FM 15- This guide has been updated for FM 2015

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 edit player instructions in order to slightly refine how a player in a particular position behaves, rather than using a different role and duty which can result in unwanted changes to other instructions. This is done by selecting specific player instructions.

Some instructions are greyed out and so not available, 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.

Selecting an available instruction will highlight that instruction in green. Some instructions conflict with each other and therefore cannot be selected together. Any instructions that conflict with a selected instruction are highlighted in red.

Each specific player instruction is analysed below. Provided for each instruction is:

  • a description of how it affects a player's behaviour;
  • positions available for - the instruction can only be used for players in these positions, but availability of the instruction may also depend on the role and duty of a player;
  • a summary of its main advantages and disadvantages;
  • players who it can be useful for - more specifically, particular types of players it can be useful for, either as an active instruction for their role and duty or as a manually selected instruction;
  • related abilities - the instruction may also be useful for players with these attributes (either good or poor ratings as specified);
  • complementary team instructions - the instruction can be used as an alternative to (or possibly in combination with) these instructions as explained below;
  • contrasting team instructions - the instruction can be used in combination with these instructions as explained below;
  • complementary preferred moves - these are preferred moves which give a player a tendency to perform the same or similar actions as the instruction, as discussed in the Preferred Moves guide; and
  • constrasting preferred moves - these are preferred moves which give a player a tendency to perform directly contrasting actions, as discussed in the Preferred Moves guide.

When to Edit Player Instructions

To Adapt a Role to Suit a Player or Your Tactics

You may want to select a specific player instruction in order to adapt a role so that it suits a player's abilities better or suits your tactics better.

For example, you might want a player with poorer dribbling ability to dribble less often, or you might want your wide players to stay closer to your central players to provide them with more support.

For further examples for each instruction see the can be useful for and related abilities suggestions below.

If you are editing instructions to suit a player’s abilities then this is best done by applying instructions for that player only. If you are editing them to suit your tactics then you will want to ensure that the changes are applied for any player in the position.

You may want to use a generic role for a player so that you have more freedom to edit instructions as you desire. In particular, the following roles offer a larger selection of available instructions.

  • Defensive Midfielder
  • Central Midfielder
  • Attacking Midfielder
  • Full Back
  • Wing Back
  • Wide Midfielder
  • Deep-Lying Forward
  • Target Man
  • Advanced Forward.

The generic Central Defender role also allows you to gain more control over a central defender's passing range.

As an Alternative to Complementary Team Instructions

You may want to select a specific player instruction as an alternative to using a complementary specific team instruction, as this will give you more control over which players follow the instruction.

For example, using the Shoot More Often specific player instruction instead of the Shoot On Sight specific team instruction gives you more control over which players attempt more shots.

Combining a specific player instruction with a complementary team instruction is also an option if you want a player to perform an action to an even greater or even lesser extent, but this should be done with caution as it can exacerbate the potential disadvantages associated with the instruction.

In Combination With Contrasting Team Instructions

You may also want to select a specific player instruction that contrasts with your team instructions (or possibly with the player instructions given to other players by their roles and duties) so that one or more players will be an exception to your team’s general tactical approach.

For example, you might use the Shorter Passing specific team instruction because you want your team to generally make shorter passes, but also select the More Direct Passes specific player instruction for one or two players so that they act as the main source of direct passes.

Similarly, instructing one or two players to dribble or shoot more, or to make more creative, risky passes, can allow them to provide an alternative threat in order to make it harder for the opposition to defend against your team.

To provide a defensive example, you may want your team to generally be more aggressive by closing down earlier and making earlier tackles, but want a few of your players to be more cautious. This could be because you want them to hold their defensive position to help give your team a more solid structure, or simply because they have poorer fitness or tackling ability.

Balancing Instructions

You should be careful when selecting specific player 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.

In particular, you should be careful not to instruct too many of your players to follow the same instruction, whether set through player instructions or a combination of team and player instructions, as this will exacerbate the potential disadvantages associated with the instruction.

Ensuring that your instructions are well balanced can be a difficult task. However, by reading the various roles and duties positional analyses earlier in this guide you can gain a good understanding of how each area of the pitch should be balanced and you will therefore be less likely to unbalance your tactic by making inappropriate changes.

Possession Instructions

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

Hold Up Ball

Your player will be more likely to keep the ball stationary or move it slowly to allow teammates to move into better positions. While holding up the ball he will attempt to shield it from any opposition players who try to tackle him.

Advantages

He can allow other players to move forward to take part in attacking play and get into better positions to receive a pass, and can also give himself more time to make a better decision. This can result in more effective build-up play with better chances being created.

Disadvantages

He may slow down attacking play too much or at inappropriate times, which can cause opportunities for quick passes or shots, or direct dribbling at the opposition, to be missed.

Therefore, it is generally advisable not to instruct more than two attackers to hold up the ball.

Use

  • Positions available for: the central attacking midfield, wide forward and striker positions.
  • Can be useful for: a supporting attacker (such as a number ten) who you want to play a key part in build-up play and creating or setting up chances for others; and a more attacking attacker (such as a number nine) who you want to contribute to build-up play or creating chances for others rather than focusing mainly on running with the ball or goal-scoring.
  • Related abilities: good hold-up play (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Balance and Strength) and preferably good endeavour (Aggression and Work Rate).
  • Complementary preferred moves: Stops Play.

Shoot More Often

Your player will be more likely to shoot when he believes there is a possible chance to score.

Advantages

He can potentially take greater advantage of scoring chances and score more goals, create more chances from rebounded shots and win more corners.

Disadvantages

He may try too many speculative efforts at goal which can cause possession to be wasted, reducing the opportunities your team has to build up attacking play more patiently and potentially create better chances.

Therefore, it is generally advisable not to instruct more than two or three players to shoot more often so that possession is not given away too frequently.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a number nine who you want to focus mainly on goal-scoring.
  • Related abilities: good shooting ability (Long Shots, Finishing and Technique), or poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique).
  • Complementary team instructions: Shoot On Sight.
  • Contrasting team instructions: Work Ball Into Box.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Shoots From Distance.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Refrains From Taking Long Shots.

Shoot Less Often

Your player will be less likely to shoot when he believes there is a possible chance to score. In other words he will be more likely to wait until he has a more clear-cut chance before shooting.

Advantages

He can retain possession more often which can help your team to build up attacking play more patiently and create potentially better chances.

Disadvantages

He can fail to take advantage of good shooting opportunities.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a player who you want to focus on providing an alternative threat such as by making creative, risky passes (such as a midfield creator or number ten) or dribbling; and a player who you want to play more cautiously on the ball and try to keep possession.
  • Related abilities: poor shooting ability (Long Shots, Finishing and Technique), or good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique).
  • Complementary team instructions: Work Ball Into Box.
  • Contrasting team instructions: Shoot On Sight.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Looks For Pass Rather Than Attempting To Score.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Shoots From Distance.

Dribble More

Your player will be more likely to run with the ball and take opposition players on.

Advantages

He can potentially create more chances for both himself and others, both by getting past opposition players into more threatening positions and by drawing opposition defenders out of position.

Disadvantages

He will lose possession more often, reducing the opportunities your team has to build up attacking play more patiently and potentially create better chances, while he can also be poorly positioned defensively when the opposition wins back possession. In addition, his condition will fall more quickly.

Therefore, it is generally advisable not to instruct more than three players to dribble more so that attacking play is more varied and less predictable, possession is less likely to be lost and a good defensive shape is more likely to be retained.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a more attacking player who you want to provide a direct threat to the opposition.
  • Related abilities: good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Flair and Balance) and preferably good mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace) and endeavour (Work Rate).
  • Complementary team instructions: Run At Defence.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Runs With Ball Often, Runs With Ball Down Left/Right and Runs With Ball Through Centre.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Runs With Ball Rarely.

Dribble Less

Your player will be less likely to run with the ball and take opposition players on.

Advantages

He can retain possession more often which can help your team to build up attacking play more patiently and create potentially better chances. In addition, his condition will fall more slowly.

Disadvantages

He can fail to take advantage of opportunities to get past an opposition player or draw opposition players out of position.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a more defensive player who you want to play more cautiously on the ball and not take it far from his defensive position.
  • Related abilities: poor dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Flair and Balance) and perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace) and endeavour (Work Rate).
  • Contrasting team instructions: Run At Defence.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Runs With Ball Rarely.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Runs With Ball Often, Runs With Ball Down Left/Right and Runs With Ball Through Centre.

Run Wide With Ball

When dribbling, your player will be more likely to run towards and down the flank.

Advantages

A wide player will keep the ball near the touchline from where he can deliver crosses, while a central player will take the ball into wide areas and can potentially create space for teammates by drawing opposition players out of position.

This can be particularly useful when the opposition is using a narrow formation, while for a central player it can also work well when a wide player on the same side has been instructed to roam from his position. It can be more effective if combined with the Dribble More instruction and will be ineffective if combined with the Dribble Less instruction.

Disadvantages

He can be less well positioned to attempt creative, risky passes, dribble at the centre of the opposition defence or shoot at goal, while a central player in particular can also be poorly positioned defensively when the opposition wins back possession.

Therefore, it is advisable not to instruct more than one central player to run wide with the ball so that your team can retain a good defensive shape.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions except the central defender position.
  • Can be useful for: a wide player who you want to stay near the touchline when on the ball and make crosses into the opposition penalty area; and a central player who you want to try to create space for teammates and perhaps make crosses.
  • Related abilities: preferably good crossing ability (Crossing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision), and perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision) and passing ability (Passing).
  • Complementary preferred moves: Runs With Ball Down Left/Right.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Runs With Ball Through Centre.

Cut Inside With Ball

When dribbling, your player will be more likely to take the ball into central areas.

Advantages

He can get into better positions to attempt creative, risky passes, dribble at the centre of the opposition defence or shoot at goal.

Disadvantages

He can potentially cause there to be little or no effective wide passing options on his side of the pitch if another player, such as his wide partner, has not moved into an appropriate wide position, making it harder for your team to stretch play, while he can also cause a poor utilisation of space if he moves into the territory of a central player with similar responsibilities, especially if the other player is not instructed to roam from his position. In addition, he can be in a poor position to defend against wide threats when the opposition wins back possession.

Therefore, it is advisable to give him a wide partner who is not instructed to cut inside, and to ensure that he is not being instructed to move into the territory of a similar player. In addition, it is advisable to ensure that there is sufficient defensive protection on his flank, either from a less attacking wide defender or from a defensive central midfielder playing off-centre who holds his defensive position.

Use

  • Positions available for: wide positions.
  • Can be useful for: a wide player who you want to attempt creative, risky passes, run with the ball or shoot at goal from central areas, instead of staying wide where he may be less effective; left sided players who have a weak left foot; and right-sided players who have a weak right foot.
  • Related abilities: good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique), or good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Flair and Balance) or good shooting ability (Finishing, Long Shots and Technique), or perhaps poor crossing ability (Crossing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision).
  • Complementary preferred moves: Cuts Inside and Runs With Ball Through Centre.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Runs With Ball Down Left/Right.

Distribution Instructions

These instructions affect how a player should pass the ball.

Pass It Shorter

Your player will be more likely to make shorter passes to teammates closer to him.

Advantages

He will help your team to keep possession or pass through the opposition along the ground, which can help your team to build up attacking play more patiently and create potentially better chances.

Disadvantages

He can fail to take advantage of opportunities to get the ball quickly to advanced teammates in threatening positions which could help to penetrate the opposition, or to teammates in space on the opposite flank which could help to stretch play, and so can slow down attacking play too much as a result.

Therefore, it is advisable not to instruct too many players to pass shorter so as not to overly restrain your team's passing.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a more defensive player who you want to play more cautiously on the ball and make shorter passes; a player who you want to keep possession and allow teammates with better creativity and passing ability to attempt more penetrative passes.
  • Related abilities: poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) or passing ability (Passing and Technique).
  • Complementary team instructions: Retain Possession, Shorter Passing, Play Out Of Defence (for defenders and more defensive midfielders), more defensive mentalities (for more advanced players) and more attacking mentalities (for deeper players).
  • Contrasting team instructions: Go Route One, More Direct Passing, Pump Ball Into Box and Clear Ball To Flanks (for defenders and more defensive midfielders), more defensive mentalities (for deeper players) and more attacking mentalities (for more advanced players).
  • Complementary preferred moves: Plays Short Simple Passes.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Likes To Switch Ball To Other Flank and Tries Long Range Passes.

More Direct Passes

Your player will be more likely to make longer passes to teammates further away from him.

Advantages

He can potentially get the ball quickly to advanced teammates in threatening positions which can help to penetrate the opposition, or to teammates in space on the opposite flank which can help to stretch play.

Disadvantages

He can lose possession more often since longer passes are technically more difficult and provide a greater opportunity for an opposition player to intercept the ball or close down the intended recipient of the pass, reducing the opportunities your team has to build up attacking play more patiently and potentially create better chances.

Therefore, it is advisable not to instruct too many players to make more direct passes so as to ensure that there is sufficient patience and control of possession.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a player who you want to make more penetrative passes (such as a midfield creator), either to an attacker with good control, physical presence and aerial presence (in which case it is advisable to ensure that More Risky Passes is not selected or active) or to an attacker with good control and attacking movement or mobilty (in which case it is advisable to ensure that More Risky Passes is selected or active), depending on your players and tactical style.
  • Related abilities: good passing ability (Passing and Technique) and preferably good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision).
  • Complementary team instructions: Go Route One, More Direct Passing, Pump Ball Into Box and Clear Ball To Flanks (for defenders and more defensive midfielders), more defensive mentalities (for deeper players) and more attacking mentalities (for more advanced players).
  • Contrasting team instructions: Retain Possession, Shorter Passing, Play Out Of Defence (for defenders and more defensive midfielders), more defensive mentalities (for more advanced players) and more attacking mentalities (for deeper players).
  • Complementary preferred moves: Tries Long Range Passes and Likes To Switch Ball To Other Flank.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Plays Short Simple Passes.

More Risky Passes

Your player will be more likely to attempt creative, risky passes, also called through balls. A through ball is a pass played into space behind an opposition player for a teammate to run on to.

Advantages

He can potentially release teammates in threatening positions which can help to penetrate the opposition.

Disadvantages

He can lose possession more often since creative, risky passes are technically more difficult and provide a greater opportunity for an opposition player to intercept the ball, reducing the opportunities your team has to build up attacking play more patiently and potentially create better chances.

Therefore, it is advisable not to instruct too many players to make more risky passes so as to ensure that there is sufficient patience and control of possession.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions except the central defender positions, where it may be already active depending on role.
  • Can be useful for: a player who you want to attempt more creative, risky passes (such as a midfield creator or a number ten) to teammates ahead of him with good attacking movement or mobility who are making forward runs off the ball (such as players with attack duties, depending on their roles).
  • Related abilities: good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique).
  • Complementary team instructions: Pass Into Space.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Tries Killer Balls Often.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Plays No Through Balls and Plays Short Simple Passes.

Fewer Risky Passes

Your player will be less likely to attempt creative, risky passes.

Advantages

He will retain possession more often which can help your team to build up attacking play more patiently and create potentially better chances. Also, when he makes more direct passes, he will aim for the head, chest, thigh or feet of advanced teammates rather than playing passes into space for them to run onto, which can allow them to receive the ball with their backs to the opposition goal and in turn set up chances themselves. (However, it is not possible to combine the Fewer Risky Passes and More Direct Passes instructions).

Disadvantages

He can fail to take advantage of opportunities to release teammates in threatening positions which could help to penetrate the opposition and so can slow down attacking play too much as a result.

Therefore, it is advisable not to instruct too many players to make fewer risky passes so as not to overly restrain your team's passing.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions except the central defender positions, where it may be already active depending on role.
  • Can be useful for: a more defensive player who you want to play more cautiously on the ball and make safer passes; and a player who you want to make safer passes in order to keep possession and allow teammates with better creativity and passing ability to attempt more penetrative passes.
  • Related abilities: poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique).
  • Contrasting team instructions: Pass Into Space.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Plays No Through Balls and Plays Short Simple Passes.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Tries Killer Balls Often.

Cross More Often

Your player will be more likely to cross the ball into the opposition penalty area when he is in a wide position.

Advantages

He can potentially get the ball quickly from wide areas to central attackers in the opposition penalty area, perhaps allowing your team to take advantage of one or more central attackers with good physical and aerial presence and heading ability.

Disadvantages

He can often waste possession with unsuccessful crosses, particularly if the opposition's central defenders have better physical and aerial presence than your central attackers, reducing the opportunities your team has to build up attacking play more patiently and potentially create better chances. He can also fail to take advantage of opportunities to attempt creative, risky passes or run at the centre of the opposition defence.

Therefore, it is advisable to instruct no more than one player on each flank to cross more often, unless you have an effective target for crosses who you want to take advantage of. It is also advisable to ensure that you have at least two central attackers who either are in the striker position or make forward runs off the ball from attacking midfield if you instruct a player to cross more often.

Use

  • Positions available for: wide positions and the off-centre central midfield, off-centre central attacking midfield and striker positions.
  • Useful for: a wide player who you want to focus more on making crosses rather than making creative, risky passes or running with the ball at the centre of the opposition defence, or simply providing attacking support (such as the more attacking player in a wide partnership or a more attacking lone wide player if you want crosses to mainly come from more advanced positions, or the less attacking player in a wide partnership or a less attacking lone wide player if you want crosses to mainly come from deeper positions).
  • Related abilities: good crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision).

Cross Less Often

Your player will be less likely to cross the ball into the opposition penalty area when he is in a wide position.

Advantages

He will retain possession more often which can help your team to build up attacking play more patiently and create potentially better chances. He can also take advantage of opportunities to attempt creative, risky passes or run at the centre of the opposition defence more often.

Disadvantages

He can fail to take advantage of opportunities to get the ball quickly from wide areas to central attackers in the opposition penalty area.

Therefore, it is advisable to have at least one player on each flank who is not instructed to cross less often.

Use

  • Positions available for: wide positions and the off-centre central midfield, off-centre central attacking midfield and striker positions.
  • Useful for: a wide player who you want to focus more on making creative, risky passes or running with the ball at the centre of the opposition defence, or simply providing attacking support, rather than making crosses (such as the more attacking player in a wide partnership or a more attacking lone wide player if you want crosses to mainly come from deeper positions, or the less attacking player in a wide partnership or a less attacking lone wide player if you want crosses to mainly come from more advanced positions.
  • Related abilities: poor crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision).

Cross From Deep

Your player will be more likely to cross the ball when he is in deeper wide positions.

Advantages

He can potentially get the ball quickly from deeper wide areas to central attackers in the opposition penalty area, allowing your team to take advantage of one or more central attackers with good physical and aerial presence and heading ability.

Disadvantages

He can often waste possession with unsuccessful crosses, particularly if the opposition's central defenders have good physical and aerial presence, reducing the opportunities your team has to build up attacking play more patiently and create potentially better chances, perhaps from crosses from more advanced positions.

Use

  • Positions available for: wide positions and the off-centre central midfield and off-centre central attacking midfield positions.
  • Useful for: a wide player who tends to stay in deeper positions (such as the less attacking player in a wide partnership or a less attacking lone wide player).
  • Related abilities: good crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision) but perhaps poor dribbling ability (Dribbling, Flair and Balance), attacking movement (Off The Ball) and mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace).
  • Complementary team instructions: Hit Early Crosses.

Cross From Byline

Your player will be more likely to cross the ball when he is in more advanced wide positions.

Advantages

He can take advantage of opportunities to get into more advanced positions down the flank before crossing. This can result in more threatening crosses if he has poorer crossing ability or if your central attackers have poorer aerial ability, and can also result in more corners being won from blocked crosses. In addition, he can also allow your team to build up attacking play more patiently and create potentially better chances if there is not an opportunity to get further down the flank.

Disadvantages

He can fail to take advantage of opportunities to get the ball quickly from deeper wide areas to central attackers in the opposition penalty area.

Use

  • Positions available for: wide positions and the off-centre central attacking midfield positions.
  • Useful for: a wide player who tends to get into more advanced positions (such as the more attacking player in a wide partnership or a more attacking lone wide player).
  • Related abilities: good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Flair and Balance), attacking movement (Off The Ball) and mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace), but perhaps poor crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision).
  • Contrasting team instructions: Hit Early Crosses.

Cross Aim Near Post

When crossing, your player will be more likely to aim for the area around the post on the nearside.

Advantages

He can target a particular player positioned by the near post. Also, such crosses are technically easier and so more likely to be accurate.

Disadvantages

His crosses can be easier for the opposition to defend against.

Use

  • Positions available for: wide positions and the off-centre central attacking midfield positions.
  • Useful for: a wide player on the same side as the central attacker who you want to be the main target for crosses.
  • Related abilities: poor crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision).

Cross Aim Centre

When crossing, your player will be more likely to aim for the area between each post.

Advantages

He can target a particular player positioned in the centre.

Use

  • Positions available for: wide positions and the off-centre central attacking midfield positions.
  • Useful for: any wide player if the central attacker who you want to be the main target for crosses is playing in the central striker or central attacking midfield position.

Cross Aim Far Post

When crossing, your player will be more likely to aim for the area around the post on the farside.

Advantages

He can target a particular player positioned at the far post, and his crosses can be more difficult for the opposition to defend against if hit well. If he is crossing from deep in particular then his crosses may reach your wide forward on the opposite flank who can then either shoot at goal himself or set up a chance by passing or crossing the ball into the penalty area.

Disadvantages

Such crosses are technically more difficult and so more likely to be inaccurate.

Use

  • Positions available for: wide positions and the off-centre central attacking midfield positions.
  • Useful for: a wide player on the opposite side to the central attacker who you want to be the main target for crosses.
  • Related abilities: good crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision).

Cross Aim Target Man

When crossing, your player will be more likely to aim for a player in a target man role if you are using such a player.

Advantages

He can target a particular player who has been assigned a target man role wherever that player is positioned in the opposition penalty area. Also, he is more likely to find his target with such crosses and the player being targeted is more likely to be a threat from crosses.

Disadvantages

He can fail to take advantage of opportunities to cross to teammates in better positions.

Use

  • Positions available for: wide positions and the off-centre central attacking midfield positions.
  • Useful for: any wide player if you are using a player in a target man role who you want to be the main target for crosses.
  • Related abilities: good crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Vision).

Movement Instructions

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

Get Further Forward

Your player will play with a more attacking individual mentality.

Advantages

He will take up more advanced positions off the ball where he can receive passes in more threatening areas closer to the opposition defence.

Disadvantages

He will be less likely to drop deeper to make himself available for a simple pass to feet and to contribute to build-up play.

Therefore, in addition to balancing roles and duties, you should be careful that you do not unbalance your tactic by inappropriately instructing players to get further forward. In particular, it is advisable to ensure that the less attacking players in the partnerships and trios discussed in the Roles & Duties positional analyses remain deep enough to fulfil their defensive and supporting responsibilities effectively.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions except the central defender, sweeper (although it is already active for the Libero role with an attack duty) and striker positions (although it is already active for number nine striker roles).
  • Can be useful for: a more attacking player who you want to get into very advanced positions and have little defensive responsibility.
  • Related abilities: good attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions and Off The Ball) and other attacking abilities needed to be effective in more advanced positions as appropriate for his role and duty, but perhaps poor creativity (Teamwork and Vision), passing ability (Passing and Technique) and defensive abilities.
  • Complementary team instructions: more attacking mentalities.
  • Contrasting team instructions: more defensive mentalities.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Gets Forward Whenever Possible, Gets Into Opposition Area, Likes To Try To Beat Offside Trap, Penalty Box Player and Plays One-Twos
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Arrives Late in Opponents' Area, Comes Deep To Get Ball, Plays With Back To Goal and Stays Back At All Times.

Hold Position

Your player will be more likely to stay in his position rather than roaming, making forward runs off the ball or swapping position with a teammate. The position that he holds will depend on his position in your formation and his individual mentality.

Advantages

He will make himself available for a simple pass to feet. This will allow him to receive the ball from deeper teammates and attempt to create chances or move the ball on with a simple pass, and to provide a deeper passing option for more advanced teammates who are unable to penetrate the opposition and need possession to be recycled. In addition, if he is played in a more advanced position then he will make himself available for a longer pass to his head, chest, thigh or feet from deeper teammates. This will allow him to receive the ball outside the opposition area from where he can attempt to create chances or play a simple pass to a more creative player.

He will also be better positioned to block opposition attacks through his area of the pitch when possession is lost. In addition, his condition will fall more slowly.

Disadvantages

He will provide less attacking support, particularly if he plays in a position deeper than the attacking midfield positions. He will also be unlikely to try to find available space to roam into and so he may be less likely to receive passes and be less of a threat when he does receive the ball, unless he is able to use his physical presence and perhaps aerial ability to hold off opposition players and move the ball on.

Therefore, in addition to balancing roles and duties, you should be careful that you do not unbalance your tactic by inappropriately instructing players to hold their position. In particular, it is advisable to ensure that the less defensive players in the partnerships and trios discussed in the Roles & Duties positional analyses get forward enough to fulfil their supporting and attacking responsibilities effectively.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a more defensive player who you want to hold his defensive position (such as your holding midfielder; and a strong attacker, perhaps with good creativity and passing ability, who you want to act as a target in deeper positions to help your team get the ball forward quickly but not provide a threat close to goal himself.
  • Related abilities: good defensive positioning (Marking, Anticipation, Decisions, Positioning and Teamwork) and other defensive abilities, but perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision), passing ability (Passing and Technique) and other attacking abilities.
  • Complementary team instructions: Stick To Positions and more defensive mentalities (both affect roaming for more advanced players).
  • Contrasting team instructions: Roam From Positions and more attacking mentalities (both affect roaming for more advanced players).
  • Complementary preferred moves: Stays Back At All Times.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Gets Forward Whenever Possible, Gets Into Opposition Area, Likes To Try To Beat Offside Trap, Penalty Box Player and Plays One-Twos.

Stay Wider

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

Advantages

He can be in more space to receive the ball on the flank which can help your team to stretch play and so potentially destabilise the opposition's defensive structure, while he will also be better positioned to run with the ball down the flank.

Disadvantages

He will be less well positioned to provide attacking support for central teammates, attempt creative, risky passes and provide defensive cover. In addition, a wide player in a wide partnership will be less well positioned to provide attacking support for his wide partner and, if he is the wide attacker, give his wide partner space to overlap.

Therefore, it is advisable to only instruct one player in a wide partnership to stay wider.

Use

  • Positions available for: wide positions.
  • Can be useful for: a wide player who you want to stay very wide when he is off the ball to help stretch play (such as the more attacking player in a wide partnership); and a wide player expected to run with the ball down the flank and make crosses.
  • Related 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).
  • Complementary team instructions: Play Wider and more attacking mentalities.
  • Contrasting team instructions: Play Narrower and more defensive mentalities.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Hugs Line.

Sit Narrower

Your player will be more likely position himself further from the touchline at the side of the pitch.

Advantages

He will be better positioned to provide attacking support for central teammates, attempt creative, risky, passes and provide defensive cover. In addition, a wide player in a wide partnership will be better positioned to provide attacking support for his wide partner and, if he is the wide attacker, give his wide partner space to overlap.

Disadvantages

He can be in less space to receive the ball on the flank and will be less able to help your team to stretch play, while he will also be less well positioned to run with the ball down the flank.

Therefore, it is advisable to only instruct one player in a wide partnership to sit narrower and not to instruct a lone wide player to sit narrower.

Use

  • Positions available for: wide positions.
  • Can be useful for: a wide player who you want to stay narrower when he is off the ball to focus on providing more supporting and defensive responsibilities (such as the less attacking player in a wide partnership).
  • Related abilities: good defensive positioning (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork and Positioning) and perhaps good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique).
  • Complementary team instructions: Play Narrower and more defensive mentalities.
  • Contrasting team instructions: Play Wider and more attacking mentalities.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Hugs Line.

Move Into Channels

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

Advantages

He can either draw an opposition defender out of position to create space for teammates to exploit or receive the ball and try to set up a chance for himself or a teammate.

Disadvantages

He may move into positions where he is less able to effectively fulfil his attacking responsibilities. A central player will tend to move into wider areas where he will be less well positioned to attempt creative, risky passes or take shots at goal without first running with the ball into a more central position. A strong attacker will also be less well positioned to beat opposition players in physical tussles and, if he is playing in a central position, set up chances close to goal.

Use

  • Positions available for: the central midfield, central attacking midfield, wide forward and striker positions.
  • Can be useful for: a more attacking attacker (such as a number nine) who you want to focus on making runs to create space and to get into off-centre areas from where he can run with the ball at the opposition defence or pass the ball across the penalty area.
  • Related 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.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Moves Into Channels.

Roam From Position

Your player will be more likely to move from his position into available space in other areas.

Advantages

He can potentially either find more space to receive a pass or draw an opposition player out of position to create space for teammates.

Disadvantages

He may move into positions where he is less able to effectively fulfil his attacking responsibilities. A central player may often be less well positioned to attempt creative, risky passes or take shots at goal without first running with the ball into a more threatening position. A strong central attacker will often be less well positioned to beat opposition players in physical tussles and set up chances close to goal. A wide player will often be less well positioned to run with the ball down the flank and make crosses.

In addition, he will often be away from his assigned position when possession is lost, which can give the opposition an opportunity to attack through that area if a teammate has not stepped in to cover or is less well suited to the defensive responsibilities of the position.

Therefore, it is advisable not to instruct too many players to roam from position so as to allow your team to keep an effective attacking and defensive structure.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions except the central defensive midfield, wing back, full back (although it is already active for some roles in these three positions) and central defender roles.
  • Can be useful for: a player who you want to take up positions that he believes will be most effective in allowing him to either create space for teammates or receive the ball in space where he can try to create chances by running with the ball at the opposition and attempting creative, risky passes (such as a midfield creator or a number ten).
  • Related abilities: good attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball and Teamwork), creativity (Flair and Vision) and passing ability (Passing and Technique), and preferably good dribbling ability (Dribbling and Balance) and mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace).
  • Complementary team instructions: Roam From Positions and more attacking mentalities (both for more advanced players).
  • Contrasting team instructions: Stick To Positions and more defensive mentalities (both for more advanced players).
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Stays Back At All Times.

Defending Instructions

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

Close Down Much More

Your player will be more likely to close down the opposition player on the ball much earlier.

This is a more extreme version of Close Down More, discussed in detail below, and can be used if even earlier closing down is desired.

Close Down More

Your player will be more likely to close down the opposition player on the ball earlier.

Advantages

He can hassle the opposition player and restrict his space and the time he has to make a decision, as well making it harder for him to pass or shoot, potentially increasing the likelihood that he will lose possession.

Disadvantages

He can allow other opposition players to exploit the space he leaves behind when possession is not won back, while he can also more easily concede fouls or allow opposition players to dribble past him due to his more aggressive defending. In addition, his condition will fall more quickly.

Therefore, it is advisable not to instruct too many of your players to close down more so that your team will not lose its defensive structure or commit too many fouls. In particular, your holding midfielder and central defenders should generally stay in their defensive positions.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a midfielder or attacker who you want to defend more aggressively (such as a midfield aggressor) and put regular pressure on the opposition in order to force a mistake; and a wide attacker who you want to provide more defensive support in central areas.
  • Related abilities: good closing down ability (Aggression, Work Rate, Acceleration, Agility, Pace and Stamina), or perhaps poor marking ability (Marking, Composure, Balance and Strength), clearing ability (Heading) and aerial presence (Jumping Reach).
  • Complementary team instructions: Close Down Much More, Close Down More and more attacking mentalities.
  • Contrasting team instructions: Close Down Less, Close Down Much Less and more defensive mentalities.

Close Down Less

Your player will be more likely to close down the opposition player on the ball later.

Advantages

He can remain in his defensive position for longer, allowing him to mark another opposition player and so reduce passing options. He will also be less likely to commit fouls and his condition will fall more slowly.

Disadvantages

He can fail to take advantage of opportunities to win the ball back more quickly and start an attack, while he can also give too much space and time to opposition players to make a decision and perhaps attempt a penetrative pass or a shot at goal.

Therefore, it is advisable not to instruct too many players to close down less so as to ensure that your team does not simply allow the opposition to control possession, reducing the time your team has to attack, and invite them to advance close to your goal where they may be able to play a successful pass or cross into the penalty area or more easily shoot on target from distance.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a more defensive player who you want to hold his defensive position (such as your holding midfielder); and a player with poorer fitness who you want to remain effective for longer during matches.
  • Related abilities: good marking ability (Marking, Composure, Balance and Strength), and preferably good clearing ability (Heading) and aerial presence (Jumping Reach), or perhaps poor closing down ability (Aggression, Work Rate, Acceleration, Agility, Pace and Stamina).
  • Complementary team instructions: Close Down Less, Close Down Much Less and more defensive mentalities.
  • Contrasting team instructions: Close Down Much More, Close Down More and more attacking mentalities.

Close Down Much Less

Your player will be more likely to close down the opposition player on the ball much later.

This is a more extreme version of Close Down Less, discussed in detail above, and can be used if even later closing down is desired.

Tackle Harder

Your player will be more likely to attempt earlier and more risky tackles when with an opposition player who is on the ball.

Advantages

He can potentially win the ball back more quickly and discourage opposition players from running with the ball.

Disadvantages

He can more easily mistime tackles and either commit fouls or allow opposition players to take the ball past him.

Therefore, it is advisable not to instruct too many of your players to tackle harder so as to retain sufficient caution in defensive play. In particular, your central defenders should defend more cautiously, as an unsuccessful tackle from them can be more costly, potentially resulting in a free kick in a dangerous area, a sending off, or a free run at goal for an opposition attacker.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a midfielder who you want to defend more aggressively (such as a midfield aggressor).
  • Related abilities: good tackling ability (Tackling, Anticipation and Decisions) and physical presence (Balance and Strength), and preferably good defensive positioning (Positioning and Teamwork).
  • Complementary team instructions: Get Stuck In and more attacking mentalities.
  • Contrasting team instructions: Stay On Feet and more defensive mentalities.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Dives Into Tackles.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Does Not Dive Into Tackles.

Ease Off Tackles

Your player will be more likely to attempt later and less risky tackles when with an opposition player who is on the ball.

Advantages

He can more easily stay between an opposition player and your goal and try to force the player to attempt to dribble or pass past him, or else pass the ball horizontally or backwards. He will also be less likely to commit fouls.

Disadvantages

He can fail to take advantage of opportunities to win the ball more quickly and start an attack.

Therefore, it is advisable not to instruct too many players to ease off tackles so as to ensure that your team does not simply allow the opposition to control possession and reduce the time your team has to attack.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a more defensive player who you want to defend more cautiously.
  • Related abilities: poor tackling ability (Tackling, Anticipation and Decisions) and physical presence (Balance and Strength), and perhaps poor defensive positioning (Positioning and Teamwork) or high Aggression.
  • Complementary team instructions: Stay On Feet and more defensive mentalities.
  • Contrasting team instructions: Get Stuck In and more attacking mentalities.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Does Not Dive Into Tackles.
  • Contrasting preferred moves: Dives Into Tackles.

Mark Tighter

When not closing down the opposition player on the ball, your player will be more likely to stay closer to the opposition player he is marking. This is generally the opposition player who enters his personal area of defensive responsibility (if he is defending effectively), unless you have specified a player for him to mark using specific man marking.

Advantages

He can defend against the opposition player more aggressively and compete in a physical tussle (on the ground or in the air) which can help him to intercept a pass.

Disadvantages

He can potentially allow an opposition player with good attacking movement and mobility to pull away from him and receive a pass in behind, or lose a physical tussle to a player with good physical presence or aerial presence. He may also be drawn out of his defensive position by the player he is marking, creating space for other opposition players, while he will tend to be in less space to receive the ball when your team wins possession.

Therefore, it is advisable not to instruct too many players to mark tighter. In particular, your holding midfielder and central defenders should generally stay in their defensive positions, while your more attacking players should generally try to be in more space when possession is won back. You may prefer to use tight marking opposition instructions for particular opposition threats so that the tight marking responsibility is shared between your players.

Use

  • Positions available for: all outfield positions.
  • Can be useful for: a midfielder or attacker who you want to defend more aggressively (such as a midfield aggressor); a wide defender who you want to stay back and defend more aggressively rather than support the attack; and a strong attacker who you want to act as a target for direct passes, as he should be close to an opposition player when he receives the ball so he can more effectively hold him off and make a pass.
  • Related abilities: good marking ability (Marking, Anticipation, Decisions and Positioning), tackling ability (Tackling), physical presence (Balance and Strength) and endeavour (Aggression and Work Rate). Also, preferably good aerial presence (Jumping Reach) and clearing ability (Heading), especially for defenders when using a deeper defensive line, and mobility (Acceleration, Agility and Pace), epecially for defenders when using a higher defensive line.
  • Complementary team instructions: Use Tighter Marking.
  • Complementary preferred moves: Marks Opponent Tightly.

GK Distribution Instructions

These instructions affect how a goalkeeper should distribute the ball when it is in his hands or when he is taking a goal kick. The usage of these instructions is discussed in the Goalkeepers guide.

Roll It Out

Your goalkeeper will be more likely to roll the ball from his hands to a teammate nearby.

Throw It Long

Your goalkeeper will be more likely to attempt to throw the ball to a teammate further away.

Take Short Kicks

Your goalkeeper will be more likely to kick the ball to a teammate nearby.

Take Long Kicks

Your goalkeeper will be more likely to kick the ball high up the pitch.

Distribute To Specific

Your goalkeeper will be more likely to aim for a specified player.

If one of the above four distribution type instructions is selected then it should be appropriate for this player's position. For example, Roll It Out or Take Short Kicks for a defender, Throw It Long or Take Long Kicks for an advanced wide player or Take Long Kicks for an advanced central player.

Distribute to Full Backs

Your goalkeeper will be more likely to aim for either of your wide defenders.

Distribute to Centre Backs

Your goalkeeper will be more likely to aim for any of your central defenders.

Distribute to Playmaker

Your goalkeeper will be more likely to aim for a player in a playmaker role if you are using such a player.

Distribute to Flanks

Your goalkeeper will be more likely to aim for either of your more advanced wide players in the wide midfield or winger positions.

Distribute to Target Man

Your goalkeeper will be more likely to aim for a player in a target man role if you are using such a player.

Distribute Over Opposition Defence

Your goalkeeper will be more likely to aim for the area behind the opposition defence.

Slow Pace Down

Your goalkeeper will be more patient and take more time when deciding how to distribute the ball.

  • Complementary team instructions: Lower Tempo, Much Lower Tempo.
  • Contrasting team instructions: Higher Tempo, Much Higher Tempo.

Distribute Quickly

Your goalkeeper will be more urgent and take less time when deciding how to distribute the ball.

  • Complementary team instructions: Higher Tempo, Much Higher Tempo.
  • Contrasting team instructions: Lower Tempo, Much Lower Tempo.

Swap Positions

This instruction is included separately on the Player Instructions screen. From the Swap positions with drop-down you can select one position for the player to swap with.

Your player will occasionally interchange positions with the player in the selected position during a match in order to make attacking play more varied and unpredictable, which can therefore make defending more difficult for the opposition.

It can be especially useful to instruct more attacking central and/or wide players to swap positions so that they will be harder for opposition defenders to mark.

For swapping positions to be effective each player will need to be comfortable playing in the other’s position and role. You should also avoid asking too many of your players to swap positions to ensure that your team remains well structured.