Your tactics are likely to be the most important factor in determining the success of your managerial career. They will set out how your players should play, both individually and together as a team, and so the right tactics are the key to getting good performances from your squad. They can enable an average squad of players to perform above themselves or a set of world class stars to consistently meet expectations.
This guide will explain the various stages of creating a tactic that adheres to defined style of play while also being well balanced and suitable for your players.
In order to gain the knowledge needed to create a suitable tactic for the players at your disposal you should first learn the basics of tactical theory, as discussed on GuideToFootball.com.
The next step that you will need to undertake is assessing your team so that you can obtain a proper understanding of the players you have in your squad.
With this knowledge you should then be able to choose a tactical style to suit your team, along with a formation to suit your team and tactical style. The rest of the guide will explain in more detail exactly how your desired tactical style can be created using different instructions.
The first group of instructions are the team instructions that set how your team as a whole should play. The effects of team mentality and team shape will be explained, enabling you to set them as appropriate for your team and style. The various specific team instructions will also be summarised for easy reference, before tactical styles are revisited in greater detail by considering what selection of team instructions can be used to achieve different styles.
Having set up the general approach of your team, you can then define your tactical style in more detail using player instructions. These instructions specify more precisely each player's responsibilities in your tactic. You will learn how to choose roles and duties in every area of the pitch that suit each individual player and your style, while also integrating well as a whole. You will then consider whether further instructions would be beneficial for certain players using specific player instructions.
This will conclude the main process of creating a tactic. The guide will then move on to discuss how you can set up effective instructions for set pieces, which can be particularly useful in gaining extra points for your team during a season from corners, free kicks and penalties.
Finally, the guide will look at how to choose a good captain. While your tactics will tell your team how to play, it is a huge advantage to have a good captain to help motivate your players on the pitch.
After creating one tactic it is also advisable to set up two further tactics for your team to learn. This is discussed in the Match Preparation Training guide.
The Match Day guide discusses how you can prepare tactically for each match and adapt your tactics during the match.
1. The Tactics Screen
You can set up the different aspects of your tactics on the various tabs of the Tactics screen. On the Overview tab in particular you can create, view and edit up to three tactics that will be learned by your players in match preparation training. A familiarity bar is shown at the top-right of the screen which displays how much progress your team has made in learning the currently selected tactic. The greater the tactic familiarity becomes for a tactic, the better your team will play when using it. Also on this tab, you can make your team selection for the next match.