Specific Team Instructions

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 attributes to help you decide whether the instruction suits the abilities 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.

Possession

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 slightly more width.

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 quick attackers who can take on a high opposition defence or chase balls behind the defence, or to a strong attacker with good aerial 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 skilful attackers who can keep the opposition defence pinned back, or to a strong attacker with good aerial ability who can hold up the ball for supporting teammates and cause problems for the opposition close to goal.

Attributes

Deeper players – good Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Vision

More advanced players – good First Touch, Anticipation, Off The Ball, Work Rate, Stamina

Quick attackers - good Acceleration, Balance, Pace

Strong attackers - good Heading, Aggression, Bravery, Jumping Reach, Strength

Skilful attackers - good Dribbling, Technique, Flair, Acceleration, Agility, 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 slightly less width.

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 slightly 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 particular creative players (those with more creative roles) to unlock the opposition defence with more direct passes.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to work the ball into the opposition area with quick passing moves and to give more responsibility to particular creative players to unlock the opposition defence with more direct passes.

Attributes

Creative players – good Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision

Pass Into Space

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

These are forward passes played into space behind an opponent 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 and quick attackers to instruct all your players to attempt to exploit open spaces in and behind a high opposition defence, rather than this being the responsibility of particular creative players (those with more creative roles).

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality and quick attackers to instruct all your players to attempt more risky passes through the opposition, rather than this being the responsibility of particular creative players.

Attributes

For passing (particularly those players instructed to play slightly deeper, typically those with defend and support duties) – good Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Vision

For receiving (particularly those players making more forward runs ahead of the ball, typically those with attack duties) – good Anticipation, Off The Ball, Acceleration, Pace

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.

Attributes

Attackers and supporting players – poorer 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 to reduce the amount of long clearances and direct, counter attacking passes from deeper areas and allow attacks to be built up in more advanced areas.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to instruct even shorter passes from deeper areas.

Attributes

Defenders and more defensive midfielders (to reduce the chances of dangerous passes being made) – good Passing, Composure, Concentration, Decisions

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 focus play on getting the ball to a strong central attacker with good aerial ability who can hold the ball up either to relieve pressure or to release quicker teammates, also in central positions, with through balls only being made by creative players in more advanced areas.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to get the ball forward much more directly to one or more strong central attackers with good aerial ability who can hold up the ball for supporting teammates and cause problems for the opposition close to goal.

Attributes

Defenders and more defensive midfielders – good Passing, Technique

Strong central attackers - good First Touch, Heading, Aggression, Anticipation, Bravery, Off The Ball, Work Rate, Jumping Reach, Stamina, Strength

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 focus play on getting the ball to one or more strong wide attackers with good aerial ability who can hold the ball up either to relieve pressure or to release quicker teammates, with through balls only being made by creative players in more advanced areas.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to get the ball forward much more directly to one or more strong wide attackers with good aerial 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.

Attributes

Defenders and more defensive midfielders – good Passing, Technique

Strong wide attackers - good First Touch, Heading, Aggression, Anticipation, Bravery, Off The Ball, Work Rate, Jumping Reach, Stamina, Strength

Hit Early Crosses

Your wide defenders will dribble with the ball rarely and attempt crosses 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 strong central attackers with good aerial ability, particularly if your wide players do not provide a direct threat down the flanks.

Attributes

Wide players – good Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation

Wide players – perhaps poorer Dribbling, Decisions, Flair, Vision, Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace

Central attackers – good First Touch, Heading, Anticipation, Aggression, Bravery, Off The Ball, Work Rate, Jumping Reach, Stamina, Strength

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 strong central attacker with good aerial ability, but perhaps this attacker has poorer off the ball movement or your wide players have poorer crossing ability.

Attributes

Wide players – perhaps poorer Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation

Central attackers – good Heading, Aggression, Bravery, Jumping Reach, Strength

Central attackers - perhaps poorer Anticipation, Off The Ball, Decisions, Acceleration

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 off the ball movement, and preferably good strength and aerial ability.

Attributes

Wide players – good Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation

Central attackers - good Anticipation, Off The Ball, Decisions, Acceleration

Central attackers – preferably good Heading, Aggression, Bravery, Jumping Reach, Strength

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 your central attackers have good off the ball movement but either they have poorer strength and aerial ability or your wide players have poorer crossing ability.

Attributes

Wide players – perhaps poorer Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation

Central attackers - good Anticipation, Off The Ball, Decisions, Acceleration

Central attackers – perhaps poorer Heading, Aggression, Bravery, Jumping Reach, Strength

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 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 to further increase the urgency and directness of attacking play and provide an alternative threat that can help keep the opposition defence pinned back.

Attributes

More advanced players – good Dribbling, First Touch, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace

More advanced players - perhaps poorer Passing, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Vision

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 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 creative ability.

Attributes

Attacking and supporting players – good Finishing, Long Shots, Technique

Attacking and supporting players – poorer Passing, Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork, Vision

Penetration

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 are quick, skilful, creative or have good crossing ability or off the ball movement.

However, this instruction can restrict the variation of your teams 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.

Attributes

All wide players - preferably good Work Rate, Stamina

Quick wide players - good Acceleration, Balance, Pace

Skilful wide players - good Dribbling, First Touch, Technique, Flair, Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace

Creative wide players - good Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision

Wide players with good crossing ability - good Crossing, Passing, Technique, Anticipation

Wide players with good off the ball movement - good Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Acceleration, Pace

At least one central attacker (if wide players are used to make crosses) - good Heading, Aggression, Bravery, Jumping Reach, Strength

At least one central attacker (if wide players are used to cut inside and make creative, risky passes) - good Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Acceleration, Pace

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 are creative, skilful, quick or have good passing ability or off the ball movement.

However, this instruction can restrict the variation of your teams 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.

Attributes

Creative central players – good Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision

Skilful central players - good Dribbling, First Touch, Technique, Flair, Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace

Quick central players - good Acceleration, Balance, Pace

Central players with good passing ability - good Passing, Technique, Anticipation

Central players with good off the ball movement - good Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Acceleration, Pace

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 to make it easier for your players to penetrate the opposition defence by overloading the flanks and crossing into the opposition area.

Attributes

It can be useful when you have wide midfielders or wide attackers who are slow or less skilful.

You will need good attacking wide defenders with good fitness, and preferably supporting and attacking players with good aerial ability to get on the end of crosses.

Wide defenders – good Crossing, Dribbling, Passing, Technique, Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Work Rate, Acceleration, Pace, Stamina

Wide attackers - preferably good Teamwork, Strength

Wide attackers - perhaps poorer Dribbling, First Touch, Technique, Decisions, Flair, Vision, Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace

At least one central attacker - preferably good Heading, Aggression, Anticipation, Bravery, Decisions, Off The Ball, Acceleration, Jumping Reach, Strength

Shape

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 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 to give even more support to your wide players if focusing play to the wide areas.

Attributes

Attacking and supporting players – good Passing, Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Vision

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, or to provide even more support to a strong central attacker with good aerial ability.

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, or to provide more support to your central players.

Attributes

Attacking and supporting players – perhaps poorer Passing, Anticipation, Decisions, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Vision

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 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 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.

Attributes

Defenders (for preventing the ball getting behind the defensive line and for chasing back) - preferably Tackling, Marking, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Positioning, Work Rate, Acceleration, Pace, Stamina

Defenders - perhaps poorer Heading, Bravery, Jumping Reach, Strength

All outfield players, particularly deeper players (for effective closing down) - good Tackling, Aggression, Anticipation, Decisions, Work Rate, Acceleration, Stamina

All outfield players, particularly deeper players - perhaps poorer Marking, Composure, Concentration, Positioning, Strength

Goalkeeper (for rushing out) - preferably good One On Ones, Rushing Out, Anticipation, Decisions, Acceleration

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 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 defensive weakness.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality 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 defensive weakness.

Attributes

Defenders (since a deeper defence can encourage aerial balls into the area from the opposition) - good Heading, Bravery, Jumping Reach, Strength

All outfield players, particularly deeper players (for effective positioning and marking) - good Marking, Composure, Concentration, Positioning, Strength

All outfield players, particularly deeper players - perhaps poorer Tackling, Aggression, Anticipation, Decisions, Work Rate, Acceleration, 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 due to low intelligence and ability in attack.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality to achieve more structured and less dynamic play.

Attributes

More advanced players – perhaps poorer Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Off The Ball, Vision, general attacking technical attributes, weaker foot strength

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 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 to achieve an even more dynamic approach where players frequently interchange positions to destabilise the opposition's defensive structure.

Attributes

More advanced players (to know when an where to roam, and to be effective in different positions) – good Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Off The Ball, Vision, general attacking technical attributes, weaker foot strength

Defending

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 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 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.

Attributes

All outfield players, particularly deeper players (for effective closing down) – good Tackling, Aggression, Anticipation, Decisions, Work Rate, Acceleration, Stamina

All outfield players, particularly deeper players - perhaps poorer Marking, Composure, Concentration, Positioning, Strength

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 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 defensive weakness.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality 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 defensive weakness.

Attributes

All outfield players, particularly deeper players (for effective positioning and marking) - preferably good Marking, Composure, Concentration, Positioning, Strength

All outfield players, particularly deeper players – perhaps poorer Tackling, Aggression, Anticipation, Decisions, Work Rate, Acceleration, 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 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 to achieve an even more aggressive approach where your players attempt to win the ball back even more quickly.

Attributes

All outfield players, particularly deeper players – good Tackling, Aggression, Anticipation, Bravery, Decisions

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 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 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.

Attributes

All outfield players, particularly deeper players – perhaps poorer Tackling, Aggression, Anticipation, Bravery, Decisions

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 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 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.

Attributes

Deeper players (particularly if using a deeper defensive line, so opponents are less likely to win aerial challenges) - good Heading, Marking, Bravery, Jumping Reach, Strength

Deeper players (particularly if using a higher defensive line, so opponents are less likely to pull away) - good Anticipation, Tackling, Marking, Decisions, Positioning, Work Rate, Acceleration, Pace, Stamina

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, 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.

Attributes

Your defenders – good Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Positioning, Teamwork, Acceleration, 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 to put more pressure on the opposition when they have possession.

It can be useful with a more attacking mentality 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.

Attributes

Attackers - good Work Rate, Stamina

General

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’ attacking play will be more urgent. They will focus on moving the ball around more quickly and destabilising the opposition's defensive structure in an attempt to create space that can be exploited.

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 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 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.

Attributes

Outfield players – preferably good First Touch, Passing, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Off The Ball, Vision, Work Rate, Acceleration, Pace, Stamina

Lower Tempo

Your players’ attacking play will be more patient. They will focus more on keeping possession of the ball while waiting for space to open up in the opposition defence that can be exploited.

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 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 and to allow for better opportunities to open up before your players try to break through the opposition defence.

Attributes

Outfield players – perhaps poorer First Touch, Passing, Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Off The Ball, Vision, Work Rate, Acceleration, Pace, Stamina.

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

Can be useful with any mentality to achieve a more dynamic and unpredictable approach that can be more difficult for the opposition to defend against.

Attributes

Outfield players, particularly attacking and supporting players – good Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Vision, general attacking technical attributes

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

Can be useful with any mentality to achieve a more organised and controlled approach that can help your players keep possession more easily or follow a more precise attacking strategy.

Attributes

Outfield players, particularly attacking and supporting players – perhaps poorer Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Off The Ball, Teamwork, Vision, general attacking technical attributes

Further Reading

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

Coaching the Tiki Taka - learn about the tiki taka style in detail.

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

FM 2015

This guide has been updated for FM 2015.

Tactics Resources

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

Soccer Strategies - learn the advantages and disadvantages of using different formations in defence and attack.

Soccer Systems and Strategies - teaches you about different tactical strategies.

Coaching the Tiki Taka - learn about the tiki taka style in detail.

Transition and Counter Attacking - find out how to play against different opposition systems.

Match Strategy and Tactics - learn how to adapt your tactics to the opposition and different match scenarios.

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FM 2015

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