As explained in the Tactical Theory guide, a football team's tactic is comprised of a tactical system (the formation and each player's tactical responsibilities for using tactical methods) and a tactical style (its overall implementation of the tactical methods and, therefore, its application of the tactical shape, player movement and ball movement tactical dynamics). A manager gives each player tactical instructions that are comprised of a playing position and a set of individual instructions (individual instructions tell him the tactical methods he should use and the extent to which he should use them), and these instructions set out the team's tactical system and influence the team's tactical style.
In Football Manager the tactical instructions that can be used are formation, team instructions and player instructions. You can assign a playing position to each player by setting a formation and making a team selection. You can give individual instructions to each player by using team instructions and player instructions, while individual instructions are also affected by playing positions.
You should set these tactical instructions as appropriate to realise your desired tactical system and tactical style. The Creating a Tactical System and Creating a Tactical Style guides will discuss how to do this.
Your team's formation forms the basis of its tactical system. It allows tactical responsibilities to be distributed around the pitch using individual instructions so as to set out your team's tactical system and tactical style.
The playing positions in your team's formation affect the individual instructions given to individual players in your team selection. They also affect how the effects of team instructions are distributed among your players and what player instructions are available for each player.
On the Formation panel on the Tactics Overview screen there are eleven blocks representing playing positions. You can set a formation by dragging these blocks into place or by selecting Set to Formation from the Tactic drop-down and choosing one of the many preset formations provided.
To assign a player to each playing position you must make a team selection. You can do this by using the Pick Player drop-downs or by dragging and dropping players from the list of players in the Player column.
2. Team Instructions
Team instructions are set for your team as a whole and affect the individual instructions given to multiple players in your team selection; either all players or groups of players.
They broadly distribute tactical responsibilities around the pitch and so, in combination with your team's formation, they broadly set out your team's tactical system. They affect how your team as a whole applies the tactical shape, player movement and ball movement tactical dynamics using tactical methods and so they also greatly influence your team's tactical style.
Team instructions include team mentality and team shape, and also various specific team instructions. Team mentality and team shape are compulsory team instructions that, together, set out a basic tactical style for your team. Specific team instructions are optional team instructions that you can use in addition to refine your team's tactical style.
Team instructions can be set on the Tactics Overview screen by using the Team Instructions button to open the Team Instructions pop-up, while there are also separate Mentality and Team Shape drop-downs.
The effects of each team instruction are analysed in the Team Instructions guide.
3. Player Instructions
Player instructions are set on a player-by-player basis and affect the individual instructions given to individual players in your team selection.
They more precisely distribute tactical responsibilities around the pitch and so, in combination with your team's formation, they more precisely set out your team's tactical system. They affect how individual players apply the tactical shape, player movement and ball movement tactical dynamics using tactical methods, adjusting your team's tactical shape and acting as the primary determinant of the main patterns of player movement and ball movement used by the team, although these patterns are also affected by team instructions, and so they also further influence your team's tactical style.
Player instructions include roles and duties, and also various specific player instructions. Roles and duties are compulsory player instructions that, together, set out the basic tactical responsibilities of each player. Specific player instructions are optional player instructions that you can use in addition to make slight adjustments to the tactical responsibilities of particular players that cannot be achieved using any of the available role and duty combinations.
Player instructions can be set on the Tactics Overview screen by selecting a playing position on the Formation panel and using the Edit button to open the Player Instructions pop-up, while roles and duties can also be assigned directly from the Formation panel. In addition, player instructions can be set from the Player tab of the Tactics screen.
The effects of each duty and each specific player instruction are analysed in the Player Instructions guide, while the effects of each role and duty combination are analysed in the Roles & Duties guide.
3.1. Personalised Player Instructions
Player instructions are typically set for each playing position so that they remain the same regardless of which players are selected. However, if you wish then you can set personalised player instructions for particular players in particular playing positions that are more suited to the individual abilities of those players.
Personalised player instructions for a particular player in a particular playing position override the standard player instructions for that playing position when the player is selected in the playing position.
However, they should be used with caution as they essentially change your team's tactical style when they are active.
Personalised player instructions can be set on the Player tab of the Tactics screen by selecting a position and then using the Add Player(s) button.