Opposition instructions can help your team to defend against the individual threats posed by particular opposition players. They do this by acting as an extension to the player instructions given by your tactic that only apply to specified opposition players.
You can set opposition instructions on the Opposition section of the match day Tactics tab. They can be set before the start of a match and can also be altered at any point in response to substitutions and formation changes made by the opposition, or to deal with players causing problems who were not identified pre-match.
If you prefer then you can ask one of your coaches to set these instructions for you by using the Apply Advice To Team button after selecting the coach from the drop-down. You can also ask your assistant manager to set them automatically by assigning him this responsibility on the Responsibilities tab of the Staff screen. The best advice is more likely to come from a coach with a good Tactical Knowledge attribute, while Judging Player Ability is also important. In addition, a coach’s playing mentality, as shown on his profile, may influence the opposition instructions that he suggests. All of these qualities are shown for the currently selected coach on the Opposition Instructions screen.
A coach may not be able to advise on opposition instructions if he does not have sufficient Tactical Knowledge.
The advice discussed in this guide will help you to set opposition instructions yourself that can enable your team to defend against different opposition threats more effectively, although you may wish to use the advice of a coach as a starting point before modifying the instructions as you see fit.
Each opposition instruction is analysed below. Provided for each instruction is:
- a brief description of how it affects your players;
- related team instructions and player instructions – you should consider how the instruction affects your tactics, as explained below;
- examples of when the instruction can be useful – these include references to player abilities and some of their related attributes, which are discussed in the Attribute Combinations guide; and
- other general advice about using the instruction.
Types of Opposition Instruction
Opposition instructions can be set for tight marking, closing down, tackling and show onto foot. Any tight marking, closing down and tackling opposition instructions that you set adjust or override the related player instruction, while the show onto foot opposition instruction is unrelated to other tactical instructions. If left unset (–), an opposition instruction has no effect on your tactic.
Opposition instructions can be applied in two different ways; either as player opposition instructions or as position opposition instructions. Player opposition instructions are set for the selected opposition player regardless of any changes to his position made by the opposition, while position opposition instructions are set for any player the opposition chooses to play in the selected position during the match. If conflicting instructions are set for an opposition player then the player opposition instructions take precedence. You can toggle between player and position opposition instructions using the Show Players / Show Positions button.
Player opposition instructions can be used to adjust how your team defends against particular opposition players according to the type of threat that they pose.
Position opposition instructions can be used to adjust how your team generally defends against opposition players in a particular position (you can still use alternative player opposition instructions to override these instructions for particular opposition players when desired). They can be especially useful in helping your team to defend against an opposition player whose position is not naturally covered by your own formation, such as a central attacking midfielder if you do not use a central defensive midfielder.
You can set default position opposition instructions to be used in all matches on the Opposition Instructions tab of the (non-match-day) Tactics screen.
The recommendations for each opposition instruction given below refer to player opposition instructions unless specified as position opposition instructions.
You should ideally consider the defensive abilities of the player or players on your team who are playing in the same area of the pitch as the opposition player an instruction is being applied to, as they will be the players most affected by the instruction. For example, if you have a player with poor tackling ability then it may be risky to instruct your team to hard tackle his direct opponent.
In addition, it is important to consider the effects of the tight marking, closing down and tackling opposition instructions on the defending instructions given by your tactic. Setting these instructions for too many players can completely change your desired defending style, and so it is advisable to instead restrict your use of these instructions to just a few opposition players as appropriate. For example, if your tactic uses a cautious defending style then instructing your players to tight mark, close down, or hard tackle too many opposition players will cause your team to lose its defensive shape and discipline.