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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).

Penetration Instructions

Exploit The Flanks

Your players will be more likely to pass into the wide areas of the pitch and your wide players will stay wider to receive passes on the flanks.

Your wide defenders will play with more attacking individual mentalities, make more forward runs off the ball and attempt crosses more often.

Your central midfielders will try to hold up the ball rather than taking it forward through the middle.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with any mentality to focus play through wide players who can provide an effective primary threat because they have good creativity and passing ability, good mobility, good attacking movement, good dribbling ability or good crossing ability.

However, this instruction can restrict the variation of your team's passing so should only be used if this is considered worthwhile.

Playmaker and target man roles will also affect the passing decisions of your players. Players in such roles will attract more passes from their teammates.

  • If you have one or more strong wide attackers who you want to hold up the ball then using this instruction can lead to an over-reliance on your wide defenders to create chances. Therefore, it may be preferable to use the Wide Target Man role instead.
  • If you have one or more particularly creative wide players who you want to focus play through then you may want to use appropriate playmaker roles instead.

Related Abilities

  • Wide players: good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision), passing ability (Passing, Technique), mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace), attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Work Rate), dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Flair, Balance), crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Vision).
  • Wide players (since they will be required to work harder): good Work Rate, Stamina.

Exploit The Left Flank

Your players will be more likely to pass into the left side of the pitch and your left-sided players will stay wider to receive passes on the left flank.

Your left-sided defender will play with a more attacking individual mentality, make more forward runs off the ball and attempt crosses more often.

Your central and right-sided midfielders will try to hold up the ball rather than taking it forwards themselves.

This is similar to Exploit The Flanks, explained in detail above, but is useful if you want to focus play on the left side only.

Exploit The Right Flank

Your players will be more likely to pass into the right side of the pitch and your right-sided players will stay wider to receive passes on the right flank.

Your right-sided defender will play with a more attacking individual mentality, make more forward runs off the ball and attempt crosses more often.

Your central and left-sided midfielders will try to hold up the ball rather than taking it forwards themselves.

This is similar to Exploit The Flanks, explained in detail above, but is useful if you want to focus play on the right side only.

Exploit The Middle

Your players will be more likely to pass into the central channel of the pitch.

Your central defenders and more defensive central midfielders will play with more attacking individual mentalities and attempt through balls more often.

Your supporting and more attacking central midfielders and central attackers will make more forward runs off the ball in an attempt to receive these through balls.

Your wide players will sit narrower to contribute more in the central areas.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with any mentality to focus play through central players who can provide an effective primary threat because they have good creativity and passing ability, good mobility, good attacking movement or good dribbling ability.

However, this instruction can restrict the variation of your team's passing so should only be used if this is considered worthwhile.

Playmaker and target man roles will also affect the passing decisions of your players. Players in such roles will attract more passes from their teammates.

  • If you have one or more particularly creative central players who you want to focus play through then you may want to use appropriate playmaker roles instead.
  • If you have a strong central attacker who you want to hold up the ball then you may want to use the Target Man role instead.

Related Abilities

  • Central players: good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision), passing ability (Passing, Technique), mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace), attacking movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Work Rate), dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Flair, Balance), crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Vision).
  • Central players (since they will be required to work harder): good Work Rate, Stamina.

Look For Overlap

Your wide defenders will stay wider with more attacking individual mentalities and make more forward runs off the ball. They will also attempt to cross more often but only once they have reached more advanced positions.

Your wide attackers will allow your wide defenders to move past them by sitting narrower with more defensive individual mentalities, making less forward runs off the ball, dribbling less often and attempting to hold up the ball rather than taking it on themselves.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with any mentality, if you have wide defenders with good mobility, attacking movement and crossing ability, perhaps wide attackers with poor mobility and dribbling ability, and preferably at least one central attacker with good physical and aerial presence or attacking movement, to make it easier for your players to penetrate the opposition defence by overloading the flanks and crossing into the opposition area.

Related Abilities

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

Shape Instructions

Play Wider

Your players will play with more width by positioning themselves further apart from teammates to their left and right.

With more defensive mentalities your players will play narrower by default.

With more attacking mentalities your players will play wider by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, particularly if you have players with good creativity, passing ability and defensive positioning, to give your players more space to use and make it easier for them to play through the opposition along the ground using passes and runs, or to give more support to your wide players if focusing play to the wide areas.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, particularly if you have players with good creativity, passing ability and defensive positioning, to give even more support to your wide players if focusing play to the wide areas.

Related Abilities

  • All outfield players, particularly more advanced players (since players will be spaced further apart): good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision), passing ability (Passing, Technique).
  • All outfield players, particularly deeper players: good defensive positioning (Marking, Positioning, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork).

Play Narrower

Your players will play with less width by positioning themselves closer to teammates to their left and right.

With more defensive mentalities your players will play narrower by default.

With more attacking mentalities your players will play wider by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality to focus even more on keeping possession and maintaining a defensive structure, especially if you have players with poor passing ability and creativity or poor defensive positioning, or to provide even more support to a central attacker with good physical and aerial presence.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to make it easier for your players to keep possession and to return to their defensive positions when the ball is lost, especially if you have players with poor passing ability and creativity or poor defensive positioning, or to provide more support to your central players.

Related Abilities

  • All outfield players, particularly more advanced players: poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision), passing ability (Passing, Technique).
  • All outfield players, particularly deeper players: poor defensive positioning (Marking, Positioning, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork).

Much Higher Defensive Line

This is a more extreme version of Push Higher Up, explained in detail below, and can be used if even higher positioning is desired.

Push Higher Up

Your defensive line will position itself higher up the pitch, closer to the halfway line and your midfielders.

Your players will close down opposition players who are on the ball slightly earlier and so slightly higher up the pitch.

With more defensive mentalities your players will play deeper by default.

With more attacking mentalities your players will play higher by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, if you have players with good closing down ability or poor marking ability, to put more pressure on the opposition and allow your players to control the game better by starting passing moves from the back more easily, making passing moves closer to the opposition goal and keeping the opposition further away from your goal.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, if you have players with good closing down ability or poor marking ability, to achieve an even more aggressive approach where your players attempt to win the ball back even more quickly in much more advanced positions and try to get the ball to your attackers in much more dangerous areas close to the opposition goal, while also keeping the opposition much further away from your goal.

Related Abilities

  • Deeper players (for effective closing down and chasing back): good closing down ability (Aggression, Work Rate, Acceleration, Agility, Pace, Stamina).
  • Deeper players would also benefit from (for trying to stop the ball getting behind a higher defensive line): good defensive positioning (Marking, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Positioning, Teamwork), tackling ability (Tackling, Bravery, Strength).
  • All outfield players, particularly deeper players: poor marking ability (Marking, Composure, Balance, Jumping Reach, Strength), clearing ability (Heading), aerial presence (Jumping Reach).
  • Goalkeeper (for rushing out): good One On Ones, Rushing Out, Anticipation, Decisions, Acceleration, Agility, Pace.

Drop Deeper

Your defensive line will position itself lower down the pitch, closer to your own area and further from your midfielders.

Your players will close down opposition players who are on the ball slightly later and so slightly lower down the pitch.

With more defensive mentalities your players will play deeper by default.

With more attacking mentalities your players will play higher by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, if you have players with good marking ability or poor closing down ability, to achieve an even more cautious approach where your players focus mainly on preventing the opposition finding a way through and nearly all attacking play comes on the break after possession is won, perhaps due to poor defensive abilities.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, if you have players with good marking ability or poor closing down ability, to encourage the opposition further forward and give your players more space to attack into after possession is won back, or to help cover for poor defensive abilities.

Related Abilities

  • Deeper players (for effective deeper positioning and marking): good marking ability (Marking, Composure, Balance, Strength), clearing ability (Heading), aerial presence (Jumping Reach).
  • All outfield players, particularly deeper players: poor closing down ability (Aggression, Work Rate, Acceleration, Agility, Pace, Stamina).

Much Deeper Defensive Line

This is a more extreme version of Drop Deeper, explained in detail above, and can be used if even deeper positioning is desired.

Stick To Positions

When your team is in possession, fewer of your more advanced players will roam from their assigned positions to another area of the pitch.

With more defensive mentalities fewer of your more advanced players will roam by default.

With more attacking mentalities more of your more advanced players will roam by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality to achieve an even more precisely structured approach focused largely on keeping possession, perhaps because you have more advanced players with poor attacking movement or less well rounded abilities.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to achieve more structured and less dynamic play, perhaps because you have more advanced players with poor attacking movement or less well rounded abilities.

Related Abilities

  • More advanced players: poor attacking movement (Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork), good weaker foot strength, less well rounded abilities.

Roam From Positions

When your team is in possession, more of your more advanced players will roam from their assigned positions to another area of the pitch.

With more defensive mentalities fewer of your more advanced players will roam by default.

With more attacking mentalities more of your more advanced players will roam by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, if you have players with good attacking movement and well rounded abilities, to allow more dynamic attacking movement and therefore a greater focus on playing through the opposition than keeping possession.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, if you have players with good attacking movement and well rounded abilities, to achieve an even more dynamic approach where players frequently interchange positions to destabilise the opposition's defensive structure.

Related Abilities

  • More advanced players (to know when an where to roam, and to be effective in different positions): good attacking movement (Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork), good weaker foot strength, well rounded abilities.

Defending Instructions

Close Down Much More

This is a more extreme version of Close Down More, explained in detail below, and can be used if even more aggressive defending is required.

Close Down More

Your players will close down opposition players who are on the ball earlier when your team is defending and will play at a slightly higher tempo when your team is in possession.

Your defensive line will position itself slightly higher.

With more defensive mentalities your players will close down later by default.

With more attacking mentalities your players will close down earlier by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, if you have players with good closing down ability or poor marking ability, to put more pressure on the opposition and allow your players to control the game better by starting and continuing passing moves closer to the opposition goal.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, if you have players with good closing down ability or poor marking ability, to achieve an even more aggressive approach where your players attempt to win the ball back even more quickly in much more advanced positions and try to get the ball to your attackers in much more dangerous areas close to the opposition goal, with little regard for defensive structure.

Related Abilities

  • All outfield players, particularly deeper players (for effective closing down and tracking back): good closing down ability (Aggression, Work Rate, Acceleration, Agility, Pace, Stamina).
  • All outfield players, particularly deeper players, would also benefit from (for trying to stop the ball getting behind a higher defensive line): good defensive positioning (Marking, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Positioning, Teamwork), tackling ability (Tackling, Bravery, Strength).
  • All outfield players, particularly deeper players: poor marking ability (Marking, Composure, Balance, Jumping Reach, Strength), clearing ability (Heading), aerial presence (Jumping Reach).
  • Goalkeeper (for rushing out): good One On Ones, Rushing Out, Anticipation, Decisions, Acceleration, Agility, Pace.

Close Down Less

Your players will close down opposition players who are on the ball later when your team is defending and will play at a slightly lower tempo when your team is in possession.

Your defensive line will position itself slightly deeper.

With more defensive mentalities your players will close down later by default.

With more attacking mentalities your players will close down earlier by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, if you have players with good marking ability or poor closing down ability, or simply want to cover for defensive weaknesses, to achieve an even more cautious approach where your players focus mainly on preventing the opposition finding a way through and nearly all attacking play comes on the break after possession is won.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, if you have players with good marking ability or poor closing down ability, or simply want to cover for defensive weaknesses, to encourage the opposition further forward and give your players more space to attack into after possession is won back, or to give your team a more stable defensive structure.

Related Abilities

  • All outfield players, particularly deeper players (for effective deeper positioning and marking): good marking ability (Marking, Composure, Balance, Strength), clearing ability (Heading), aerial presence (Jumping Reach).
  • All outfield players, particularly deeper players: poor closing down ability (Aggression, Work Rate, Acceleration, Agility, Pace, Stamina).

Close Down Much Less

This is a more extreme version of Close Down Less, explained in detail above, and can be used if even more cautious defending is required.

Get Stuck In

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

With more defensive mentalities your players will tackle later by default.

With more attacking mentalities your players will tackle earlier by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, if you have players with good tackling ability, to try to win the ball back more quickly and take more control of the game.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, if you have players with good tackling ability, to achieve an even more aggressive approach where your players attempt to win the ball back even more quickly.

Related Abilities

  • All outfield players, particularly deeper players: good tackling ability (Tackling, Anticipation, Bravery, Concentration, Decisions, Work Rate, Strength).

Stay On Feet

Your players will attempt later and less risky tackles when with an opposition player who is on the ball.

With more defensive mentalities your players will tackle later by default.

With more attacking mentalities your players will tackle earlier by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, perhaps if you have players with poor tackling ability, to achieve an even more cautious approach where your players focus mainly on preventing the opposition finding a way through, or to accommodate for poor tackling ability.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, perhaps if you have players with poor tackling ability, to encourage the opposition further forward and give your players more space to attack into after possession is won back, or to accommodate for poor tackling ability.

Related Abilities

  • All outfield players, particularly deeper players: poor tackling ability (Tackling, Anticipation, Bravery, Concentration, Decisions, Work Rate, Strength).

Use Tighter Marking

Your players who are not closing down the opposition player on the ball will stay closer to the opposition player they are marking.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with more defensive mentalities, if you have players with good marking ability, to try to win the ball back more quickly, but will affect the solidity of your defensive structure and lead to more advanced players being in even less space to receive the ball after possession is won.

It can be useful with more attacking mentalities, if you have players with good marking ability, to achieve an even more aggressive approach where your players attempt to win the ball back even more quickly, but will lead to an even less solid defensive structure and affect the amount of space more advanced players are in after possession is won.

More control can be gained over marking using specific player instructions instead.

Related Abilities

  • Deeper players (particularly if using a deeper defensive line, so opponents are less likely to win aerial challenges): good marking ability (Marking, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions), clearing ability (Heading), physical presence (Balance, Strength), aerial presence (Jumping Reach).
  • Deeper players (particularly if using a higher defensive line, so opponents are less likely to pull away): good marking ability (Marking, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions), tackling ability (Tackling), physical presence (Balance, Strength), mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace).

Use Offside Trap

Your defenders will be more likely to attempt to catch opposition attackers offside by taking up a slightly higher position before an attacking pass is made.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, if you have defenders with good defensive positioning and mobility, as it combines well with a higher defensive line.

In such a tactic, space will be congested for opposition attackers, making it easier for your defence to step up slightly when appropriate. There will also be more space behind your defence, meaning there will be more time for your defenders to recover and catch any opposition attacker who beats the offside trap.

To achieve a defensive line that is well structured for playing the offside trap it is advisable not to use tighter marking instructions or specific man marking player instructions, while central defenders should ideally have the same duties.

Related Abilities

  • Defenders: good defensive positioning (Anticipation, Concentration, Composure, Decisions, Positioning, Teamwork), mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace).

Prevent Short GK Distribution

Your central and wide attackers will spread out and stay close to the opposition defenders when their goalkeeper has the ball in an attempt to prevent them building from the back with a short distribution.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, if you have attackers with good closing down ability, to put more pressure on the opposition when they have possession.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, if you have attackers with good closing down ability, to put even more pressure on the opposition when they have possession and to force their goalkeeper to play direct to their more advanced players who will be pushed deeper into less dangerous areas by a higher defensive line.

Related Abilities

  • Attackers: good closing down ability (Aggression, Work Rate, Acceleration, Agility, Pace, Stamina).

General Instructions

Waste Time

Your players will try to run down the clock more when in possession by employing delaying tactics such as hanging onto the ball or taking time over throw-ins and set pieces, in order to reduce the opposition's time on the ball.

With more defensive mentalities your players will waste time more by default.

This instruction is only available when using a defensive or contain mentality.

As part of a tactic

It is typically only used as a temporary strategy during a match to waste even more time.

Take A Breather

When your team is in possession, your players will play at a lower tempo and will make less forward runs off the ball.

With more defensive mentalities your players will play at a lower tempo by default.

With more attacking mentalities your players will play at a higher tempo by default.

As part of a tactic

It is typically only used as a temporary strategy during a match to preserve or recover fitness, or to focus on keeping possession. Higher Tempo or Much Higher Tempo may be used immediately after this instruction in an attempt to catch the opposition off guard.

Much Higher Tempo

This is a more extreme version of Higher Tempo, explained in detail below, and can be used if even more urgency is required.

Higher Tempo

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

As a result, they will be more likely to move the ball quickly in an attempt to force an opportunity, either by directly playing the ball into the opposition penalty area (using direct passes or runs on the ball) or by destabilising the opposition's defensive structure with short, swift passes and movement (on or off the ball).

Quick decision making can lead to your players exploiting opportunities to attack quickly more often. However, your players will also be more likely to make poor decisions which can cause your team to concede possession.

With more defensive mentalities your players will play at a lower tempo by default.

With more attacking mentalities your players will play at a higher tempo by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, especially if your players have good creativity, attacking movement, mobility and control, to get the ball forward more quickly and to try to more proactively create openings rather than waiting for space to appear.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, especially if you have players with good creativity, attacking movement, mobility and control, to achieve an even more urgent approach where your players will get the ball forward very quickly and try to force their way through the opposition's defence.

Related Abilities

  • Outfield players (as required): good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Vision), attacking movement (Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork), mobility (Work Rate, Acceleration, Agility, Pace, Stamina), control (First Touch, Technique).

Lower Tempo

Your players will be more patient and take more time when deciding how to use the ball.

As a result, they will be more likely to move the ball slowly while waiting for clear opportunities to appear, either due to a player making a run (on or off the ball) into the opposition penalty area or due to player movement (on or off the ball) causing space to open up in the opposition defence.

Slower decision making can lead to your players making better decisions which can help your team to keep possession and build up attacks carefully. However, your players will also be more likely to waste opportunities to attack quickly.

With more defensive mentalities your players will play at a lower tempo by default.

With more attacking mentalities your players will play at a higher tempo by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with a more defensive mentality, perhaps because your players have poor creativity, attacking movement, mobility and control, to achieve an even more patient approach where your players focus largely on keeping possession and trying to draw the opposition defence out.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality, perhaps because your players have poor creativity, attacking movement, mobility and control, to allow for better opportunities to open up before your players try to break through the opposition defence.

Related Abilities

  • Outfield players: poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Vision), attacking movement (Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork), mobility (Work Rate, Acceleration, Agility, Pace, Stamina), control (First Touch, Technique).

Much Lower Tempo

This is a more extreme version of Lower Tempo, explained in detail above, and can be used if even more patience is required.

Play Even Safer

Your players will attempt creative, risky passes more rarely and make less forward runs off the ball.

This instruction is only available when using a contain mentality.

As part of a tactic

It is typically only used as a temporary strategy during a match to play even more cautiously.

Take More Risks

Your players will attempt creative, risky passes more often and your supporting and more advanced players will make more forward runs off the ball. Your players will also dribble with the ball more.

This instruction is only available when using an overload mentality.

As part of a tactic

It is typically only used as a temporary strategy during a match to play even more urgently.

Be More Expressive

Your players will be given more creative freedom. They will be more likely to use their own intelligence to decide whether to attempt higher risk-reward actions such as forward runs off the ball, dribbles, risky passes and shots on sight, and therefore less likely to stick to their tactical instructions.

With more structured team shapes your players will play with less creative freedom by default.

With more fluid team shapes your players will play with more creative freedom by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with any mentality, if you have players with good creativity and good general attacking abilities, to achieve a more dynamic and unpredictable approach that can be more difficult for the opposition to defend against.

Related Abilities

  • Outfield players, particularly attacking and supporting players: good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision), general attacking abilities.

Be More Disciplined

Your players will be given less creative freedom. They will be less likely to use their own intelligence to decide whether to attempt higher risk-reward actions such as forward runs off the ball, dribbles, risky passes and shots on sight, and therefore more likely to stick to their tactical instructions.

With more structured team shapes your players will play with less creative freedom by default.

With more fluid team shapes your players will play with more creative freedom by default.

As part of a tactic

It can be useful with any mentality, perhaps because you have players with poor creativity and poor general attacking abilities, to achieve a more organised and controlled approach that can help your players to keep possession more easily or follow a more precise attacking strategy.

Related Abilities

  • Outfield players, particularly attacking and supporting players: poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision), general attacking abilities.



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