hold their defensive position.
  • Unsuitable for: supporting players expected to get forward to support attacking play; and more attacking players expected to get into more advanced positions.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Hold Position (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Get Further Forward, Roam From Position (player).

4. Passing

These preferred moves affect a player's passing decisions when he is on the ball.

4.1. Dictates Tempo

The player will be more likely to use his intelligence to decide what tempo to play at, rather than following the tempo instruction you have given to your team.

For example, he may decide it is appropriate to slow down the game by holding up the ball or he may instead try to increase the urgency of your team's play by attempting a quick pass.

  • Required abilities: excellent creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) and good passing ability (Passing and Technique).
  • Useful for: midfield players expected to be the main creative presence in your team (midfield creators), especially those in playmaker roles expected to receive the ball more often.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Be More Expressive (team).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Be More Disciplined (team).

4.2. Likes To Switch Ball To Other Flank

The player will be more likely to attempt to pass the ball to a player on the opposite side of the pitch.

This can allow your team to attack down the other flank where more space is likely to be available.

  • Required abilities: good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique).
  • Useful for: wide players, especially the less attacking player in a wide partnership; and central midfielders playing off-centre. The more attacking wide player on the opposite side should ideally be expected to stay wider in order to receive such a pass in space.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Go Route One, More Direct Passing, Clear Ball To Flanks, Exploit The Flanks and Exploit the Left/Right Flank (whichever is the opposite side to where the player is) (team), More Direct Passes (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Retain Possession, Shorter Passing, Play Out Of Defence, Exploit The Middle, Exploit The Left/Right Flank (whichever is the same side as where the player is) (team), Pass It Shorter (player).

4.3. Looks For Pass Rather Than Attempting To Score

The player will be more likely to try to pass the ball to a teammate instead of shooting when he believes he has a goal-scoring chance.

This can help him to set up a better scoring opportunity for another player, but can also result in him wasting good chances.

  • Required abilities: good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision) and preferably good passing ability (Passing).
  • Useful for: players in more advanced positions who have poor shooting ability and are therefore less likely to convert chances themselves.
  • Unsuitable for: players with good shooting ability, especially more attacking strikers (number nines) expected to be the main source of goals.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Work Ball Into Box (team), Shoot Less Often (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Shoot On Sight (team), Shoot More Often (player).

4.4. Plays No Through Balls

The player will be less likely to attempt creative, risky passes (through balls) and so more likely to pass directly to the feet, chest or head of a teammate. His tendency to make more direct (longer) passes will be unaffected, however.

  • Useful for: more defensive players expected to play more cautiously on the ball and make safer passes; players expected to make safer passes in order to keep possession and allow teammates with better creativity and passing ability to attempt more penetrative passes; players expected to make direct passes straight to the chest or head of a teammate; and players with poor creativity or passing ability.
  • Unsuitable for: players expected to attempt creative, risky passes (such as midfield creators and number tens); and players with good creativity and passing ability.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Fewer Risky Passes (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Pass Into Space (team), More Risky Passes (player).

You should be careful not to have too many players in your team with this move in order to ensure that there is a good balance between keeping possession and trying to penetrate the opposition.

4.5. Plays Short Simple Passes

The player will be more likely to pass straight to the feet of a nearby teammate, rather than attempting a creative, risky pass (through ball) into space or a more direct (longer) pass.

This can help him to keep possession but will restrict the penetration of his passing.

  • Useful for: more defensive players expected to play more cautiously on the ball and make shorter, safer passes; players expected to make shorter, safer passes in order to keep possession and allow teammates with better creativity and passing ability to attempt more penetrative passes; and players with poor creativity or passing ability.
  • Unsuitable for: players expected to attempt creative, risky passes (such as midfield creators and number tens); players expected to attempt direct passes; and players with good creativity and passing ability.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Retain Possession, Shorter Passing and Play Out Of Defence (team), Pass It Shorter and Fewer Risky Passes (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Go Route One, More Direct Passing, Pass Into Space, Pump Ball Into Box and Clear Ball To Flanks (team), More Direct Passes and More Risky Passes (player).

You should be careful not to have too many players in your team with this move in order to ensure that there is a good balance between keeping possession and trying to penetrate the opposition.

4.6. Tries Killer Balls Often

The player will be more likely to attempt creative, risky passes (through balls) into space for teammates to run onto.

  • Required abilities: good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique).
  • Useful for: players expected to attempt creative, risky passes (such as midfield creators and number tens). Ideally, there should be at least one more advanced player who has good attacking movement or mobilty and is expected to make forward runs off the ball.
  • Unsuitable for: more defensive players expected to play more cautiously on the ball and make safer passes; players expected to make safer passes in order to keep possession and allow teammates with better creativity and passing ability to attempt more penetrative passes; and players expected to make direct passes straight to the chest or head of a teammate.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Pass Into Space (team), More Risky Passes (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Fewer Risky Passes (player).

You should be careful not to have too many players in your team with this move in order to ensure that there is a good balance between keeping possession and trying to penetrate the opposition.

4.7. Tries Long Range Passes

The player will be more likely to attempt very direct (very long) passes.

  • Required abilities: good passing ability (Passing and Technique), and preferably good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision).
  • Useful for: players in deeper positions expected to make very direct passes.
  • Unsuitable for: creative players (such as midfield creators) expected to vary their passing range according to what they consider is appropriate; and players expected to make shorter passes in order to keep possession and allow teammates with better creativity and passing ability to attempt more penetrative passes.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Go Route One, More Direct Passing, Pump Ball Into Box and Clear Ball To Flanks (team), More Direct Passes (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Retain Possession, Shorter Passing and Play Out Of Defence (team), Pass It Shorter (player).

You should be careful not to have too many players in your team with this move in order to ensure that there is a good balance between keeping possession and trying to penetrate the opposition.

4.8. Uses Long Throw To Start Counter Attacks

The player will be more likely to take a quick, long throw-in from deep positions (or, for goalkeepers, throw the ball long after catching it or picking it up in his penalty area) when the opposition has pushed high up the pitch and there is an opportunity to attack on the break.

  • Required abilities: excellent Long Throws (or Throwing for goalkeepers), and good Balance and Strength.
  • Useful for: wide players in deeper positions who will be more likely to be close to the ball when it goes out for a throw-in in such a situation.

5. Finishing

These preferred moves affect a player's decisions when he believes he has a chance to score.

5.1. Attempts Overhead Kicks

The player will be more likely to attempt bicycle kicks when the opportunity arises. These are acrobatic volleys performed with both legs off the ground and the body facing away from the goal.

  • Required abilities: excellent shooting ability (Finishing and Technique) and very good awareness (Anticipation).
  • Useful for: strikers who you want to score more memorable goals. However, although it can result in spectacular goals on occasion, it is probably not worth a player adding to his training workload in order to learn it. Other potential preferred moves should take precedence.

If already possessed by a player it need not be unlearned due to its fairly rare occurrence in matches.

5.2. Hits Free Kicks With Power

The player will be more likely to shoot with force from free kicks.

This can make his free kicks more difficult for the goalkeeper to reach and deal with with if on target, but also more likely to be inaccurate.

  • Required abilities: very good Free Kicks and Technique, and good Long Shots.
  • Useful for: preferred free kick takers.

It need not be unlearned by a player who does not take free kicks regularly.

5.3. Likes To Lob Keeper

The player will be more likely to try to lift the ball over the goalkeeper and into the goal when he believes there is an opportunity to score with such a chipped shot.

  • Required abilities: very good shooting ability (Finishing, Technique and Composure) and good creativity (Anticipation and Decisions).
  • Useful for: strikers, to encourage them to use an alternative scoring method when appropriate. However, you may prefer to give preference to Places Shots, Shoots With Power or Likes To Round Keeper to help a capable striker to score more goals as they will be of more use for general goalscoring chances.

5.4. Likes To Round Keeper

The player will be more likely to try to dribble past the goalkeeper when one-on-one so he can potentially put the ball into an unguarded net.

  • Required abilities: good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Composure, Decisions and Flair) and mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace).
  • Useful for: strikers, especially more attacking strikers (number nines) who are more likely to get chances to score close to goal; and strikers with poor Finishing.

5.5. Places Shots

The player will be more likely to attempt to shoot with more accuracy and less power.

This can make his shots more likely to be on target and more difficult for the goalkeeper to reach if they are taken well.

  • Required abilities: very good shooting ability (Finishing, Technique and Composure) and good creativity (Anticipation and Decisions).
  • Useful for: strikers, especially more attacking strikers (number nines), who are more likely to get chances to score close to goal.

5.6. Refrains From Taking Long Shots

The player will be less likely to attempt shots from outside the opposition penalty area.

  • Required abilities: preferably good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision), especially Teamwork, and on the ball attacking abilities such passing and dribbling so he can provide an alternative threat or help keep possession effectively.
  • Useful for: players with poor long range shooting ability; players expected to focus on providing an alternative threat such as by making creative, risky passes (such as midfield creators and number tens), dribbling, or getting into goal-scoring positions close to goal (such as number nines); and players expected to play more cautiously on the ball and try to keep possession.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Work Ball Into Box (team), Shoot Less Often (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Shoot On Sight (team), Shoot More Often (player).

5.7. Shoots From Distance

The player will be more likely to attempt shots from outside the opposition penalty area.

  • Required abilities: very good long range shooting ability (Finishing, Long Shots and Technique).
  • Useful for: players who you want to provide a goal-scoring threat from distance so that your team does not rely on getting closer to the opposition goal, particularly central midfielders, wide attackers instructed to cut inside onto their stronger foot and supporting strikers (number tens). However, ideally it should not be possessed by more than one or two players in the same line-up as this could result in too many long shots being taken, reducing the amount of good chances created by your team.
  • Unsuitable for: players expected to focus on providing an alternative threat such as by making creative, risky passes (such as midfield creators and number tens), dribbling, or getting into goal-scoring positions close to goal (such as number nines); and players expected to play more cautiously on the ball and try to keep possession.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Shoot On Sight (team), Shoot More Often (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Work Ball Into Box (team), Shoot Less Often (player).

5.8. Shoots With Power

The player will be more likely to shoot with force, both from inside the opposition penalty area and when attempting long shots.

This can make his shots more difficult for the goalkeeper to reach and deal with if on target, but also more likely to be inaccurate.

  • Required abilities: good shooting ability (Finishing and Technique).
  • Useful for: supporting strikers (number tens), as they are more likely to shoot from further away from goal or when defenders are blocking some areas of the goal; strikers with poor Composure, Anticipation, Decisions and Flair; and players expected to attempt long shots.
  • Unsuitable for: more attacking strikers (number nines) with good Composure, Anticipation, Decisions and Flair.

5.9. Tries First Time Shots

The player will be more likely to shoot at goal without controlling the ball first when he receives a pass and believes he has a goal-scoring chance.

This can allow him to make the most of a chance before he is closed down or the goalkeeper moves into a better position, as long as his shot is well taken. However, such a skill is technically difficult and first time shots can easily be mis-hit.

  • Required abilities: very good shooting ability (Finishing, Technique and Composure) and good creativity (Anticipation and Decisions).
  • Useful for: more attacking strikers (number nines) expected to focus largely on goal-scoring. However, since this is a difficult skill you may want to give preference to Places Shots, Shoots With Power or Likes To Round Keeper to help a capable striker to score more goals.
  • Unsuitable for: strikers expected to contribute to build-up play or create chances (especially number tens); and midfielders expected to attempt creative, risky passes (especially midfield creators).
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Shoot On Sight (team), Shoot More Often (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Work Ball Into Box (team), Shoot Less Often (player).

5.10. Tries Long Range Free Kicks

The player will be more likely to shoot from free kicks taken from further away from the opposition goal, rather than making a short pass or delivering an aerial ball into the penalty area.

  • Required abilities: excellent Free Kicks, Technique and Long Shots.
  • Useful for: preferred free kick takers who perhaps have poor Passing.

If you have players with good physical and aerial presence who can provide a threat in the penalty area at free kicks then this preferred move is perhaps not suitable.

This preferred move must be requested from the Passing Training section when initiating preferred move training, but is included here as it relates to shooting rather than passing.

6. Discipline

This preferred move affects how well a player conducts himself.

6.1. Argues With Officials

The player will be more likely to dispute decisions that go against his team.

This is a negative preferred move that will see the player pick up needless bookings. However, it is often a trait of players with high Aggression and Determination who will be unlikely to unlearn the preferred move but will often have a positive impact when your team is struggling or playing in big matches.

This preferred move can only be learned through tutoring but can be unlearned through preferred move training.

7. Defending

These preferred moves affect a player's decisions when the opposition team is in possession.

7.1. Dives Into Tackles

The player will be more likely to attempt earlier and more risky tackles.

  • Required abilities: good tackling ability (Tackling, Anticipation and Decisions) and physical presence (Strength), and preferably good defensive positioning (Positioning and Teamwork).
  • Useful for: midfielders expected to defend more aggressively (such as midfield aggressors).
  • Unsuitable for: defenders, particularly central defenders, since an unsuccessful tackle could lead to an attacker being allowed through on goal or being fouled in a dangerous position; and players, particularly more defensive players, expected to adapt their defending according to your opposition instructions.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Get Stuck In (team), Tackle Harder (player), Tackle Hard (opposition).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Stay On Feet (team), Ease Off Tackles (player), Tackle Easy (opposition).

7.2. Does Not Dive Into Tackles

The player will be more likely to attempt later and less risky tackles.

  • Required abilities: low Aggression.
  • Useful for: more defensive players expected to defend more cautiously; and players with poor tackling ability.
  • Unsuitable for: midfielders expected to defend more aggressively (such as midfield aggressors); and players, particularly more defensive players, expected to adapt their defending style according to your opposition instructions.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Stay On Feet (team), Ease Off Tackles (player), Tackle Easy (opposition).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Get Stuck In (team), Tackle Harder (player), Tackle Hard (opposition).

7.3. Marks Opponent Tightly

The player will be more likely to tightly mark an opposition player.

  • Required abilities: good marking ability (Marking, Anticipation, Decisions and Positioning), tackling ability (Tackling), physical presence (Balance and Strength) and endeavour (Aggression and Work Rate), and preferably good aerial presence (Jumping Reach) and clearing ability (Heading), especially for a central defender when he is playing in a deeper defensive line, and mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace), especially for a central defender when he is playing in a higher defensive line.
  • Useful for: midfielders and attackers expected to defend more aggressively; wide defenders expected to stay back and defend more aggressively rather than support the attack; strong attackers expected to act as a target for passes, as they should generally be close to an opposition defender when they receive the ball so they can more effectively hold him off and make a pass.
  • Unsuitable for: players expected to be in space to receive a pass after possession is won, such as more attacking players and players expected to create chances; more defensive players expected to hold their defensive position when your team is defending rather than track an opposition player; and players, particularly more defensive players, expected to adapt their defending style according to your opposition instructions.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Use Tighter Marking (team), Mark Tighter (player), Always Tight Mark (opposition).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Never Tight Mark (opposition).

8. Technique

These are additional preferred moves that affect a player's decisions when he is on the ball.

8.1. Attempts To Develop Weaker Foot

The player will work on improving his weaker foot so that it becomes stronger.

This is not actually a move as such, but simply a pre-requisite for a player's weaker foot to be improved.

  • Useful for: players with one weak foot, particularly more attacking players as they will become more of a threat when on the ball (they will have more potentially effective options to choose from and opposition defenders will be less able to restrict their threat by showing them onto their weaker foot).

8.2. Avoids Using Weaker Foot

The player will be more likely to use his stronger foot, even when using his weaker foot is more appropriate.

This can result in him making fewer mis-hit passes and shots on his weaker foot, but good opportunities that fall on his weaker foot will often not be taken and he will be more likely struggle when shown on to his weaker foot by an opposition player.

It is a risky preferred move to possess and it is probably not worth a player adding to his training workload in order to learn it.

It should be unlearned for any player whose weaker foot is any better than very weak.

8.3. Curls Ball

The player will be more likely to add spin to the ball, curving its movement, particularly when attempting long shots, long passes or crosses, or when taking corners or free kicks.

This preferred move can only be learned through tutoring and cannot be unlearned.

  • Required abilities: very good Technique.
  • Useful for: corner and free kick takers; players instructed to attempt long shots; wide players expected to make crosses; and players expected to make creative passes (such as midfield creators and number tens).

8.4. Dwells On Ball

The player will be more likely to spend a long time on the ball before making a decision.

It is slightly different to Stops Play, where a player will more purposefully hold up the ball to allow teammates to move into better positions.

It is therefore a negative trait as he may easily concede possession, particularly if closed down quickly by an opposition player. It is especially detrimental to high tempo tactics.

This preferred move can only be learned through tutoring but can be unlearned through preferred move training. Ideally, it should be unlearned by any player who possesses it.

  • Complementary tactical instructions: Waste Time (team).

8.5. Possesses Long Flat Throw

The player will be more likely to launch long flat bullet throws from throw-ins in advanced positions. Such throws will be lower, more powerful and travel further than a standard long throw.

This can allow him to cause havoc in the opposition penalty area.

A player with this preferred move should be set as your preferred throw-in taker on both sides of the pitch.

  • Required abilities: very good Long Throws and good Balance and Strength.

8.6. Tries To Play Way Out Of Trouble

The player will be more likely to attempt to dribble into space when he is on the ball and surrounded by opposition players, rather than attempting to pass or clear the ball.

This preferred move can only be learned through tutoring but can be unlearned through preferred move training.

  • Required abilities: good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Flair and Balance) and preferably good mobility (Acceleration and Agility).
  • Unsuitable for: more defensive players expected to play more cautiously on the ball, although it is generally a risky move to possess for any player.
  • Complementary tactical instructions: Run At Defence (team), Dribble More (player).
  • Contrasting tactical instructions: Dribble Less (player).

9. Useful Combinations

  • Shoots With Power, Shoots From Distance and Curls Ball.
  • Hits Free Kicks With Power, Tries Long Range Free Kicks and Curls Ball.
  • Hugs Line and Runs With Ball Down Left or Right.
  • Comes Deep To Get Ball and Dictates Tempo.
  • Cuts Inside and Runs With Ball Through Centre.
  • Cuts Inside, Shoots From Distance, Shoots With Power and Curls Ball.
  • Likes To Try To Beat Offside Trap or Runs With Ball Through Centre, and Likes To Round Keeper, Likes To Lob Keeper, Places Shots or Shoots With Power.
  • Marks Opponent Tightly and Dives Into Tackles.

Popular Pages

Guide to FM App

Download our iOS app.

Follow Us

@GuidetoFM on Twitter

Other Links

Guide to Football - A guide to tactical theory

FM Weekly - Articles tweeted in the past 7 days from some popular FM Twitter accounts.

Team Talk Guidelines - What team talks to use and when to use them. The old team talks guide for FM 2014.

FM 2017 Best Players

Football Manager (1982) - learn about and play the original Football Manager.

Football Results - Check the latest scores and results.

The Soccer Blog - Blogging the beautiful game.