Specific Player Instructions

As previously discussed, each player in your tactic is given a set of player instructions that are determined by your chosen team instructions, his position in your formation and the role and duty combination he has been assigned.

In some cases you may want to further refine certain player instructions in order to slightly modify how a player plays in a way that cannot be achieved by simply giving him a different role and duty. This is done by selecting Add Instruction on the Instructions panel and choosing from the selection of available specific player instructions.

Some instructions will be greyed out and so unavailable, either because they are not suitable for the selected position, not suitable for the selected role and duty, or already active for the selected role and duty. Hovering over a greyed out instruction will reveal a tool-tip that explains which of these is the case. Furthermore, some instructions conflict with each other and therefore cannot be selected together. Any instructions that conflict with an instruction that has already been selected will be highlighted in red.

When to Modify Instructions

You may want to make such modifications so that a particular player’s instructions better suit his abilities or so as to adjust the instructions given by a role and duty to better fit your overall tactical setup.

If you are modifying instructions to suit a particular player’s abilities then this is best done by adding specific instructions for that player only using the Add Player button on the Instructions for panel. If you want to modify the instructions given by a role and duty to suit your tactics then you will want to ensure that the changes are applied for all players by using the any player in this position option.

You might also want to use specific player instructions that contrast with your overall team instructions, so that one or more players will be an exception to your team’s general tactical approach. For example, you could instruct a more creative player with good passing to make More Direct Passes when using the Shorter Passing specific team instruction, so that he acts as your team’s main creative passer to a greater extent than would be the case by just giving him a more creative role.

Similarly, a specific player instruction can be used as an alternative to its equivalent specific team instruction, so as to gain more control over which players the instruction is given to. For example, you may want your team to be more aggressive by closing down earlier and making earlier tackles, but only want to instruct a few of your players who have better fitness and tackling ability to do this, so that the strategy can be effective without disrupting your team’s defensive structure too much.

Balancing Instructions

You should be careful when altering instructions however, and ensure that your changes do not cause your tactic to become unbalanced. If you are making a lot of alterations then it may be the case that a different role and duty would be more suitable.

Ensuring that your instructions are well balanced can be a difficult task. However, by using the various roles and duties tactical analyses earlier in this guide and by checking which greyed out instructions are already active as described above, you can gain a good idea of how instructions for groups of players in each area of the pitch should be balanced and what each of your players has been instructed to do.

Analysis of Instructions

Provided below is a description of each instruction and an analysis of when you may want to use it.

Possession

The following instructions affect how a player should behave when he is on the ball.

Hold Up Ball

Your player will be more likely to try to shield the ball while waiting for supporting teammates to get forward or move into space, and less likely to turn and dribble towards the opposition goal, make an early pass or shoot at goal.

This can lead to a better decision being made and more effective build-up play, but it can also cause opportunities for quick passes or shots, or direct dribbling, to be missed.

Most tactics will use a holding midfielder and possibly an attacker to hold up the ball. However, too many players instructed to hold up the ball can slow down attacking play too much.

Useful Attributes

Strength

Shoot More Often

Your player will be more likely to shoot when he believes there is a possible chance to score, and less likely to pass, dribble or hold up the ball, even when chances are less clear-cut.

This can be useful for a less creative number nine who focuses on goal-scoring, or a less creative midfielder who plays centrally or cuts inside and is good at shooting from distance, especially when using the Work Ball Into Box specific team instruction.

It can also be more generally useful in encouraging your players to take any opportunity they get to shoot at goal, giving you more control over the players that shoot more often than the Shoot On Sight specific team instruction.

However, it will lead to more speculative efforts on goal and therefore better attacking options, or simple possession keeping passes, will be overlooked more often.

Useful Attributes

Long Shots, Finishing, Technique

Shoot Less Often

Your player will be less likely to shoot when he believes there is a possible chance to score, and more likely to pass, dribble or hold up the ball. He will prefer to wait until he has a more clear-cut chance before shooting.

This can be useful for a player with poorer Long Shots, Finishing and Technique especially when using the Shoot On Sight specific team instruction.

It can also be more generally useful in helping your players to keep possession and build attacks more patiently, giving you more control over the players that shoot less often than the Work Ball Into Box specific team instruction.

It can be particularly useful for a player who you want to be more creative, to encourage him to try more inventive options.

Dribble More

Your player will be more likely to run with the ball and take opposition players on, and less likely to pass, shoot or hold up the ball.

This can be useful for a more attacking player who is a good dribbler to make him more of an attacking threat, especially if he is playing alongside other attackers who are not being instructed to dribble much.

It can also be more generally useful in encouraging your players to take on opponents, giving you more control over the players that dribble than the Run At Defence specific team instruction.

However, having too many players instructed to dribble more frequently can be ineffective, as it can lead to less varied and more predictable attacks, with possession potentially being lost more often.

Useful Attributes

Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Flair, Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace

Dribble Less

Your player will be less likely to run with the ball, and more likely to pass, shoot or hold up the ball.

This can be useful for a player with poorer dribbling ability, or if you are using too many roles that instruct frequent dribbling, especially if you are using the Run At Defence specific team instruction.

Run Wide With Ball

When dribbling, your wide player will run down the flank rather than running towards the opposition penalty area, while a central player will take the ball into wider areas.

This can be useful for a wide player with good crossing ability but poorer passing and creative ability to encourage him to stay wide.

It can also be useful for a central player who will take the ball wide and disrupt the shape of the opposition, creating more space for his teammates in the centre. This can be particularly helpful when the opposition is using a narrow formation. However, for this to be effective you should ensure the player is not instructed to Dribble Less.

Useful Attributes

Crossing

Cut Inside With Ball

When dribbling, your wide player will run towards the opposition penalty area rather than running down the flank.

This can be useful to instruct your Wide Midfielder or Wide Target Man to cut inside like an Inside Forward. You may want to do this if such a player has poorer crossing ability but better passing and creative ability, long range shooting ability or is playing on the side opposite to his strongest foot.

Useful Attributes

Passing, Anticipation, Creativity, Decisions

Distribution

The following instructions affect how a player should pass the ball.

Pass It Shorter

Your player will tend to make shorter passes to teammates closer to him.

This can be useful for a player with poorer passing or creative ability, to reduce the chances of him conceding possession, especially if you have instructed your team as a whole to use more direct passing using specific team instructions.

It can also be useful more generally to encourage your team to use shorter passing, without altering the passing of your more creative players.

It is not advisable for your more creative players who should instead either be allowed to express themselves and play passes to keep possession or penetrate the opposition as they deem appropriate, or be encourage to attempt more direct, penetrative passes.

You should avoid giving this instruction to too many players so as not to overly reduce the penetration of your team’s passing.

More Direct Passes

Your player will tend to make longer passes to teammates further away from him.

This can be useful if you want a player with better passing or creative ability to try more penetrative passes.

In particular, by also instructing your team as a whole to use shorter passing, you can encourage your players to generally keep possession but to use your more creative players or those with better passing ability to send more direct passes forward.

Useful Attributes

Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Creativity, Decisions

More Risky Passes

Your player will be more likely to attempt through balls and less likely to make passes to feet. Through balls are passes played ahead of a teammate for him to run onto.

This can be useful if you want a player with better passing and creative ability to try more creative passes through the opposition defence. Generally however, you will already have given such players more creative roles and you will need to be careful not to instruct too many players to make risky passes or possession will be conceded too often, with not enough patience being used in attacking play.

This instruction can still be useful though as an alternative to the Pass Into Space specific team instruction that will give you more control over which players attempt through balls more frequently. In particular, you should ensure that such players have teammates ahead of them making runs to receive through balls.

Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Creativity, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork

Fewer Risky Passes

Your player will be less likely to attempt through balls and more likely to make passes to feet.

This can be useful for a player with poorer passing and creative ability to reduce the chances of him conceding possession with risky passes, especially if you are using the Pass Into Space specific team instruction.

It can also be useful more generally to encourage through balls to mainly come from two or three more creative players while the rest of the team focuses on keeping possession and building attacks slowly.

You should avoid giving this instruction to too many players so as not to overly reduce the penetration of your team’s passing.

Cross More Often

Your wide player will be more likely to attempt aerial passes into the opposition penalty area from wide positions and less likely to make passes to feet, attempt through balls, dribble with the ball or hold up the ball, once he has reached the area where he has been instructed to cross from.

This can be useful for instructing a more attacking wide defender with good crossing ability to deliver more crosses. You may also want to use it for an Inside Forward or Advanced Playmaker with a support duty so that he contributes with occasional crosses rather than always cutting inside or making a pass.

Useful Attributes

Crossing, Technique

Cross Less Often

Your wide player will be less likely to attempt aerial passes into the opposition penalty area and more likely to make passes to feet, attempt through balls, dribble with the ball or hold up the ball, even once he has reached the area where he has been instructed to cross from.

This can be useful for a Wide Midfielder or wide defender with poorer crossing ability to instruct him to deliver fewer crosses, with crosses perhaps being delivered more by his wide partner. It can also be used to instruct an Inside Forward or Advanced Playmaker with an attack duty to deliver fewer crosses and instead try to cut inside or make a pass.

Cross From Deep

Your wide player will make his crosses from deeper positions, before he gets level with the opposition penalty area.

Generally a wide player will be instructed to cross from an area that is appropriate for his role and duty. In some circumstances though, you may want to use this instruction to encourage a wide player to cross earlier.

For example, it can be used as part of instructing a wide defender to get forward in support of attacks when off the ball but to be less adventurous when on the ball

Similarly, it can be used to discourage a Defensive Winger from attacking the byline when he is on the ball.

A more general early crossing tactic however, can be instructed using the Hit Early Crosses specific team instruction.

Useful Attributes

Crossing, Technique (since early crosses are technically more difficult and effectively encourage more crosses than if a player is told to get to the byline before crossing)

Cross From Byline

Your wide player will make his crosses from close to the byline, tending not to cross the ball until he has reached this area. The byline is the extension of the goal line from the posts to the corner flags on each side of the pitch.

Generally a wide player will be instructed to cross from an area that is appropriate for his role and duty. In some circumstances though, you may want to use this instruction to encourage a wide player to only cross once he has reached the byline.

For example, it can be used for a wide player with poorer crossing ability to discourage him from making crosses until he is close to the opposition penalty area.

Alternatively, it can be used as part of instructing a wide player with good dribbling ability to get forward when on the ball but to hold back more when off the ball, perhaps while his wide partner overlaps.

Cross Aim Near Post

Your wide player will target his crosses into the area by the post closest to him. Such crosses tend to be of lower height.

Relevant crossing aim instructions for your wide players will already have been set if you are using the Float Crosses or Drill Crosses specific team instructions. If you have central attackers with less aerial ability you will probably want to use Drill Crosses.

However, you might want to use this specific player instruction for a wide player if the intended target attacker is playing closer to his side of the pitch, either left or right of centre, or for particular wide player who has poorer crossing ability.

Cross Aim Centre

Your wide player will target his crosses into the middle of the penalty area.

Relevant crossing aim instructions for your wide players will already have been set if you are using the Float Crosses or Drill Crosses specific team instructions. If you have at least one central attacker with good aerial ability you may want to use Float Crosses.

However, you might want to use this specific player instruction for a wide player if the intended target attacker is playing closer to his side of the pitch, either left or right of centre, so that crosses are still aimed to his head, but are not aimed beyond him, or if the target attacker is playing in the centre.

Useful Attributes

Crossing, Technique

Cross Aim Far Post

Your wide player will target his crosses into the area by the post furthest from him. Such crosses tend to be higher.

Relevant crossing aim instructions for your wide players will already have been set if you are using the Float Crosses or Drill Crosses specific team instructions. If you have at least one central attacker with good aerial ability you may want to use Float Crosses.

However, you might want to use this specific player instruction for a wide player if the intended target attacker is not playing closer to his side of the pitch, either left or right of centre, especially if you are not using the Float Crosses specific team instruction.

Useful Attributes

Crossing, Technique

Cross Aim Target Man

Your wide player will target his crosses towards your target man if you are using such a player.

This can be useful to ensure a wide player is aiming crosses to your target man.

Useful Attributes

Crossing, Technique

Goalkeeper Distribution

The following instructions affect how a goalkeeper should distribute the ball when it is in his hands. The usage of these instructions is discussed in the Goalkeepers guide.

Take Quick Throws

Your goalkeeper will quickly throw the ball out to a teammate.

Take Long Kicks

Your goalkeeper will kick the ball up the pitch.

Distribute To Defenders

Your goalkeeper will make a simple pass to one of his defenders.

Distribute To Specific

Your goalkeeper will distribute the ball to a specified player. The position of the selected player should be appropriate for the selected distribution type.

Movement

The following instructions affect how a player should position himself off the ball when your team is in possession.

Get Further Forward

Your player will take up more advanced positions off the ball where he can receive passes in more dangerous areas closer to the opposition defence. As such, he will be less likely to come deep and make himself available for a simple pass to feet.

This can be useful for a more attacking player. However, you should ensure that your tactic remains well balanced. In particular, you should not give this instruction to the less attacking player in a partnership, for example a wide partnership or two players next to each other in central midfield.

You should also ensure that you do not isolate players from their supporting teammates and that you do not instruct too many players to get further forward at the expense of defensive stability.

Useful Attributes

Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball and general attacking attributes depending on position

Hold Position

Your player will stick to his position where he can make himself available for a simple pass to feet, either as a more stationery supporting player for teammates who have overlapped his position and are attacking just ahead of him, or to collect the ball from players behind him in order for him to start attacks. He will also be better placed to protect your defence if your team loses possession.

Since your holding midfielder should already be holding his position, the main use of this instruction is for a creative player in a more advanced position so he will be in deeper areas to receive the ball and create chances. However, the use of this instruction will prevent you from telling him to Roam From Position in order to find more space.

For your other players it can be best to leave this instruction to be decided by role and duty so as not to unbalance your tactic.

It can be considered a better alternative to the Stick To Positions specific team instruction as it gives you more control which players hold their position.

Stay Wider

Your wide player will position himself close to the touchline at the side of the pitch.

This can be useful for the more attacking player in a wide partnership (which can be either the defender or the more advanced player), so that he will be in more space to receive the ball, regardless of whether he is instructed to run wide or cut inside. This can make him an excellent passing option when central alternatives are restricted.

It is particularly useful for the more advanced player in a wide partnership when using counter attacking tactics or more attacking mentalities.

In addition, it can open up space in central areas if an opposition player moves wide to cover or close down.

If you want your team as a whole to take up wider positions then you can use the Play Wider specific team instruction.

Sit Narrower

Your wide player will position himself close to the centre of the pitch.

This can be useful for a less attacking wide player (which in a wide partnership can be either the defender or the more advanced player). He will be able to contribute more in build-up play and provide greater support for your central players, whilst also being better placed to move into a defensive position when possession is lost.

When used for the more advanced player in a wide partnership then this will give his deeper partner more room to overlap. This setup can be particularly useful when using a patient, short passing tactic.

If you want your team as a whole to take up narrower positions then you can use the Play Narrower specific team instruction.

Move Into Channels

Your striker, Shadow Striker or Advanced Playmaker will move into space between opposition players, such as between a central and wide defender.

This can be useful for your number nine so that he moves into more space to receive the ball in dangerous positions. This in turn is likely to drag a defender out of position, creating space for a teammate to exploit. It is less useful for your number ten who should stay in a position to link play and create chances.

Useful Attributes

Off The Ball

Roam From Position

Your player will stray from his position into nearby areas where he can find space.

This can be useful for a very intelligent player with very good creative and technical ability. He will need the intelligence to move into the best position in order to find space, and the intelligence, creative ability and technical ability to still be effective after receiving the ball in a different position. For example, a central number ten might move wide to receive the ball, where typically it will be more difficult for him to have an impact.

It is advisable to restrict this instruction to just one or two players so that your team does not lose its structure.

It can be considered a better alternative to the Roam From Positions specific team instruction as it gives you more control which players roam.

Useful Attributes

Dribbling, First Touch, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Creativity, Decisions, Flair, Off The Ball, Teamwork

Defending

The following instructions affect how a player should behave when your team is not in possession.

Close Down More

Your player will close down the opposition player on the ball earlier in an attempt to hassle him and restrict his space and options, rather than staying in his defensive position. Closing down means that your player will move forward towards the opposition player when they are in proximity of each other.

This instruction can generally be left alone, but you may want to use it for one or two hard working and fit players who can more effectively hassle opponents than their teammates and are not required to hold their position, such as a midfield aggressor.

In particular, this can be used instead of the Hassle Opponents specific team instruction to instruct your team to restrict time and space for the opposition using those players who are best suited to this task, without tiring out your less fit players or causing your team to lose its defensive structure too much.

If you are using the Stand Off Opponents specific team instruction then it can be useful to help prevent the opposition being given too much time and space on the ball by your whole team.

Alternatively, you may want to use it to instruct your more attacking players to put pressure on the opposition defence in an attempt to force mistakes, without instructing your more defensive players to stray from their protective positions.

You should be careful not to instruct too many of your defensive and supporting players to close down more as this can cause your team to lose its defensive shape.

Useful Attributes

Anticipation, Decisions, Determination, Work Rate, Acceleration, Pace, Stamina

Close Down Less

Your player will close down the opposition player on the ball later, preferring to stay in his defensive position and mark another opposition player so as to reduce passing options.

This can be useful for a less hard working and fit player to help preserve his fitness so he can be effective for longer during matches.

It can also be useful to instruct a particular player, such as a holding midfielder, to hold his position even more when defending in order to protect your defence more effectively.

In both cases, it can be especially useful if you are using the Hassle Opponents specific team instruction.

You may want to use it instead of the Stand Off Opponents specific team instruction which can cause the opposition to be given too much time and space by your whole team, as it enables you to specify which players should close down less.

Tackle Harder

Your player will attempt earlier and more risky tackles when with an opposition player who is on the ball in an attempt to win the ball back quickly.

This can be useful for a player with good tackling ability so that he will be more aggressive in his tackles, especially if you are using the Stay On Feet specific team instruction. It can also be used in combination with Close Down More, perhaps to instruct an attacking player to be more aggressive.

It can be used instead of the Get Stuck In specific team instruction to help you to remove some of the risk from a more aggressive approach by enabling you to select the most appropriate players to tackle earlier.

It is advisable not to use this instruction for your central defenders, as an unsuccessful tackle will be more costly, potentially conceding a free kick in a dangerous area, a sending off, or a free run at goal for an opposition attacker.

Useful Attributes

Tackling, Anticipation, Bravery, Concentration, Decisions

Ease Off Tackles

Your player will attempt later and less risky tackles when with an opposition player who is on the ball, preferring to stay on his feet and force the opponent to try to dribble or pass through him, or else pass the ball backwards.

This can be useful for a player with poorer tackling ability, particularly if he has high Aggression or if you are using the Get Stuck In specific team instruction.

It can also be useful for your central defenders if you want to make sure that they stay on their feet and do not commit themselves to tackles too early.

You may want to use it instead of the Stay On Feet specific team instruction which can cause your team as a whole to be too cautious and not try to win back possession quickly enough, as it enables you to specify which players should tackle later.

Mark Tighter

Your player will stay very close to an opposition player who is not on the ball when marking him.

Tight marking for a player can generally be left as set by his role and duty.

It can be especially risky to use this for a defensive player as he can end up being dragged out of his position by an opponent, creating space for other opposition players. Instead, it can be more effective to use tight marking opposition instructions for particular opposition threats so that the marking responsibility is shared between players.

However, it can be useful for a more aggressive player who is not required to hold his position, such as a midfield aggressor, particularly when combined with Close Down More and Tackle Harder.

It is also not advisable to use this instruction for your more attacking players as you will want them to be in space after your team wins possession.

However, it can be useful for a number ten with good Strength and Aerial ability, as by positioning himself close to an opposition defender he can attempt to take him out the game by winning aerial challenges and getting the ball to a teammate.

It is more useful than the Use Tighter Marking specific team instruction as it gives you control over which players mark more tightly.

Useful Attributes

Marking, Tackling, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Positioning, Acceleration, Jumping Reach, Pace

Further Reading

Inverting the Pyramid - guaranteed to give you a greater tactical knowledge and understanding.

The Manager: Inside the Minds of Football's Leaders - learn how to think like a football manager

Will You Manage? - tells you the skills needed to be a great manager and gives essential tips for fantasy football success

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