Direct Plays

This starter guide will take you through the process of creating direct plays tactics for your team. It includes:

  • How direct plays works – a brief description of the mechanics of direct plays tactics, as well as important player attributes, to help you to decide whether direct plays suits your team and your preferences.
  • Suggested formations for direct plays – tips for choosing a formation to use with direct plays tactics, along with a list of suitable formations. The formations are listed in order of how attacking they are, with more advanced playing positions considered to be more attacking.
  • The recommended team instructions for direct plays – these are the team instructions that are typically used in direct plays tactics.
  • Other suggested team instructions for direct plays – these are additional team instructions suitable for direct plays tactics that you may want to use. However, it is recommended that you choose your player roles and duties before deciding upon additional team instructions.
  • Useful player instructions for direct plays – these are player instructions suitable for direct plays tactics that you may want to look for in the player roles and duties that you choose.
  • Balancing risk in direct plays – advice on how to balance your use of team instructions and player instructions.
  • Suggested transition tactics for direct plays – these are additional transition team instructions suitable for direct plays tactics that you may want to use.
  • Suggested player roles and duties for direct plays – these are player roles and duties suitable for direct plays tactics that you can choose from. Different responsibilities in different positional areas are covered separately, with a list of roles/duties given that can be used to perform each responsibility. Selecting one or more appropriate roles/duties to perform each responsibility in each positional area should give you balanced combinations. Shown next to each role/duty is a brief description of its own natural playing style. The word “direct” in these descriptions indicates suitability of the role/duty’s player instructions for direct plays, and the roles/duties are grouped in order of how suitable they are in this respect.
  • Overall forward movement – this is an advised method for checking that the forward movement of your players is balanced. It involves adding up a few different scores for your roles/duties and checking that the totals meet suggested targets.
  • A direct plays example tactic – this is a direct plays tactic that applies the advice given in this starter guide to select team instructions and player roles and duties. You may want to use this tactic for your own team or modify it to suit your own players or your preferences. Reading the rest of the tactics guides can help you to do this.

How Direct Plays Works

With direct plays your team, when in possession, will directly penetrate space, mainly creating space by using physical power and forcing defensive mistakes from opposition players.

Important player attributes:

  • Good endeavour (Aggression, Bravery and Work Rate) – for M/AM(C/R/L)s and STCs in particular
  • Good physical presence (Strength), aerial presence (Jumping Reach) and mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace) – for M/AM(C/R/L)s and STCs in particular
  • Good crossing ability (Crossing) – for D/WB/M/AM(R/L)s in particular
  • Good dribbling ability (Dribbling) and heading ability (Heading) – for M/AM(C/R/L)s and STCs in particular

Suggested Formations for Direct Plays

Tips for choosing a formation:

  • Formations with only D(R/L)s on the flanks make it difficult to directly penetrate space in advanced areas on the flanks.
  • Formations with two AM/ST(C)s and either two AM(R/L)s or two STCs in particular make it easier to directly penetrate space in advanced areas.
    • Formations with two AM(R/L)s make it easier to directly penetrate space in advanced areas on the flanks.
    • Formations with two ST(C)s make it easier to directly penetrate space in advanced central areas.

Suitable formations include:

  • 4-2-3-1 Wide – very attacking
    • 4 Ds / 2 MCs / 1 AMC / 2 AM(R/L)s / 1 STC
  • 5-3-2 WB – fairly attacking
    • 3 DCs / 2 WBs / 3 MCs / 2 STC
  • 4-4-2 – fairly attacking
    • 4 Ds / 4 Ms / 2 STCs
  • 4-2-4 DM Wide – fairly attacking
    • 4 Ds / 2 DMCs / 2 AM(R/L)s / 2 STCs
  • 5-1-2-2 DM WB – neutral
    • 3 DCs / 2 WBs / 1 DMC / 2 MCs / 2 STCs
    • Instruct MCs to Stay Wider to provide support to the flanks
  • 4-2-3-1 DM AM Wide – neutral
    • 4 Ds / 2 DMCs / 1 AMC / 2 AM(R/L)s / 1 STC
  • 4-2-2-2 DM – fairly defensive
    • 4 Ds / 2 DMCs / 2 M(R/L)s / 2 STCs
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