FM 15- This guide has been updated for FM 2015

By now, your team should have a basic structure and general approach as determined by your chosen formation, mentality and team shape. The next stage of creating your tactic is to select your specific team instructions to more precisely define your desired tactical style. All of the specific team instructions available for you to use are discussed in detail below.

For each instruction the effects on your tactic are outlined so that you are aware of exactly how the instruction tells your players to alter their play from the style that has already been set by mentality and team shape.

It is then suggested how the instruction could be incorporated into a tactic, in particular focusing on its possible use with more defensive and more attacking mentalities.

Finally, a brief summary is provided of related abilities to help you decide whether the instruction suits the attributes of your players.

Details of which specific team instructions can be combined to create particular tactical styles will be provided next, in the Tactical Styles guide.

Read Inverting the Pyramid to further improve your tactical knowledge and understanding.

It is not currently possible to view the exact tactical effects of team instructions in the game and so the effects detailed below are based on information from FM 2013. Any more recent modifications to the instructions may not be reflected in this guide.

Possession Instructions

Go Route One

This is a more extreme version of More Direct Passing, explained in detail below, and can be used if even more directness is required.

More Direct Passing

Your players will attempt longer passes to teammates further away and play at a slightly higher tempo.

With more defensive mentalities your deeper players will pass more direct by default and your more advanced players will pass shorter.

With more attacking mentalities your deeper players will pass shorter by default and your more advanced players will pass more direct.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality to get the ball forward even more directly from deeper areas, and also more directly from more advanced areas, to attackers with good mobility, and preferably good attacking movement, who can take on a high opposition defence or chase balls behind the defence, or to an attacker with good physical presence and aerial presence, and preferably good control and heading ability, who can hold up the ball for his quicker or more creative teammates.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to get the ball forward more directly from deeper areas, and even more directly from more advanced areas, to attackers with good control and dribbling ability, and preferably good mobility, who can keep the opposition defence pinned back, or to an attacker with good physical and aerial presence, and preferably good control and heading ability, who can hold up the ball for supporting teammates and cause problems for the opposition close to goal.

Related Abilities

  • Attackers: good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace), attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Work Rate), physical presence (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate, Balance, Strength), aerial presence (Jumping Reach), Control (First Touch, Technique), heading ability (Heading, Technique), dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Flair, Balance).

Retain Possession

This is a more extreme version of Shorter Passing, explained in detail below, and can be used if even more control in possession is required

Shorter Passing

Your players will make shorter passes to teammates closer to them and play at a slightly lower tempo.

With more defensive mentalities your deeper players will pass more direct by default and your more advanced players will pass shorter.

With more attacking mentalities your deeper players will pass shorter by default and your more advanced players will pass more direct.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality to instruct less direct passes from deeper areas and to build up play in advanced areas in an even more controlled manner, either to help keep possession or to give even more responsibility to select players with good creativity and passing ability (by assigning them more creative roles) to unlock the opposition defence with more penetrative passes.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to work the ball into the opposition area with quick, short passing moves and to give more responsibility to select players with good creativity and passing ability to unlock the opposition defence with more penetrative passes.

Related Abilities

  • Select players: good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision), passing ability (Passing, Technique).

Pass Into Space

Your players will attempt creative, risky passes, also called through balls, more often.

Through balls are forward passes played into space behind an opposition player for a teammate to run on to. They involve a greater risk of possession being lost than a simple pass to feet, but potentially a much greater reward as they can help to open up the opposition defence and lead to goal-scoring chances.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, if you have attackers with good mobility or attacking movement, to instruct all your players to attempt to exploit the spaces that open up in and behind a higher opposition defence, rather than this being mainly the responsibility of select players with good creativity and passing ability (those players assigned more creative roles).

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, if you have attackers with good mobility or attacking movement, to instruct all your players to attempt more risky passes through the opposition, rather than this being mainly the responsibility of select players with good creativity and passing ability.

Related Abilities

  • For passing (particularly those players instructed to make less forward runs ahead of the ball, typically those with defend and support duties): good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision), passing ability (Passing, Technique).
  • For receiving (particularly those players making more forward runs ahead of the ball, typically those with attack duties): good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace), attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Work Rate).

Work Ball Into Box

Your players will be less likely to shoot when they believe there is a chance to score, preferring to wait until there is a more clear-cut opportunity.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful as part of any tactic, but particularly with a more defensive mentality, to help your team create better chances, particularly if your players have poor shooting ability.

Related Abilities

  • Attackers and supporting players: poor shooting ability (Finishing, Long Shots, Technique).

Play Out Of Defence

Your defenders and more defensive midfielders will make much shorter passes.

With more defensive mentalities your deeper players will pass more direct by default.

With more attacking mentalities your deeper players will pass shorter by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, if you have defenders with good enough passing ability, to reduce the amount of long clearances and direct passes from deeper areas and allow attacks to be built up by more advanced players.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, if you have defenders with good enough passing ability, to instruct even shorter passes from deeper areas.

Related Abilities

  • Defenders and more defensive midfielders (to reduce the chances of dangerous passes being made): good passing ability (Passing, Anticipation, Composure, Concentration, Decisions, Teamwork).

Pump Ball Into Box

Your players will be more likely to pass into the central channel of the pitch, with your defenders and more defensive midfielders attempting very direct passes which will be aimed at the head or chest of your central attackers, rather than being through balls for them to run on to.

Your wide players will sit narrower and try to hold up the ball rather than taking it forward down the flanks, and your wide defenders in particular will attempt crosses more often.

Your central attackers will make more forward runs off the ball in an attempt to receive passes closer to the opposition goal.

With more defensive mentalities your deeper players will pass more direct by default.

With more attacking mentalities your deeper players will pass shorter by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality to get the ball forward very directly to a central attacker with good physical and aerial presence, and preferably good control and heading ability, who can hold the ball up either to relieve pressure or release quicker teammates.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to get the ball forward very directly to a central attacker with good physical and aerial presence, and preferably good control and aerial ability, who can hold up the ball for supporting teammates and cause problems for the opposition close to goal.

Related Abilities

  • Defenders and more defensive midfielders: good passing ability (Passing, Technique).
  • At least one central attacker: good physical presence (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate, Balance, Strength), aerial presence (Jumping Reach), control (First Touch, Technique), heading ability (Heading, Technique).

Clear Ball To Flanks

Your players will be more likely to pass into the wide areas of the pitch, with your defenders and more defensive midfielders attempting very direct passes which will be aimed at the head or chest of your wide attackers, rather than being through balls for them to run on to.

Your wide attackers will stay wider in an attempt to receive passes on the flanks.

With more defensive mentalities your deeper players will pass more direct by default.

With more attacking mentalities your deeper players will pass shorter by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality to get the ball forward very directly to one or more wide attackers with good with good physical and aerial presence, and preferably good control and heading ability, who can hold the ball up either to relieve pressure or to release quicker teammates.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to get the ball forward very directly to one or more wide attackers with with good physical and aerial presence, and preferably good control and heading ability, who can hold up the ball for supporting teammates and cause problems for the opposition close to the byline.

To specify one particular flank for passes to be focused to you can use either Exploit The Left Flank or Exploit The Right Flank.

Related Abilities

  • Defenders and more defensive midfielders: good passing ability (Passing, Technique).
  • At least one wide attacker: good physical presence (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate, Balance, Strength), aerial presence (Jumping Reach), control (First Touch, Technique), heading ability (Heading, Technique).

Hit Early Crosses

Your wide defenders will dribble with the ball rarely and attempt crosses into the opposition penalty area often and from deeper positions. Your wide attackers will also attempt crosses from deeper positions.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to deliver early balls into the opposition area to a central attacker with good physical and aerial presence, and preferably good control and heading ability, particularly if your wide players do not provide a direct threat down the flanks.

Related Abilities

  • Wide players: good crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Vision).
  • Wide players: poor dribbling ability (Dribbling, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Flair, Balance), mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace).
  • At least one central attacker: good physical presence (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate, Balance, Strength), aerial presence (Jumping Reach), control (First Touch, Technique), heading ability (Heading, Technique).

Float Crosses

Your wide players will attempt to make high crosses with less power that stay in the air for longer.

Such crosses are easier for your wide players to make and easier for your attackers to get to and to direct a header but also easier for the opposition to defend against.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful if you have at least one central attacker with good physical and aerial presence, but perhaps he has poor attacking movement and mobility or your wide players have poor crossing ability.

Related Abilities

  • Wide players: poor crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Vision).
  • At least one central attacker: good physical presence (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate, Balance, Strength), aerial presence (Jumping Reach), heading ability (Heading, Technique).
  • Central attackers: poor attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Work Rate), mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace).

Whipped Crosses

Your wide players will attempt to make high crosses with more power that curl and dip in the air.

Such crosses are harder for the opposition to defend against but are also harder for your wide players to make and your attackers to get to and direct a header.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful if you have wide players with good crossing ability and at least one central attacker with good attacking movement or mobility, and good control and heading ability, and preferably good physical and aerial presence.

Related Abilities

  • Wide players: good crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Vision).
  • At least one central attacker: good attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Work Rate), mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace), control (First Touch, Technique), heading ability (Heading, Technique), physical presence (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate, Balance, Strength), aerial presence (Jumping Reach).

Low Crosses

Your wide players will make crosses that stay close to the ground.

Such crosses are easier for your wide players to make but can still be difficult for the opposition to defend against if the off the ball movement of your attackers is good.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful if you have at least one central attacker with good attacking movement or mobility, and preferably good control, but perhaps poor physical and aerial presence, or if your wide players have poor crossing ability.

Related Abilities

  • Wide players: poor crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Vision).
  • At least one central attacker: good attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Work Rate), mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace), control (First Touch, Technique).
  • Central attackers: poor physical presence (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate, Balance, Strength), aerial presence (Jumping Reach).

Run At Defence

Your more advanced players will dribble with the ball more often.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, if you have more advanced players with good dribbling ability and preferably good mobility, to increase the urgency and directness of attacking play and provide an alternative threat rather than relying mainly on passes and off the ball runs.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, if you have more advanced players with good dribbling ability and preferably good mobility, to further increase the urgency and directness of attacking play and to try to keep the opposition defence pinned back.

Related Abilities

  • More advanced players: good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Flair, Balance), mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace).

Shoot On Sight

Your players will be more likely to shoot when they believe there is a chance to score, from both outside and inside the opposition penalty area, and less likely to wait until there is a clear-cut opportunity.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with any mentality, but particularly a more attacking mentality, to instruct your players to shoot as often as possible, perhaps as part of a more urgent, direct approach or because your supporting and attacking players have poor creativity and passing ability or very good shooting ability.

Related Abilities

  • Attacking and supporting players: good shooting ability (Finishing, Long Shots, Technique).
  • Attacking and supporting players: poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision), passing ability (Passing).

Inverting the Pyramid
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